Sunday, April 30, 2006

Clearfield, PA to Chicago, IL

My travel alarm woke me up at 6:00AM. After a shower and some packing, I walked over to the lobby for the continental breakfast. They had a waffle machine there where you could make your own waffle, so I did. Some people were getting ready to go for a group ride, I was undecided with what I should do. On the one hand I wanted to check out the roads and take some pictures but on the other hand, I was 600 miles from home, so did I actually need to put on any extra miles this morning? After some discussion, two groups formed, one that was going to ride some fast twisties, one that just wanted to go out and take some pictures and do a short ride. I was in the second group, I really wanted to take it easy this morning, in order to have enough energy to get home tonight.

Scott, Holly and I pulled over to take pictures

There are a lot of very nice roads here

A bunch of us took off after 9:30AM, but soon there would only be three, Scott, Holly and I. We were riding a relaxing pace and taking pictures. The roads were very twisty so even a bit over speed limit the bike still leaned. The temps were cool in the beginning of our ride but they warmed up quickly. Then we ran in to two more riders, which we followed up to Hyner view.

Hyner View 1940 feet above sea level

Hyner view, way high up there

We only wanted to do half of the route, but since it was a loop, we decided to take the other way back since it was supposed to be faster. We were now running late for the lunch at Denny's Beer Barrel Pub, since we took our sweet time this morning.

Many bikes showed up for lunch

When we arrived Scott decided that it was going to take too long to order food at Denny‘s, so him and Holly decided to ride to Arby’s and eat there and grab me a wrap sandwich. They got back and I was done eating before Rick, Jay and Yosh even got their food, which they ordered an hour and a half earlier. But that’s what happens when 75-100 people show up to lunch at the same time. It was great seeing so many bikes in one place and meeting some of the STN members.

Denny’s parking lot, 100 or so bikes, that's my pretty ST3 up front

That's the restuarant back there behind all those bikes

The guys ate their food and at 3PM we took off. The first delay was in town at a gas station, only one bathroom and a line. It was in the mid 70’s now and we really wanted to get moving to cool off a bit. We got on I-80 and within minutes something was wrong with Rick’s back tire. I though the tire was looking funny, he was right in front of me. Before I could figure out what was wrong with it, he started swerving and pulled over to the shoulder, I got on my brakes and followed. The whole group pulled over and realized, Rick’s back tire had a hole in it and was completely flat.

Plugging up the hole

Handy mini air compressor

Yosh pretending that she got pulled over, the police car was actually there to keep the semi’s out of the right lane.

We are no amateurs though, Rick was prepared with a flat tire plug kit and a portable mini air compressor, it took about 45 minutes, but him and Jay got the tire plugged and we were back on the road again. So now since we left way late and were delayed twice, there was no hope to arrive home at midnight as planned, unless we decided to …. speed a little. Both Rick and Jay had radar detectors and we agreed that the sooner we got home the better, so we went for it. The traffic was moving at 85-90MPH anyway, with the occasional rabbit to follow.

I was feeling really tired now, it was about 4PM when my body decided on a siesta, I barely made it to the next gas stop, I needed some help if I was to continue. I needed my wings, I needed a cold and refreshing Red Bull. Before the Red Bull, I was thinking “no way am I gonna make it another 500+ miles” but after the Red Bull I was A-OK. I got some energy and the temperatures began to cool off. We continued, at a good pace while taking shorter breaks.

Finally after sun set, at the Ohio/Indiana border we felt moisture. First it was just moisture in the air, followed by slight drizzle, followed by light rain then heavier rain. We were expecting it and waiting for it and now it was here, we slowed down just a bit. The heavy rain didn’t last long and at times it would stop completely, we kept going and my energy levels only dipped after 10:30PM when I decided that I needed a snack and a cup of warm coffee.

I had all my layers on for a while, with the vest and heated grips on but I was still cold. The group didn’t want to rest, they just wanted to get home, so I ate and drank my coffee as quick as I could and we got on the road again. I again felt rejuvenated. We entered Illinois, the roads were still wet in places but the storms must have already passed through, there wouldn’t be any more rain tonight. The construction through downtown messed me up and I had to take an exit to turn around and get back on to get on to the next highway.

I arrived at the house just a bit after 12:30AM and I was in bed by 1:15. And amazingly, I was not sore after riding 750 miles today and 650 miles yesterday. The ST3 is a great bike and very comfortable.

1 comment:

Jammin said...

Hell of a ride back that was... and we did about 200 miles of twisties that morning!