quest in the midwest 2010
July 13th 2010 my wife and I start another great trip together on 2 wheels. See Michelle and I have been riding together since our 2nd date which was way back in October of 1988. We¡¯ve logged well over 200,000 miles together in the 22 years since. The last few years we¡¯ve been escaping from our 4 children for a few days. Thanks to several close relatives we know our kids are in good hands while we are away.
Yes, we have 4 girls
This years trip was going to be special.. For 2 reasons. Its our 20th year of marriage and we invited another couple to come along with us. Here we are at the start of our journey.
Day 1 West Boylston to points south¡
Our plan was to leave West Boylston and take the MA pike west for a few hrs. Today was about making some miles, we¡¯ve been on almost every road in New England at least once so we figured lets get to an area we¡¯ve never been too a little quicker. Our good friends ¡°the burbs¡± were gonna meet us at the first fuel stop in Charlton MA.
Now let me tell you a little about the ¡°Burbs¡± Chris and Helen are their names and the are great people to hang out with. Chris has been riding for a few years and use to have a Ducati Multistrada just like mine. However he recently replaced it with a cool looking Concours 1400 monster sport tourer. This was gonna be their first big trip on this bike. And I think the longest number of days on a two wheeled trip as well.
Once the 4 of us were together we used I90 to get us west into NY, our first state crossing of the trip. Michelle and I had packed a picnic lunch for the first day¡we were hoping to find a nice spot to sit along the Taconic state parkway for lunch. However the few showers and threat of rain kept us from doing this. Instead we just ate our sammies quickly at one of the scenic pull outs along the parkway.
We did find a fork..but it was after we ate!
Like I said earlier today was about making time. I was hoping to make it as far as Winchester VA on this day. However seeing we didn¡¯t leave home until 9 ish I knew it would be a challenge. The other reason for Winchester was this place..
All four of us had never been to one of these places before. Now usually we don¡¯t eat at chain restaurants when on a motorcycle trip¡unless of course we never been to that chain before. (See Indy MotoGP trip and white castle (08) And low and behold there was a Sonic and Marriot next to each other in Winchester. Now I also had a few back up plans, worst case was a sonic in Hanover PA and then some hotels planned south of there.
The other difference we did on this trip was no reservations for hotels except for night 4. I did have many hotels saved in my gps for along the way. So I had a general idea of places that we could stay at. Chris was game for this as well. It felt nice just riding until we felt the need to stop for the day.
OKay..back to day 1. We used the TSP to connect I90 to I84, which we used to go west for a short bit then we took 209 south thru the Delaware water gap. Now this is a road I¡¯ve never been on.
Even though it was nice to get off the truck infested I84 I would be lying if I didn¡¯t say I was disappointed in 209. Pretty straight, and hardy any views of the water. We did detour off for a bit so we could get this photo¡
And this one as well..
Two states the Burbs havent ridden their bike in yet.
Traffic got alittle heavier as we got closer to Stroudsburg, and really heavy when we had to take *I80 to I33. This was our first mistake. Taking 33 south to 22. Which put us in the Allentown/Bethlehem area. What a mess! For some reason (I forgot to check the internet when I got home) traffic was stopped on 22. We were right near the exit for 378,which looked like a easy way to detour to I78 and around the stopped traffic on 22. The problem was traffic was at a complete stand still on 378 about 1 mile south of 22.
So we got off the highway and tried to make our way west thru Bethlehem and into Allentown. Which the other 10 million other cars on the highway around this area were trying to do as well. Oh..and we had stopped 20 minutes before this whole mess to put on our rain gear for the showers that were falling. However while sitting in stopped traffic in Allentown the sun was out and it was getting really hot. I don¡¯t know why I didn¡¯t take any photos during this part¡but it sucked!
We parked for a bit to take off the rain gear and to get our bearing on what direction we needed to head in. And to re adjust our plans for the nights stop. It took some time to get to the highway and finally past all the heavy traffic. Buy this time the gps was telling us we wouldn¡¯t get to Winchester until 11pm¡just a little too long to wait to eat.
