Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arriving at Adams - Sailing in Salem - Leaving Lowell

Today's ride starts out like many of our other rides. A visit to your local  caterer is in order

With food on our minds and being mid morning we stop for breakfast at the Amber Road Cafe.

This place was crowded and we had to stand around, waiting for a table. This gives me time to look at everyone's food to see what I might want. What I did see was alot of fruit topped french toast and pancakes. This was going to be perfect for MeAsWe.

They had these cups with rubber bottoms, which were made so they didn't slip on the table. I didn't appreciate the neatness of the cup because I couldn't feel the cup hit the table when I put it down. Kinda of like not being able to feel the road under the tires. For this I am a touchy feely type person.

I selected the eggs and lean hash for breakfast, figuring it was the healthy choice. I have to say my egg was cooked to perfection. Now you are saying it is a Flipped and Broken, how can you mess that up. This went beyond just a flipped and broken. Take a careful look at the edges, that is perfection.

MeAsWe pretending to listen to me expound on the egg cuisine

After breakfast MeAsWe has her last cigarette for eva and I stroll across the street for this sign. Not neon but sign of Googie architecture is there.

As we meander thru Braintree MA. Not sure you can meander thru an urban setting but there is water nearby someplace. Now the reason for the stop isn't that interesting

But what is there is interesting. Best I can tell this thing is original and I believe it is a 51.

Hitting the first of four main purposes for the day to put the finishing touches on our Silver National Park Tour. We really don't need these, but just to make sure. While I was in the VC getting our stamps I always buy a pin for my collection of stuff. They had commemorative tins of chocolate with the Adams National Historic Park logo on them. When I got to the register, I told the ranger that it was beginning to look like a CVS with the chocolate thing going on. This really cracked her up and she said it made her day.

Adams National Historic Park Visitor Center

The next stop was a really difficult stop. In the heart of Boston on Joy Street is the Boston African Womens museum. I sat on the bike, pointing down hill, while MeAsWe ran in for the stamp. This is a place we have to come back to for a better visit.

Traveling from Boston to Salem is never really fun. Lots of traffic, lots of drivers that pay you no mind, crappy roads. Just getting out of Boston is a pain. In Lynn, the City of Sin, this place can brighten up your day with the colors alone. It has been said, "Lynn Lynn, City of Sin, You never go out the way you came in"

Salem is a neat place to visit. Between the Witches, boats and history, you just can't go wrong.

Some really great Neon. The were selling sweat shirts that said, I got it n the Bunghole. There wasn't a big line for them.

Great USA town to boot

MeAsWe having another one of those Last Cigarettes.

It is right around 4pm and making our last stop for day is iffy. The forecast for 30% chance of rain, probably has moved to the 70% range.

We grab 2 more BBQ Joints and head to Lowell, MA. That 70% moved to 100% on the way into Lowell. We make it right around 4:45pm and generally the VC's close right around 5pm. Lowell has decided to have a folk festival this weekend and we can't pull right up to the VC. I pull into a gas station and MeAsWe heads for the VC for Ink. While she was gone I take some pictures to pass the time away.

Some more of that Neon

A Fan

Walking in the Rain. you know that Gene Kelly song. That's MeAsWe making her way back to the bike in the white end to end.

A trolley with places to go

We get home, hang up our gear in the bathroom and head for the couch.

Today's graphical look of our trip, about 175 miles, and it took all day

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Two Guys Burn some Buns

Last week I spend a great deal of time planning out the perfect route for Giff's and my BunBurner. I spent hours planning where to stop for gas, making sure that I kept the miles under 200 for Giff's Wing. Looking for that perfect on and off the highway. With the plans set, made reservations at the Quality Inn in Erie PA for us to grab some Z's at the 1000 mile mark. Giff dropped off his GPS so I could load it up with the routes. Dropped the MapSource data into my excel spreadsheet template I created for planning routes, stops, time of arrival, gas stop time, rest time, time of departure. Put the GPS coordinates for each stop into Google Maps to make sure the miles for each leg would cover the SS1K (Saddle Sore 1000) and BB1500 (BunBurner 1500). Did this tweak, moved a gas stop, made sure I didn't click eastbound in Mapsource when we should be going westbound. Pulled out the camelback I never used, found the cooler for taking along tons of water. I was ready to go.

 Then came the weather reports. Now a little bit of rain is no problem and a little misting is sometimes welcomed, cloudy days are perfect, but severe thunderstorms is something else to contend with. I have ridden through storms like this and let's just say, if you are constipated, you won't be. A call to Bill and we agreed to put off the trip until Thursday, Friday.

