Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I feel like I have jet lag even though no planes were involved in this journey!

I absolutely had the greatest time on this ride. It was hard, challenging, and rewarding for the soul. I was faced with challenges and not only did I handle them, I beat them into oblivion. My total mileage for the 6 day ride was 2390. And even though I was weary after getting off the purple nurple yesterday I actually thought about riding today! I did get the back seat off the bike today and removed the last of the saddle bags (the part that did not turn into an incendiary device) and put them away. Not sure when I'll need one saddle bag, but who knows! Like all good junkies, I had a Dennis Kirk gift card just itching to be used so I bought a new set of bags today and they will be here by next week.

I had the greatest time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I met some really special people on this trip. I also got a reminder of how not to throw your faith in others around so easily. To make sure your friends really are your friends and that they will stand by your side thick and thin, right or wrong. Irregardless of the one bad apple, I had such an amazing time and I can't wait to go back next year. I met so many walks of life from lawyers, to podiatrists, to oil refinery people, to someone who specializes in wilderness medicine!

Everyone there was wonderful and there were so many people who helped me along the way home! I've already told my friend Vickie that she needs to know now that she's coming with me next year. No excuses. She sounds excited knowing that it's so much fun, and inexpensive.

I saw things I never thought I'd see.... Chain link along the highway edges to stop cattle from falling onto the roadway below from the cliffs above. I saw a man fly a kite in Tennessee. That's not the amazing part. The amazing part was that it was attached to a beat up old broken fishing rod. I also saw in VA, that people buy car ports and add metal sheeting around the outside and plastic wrap for windows and call it a house. Horse and cow trailers down there don't have roofs on them. Just tarps (if lucky), and I saw a guy transporting his pony in the back of his pick up truck with fence gates on the bed sides. Good Pony.

So for those who worry about me riding a bike.... I'm sorry..... It won't be ending anytime soon. Just have faith that I might be "ok" at this riding thing. Didn't even need a band aid.

Next year I'll plan to take one extra day on each side of the ride for travel so that I didn't feel like I was in such a hurry to get there and home again. Would love to have done the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Shenandoah Skyway. Let's see where next years the trip leads me :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wow.. what a day. I woke up late this morning. 7 am. I went down and had some breakfast and then packed up my stuff to go. I did end up having to ditch a saddle bag at the hotel for safety reasons. Boy does my bike look silly with one bag! Anyway, I put my rain gear on because I could hear thunder in the mountains and I was sure it was going to rain. So I boogied up the highway with a few other riders and lo and behold... No rain. The groups I was riding with got off about an hour later and I continued on. About 70 miles up I caught up with Rolland (the guy who dropped his gold wing on the ride) and Steve. We rode for a few hundred miles up 81. We stopped and had lunch at Subway and talked about the routes we wanted to take. Google had told me that I should take 66 E to Washington and then up to Allegras that way... I should NEVER EVER trust Google again!!! Not only is the route completely wrong, but there were accidents EVERYWHERE. If only I had known. So Rolland and Steve went up through 340 past Mona's neck of the woods (I should have followed). About 9 miles in to 66 the highway was stopped.. and not a good sign when you don't see any cars going the other direction either. As the law abiding person I am, I diligently wait in my lane of stopped traffic which resembled a parking lot. At one point I did move up in my lane and I was parked next to a tractor trailer. I put my bike on it's stand and got off. I went up the steps of the tractor trailer and asked the driver if he knew what was going on and he told me there was a very nasty accident about 1 mile ahead and the highway is going to be closed for at least 5 hours for medfield and accident reconstruction. So I hopped down and got back on my bike. At that point I decided I had to break the law or turn into beef jerky in the hot hot sun. So I pull up and into the emergency lane and rode it to the exit that was coming up. Looks like I had the same idea as 6 other bikers. We all converged at the exit ramp and I met believe it or not Two other Road runner riders there!!! And they were from Middleburg, VA so they told me to follow them. We rode the back roads through the lower plains of VA. How absolutely beautiful. What a great detour. Sharon rides a trike and her husband Ken rides a water cooled victory. The reason I know it's water cooled is that he had to get off the highway or his bike was going to over heat. It was running around 350F in traffic.

We stopped for gas, pulled out the maps and they got me back on 66 further up and it was smooth sailling from there.....

