=== Sunday departure ===
It was drizzling a bit on Sunday as I followed Rita and Jasmine down 495 to Huntington and Rita’s brother’s house. The nice thing on the GSXR is the bit of protection from the elements. While we rode on wetish roads and through a couple of showers, my pantlegs were basically dry when we got to Phil’s house for brunch (meet and greet, say goodbye to everyone, a couple of family pictures and bail). Very nice though.
We got everything together. I was going to follow Rita out of New York since her and Jasmine were more used to the best ways out. She hit AM 1010 for traffic and we headed to Jerico Turnpike for a gas-up and a new 9-volt for my communications system.
A right on Jerico and stop for gas. From there we headed to rt 110. They didn’t have a battery so after we turned on 110 we stopped at a Radio Shack. I plugged in and had Rita call me on the cell to make sure it was all working. Cool and we’re on our way.
110 S to the Northern Parkway and we head west. This is a much nicer road with good smooth curves and lighter traffic. Rita’s moving quickly, apparently to get out of town as soon as possible.
Most of the road is pretty nice. Rita’s changing lanes and I’m right behind her. From time to time someone moves between us. If I can’t see Rita, she may hit an offramp and I’ll be heading downtown so it’s slide over, pass and get behind her again.
Keep going until it turns into Grand Central Parkway. We come around until we’re next to La Guardia Airport. Now this part is a little tough for me to follow since I was following Rita and she was following signs to The Triborough Bridge.
Near as I can figure, we got on to 278 and looped around onto the Triborough Bridge. That loop was particularly bumpy. I jockied as we went around a corner and merged from two lanes into one. As we approached the toll, I indicated to Rita that I wanted her to pay my toll so I wouldn’t have to stop and maybe lose her. After a couple of pantomines (which probably looked funny to the surrounding folks; maybe not, being New York 🙂 she finally got what I was trying to pass on although they never did get the pantomine for “call me!” (mimic talking on phone).
Anyway, we followed FDR Drive up to 95. More interesting traffic 🙂 Coming onto 95 Rita jumped two lanes to the left to get on the expressway which of course I wasn’t expecting. I managed to follow her without getting wiped out. In a few minutes I saw plenty of places to cross over to the expressway and just at the river we merged back together with the local lanes so the scare was for naught.
A blast across the Hudson and we were on the other side. After about 20 minutes I saw the signs for the first service area. We pulled in to get our bearings and make sure we were all still going in the same direction 🙂
Once we hit the bathrooms and grabbed a soda, we got back to our respective vehicles. I got all plugged back in and had Rita call me to verify connectivity. Once on the turnpike I hit the gas and moved on down the line. This was the first time I regularly slalomed through traffic. A regular hooligan. I took advantage of most opportunities, nothing too insane though.
Rita was using an earpiece while in New York (the law) and had put it into her lap. Unfortunately it negated the hang-up caused by closing the phone so her and Jasmine were chatting, singing along with the music and generally being annoying since I couldn’t really hear more than a word or two now and then.
So I kept on boogieing down the road. I caught up with a guy on a cruiser who promptly did crazier things in traffic and slowly left me behind. While I was doing some hooliganism, I wasn’t trying for “game over”. At one point I pulled into a service area for gas. Unfortunately the line was too long so I kept going back into traffic.
A few minutes after that Rita put the earpiece back in and discovered that she had been talking to me for a while 🙂 I found out where she was and that I was about 5 miles ahead of her. I pulled into the next area and got gas. I saw her pull in and when I was done, I parked in front of her car and hit the restrooms. I found them inside of the hotdog place and got one for myself.
We bailed again and headed south. An hour or so later, I pulled into the service area around exit 7a to get gas. Rita was about 5 miles behind me again and said she wasn’t going to but Jasmine decided she needed to hit the restrooms so she pulled in again.
While I was waiting for the idiot gas jockey’s, a German lady and her friend pulled next to me and said she had gotten turned around at 7a and was there a way to head north again. I had to tell her to head south to the next exit and loop around again. There wasn’t a way to turn around.
I got my gas and hit the station for the restrooms.
We hit the turnpike again and headed south. We saw a couple of signs that said we should take exit 3 or 4 to avoid delays at the end of the turnpike. We talked and agreed to take advantage of the advice. I took exit 4 and hit 295 south. It wasn’t a bad ride but it was a bit slower and there were lights and construction but I think it worked out. Maybe exit 3 would be better next time.
Anyway, I connected back up with 295 just before the Delaware river bridge. I got to the toll booth and paid the guy (chatting on a cell phone and collecting bucks 🙂
I boogied down 95 and paid the toll again before getting into Maryland.
We stopped at the first Maryland service area to get gas. There were a few idiots stopped in the various bottlenecks. Frustrated, I went by them, considered parking next to another biker but kept going around. Encountered some woman on the wrong side of the road. I pointed to the right and she looked 🙂 then moved over. I got back to where I was before and then parked in the lot. I called Rita to see where she was. She didn’t answer the phone the first time. The second time she picked up. She was at the pumps in front of me. I told her I was waving at her (and did). They parked next to me and we hit the service area.
On the way out, I stopped and chatted with the biker. He was heading for New York after being in DC. I laughed and said we were heading for DC after being in New York.
We hit the road again. I didn’t think we had a toll after the JFK bridge. Rita was concerned she’d have enough singles to get through.
On the way south there was a couple of mile slow down as we approached 695. It moved pretty quickly after that until after the Fort McHenry Tunnel. Once through there was a two mile backup as we approached 695 again and then once more as 95 went to three lanes.
We pulled into the service area south of 32 and hit the bathrooms again. As I came out, Rita pulled in next to me. They went inside and I was approached by a guy with a sob story. “We’re heading south and hit a median strip and broke our radiator. I got it fixed but now we don’t have money for food and gas. Can you spare anything?” Well, since I won 80 bucks at the costume party I went ahead and gave him 20. A long time ago I’d been in a similar situation (brother flipped the air cleaner cover and rain got into the carbs; slept in the car keeping feet in dirty clothes to keep warm).
Rita and Jasmine came back and we headed south. Rita was going to go around DC and I wanted to head down New York Ave and down 395. I asked her to call me in about 30 minutes. The rain had started lightly. The farther south we went, the heavier the rain came down until I was on New York Ave and the rain turned back to a drizzle. The roads were nice and wet though.
I followed NY/50 down until I got to the 395 turn and Rita called. She was at exit 9 and how was I doing? Well, I told her about the rain and where I was and said to call again when she got to Springfield.
On the next cycle of the light I made the left and headed into the tunnel. As I got to the other side, I saw the 395 cutoff and made the turn coming out onto 395 south exactly at the place I normally get on 395 when leaving work. I know where I am.
I move into the left lane, across the 12th street bridge and then the 14th street bridge. Of course HOV is closed so I take the regular lanes south. Traffic is moving quite well considering it’s Sunday and there’s water on the road. I can see brake lights ahead though as I approach Braddock Road (south of Springfield) and take the exit. I follow Braddock down to 638 and make a left. About this time Rita calls. She’s past Springfield and is just getting on Braddock Road. She’s basically right behind me.
I make the turn onto Lorton Station Blvd, cross Lorton Road to Rt 1 and make a right. I take the 95 exit and decide it’s still too busy so stay on the ramp and get off at 123. Left on Old Bridge, left on Minnieville, left on Darbydale, right on Eastman, right on Evansdale and I’m home.
About 5 minutes later Rita and Jasmine show up and we’re home.