Think I'll ride to Montreal this weekend...
Thu Aug 8, 2013
Traffic was expectedly light leaving DC on 495 to 270;
I slabbed it on up to Harrisburg on 15 where I cruised up the river to Clark's Valley. I enjoy frequenting this straight road through the valley as a calm break from the slab. I stopped for a snack break beside Fishing Creek and was pleasantly greeted by the cool water, damp rotten log and fog hanging over the creek.
Shortly after leaving, I spotted a sign in a driveway for "free cucumbers". I now regret not stopping and turning around for both the photo and nature's sustenance. I should not be so foolish in the future. From the narrow valley rd, I grew tired of the close-following car and made a left to climb the steep mountain to the next valley above.
Riding some gravel and waving at a kid in his front yard, I turned left and headed north to follow Garmin on a collection of curvy and traffic free roads through forest and farmlands.
The weather held out and I was pleasantly greeted with blue skies and enough clouds to keep the sun out of the eyes. The most memorable road today was Winding Rd, which lived up to its name.
It was bumpy and rutted with lots of shoulder patching for a few miles up to the county line sign where a yellow stripe appeared and the pavement was fresh and new.
I think I know which county has all the money, or the higher taxes. The banked turns snaking along the creek and rising and falling out of corn fields was serene. 29N was also a comfortable and rolling highway following creeks and rivers with light traffic volume. The many cabins and small wooded homes often lead me to consider my future. An aging long haired man tends his yard-sized garden, fortressed by an L-Shaped home and handcrafted slate fence. Will I be him someday? No...too near the road. Crossing the upper reaches of the Susquehanna, the air is thick with the pungent smell of decaying fish.
I recognize the turn for Hwy6, a nice E/W route across the state of PA. I pushed on and avoided the highway until crossing the NY line at 7:30PM. .
I cross referenced my GPS with my cell phone to uncover a vast line of yellow/red storms on the radar swiftly approaching and covering the course of my GPS already.
With no real destination and the chance of severe weather, I made the decision to find camp outside Binghamton. Slabbing it for 10 mi up I-81, the rosy sky kept me company as the sun kissed the wet clouds ahead to the north. The highway splits at one point and big 18-wheeler signals and comes over into my lane. I quickly swerve, drop a gear and blast past with a big middle finger for the world to see. A brief reminder of the hazards of highway riding - all avoidable by not getting near the truck to begin with. Live and learn. Such is life. The dark sky ahead led me to pull into a dark and overgrown commercial property for sale. 122 acres of forgotten dreams and desolate concrete foundations just north of Binghamton. The locked gate deters me but I notice a frequented ATV trail disappearing into the brush so take the risk and follow it around the gate back to the main access road. I travel a short way keeping an eye out for nails and debris on this forgotten road before quickly approaching a 3-4ft hole in the road.
Frequent high water left an area between two marshes to collapse entirely. A car would not have made it...neither would a police cruiser. This is promising news except that they still have feet. The GS cut through the narrow gap with a few dabs and one "Oh shit no ground there" moment! I eventually came to a lake and clearing with concrete pad and remains of a rusted out railcar. I park on the pad, scout out some hammockable trees, establish camp and feast on cous cous, tuna and Crown Royal.
I enjoy a granola bar and some dried cranberries as the sun sinks lower behind the mountain range and light fades. The flash of lightning accompanies the deep rumble of thunder signaling I had chosen the best time and place to stop for the night. As I write in my hammock, the brilliant flashes illuminate the sky with approaching fervor offset by the whine of 18-wheeler tires, the rusted exhaust burble of antique V-8 trucks and familiar "potato-potato-potato" blat of Harleys moving on down the highway to be met with glorious life-breathing rain. I should stay dry but cannot guarantee avoiding electrocution. A 90 horsepower dirt bike, GPS unit and hammock in the few trees of a sparsely recovering commercial site: Such is life in the modern times.
Fri Aug 9, 2013
NOTE TO SELF: Keep this book dry!
