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Showing posts from August, 2011

(Day 66) On arriving home... 18,647 KM later!

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We awoke to blue skies this morning and what appeared to be frost on the windshields of the bikes... may not have been but it felt cool enough!

After loading the bikes we made our way to the Breakfast Room in the Comfort Inn and chowed down on their sausage and egg muffins and some yogurt and juice and coffee - enough to see us home!

In the midst of eating Al proposed a toast: to our last meal together.  It was meant to be jovial - but brought about a tone of solemnity for me.  The journey was coming to an end.  This time with Al was coming to an end.  My sabbath was nearing its end - less then four weeks and I was back to work...

Filling the gas tank for the second last time of the trip took on new meaning...  passing through the traffic lights held deeper significane.  Merging onto the Interstate brought me closer to home and further away from this experience that has nurtured my soul and stirred my spirit...

We took I-95 to exit 217 where we dropped onto Hwy #6 which took us throu…

(Day 65) Another east coast summer day...

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Below are a couple of pictures from Monday evening as we hung gear around the room in an attempt to get it dry!  The owner of the motel was so helpful in allowing us to put some of our inner clothes in his dryer... but... leather riding coats and armoured ballistic nylon do not go in the dryer!  Nor do boots!  So... we hung it up, spread it around, stuffed them with news papers and hoped for the best!!



Tuesday morning came, wet and cold as I understand many Tuesdays have come on the east coast this year.  Looking briefly out the window, I climbed back into bed and put in my hearing aid as I saw Al stirring next door.  I lay there thinking, maybe we should just stay put today... nice room... good food next door... and its dry!

Al, ever the Wallace strategist seemed to be having similar thoughts.  "Not a good day eh, Lloyd... Maybe we better make it a short day...?"  "How short?" I asked.

Al then laid out a plan to get us to Bangor where we would hole up if it was st…

(Day 64) On spiders and rain and more rain...

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I knew I shouldn't have killed that spider that I found in the hotel laundry room last night!  My dad told me that Bruce's never kill spiders as legend has it that a spider was inspiration for Robert the Bruce to go into battle one last time against the English... and in that one last batte he persevered and the English were defeated and Scotland was recognized as an independent country...

Well, I killed the spider and Clan Bruce and Clan Wallace persevered through the clouds in Pennsylvania, showers in New Jersey, the showers, and heavy rain in New York, the rain in Vermont and the rain in New Hampshire.

We were on the road about 7AM and while the ceiling was low, the roads were dry and being optimists we hoped for the best...  we were dry until we hit the New York border.  It started with a light mist then turned into a shower and just before Albany we were driving in a downpour.

We stopped for gas just before  Albany - saw it wasn't going to get any better so we set ou…

(Day 63) Chasing the rain... And being chased inside!!

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Al awoke at 6AM and according to him, lay there until 7AM when I stirred.  I was rested.  Much more rested then I had been spending the night sitting in a smoker's lean-to... but not as rested had I had a full nights sleep in a dry tent!  Too much excitement for this old man!

We started to get our gear together and the sun WAS poking through the clouds.  We were hopeful that it would be a good riding day.  We were headed to Long Island to visit some friends.  I made coffee - that little stove has earned its keep - and as we drank our coffee we agreed that we would burn through a tank of gas and then stop for breakfast.

The tank of gas took us to a place off the Interstate just before Hagerstown and when Al turned into McDonald's I suggested that we would get a better meal at the Waffle House.  And indeed we did.  $7 for a large waffle, home fries, two eggs, toast and sausage patties.  Coffee was extra but it was well worth it.  The wait staff were excellent but the kitchen line…

(Day 62) Part II... A River Runs Through It...

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By 8PM we had the fire going, the blog was done, the beer cold and the rum... well... was rum and we were having a great time!  Talking about the day, all that we had seen, what our favourite parts were: being above the clouds, the Model T on the Parkway, watching the clouds roll up the mountain and spill over onto the road... and then it started to rain...

In traditional scottish optimism we stood under a tree and had another drink thinking... "This too will pass..."  Forty minutes later Al suggested that we go and wait it out in our tents for a while.  Good advice. It started to pour!  Twenty minutes later I said to Al, "I'm just gonna go to sleep."  And I did.  Soundly.

Al says he got up at 11PM to water the trees and all was well.  I woke for some reason at 11:30PM and felt water under my tent and at my feet.  We were flooded.  The little creek that looked so harmless had swollen its banks and our tents were islands.

I scrambled to get up and out of the ten…

(Day 62) On the Blue Ridge Mountains into Virginia...

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We were both  up early this morning eager to be on the Blue Ridge Parkway... with breakfast eaten - the same awesome buffet at the hotel - we loaded the bikes amidst an overcast sky that had us wondering if we would be running into fog...

Down I-40 for a few miles until we got gas and then merged onto the parkway.  Words cannot describe the beauty and the sensation of turn after turn riding under a canopy of leaves through which the sun filters through, serving as a reminder how blessed you are.








