Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Road Trip: NYC (Day Two)

Left the hotel at 7:30am, and didn't roll back there until nearly 11pm. It was a looooong day. The NYC subway system is interesting to get around in. It wasn't as simple as Chicago's, but you must admit, it is a MUCH more complicated city to get around in than Chicago.

Started off day two on a somber note, at the site of the World Trade Center. I reflected while I was there, and watched quietly as New Yorkers rebuilt their hallowed site. After that, it was off to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and then to Yankee Stadium for a Yankees-Red Sox game.

Anyway, you want to see some pics, I bet. All right, all right... Click here!

The ride goes on!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Road Trip: NYC

It was an interesting day! I ended up taking my family's truck so that I could bring my younger brother, Brandon to New York City. He had never been to the City before, and it had been many years since I went.

One of my planned highlights of the trip was going to see the legendary Les Paul play at the Iridium Jazz Club on Broadway. He was as good as I had hoped, and put on a very entertaining show! I will definitely be back to see him again.

Click here to see the rest of the pictures!

Another day and a half in NYC! More pics and updates to follow!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Day Four: Ride into Rome

Today was a pretty uneventful ride. The weather was hot, but it stayed dry, until ten minutes after I arrived at my grandfather's farm. The sky literally opened up right after pulling into the garage. There were 50mph gusts and torrential rainshowers for about fifteen minutes. So far, I haven't been rained on a bit on this trip, and I hope that it stays that way! After 1,151 miles, that has been a pretty lucky break.

There are some pictures of Fort Stanwix, which is a revolutionary war fort. On August 3, 1777 the Stars and Stripes were raised at Fort Stanwix the first time the flag was flown in front of a foe in the U.S. For this reason the fort has also been designated as a National Historic Landmark. The city of Rome was constructed around this fort. Click here to see the pictures!

Useless GPS Stats:
Miles Today: 146
Top Speed: 90.9mph
Moving Time: 2:34
Moving Average Speed: 56.7mph
Overall Average Speed: 31.6mph


My nephew Devin!

It was nice to hold my nephew Devin in my arms again. He is such a cute kid, and is just starting to walk now. It won't be long before he is a linebacker!

One of the best parts of my childhood was the relationship that I had with my uncles. Unfortunately, I will be so far away for Devin's childhood, so I will not be able to be the "cool uncle" like I wish I could be.

And, yes, I know. I have a sunburn. I don't need to hear it from *you*, too, of all people. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Road Trip Day Three: London, ON, to Rochester, NY!

It was an interesting day today. The weather was supposed to be pretty bad, but I think that it was the most sunny day so far on the entire trip. Remind me to use sunscreen, because, yeah, I forgot.

The border crossing was utterly horrible. It took well over an hour to roll the mile or so of cars backed up to get back into the states. For a weekday at 11:00am, that was completely unreasonable. Of course, I got the biggest ball-buster of an inspector in charge of my line, because he was only letting one car through in the same amount of time that it took a neighboring agent to let two through. That makes things all that much more pleasant. It was bordering on comical. He actually made me push my Harley out of earshot before starting it to "preserve what little hearing he had left". Umm, okay... I was used to pushing it. I ended up shutting down the engine of my bike to keep it from overheating, as it is air-cooled, and it really seemed like it was getting hot while I was in line to approach the border.

I took so many pictures today, that it didn't seem to make sense to put them inline with this post, like I have been doing. If you want to see the pictures and some brief descriptions, click here. There are some great shots of an authentic Canadian castle, Niagara Falls, and the House of Guitars!

Useless GPS Stats:
Miles Today: 257
Top Speed: 101mph (I wanted to see if triple-digits dropped the decimal on the display -- it does, LOL!)
Moving Time: 4:53
Moving Average Speed: 52.6mph
Overall Average Speed: 35.0mph

The reason for the slow speeds this time around (apart from the obvious), is the slow, SLOW border crossing, and the breaks I took because I could make phone calls again to the states. I was in phone withdrawal being in Canada, where AT&T charges $0.79 per minute. Speaking of which, I am going to wind this up now and make a call to someone I miss very much.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Road Trip Day Two (Continued): Hanging out with the Martins

Had a great, laid-back evening chilling with the most gracious Canadian hosts in the world, Bob and Monica Martin, and their daughter Jessica. We enjoyed a great dinner of grilled chicken, ribs, baby potatoes, and carrots. Then, we retired to the patio for drinks, music, and the exchanging of stories and catching up. It was nice not having to worry about moving very quickly the next day! :)

The next day, we all rested in our various ways. I really needed this vacation!

Heading back into the States tomorrow, entering New York, and stopping at the House Of Guitars in Rochester before heading to my Aunt and Uncle's house. It should be a fun ride... it is less than four hours, so it will be another short ride. The weather is looking killer, so it should be great.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Road Trip Day Two: The Great White North, Eh!

After the rain subsided, it was a pretty laid-back day of riding. It was certainly shorter than yesterday's ride. Aside from some construction just outside Lansing, the road conditions were perfect, although pretty overcast. Since the lake-effect heads due east, I was behind the storm by an hour or so most of the day. It was pretty dreary, but I stayed dry!