I slept lightly on account of the severe t-storms which paraded over me through the course of the wet night. Rain pelted the hammock fly and came down so hard as to bounce off adjacent plants and soak the underside of my hammock. I woke at 5 just before my alarm had the shrill offensive opportunity to. I checked the radar and was alarmed at the large fast approaching cell. I hurriedly packed up, something I always train for, and stowed the wet gear in my new shiny cases. As I donned my riding gear, I was greeted by the heavy and frequent splatter of Forest Gump style "Big Fat Raindrops". I hurriedly put on my awkward stich' Triple Digit covers in the dark. The intensity of the rain still allowed my gloves to get wet in the process. I thumbed the starter then turned on the GPS. Not a sign of life from the GPS. FUCK! And FUCK IT! I babied the throttle on the wet grass and sand to avoid an early morning experiment in loss of traction eventually making it to the sink/fallen road shown yesterday. With a fogged face shield, cold engine and half a protein bar in me, I thread the needle between a 2ft drop on my left and the rising water/swamp to my right. Fortunately I negotiated it well and completed the ATV trail and tank trap to return to legal civilization at the highway. The rain was heavy and I pulled in behind a box truck and attempted to follow his flickering brake lights as they disappeared in the fog and road spray. The sun made no indication it was ready to rise so the treacherous journey of poor visibility continued. After 15 miles or so, I stopped to clean my visor inside a gas station in Oxford, NY then proceed to Norwich for a cup of HOT!!! McDonald's coffee, 300 calorie sausage burrito, electrical outlets for charging and table to dismantle my broken GPS unit.
While charging my electronic devices and sipping the nuclear hot drivel mistakenly advertised as coffee, I succeeded in repairing the GPS. I sent a few emails/pics and checked the radar. Shit! Another storm fast approaching and rain drops already marring the serenity of parking lot puddles. Time to roll!
I managed to ride out the rest of my tank by plugging in NY Hwy 28's terminus into my GPS. I fueled up at Hwy 28, and then repaired the GPS once more as a local sat inside sipping coffee and stared at me. Hwy 28 was pleasant, wide and with minimal traffic. The cabins and lake homes characterized the architecture of the region. If it wasn't so damn cold and frozen most of the year, I'd consider relocating.
The rain picked up from a drizzle to a heavy down pour leading to less passing of cars and a slower safer driving speed. I'd pass the SUV ahead of me only to be presented with a gorgeous photo opportunity a mile down the road. Being dedicated to taking pictures for unique sights necessitates frequent u-turns and breaks.
Moose River in the rain.
Strange drilled hole in a rock.
By the time I reached Saranac Lake, I was ready for a coffee break.
I'd been riding in this rain for hours so a dry overhand was all I needed. The corner gas station in downtown was between owners evidenced by the boarded pumps and shuttered windows. I brewed a cup of Joe and listened to the church bells ring the hour.
Two dudes in a red truck pulled in shortly thereafter, eyed me up, then proceeded to fix some wiring or electrical problem between the fuse block and the engine. I packed up and left after offering them a hand.
This cracked me up!
Worth a U-turn I'd say.
An hour of heading north led me out of the storm and into lightening clouds transitions into blue pockets of sky.
It wasn't long before I approached the Trout River Crossing.
Miles before, I noted I was low on gas but just now realized it'd be a hell more expensive over the border. I rode to the nearest gas station in Fort Covington 9miles east to fill up then crossed uneventfully, but with more questions than usual. A certain smile and warmth grows within when I return to Canada. The French signage and unique symbols remind me I'm far from home.
Following the St. Lawrence River northward, I can't help but notice how similar the landscape is to Delaware's agricultural lands.
I pick up some groceries and don't even attempt to parle' au Francais. I also take the time in the store to dry my wet gear from the night before around and on my GS.
I head for Vieux-Montreal but construction has closed a bridge in the NB direction so I wound up sitting in traffic for 30 min or more before actually crossing the river.
The state of repair of these active bridges was disconcerting.
The views of the city skyline from the bridge were nice though. I made my way slowly to Rue Guy through the imposing and ugly financial business district of concrete & glass then dropped back down to the river.
Skateboard sounds pretty good after sitting in traffic.
I saw 4 Katanas within a 4 mi stretch of road. Sup wit dat!?
The Old Port along the river is an interesting mix of architecture and old city charm. To say the fit ladies on bicycles were distracting would be an understatement.
The port area reminded me of San Francisco with the boulevard, old wharf, warehouses and pedestrian only zones. I attempted to to take a short video through the old part of town but I don't think it came through. I spotted a brick n the side of a building "1655" Yeah I'd say this has been here a while.
I stopped at 2 gift shops searching for stickers but neither had any for sale.