Plan B¡head to Hanover PA, which was the closest Sonic to our location. All this adjusting was being done on the fly while cruising down the highway at 90mph. At one point I noticed really dark sky in front of us. It looked like it was 20 miles away but it was one of those¡¡°oh ####..its gonna rain really hard up ahead¡° moments. I was leading at this point, and we were getting close to 170 miles on the tank of gas we had. Now Chris has a larger gas tank than my multi but he burns more fuel. We had both agreed we should try and fuel up between 180 and 200 miles.
As we approached an exit with plenty of fuel choices I figured we should get off, fuel up and decided if we should put on rain gear or not. I put my blinker on to let Chris know we were getting off at the next exit..just as I did that he rode up next to me and waved me forward¡I gave him the okay..you lead wave and fell behind the big black connie. Figuring he knew of a better fuel stop¡turns out his plan was to try and out run the rain¡
Hey Helen…what do you think of Chris’s leading ability?
We got caught in the worst down pour of the trip so far. Man did it rain¡we had to do about 5 miles in the deluge before we found a bridge to park under. Rain suits on again! Little did we know this would turn out to be the un official theme of the trip!
We couldn¡¯t help but to laugh about it¡at least we were on vacation and riding our motorcyles..things certainly could be worse.
We pulled into Sonic at 8:30, tired and hungry.
We had some good burgers and tasty tator tots!
There was two major chain hotels right across the street, we decided that it was time to call it a day and get a few rooms. Oppps turns out both hotels had none! A couple of phone calls found a few nice rooms 15 min away.
490 miles later and some 13 hrs we pulled into our first night hotel,
a beautiful Courtyard Marriott in Gettysburg PA. We were tired, excited about our first days ride, and really looking forward to tomorrows ride!
Day 2. Gettysburg PA to Fayetteville WV, 340 miles
We awoke to a beautiful sunny day, our first plan was to find a good spot for breakfast. One of the most important parts of roads trip like this is too find good places to eat. And breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Now most of the big hotel chains have some sort of free breakfast available¡and the Marriott usually has a pretty good spread. But these usually mean scrambled eggs and waffles, sometimes I need someone to cook me my eggs to order and for some tasty bacon! The guy behind the counter recommended the place the locals eat.
After a great meal to start the day and a quick fuel up we were on the raod. Because we didn¡¯t get as far south as I wanted on day one we needed to make up some time. Oh, I forgot to mention we started day 2 at 5am. Mrs Osj and Mrs Burbs were not too happy about that. I think they both napped a bit on the highway ride south.
I also didn¡¯t load MD into my gps, I still use my garmin Quest, which I love but it has limited space in it. So the first few hrs I had to navigate old school¡tank bag map! Now this is something I never go with out anyways¡a paper map, and a tank bag. Too many years of doing tours with this method under my belt to give up on that now. It didn¡¯t take long to cross into¡
Then onto our first back road of this days ride. MD 77 took us west towards Hagerstown MD. This road goes thru Catoctin National park. And what a nice twisty road it is!
We used a few more back roads to lead us to I81 and a quick run south to Winchester. Seeing it was later in the morning we would be going thru hear I really wanted to stop in and see the ducati shop called ¡°Duc pond motor sports¡±
What a stop that turned out to be! The owner Don Unger was there and came right out from the back room to great us. The other employees that were there also spent some time talking with us. Right away I knew this was a special shop, pieces of Doug Polen¡¯s Ducati¡¯s from the 80¡¯s were hanging on the wall and when I ever walked into the back room to see all the bike¡I almost fell over!
