Thought I would post a follow-up to my recent riding adventure.
I awake to darkness. The night's sleep restless not because of angst or worry but my heart aching to start my long awaited adventure. Having packed the night before, I slipped into my riding gear and quietly took off east.
With the morning temperature at just 63 degrees, I lean comfortably into the cool morning air. Since there is no traffic at 4:30 in the morning, I made it through downtown Indianapolis easily and onto I70 east towards Columbus. My 2006 Speed Triple really started eating the miles and at 7am I pull over in Columbus, OH to photograph the rising sun peaking through the skyline. Shades of red and pink cause me to smile in delight. The stop is brief, however, because I have many miles to go. Once entering Ohio, I was astounded by the police presence! I start counting the numerous State Police cars I pass ending up with a total count of 33 by the time I leave the Ohio state line.
Continuing my easterly course, I pass quickly into West Virginia. I love West Virginia! The roads are spectacularly smooth and even a large interstate like I70 is fun. Unfortunately, the fun last just a few miles and then I enter Pennsylvania. Since Pennsylvania sold their part of the highway to make the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I bypass paying the toll by using 470 East. I also miss all the traffic of Pittsburgh but I feel like I miss seeing a great city.
I am making amazing time! At noon, I traverse into western Maryland. My spirits are high thinking about the vast distance I have already traveled and after a quick fast-food lunch, I talk with a couple traveling from Jersey. The gentleman is riding the new BMW 6 cylinder touring rig with his wife on a FJR 1300. They laugh at my Speed Triple and tell me that I have the wrong bike for the trip. Wishing them safe travels, I am on my way with my sights set on Baltimore.
Never having realized how big Maryland is before, I find myself rocketing through the hills of Maryland much longer than anticipated. The weather is perfect and I should have no complaints but I fear that my rear is not conditioned for such a long day. I try moving around as much as possible on the bike but my butt keeps falling asleep. The only reprieve is to stop and stretch. Thus, I did not make Baltimore until 4pm already exhausted from a long day in the saddle. I have not been stuck or slowed down by traffic the entire way until I was brought to a standstill in the late rush hour traffic of the home of the Orioles baseball team. Stopping for petrol, I find that on top of the normal traffic for this time of day, the Grand Prix is in town drawing in vast numbers of spectators. Finally, I wind my way out of Baltimore towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The bridge is a vast structure and when it was originally constructed in 1952 was the world's longest continuous over-water steel structure. I pay my toll and ride the length careful not to avert my gaze for too long looking out at the beautiful water.
Once over the bridge, I continue in heavy traffic delayed both by the Labor Day weekend crowd heading to the beach and the incessant construction. Finally I arrive at my grandmother's old house in Oak Orchard, DE met by an enthusiastic hug from my aunt.
After talking a short time, our pizza arrives. The wafting odor from that box is something from my childhood connected to most of my favorite youthful memories. I devour an entire large pizza by myself thinking that this must be the best pizza in the world!
My grandmother's house is quaint, sitting on prime property facing the Indian River. I love this place! It evokes memories of catching crabs with my aunt then having grandma steam them. We would sit in the sun room at a large picnic table cracking open the claws, sprinkling Old Bay seasoning on them, then pull out the succulent meat. My grandma died 12 years ago and this is my first time back to her house since before her death. I miss you Grandma!
Just under 700 miles in one day will wear out anyone. I sleep well thinking about what the next day will hold!