A Travellerspoint blog

DAY 31 & 32 - GREENFIELD, INDIANA TO GRINNEL, IOWA

July 22nd and 23rd, 2011

all seasons in one day 32 °C

I layed in bed until 8 a.m. on Friday and decided that I didn't really want to travel. I was feeling a bit beat-up by successive days of riding and the oppressive heat. I checked with the girl and the front desk and it was no problem to stay another night. Yay !!

I didn't do much except for walking a couple of blocks down to Walmart to pick up some Gatorade and some bananas. I was thinking my electrolytes might be a bit low. I basically vegged-out for the entire day except for a bit of time checking out the tires on the Wing, checking the oil and cleaning off some of the bugs. All was well.

I rode the bike up the street to the Shell station and filled-up. For some reason, they couldn't accept my Visa card so I paid cash. I then road over to Applebees and had an early supper. They couldn't accept my card either. When I got back to the hotel I phoned the Visa people and found that they had stopped my card because there had been $1200 worth of stuff charged to it. I have a suspicion that the weasley looking guy on the front desk of the Super 8 in Franklin, Ohio, was a shyster. Fortunately I have my Canadian Visa card and a Mastercard and American Express if that fails.

After a good night's sleep, I was up and raring to go at 5:30 a.m. this morning (Sat). I loaded up the bike, paid my bill and then hit the road at 6:30 a.m. At that time, the temperature was already 24C and it was very muggy. I hit the interstate (I-70) and was delighted with the lack of traffic. I rode towards Indianapolis then onto #465 which is a multi-lane freeway ring road that diverts through traffic from the city. In no time I was around the city and onto I-74 headed west.

The first thing that strikes you when you get out into the rural area is the amount of corn that is being grown in the U.S. It's all you can see for miles and miles, in fact all day that's what I saw growing. I guess it goes into the production of alcohol to supplement gasoline supplies. Just around Peoria, one farmer has a sign on his fence that said "This is the Road to Freedom". The next sign said "Better American Corn than Mid-East Oil."
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I stopped in a small town called Farmerstown and topped-up the gas tank. I went over to the McDonalds across the street for a coffee and Egg McMuffin. The shop was full of retired men sitting at one table and all their wives sitting at another table. They were all having fun talking and joking with each other. I asked one old guy why they don't sit together and he just looked at me like I was crazy. He said, "I get to see her all the time at home."

I went around the towns of Bloomington and Peoria. Again, they had ring roads around the towns. How civilized. Traffic was moving along really well and before I knew it, I was crossing the bridge over the Mississippi River and into the State of Iowa. Unfortunately, there was no place to pull off and take a photo of the Mississippi. As soon as you're across the river, the roads become bumpy and narrow. The traffic also increases a lot as well as an increased number of trucks. One of the trucks that passed me was from Kelowna. I waved but I didn't get a response. The temperature got as high as 32C during the afternoon but around 1 p.m. it moderated a bit. I was wearing my soaked cooler vest and it was keeping me quite comfortable.

As I travelled on towards Des Moines, Iowa, there became in increasing number of thunder heads. You could see rain falling in the west. Rain was off and on lightly for quite a while then there was some lightning and the rain just dumped. I rode through the downpour for about 20 minutes. It felt so good to be wet and cool I never even thought of pulling over and putting on a rain jacket. I rode on for another half-hour but I could see there were more thunderheads ahead. I came upon an exit with a couple of hotels and restaurants so I went in and checked into a Super 8. Not the best place I've stayed but it's cheap. I had a great steak dinner across the street at a local steakhouse. They had a huge indoor barbeque and you cook your own steaks over real charcol. I opted for the 10 oz. rib eye rather than the 24 oz.

While I was eating, I noticed the waitresses looking at something out the window. I went over to see what they were looking at. It was a tow truck pulling a fairly new house trailer in from the freeway. The trailer had been in an accident. The whole chassis was collapsing. No one knew how bad the tow vehicle was damaged.
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I took a bit of a walk after dinner and took a few pictures. Indiana and Illinois were beautiful but I was really struck with the beauty of Iowa. I travelled by many old farmhouses that look like they could have been the set for the "Field of Dreams". You'd almost expect to see a baseball field in front of the houses with lights all surrounded by corn. I think I have to watch "Field of Dreams" when I get home.

