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Discussion Starter #61
I didn't stop except for a few pics and gas. The pickings are few on that side of the island. A bias against the French!!! Mon Dieu! :wink2:
 

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Nice Pics, Were are hoping to ride to Nova Scotia this year don't know if we will be able to do it or not its 1500 miles each way for us with our time frame it will be 3 days @500 miles and 4 days Nova Scotia then 3day 500 mile home going to be kinda tough on us but were hopfull.
 

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Discussion Starter #63
Nice Pics, Were are hoping to ride to Nova Scotia this year don't know if we will be able to do it or not its 1500 miles each way for us with our time frame it will be 3 days @500 miles and 4 days Nova Scotia then 3day 500 mile home going to be kinda tough on us but were hopfull.
Man, I wouldn't do that, that sounds like an endurance event. The Cabot, and Nova Scotia, is NOT a fast ride. Yes, it can be done, but if you want to --- and I'm not talking about "smelling" the roses, but knowing the roses actually exist---it can be done. You'd be spending all the time in the saddle and not much, if any time to explore. I had a week and I was doing stuff every day. I would think, in order for it not to be a blur, an extra day on every leg, ie 3 more days, would make a big difference, and allow you to explore backroads instead of always pushing.

Your call, obviously, but sounds like too much for me. Where are you coming from?
 

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Discussion Starter #64
When I was a child, probably about 11, 12 I remember seeing the Bay of Fundy in a National Geographic.

No, I didn't look at the National Geographic to see pictures of "natives," because, well that's why God ( I think it was God, correct me if I am wrong) invented my friend Bobby Rittman's uncle's Playboys, and then I discovered all on my own Adam and Swank magazines. I always preferred the more tawdry photographic style of the latter. That being said, I was fascinated with the Bay of Fundy. I only had a vague idea where it was, "up in Canada somewhere on the right." Our tides in south Louisiana are usually about a foot, if that much, and were not exciting at all.

But the Bay of Fundy...whoa; now, these are tides...really? Boats sit on the bottom when the tide is out? It was hard to believe and it seemed so danm far away, a place seen only in the National Geographic magazine.

So, that memory was filed away, but never forgotten, and in the planning stages of this ride I see that the real Bay of Fundy was, or could be on the itinerary.

Yes!

But on the way to the Bay of Fundy from Truro, I road a trail that gets little press, or space on motorcycle blogs, but in my view was a better ride than the Cabot Trail, in the scenic and rural nature of the ride. That trail is the Glooscap Trail.



I went south from Truro, and headed, I think toward 14 then to the Trail, 215. It's the boonies, and that is a compliment. I thoroughly enjoyed the day's ride then up to Moncton, which, just from passing through, looked to be a cool little town, then back along the coast to Alma, New Brunswick, where I stayed the night... on the Bay of Fundy...with a ringside seat for the fabled tides!

Again, it, The Glooscap, was a very nice ride, and I would definitely recommend it if you are in the area...I'll go farther than that: If you have taken the time to ride up to Nova Scotia to do the Cabot, you should also do the Glooscap. Not much of a detour, and it is a very worthwhile addition to your ride.

Along the Glooscap











There were numerous side roads that went in the direction of the coast, or into deserted resort-ish type areas, and "resort" is too big a word; more like a collection of shabby cabins on the waterfront, and no one was there, though I could hear a dog barking.

This is one of those little roads, this one crossing the Apple River, from my POV looking down. The coast is to my back and the road ends on top of the hill on which I stand, but you can see the size of the road and that it ain't no major thoroughfare. IOW there were roads, little ones that beckoned in a Let's-See-Where-This-Goes way. Come on, we all have that version of wanderlust, or just curiosity, in us, right?



I didn't see any little towns to stay in along here, and I wasn't looking to spend the night on the Glooscap, but I could have done worse, for sure...(like Truro), so it would be a day ride for you wherever you stay, but it is worth a detour and to just follow where your front wheel wants to go.

As I said I rode up through Moncton, and maybe on a ride up to Prince Edward Island (sometime in the future) staying in Moncton would be on the table, it looked like it had character.

So now on to Alma, turning my front Southbound for the rest of this ride, a milestone of sorts.

