#127 Minuteman 1000 Rally

Fleeter Log #127
Minuteman 1000 Rally
2008 June 5-10

After getting a taste of Motorcycle Endurance Rallying at the Cape Fear 10hr Rally in North Carolina (See Fleeter Log #125: http://fleeterlogs.blogspot.com/2008/04/125-cape-fear-rally.html ), Sylvia and I decided to try it again. This time, we entered a 24hr rally. I'll explain more about how it works later in this log.

Day 1, Thursday
June 5, 2008
474 miles

We didn't get on the road until 2:30pm. The temperature had already climbed to 95 degrees. By the time we got the motorcycles loaded and ready to go, we were more than ready to get our "knees in the breeze." We already had a reservation at the Quality Inn in Stroudsburg, PA for the night. This meant that with the later start, we didn't have much choice but to find the fastest way to Stroudsburg. Our first stop was at the Sheetz in Winchester, VA for fuel. Since the RT's fuel tank holds 7.2 gallons and Sylvia's VTX holds about 4.6 gallons, I fuel up about every other fuel stop. This just gives me more time to play with the GPS, take notes, get a drink or snack, or take a potty break. Our next stop (also for fuel) was along I78 in Frystown, PA at Pat Garrett's ( http://www.sickafus.com/html/about.html ). Frystown is near Strausstown and isn't on most maps though there are plenty billboards leading up to it. According to the billboards, Pat Garrett's at this exit was a good place to shop for a quality sheepskin product -- coats, vests, slippers, bags, or even a sheepskin motorcycle seat cover. We settled for fuel and a soda pop. They were friendly and accommodating...one of the signs in the window even let everyone know that "Hippies are Welcome"!
(click to enlarge any photo)

About 78 miles later, we pulled into Stroudsburg for the night at 8:10pm.
We got checked in, then went across the street to eat at Perkins. The manager seemed really friendly. I've not eaten at a Perkins before so I thought that this may be just part of the employee training. But on our way out when he struck up a conversation with us again, I realized that it may be something else...He's a Ducati rider and was interested in what we rode, where we came from, and where we were going.

Day 2, Friday
June 6, 2008
237 miles

The next morning we dawdled around a bit and took our time getting on the road. We had plenty of time to make the short distance to the Rally Headquarters in Northampton, MA. The morning will be spent tooling around the back roads through the Delaware Water Gap area and in a part of New Jersey that most people don't think about when the State of New Jersey comes to mind.

It was obvious that this is a touristy area, but the roads weren't to crowded and provided a nice leisurely ride with time to take in the sights. You better plan on a leisurely ride...the speed limit is a limiting 45mph (I think...something slower than I wanted to go anyway) along US209.
We turned east off US209 and crossed Dingman's Toll Bridge into New Jersey. Can't remember the toll amount, but it was nominal.
There was repair work underway at the bridge, but it didn't slow us down much.
This took us to the next planned stop.This is Layton, New Jersey! Not much more than a wide curve in the road, but offering several photo ops.This General Store is up for sale if anyone is looking for a business opportunity in the far northwestern part of New Jersey.At first glance, this looked like a very straight (as many are) pine tree.But upon a closer look, we saw that it's a utility tower just trying to fit in. This tree must be related to the artificial Christmas tree. Those are fake boughs stuck into that tower.The price of fuel is playing a bigger and bigger role in these fleetering adventures. We were happy to still be fueling up for under $4 per gallon. Everyone knows that Dairy Queens are everywhere ... Right? They got their start in Joliet, Illinois on June 22, 1940, but now the joy has spread with over 5,900 locations around the country! Texas is the state with the most -- 600 locations.The fuel prices didn't hold though. It wasn't too much further down the road that fuel couldn't be found for under $4.25 per gallon.But here, you get an extra service at the fuel pump...not someone to clean your windshield, but the weather report! To us two-wheeled travelers exposed to the elements, this is a worthwhile service indeed. There are small hi-definition monitors playing a loop of the local/regional weather...brought to you by Accuweather.com! Looks like the weather for us near Hartford, CT is 77 degrees with clearing skies. That's good news. We got sprinkled on a couple hours ago in New York. Some days it may be worth spending an extra $1.50 per fill up for this kind of information...especially if it comes with radar in motion!We arrive in Northampton, MA at the Minuteman 1000 Rally headquarters about 3:30pm. As we ride up, we are directed to an official that takes down our odometer reading and gives us written directions to a loop about 20 miles long. We are not to deviate from the written directions. Off we go for another 20 miles... They take a second odometer reading as soon as the wheels stop turning when we pull into the HQ checkpoint the second time. This is the official Odometer Check--they now can calculate how correct (or incorrect, in the VTX's case) our odometers read. I'm glad that this time we can stop and get off the bikes. I needed a potty break the first time we pulled into the parking lot. Now I'm really ready to find a restroom! Note to self: Stop for a potty break before pulling into the Odometer Check area of the Rally HQ parking lot.

