First Solo Bike Trip: Day 1

Itinerary / Route:
From: Arlington, VA To: Poughkeepsie, NY
On the initial route of this trip, I will head up I-270 to Fredericksburg, then Rt. 15 to Harrisburg. At that point, I will take I-81 till it splits off with I-78 and follow I-78 to NY.
In NY, I’ll turn north at I-287 and follow that road to I-87, exiting at Newburgh onto I-84 to cross the Hudson River. Once across the river, I’ll head north again, this time on a secondary road (9D) and follow the directions given to me by my friend Barbara to her place in Poughkeepsie.355 miles
Log Entries:
Location: Home – Arlington, VA
Lat / Long: 38.837895 / -77.095455
Time: 7:00:00 AM
Odometer Reading: 11103
Log Entry:
And so it is that this journey begins…I’m relatively packed. Relatively meaning that I’ve packed everything into the bags that it will be travelling in; it just hasn’t been mounted to the bike yet.Packing, for me, is a challenge, especially on a trip like this. I’ve always been able to fit a large amount of stuff into a small space (thanks to my years of packing grocery bags, in the days when we were instructed on how to properly pack), but in this situation, that might be problematic.I’ve read in several books about motorcycle adventuring that it’s better to pack loosely so that you can easily get the same amount of stuff into your bags while you’re on the road. It is said that one can never pack perfectly on the road the way that can be done at home. I’ll be finding out, since my bags are going to be bulging before too long.Okay, so why am I talking about packing now? We’ll I suppose it might have something to do with being a little nervous about the trip. Only a little, and I’m sure it will go away once I get on the road.Admittedly, it isn’t as bad as the last trip in June. Being as that was truly my first extended solo ride, I felt, well, it was almost like I had butterflies in my stomach. I did get over it once I got on the road, and I ended up having a fantastic time.I’m sure there are many people who wonder why anyone would do a trip like this. You know why would anyone go out on the road for an extended period of time, doing nothing but driving? I keep asking myself the very same question and the only response I can seem to come up with is: solace.When I was in high school, I read half of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” From what I can remember of it, it is a story about a voyage of self-discovery; a tale of a man who has lost his memory and is learning about himself. There is, of course, much more to it than that, including motorcycles, but upon re-reading it (only the first half; maybe I’ll be able to finish it one day) last year, it really touched me.And then one day I got out on the road alone. Not that I don’t ride alone the majority of the time, but usually in the past, I haven’t gone all that far.On the day of which I speak (in June of this year), I really got out there and rode. And for the first time since I started riding, I felt an overwhelming pleasure in being out there. In total that day I did about 280 miles from Gaithersburg, around the beltway to Alexandria, then out I-66 to Winchester and back on Rt. 50.When I finished that ride, far from feeling exhausted from the hours of concentration on the bike and the road, I felt refreshed. Sure, I was tired, but at the same time, I was totally pumped up. I was ready to go again. And I did a week later, when I took my very first solo ride through northern PA.
For me, riding like this helps me to clear my mind. I know it does for a lot of people, based on conversations that I’ve had with other bikers. And that must be a healthy thing.Well, time to go. More to come…
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Lat / Long: 41.688691 / -73.89932
Time: 4:34:45 PM
Odometer Reading: 11453
Log Entry:
Made it to Poughkeepsie and have few minutes, since no one is here, yet. Therefore, a log entry.The ride up here was 350 miles, but it went by really fast. Must have been all of the music that I was listening to.On the road I met a fellow longhaul biker named ric, and we rode together from about Gettysburg till the Newburg-Beacon bridge.Ric is on his way to Nova Scotia for essentially the same reason I’m going to Quebec: because it’s there.It rained a bit before we got to NY, so the roads were a bit wet. I’m glad we didn’t have to stop for raingear, as I would have been boiling by the time I got here.So far what I’ve seen of New York has been pretty, if overcast. Hopefully, driving through the Adirondacks tomorrow Iwill get to see the real beauty of the state.

 

Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Lat / Long: 41.688691 / -73.89932
Time: 11:00:00 PM
Log Entry:
This evening was spent in Poughkeepsie, NY (as mentioned in my last entry) at the home of Ms. Barbara Page of Vassar College, with my friends Barbara and Judy.Barbara lives in a house on the Vassar campus which she, as a faculty member, was able to purchase and renovate over the past couple of years. And what a house it is!On the lower level of the house ( I don’t think there is a basement, so this is the first floor), there are the living room, dining room and a completely remodeled kitchen, in addition to a wonderful screened in porch with a great ceiling fan. The second floor has Barbara’s office, the master bedroom and a room which is more a walk-in closet than the bedroom it was intended to be. Finally, on the third level is another bedroom (the one in which I am staying) and a bathroom, and a closed door which I haven’t bothered to ask. Probably just an attic space.If I can get some pictures of the lower levels in the morning, I will do so.For dinner we went to a small restaurant in the area called “Twist”. It was exquisite. I had a rib steak with mashed potato and asparagus, which was augmented with a delightful peppercorn sauce. The ladies had duck with an interesting spinach salad that had a taste quite like the seaweed salad one finds in Japanese restaurants. Both meals were wonderful.After dinner, we decided to have a movie evening to watch what turns out to be our mutual favorite Western movie: Blazing Saddles. So we listened to the Mel Brooks commentary track, learned all sorts of things about the production of the movie and laughed and laughed and laughed. It’s such a silly film, and yet it is so very funny.Tomorrow it’s off to Quebec for me. My route, as shown on the map for Day 2, will take me up through the Adirondack Park to Canada, where I promptly fall off the map and will get lost.