Folks sure dress differently here too...
The street smelled like stale beer.
I rode N along the water then paused from traffic and the heat to take off my jeans, devour an orange, hydrate and take some pics of the amusement park on an island in the river.
I plugged away at the GPS for a minute and routed the bike toward a random lake about 100 mi north of Montreal and hit "GO!" I mistakenly put myself on course to escape Montreal from the center at 5pm on a Friday. What the hell was I thinking? Route 15N and 117N were terrible with congestion taking me nearly 2 hours of stop and go, high engine temp, jacket open and flapping bullshit before I jumped ship and took a right to finally get some breeze and back roads in.
STRANGE to see it in French.
In all the traffic I never once heard a horn or noted anyone driving aggressively or trying to beat another person to the next gap in cars. Oh Canada! Suburbs gave way to farmland and I quickly found myself racing the fading sun across fertile land under ominous northern clouds.
I ordered a cup of coffee and double chocolate in French at Tim's, made a fool of myself, filled my camelback, emailed with free wifi and laid out a route up 337 to 125 to consume the remainder of the day.
Chasing the sun into the hills that rose around me in the Golden Hour, I passed many "Lac"s and "Camping Familie" signs but didn't want to pay to be around people and away from solitude. I pushed on.
The "Moose" sign was a sobering reminder I need to get my southern tail off the back roads before I hit a critter. In Notre Dame-de-la-Merci, I checked the regional map kiosk then went down the next random road I came across.
It grew darker and I turned on the HID illuminating lots of signs reading "Maison/Terrain AVENDOR" but a certain ATV/Snow machine path caught my eye. The rocky trail was fine for the GS and I thankfully descended a valley to a jet black river below.
The soft cascades flowed under a worn out seasonal bridge with treacherous holes poked through the decking. Directly across the bridge was a fire ring and big flat rock for bathing.
This is absolutely perfect. I cannot hear a car, a person - just the rushing water and the wind in the spruce.
The brown tannic water was much warmer than I expected as I slipped below the current and took a much needed bath at sunset. Afterward the reddish boulders still radiated heat from the warm clear day. I've found my destination and never knew where it'd be. I cooked up a small meal, had some smuggled Crown Royal, cleaned up my meal then got into my hammock for a chilly night at 47 degrees north. I'll probably wish I had my heated jacket in the AM. Eyes Heavy. Time to sleep.
Sat Aug 10, 2013
A strong westerly wind picked up around 4AM prompting me to lower the guy lines on my shelter. Satisfied, I crawled back into the sack for 2 more hours of sleep. I awoke at 6 amused at how light it was already. I contemplated waking sooner but the condition of the ATV trail and potential wildlife encounters on the pavement rightfully kept me cozy. I packed up and set off into the GLORIOUS land of spruce and rock.
A small Toyota Yaris was just off the road on the ATV Trail in a spot I contemplated staying last night before heading down to the river. I briefly waved and raced past in a shower of dust and gravel. Back on pavement, I kept a big shit-eating-grin as I diced through the off camber twists and gravel laden turns to the town of Notre Dame-de-la-Merci.
Here I paused for a shot of the GS on the low pedestrian bridge and the bright sunrise illuminating the lake.
It was very quiet, too early for anything to be open, so I pushed on North. Heck, why the hell not? The road passes many lakes dotting the landscape with tempting roads reading "Chemin Private". I turn up to visit a closed ski resort but don't quite get the lake view I had hoped for. Maybe in winter?
Speaking of which...it's on the chilly side this morning. At the first crossroad I arrive at, I make a left turn and point south.
For Sale :deal
It is beginning to feel like the return trip, the "back-home" and that is always somewhat sad to me. I buoyed my emotions by enjoying the scenery and the gorgeous homes, mountain lakes and docks with chairs and tables floating on radiant lakes.
I break for a bite and Wifi at Tim's then head S on 325 in favor of 117 or 15S. Both are way too urban and mainstream - I'm here to SEE. The road twists and hurdles its way around small lakeside villages and grand traverses of wetland with rolling hills in between.
This is exactly what I try to avoid. Blech.
Not that this is much better :dunno
Oh! A Turn!
That's KPH FYI
We have one of these in VA too
A small town I forget the name of just N of the St. Lawrence River
The mountains rapidly gave way to familiar farmlands, rich intoxicating spruce relenting to hard/softwoods and open fields. 25 miles of farm land and a couple of detours until I get gas and find myself cruising along the N shore of the St. Lawrence River.