We stayed here a little longer then planned, but it was well worth it! Donnie walked around with us, told us some cool old racing stories and explained about many of the bikes he has tucked away in that back room. He even offered Mrs OSJ and I a quick ride on his new Multistrada 1200 that was parked out front. Only if we can use it for the rest of the trip we told him¡
He wasn¡¯t that nice of a guy! After 70 minutes or so we saddled up and continued on with our ride. I also realized that it was time for a new camera on this trip..sorry for the crappy photo’s
We had crossed into VA and our next stop was somewhere in WV. A state I was really looking forward to riding my duck in. Chris and Helen have never been to the Mountaineer state so I know they were equally looking forward to this part of the trip. On our first mountain pass we found ourselves crossing over the state line. We planned on stopping at every state crossing to get a photo of the sign. However on rt55 there is no sign, there was one at one time but someone stole this one. We did a quick u turn to get our VA sign, then turned back towards WV to continue the ride.
I had consulted with several local WV riders about what roads to ride in this state. I had received great advise on some terrific looking roads. One of them was the road we were on. WV 55, however I found it to be too much like a highway. It didn¡¯t take long to figure out what was going on..seems the DOT was trying to make things boring in WV and was constructing a new 55, I noticed on the gps the small squiggly line of old 55 following the new highway. We found our way to old 55 and used that road to get us too Petersburg WV.
The new highway above…
The old below…
While getting fuel in Franklin I noticed a small little caf¨¦ across the street. A local was filling his pickup truck beside me so I asked over the sound of the pumps if they had good lunch there. Yup! He said with a big smile..cant go wrong at Fireside Caf¨¦!
The Burbs were ready for lunch as well. It was 2pm and we had been on the road since 6am so a nice long break was needed. The Fireside Caf¨¦ didn¡¯t disappoint at all. The food was great as well as the service. The owner came over and talked bikes with us, he rode as well. He also notice I had my laptop out so he offered us an extension cord if we needed to charge anything and also set me up with his wireless access code so I could go online. It was a great place to stop at, and if your ever in the area of Franklin WV stop by and say hi!
While there we also met another couple that rode, I don¡¯t think they were on their bikes then, but the gentleman (didn¡¯t get his name) came over to ask us where we came from and which direction we were heading. He told us 220 was nice all the way to the VA boarder and it would bring us to route 39. Which on my list of roads not to miss in WV. So we decided to stay on 220 south. At some point I put in Dirty Ernie¡¯s BBQ pit in the gps and told sally to take me there. My Quest¡¯s name is sally. She told me to turn onto VA 250, which looked really twisty on my map. So we did, and it was! I was off route just following the gps to our destination for dinner.
VA250 lead us to 640 south, which lead us to 84 south. When we crossed back into WV on 84 we finally got a chance to snag the photo of the West Virginia is wild and wonderful sign
. 84 brought us to 92 and we used that to get us to 39. Now let me back track on that little section of roads. 640, 84 and 92. All these roads were small little ones that went thru farms and wooded areas. This one little section was no more than an hour of riding but it was fantastic! I didnt stop but Mrs OSJ snapped some photo’s from the back seat..
Once on WV 39 we had roughly 70 miles before we needed to turn again. The road merged with other numbered highways in some of the bigger towns it went thru, but then shortly after each main street it would open back up to twisty fun roads! One thing that caught me off guard about WV was the speed limits, and the way locals drove. Up here in MA if you were on a twisty road and got caught behind a car you would make a pass as soon as you could. Speed limits are very low up here, especially on twisty roads. But down here the speed limit on most roads is 55!
Then each corner has there own speed limit, more than once I saw a 55 mph sign with a 25 mph corner sign not more than 20 feet away! It was nuts!! At one point I caught up to a Volkswagen beetle that when he noticed me on his butt he sped up. I thought about passing him, but the first sharp corner that came up made me glad I didn¡¯t. It was marked 35mph, we both did it going about 50. Now that might not seem too bad if your use to riding in New England, because normally with my wife on the back I can safely double the recommend speeds for most corners that you would find up this way. BTW, I don¡¯t slow down too much with her on back, she likes going fast just as much as I do! Now back down to the beetle and WV speed limits. I found if you enter a corner going 10 over the marked speed limit you better be paying attention. I followed this beetle for a good 25 miles, between rt 219 and Richwood WV. On some of the straight sections (there wasn¡¯t many of these) he would speed up to well over 100mph, then I would slowly catch him in the corners. I had no desire to pass him at any point in the ride. I had a feeling he might have been pushing his car to the limit..I knew this for sure when I watched the rear end step out and skip across the road almost sending him into a bridge abutment on a gentle left hand corner. Both Michelle and I said¡WOW at the same time, I figured it was time to let the bug go and slow down a bit.
