Friday, October 12, 2007

Day 4-5 ... rain, traffic, night riding, and sleeping in a forest

There are a variety of reasons to take a long motorcycle ride. On or off-road, one can come up with just about any reason/excuse to go for a spin. Typically there's a destination, training, errands to run, whatever ... As mentioned in the first post, the Hearing Everett film was the impetus for this ride ... how the ride developed however I couldn't have planned if I tried.

As I would be needing to navigate my way through 90% unfamiliar terrain, and do so quickly, I ordered up a new GPS unit - this unit came with XM! Fantastic feature as my iPod locked up during one of the flights over so that got shipped back home.

BUT ... I learned the hard way that the included antenna for the radio was bad :(
I spent several hundred miles on the road with nothing but the wind noise for company. I know many long-time riders would scoff at the idea of an iPod, but I'm a junkie for on-road audio, especially when putting in over 12 hours/day on the bike (more on that later). You mind will wander all sorts of places as you watch Salvador Dali's fishing line whiz by ... (dotted line, catches every other fish, never mind...). At one time or another we've probably all been in a conversation that ends in a sort of awkward silence when you run out of things to say ... it's really weird when that happens & you're the only one inside your helmet.

Any rate, after a couple days or riding around & filming the north east, I arranged to return the malfunctioning antenna and ordered a new one. As I'm in a different state each day (sometimes many states in a day back east), I looked at a map & figured overnight shipping to someplace in South Carolina would work. I picked a UPS depot in Wilmington and THAT determined my adventure for the next couple days.

After the replacement was ordered, shipping was arranged, I plugged in the UPS address to my GPS ... it came up with nearly 700 miles worth of roads and an arrow pointing south.

So I turned the key...

Left New Hampshire & it immediately started POURING.

While trying to follow the GPS AROUND Boston & New York ... I managed to go straight through both. Heck, I even ... somehow managed to ride around Boston, then double back just so I could go through traffic in town!

Boston was nothing compared to New York however. Sitting in traffic for literally hours. Just watching the tenths click off the odometer was cause for celebration. Heck, in Opposite-Land this place is great - 10 little parties every mile. Try as I might, I couldn't see it this way for very long. Neither could the GS apparently as having no fan or radiator it started making all sorts of odd noises as the temperature gauge ran out of room to register.

Something had to be done. I pulled over onto a busted-up embankment next to the freeway to let the motor cool & think things over. Funny that the cars I pulled over next to might have been pulled over as well. When I fired the bike back up about 20 minutes later I was only three car lengths back from when I'd stopped.

A suspension test was in order. Looking at this embankment I though "I can probably make it up this". Sure enough, the GS was well-equipped for some urban dualsporting. Escape from New York had begun. Embankments, curbs, ... small retaining walls ... all fair game. Problem was every time I got back to any kinds of "expressway" (worst use of the term I've ever seen...) it was stopped. The GPS quickly re-routed me ... straight through the Bronx. What started as a "cool urban downtown" feel, quickly deteriorated to the point my "you'd better keep moving" radar started pinging as the obvious poverty rose in direct correlation to the number of unbelievably blinged-out Escalades. The cries of "Hey MONEY!" coming from the curbside throngs were almost completely muffled by my earbuds - ignorance truly is bliss & I just kept rolling through my tunnel of semi-silence. Granted, rolling over curbs & walls & such, but rolling nonetheless.

None too soon, I was back on the road ... but running very late at this point.

I ended up on the New Jersey turnpike - was hoping to avoid toll roads, but I was happy to be on anything moving ... anywhere ... at this point.

I thought my traffic woes were over once I passed NY & Jersey.


Accident on the 95 - ALL lanes closed.

Tried getting off & taking Hwy 1.

Most of the eastern seaboard apparently had the same idea.

It was around 10 pm at this point & I was getting nowhere fast.

Finally caught a break & hit some clear road, back to the 95, a little way south & pulled off at the first KOA sign I saw. Saw a steep dirt road leading to blank spots - no picnic tables, etc ... just clear a spot. Perfect.

12 PM. 17 hours on the bike. Time for a nap.


Up early & on the road by 7am - I was headed for UPS, still over 300 miles away at this point. Odd goal or not, might as well aim for something ... and nearly 700 from where I set this waypoint, the target was acquired:

I spend the next hour in the parking lot here taking the bike apart & replacing the bum antenna, packing that up & shipping it off. Also shipped off some paperwork for the bike & a few items I didn't need with me were shipped back home. Then I was off to Myrtle Beach where I would spend the night & next morning taking video & some stills.

Arriving at the Atlantic:


DAY 6 ...

Today was another very-distant-target day. I'll be visiting a couple churches in Florida, so from Myrtle Beach, I simply put one of the church names in & followed the arrow. Instead of sticking to the interstate the whole time, I'll occasionally wander off on some interesting road just to see what there is to see - the GPS will typically recalculate to get me to the intended destination via whatever road I force it to take.

Got on one such road - a sandy two-track:

...and there was indeed stuff to see:

Telling the GPS to redirect me:

That's it for today ... until then ... rolling on to the next update!