Fast forward to Tuesday. A quick check to the NOAA.GOV site has the weather becoming as good. For some reason I am waking up at 3AM at this point which is my planned get up time on Thursday. Wednesday comes, I am up at 3AM again. I figure at this point getting up this early is too acclimate me to the departure time. Play a little on line poker (pisses me off the gubernmint took away money tournaments from us, under the guise of accusing the bigger sites for money laundering), do ok finish in the play money. Did some writing and THEN I went to NOAA.GOV. We have a disaster on our hands. Once again mother nature is playing havoc on our plans. The weather from Hagerstown, MD to Columbus, OH is not looking good, with indications of severe used in some of the descriptive. Even the interactive map is showing red in places. Did some checking in northern Ohio and the weather prospects look much better. Time to develop a completely different route.

So our nice scenic route that swooped down from Scranton, PA to Hagerstown, over to Morgantown, WV, up to Washington PA, over to Columbus, OH, up to Cleveland, through Erie PA, west to Utica, NY and back to home was gone.

And became a straight shot out 1-90 to Montpelier OH and back. The only saving grace was the hotel reservation I made for the second time did not need to be changed.

For those of you that are planning a SS1K or BB1500, maybe you should make a couple of plans. I know the next time I do one of these, I will have at least one alternative. At least the route was easy, no complicated change from I-68 to I-79 to I-70. If you were on I-90 and heading the right direction, you were good. Simple is good.

Left work early and came home to replan the gas stops, pack the bike and reload the GPS's for the trip. Completed all that at 6pm. About packing, for 36 hours you really don't need squat. My main concern was carrying the water, which was taken care of. That was secured on the back seat and filled with Poland Springs bottles and some Red Bull. While I was looking for some stuff like the Camelback cooler, I came across a tire repair kit that I bought years ago. Light bulb goes on, you know the one that indicates you just had an epiphany.

And I pack that too. After all it doesn't take up much space, weighs next to nothing and I don't have a clue how to plug a tire, but Giff does, that is one of the things he does in his work. Keep this in mind.

Thursday 3AM comes, MeAsWe is already up, making some coffee. I actually planned to get up at 230AM, but must have missed the alarm or I messed setting it up. Take a shower, sit down with my coffee and say to MeAsWe, I really should check the weather. She says, Why, you are still going to go. Now MeAsWe is fully supportive of stuff like this on the bike, She has completed 2 National Park tours, one which is Silver. Some weather has moved into our path, but we have a 40% chance of not hitting rain.

Pull the camelback from the refrigerator, put it in my tank bag. My tank bag was made to fit a camelback in the bottom, how kewl is that. Throw the bag of life savers, cashews, banana chips and cheeseitz in the tank bag, Grab the small P&S Nikon, wallet, wallet 2 for caring the spare credit cards, GPS's (I use 2) and  head for the bike.

Gloves, where are my gloves. I thought I crammed them in the front of the tank bag. Back up 3 flights of stairs, scan the kitchen, NO GLOVES. Back down stairs knowing they had to be on the bike, maybe in the GIVI. MeAsWe just happen to reach into the pocket on the cooler and there they were. I would have never remembered I had put them there for safe keeping. So safe even thieves wouldn't have found them. Lesson 2 make sure your stuff is where you think it is.

Enough is enough, just get on the bike and go. It is 3:39am,  The Hess station we are leaving from is 2.7 miles away. We get there, MeAsWe signs our Witness Forms for the IBA for both rides, SS1K and BB1500 and we are off at precisely 4:03:29. How do I know this, I upload all the track logs for our trips to MapSource.

We make our way to I-90 which is the Mass Pike. Most of our trip involved tolls. First was the Mass Pike, then the NY Thruway, I think PA lets you through free and then the Ohio Turnpike. EZ Pass is a must

Pull out the Nikon to take the first picture, fire it up, light comes on and goes off. WTF, I just put new batteries in the dang thing. Hit the button again, fires up and I see BATTERIES ARE EXHAUSTED.  You know simply saying they are DEAD is just as effective as the word EXHAUSTED, but at least it provides someone a job to come up with this stuff. Today I learned how to change batteries on a bike moving at 70, with one hand. I would use this new found skill multiple time during the trip.

This is right around 5:10am

I figured out why deer seem to come out during dawn and dusk. It it simply to dark for them to read the signs. Maybe they should be lit for them. These were taken 5:10, sunrise comes at 5:34.

Not the greatest shot of all time, but taken right around 5:44, sunrise has come.