The burbs were no where insight, we pulled over at the first store we came too and waited for them. We had time to get off he bike, gear down and walk around a bit before they came rolling in. I forget what town this was but it was pretty run down..
Chris was having major issues with keeping his eyes open, he needed a pick me up bad. A little bottle of 5 hr engery seemed to help him a lot, and after a short break we continued our ride westbound. 39 took us to 19 south, and 19 took us to our destination for the eve. Which was the little town of Fayetteville WV. 2 things I wanted to see here, one was Dirty Ernie¡¯s BBQ and the other was this..
We ordered way too much food at Dirty Erniefs but had a great time none the less. One line we didnft cross was drinking booze during diner. Chris said he wanted to change that the next night so we needed to stay at a hotel with a bar within walking distance. After our meal we took a quick ride across the New River Gorge bridge to the visitorsf center. We walked around like tourist here until it got dark. Then returned to our hotel to crash for the night.
Day 2 was in the books, we only did 340 miles but man were they good miles! No rain gear needed. We all slept like rocks!
Day 3 Favetivlle WV to ??
We awoke to another beautiful sunny day. I knew this one was going to be a good one. I had planned this day for just West Virigina, we were to explore until we couldnft ride no more. But first we needed food, someone at the hotel recommended a place called bisquit world. We walked in, then out..I didnft want to order my breakfast to someone that speaks it thru a mic to the cooks out back. We rode to the center of town, which has a really nice little downtown area and found this really nice place to eat. Food was good and the service was great. Our waitress was very nice and very easy to look at. It was a good..wait great way to start the day. Sorry no photos.
Next plan was to ride down under the New River gorge bridge and take some photos. Rt 82 goes down one side and comes up the other. Not a road to push the limit on, some of the drop offs are pretty dramatic. We stopped for a few photos along the way. its a really cool area to check out. If your in this section of the state I highly recommend it.
See that bridge down below?
Here it is…
From here we used rt 19 to get us south, then we took rt 3 west out of Beckley. I had a surprise for the burbs, something I saw on the ADV rider WV tag folder. But first we needed to ride thru towns like Bolt, Man and Logan on our way to Dingess. At one point, I think it was WV Route 99 I had Chris take over the lead and I turned on the video camera. I told him to keep it safe, dont try and show off for the camera, thats when most people do things they normally wouldnt do. Chris is a good boy and kept the speeds fun but safe.
Watch this video of Chris…
At one point we had just climbed a mountain road with some sharp switch backs, and just when we got to the top a quick shower hit us. I came down hard, and we didnt have our rain gear on. We were only 4 miles from my intended stop, but out of no where we found an abandoned gas station with the awning still up covering the area the pumps would be. We quickly pulled over and put on our rain gear. But like most times you do this the rain had just about stopped by the time we got all the crap on and continued the ride. Now Michelle had got me a nice pair of leather pants for my birthday, which I really loved wearing. But I was also missing my Olympia suit that I usually would wear on a long ride like this. Stopping and putting on rain gear really sucks.Okay, right down the road from our stop for rain gear was my next destination. We went a little south thru coal country for this place. Dingess Tunnel. Its 1 mile long, one lane with no lights at all!
Check out this video…
Check out the 10′ chain saw hanging from the helicopter!!!!!
I will attach the video of that thing as well.
We parked here for a good 15~20 watching and waiting for the trees guy to finish. Once rolling again we were treated to another great WV road.