I again took the coast road, I passed the Hopewell Rocks, which is a major deal along the way, but it was getting a bit late and I needed to set up for a timelapse I was attempting. I had a reservation at The Parkland Village Inn, and it was a really nice place to stay. I ate at the Tides Restaurant and it was good. Definitely recommend it. That said...my room is up on the top floor and if you look closely you can see my camera set up on a beanbag (poor man's tripod) for the timelapse.



and this is the view with the tide being out. The Bay proper is in the background. If you have a big screen you're looking at this on, blow up this panorama.



and







smugly remembering the Bay of Fundy from that Nat Geo so long ago



I start the timelapse, it's misting a little bit and I put a plastic bag over my camera for some protection. I decide how frequently to take the pix, to string them together for a timelapse of the tides and I start it clicking. click, click, click, click

To do a proper timelapse you need umlimited power for the camera, usually, and I did not yet have an ac adapter for the d810, so I was at the mercy of full charge battery power. I had no idea how long it would last before draining. So, once it started going, I went to dinner at the Tides. Good stuff, but this part of the world has good food, assuming you like seafood. I am a $lut for mussels and fish and chips, and that's what I ordered. My waitress was cute in a rounded, tattooed, red haired and smiling sort of way---and I am very accepting.
I asked her what beers they had, and she rattled off a list of unknown, but local, names, including one that she said was "Man's Best Friend."

I quipped that I thought I knew what Man's Best Friend was, but not in a beer. Taking no offense at the thinly veiled salacious and unverified comment, she went right on telling me it was
a) local
and
b) it was an ale

from beeradvocate.com
Opaque black color with strong glass clinging activity. Thick creamy brown 2 finger sparkling head, lasting around 5 to 10 minutes, with a good amount of legs.

Aromas of pleasant butterscotch. Flavors of cocoa, coffee, oak, nutty, roasted grains, herbal spices. Quite earthy with a strong syrupy feel, but still sharp.

Smooth thick body with prickly carbonation. Medium to strong finish, ending with a slight dry thick molassy feel with soft earthiness.

Overall decent quality craft with good flavors that are well intensified, but lacking some freshness. Very metallic at start but smooths out with some time. The feel is a little off though.


Hey, I ordered it and I thought it was good and it was most certainly good at The Tides, overlooking the Bay of Fundy, on this grey October afternoon, awaiting what turned out to be very good mussels, and delicious fish and chips (does that ever get old).

So, Man's Best Friend, and I am reminded of an old joke about a machine found in a bathroom that was "Your Wife Away From Home," but oh, what a surprise!
I digress...I do that a lot.

Man's Best Friend, in addition to being a beer in this corner of the world, was pictured on the label to be a scottie dog! How about that!



After dinner, I walk around a bit more, the tide now coming in. My battery died after about 4 fours, so the opus that follows represents only about 4 hours, but I think you'll get the idea.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Nova-Scotia-2017/i-JQZjhkQ/0/bfb3bad4/1920/Bay of Fundy-1920.mp4
 

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Discussion Starter #65
The next day's ride would bring me as much along the coast as possible, but at some point I needed to point south and cross the boarder; and thereby, by my very presence, Make America Great Again. Didja miss me?


You believe that. right? Did American slide while I was in Nova Scotia? Someone else must've taken up the slack, cuz I didn't notice upon my return. So, don't start climbing all over me slicing me to bits with a death of a thousand cuts, or snarks, assuming I am politically this or that. I am being a bit facetious. And I want America to be great. He!!, I want Zimbabwe to be great, but you play the odds in geopolitics.


I am kinda reminded, though, of the platitudes I get when it is discovered that I was in the Army and I get the "thank you for your service" thing. ( Ironically, it almost always comes from those who never served, or who never faced the draft, or only have known the all-volunteer military. )


I am sure that there are many many fine people in the military, and I am truly thankful for their service, past and present, even though totally voluntary now; but, somehow, when I am "thanked" it feels hollow, like the words are bouncing around in an empty barrel and fall to the bottom simply because of gravity.
I went in just after Viet Nam. I did "volunteer," but only because of a number of things conspired to make it the "logical" choice, including the draft. Free will? Hmmm, I guess, but I whenever I hear the term I think of the last part of War and Peace. Tolstoy, at the end, goes into this long discussion about Free Will.
In short, there ain't none, according to Leo.
With every moment of living you, Leo says, are presented with choices, and likely one choice will stand out as the "best." So, you are coerced by environment and nature to make a particular choice, if that word can even be used...it is the one that makes sense, and with that "free" will goes out the window. I am way-over simplifying, but that's essentially it. The "decision" to enlist was the logical choice at the time...and I could not wait to be discharged---we're talking mid 70s here. So, when someone "thanks, me for my service" my usual response is, "I'm sure you felt a lot safer from 1975-1977 when I was in, keeping the world safer from Moncrief (known as More-Grief) Army Hospital at Ft Jackson, SC.
(Disclaimer: I worked with some really good, qualified, and likeable people there, and with the advantage of many decades of hindsight, it was a good experience, a growing experience, having just come out of my residency At Charity Hospital--look it up)


But, on a motorcycle ride, Leo, there are equal choices, or the possibility of choosing the unknown, of winging it, taking a chance. Leo didn't ride as far as I know. Choices that present are subordinate, in a way, to free will, in that: Free will, existing or not, put you on a bike and let you want to go on a ride to parts unknown...so, free will is not playing when two roads diverge into a wood, or something like that.