There are some spectacular thunderheads building around Grinnel tonight. The Weather Channel is showing storm warnings but I don't know how close they are to me.
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Tomorrow, I will head west on I-80 and then #29 up to I-90 and then towards Rapid City in South Dakota. That will probably be a lot for one day. There is a chance I 29 will be closed and I may go through Omaha and across Nebraska. I'm looking forward to getting back on roads other than inter-states.

Distance today = 771 kms
Distance to date = 13,515 kms

Posted by wpcross625 18:20 Archived in USA Comments (0)

DAY 30 - FRANKLIN, PA TO GREENFIELD, INDIANA

July 21, 2011

sunny 37 °C

I checked out of the Super 8 at 6:30 a.m., fueled-up at the "SHEETZ" gas station (what a name for a gas station) and headed west on #62. I had planned to ride secondary roads but the temperature was forecast to be in the high 90's today. So, I opted to get onto the interstates and make some miles before the temperature got too hot.

  1. 62 took me to I-76 which I rode to Akron, Ohio. This is the "rubber" capital of the U.S. I rode by a huge Goodyear factory. I turned onto I-71 which took me south-east to Columbus. I stopped at Mansfield for breakfast then carried on. I-270 took me along the top of Columbus, avoiding the city, and onto I-70 west towards Indianapolis. l went through Dayton, Ohio and had thought that I might stay there and visit the Wright-Patterson Air Museum near there but it was getting so hot and it was supposed to be even hotter tomorrow, I skipped it and carried on west. I figured I may as well make some kilometers while I was feeling good.

The traffic on these inter-states is incredible. You would not believe the number of trucks that are on the highways. I put the cruise on at just over the speed-limit of 65 and the trucks go by me like I'm doing half that. You never look behind and not see a truck gaining on you.

By 2 p.m. it was getting to 37C and I decided it was time to get off the road. I took an exit at Greenfield, Indiana. This looked like a good spot with lots of hotels and restaurants. I checked into the Comfort Inn. I got a nice room at a decent price. I cooled down and had a shower and one-hour cat nap. I walked a couple of blocks to a restaurant called O'Clancy's and had a great steak for dinner.

I walked back in 37C heat and was glad to get back into the AC.

There was a problem with the WiFi and I cold not access my e-mail or my blog (which I got fixed this morning (Friday).

I made up my mind this morning that I will take a day off from my travels. The hotel was able to oblige me with the room for another night. The temperature on Saturday may be a little less hot and there's a chance of some rain. Indianapolis looks like a large city so I'll take some secondary roads around it.

Distance today = 631 kms
Distance to date = 12,744 kms

Posted by wpcross625 06:18 Archived in USA Comments (2)

DAY 29 - WELLSBORO, PA. - TO FRANKLIN, PA.

JULY 20, 2011

sunny 36 °C

Due to the forecast for very high temperature and humidity today, I got on the road early this morning at 6:15 am and headed west on #6 to Warren. The temperature was surprisingly cool for the first couple of hours. There was a fair amount of fog and traffic was pretty light. The high number of trucks did not happen on the west end of the traffic like it was on the east side yesterday.

I stopped in Coudersport and grabbed a bite to eat and a coffee at McDonalds. As the morning wore on, the temperature started to increase. By 11 am it was well over 30C. I was not feeling well. Last night I only slept for 4 or 5 hours and I was feeling tired. I decided to get off the road. I checked into a Super 8 in Franklin, Pa. I unloaded the bike and slept for 3 hours before grabbing a bite at a restaurant next door.

The temp is forecast at being even higher tomorrow so if I travel on, it will probably be another short day. I'm thinking that I may change my plans and get on the interstates and get further west and hopefully a bit cooler.