The Castleton Bridge across the Hudson River. The rusted bridge to the left is the The Alfred H. Smith Memorial Bridge. (all pictures are clickable and will enlarge). We have covered 131 miles in just over 2 hours.

An over the shoulder shot of Giff

A better over the shoulder shot

First gas stop at Patterson Service Area on the the New York Thruway. About 166 miles into the trip. I had planned to be here at precisely 6:39, we arrived 6:37, not bad, eh ?. I downed a bottle of water, and a small red bull. I didn't really get a chance to enjoy or finish my coffee this morning.

With the first gas stops behind us, it is time to settle in.

A shot of the Mohawk River and one of the locks for the Erie Canal, maybe?

Right around 282 miles, Lockheed Martin in Liverpool, NY

I grabbed this shot because of the trees. Frankly I didn't think it would turn out half descent. This is Montezuma Wildlife Refuge by Seneca Falls, NY.

We pulled into the Ontario Service Area for our 2nd gas stop at 9:36. The plan was 9:55, which would indicate we are moving quicker than the planned 60-65MPH. We are 373 miles into the trip, average about 67MPH overall, including stops. In the plan, which is a guideline, I had us stopped for about 10 minutes for fuel. We are taking more 30 minutes at these stops.

Buffalo, NY interchange

A self portrait, starting to entertain myself. I travel without music or radio. I have not found a need for it to keep me occupied to pass the time. The sights, my camera, and singing to myself has worked for a couple hundred thousand miles so far. I will say I have thought about it thou.

Finally starting to warm up. I left this morning with a long sleeve mesh wicking shirt that I got as swag at the 2008 MinuteMan 1000. It works good when the temps are in the 60's under my Olympia Mesh jacket and works real good when the temps get into the 90's.

Yup the FJR needs to be washed one of these days.
Too busy ridin places and where i live the landlord
did not provide us with an outside spigot.
My twin GPS set up.

These guys are off for some fun. They are quite possibly headed for some bike rally in Erie, PA. Roar on the Shore. We learned about it from the night guy at the Super 8.

And then it came. MeAsWe was right, I shouldn't have looked at the weather, I jinxed myself. This is right around the 550 mile mark.With the planned miles today at 1030, at least we are passed the 50% mark.

Bike Wash

Next gas stop is in Austinburg, OH. We hit this place at 12:59, plan was 12:56. The rain was slowing us down, but we are still ahead of schedule by 3 minutes. We have been riding somewhere for about 30 minutes in the rain. With my mesh gear, at temps in the 80's it really isn't that bad. Being wet doesn't really bother me and when it stops raining I know I will dry out real quick. I still pull out my Frogg Togg jacket and put it on, in case the temps decide to drop.

We hit Cleveland right around 2:15. The rain has stopped, for now and we are back making time.

Downtown Cleveland

The only hairpin turn on an Interstate that I know of.

This is a Wyland mural on the Cleveland Puble Power building.
He is an environmental artist and paints murals of whales
and ocean life all over the world.
Gone from the vineyards of New York to Corn. It must be Ohio. Right around 3:10 and 665 miles.

And then there was this.

Up until now we have had our way with the highway. As slow or fast as we wanted, well never slow. 60, 70, 80 mph. Then there was THIS THREE POINT THREE FRIGGIN miles of the merge right. I will never understand why it takes traffic so long to merge from 3 lines to 2 lanes. Come on now. Well we spend 45 minute to go that THREE POINT THREE FRIGGIN miles. It was a killer. I asked Bill if he wanted to zoom up the side. One of the truck drivers asked me if I wanted to trade, to which I responded I will trade your floor clutch for my hand clutch right now. He grinned. These are the times when that FJR AE would come in handy. Actually I have thought more and more about them. What the big deal if you don't have a clutch to pull, sounds better and better every day.

. In Delta OH we stopped for gas right around 5:30pm. We have 28 miles to go to our turn around point, but Giff's Wing just might not make it that far, so this was a scheduled stop.  Heading into this place I got a bad case of the droopy eye. There was really no place to pull over, so standing on the pegs, changin the visor from shaded to no shade, the sour candy trick and water from the camelback kept me distracted long enough to get to the stop. It never got so bad that I caught myself with my eyes closed

We hit our turn around point at exit 13 on the Ohio Turnpike right about 6pm. Even though we just got gas, we filled up again to get a receipt to document the turn around point for the IBA.This was truly a NASCAR type pit stop.