The barns and architecture were beautiful and well preserved.
I crossed the bridge into Ontario and stopped at 3 places asking for stickers but none had any.
There wasn't a shop around...who knows why this pole was wrapped.
This field on a detour was beautiful.
There were purple flowers in all directions for miles.
They make great socks. I know, I'm wearing some!
Must be hard living without sticker freedom. After leaving Port Hawkesbury, I made my way south toward the US. I cruised into Cornwall and stopped at 2 other stores for stickers but no dice.
Cruising along 2 up toward Cornwall.
$3.25 later and I'm sailing across the bridge back to the US.
I pass one small gift shop and ask the Native American owner for any stickers. Still none. Guess I'll have to order them online. The border crossing went smoothly and there were a few other bikes crossing near me including a couple from Massachusetts on a Honda Ascot 500 and older XJ750 SECAI.
Back in the US, I answered a text from Annette requesting Tim-Bits. SHIT! Fortunately I pass one in the next mile and get two 10 piece packs of timbits.
The Amish sell baked goods on a bright Saturday outside Fort Covington.
In the distant horizon I can just make out the blue peaks of the Adirondacks. My last exploration was quite wet and the bright clear sky and open roads leave much to be explored. I head for my "home" in the hills. As the roads get twistier and the mountains grow around me, I relent to the rumble of my stomach and pull in at a secluded public picnic park down a dirt road. There is nobody around and I take time to sun dry a wet towel from the night before and some other damp gear. I prepare to make lunch and fix my bent sunglasses on the picnic table in the warm sunshine. My sunglass arm was bending into my head causing a terrible pressure point. Cheap sunglasses. I go to bend it back carefully and snap the frame itself just below the temple. GREAT. My only pair of sunglasses for the trip. Just then I hear the faint hum of an engine quickly growing nearer accompanied by "jumping jack Flash IT'S A GAS!!!". A side by side crests the dirt hill at speed and brakes hard tearing into the picnic grounds in an offensive barrage to my senses. The invader is accompanied by a hoard of 5 or 6 ATV's all rip roaring their way through the wilderness. I wave but nobody really considers me or is considerate of the peace and quiet I was enjoying. Locals. This is their picnic grounds for now and they can have it.
In a foul mood from breaking my glasses and having my lunch break solace ruined, I pack the bike, snap a photo of my solitude crashers and roost out of camp. The sun is out brighter without my sunglasses and I'm upset at myself until I take a deep breath, look around at my scenic surroundings and pinch myself. Damn, if you're lucky to be in the mountains, you're lucky enough! I see a turn for "Loon Lake", mistaking it for one from This American Life (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/199/house-on-loon-lake) and proceed down the rough and potholed road to a bridge and clearing where I finally stop to eat and finish drying my clothes. The creek babbles on under a bridge dated 1949.
What remains of someone's dream home.
This guy rocks...
I pass a number of small lakes, fishing/canoe put ins and mini lake houses before coming to a pond with a crossroad with a 2 lane hwy. Gravel ahead beckons and does not dissatisfy. The sand/mud, when wet, is a foreign surface to me and I test the limits of traction with mixed results.
Banana and Peanut Butter Break! OHHH YEAH
Eventually, I turn south and find myself behind a line of cars at a construction zone. Stopped, I notice the only motorcyclist in line two cars ahead of me. A dirt bike rider, the first thing I notice is his "Chive on" Sticker on his helmet. I pull up and yell "Chive on!" just as the light turns and we take off.
We pass a number of cars at the passing zones then I pass him and head south to 83.
A snaking road along the river where I quickly lose him in the turns. I slow up and let him catch up then break away again. Shortly thereafter, the road opens up to a view of a big valley and the Olympic ski jumps soaring skyward in the distance.
We both stop and I give him my card to email about pics I snapped while riding. He offered to buy me gas as a "Pay it Forward" so we tear off back up the canyon again. He hangs with me for a few turns then I don't see him. I slow, knowing full well that the last corner was covered in gravel. I wait then, knowing from experience that something happened, pop a U-Turn to find him two turns back pushing his bike off to the roadside. I pull in front of him and make sure that he is safe and not injured. Just a scratch on his knee pad on his jeans. Damn lucky. I ask what happened and he admits to out-riding his skills on fresh tires and an unknown road.
