=== Thursday Departure ===
Man, that was different.
We were invited to New York to attend my niece’s wedding. A very nice affair (some would say “perfect”).
I know how the ladies are. “We’re leaving at 5” which turns into “I still have to pack” and then, “we have to eat real quick”, to leaving at 6 or even 7. Uh-uh. I decided that I’d bail from work at 4 and meet them there. It’d give me a chance to make another ride and try the Gerbings on the Suzuki.
It turns out that I had enough time in that I could leave at 3:30. I also found out that Jasmine (Rita’s daughter) was leaving _work_ at 5 and expected to meet Rita at her place in Fairfax. And so it begins 🙂
We were staying overnight at a friend of Jasmine’s in NY. I had maps of Long Island so I could get to her house. I boogied out and on to 395N. A short wait for Pennsylvania Ave (someone on a silver BMW cut in next to me and ahead of the waiting traffic) and then a wait for the light at 295.
I intended on hitting 95N so I could stop at the rest area past Scaggsville Road so I went up 295 to 495. A loop around and up a couple of exits to 95N. So far the ride’s pretty nice. Traffic is moving pretty well as we expected lighter traffic for a Thursday night.
I made it to the first rest stop and called Rita. She was just leaving the house. Ok cool. Again on 95N and move smartly north.
My footing was a little unsure at the tunnel in Baltimore. Remove glove, remove wallet, give money, put change in wallet, put wallet back, put glove back on, accelerate.
At the second Maryland service area I stopped, got gas, took a break and called Rita. She was at Jasmine’s house getting the rest of the stuff together. It was 6pm.
There was a guy (Jim) there from NY heading home from Deals Gap. He had a bigger bike, something like a Valkyrie; not a v-twin. I didn’t sound like a Boss Hoss but it was a big bike. On one of the turns at the gap he misjudged and went off the road. The bike hit the soft earth and stopped throwing him over the top. No injuries and the bike’s a little scratched up.
Since he was heading for Long Island himself, he wanted to know what my pace was. I waffled a little and asked him how fast he was going. He said about 85 and I backed off. Sorry. That’s probably a little faster than I wanted to go thanks. He said “cool” and took off.
I got back on and took off. Delaware toll booths, Jersey Turnpike and on north. I was moving right quickly. I was passing cars at a good clip and kept low to reduce drag. Generally I stayed in the right lane since traffic was pretty light. At one point I passed a group of cars and a truck with a car behind me. While I probably wasn’t doing 90, I was moving. At the front of the cars I moved back to the right and a Jersey State cop blew by me, *whew*.
At the service area at around exit 7 or so, I stopped again, got a little gas and called Rita again. They were just hitting 495 and heading around.
When I got off the bike and unplugged, I started feeling the cold pretty quickly. I called Rita and chatted briefly then went inside and got a soda and a bag of mini-Oreos, just a quick snack 🙂
When I got back on the bike, I apparently shorted out the fuse for the Gerbings and didn’t realize it until I was on the road. While it was cold, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.
I made it to the next exit with no problems and picked up a pack of fuses. I changed out the fuse with no problem and got back on the road, nice a toasty again 🙂
Just before 287 I stopped briefly on the Turnpike shoulder and verified what my next exit was supposed to be. Rt 278 not 287. Good thing I checked 🙂
I kept moving until the 278 exit. On the offramp as I came around the turn (van in front of me so I wasn’t “moving”) there was a gigantic tire swallowing pothole and I hit it. Hard enough that the front end shook and I almost lost it. I smelled tire air at the tollbooth but a quick check (f#ck the guys behind me) showed no apparent damage. Must be the ambient Jersey air 😉 I complained about the pothole and the attendant agreed.
Moving right along, I headed up 278. As I came into view, I could see New York all lit up. Quite stirring. Really. It was all lit up, multi-colored. I actually waved at it 🙂 sort of a greeting.
After the Verrazano Narrows bridge was the real challenging part of the ride. The roads aren’t the best and several times I “jockied” or got up on my knees and rode out the bumps. In addition the drivers were crazy. Going across multiple lanes to exit. All in all it was quite fun 🙂
I made it up to 495 and headed east. Again the roads weren’t the best in some places. I hit a stretch of ground up road and others that were quite bumpy. Traffic was better though. I stopped at 16th Ave and gassed up. I called Rita and she was at the Delaware Bridge.
I got back on 495 and headed on down. Earlier Rita had said that Kristen wasn’t getting home until 1am or so and that I’d have to find a place to wait for Kristen to get home. Well, it was cold and I was a bit tired and didn’t really want to wait around for several hours. Rita agreed and said that if I could find a place to stay (not like the place in Charlottesville if you recall the previous report 🙂 I should get a room.
So up around exit 46, I found a Holiday Inn. A quick stop, $150 for the night, and I moved on 🙂 He was nice enough to point me at a Howard Johnson’s down the road a bit.
I missed the turn and went right instead of left. After a bit of wandering I came back and found the HoJo. $100 for their place. It’s amazing what you’ll put up with. It was about 10:30 and still 2 1/2 to 3 hours before Kristen came home. Ah well, we’ll stay here. I chatted with the security guard(!) and dropped my stuff off. I called Rita and told her where I was.
I found out later that Kristen (and Gale, her mom) were a bit upset that Rita and I didn’t stay with them. Jasmine did stay though. Bit of a misunderstanding on my part I guess.