Ok, so where was I…
Oh yeah. Day 13
Although Salome insisted, I declined to sleep in and spend the day being lazy around the house and avoiding the rain. She wanted to cook me breakfast, but I didn’t want her to go to too much trouble. I’d use the light hunger as incentive to get a hundred miles or so covered before stopping.
“Where ya goin? Can I come too?”
The Strom packed and warming up, I said goodbye to Dennis’ Harley
Salome, cute as a button (and not looking anything like the grandmother she is) in her high heels and works clothes helped me push the bike backwards out of the garage and onto the gravel. She handed me a pack of Pop Tarts and we said our goodbyes.
The drizzle wasn’t bad, but the roads were slick and my visor was fogging horribly. I snuck into this parking lot, the first place I could find with an awning to duck under to properly dry the inside of the visor and get it on my head without rain getting back in.
Must be an old sign.
Reese’s 1830 Mercantile at the corner of PA 18 and PA 30. If you blink, you could miss it.
As I was clearing the visor and adding more soap in an effort to keep it clear, a gentleman came out to his car and asked where I was headed. The people up here in New England always seem amazed that I’m this far from home. He suggested I go inside for a breakfast sandwich and some coffee, and it sounded like a good idea. The banner near the door boasted free Wifi, so I’d try to get some pictures uploaded.
I have to say - this was THE best egg sandwich I’ve ever had. It wasn’t fried, either. Sliced hard boiled eggs, ham, cheese (maybe provolone?) and a pesto-type spread on crunchy, toasted bread. If you are ever near there, you simply MUST try one!
After the relaxing break, I headed out towards the thin sliver of West Virginia that must be crossed to get from PA to OH.
Rain and construction. I hate the combination.
I decided to pull into a rest area to add my thermals to the multiple layers of clothes I had on.
The Eisenhower Highway. Interesting.
License plate - check
Monkey - check
Helmet - dropped off the seat and rolled halfway through the parking lot and almost got run over by a minivan before I could get to it. Ugh.
I made up more time by taking I70 towards Columbus, where a friend from Houston had moved a few years ago. Attempts to reach her on her cell phone to meet for lunch failed, so I dined alone at the McDonalds.
Here I met Helen (who refused a picture), a state employee working on the road system who rides a Rebel 250. She asked about my luggage, my Camelbak, my GPS - she was absorbing all the details about how to make herself more of a distance rider. She also shared with me the fact that up ahead was a section of road called “suicide alley” - the tar snakes had been laid out of spec, and until they can be repaired motorcyclists should avoid the interchange between Interstates 70 & 71. Duly noted, I detoured south around loop 270.
A few miles shy of Cincinnati:
Lucky 13? Well, that remains to be seen. I'm writing this while sitting on the floor in the lobby of an Ohio interstate rest area. Bathrooms to the left and right of me, a map on the wall with a pin indicating "you are here" and people coming and going; most looking at me like I'm a deranged idiot for being on a motorcycle.
Well, at the moment I'm NOT on a motorcycle. Like I said, I'm sitting on the floor. I found an outlet for the laptop so it can charge while I type just in case I get caught somewhere down the road without power.
And the reason I'm here on the floor typing instead of out there riding away the miles? The weather. I'm 20 or so miles northeast of Cincinnati and a line of storms is moving through the region. I can ride in the rain and I can ride in the cold. I can even ride in the cold rain. What I can't ride in (or rather WON'T ride in for the sake of my own well being) is the downpour that creates almost zero visibility. The rain from above, the road spray from below, fog rolling over each bridge I cross, trucks passing me at full speed, water running down the inside of my visor despite NOT lifting it for any reason, and of course the fogging in the visor that won't quit even when I hold my breath.
I called a friend and he says the worst is still to come. I asked if I had enough time ahead of the squall line to make it to a hotel, and it was recommended that I just stay put for an hour or so. I can't pick up a WiFi signal here (I wish I had one of those USB internet do-dads), so I'll have to trust him. He says after that moves through I'll be safe to resume my travels.
After the rain settled down, I headed back out and made my way into Indiana.
The dark clouds remained behind me the rest of the day.
The mighty Ohio River.
I decided to ignore the GPS and follow the water once more. I was aiming for Louisville, KY for the night but I had a few hours of daylight left. I followed SR156, and signage indicated this was a “scenic byway”.
Rising Sun. There’s a big casino here, but there wasn’t time for gambling on anything but weather and roads.
A few sections of roadway were visibly damaged in what appeared to be landslides. I’m not sure how often the river gets out of its banks, but with the pavement this close, it takes its toll.
Switzerland County courthouse. I guess there was a large Swiss population that settled here.
In Switzerland, I found this sign for SR56, which appeared to parallel SR56 up in the adjacent hills. I wasn’t about to try it, but some of you that are near there would probably enjoy it.
Chasing the sun again, probably squinting age lines into my forehead for an hour or more.
But worth it.
I finally crossed over the river and into Kentucky.
I made it back to the highway as it got dark. I prefer to be on major roadways after the sun sets.
I got a room east of the city and settled in with a pizza to work on the ride report.
But I, uh, fell asleep with the computer on my lap and gave up.
Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky