Saturday, May 24, 2014

8. Day 1: A long ride indeed

So we are officially underway.  I guess the chances are 100%.  As suspected in the last few days leading up to departure it felt like there were not enough hours in the day.  Early in the week I took to waking up between 3-4am to things done.  That caught up to me eventually and I was exhausted on Thursday. 
With just a few more things to do on the list, I was ready to go at 6:30AM Friday morning.  Steve, not so much.  He is not a morning person, never was, and sometimes you just have to give him the time he needs.

We took off around 8am, with the thought of however far we go is fine.  Our initial goal was 520 miles to Loudonville, OH.  Since it was our first day and we just wanted to get west we pretty much stuck to the highway.  The first lesson I reminded myself yesterday was just how much interstates suck.  The speeds, the wind, the tractor trailers, all yuck yuck yuck.  We should be avoiding that from here on out.  The second thing I learned is that Pennsylvania is doing a lot of work on their bridges, lots of construction zones.  Luckily in mid-day traffic wasn’t bad and I actually welcomed the slower speeds.
I listened to my music for some of the trip.  The third thing I learned is that if you listen to a quiet kind of music like Damien Rice or Brandi Carlile, at highway speeds it can sometimes just kind of sounds like ghosts making noise in your helmet.  It freaked me out a little bit at first.  I may have to consider adjusting the speakers in my helmet to see if that helps. 
We finally made it OH and my fourth lesson of the day, which is rush hour on Friday of a holiday weekend in Akron, OH has nothing on the West Side Highway in NYC.  The only traffic was due to a couple of crashes.  Once we finally left the dreary interstate for secondary roads I was reminded again how riding through farmland is still my favorite place to ride a motorcycle. It is so wide open that you can see for days, so that makes me feel safer than wondering what is lurking around the next turn or what is waiting to dart out of the woods.  We have ridden in the in the Alps which is beautiful and very dramatic to look at, but there a nice quiet riding through farmland. 
As you may suspect we decided that we really didn’t feel like camping on our first night  out.  So we made it to Loudonville, were cell service disappeared.  Steve looked up a hotel in his GPS and off we went.  Here I was again reminded that most of the country is not like the northeast.  We arrive at the hotel to see keys sitting out on the counter for people checking in and a note with a phone # to call if you have any questions.  It was 7:00pm on a Friday of a holiday weekend and the hotel was left unattended.  Of course, we had no cell service, but someone let us use their phone to call the number.  Unfortunately they were booked so we were off to the next location on the GPS. 
After going up a windy, rain rutted dirt driveway we made our way to the Mohican River Inn.   They had rooms, and we were not picky, so it was a perfect fit.  By this time it was 7:30ish so we were off to McDonalds for dinner, since they were the only place around with wifi.  I have to say McDonalds has some darn good salads.

The fries were pretty good also.

The view from our hotel.

When we returned to the motel we wanted to buy some bottled water but they also left!!  Is leaving a motel office unattended on a holiday weekend the norm?
So I am typing this blog from the hotel in Word since I cannot get online to post anything.  Hopefully AT&T will come through when we make it to Kanakee, IL today.  Today’s plan is 320 miles.  We also realized we may have to reevaluate camping on a holiday weekend.  We are not interested in the bonfire, party scene right now.
I certainly won’t object to another hotel stay.  A lumpy bed is still a bed.  And heat is heat.
I’ve also learned that only bringing my mesh jacket may not have been the best choice.  It’s cold.  I wore a long sleeve T-shirt, two fleece jackets, my mesh jacket and my rain coat and it was still a bit chilly yesterday.  I figured the rain coat would block the wind.  But it was also overcast yesterday, so hopefully a sunny day will change that.
On to day 2!!!

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