He high sided exiting a tight turn too wide and dumped it in the soft sand. The damage to the KLX400 is minimal - a scratched piece of plastic, twisted lever perch and busted LED turn signal lens. I took out my tools and fixed up his bent pieces. He thanked me and we set out, albeit slower, for lake placid to fill up.
Chatted with this cross US/Canada couple from England finishing their journey. They shipped their bikes into Halifax and cruised to the west coast and as far south as Tennessee before heading back.
I stashed a $20 under his taped on directions on the gas tank while he paid for my 1/2 tank of gas. The total for us both came to $11 and he had prepaid $30 so I encouraged him to go in and get his change. Reluctantly he did then came out and promptly handed it to me. "Dude you saved my bacon today" "You wouldn't have had any problem at all if you hadn't come across me" "Just take the $20, I insist".
Little did he know I had already paid back the favor. What goes around comes around I thought to myself.
In preparing to depart the gas station, I hear the plastic on plastic crunch of bumpers to see an accident at the nearby traffic light. Am I next? I ride through the touristy mess of Lake Placid's downtown in summer only to see the same MASS riders on the Ascot and XJ from my earlier border crossing. I wave and they recognize me and laugh while waving back.
Nice old wooden inboard.
Exiting town, there are blue lights ahead. A boat appears to have fallen off a trailer and was run over by his friend following...or he just ran into the back of the boat. Either way, the damage to the truck is terrible - looks totaled. Bad day.
I set south and west indiscriminately and take photog and snack breaks at a number of beautiful sights through the remainder of the PM.
Saranac Lake again!
Spotted this neat ol' whirley bird with a distinctive sound.
Just getting lost.
Going to see where this road ends up
Passed this neat old canoe outfitter located at an old rail station
HEY! Look what I found about 40 miles away:evil
Neat old truck.
The town of Conifer was skimping on the Conifers
But heavy on the cool old shit
I raised the louvered hood to reveal a mostly intact original engine.
Wood for Sale signs dotted the roadside in various prifce increments and sizes.
The sun sinks lower and I grab a beer in the town before Cranberry Lake. A roadside picnic area catches my eye and I pull in to repair my sunglasses with superglue and fix okra, corn, stewed tomatoes and cous cous for dinner. It helps take off the slight chill of clouds and disappearing sun. Police nail speeders in this low valley along the two lane blacktop down by the Gaspee River.
Exiting the park on Rt 3, I sense the need to camp and pull into a memorial forest, nestling into a stand of mature long leaf pines with a soft bed of moss below.
Weather is forecast to be a dry cool night so I opt to forego the rain cover on the hammock. I drink a Molson while repairing my glasses again on a rock and succeed in super gluing my finger to the glasses. Take another drink.
Booms and flashes in the sky disturb the peace of the forest more so than the Harley's passing in the dark. First I thought they may be fireworks but a check of Google shows there isn't any town in that direction...just a large gray area on the map. I conclude that Fort Drum is running artillery and live fire exercises. Occasional sub-machine gun fire gives it away. I drift asleep imagining I'm exploring on the fringes of some war torn nation.
Sun Aug 11, 2013
The chitter chatter of chipmunks wood peckers woke me around 6. I was comfy in my bag and decided to lay there and finish yesterday's Journal entry I fell asleep in the middle of.
The sun lit the highest top bows of my pine tree signaling it was time to ride.
I packed the gear up and made my way out of the hills and into the fertile Black River Valley.
You know..just Jesus and some deer on an island. No big deal!
Noticing windmills on the distant ridge, I plugged in some random spot in their vicinity and let Garmin route its magic.
I paused to make coffee/oatmeal, recharge my camera battery and get some water in the town of Lowsville at a closed Planned Parenthood.
I filled my camelback next door out back of a Progressive Insurance Agency. How fitting, getting something tangible in return for my monthly payments. I repaired my sunglasses for a third time and headed out of town for the windmills on the hill, my head filled with Don Quixote jokes.
Riding deeper into the woods on ATV and snow machine trails, I had to be careful on foresight terrain lest I drop her in some sandy or muddy tire rut.
Yup, I have some. Thanks for asking.
The few people I passed were on ATV's and returned big hearted waves as I blasted past.