So, I meandered, apart from free will, in the blanket of serendipity toward the USA border, and i eventually crossed outside of St Stephen, NB. Don't know about you, but crossing back into the USA has always been a piece of cake. The guards have always been friendly, and leave me with a good feeling. The guard at this booth, asked a few questions, and then said, "Welcome, home." Two words that can make a remembered experience. I thanked him, no hollow Thank You For Your Service. And I rode into Maine still far far far from my physical home...and America is great again.


I took an inland route, now beginning to be concerned about Hurricane Nate and stayed in Bangor that night.


These rides are explorations of the planet and of your self. You learn things about the places you travel, and by traveling to those places you learn things about your self. No one talks, or writes about that part of these adventures. But, that part, I think, is the biggest part of the ride. I will quickly add that this is a feature of a solo ride, of a solo rider; disappearing, non-existent, with a riding chum.


There are things I've learned about myself, or about things in general, that have changed the way I do things on a day to day basis. Some are truths that we've all given lip service, but never, or poorly, practiced. Some are answers to questions that you didn't know were asked, until along US 50 east of Gunnison, you realize, out of the blue that <fillintheblank>.


I wrote way back in this report that there were encounters along the way--there were 4--that drove home a point that I didn't want to face, all in the youcan'tjudgeabookbyit'scover department. I will elaborate in the next entry, but for now there have been far too many words, and I need to throw some meat (pictures) to the lions (you, dear readers).


This may be the penultimate entry, or not. There will be maybe just one more, I think, as Hurricane Nate made my return trip boring interstate, and wet.


However, this ride presented so many opportunities for check list items. Check list items are on that list because they are worthwhile, right? And I was passing by one of those...Mount Washington in New Hampshire.


One word can be used to describe it:


W H O A


I read about it, no wait, there was an earlier encounter, back before my Army days. Mrs Strangelove and I, or Mrs JayElDee and I, depending where you are seeing this, drove north in a Volvo (ugh), went to Acadia National Park, and on the way back stopped at Mt Washington. We thought we'd walk up, it's only about 6200 feet up, how hard could it be? We saw the signs that said people far better than us had died on this mountain. Yeah, right, plus we had a coat. I was even wearing chukka-boots. Suffice it to say within a short period of time, ie, before the mountain killed us, we saw the error of our ways, turned around and laugh at our stupidity even today.
That Mount Washington.


So, I researched it, found that there was about a mile stretch of dirt, that it could be treacherous, to be prepared for cold at the top, and wind. Check, check and check. I saw a report ever on ADVRider from an honest reporter, who told his story of fog and misery, after specifically asking at the base, where you pay your $17 for the rite of passage, about the weather at the top.
"Oh, there's a little fog, up there
He wrote:
I've dealt with fog before, this sounds fine, let's do it!


only to find the "worst fog" he'd ever encountered...ever. He made it up and down safely, and not dissuaded I followed his tire treads.


At the base, $17 lighter, I put on my heated liner. People stare at me.




I asked the guy who took my money.


How is it going up?


oh, it's ok, there was a little fog earlier


(I've heard that before)
I understand that there's some dirt road along the way..


Oh, yeah, a mile, but it's fine...you'll do fine...it's easy


Yes, he said it's easy. He was smiling when he said it, but it could've just been the Chamber of Commerce smile, pasted on by the New Hampshire Department of Tourism. He didn't look like a first responder so he could say whatever he wanted, and that's what he said. He probably says that to everyone...don't be misled.


How far is it to the top?


(Proudly--not sure why) 7.6 miles!


OK, I can deal with that, at least I know.


The road up Mount Washington is maybe the most dangerous road I've ever ever ridden. YMMV, but this was scary stuff. Moki Dugway may be on that list, but far removed from this. With Moki, you just "do it." And Moki is wide and empty. With this one though, it is straight up. It is narrow...very. There is traffic coming the other way...lots. There is a severe fall-off, down the mountain to your right---you'd never ever get your bike back if you went over, and that is a fear. If you are unfortunate enough to be following a car, the physics of the ride just got exponentially worse, challenging your skill at remaining upright as the car will brake at the most inopportune times for a motorcycle to endure.


