Sunday, July 08, 2007

Errors and Omissions

The Father's Day present that Katrina was talking about
was actually a birthday present. My mom had hidden it in
one of Dad's compartments and marked it "do not open until
July 1." The funny thing is, it could have gotten us
detained at the border on June 27 or 28. It turned out to
be a Swiss Army knife. The border guard's first question:
"Do you have a knife?"

Holiday Inn was the winner with two check-ins. The one in
Ontario was the nicest hotel we stayed at and also the
most expensive at $160+ with taxes. The Fairfield in
Detroit was the best bargain - a great hotel with free
dinner and breakfast for around $79, I think.

I found that reading this makes me sound like an
alcoholic. A case of beer and a fifth of Jim Beam will
last me the rest of the summer, and I don't go to bars.
But I do enjoy a libation when I don't have to get up to
go to work or do slave labor for Lisa. It's good to be
king for a week.

I get well over 50 mpg when cruising along at 60. Usually
I'm blasting my way into work or ripping around town and
"only" see around 45. I got 55 or better more than once on this

I think my rain gaiters (boot covers) are at the hotel in
Johnstown. They were only like $15 and were pretty well
worn out anyway.

90% of Ohio is flat as a pancake with nothing to see but corn and
soybeans (except for the 3 little oil derricks
we saw!?!) When, in the eastern counties, we finally had
some hilly, twisty roads, they were covered with tar snakes
and it was raining. Should have been the other way

The picture of the bridge in the "rain" post below is from Zanesville, OH and if you click on it, you will see what makes it unique. It was built on the National Road in the 1800's, and rebuilt later in the same Y configuration with a traffic light right in the middle.

Route 22 is comprised of what was Zane's Trace in Ohio, the William Penn Highway in PA, and the original Jersey Turnpike from Phillipsburg to Elizabeth.

Much of current US 22 in Pennsylvania is expressway. I had wanted
to find the "old" route which exists near most highways,
to soak up the sights and small towns that get bypassed,
but we really didn't have the time. We did see everything
I had planned for except for the Motorcycle Hall of Fame
museum near Columbus.

  • Total was 2266 miles, 7 states and one province (all but 2
    of which I had ridden through before) in 8 days of riding.

Next will be the PA State HOG Rally in August. Lisa will
be along for that one, along with all our friends from the
local chapter. This will probably not get blogged.

Hope you enjoyed riding along with me. If you missed last year's stuff, you can look back into the archives for another day's worth of reading, and if you check back next summer, you'll probably get to come along somewhere again.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friday Narrative

Friday's post covering Pennsylvania is a history lesson. Follow along:

Back in the 1800's, water was the key to everything in the US. Cities were located on water for both supply and for commerce; the only way to get a large amount of anything from here to there was by boat. Roads were tedious and slow when they were passable at all, and navigation was simply following signs to the next town when the traveler reached a crossroads. Canal building reached a frenzy just as railroads were starting to be built. Anything beyond the Appalachians was "the West," and Mississippi was the southwest territory. Because water to the west drains into the Gulf of Mexico and into the Atlantic on the east, it was imperative to develop an economical Appalachian crossing to develop the frontier. A long boat trip around Florida and up the Mississippi was the only other option.

North of Johnstown, where the steel industry was in its infancy, an earthen dam was built by the canal company to stockpile water for the Union Canal. The Allegheny Portage railroad was built to connect canals on either side of the mountain range.

The railroads quickly caught up with the canal system, and soon the canal system was abandoned. The dam was purchased and the lake refilled for a resort for wealthy steel barons. When Horseshoe Curve was laid in Altoona, it completed an uninterrupted rail link, and the gateway to the West had finally been breached.

On May 31, 1889, after several days of tropical rain, the South Fork Dam gave way and unleashed 20 million tons of water down a creek bed 14 miles upstream from Johnstown, nestled in a tight valley in the hills. The flood was the greatest disaster of the 19th century and destroyed the booming city, killing over 2,000 people.

We woke in Johnstown, took our bikes down the funicular railway (look it up) and spent some time in the city before heading up to Horseshoe Curve. Threading through the Alleghenies via the old pre-interstate route was breathtaking, and really illustrates the challenges faced by early road-builders. Following Rt. 22 took us into Harrisburg right around rush hour, so from there we cheated and took interstates until hopping on "old 22" to finish the ride home. An hour after I got off the bike for the last time, it rained again.

There will be one more post to sort of tie things up and fit in some observations and pix that didn't make the on-the-fly log. If you haven't figured it out, you can click on the images for full sized versions.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Be It Ever So Humble

There's no place like home.