No photos today.

Distance today = 293 kms
Distance to date 12,119 kms

Posted by wpcross625 16:00 Archived in USA Comments (1)

DAY 28 - JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. TO WELLSBORO, PENNSYLVANIA

July 19, 2011

sunny 32 °C

I left Johnstown at 8 a.m. I dropped into the neighbouring gas station to fuel up and for the first time on this trip, ran into the zip-code issue at the pump. It's a problem if you're a Canadian because we don't have zip codes to link with our credit cards. I'm told if you substitute the 3 numbers in your Canadian postal code and 3 zeros it will work. I didn't have my wits about me that early in the morning to try that. The cashier held my driver's license while I filled-up and I paid her with my credit card. I'll have to try the postal code numbers next time.

I drove south towards Cooperstown through some of the prettiest country scenery you could imagine. These were winding country roads very similar to Salmon Valley Road back home. I stopped to take a couple of photos and a trucker with the Village of Canajoharie stopped to ask if I was having a problem with the bike. I said no and we then commenced on a 5 minute chat about the best motorcycle roads in the area. I wish I had more time to explore. On a trip this big, you can't explore as much as you might like otherwise you'll never get home.
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Cooperstown was a total surprise. The Americans have a penchant for capitalizing on their tourist attractions. The Baseball Hall of Fame is probably one of the biggest attractions in the U.S. but the village looks like it probably did at the turn of the (20th) century. There are no major hotels or fast food joints in the Village. They are on Route 28, a couple of miles away from the downtown area. It was quite refreshing.
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My first stop was at the Abner Doubleday baseball field which is right in the downtown area. The village is full of huge leafy deciduous trees. I rode the bike a couple of blocks east to the actual Hall of Fame. I actually got a parking space right in front of the Hall. There wasn't even a parking meter!!
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The Hall of Fame was overwhelming. I'm a "moderate" baseball fan. I could see a rabid fan spending a couple of days at this shrine to the sport. There isn't a facet of the game that isn't covered. Besides the obvious Hall of Members, they have presentations on Women of the sport, the Negro Leagues, Hispanic Players, Coaches, Managers, Owners, Umpires, baseball movies, etc. Very well done indeed.

As I was getting ready to leave, a local guy struck up a conversation with me about the Goldwing. He was a local but originally came from Brooklyn, New York. I showed his how the GPS works. He wants to get a Goldwing Trike. He told me about a local eatery called "Jackies" which was on my way out of town. He warned me about a couple of the local radar traps and was on his way. The hot turkey sandwich special at Jackies was tremendous.

It was my intention today to get off the road kind of early. The weather was about 32C and the humidity wasn't too bad. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 35 or 36C with way more humidity, so I figured I'd put on a few extra clicks while conditions are better. The plan kind of back-fired on me when I picked Troy, Pennsylvania as an overnight stop.

Troy and Hwy #6 is the centre of a new industry in Northern Pennsylvania where they are extracting natural gas from shale rock. Consequently, most hotels along #6 are full of out-of-state workers. There is also a large number of trucks on the road. It's too bad because the highway is identified as a "scenic route". I couldn't find a motel in Troy or in the next town of Mansfield where both the Comfort Inn and Microtel were full. . I was really getting tired but had to push on. I ended up in Wellsboro where I found a great local place with a very comfortable room and super clean.

After a shower and a shave (first one in 3 weeks - god it was getting itchy) I walked over to the local supermarket and picked up a sandwich and salad from the deli. Getting tired of that restaurant food. After the sun set, and it was cooler, I took a walk around the downtown area. This town was established in 1830. Lots of brick buildings and a square in town with a fountain and monuments to those in the community lost in the Civil War. One thing that they have here that we don't have is history. This town could be a movie set.
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Tomorrow I'm planning on getting on the road early, perhaps around 6 a.m. and getting some distance done before it gets too hot. It's supposed to be really hot and humid for the next 3 days.

Distance today - 393 kms
Distance to-date - 11,826 kms.