Judging by this snowplow guide, I'd say they get a fair amount of snow up here:
Nice ol Truck
I came to a T where both roads were dead ends and could not decide what Robert Frost would've done...so I turned back for another road less travelled and that made all the difference. Crossing a sturdy bridge, I'm caught by the insects fluttering above the water falling like an August snow from the trees above. Sparrows dive to catch them and a finch alights in the tree beside me with a light "Chirp".
This bridge is new. It is not the first or last bridge to be placed here but spans the river just the same as I. The next four hours were a test of bike, rider and resolve.
I encountered a dead end at every one of the 5 or 6 trails I explored thanks to Garmin. I took camp two, and then camp four, Pedro, Page Ln and some others just to find them gated.
Never a fan of riding the same road twice, I had to enjoy my misfortune, a good life lesson instilled by riding.
Bondo won't help you now...
That hole in the valve cover is intense.
I HATE FORCED U-TURNS
I stop to eat some squished banana, bread and peanut butter. It was the highlight of the hour.
The December Truck Trail, name shoulda gave it away right!?, was by far the worst road I've ever ridden in terms of water hazards. It followed what was once an old logging railroad dipping and sinking into the surrounding ponds and marshes.
This looked like death. I should have turned around when I had the chance!!!
Alone, I became accustomed to cautiously dismounting before the deepest puddles before proceeding.
IN a few case, that was the difference between dumping it on some soft mud or hidden boulders in the pond.
I passed a sign for Alder Creek then a cabin covered in license plates.
(not this cabin but just down the road)
NOTE TO SELF: Carry an old plate in the bike in case I come across another opportunity and place a plate on his house or lose mine.
Another cabin comes into view and I wave as I go past. A middle aged man in the yard returns the wave with a curious smile I can only read as "I know something you don't". Five minutes later I am facing a deep swamp and three trails, the least travelled of which my GPS is directing me down. Thanks GARMIN! I have a talk with Meine Frau and make the decision to turn around. The road could not get better as the most heavily travelled option doesn't even appear on my GPS unit.
(heavily travelled road ahead and very deep stream crossing)
I tell myself I'll stop at that cabin so I do and talk to the old men outside in their 50's or 60's. I carefully remove my broken sunglasses, take off the stinky helmet and in my thickest southern accent say "Damn! I'm lost!" to which they both give a hearty suspicious chuckle. The next 5 minutes represents how solo touring falls to the lowest lows of personal thought and solitude to the explosive dialogue and valuable interaction sharing of ideas and common courtesies. Sitting on Meine Frau, the three of us confirm that 1.) I was lost, 2.)Trespassing on Private Land and 3.) Was harmless. Huzzah. I asked about the area and type of traffic he sees go by and was surprised when he told me they see "a lot of ATV's and many BMW's come through here." This led us to chatting about Google maps and how inaccurate road are all over there with wrong ownership, names and routes for all the city slickers to see. I didn't happen to prepare for this ride so I just found it all on accident. I apologize for unknowingly trespassing and ruining their peace and quiet, a notion their facial expressions scoffed at, I bid farewell and set off to conquer the deep ponds for a second time. You'd think I'd remember my line through each pond but NOPE. Some were whole new unique problems while others, the same random hidden boulder in the muck. Frogs darted right and left as I splashed through their home. Today, I'd hate to be a frog - at least that one!
Soon, I came across a whole family on ATV's. As soon as the father noticed my HID behind, he motioned for the kids (age 8 and 12 I'd guess) to let me pass.
I waved and said "Thanks! Ride Safe" and the elder son replied "You Too!". I gassed outta there in a spray of mud and gravel promptly making a turn to descend to more ponds. They followed but increasingly blended into a single shimmering light in my mirror as the bike excelled. A mile later I came across another couple riding tandem on a SUV taking a leisurely 25mph tour.
I patiently (yeah me! WTF- I know!) sat behind them until they turned right at a side split lane. I raced past them at 45 accelerating to a dangerous 60 mph on the rough rocky dirt. What do I have to prove? Why push my luck? Shit, I do this enough alone that I can see it begins as "Ohhh Look what I can do" but turns into "Yeah, I practice and find that 'edge' so I CAN do this." Of course all this sounds overly confident so I think I should dedicate tomorrow's return trip to this very concept.
I eventually make it back to the tri-cross roads, having explored every option, and disregard my GPS and follow breadcrumbs out of the woods past the windmills off the Great Whetstone Park's Plateau and onto Hwy 22 and 123.