Leaving Lansing, Michigan

I came across a Drive-In Theater between Lansing and Flint. They are pretty rare these days. They were at their peak during the car-centric 1950's, when there were nearly 4,000 screens across the United States. These days, there are around 400 screens remaining. One of these screens is in my city, Belleville. It is currently for sale, and may not be a drive-in much longer. The real-estate it is on is far too valuable not to develop. Anyway, here are pics of the Miracle-Twin Drive-In in Burton, Michigan.

Port Huron is a beautiful place to cross into Canada. It was overcast, but still gorgeous!

I don't know why, but I always get nervous at border crossings. They seem to ask so many questions. It is like being on a date or something.

Another thing... I hate the kilometer/mile thing. I like to RELAX on my road trips. I don't want to sit there and do math the entire time. So, I just decided that I was going to end up speeding, and not worry about the particulars.

I arrived in London! Time for some of that 5% beer! It is an off-day tomorrow, so there might not be an update. Heading to Rochester, NY, on Friday morning.

Useless GPS Stats:
Miles Today: 204
Top Speed: 97.6mph (I was passing a truck)
Moving Time: 3:08
Moving Average Speed: 65.1mph
Overall Average Speed: 59.6mph

Road Trip Day Two: Riding (or Waiting) The Storm Out...

The sound of thunder is never a good thing to wake up to when you are on a road trip across several states and Canada on your motorcycle.

Last night, the hotel clerk asked me if I wanted to park the bike under the overhang. I looked at him kind of funny at first, since I wasn't aware of any rain in the forecast. I asked him, "Are they calling for rain?" He said, "This is Lansing. We are due east of the the lake. You never know what you are going to wake up to." So, I took his advice and parked it in the small, covered area near the front door of the hotel.

And, I will be damned if he wasn't right.

So, I will hang out here, poring over maps and drinking the cruddy free hotel coffee until it passes. (and MAN, is the coffee bad here!) I have a light day today, heading for London, Ontario. Only a couple hundred miles, and I will be there. I see some sun in the distance on the horizon, so I will be on the road again before long.

Rain, rain, go away!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Road Trip Day One: The Ride Begins

Today marked the beginning of my three-week road trip to the northeast. I left from Belleville this morning with plans to make it to Lansing, Michigan.

The first hundred miles were rough. I was tired, since I didn't get much sleep last night. I was actually starting to fall asleep on the bike (never a good thing at any time, and it was certainly foreboding to have it happen before the first refill of the tank). So, I stopped in Greenville, IL, for a tank-up and a Zero-Carb Rockstar energy drink. I plugged in the iPod, and started Eat A Peach by The Allman Brothers Band. That did the trick. I was wired for sound the rest of the day. Of course, the second Rock Star a few hours later helped. ;)

I also picked up some cheap sunglasses. It is a ritual when me when I take a long road-trip to buy cheap sunglasses (less than $5) when you start out. Sometimes they get lost, or broken, but having souvenir sunglasses is one of those weird little things I do when I ride. I know, I don't understand it either.

There was something weird I noticed... The iPod was a little bit weirdly pitched at speed. It was almost like a little Doppler Effect was happening in my headphones. I will have to do some research to figure out why it happens that way. Things just didn't "sound" right, if that makes sense. The voices seemed too highly-pitched, and it almost warbled. Strange. How DARE science get involved in this trip.

Just outside Chicago, I accidentally lost my Throttle Rocker, which sort of angered me. It was better than losing my iPod, of course, but it was distressing to see it fly off my handlebar and bounce behind me, in the middle of three lanes going 70mph. Going back for it just wasn't an option. I just used the friction lock as a poor-man's cruise control instead.

Just inside of Michigan, I encountered a group of about ten other Harleys. I respectfully hung back so that I wasn't riding in their group uninvited. I ended up edging my way in the formation (in back after a short time). About thirty miles after joining their group, they moved over to the right to let me go (or so I thought). Then, the lead two guys got back in front of me and I ended up in the middle of the group. I was thinking of that song "Let The Man Go Through" while I was stuck there. They were bopping along at a good pace (75mph), but I was tired and wanted to make the hotel. So, since I was bored cruising along, I decided since I didn't actually know any of the guys, I wanted to give them names. There was a couple beside me. I named them Homer and Marge. There were three guys in front of me. I named them Ross, Joey, and Chandler. All of a sudden, I was among Friends, LOL. I know, that was silly, but I was bored... what can I say?

The smell of pine and cedar just after hitting Route 69 in Michigan was breathtaking. The beauty of taking a road trip on the motorcycle is that you feel as though you are a part of the landscape you are riding in, rather than being trapped in a cage behind glass. People always give me a strange look when they hear that I am taking a long ride across several states (and sometimes Canada) and I am taking a motorcycle. For me, there is no other way. It is definitely my preferred method of travel.

Well, it is the end of the day now, and I am pretty tired. I was really glad to see the hotel. :) More to come.

Useless GPS Stats:
Miles today: 551
Top Speed: 99.2mph (hee hee hee, oops!)
Moving Time: 8:17
Moving Average Speed: 66.4mph
Overall Average Speed: 47.1mph