I am lucky, within about a mile I come on a car from New York, that pulls to the side a bit an lets me pass...THANK YOU! and i didn't have any other traffic all the way up...or...maybe...I just didn't see it.


The road begins paved, and sunny, a bright New England Fall day. It remains so when I hit the dirt. It is again, that kind of dirt that is hard packed, few ruts, but with a patina of larger-than-marble sized round, very round, rocks. Just fracking perfect. The mountain disappears on the right into what must surely be some sort of oblivion. No trees to break your descent, so if you go over the side, there is not much to stop your "progress" Earthward. You're going down, with malice.


Have you ever noticed there are few pictures of the ascent of Mount Washington? uh, huh. There's a reason for that. I come out of the dirt. I take deep breaths, I force myself to be calm, hold the grips not with a death grip, but like a baby bird who may be readying for a fall from the nest, but I try not to think about that. I am 4 miles up on the mountain, I am beyond the dirt, thankfully, when the fog ambushes me.


I live in the swamps, we have fog, sometimes very dense fog as I described I encountered on the first day of the Nova Scotia ride. This was bad fog. It is dense, it blots out the road, though the turns do that very well also. It blankets. It is filled with wraithes and ghosts and goblins. It is out of The Hound of the Baskervilles, it's blowing across the road no matter which way I turn my front wheel. It's dark grey, like curtains, and oncoming traffic helpfully has on their brights; azzholes!


I reach the last few switchbacks, nearing the top when someone is, I think, directing me way to the back of a trickly graveled inclined parking lot.


No, thank you I am parking here, next to this Harley, the only two bikes at the top. I make sure I am not misled by the slopes as I descend from the bike, wishing no surprises of unrecognized imbalance. And it's cold, and blowing, and damp, and actually sorta crowded.





I thought these people were waiting for the bathroom, but they were awaiting the funicular to take them down the mountain.






I go in search of hot chocolate; there is some at the summit.


Flip Flops and shorts are inappropriate for Mount Washington, probably in the high 30s and windchill making it feel far lower...it was cold.



and there is this informative sign

That's more than Mount Everest, btw that has only recorded 176 mph. There is something peculiar about the topography of Mount Washington that makes it prone to such winds.





And within the warmth of the snack bar that was doing land office business in coffee, hot chocolate and soup, there is this sign, glumly flanked by this happy camper...and I believe it.



With the recent spate of Nor-easters hitting the area, I cannot imagine what it would be on top of this mountain. Probably not good riding weather.

Warmed and replenished calorically by the hot chocolate, when I step outside, I see that at least momentarily the fog, not on little cat feet, has moved on, and the occasional panorama unfolds. Spectacular.







continued below
 

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Discussion Starter #66
from preceding


As I am taking these pictures, I see two fellow riders parking next to me. I watch how they get off their bike, a bit unsteady, cautious, surveying, like they just had a rite of passage.
I chat with them a bit, all agreeing that the word "harrowing" best describes the ride. The cruiser rider says his bike is too big to come up here, the (is it a) DR rider agrees and says that's why he left his RT at home. He comes up a few times a year. Cruiser guy is from New York and this was his first ascent. As we are talking another rider approaches us. He was also on a dirt bike, reiterating that this road is no friend to a big bike.


Turns out that our latest companion used to work at the weather station at the top


Is it always manned?


yes, always


What's the worst you've seen?


Well that's hard to say, but during the blizzard of 94 ( we think that was when a huge blizzard hit the east coast) a fellow weather service guy "lost" his snow-cat, found only when the snow melted. Fortunately the driver was not lost.


What's the highest winds you've personally seen here.


He tells the story about once when they had to retrieve some sort of data sample that was in an outlying station they had to walk out to it, in the dark and with 135mph winds, but he was sure they got much higher, though that was his "personal best." He then told us he thought he was going to fall many times on the way up, because he was behind "the most idiotic driver (he'd) ever encountered, who was braking for no apparent reason going up hill and it was all (he) could do to maintain (his) balance, never sure (he) would." This is a guy who comes up this road often and is a local. Strong words indeed.
We asked about the grade of the road?


It averages 12% grade, but the steepest parts--and there were many--are 18%.


Although cooncerned about the ride back down, it was smooth sailing, first gear and engine braking, skittered over the dirt, and mostly a sunny ride back down.
An adventure to be sure, not sure if I would want to do that again, but danm glad I did do it...you should too!