Well not really! 495 was a complete construction mess so once again I sat in hot traffic for a while but nothing like I 66.

So I'm here at Allegras. the pool is calling me.... See ya!
At destination. yay
Almost 2 allegras house
Got lost. Met folks taking a detour w me. Hug accident on hiway. Have 2 go around. All is well
At rest area in va w rolland and friends
Getting gas in roanoke. Rain suit off and sun screen on !
grabbing breakfast and heading out :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

had a great time on this ride and met so many awesome people. dinner tonight was so much fun and the groups of people I met were really a blast! I'm heading out in the AM and there are PLENTY of people riding up 81 to MD. Have no fear :) I'm going to ride up to Allegra's tomorrow and spend the night at her house :)

Virginia ride

Today's ride was spectacular. Absolutely lovely. We did a loop around the countryside of really fun roads. The weather held out for us which was very lucky as lots of the other rides did end up getting wet. We went through so many different areas showing all the different demographics. There was one spot where Brent said "gee it looks like a scene from deliverance around here" . And he was not far from the truth! Just shy of a banjo in the back ground. I did get some video although the clip is short. I recommend turning your volume down due to wind to watch it.

I highly recommend the road runner ride. It was a fun time.

The one thing I have learned through this week is to really appreciate your friends, and even when things do not work out the way you'd like them to, to not get sour or angry or bitter. It doesn't do anyone any good. People change, plans change, motives change. Humans are such a complex species that sometimes they make me shake my head. I'm going to enjoy the positive people.

Oh and I went to walmart to see if I could get a good metric set to pull my back seat off my bike to get the damaged saddle bags out and rehung.. Mom and Bill, you guys have NOTHING on this Walmart comparing the Hawley Walmart to the one down here! And I couldn't get the seat off so I think the saddle bags are going to be going in the trash in the AM

I am trying to find others to ride with but as of now I'm flying solo. I plan to leave in the morning after breakfast

Day two of riding

So today we have a ride that is going around VA near the Kentucky line. Should be a fun day. They're calling for 60% rain but hopefully that will be after we get back :) If not, I'll hopefully get to try out my rain suit this time! The picture above shows just how low my bike sits compared to the others. my seat height is actually only 26 inches (which is great for me :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Learning how I phonesand smart phone tech will help touring riders and a seminar on "the roads 2 nowhere" british columbia
So today our ride went through Tennessee and Carolina. It was a 210 mile ride though beautiful mountain terrain. Our group was 14 people of all makes of bikes. We lined up in the Holiday Inn parking lot at 8:30 and then off we went. We went through some really crazy loop d loop roads up in the hills and the straight roads were a joy to open the throttle on.

I was the only girl that rode her own bike in our group. I think I may be the youngest girl riding here on this ride. We got through the am ride with very little fanfare. No one dropped or had a blow out. It was a lovely time. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant that is actually a b&b (southern style) an a winery (in their basement). The food was incredible and I had to go check out their wine. I bought a bottle of Zinfandel to bring home to Don and of course I had to buy a t shirt that says "living in Zin". We were just about to suit up and head out when guy named Rich came up to me and said "you are a joy to follow behind". He stated that I am one of the few that he has seen that feels the road and follows the feel. I was really humbled and thanked him.

We carried on and went through some really fun high elevation roads through TN at the edge of the smokies. The roads there are all guardrails and no shoulders. Really challenging stuff but so fun to ride. Really gets your adrenaline pumped. I experienced my adrenaline when I was coming through a nice sweeping turn to only hear tires screeching ahead of me. I was following Fred and up ahead was a beat to heck Chevy Cavalier hurtling towards us and bouncing off the guardrail. The driver got it righted and kept bouncing down the guardrail on the offside (not a threat to us anymore) but you could see the girl's whites of her eyes. I slowed to see if she was ok, but I guess around here you just unhook your car and keep driving LOL. When I looked back again I noticed the other side of her car (the one NOT involved) was also beat the heck so she must be a pro at this.