It was late afternoon when we reached 152, we took it north toward Huntington. I was feeling great and was just in the zone.
We got behind an old Chevy pick up that was flying, I had no desire to pass. He certainly knew the road well and would only slow down on the really tight hairpin turns.
When we reach the town of Wayne Chris pulled up next to me so Helen could give me the “rubbing the belly” signal. Which means feed me! I pulled over at the next place I thought would have food. Turns out it was a very good pizza place. We needed a break, the bikes were dirty..
the food was very good!
After a much needed break we finished our ride up 152 and ended up in Huntington WV. A town Ive always wanted to visit..mostly to see this place
The final resting place of these football players..
and memorial to all those that lost their life that night..
I was only 3 when this happened, so I don’t remember anything about it. However I do remember my father telling me the story about the Thundering Herd,
We didn’t stay too long, saying our silent prayers for those family members that lost loved ones and then mounted the bikes and headed out.
My next planned stop was a place I saw on one of my fav tv shows…
Somehow while in downtown Huntington I found myself on this bridge..
And I love bridges, I really do, but I wasn’t supposed to be on this one. Why? It crosses the Ohio River into Ohio!
It was a really cool bridge…Mrs OSJ got some photo’s
Now I could have just turned around in OH and go back into WV, but then Chris would know I had made a wrong turn…
Instead I turned up OH 7 and used that to get us to our next destination. If you’ve ever been on rt7 you would think all of OH was like this..
Flat and boring (those hills you see are in WV) but you would be mistaken. What a difference a river makes. However you can still have fun on roads like rt 7. At one point we had a long stretch of flat, straight pavement. Traffic was light and I figured it was time to…
Test the top speed of the bike of course! Now you safety nazis’ should just skip this section…your just gonna get mad when you read this. And there are no pics to prove this, Michelle had the camera…I think she was scared to try and take a photo.
Even with my Ducati being geared low (I did this by changing sprockets) for much more fun in the tight twisty roads I was able to see 128 on the gps. Now Chris stayed with me for all of this…he was right on my ass the whole way!, and to be honest I was very surprised he didnt go blasting by me. I know for sure if I was riding that 1400cc monster I would have tried to best my all time fastest of 142.
My kids watch as I check out www.roadsideamerica.com We found this dude while doing some research for this trip. I was instructed to txt them a photo of this guy as soon as I found him.
Mrs OSJ wasn’t scared at all…
However she was scared of this place…
Right across the street from the Moth dude was the Historic Lowe’s Hotel. Read a little about it here http://ghosts-hauntings.suite101.com/article.cfm/haunted_lowe_hotel_point_pleasant
Mrs OSJ is not a fan of the super natural. Even though we needed to find a place for the night she refused to stay here. We did walk in and have a look around..
The Burbs were fine with staying here…and the rooms were only $69 a night! Instead we crossed back over the river into Gallipollis OH at a Hampton Inn
We had our worst meal of the trip at a place across the street..Dave’s American Grill I think was the name. We did enjoy the hotel’s hot tub and swimming pool for a good hour before we hit the sack.
Total Miles for the day was only 256, but they were GOOD miles!
Tomorrow we head north!
We awoke to the sound of thunder, and a quick look out the window showed this..
After watching the weather forecast we decided to take our time getting ready and maybe even delay our start a bit. Hampton Inn has a free breakfast that isnt half bad, we took our time eating while the heavy storms went past.
I had planned on following the Ohio river northeast for a bit and then taking 555 north to 78 east to 536 south. All roads Ive done a few years ago while on a trip out to Indy. However seeing the rain was still falling and the extended forecast still showed a pretty big cell that was due to come thru I thought it might be a good idea to change the plans a bit.
I did not want to be on the triple nickle loaded up with all our gear and wife on the back thru the type of rain we were getting. So instead we put on our rain gear and headed north. I had a plan!
So we took 160 north out of Gallipolis, which turned out to be a half way decent road. It had some nice fun sections. This lead us to 324 then onto 93. Once on 93 we took that for quite awhile, all the way to 664.
