Saturday, April 29, 2006

Chicago, IL to Clearfield, PA

My Alarm went off at 3AM this morning, I had planned on going to bed early last night, I finally got packed for the trip and was in bed at 9:30PM, but since I’m not used to going to bed that early, I probably didn’t fall asleep until 11PM. So let’s just say that I was not bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 3AM. I was on the road by 4:15AM, my brain was operating on a single can of Red Bull. There was already a bit of traffic on the road slowing me down and my I-pass didn’t work on the Skyway, but I finally made it t the meeting spot, the Portage, IN rest stop were Rick, Jay and Yosh were meeting me. I was already 25 minutes late but when I arrived and they were not here.

They wouldn’t just leave me behind and there were no messages on my voice mail, meaning, they haven’t gotten here yet. I went inside to wait for them since it was chilly outside. The temperatures were only in the upper 40’s. A bit after 6AM I saw a few bikes ride up, it was them. We all gassed up and left shortly after. The plan was to continue on the slab all the way to Sharon, PA.

Amish family at a rest stop

Even when the sun came up, the temperature stayed chilly. I was running my heated grips and Widder vest until about 10AM and we only stopped every 100 miles or so. I finally started shedding some of my many layers around 11AM. It was supposed to be a beautiful weekend in Pennsylvania, sunny and in the 70’s, but the rain was moving in to Chicago this morning, we left there just in time. The rain was supposed to stick around all weekend too so eventually we would have todeal with it on the way home.

Today the plan was to meet some people from ST.N for lunch in Sharon, PA at the Quaker Steak & Lube. We got there a bit late, and on top of that we lost an hour heading east entering the Eastern Time Zone. But since the group was not in any real hurry, we got to grab some lunch. I had devoured a bagel with cheese and egg mid morning at a rest stop and washed it down with another can of Red Bull, so I was not very hungry. I ordered a cup of clam chowder and a Funky Monkey banana and chocolate smoothie. It so happens that the monkey I tour with is named Funky Money so naturally I had to order it. It was tasty.

Quaker Steak and Lube in Sharon, PA

My Funkey Monkey drink is on the right

Yosh and Rick clowning around

The gang got the wings and they said they were the best, so I had to include that in my ride report even though I don’t eat chicken wings. The temperatures warmed a lot up while we were having lunch. It was around 70 degrees already. I still had on my spandex under my leather riding pants and a thermal under armour turtle neck, the liner was still zipped in to my Marsee jacket. I didn’t want to go through the trouble of de-layering too much, I figured it would be cooling off soon enough.

We got ready to leave and I started to wrestle with the ST3. I had to get it turned around and out of the small motorcycle only parking lot so that others could exit behind me. I was sweating, getting over heated now, feeling a bit tired after a long break. Then what followed next can only be described as “whoopsie” yep, the ST3 decided to kiss the pavement. So you ask, “what happened?” Well, let me start with saying I have never dropped a bike in a parking lot before, I was really close to dropping a bike many times but I always saved it, always, until today.

Basically, heavy bike + the fact that I can’t flat foot + maybe I was tired + I was slowly moving the bike, handle bars turned to the right, going around some light pole, the back tire went over a big dip in the pavement which apparently upset the bike and it just fell. It JUST fell. It happened so quick I still don’t really know what happened. All is good, lets just say I’ll be shopping for some silver touch up paint. And the ball that’s on the tip of my brake lever fell off. Some miner scratches on the mirror, the side case took most of the fall. I guess it had to happen sooner or later, right?

I love the old architecture of the eastern US

Our leaders

Waiting for Jay, he stopped to take some pictures

So we take all back roads to Clearfield, PA, the roads are awesome, mostly sweepers running through forests, very little traffic, just beautiful. We have a blast doing the 200 or so miles of twisties and arrive at the Days Inn just before sun set. The day ends with 650 miles for me.

Days Inn Clearfield, PA

Yosh and I check in to our room and unpack. There are a lot of people at the bar that's located at the Days Inn, but after further investigation we realize there is not a lot of food to choose from there so Rick, Jay and I walk over to the Dutch Pantry. I score a pretty good and cheap meal of fish, clams and shrimp scampi. Scott and Holly, also from ST.N are sitting at the table next to us, we all exchange road stories. Then, we finally make it over to the bar.

Dinner at the Dutch Pantry in Clearfield, PA

Yummy seafood platter

I’m pretty tired so I only manage to drink half of an Yngling beer. I’m in bed by 11PM eastern time. Tomorrow is another long day.


Rick said...

Someone chain my cell phone to me! What a thing to leave behind! I wanted to call and tell you that we were running late....unscheduled gas stop and me missing the exit for the Skyway, because of the aweful construction....they had one small sign....then nothing....argggghhh. I was exhausted.....going to bed late....not sleeping well.The ST3 handled well even with the new top case. Wings at the place where we meet BPG and Mach VIII are awesome....the ride to Clearfield amazing!

VIVID1 said...

Rick, the sign for the Skyway, was plenty big LOL but there was only one sign, so if you missed it - you missed it!

I know how it works when more than one bike travels together, delays and unscheduled stops, but it's still a blast!