It was an amazing ride up there, bragging rights kind of ride, i think. And I definitely needed a T Shirt to commemorate. Stereotype warning: Are New Hampshire people gruff, stodgy, lacking a sense of humor? I found the ones I dealt with that way and far less freindly than their Maine and Massachusetts counterparts. Vermonters didn't seem to be a barrel of laughs either, but the New Hampshirites, well, the state's motto is "Live Free Or Die," and they seemed to be continuously skewed psychologically to one or the other, and I think I kept catching them on the "Die" day. For almost every dealing I felt I was supplying the personality for two people, me and them. Whatever.


At the T shirt shop across from Mt Washington



and the mountain itself, now sporting a clear summit



Hoping for the last entry tomorrow or the day after
 

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Nice report of Mount Washington. I did it on a K1600GT with two Goldwings and a Ultra Classic following me. Our bikes actually overheated on the way up and we stopped at a pull out for about 20 minutes. It was caused by the auto traffic crawling along and randomly stopping. I'm glad the view opened up for you before you came down!
 

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So, when someone "thanks, me for my service" my usual response is, "I'm sure you felt a lot safer from 1975-1977 when I was in, keeping the world safer from Moncrief (known as More-Grief) Army Hospital at Ft Jackson, SC.
I have a similar feeling when I'm thanked. I made the choice to join the USAF Reserves to help pay for college and to at least be in the service (all the men in my family have done so, until one cousin...). I was in Basic right after Desert Storm, when the Soviet Union basically crumbled (that led to an interesting briefing). Then I out-processed right before my unit got the call up to Bosnia. Aside from work my once a month duty and the yearly two week trip (sometimes somewhere fun - Spangdahlem one year. Patrick AB the next - got to work on the C130s that fly into hurricanes. WC-130s, maybe?). So, here I am, purely a structural maintenance guy (tin bender!), only a weekender, and not even qualifying for veteran status, getting thanked for my service. Rings very hollow compared to others I know who were in full time, deployed, and were in combat.
 

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Discussion Starter #69
... Rings very hollow compared to others I know who were in full time, deployed, and were in combat.
right.

There are many reasons to feel like whoever is "thanking" you, really may not understand those who made real sacrifices, esp getting maimed or worse.

My reason for joining was in order to get a residency appointment, and to avoid being drafted. The lottery did not apply to docs, so people were being drafted out of training, and no chairman of a dept wanted that. Many residents (those who are in specialty training) could not get into a residency unless they "had done something about the army," so by volunteering I was able to put off active duty until my specialty training was finished, but I would be assured of serving 2 years active duty. I had a young family at that time and being drafted and sent to SE Asia, even if serving in a relatively safe area, just didn't make a lot of sense, nor did taking a chance on a residency that would accept all comers...not much free will there.

It's interesting how life can change someone: I did not have a lot of pride, at the time, serving when I did---it was like two years of my life spinning my wheels, I was eager to get out. My friends at home saw me and when they introduced me to new people, I was a bit ostracized, for no other reason than I "looked like a 'narc'." I got along great with the other docs and the nurses, tech, the medical people, but there was the MSC, The Medical Service Corps, who were the middle managers of the hospital, ie not "medical," and as bureaucratic and officious as could be; and, they only respected the oak leaf on my collar, nothing else. I was too green to know what that oak leak commanded, not that I would have done anything about it.

Now, those bureaucrats have faded away, I am proud to have served as I did---and when I did; I am proud of my rank even though a "two year wonder."
It was in retrospect a good extension of my training because I had to learn/hone efficiency, something not emphasized in training--even at a big city big hospital, even in a service specialty, but very important in "the real world at a real hospital." I have never been against "the Draft," and think the USA would be far better served as a civilized society if it were universal and continued, with far fewer exemptions and far more options, ie, not just the military one, but others, perhaps run by the military, but, for example teaching at inner city schools or with a municipal engineering firm or...get creative.


So, having gone OT BIG TIME...

There are some wonderful roads around Mount Washington, and I had this one planned out, not really sure where I would land this evening. So, looking at the map I decided to go down NH16 as it wound through the woods, narrow road, curvy, fall color, eventually reaching NH 112, the Kancamagus Highway...does it get any better? Well, yes it does, because I was behind leaf peepers going slooooooow, obnoxiously slow, irresponsibly and infuriatingly slow. I think they KNEW how it bothered me and did it anyway! That's what I think.

The physics of a motorcycle is different, we know that.

