Ok, so “tomorrow” took a few weeks to come around, but I’ve finally found the time. This might be a “better never than late” situation, but here goes anyway.
After the unfortunate Coyote Incident and subsequent stupidly late night, I got a bit of a late start Wednesday morning, but needed a good ride, so headed west into Washington National Forest. Found a short stretch of nasty unmaintained dirt road including a bridge that had more holes than bridge, but stubborned my way through and was rewarded with a nice stretch of no-traffic 1.5 lane twisty pavement heading generally north. Eventually I chose poorly at a turning and fond myself on a major road leaving the forest, but quickly turned that into a positive by routing over US33 into WV, a “don’t miss” road if there ever was one.
Followed a local in a pickup doing about 70 using all of the pavement through most of the uphill, he pulled over and waved me by just before the crest so I had a clear run on the downhill stretch. It is amazing what a good bit of riding can do for one’s mood. Followed 33 into Seneca Rocks then started looking for interesting county roads and managed to string together an excellent ride all the way to Martinsburg. There, I fell into the gravitational field of the cities and towns, and eventually gave up and found a hotel in Hagerstown for the night. 301 miles for the day, not bad considering the late start.
Thursday morning I did a bit better with the get up and on the road part of things, and decided to do a few miles of slab to get out away from city traffic. After 20-30 minutes found myself some nice fast farm roads and had an unexceptional but enjoyable ride north to NY. In NY mostly followed 30 until I got tired shortly after passing what would have been a good place to stop for the night, and eventually found myself booking a room in Amsterdam. My recommendation, if you ever find yourself looking for a place to stay near Amsterdam, is to keep going. Had dinner, did some laundry, and sacked out around midnight.
Friday morning, I got the earliest start of the trip (I guess crappy motels have some advantage), gassed up and headed north. I’d heard there was going to be a big opening ceremony the following day for the new bridge at Crown Point, so I figured I’d head that way on the chance the bridge was open to traffic. It was, but I ran into a little trouble of the legal variety before I got there. There is a long downhill straight leading up to the turn for the bridge, and I was paying more attention to asking the GPS for a gas station than I was to my speed and got tagged. The GPS tracklog indicates a significantly slower speed than what the ticket is for.
The new bridge is nice enough, and quickly got me the hell out of NY. Followed 17 to 100 and eventually found myself on 302 near Montpelier in brutal construction traffic. Once through that I was pretty well drained (this was day 10, after all), so I just followed 302 to 112 into Lincoln, and from there followed the normal route to the lodge. Arrived at the lodge shortly after 1400h, expecting to just hang out on the porch reading until people arrived, but was welcomed by our lovely oompah and her assistants. A quick run up the road for ice before opening a bottle of whiskey and starting the night early.
I overindulged a bit, got to bed late, and didn’t sleep well, so Saturday morning was a bit meh. Had breakfast at Glen Junction as usual, and got back to the lodge with just enough time to gear up and ride into Lincoln for the Zip Line adventure Dave & Sarah had arranged. This was my first time doing a Zip Line, and it is worth mentioning that I’m quite thoroughly terrified of heights. It took me what felt like a good three or four hours to build up the nerve to step off the first platform, but once I did I really enjoyed the experience, and am looking forward to the next time. Hung out with folks for a while after the adventure before heading back to try to make the White Horse Press open house before they closed, but bailed on that idea about halfway there due to exhaustion.
Back at the lodge it was another late night of drinking, and I finally fell over the edge on some stuff I’d been processing through in my head. Had several good conversations before everyone went down for the night, then sat with my head for a bit to sort things out. Ended up having another good conversation (thanks again) before finally falling asleep on the couch.
Another late start on Sunday, no surprise, packed up and rode over to Glen Junction for breakfast before heading home. Pulled up just after a couple of friends did, and we had a nice breakfast together before heading off to our respective homes. I’ve done the ride south from Glen what feels like 10,000 times, so I didn’t bother plotting anything in the GPS and just followed my nose. Eventually the heat got the better of me as I only had my cold-weather riding gear with me and had no room on the bike to stash any of it, and I got sucked into orbit of Concord. Crispy and tired, decided an hour of slab was the wise choice, so hopped on 93 and blasted home. That was definitely the right choice, the day only got hotter from there.
I believe that the best trips change us, and that was certainly the case on this one for me. I’m still figuring out all of the changes, but so far they seem to be for the better, even if I am still feeling like I left real life behind to come back “home”.