I pass a small ski slope hosting a music festival followed by a small town and a family posting "No Parking - Subject to Tow" signs on each and every telephone poll in front of their house.
The dude with the bags is totally spazzing out.
The next 4 hours I could only describe as back road riding bliss and the dreaded "return trip" feeling I'm trying to learn to appreciate. My route roughly followed NY 26S in a SW direction.
The old fort at Rome
Crossing under the railroad beside the Erie Canal (I wasn't quick enough to snap a good shot of the canal)
Hours of this :D
The valleys in NY are mostly in a N/S direction so I cruised down many of them on 26 headed down to PA
Late lunch while the Harley riders pay money to drink beer indoors. Kippered Herring (:wave h14) and some bread round out my meal at a quick gas stop. I need to make up time after my lost hours in the wetlands.
Unique architecture and Victorian styling was haphazardly applied in all sorts of buildings.
US Army Corp of Engineers Dam
I rode deep into PA, gas tank to gas tank, but made a point to stop in Oswego briefly at my Aunt's old High School for a shot I knew she'd get a kick outta. Worth a shot since it looks like they knocked down the old building she likely went to school in.
See the smoke from the steam locomotive? Too cool!
I wound down the Chemung River into Sayre where I crossed into PA and picked up 220S.
It undulated between wide divided highway and two land back road 65mph sweeper fun.
not a great resto but a damn fine Charger 500
The road twisted on until I stopped at a family owned and pet obsessed gas station with a Dog on every sign and at every gas pump. Very strange - they sold live bait too just in case you were interested.
Soon I was on course to Sunbury and crossed to the east bank of the Susquehanna then wound down river on 147 via mostly familiar tree covered roads.
Waiting for a train.
What peaceful joy despite the soft ache in my should ache in my shoulder blades.
The sky to the west grew cloudier and shone red and pink under the cloud layer due to Rayleigh scattering.
The road quickly became PA22, a highway with 18-wheelers and a 55, meaning 65, speed limit.
I kept up with traffic and was reminded the last time I was on a hwy, other than traffic in Montreal, was in PA crossing through Harrisburg.
I made my way to Hwy 15 and set south and west to my evening camp in the Frederick Municipal Forest. A powerful storm cell was fast approaching and I had to keep up my pace to just narrowly avoid getting flogged from above by the wind, lightning and rain.
This bee flew into my face and lodged itself between my broken glasses (see superglue) and face. I snapped a picture first then carefully eased off the road as it buzzed and tickled my face. I carefully removed my sunglasses and flicked the bee out onto the ground where he died. I value bees so much and their role as polinators so it always makes me sad when I kill one. Sorry Mr. Bee.
Fortunately I rode just out of its path into MD then stopped at a convenience store and bought a Yuengling from an Indian shop owner with nose piercings and a cell phone habit. I wonder how she wound up here on Hwy 16 in the shadow of the Catoctin Mountains. Descending into the comforting familiarity of the forest roads, I stop and make camp at the usually spot. The creek is much lower than my first camp here (not last visit though) so I cross the creek on mossy rocks and set up my hammock beside the oft used and well established fire ring. At least if someone stops to inspect the GS, they may not see my hammock suspended 50 feet away in the trees. I make cous cous and tuna then scarf it down in record time along the creek in the dark. This is the first real thing I've had to eat today, other than crackers and snacks, since my Oatmeal in Lowsville this AM. I rinsed my dishes in the flowing creek, grabbed some chocolate liquors and my whisky then set to recording my daily activities written within these pages. Another safe and memorable day with hundreds or two pics to help me remember when I'm old, tired and in a reminiscent mood. Tomorrow...work...but now I'm ready.
Monday Aug 12, 2013
I woke before 5, quickly packed then realized I'd want a little bit of light leaving the forest. Last time I nearly hit two deer...reallllly close. I made coffee and oatmeal and just sat listening to the creek for 30 minutes until the sky brightened a bit.
Outside of Germantown, I came around a bend and nearly hit this bucket rolling around the road. I quickly stopped and ran back to retrieve it and put it safely on the roadside for someone to claim.
The fog was thick throughout the morning return to the city.
Just outside Potomac MD around 7:30 AM
Annnnnd finally home. My totals for the week on my broken Nuvi 500