Leaf peepers don't know that and are resistant to knowing it. "Oh, look, Bill!" and Meg has put into her lap her New Hampshire: A Guide For All Seasons that she got from Barnes and Noble, "Bill, it got 3.5 stars out of 5, but sounds perfect for us." The guide books know the roads, but never ever ever do they offer suggestions to be mindful of others behind you. It ought to be a Black Box Warning: You do not exist in a vacuum

We have 360 degree awareness, right? Instead of that, they had a Kia sedan, it was either the Doloroso or the Sospirando model, and they had oranges they picked up this morning for this afternoon. And the baggage train of the disappointed souls followed them, sulking, brake light, then brake light, then brake light, staccato-like, and then me. We wound our way through this gorgeous New England road in fall color in excess ("Nothing succeeds like excess," Oscar Wilde) and I am playing tag with 2nd and 3rd gear, 1st sometimes, watching my distance from the car immediately in front, and while not actively cursing Bill and Meg, ok, I'll stop with all the negativity, but I can't!

Bill and Meg hang a Louie at 302, and free at last, free at last, Thanks God-Almighty, Free At Last. Cars speed up and it's a short hop to the Kanca heading west...and it's glorious, but only for a bit.

I am heading west and, though the Kancamagus winds significantly through the forest clad in reds and browns and golds and some green, the Sun, our nearest star was able to do the physically impossible. It was able on this now late afternoon to be in my eyes and refracted by those various bug parts that remained on my visor for the entire ride. I thought about calling Carl Sagan to ask, "How come?" But he's dead, so then I thought well maybe Stephen Hawking, he's a real physics guy, I mean, he's so smart, right? but I didn't have his number or an international call card, and I really really didn't have time to await his answer. And I can't now. But I swear, in my eyes the whole time.

I still enjoyed it though; I was able to go fast enough, some traffic, not oppressive, and I had done the road before a few years ago. You should do it, but in the morning and east to west.

I wind up in North Woodstock, NH, and as I fill up I find out that...I am on the same road that...



Wow...I'm looking around to see who else may notice this, I am alone...just like the Hills---cue the X-Files theme---They Are Out There

There's activity in the gas station, chatter, but, now well-past-dark, unintelligible, but that's how they want it, you know? I keep some tin foil in my top case for just such events, and I quickly, with stealth, remove my Shoei, wrap my head in foil and re-don the lid. The "chatter" stops as someone emerges from inside. He sees me. No one says:
Klaatu Barada Nikto

from Wiki...
Barney and Betty Hill were an American couple who claimed they were abducted by extraterrestrials in a rural portion of New Hampshire from September 19 to September 20, 1961. It was the first widely publicized report of an alien abduction in the United States.


Barney (R), Betty (L), and Delsy (promised a treat if he was a good boy)



Betty in an undocumented image obtained from Coast2CoastAM.com



And Barney, later, mansplaining Betty's complex ovulatory cycle, to Delsy. Betty is cautiously amused, and embarrassed, because, you know, the dog.



US3 in North Woodstock, New Hampshire, indeed; I am living history.

So, there was now this other storm, Nate. Now I really have to make tracks and lose the dilly-dallying.

See that red area? That's my route home.



I had already been gone three weeks, and though I was not under pressure from The Realm, Nate was no gentleman and prudence dictated that I choose a prudent way home, and that meant interstate. Ugh.
The good news is if there is an interstate N->S in the eastern USA, I could do a lot worse than 81, which is fairly scenic, and 59, 20, 59 into New Orleans. If I had to be in rain I suppose the slab would be as good, or as bad, a place as any. The die is cast. Not quite haul a$$, but big roads.

When I was in Bangor, which was "last night" in this report, I had an encounter...the first of 4, alluded to earlier.

Remember this? It's part of a song from HAIR, but somebody, probably English wrote it, sounds like 16th century, maybe Mallory, but that's a girl's name, still...

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason,

how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable,

in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!

the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals
Sometimes you think how beautiful that is, but sometimes you learn a painful though possibly a cosmically inconsequential truth, namely, "yeah...that's not me."

I had a backache, from "something (not riding)" that was most noticeable when I tried to move in bed...ouch, frozen, spasm city lower back. I needed a "medrol dose pack"
I tried to get one in Canada, they didn't know what it was. (BTW, no politics here, but if a pharmacist in Canada doesn't know what something as basic in the US as a medrol dosepack is and certainly doesn't stock it, I think that could speak volumes about stuff, basic stuff, ava in the USA and not elsewhere...hmmm. It's a very basic thing with no abuse potential)

So, in Bangor, I go to the local CVS, talk to the pharmacist, show my license, driver's and medical, and ask if I could write for a medrol dosepack.
He answers in two words:
Sure, doc.

$7 co-pay later, I am putting the steroid in my tank bag when I see him coming from the corner of my eye...old guy, about 5'4", maybe 130#, skinny, boney, looking older than even me.
He has that "look" he's coming my way...slowly. He has a beard like a roadie from ZZ Top, far after his and its prime. He's wearing khaki shorts with elastic knee supports on both knees. And a cane. I am trying to get away, but I, ironic, huh, I am too slow and he catches up to me and I know he's going to hit on me for something.