At our last stop for a water break two other riders came up to me and asked me if I was on the "lowered honda". I explained to them that it was a stock bike but because of my height I really needed to be that low to the pavement. They then thanked me saying that I was wonderful about pointing out the gravel and hazards as they were riding behind me. When you ride in a group, if you see hazard on the road the best thing to do is point your foot off the side of your bike to show the person behind you that there's something to look for. They both stated how they felt I was talented on a bike and asked how long I have been riding. Again, humbled beyond belief. They decided to ride on my tail the rest of the ride today which proved to be an interesting ride!

So even with my 40 sunblock, my face is still more colorful!

So near the end of the ride today we all took a wrong turn and had to turn around in a gravel driveway. 12 our of 14 bikes made it. One bike got bogged down in the gravel and couldn't get out without a bunch of people pushing and a guy on a Goldwing ended up dropping his bike in the gravel. Thank you to my "purple nurple" for not laying me in the gravel :)

Ok off for dinner! Hope everyone is well.

awesome day

will post later. Just got back from the ride. Really really fun day today

as my mom would say "up and att'em"

Woke up at 5:30. Totally refreshed and was shocked as all can be that I did not need Naproxen for anything. I figured SOMETHING would be sore today after the long ride yesterday. So far so good.

So I went down to the gym for 45 minutes and got a work out in.

Thank goodness because I forgot what southern breakfasts were like. I think I just had a heart attack with the biscuits n gravy and sausage and any other type of cream product you can drizzle around !! I'm not complaining by the way.

Off I go. It's a beautiful day and I am ready to go see what Carolina and Tennessee have to offer up!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I've made it down. Today was a long ride but a great one. I left Allegra's house at 6 am and rode the 130 miles to Mona's without incident. Was lovely. The weather was still cool and the traffic was minimal.

Mona and Billy's farm is absolutely breathtaking and it was really great to see them both. They are both doing so well and happy. Mona and Billy are both big shots at civil war re enactments with their horses. I mean serious serious stuff. Listening to Billy talk about this while flipping through the pages of their ride pictures and media shots was fascinating. You could truly see how happy they were.

Their "driveway" is close to a mile long and all gravel LOL. I ended up riding my bike along the hay fields instead as some of the spots were really deep tire sucking gravel.

After leaving there I headed down 81 where everyone was going to head to the roadrunner rally. I had lunch at Cracker Barrel and I met a couple who was traveling down and had been paced with me since Maryland. They said they recognized me by my jacket markings (good to know that the jacket is working for visibility!). I then continued on 81 for what seemed like FOR FREAKIN EVER. I stopped in at all the rest areas to see if I could meet up with some of the riders. At one rest area I looked down and noticed that my back seat bag had pushed my saddle bag down onto my exhaust. My saddle bag melted and ended up smoldering on my exhaust. UGHHHHH. so gross. the stuff just DOES NOT come off and I wrecked my bag in the process. I'll modify my saddle bags in the am. I'm too tired to deal right now.

So after two rest stops I pulled into the third and parked. Tim and Gwen, road runners, came up to me and asked me if that was where I was headed. After some chit chat in the shade we all suited up again and did the last 80 miles together and met 2 other riders along the last leg. Today was a 500 mile day... I'm turning in.

we had our welcome dinner and our safety seminar tonight. I thought Fred was going to have to kick me under the table to keep me awake. I even turned down people watching in the bar tonight for dear dear sleep. I also found out that my chrome helmet doesn't deflect the high heat from the sun but actually intensifies it.... My poor face is slightly crispy even with 30 sunblock.

I can't wait for tomorrow. Our ride is through North Carolina and Tennessee. Our tour leader is a Road Runner (for those who don't know what road runner is.. it's a magazine dedicated to motorcycle touring riders) journalist.

Night night.
Im here will update later. Met some other roadrunner groups a the rest stop. Very fun group!
In roanoke fueling up
Do all the women down here wear blouses that look like curtains??
Having lunch w a family who's been following me since 6 am. At the crackerbarrel at mile marker 283 on 81 VA. Almost there!!
At monas in virginia. How beautiful!

Allegra and I find Beer and Crabs

So it's 4:15 AM and my body has woken itself up saying "don't oversleep you have a big day ahead". Nothing could be closer to the truth. I am so excited today that I am going to be heading to VA to see Mona and Billy. Mona is my childhood riding trainer. The first to throw me up on a horse and get me hooked!