Some sights along the way…
Yabba Dabba do!!!
As you can see by that last photo the sun was out and it was getting hot. I guess that cell just fell apart, we never saw anything but a few sprinkles.
We had a great ride on these roads, some sections of 93 were really fun. We didnt stop (other then for the fred flinstone car above) and Michelle fell asleep on the back for most of the ride north so no photos until we reached our next destination.
Oh…wait a minute..we stopped somewhere before here…right down the road for that matter.
Our BEST meal of the trip so far was here
WoW what a great burger we had, the hand cut fries were awesome…it was a really cool place to stop and eat at! It was nearly 2pm when we stopped for lunch. We were all starving!!!
This place is right across the street from the road that the AMA museum is on. If you in the area I highly recommend the burgers.
So once we were full I took everyone over to the museum to check out the bikes. This wasnt on the schedule for the trip, but seeing we didnt ride as much today I thought it would be a good surprise for Mrs OSJ. The Burbs were happy to stop here as well.
Right as you walk in you see a Yamaha that was raced in the 500cc class in the mid 90′s. This bike was ridden by Terry Rymer, John Reynolds, and Toshiyuki Arakaki
Once in side we went right to the featured exhibit..Honda’s built in Ohio
One that I use to own..
Some other cool bikes thru out the place…
Some fast guys..
they left one out..
We did some shopping in the gift shop..got some t-shirt for the kids back home, then I heard the calling…
See the camelback hanging on my bike?
Thanks to Chris that is one of the best things I learned about improving my comfort while riding. He started the trip with one, I bought that one way back on day 2 and cant believe how that made the trip more comfortable for the two of us.
Okay, so now we needed to make our way to the only accommodations we made reservations at. These were the Hope Cabins in Galion OH. Why Galion?
Well its right down the road from this place..
the REAL reason we were doing this trip…remember? To see some motorcycle racing, AMA superbike, Daytona Sportbike and the one class I was really looking forward to seeing was the new XR1200 class.
So back to the Hope Cabins, If you check out their website you will get the feeling things are a little “holy roller” type place. Not that there is anything wrong with that..just not my cup of tea so to speak. Then to find out the name of the cabins were..Peace, Love, Hope, Faith I was more than a little nervous on how they would react to a couple bikers coming in
Well, this was one of the best places we’ve stayed at..period. And the cost for our 1 bedroom cabin was only $110 a night. The 2 bedroom cabin was taken for the weekend so the Burbs had their own cabin for the night.
Chris took off for booze and snacks…and we order pizza for dinner. We spent a few hrs just sitting on the back porch eating and having a great night.
Our day ended as it began…eating with good friends, talking about motorcycles, life, jobs, sex, religion and family. It was another great day of riding in the books, again less than 300 miles for the day, but they were good miles…no great miles!
Tomorrow we go racing!
Woke up early, cold pizza and coco cola for breakfast and a foggy start
But the sun was shining bright by the time we reached the track
Mid Ohio marks the 6th track Ive watched professional motorcycle racing at (4 AMA superbike, 1 motoGP and 1 Canadian Superbike) This was the first for the Burbs…I think their hooked so they should visit more in the coming years.
We searched out a spot to watch…
And the Keyhole
We settled at the Keyhole for the Daytona Sportbike, superbike and XR1200 series. It was so friggin hot, thank god we brought the umbrella to keep us shaded. At one point I felt like I was gonna pass out, I poured a whole bottle of water over my head and laid down. Thankfully the wind started to pick up and the breeze made the heat a little easier to stand.
Before my fat ass almost pasted out, Mrs OSJ and I got a chance to do one of our favorite things at races…
walk the parking lot!
We both love checking out the cool rides that come to these things.
We were in search of this guy..it was the first bike that rode by us when we pulled in..