You know this, you've been there, not my first rodeo. This guy has panhandler written all over him.
I just wanted to take the first dose of my medrol dosepack and relax.

And he opens the conversation, and I couldn't ignore him, and, and, and I couldn't have been more wrong about reading "appearances," reading those appearances that society teaches you and you ignore at your own peril.
Turns out he was an old motorcycle racer, "when it was really dangerous and they didn't have all that safety stuff." He's asking me about the GS, he asks in detail, astute to recognize a 1200 cc engine. We talk horsepower and ABS, and suspension; he saw the telelever, he nods and grins, like he was seeing the future, but the future was now.
We talked about my ride, and how great he thought it was. We talked age, a bit of life, and then he said he wasn't going to "keep" me. I was maybe keeping him? We wished each other well and I rolled away as he hobbled into the CVS. "How noble in reason," Hamlet was being sincere, I am being sarcastic. My "reason" was not noble at all, yet did I learn anything about it, it appears no. How suspiciously wary in reason.

After my night in UFO territory, I had one more day of "good riding" before the likelihood of the slab.

I rode to Binghampton, NY, arriving in a light rain, a preview of Nate. I will be resting my bones at the Motel 6. Someone left the light on.

Hi, I'm looking for a room for this evening, non-smoking, senior rate if you have that?

The young lady behind the counter of this spruced up M6, clatters along the keys, her glasses reflect the screen that has her undivided. Pregnant pause.

There's a guy to my left at the end of the counter who looks to be a sorta hanger on at the Motel 6. Let me put it another way. He looks under-dressed for the place, and clothes make the man, right?

He leans on one elbow, he may be picking his teeth. I don't want to look. Don't want a "conversation," and none ensues. The young lady quotes me a fine rate, hands me two keys and says I can leave the GS in front under the portico. This Motel 6 was, it seemed designed by the guy who designs every hospital in the country, IOW, you are only one turn of a corner away from being disoriented and lost in the maze of hallways, but first to unpack my bike.

As I am doing so, I see the lingerer from inside making his way outside. Again, learning or remembering nothing from the old guy yesterday, the avoidance center of my brain kicks in: Don't talk to me, Don't talk to me, don'ttalktome.
he's going to talk to me and I am thinking Oh No.

The paragon of animals. Again, I am shamed, known only to me. The conversation from the guy I just knew was not a guest, probably hung out at the M6 for the action, well, he comes up to curmudgeon me and tells me how to get to my room. Smiling. Only being helpful...That's it. Just being freaking helpful and I was prepared to and wanted to ignore, resist and whatever else to avoid what I thought this human contact to be. I was 100% wrong for the second time in two days, and about people, old guys who were shabbily dressed...book and its cover and all that.

This time a bit of something stuck, but not much and I did not yet realize it.

I got some pizza from next door, at Nirchi's, good stuff, order light.

I kinda sorta started to realize, at some deep brain level, below conscious thought, that I am being, and maybe am, an azzhole in whatever clothing I appear to wear, clothing that is most visible to, I guess, me. Ok, being dramatic and maybe a little hard on myself, or maybe not I hear many saying, but ...
 

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The next morning I am packing to leave, and there's a guy, looks to be somewhere between 50 and 70, looks like a burned out hippie, open plaid shirt, white T under, looks like he slept in it, hair disheveled, leaning against a support column and lighting up. Needed a shave two days ago and even today, I can tell that's not on his to do list. I am standing right here, this M6 celebrated the Satanic Festival of the Dead early, or they were getting ready early



I am packing up and sure enough he takes the 3 or 4 steps to talk to me. I am a bit wary, but ... he starts telling me about a road I should take, that it goes along the river, and he can't remember the number of the road, but he believes it to be a "real good motorcycle road." I doubt him, at first, because he says he doesn't ride, etc etc, and I don't think he ever did, except for maybe some drug fueled rides maybe when Carter was president, Steppenwolf the band, not the novel ringing like a cow bell in his soon to be burned out brain. But this time I am a bit more welcoming to the contact--and welcoming is SO not the right word.

Anyway, I go back to the room for a final check, pull out my maps, look for the road from his description, and there it is...YES! it does look like a nice ride, but it is not on my way. I am going outside to share and he is gone. But that's number three, and has the cock crowed yet?


