48 States or Bust – The USA on Two Wheels
Miles Today:402(!) – Total Miles:1035 – Daily Average:207
9:30am-8pm – 10.5 hours
Brattleboro,VT to Buffalo,NY
(-staying at Lord Amherst Motel -)
(VT,MASS,NY – 10/48)
FINALLY, A BREAKOUT DAY!
We scanned the horizons right after awakening, and there was at least a hint of blue in the sky for a change. Even the sun made an appearance. I jokingly suggested we not even spend time loading the gear – just have the motel ship it to our destination of Buffalo, so we could get right out and onto the bikes before it started raining.
On our walk/run this morning by 7:15am, we saw a tiny little bird along the side of the highway that must have grazed a car on a fly-by. He was sitting hunched over, like in a human thoughtful position, but life was slowly leaving him. Sad sight.
When back, we gathered our gear, got one of the motel porter luggage carts, and took our stuff out to the bike. We also scooped up some of the continental breakfast the motel offered.
On our way out of town we stopped at a Staples to mail some not needed things back home. Also picked up a hi-lighter, a china marker (so I can write little notes on the windshield during the day), and some duct tape.
Somehow, I blew by my first sign today – I don’t know how it happened, but we ended up going south instead of west after a set of interchanges. I pointed out an “Entering Massachusetts” sign for Karen to take a picture of, and she said, “Hey, what are we doing in Massachusetts again?” It was just a little bit out of our way and, actually provided us with more wonderful scenery than the original western way across Vermont’s Route 9.
It was magnificent riding this morning – lots of hills gave us lots of fun twisties. (For the non-motorcycle set, “twisties” are twisty-turning roads – generally fun to navigate and weave through.) For much of the morning we rolled alongside stone strewn streams, and with the clear air and forest background it made for a delightful first half of the day.
At 10:15am we passed a sign that read, “Entering Florida”. We got a chuckle out of that reference to a Massachusetts county. But it looked for all the world like we might have made a really wrong turn, and we were entering the southern state. It was cool to cold in the mountains, and I was right in thinking that Karen was glad she had her rain pants on if only for the warmth. We crested one of the peaks in the Berkshire mountain range at the Whitcomb Summit, and as we did the whole tenor of the sky and weather changed on the other side. Went from crystal clear and sunny to socked in fog. We got a few good photos of the clouds crashing into the side of the mountain right in front of us on the roadway. No rain though, and as we descended the fog cleared. What could have made the difference on each side of the mountain – a water body? The terrain? A weather system? I don’t know, but the difference was dramatic and striking.
Shortly after noon we tooled into Troy, NY. We passed a Harley place and I turned my nose up at it… Then we passed a BMW store, and I harrumphed at it. And then we came upon a Honda place and I passed that, too, but then we did a u-turn and went in. It was great being there. We bought some chrome polish and a second bungie net. I asked the friendly service guy to come out and listen to the bike, not because there was any suspected problem, but just to have a trained ear listen. He said it sounded great. He also checked the oil, and it was fine. I said to him that I wished I was a wrenchie like he was! (For those who aren’t motorcycle people, a ‘wrenchie’ or ‘wrenchhead’ is someone really knowledgeable in how to fix motorcycles.)
The whole tenor of the afternoon ride, Interstate 90, was high speed, hot, and exciting. At 1:30pm we stopped for lunch, and hoped to get out in half-an-hour, but it just didn’t happen. We had a delicious salad bar at a Bob’s Big Boy. I was especially hungry for the chickpeas, and gobbled down a couple platefuls. Between the weariness, hunger, and enjoyability of the coolness there, we didn’t leave for an hour. We had our longest sustained 85-90mph run during the second and third gas-up of the afternoon. The sustained forward motion felt powerful and energizing. At 4pm we rolled into a rest stop having done 100 miles in 80 minutes! The tank holds about 3.5 gallons, and I know when we get near the 100 mile mark to start looking for a station. It’s generally time to stretch and walk around a bit anyway.
One of the characteristics about me is that I happen to sneeze a lot. I don’t have allergies or anything. I just sneeze a lot when I do. (Average is 11, the record is 21!) Well, on the Interstate 90 this afternoon going 80mph I started in sneezing – didn’t even have time to get my flip-up helmet up. We both were concerned but Karen later said she was just hoping against hope it wasn’t going to be a record breaker! It wasn’t, and there was no problem.
After the day’s riding we reached our goal of Buffalo, NY, clear on the western side of the state. We had gotten a tip to check out rest stop tourism magazines for motel coupons. We had done that on one of our stops and scored a $40 off coupon at a motel in Buffalo, but not far from Niagara Falls. After navigating around an off-ramp detour, we found the Lord Amherst Motel, and checked into a convenient and somewhat cozy room. Around 9ish we walked the short distance to the well appointed restaurant, and decompressed from the day with a delicious tomato pie (a pizza without the cheese), and then treated ourselves to an out-of-this-world taste-popping slice of key lime pie. One of the foursome at the next table was celebrating a birthday, and I volunteered to take a picture. They were appreciative, and I got their email address to send the image.
Back at the room we experienced more problems with the in-room network, and even spent some more enjoyable – but very frustrating – hours trying to work it out. Never did in the evening, but the tech support guy said he’d call in the morning.
Thought a lot about how fast time seems traveling lately. If what they say is true about how ‘time goes faster when one’s having fun’, then since we’re having fun with EVERYTHING we’re doing lately, time must really be on the fast track!!!