I rolled in today around 6:30, safe and sound 2266 miles and 10 days later. I'm pretty worn out and looking for a nice shower, so details will have to follow tonight or tomorrow. I will have a recap of some sort, and will add pictures to the previous posts that had none. Thanks for playing along at home.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall

The nice thing about putting on your rain gear before you leave in the morning is that you get to do it in a hotel room instead of alongside the road. We left today in a steady mist with the promise of gradual clearing. The mist dried up and what we got was steady nothing, yet damp roads and black skies kept us from going without protection. Eventually outside of Cambridge, OH the skies opened up and let us have it. No crazy winds or lightning like yesterday, so we tucked behind the windshields and toughed it out. When we took a break for a late lunch in West Virginia, the rain had stopped. By the time we came back out, the sun was peeking out and drying the roads.

We really didn't have much in the way of sightseeing today, and got around 300 miles in before the skies turned black again heading east out of Pittsburgh. We called it quits here in Johnstown, and tomorrow morning we will check out the flood memorial and museum before heading up to Altoona. Tonight is our last night on the road. We have about 225 miles to go tomorrow, and our own beds will be waiting for us. I miss my ladies and my goofy cat, and as much as I like my road trips, I'm *really* looking forward to getting back to them.

I tried to get Dad to the neighborhood bar and grill next door to make some sort of observance, but he's old so he just took a shower and logged on to the internet. We hadn't eaten since lunch, and the lobby computer was occupied while he was on his laptop, so I took it upon myself to mosey over to the Alibi and enjoy a sammich and a beverage or two on my own. What a great name for a bar. If I ever open one, I am going to name it the Furry Taco or the Alibi.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Dixie Highway Tour

This morning we left Madison, IN and hopped right over the bridge into Kentucky, where we spent most of the day. We rode down through Louisville, then caught the Dixie Highway south to Fort Knox. We saw the repository where the gold is held (nobody goes inside without an order from the President) then turned east to Clermont to see where my Jim Beam comes from. All of Happy Hollow smells like whiskey whenever the wind gets the air moving.

We left under an iffy forecast, but it wasn't until we were nearing Cincinnati that we got hit with weather. We had stopped for gas and a sack of White Castles, and when we came back out it was looking a lot like our luck was running out. Sure enough, we didn't even get to the next exit when it started to spit. I hurried off and we ducked under a gas station canopy to suit up. By the time I had finished, a wicked thunderstorm was crashing around us with winds that almost knocked the bikes off their kickstands. Nobody was riding anywhere.

We left as it died down. Within 5 more minutes, it had stopped. We rode on wet roads into Cincinnati, and ended up again on the Dixie Highway. We had actually ridden on the Dixie Highway almost a week ago northwest of Detroit and I was amazed that it not only went all the way to Detroit, but continued. Now I can't get away from it.

We rode on for another hour and a half or so out of Cincy, spending most of our time riding on roads just rained on but never actually getting rained on ourselves. I decided to quit pushing my luck here in Washington Court House, OH and found a motel. It's pouring buckets right now.

Tomorrow's forecast is more of the same. We got on Rt. 22 where it starts in Cincinnati, and will more or less follow it all the way back to Allentown with just couple more distractions. We're blowing off the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum tomorrow so that we can finish catching up to schedule. We have one more night on the road.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Catch-Up Post

Since the last post, I have:

1) Explored Detroit
2) Spent 4 days camping at the drag races
3) Spent a day at Cedar Point riding the roller coasters
4) Had my blog hijacked, and
5) Ridden to Madison, IN

Dettroit was extremely cool and eerily... vacant, I guess you would say. Entire blocks of grass with no homes, or parking lots, or anything right in the middle of a big city. Neat place, though, and we never had the feeling of being in danger.

The drag races were awesome. You can get a pound of ice cream for a dollar, and they give you a free one with your tickets! We camped inside the actual fence and had pretty much free run of the pit area with our motorcycles, which is unheard of.

Cedar point must be nirvana for roller coaster junkies. I took Kristi, who would be my niece if my brother in law married his girlfriend. We rode Top Thrill Dragster twice. It is a powered launch that sends you to 120 mph in 4 seconds, then arcs to a vertical climb of 420 feet and straight back down. Crazy. Despite that, we may have made the wrong choice. The rest of the gang stayed at the track to see if there was any testing going on, and ended up with access to all the restricted areas while the cars were making runs. They got an experience that you can't get for all the asking in the world, and have the pictures to prove it. Great weekend all the way around.

Today we tore down camp and hi-tailed it out of there. We got a late start, which got us into some holiday rush hour traffic skirting Cincinnati. We crossed into Indiana there, and spent the next 2 hours going maybe 50 miles. That means we're behind the 8-ball for tomorrow already. I did get laundry done, but aggravated the hell out of myself and broke my $130 riding glasses in the process. Snapped the arm right in half. They will stay on my head, though. They are self-tinting, so I definitely need to keep them for nighttime use as I did tonight.

Tomorrow we are shooting for Kentucky, then turning for home.