I hit the road and need gas. I pull in at a convenience store...I pull up to the far pump and I see a youngish guy coming out of the store, maybe 40? Looks like a cross between David Byrne (the Talking Heads guy+) and Bill Nye (The Science guy). That kind of hair, that kind of face. And in addition, he looks a bit crazy, like a crazy look in his eyes. I fill up, and am walking into the store for a pit stop, I walk right by him...

Hey, you got a minute?
yeah sure

What kind of bike is that?
A BMW, the model is a R1200GS, a 2016

He nods, remembering every word...

No, I mean, what do you call that kind of bike?
Oh, that would be called a Sport Adventure, or adventure Sport bike.
Again he nods ( as is my bladder, but I was kinda curious where this was going)

Is BMW the only company that makes those?
No, Triumph, Ducati and there are others, Honda, Yamaha

I see a lot of those around her, esp over by the lake--I think he meant Lake George

Just then a GS comes down the street and we wave
See? there's one there,
right.

Then he asks this, a question we all think we know the answer to, but have we ever really answered, and this guy looked intense, taking notes, so I wanted to give the "right" answer.

Well, why would someone ride that bike, instead of say a Harley.
Simple answer right, or maybe not.
I say that the two styles are different and the capabilities are different, that these are not particularly meant for starbuck's runs, but more for long rides, cross country. And Harleys can do that too, but,

So, it's not something that you would ride off road?
I explain that they are big, but off road are one of its strengths and he adds

But it's not a bike that
People ride off road and jump logs on those, not a Harley

he's thinking, processing

he adds "because of its ground clearance and suspension," etc
right

my bladder is cursing the rest of my body.

So, well, they seem really popular, but why would someone ride one and not the other?
I think, maybe because of the philosophy of the ride, what appeals, what the ride should be about.

He nods, understanding, though do I understand? the philosophy of the ride? Harley vs GS, where'd all this come from? But the more I think about that conversation, the more I think I really did answer him. He was not asking me what oil or what tires or what GPS or do I ride armed. No, this stranger in the middle of nowhere, 3 plus weeks into a ride is questioning not why I ride, but why this bike for the rides I ride. and it does come down to the philosophy of the ride.

What a piece of work is man
So noble in reason
so infinite in faculties, etc etc etc

I take my leak and when I come out, he's gone. Some stranger asking me existential questions about why and what and why again.

I ride on, now on 81, and starving because the Motel 6 did not have breakfast.

I get it in my head that a club sandwich would be just great; where's a Waffle House?

I find this one somewhere in Pennsylvania, stride inside to the usual Waffle House din and look and smell, with the same customers--they bus them from place to place for the "decor" and ambience.



Without looking at the menu, I tell the girl working the counter
I would like a Club Sandwich!

What's that, Sweetie?

A Club sandwich, you know.

No, I don't, Honey, what is it?
I start to say you really don't know what. . .
I try to explain, but quickly realize that no amount of explaining would help, but I describe it anyway, thinking that the three slices of toast with bacon and..
nope, don't know that. She feigns a pout.

I look at the menu, knowing all was not lost as I did have a Waffle House story as lame as it was, and seeking out the three road food groups of salt, grease and bulk, I opt for the Texas Cheesesteak Melt, and yes it WAS as good as it sounds. I was so hungry I did not care about my coronaries.

Refueled, I am heading south and meet Nate's rains about 100 miles north of Roanoke where I stop for the night. Definitely homeward bound. But Nate has other plans for me, it was looking grim for the next day, so I stayed a day in Roanoke and just chilled.

A day later, the skies were still grim when I left



In a 150 miles or so, things were dry and remained that way.

It was Bessamer, Alabama, that night at one of the best motels and nicest staff along the way as well as the worst restaurant, just dreadful.



There are some rides you can do in your sleep. Chattanooga to New Orleans is one of those, and with an overnight in Bessamer, even the sublime awfulness of Cracker Barrel "cuisine" couldn't stop me.

I got home about 2pm. One of the best things about these trips is the hug you get when you arrive. I look forward to it, and the first words out of my mouth were:

I can't believe I did the whole mother fxxxer. Mrs Strangelove or Mrs JayElDee, smiled and agreed.

It is now 5 months later and it's till sinking it. Somewhere around 6000+ miles, no falls, no mishaps, few missteps, a bit of self knowledge and how to be better, a remarkable ride to be sure, but you know the mark of a successful ride, it is that when you get home you start thinking about what do you want to do next. And I got to "discuss" academically with a complete stranger the philosophy of riding, at least from my point of view. At the end of the whole thing, that discussion may have been worth the price of admission. The Philosophy of The Ride.

thanks for sticking with the fits and starts of the report, with all the words, with the tangents and off topic stuff. Now, get out there and do your own!
 
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