I had one of these too..accually owned 2 of these bikes
Okay…who knows the difference in these two bikes?? I will come back to that one…back from 1985 to 2010
Nice BMW..love this colour
another rare bike from the 80′s, the owner is right behind it. She came over and thought it was cool I was taking a pic of her bike. She said most people have no idea what it was..I knew
Her hubby was on the 1098!
Green paint with purple wheels..must be the 90′s
Tim, I still love your colour better..but this one is in one piece
the red duck that I let get away?
The one bike I would trade my multi in for RIGHT now
This guys knows how to take care of his Mrs…check out that back seat!
I dont like black Ducati’s
but I guess…
Wonder how this would do on the back roads of OH?
Then our next favorite thing to do at these things…other than watch the racing that is…watching all the people leave.
I only got one photo..the other RZ that I use to own
I cant believe Ive owned 2 RZ’s in my life and sold them both! The second one was a bumble bee like the one above, it was cherry and a sold it to buy that blue VFR you see in yesterdays post. The first one got run over in a my girlfriends driveway, but the drunk lady that was having an affair with the guy next door. What a story that is!
I bought it back from the insurance company and rode the piss out of it, until I wrecked it again while doing this..
again a whole different story that I dont have time to type tonite..
so back to 2010 again.
Go Larry go…
So all good things must come to an end, so the trip does as well.
After a great day at the track we loaded up the bikes and hit the highway, for the first time this trip we were heading toward home. I was a little sad, looking forward to the days when Mrs OSJ and I can just ride until we dont feel like riding anymore..but we also were really missing our children.
I wanted to make it as far as Pittsburgh, or at least the Pittsburgh suburbs.
Why of course Food!
If you’ve never been to Primanti Bros then you need to get yourself to one of these eating Establishments. The above photo is the only one I took once we reached Pittsburgh.
Here is a short video of why I like this place
The burbs and Mrs OSJ have never had one of these things. They all loved it! Our waitress was awesome, service was perfect, however we didn’t tell her that we were from New England and huge Patriots fans..that is until the meals were served.
Our last night was spend sharing a Residence Inn 2 bedroom suite.
It was close to midnight when we said our goodnight to each other. Tomorrow we head for home.
Cranberry Twp to West Boylston MA
We awoke early, we had alot of miles to cover today. Some 600 miles to get home to see the kids. It was so early when we left there was nothing open for breakfast, so we worked our way to the Penn Pike and headed east.
We made it to our intended exit, Somerset PA and found a cool diner for breakfast. We were starving..and 1 hr later we left full and happy.
For some reason this was across the street. I should have taken a better photo, it was life size
So why did we want to get off in Somerset you might be asking?
To visit this place…
Im sure everyone that is reading this report can remember exactly where and what they were doing on this morning. Just like my Dad use to tell me what he was doing when he heard that JFK had been shot, and his Dad did when he learned about Pearl Harbor.
I was alittle unsure about visiting here with company. For 2 reasons…1 is because I tend to get emotional at these types of memorials and easily can be brought to tears…2 the Burbs had a closer tie in to this day. They lost a family member that morning who was in the towers when they fell.
We had a short and quite visit, not too many photos
Two things did me in while inside that building. Which was the command center that day and for a few weeks after. Reading the transcripts of the passengers phone calls to their loved ones and reading that the plane flew at 500 mph UPSIDE DOWN 50 feet off the ground for a while before impact. It took me a few minutes to compose myself before I joined everyone outside at the bikes.
This also made me miss my kids more…I wanted to get home and give them a big hug!
We took the long way back to the highway..
Once back on the Pike we made our way across the state.
It was late in the afternoon and we had just crossed into NY. I had planned on getting across the Hudson before our next stop. However that was gonna change…and quickly.
Up ahead we saw the darkest clouds we’ve ever seen. I knew we had a few miles to cover before the next exit, and I wasn’t sure if we would beat the rain to the gas station right off the exit. But I was gonna try,so we did another high speed test of the duck, this time we kept it under 120 but not by much
We made it…and just as the girls went into the store it happened..