Posted by wpcross625 19:38 Archived in USA Comments (1)

DAY 27 - BETHEL, MAINE TO JOHNSTOWN, NEW YORK

July 18, 2011- 1 day - 4 States

all seasons in one day 26 °C

Kathy, the owner of the Rostay Motel did a great job on the French toast this morning. She made it with raisin bread.

I had a good night's rest. I was able to open the front and rear windows and got a real nice cross-breeze through the unit. Didn't even need air conditioning which is lucky because there was none.

I got on the road just past 8 a.m. and headed west on Maine #2. The town of Bethel, is a pretty classy place. There are all kinds of artsy shops. The town is the home of the Gould Piano Festival (next weekend). I don't know if that's anything to do with Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. Some of the towns are quite refined and others are quite gritty. As I got into New Hampshire, logging appears to be a large part of the economy. The roads I was on were all good motorcycle roads with lots of sweeping curves but the surfaces were in rough shape on much of them.. It's hard to make good time however, because you are continually slowing down for every little village and hamlet. I made only 110 kilometers in the first two hours.

The weather was pretty good in the morning but around 11:30, the rain started. It lasted for about an hour then stopped. The temperature was relatively cool in the high 20's C. I crossed over into New Hampshire and then Vermont. There were lots of colonial style houses as well as mills and waterfalls. I would have taken more photos if the weather was better.
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New Hampshire definitely has the most graphic Moose warnings. Everywhere east of the Ontario/Manitoba border has moose warnings. I saw only one moose so far on the trip and that was on Cape Breton Island.

Around 1pm I stopped in the town of Woodstock, Vermont, for a bite to eat. I tried a local italian place that looked good and it was. I ordered my lunch, poured a coffee and was sitting waiting for my pasta when I looked out the window and saw the Goldwing falling over on the pavement. A lady in a RAV4 backed into her and knocked her over. Needless to say, I ran out to the bike and immediately tried to get her upright. She fell over on the right side. I enlisted the help of a young chap who was waiting to pay at the cashier. We got the bike up with little trouble.

All this time the lady was apologizing for the accident. Then, out of nowhere, a city police officer pulled and and asked what happened. I told him and he immediately took control of the situation. Who says there's never a cop when you need one?. I gave him my license and registration, as the lady did also. While he was writing up his report, I checked the bike out for damage. There is a dent in the right exhaust as well as some superficial scratches. One of my add-on foot rests is scraped and the new helmet I purchased a couple of weeks ago is scratched-up pretty good. I started the bike and she seemed to run fine.

Goldwings are engineered for this type of thing. It's impressive that a 900 pound loaded bike can fall over without any damage to the plastic. I can't find any damage to the area where she contacted me either. It took about 45 minutes for the police officer to write-up his report. Fortunately, because I'm out-of-state, I didn't have to go to the police station to fill our an accident report. I got on the road and everything seemed okay with the bike.
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I crossed into New York state and I could see a difference from New England in the first few kilometers. The towns in New York look very depressed. There were all kinds of businesses that closed or abandoned. Agriculture is a much larger part of the economy with miles of corn fields and dairy farms.

I've purposely tried to stay off of the interstates and keep to the secondary roads. I had to use a couple on the interstates today to connect with the secondary roads. The problem with the secondary routes is that you don't make good time on them. I rode from 8 to 6 today and did just under 500 kms. At this rate I'll be home in September. I know that I'll make up the time when I hit Indiana, Iowa, and South Dakota which are like the Canadian Prairies.

I checked into the Super 8 in Johnstown, New York. I picked up a coupon book at a coffee stop at McDonald's this morning and got a room for $64.00 taxes in with breakfast. Why are thing so expensive in Canada? Gas runs around $ 3.70/gallon which converts to 97.5 cents/liter.

Tomorrow I am planning on riding over to Cooperstown, New York, about 70 kms from here. I hope to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Distance today - 498 kilometers
Distance todate - 11,433 kilometers

Posted by wpcross625 19:35 Archived in USA Comments (2)

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