Nope he didn't follow us in here to deliver us a Performance Certificate.
There were 2 troopers either starting or ending their shifts as a guess.
To collect some thoughts and spew a bit. If you are reading this because you have not done a SS1K yet, we are about an 1 to 1.5 hours behind schedule. Instead of us getting into the resting place for the night at 9pm we will get in about 10:30pm well within the time constraints of 24 hours. A schedule is a tool and not a given. We have hit it all so far, weather, traffic, well we have avoided being pulled over. For the most part Giff and I have been staying together up until Cleveland. He has a very good cruise control on the wing and sets it at 72 and goes. I have a throttle lock, but I use it more for short jaunts to relieve the right hand. I also have a Cramp Buster, which is a god send. After Cleveland I began to spread my wings abit more and letting the FJR run a bit. I find the sweet spot for the FJR and my throttle hand to be right around 79 MPH, perfect for getting a ticket. I have looked down and see I have creeped into the 80's from time to time, which I back down. With that said, with me running a higher MPH average than Giff, he is always pulling into the the next stop within 3 minutes of me. You figure out who is the smarter one. If you are reading this and have done this stuff, you know what I am talking about. End Spew.

We are heading east now and look what is trying to catch us again.

NO NO NOT AGAIN. Same scenario but this moved right along. Could be it is right around 7:45PM and not as much traffic. It does get the heart racing and the anxiety levels up a tad thou.


Ah Cleveland Revisited.

Last fuel stop of the night and only 90 miles to go.

Basically we have lost all our sunlight and of course there are Deer Next X miles signs all over the place. Actually in a very busy section coming thru Cleveland there was a deer sign. They must be one tough crowd of deer to be running an urban area like Cleveland.

We pulled into the Super 8 right at 10:56pm a full 2 hours behind schedule. So Giff grabbed a donut at Tim Hortons at the Shell station where we got our receipt to document the SS1K. 1051 calculated miles, but it is more like 1031 actual miles.

I didn't take any pictures of the Super 8. As I said it is the Roar on the Shore in Erie PA. There are HD's all over the place and the hotel is pretty well full. Just as we pulled into the Shell station it began to rain again. The hotel let us park our bikes under the hotel entrance canopy. Not that I care if my bike gets wet and dirty, but it made it alot shorter walk to the door and our room.  Giff and I gave each other high fives and we called it a night.

Four in the morning came real fast. I didn't hear any of the alarms and Giff was up and dressed. I jumped out of bed and was raring to go. Giff said he never saw any one wake up that way, one second dead asleep and the next second bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Yes it is raining again but we only have 511 miles to go.

Ever since the deer hit in Montana, I am a bit sensitive to riding at night and we should throw in early morning. Pennsylvania is prime deer country as well. This is heightened awareness, but not one to tip to high anxiety.

So dang dark out
A welcomed sight, that orange glow above the tree line. Erie, PA sunrise is 6:03 where home is 5:34AM. We got the benefit of the additional sunlight last night. Funny how that works.

Sunrise right on schedule

There is something going on in the area. I begin to see a ton of classics on the road.

Having a Deja Vue moment that last 6 hours, all of the scenery seemed so familiar.

This was not a welcomed familiar scene. Actually this moved right along at 55. At this point we have hit our first fuel stop.

I have taken all the pictures and just looking to press on to the finish. I am not tired, however at one point the sun began to peak out from behind the clouds. That caused some eye squinting, which directly leads to the droopy eye syndrome, which leads to unscheduled stops. We have plenty of room in the time bank even with giving up 2 hours yesterday. We are re-scheduled (as opposed to the original schedule) to pull into the Hess Station right around 1:28pm. Once I hit the Mass Pike, I kept repeating slow down, now is not  the time for a ticket.

Somewhere in this last leg I got to thinking about the trip, preparation and just a good feeling all over about about finishing it. Remember that tire plug kit I packed, brand new to boot. Well it is still brand new and has the original celleophane on it. That epiphany was totally misguided. If one of us got a flat and we plugged the tire, how were we going to pump the tire up when the small compressor is sitting in the closet at home. I guess we would call RVRoadHelp.

Last shot of the day that I took on the Mass Pike in Palmer, MA. The temps are a bit brisk compared to yesterday, with temps hovering in the mid 60's.

The final tally is.

1575 calculated miles, but the GPS is
more correct. Take off about 6 miles for
the travel from the house to the start point and back

The overall time does not include our sleep time.
The total time is 33 hours and 39 minutes, well with in
the 36 hours parameter.

Now for the hard part, pulling the documentation together and sending it to the IBA for review. Hopefully there will be 2 pieces of paper in the mail in a couple of months.

Hmmm suppose to be sunny today and in the 80's, I wonder where we should go today. Maybe Quincy, MA and pick up Adams National Historic Park for the National Park Tour.