Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Friday 6th of April 2012 A Long Ride South

What a day. But first, back to yesterday. I finished writing my blog, actually during when it was happening (which isn't the case now as I'm playing catch up and it actually Tuesday now). I have to say how the rest of the flight went or I'll feel like I've left things out.

First of all, the approach to Boston is just the most beautiful scenery ever. We came in low and slow over spectacular New England coast line. I wish I could have taken pictures and if I ever come back I will be sure to bring a disposable camera with me and get a window seat on the right side of the plane. Previously I haven't had a favourite airport approach but now I do and it's Boston.

Arriving didn't prove as straight forward as hoped. Even with my US passport I was required to provide an address where I was staying, something I had rather neglectfully failed to obtain. Cell service was patchy to say the least but eventually Dan answered and I was through.

Dan met me on the road outside the airport, something you just can't get away with anywhere in the UK. It was into his Mazda and off down the road, fast. We seemed to be there in no time really and set about packing the bikes up ready for the road. We would stay at Cassandra's house that night though. She has a lovely house and does amazing things with spinach.

However, on the way there we stopped at Walmart to get a new tent. The canvas of the somewhat palatial 6 person dome fit rather tightly into one of the panniers on the RT. I also got my first pair of shades, an 18 dollar pair, which proved to be my first mistake.

Which brings me to the first day of riding. Though we had talked about getting going super early in the morning, we didn't roll until sometime after six, Dan on the RT and me getting to know the SV650. It was easy enough to handle though I wasn't used to the sporty steering and didn't get used to it for a few days. It's not the style of bike that has ever appealed to me though I did have an absolute ball with it later.

Today though, it was just about getting us and the bikes there. We just needed to keep going as there was a seriously long way to go. The format was generally, swap bikes every tank full (they both ran for roughly 160 miles on a tank) and take a rest in between. We did three and a half tanks all together so it must have worked out at a little over 500 miles. I'm not sure. The truth is, that's a lot of miles for one day and though Dan put us on one or two interesting bits, most of it was just dual carriageway and not much fun. In fact, it got positively painful on the SV with it's sports riding position.

We were really flagging but with about 100 miles to run when I got on the RT for my second go. Eventually, tired, worn even, we pitched up in our 'ops area' and started looking for a suitable dining experience (defined as somewhere we can park the bikes where we can see them and isn't McDonald’s or similar). That proved a challenge but one at least that saw us doing some mildly interesting roads and seeing beautiful rural West Virginia.

Eventually, we pitched up somewhere called Strasbourge. It didn't look to promising but we were getting tired, hungy and desperate. When Dan spotted a local on a porch with nothing better to do than give out tourist information, he stopped and asked. It turned out that the local hotel had a pub with food as well as the more obvious fine dining experience. Soon we had a 'Mushroom Swiss' burger each (a truly tasty burger) and were chatting to a local lady biker who kindly pointed us in the direction of a good camp site.

Which is when I lost my first pair of shades. By the time we left, it was twilight and I no-longer needed my new sunglasses which I was already in the habit of hanging from the windscreen of the RT (also the home of my ear plugs). They were still hanging there when we found ourselves making 'brisk progress' along a bit of dual carriageway. I noticed they weren't hanging on very well just as they flew off into the darkness, gone forever. This would turn out to be something of a feature of the trip.

The campsite was OK. We eventually got a pitch by the river and were greeted by a man who can't go unmentioned. Dan thought he was drunk but I'm not sure he was anything other than... Well, let me just tell you what he said:
Hi, I'm Steve. My name's the maintenance guy.” He would be quoted often from then on. It was clear to me that this was going to be a truly authentic experience and was not likely to quash too many stereotypes. Broad smiles spread across tired faces hidden in the dark. Clearly, this was going to be fun. For now however, it was most certainly time to sleep.


  1. Sounds like you're having a great adventure. We are intrigued about the amazing things she does with spinach. 500 miles is a huge amount, you must feel detached from yourself waist down. To me, what Steve said does make a bit of sense if he had undertones of sarcasm and job boredom - still funny though, he sounds like an interesting character.


  2. It was great. Something like that is so full of memories, not all of them can be complete. The Spinach had nuts and was served in slices. As for The Maintenance Guy, I'm pretty sure his was just pure hick. Thanks for the comments.



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