There was no traffic up until we reached Blowing Rock visitor centre and then as the traffic picked up our desire to ride the parkway decreased.  At the same time we agreed to jump on the Interstate and make some time... except getting to the Interstate required some twisty back roads.  They were awful.  Sweeping left handers, over little rises with views of horse ranches and mile up mile of split rail fences...   Eventually Hwy 58 dropped us onto I-77 and on I-77 we ran into a five mile traff…

(Day 61) On skyways, byways, parkways and friendships...

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The day began early for me, as seems to be the norm when I am moving.  I was awake at 4:30 and managed to stay in bed until 5AM when my internal clock kept telling me it was time to get up.  I listened and found my way to the breakfast area near the lobby where I got some hot water and made myself some instant Starbucks.  Al was still snoring away!

I used the time to write a blog entry for yesterday and straighen out some issues with my bank card yet again - seems they had frozen it again yesterday.  The folk at RBC were most helpful after I worked my way through all of the security questions.  I also managed to have a little chat with my mother... who in true motherly fashion was worried about my well-being and reminded me to wear sunscreen!  I did Mom. Al will testify to it!!

About 7:30, Al came and found me and we had the buffet breakfast.  Couldn't beat it for $7!  Sausage, bacon, eggs, pancakes, home fries, pastries, fruit, cereal... and this list goes on.  Let's just say…

(Day 60) Connecting with friends on the road...

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Well, the day didn't exactly start as planned.  Somehow I got my time all mixed up.  I was on the road at 6AM (thinking it was 7AM) planning to have a leisurely breakfast before I took the bike to Shooter's Cycle... well, let's just say I was going to have a REALLY leisurely breakfast - once I figured out just how early it really was... there was no going back to the room as I had locked the key in the room... so I headed into Poplar Bluff and found the Perkin's Restaurant.  It was next to a hotel so along with breakfast came free WiFi.

In the midst of all the confusion of those first few hours of the day, despite seeing an awesome sunrise, I was feeling pretty anxious.  I think the time on the road was catching up with me.  By now I had been away from home for just over six weeks and hadn't been in a truly familiar place or seen a familiar face since I left AB after my visit with Barb and Jerry.  Add to this the vulnerability of being solely on your own and it was…

(Day 59) A short day... things don't go as planned...

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It was supposed to be a short morning, get the bike serviced then be on the road in the morning.  But as things sometimes go... not according to plan...

I had a lovely morning on some of the back roads of Missouri as I went from Ozark to West Plains and onto Poplar Bluff.  At one point there was a detour as a result of a bridge that was out because of flooding this spring and I got to ride a road I otherwise wouldn't have.



In West Plains the local Suzuki dealer was unable to fit me in and suggested that I head over to Poplar Bluff (my intended destination in the first place).  So, off I went - however by the time I arrived it was too late for them to fit me in so I have to wait until tomorrow morning... then its on to Tellico Plains area where I hope to meet Al Wallace on Friday or Saturday.  That will be about 700 KM.  A longer day then today... shorter then yesterday!

I am really looking forward to connecting with Al and riding home with him.  We keep similar schedules and have…

(Day 58) On long lonely roads and being remembered by family and friends...

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I said last night that my gift to myself was going to be skipping todays blog post... well, it has become such a habit to reflect on the day... and well... today there was a lot of straight road that left a lot of time to think!  And be reminded that I am closer to fifty now then was was yesterday!

At some point within the few minutes of leaving the hospitality of my CouchSurfing hosts and snapping the pictures of the sun rising over the interstate that would be my home for the next number of hours the following scene from the Wizard of Oz came to mind...

Dorothy: [has just arrived in Oz, looking around and awed at the beauty and splendor] Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more.
Dorothy: [after a pause] We must be over the rainbow!
[a bubble appears in the sky and gets closer and closer. It finally lands, then turns into Glinda the Good Witch wearing a spectacular white dress and crown, holding a wand]
Dorothy: [to Toto] Now I... I know we're not in Kansas! And..…

(Day 57) On curves and distance and climbing passes...

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Last night (Sunday) I stayed up too late reading a book that was given to me by Tom O'Connor, The Crying Tree.  A powerful book about grief, loss, relationships and restoration.  I will finish it tonight.  I read as I watched the light change on the mountains to the east as the sun set in the west - out of sight, but still affecting all of what filled my eyes, as Mia slept at my feet.  Unfortunately my CouchSurfing host had to work so I was on my own.  I confess, I missed the company.  I have enjoyed conversing with people at the end of the day.

I was up far too early - but being up I sat and drank my coffee as I watched the sun rise over those same mountains in the east.  Today I would pass through them and go over them and be truly eastward bound - but not before I rode the "Million Dolalr Highway", Highway 50 which runs from Durango through Silverton to Ouray and onto Montrose.

As I set out east of Cortez finally I began to see the Colorado that I imagined I would see.…