Allegra and I have had a wonderful last 36 hours together. Yesterday we did just about everything and it felt like old times. I also got to see Leslie, another Oldfields School classmate. I have to say the three of us together was just like we were 11th grade school girls again. Silly, childlish, and way too much fun. Yesterday we decided to go check out Oldfields. I have not been back there since the day I walked down graduation hill. We parked at Old House and started walking through and going back in history. So much was still the same, even down to the smells from 20 years ago. At one point we went into the auditorium, which was dark inside, and sat in the front row seats and looked up at the stage. Everything seems so much smaller and in scale now looking back as an adult, but as we were young children, it has been larger than life. Sitting in the front seats Allegra and I had reflected on our theatrical experiences here and how important they were to us. What I finally came up with after contemplating what OS meant to me was that OS gave us options. It gave us a chance to try on all different careers safely and comfortably. It allowed us to conjur up ideas and try them out as dreams. It stimulated us all to find out what was our niche. We also went through the dorms and looking back as adults realized how much smaller they are now to us. Allegra and I went through remembering where I set of the smoke alarms from popcorn fires in the microwave, where she had the luxury of getting the tar beaten out of her by a not so nice OS girl, when and who became my personal bully. Turns out, many of us were bullied by the same person or clique of people. The look back in time was wonderful on so many levels and made me appreciate the difference and similies between growing up back then vs. now.

Last night Allegra organized a crab dinner. We had gone to the store and ordered 3 dozen extra large crabs for 5 people. I never had any clue how incredibly labor intensive eating crab was. Lobster is a cake walk in comparison. I would starve to death before I could actually meet a 2000 day calorie fix from crab. But wow were they amazingly sweet and tender. And learning how to open, clean, and eat was a great, albeit messy, experience.

So I'm off in a few. I plan to leave att 6 am. My body however decided I needed to wake up a while ago. I sat in bed trying to make myself get the last two hours of sleep. When that didn't happen I just got up and grabbed the laptop and started to write. I'll follow up througout the day today with location posts until I get to the Holiday Inn in Bristol.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

slow connections in MD

Hi all!

I made the 450 mile journey yesterday without incident. I have pictures to share from atop of Bear Mountain and I must say I got lost on a road called 7 Lakes road which goes through a national park right after Bear Mtn Bridge and right after the Palisades Parkway. It was the most amazing motorcycle (wanna be road) I have ever been on. I say "wanna be" road because it was pretty torn up pavement wise but absolutely gorgeous in the sweeping, cutting curves through the forest. In the end I found myself out to rt 17 and then to 287 in Morristown area. If I had known, I would have called my cousin, Priscilla up to take shelter! turns out as soon as I was in NJ it rained.

It wasn't one of those rains where you could say "hmmmm. just a drizzle. I'll pull over under the next over pass and put on rain gear and put the waterproof covers on my luggage". No it was the rain that hit me like hail ball and pelted my windshield so hard that I was soaked within 15 seconds. So I kept riding. No need to bother putting a rain suit on over a soaked body and soaked luggage! So I road through the rain and all was fine. It did take me the next 5 hours of riding though to dry my clothes out again!

Oh a neat thing. On my way down I passed Fred south of Waterbury, CT. My friend Fred has a touring Triumph, which is what he should be riding, but he cracked the case on it while doing an oil change the other day so he's on a triumph thruxton. Ii recommend looking it up to see pictures. With him on it it looked like a cafe racer!. There's no room for luggage so he was carrying 7 days worth of clothes in a backpack!!! Poor guy.

When I got close on his tail you could see he was looking back in the rear view going "really? she's behind me?" When I pulled long side in the middle lane I gave him a wave with my hand and he gave me the thumbs up. I hear someone honking on my left and look over and some dude in a truck is giving me a wave and blowing me kisses.. How typical LOL

So we separated because I had plans to meet up with my brother at his house to stop in for a water refresh and pee break. Not only that I was pretty convinced that Fred was going to ride much slower than I since he is on the highway without even a windscreen! Ian wanted to sit on my motorcycle. He thought it was cool. His eyes turned into half dollar size when I said he could go ahead and hop on!