The lightning was UNBELIEVABLE, and the thunder was so loud! We were hungry and needed to wait out the storm. So after fueling up we pulled out into this storm, and sat at the red light just to the left on the photo above.
Just then a bolt of lighting struck the telephone pole infront of us, sending a huge black cloud of smoke in the air and birds flying. It was OMG we gotta get inside somewhere, so the burger king right up the road was our Saviour.
Inside we got a good view of the weather from Chris’s Blackberry. It was decided that if we were to stay on 84 it would be nothing but hell. It looked like we could escape all the storms if we went due north.
This worked, we took NY208 north and worked our way to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Then 22 took us up to I90 and the MA pike. It was the long way for sure but we had nothing but blue sky.
We crossed over into MA and the rain came, just like the storms we had just left. Which I had no problem riding it, but the lighting started again, huge bolts were all around us. We pulled into the Lee rest area on the pike.
My first mistake, not parking under the covered awning, and the second was taking the key out of the ignition. But I wouldn’t realize these mistakes for a while. We took shelter in the rest area for 1.5 hrs. It was nasty, people were panicking because of the tornado warnings and the lighting was just so intense.
As quickly as it started it ended. The clouds disappeared and some blue sky was visible.
When I put my key in the bike and tried to start it I got nothing. I had lights, fuel pump pressure but no starter. Long story short, Ducati’s immobilizer is housed in the dash board, and they (Ducati) didn’t make the dash waterproof!!! So the immobilizer wasn’t communicating with my smart key so the bike wouldn’t start!! If I had left the key in like I always do it would be fine, or if I parked it under that awning we would be rolling.
We tried everything to dry that dash out, even asking some young girls walking by if they had a hair dryer, they did! We pushed the duck near the closest outlet and used that.
No go…it wasn’t gonna start.
We had to call for help
Luckily fellow NERd and good friend Dave…aka..Pops lives close by. A call was made and he offered to come rescue us with his trailer. Chris and Helen stayed with us as we waited for Dave. I didn’t take any photos for the rest of the night so I stole these from Chris’s trip report.
It was close to 11:15 when we pulled out of the rest area. Dave was kind enough to let us take his truck and trailer home, but we needed to drop him off first. So the last leg of the trip was in the 4 runner with the multi on the trailer.
We pulled into the drive way at 1am, it was a long day for sure, almost 20 hrs since we left Pittsburgh.
But it ain’t over!
Tuesday morning I awoke to this in my driveway. A site I never like to see, my bikes don’t go on trailers!
I was so tired from the day before I decided to stay home today and enjoy the the kids. The two younger one’s hung out with me for most of the day while Mrs OSJ worked.
I’m self employed so its a little easier for me to take time off, I took a nice nap around 3 pm while the kids watched a movie. That night I told Mrs OSJ I was gonna return Dave’s truck and trailer on Wednesday. And instead of her following me out to drive me home I would put the KLR on the back and ride it home. That made much more sense and I could do it alone.
Plus, in my 27 years of riding Ive never had a trip finish with coming home on a trailer. I needed to ride the rest of the way. Now I could have left the multi on the trailer, because like so many Ducati mechanics told me, once it dried out it would start right up. Which it did, even at 1am on Monday when we got home! I just didn’t want to risk going all the way out to Dave’s house to find out something else was wrong.
So Wednesday morning I left West Boylston for the 1.5 hr ride west to Dave’s place, with the KLR in my mirror
Dave had left the day before for a motorcycle trip with his wife so I knew I was dropping off the truck to an empty house.
Of course I took the long way home…
And when I rode the KLR into the driveway around noon on Wednesday, one full week after we left, i could then say the trip was over.
We did roughly 2200 miles since we left, visited 8 states and saw some cool sites along the way. Michelle and I had a great time, and really enjoyed our time spent with our friends “the burbs” as well as some of the private time we share while riding down the road.
Its been 22 years of riding with Mrs OSJ…20 of them as a married couple, and I cant wait to see what the next 20 years have in store for us!