It was an enjoyable visit along the Hudson River in Dobb's Ferry with my friend Meg. The weather was fabulous as I departed in the morning riding north through the river towns of Irvington and Tarrytown where a mixture of old money mansions and new commuting suburbanites combine to form the fabric of the community. Turning onto the freeway, I pinned the throttle for the 3 mile crossing of the Tappan Zee bridge. Buses, semi's and families in mini vans sped past or rode my tail until they could safely pass. Floating cranes, tug boats and scaffolding dotted the river to the north where crews were busy assembling the replacement bridge span as the existing structure is on it's last legs. Despite my apprehension, I was not caught on camera or pulled over by one of New York's boys in blue. Making it to the west side of the river was an accomplishment and I was happy to continue my day with a lower level of stress. I've got a gopro video of the bridge crossing but can't seem to get it to download.
After crossing into Mass. with a new set of variator weights and a better idea of what was going on inside my belt case, I found my way to Hwy 2, the Mohawk Trail, that crosses the state through the Northen portion and hits some interesting geography on the way. The road leads through beautiful valleys and along old rivers that carry the sediments of the mountains to the sea. Those mountains are where I'm heading, on up to the Berkshires and into the Green Mountains of Vermont for a beautiful evening of camping in the rain. There's nothing quite like the sound of a raging storm overhead when you are dry and snug in a down sleeping bag. Nothing like it ;)
While visiting Nicole and Jason in southeast New Hampshire, they suggested I stop in for a free brewery tour at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack, NH. Located in the scenic New England countryside, the sprawling campus also houses the famous Clydesdales but unfortauntely that facility wasn't open on Wednesday. The tour was an informative lesson in large scale brewing and even offered a few free samples of the latest brews from InBev. The Johnny Appleseed Cider sure had a nice kick and did a good job of taking the heat away from the humid morning. Our tour group of 3 was almost a joke since the facility is designed for tours of 20+, yet I got to know the couple from upstate NY as we worked our way through the facility. The cavernous room housing the control facility and brewing equipment is around 100F in the summer as stainless steel kettles produce the wort which will eventually become Bud Heavy. In contratst, the cool fermenting rooms and process is controlled at 50F and comes as quite a refreshing shock as the air tight door seals behind me. Here the addition of beechwood chips continues to add fermentable surface area for the yeast. Surprinsingly, it took some prying for the tour guide to admit that the product produced in the end is indeed beer but is nearly undrinkable as a thick concentrate. This is then combined with water and added carbonation then bottled and pasteurized into the Budweiser American's have come to love. At least I know how it is made now but it certainly isn't my beer of choice.
I could feel some hesitation when approaching steep hills and was having a more difficult time than normal surmounting steep sections from a stop. Knowing something was amiss in the transmission case, I just waited for things to get worse...and worse they became. Somewhere in southern NH, the bike finally wouldn't engage from a stop. It was quickly clear that the variator plate wasn't closing completely due to the roller weight having disintegrated and jammed inside the variator itself. There was some damage but the variator was usable and should get me back to VA. I didn't even think twice about the issue or the fix, just another common mechanical speed bump in the journey of my lifetime.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.