I stopped at a Lancaster Applebees for a Sandwich along the way and sat at the bar. I met an on duty cop at the bar. we swapped small talk about what law enforcement is like in our respective states in regards to animals and general stuff. Turns out in PA, when you're the head honcho it's more than normal to go to a bar, in your plain wrapper crown vic, order a beer (with a gun/badge on you), and smoke. Yes folks, I said smoke. I told him in MA that there's a law about non smoking cops (amnesty to the older generation but no new smokers on the force), and he laughed saying he'd never make it in the big city, and went back to drinking his beer.

So during my whole trip down I aligned myself with a bunch of truckers which was really great during the rain storms as their tires kept the majority of the water off my wheels. When the pavement was dry we sped up and when the rain fell they let me tuck in between them and slow down.

Late yesterday I made it to Allegra's house. Allegra is my boarding school roommate. Allegra has the fairy tale farm!! absolutely beautiful. So we caught up quickly on the back deck by the pool which over looks 66 acres of pristine horse beauty!. After a cocktail (I swear they make them tall size down here) we went Gatoring.

I've never been gatoring. No not alligatoring. But in her John Deer Gator. We went all through the back woods of her farm through creeks, mud, bogs, fields, and we only got it stuck on one tree. My goal was not to spill my drink. And down in this area people are FRIENDLY! Allegra decided since Ed had drank all her Vodka that she was just going to stop over at a friends house and borrow some LOL! So here we were gatoring along hay fields and White Hall Rd. and we just showed up at a neighbor's farm and walked in and had a drink with the neighbor! On my way out, I told Allegra that if that had happened in my neck of the woods someone would have called the cops and most likely a no trespass order would have been issued! Amazing

So around 9:45 Allegra decided she was hungry so we drove to the nearest food, Hunt Valley Mall. Yes... Our old stomping ground where we used to hang out and smoke, drink, cause trouble as kids :) We ate like pigs, drove back, and I promptly fell asleep. My bed companion is Lavender the cat and she has let me know that the middle of the bed is her spot.

I awoke to her still in the same spot, my back in a goofy position, and when I opened my eyes a yellow lab giving me the stare down with two stuffed fox toys in his mouth. So this really is just like home!

I am not travelling today on the bike so no updates like yesterday from my mobile. Today we are having a crab bake. I have tons of pictures but the connection here is really spotty and i'm using my cell as my modem. I will update when I get to the hotel on Thursday/Friday on the pictures.

Hope everyone is doing well!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

At a rest are in PA on 78. Trying to wring the rain out of my jeans. I passed fred on the way here
2 shut the H up lol
At a rest area in putnam ct. I've learned that my singing voice is much better in an open face helmet than a full face. Im almost tempted to tell myself

Monday, July 12, 2010

Get Read Get Set......

Ok. So I'm ready.. ready ready ready ready... My bike is packed from stem to stern. This would mean I have a tool kit, to oil, to GPS, rain suit, work out clothes, clothes for a week, camera, video camera, net book, to monkey butt powder, I know. TMI! But all good horse back rider's know about it!

Tonight I'm going on a date with my hubby and we're going to cinema pub to have drinks, dinner and watch sex in the city 2. I will be leaving tomorrow very very early :)

As promised (to my mom) I will be updating the blog with mobile updates with my locations every few hours, and hopefully some pictures to boot :)
Test of mobile device

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The start of something

So the cat is out of the bag. I was supposed to take a cross country vacation trip with a friend of mine but due to circumstances beyond my control it has been cancelled. I promised my husband that I would not travel coast to coast alone. I was really at a low point as the trip had promised to bring a lot of neat beginnings. A friend and I were conversing on line and he stated why not go to another ride and he told me of one in the south that he highly recommended. Thanks Fred!

So the frown has been turned upside down and I am going to salvage my ride but with different ambitions. I am incorporating in visiting my boarding school roommate along the half way point and my childhood riding trainer, Mona! I am so excited!

I don't know what to expect at the organized ride. I am eager to make new friends and ride the beautiful countryside that everyone tells me exists in VA/TN area. My bike was recently in the shop for new tires, and I gave it the regular service maintenance in my barn two weeks ago. I should be good for operating rubber side down!

I've bought my safety jacket (spine, shoulder and elbow protection), rain gear, new boots, a disposable video camera (thank god for Big Lots), sent in my registration for the ride, and booking my hotel room on Tuesday.

The ride down will be two days. 400 miles a day in the saddle rain or shine. I know my butt will be sore at the end of this. Here's hoping it's well worth it!