Official proceedings are now underway for us as participants in the 2008 Minuteman 1000 Rally.

This year's rally theme is ... Reading Is FUN"duh"mental!This is a strong clue as to how this kind of rallying works. You MUST read for comprehension and pay attention to the details, or pay for it at the scoring table!
Still in the parking lot, another official verifies our VINs and then we're pointed toward the check-in/registration room inside the hotel. This rally has some bonus locations that will require a photograph to collect the points. Therefore, we are directed to hand our camera over so a rally official can take our photo. This will be the first photo on the memory card. It will be verified when we go through the check-in/scoring process after the rally. The official takes my photo, saves it to a file on her computer with my name, then returns the card and camera to me.After signing the release form, we each get our official rally flag. You will see this flag show up in a few of the rally photos.We still don't have the details of the bonus locations. That comes at the banquet tonight. What we do have, is 53 bonus general locations (nearest town) spread all over the New England area -- from near the Canadian border north of Vermont to the east side of Maine to Ithaca, NY and even down to Philadelphia. What we don't have is... 1) the exact location of the bonuses 2) what is required to collect the bonus and 3) how much each bonus is worth. Without this crucial information there's not much we can do to plan a route that means much. SO...we head out to top off the fuel tanks and to find a place to grab a snack...since we haven't eaten yet today.

How the Rally works:
Simple version: You have 24 hours to collect as many bonus points as possible.
There are some detailed rules...as you may imagine from the pre-rally check-in process.

Later that evening at the banquet, after the plates were cleared, we are given our rally packets and instructed not to open them until instructed to do so. After everyone receives their packet, we are given the okay to open them. Immediately, there's the sound of approximately 70 packets being ripped open. It then, suddenly, gets very quiet... except for the flipping of pages. There are last minute corrections announced, clarifications made, and the opportunity to ask questions. I do not know enough to even come up with a single question. However, there are others in the room that use this opportunity to either better understand the rules laid out in front of them or to hassle the Rallymaster. This, it seems, is part of the sport...The Rallymaster makes the rally participant's life miserable, in an exhilarating kind of way, for 24+ hours and the participants take as many pot-shots at the Rallymaster as they can without (hopefully) pissing him off enough that it reflects poorly on them when they get to the scoring table.

Back to how the rally works... After several minutes of give and take in the banquet room, everyone is released to go plot a route that they think will score them the most points in the allotted time. But now with the details of the packet revealed to us, we see complications/challenges/opportunities that must be integrated into the plan. There are wildcard bonuses revealed, ladder bonuses explained, highpoint bonuses that can't be ignored, and possible sucker bonuses awaiting victims. All this must be considered when plotting a route that will cover several hundred miles and be executed within a 24 hour time period under whatever weather nature provides us. While deciding on a plan, I can't help but to consider that it might be a good idea not to plan any complicated/challenging bonus collecting during the dark of night or after midnight when I am sure to be feeling the strain of the day and most likely be a wee bit weary. Besides, I have heard stories of rally participants having run-ins with local law enforcement when trying to collect bonuses. Indeed, darkness tends to throw a suspicious tint on even the innocent in some situations.

When we are released from the banquet room about 8pm, no one delays getting themselves back to their hotel room so they can start planning and plotting a route. Start time is 6am the next morning, leaving less that 10 hours to put together a route, get a good night's sleep, and be at the 5:30am rider's meeting for any last minute instructions/changes/advice. As much time as one wants or needs to put into routing, adding up points for various bonus configurations, checking & rechecking the chosen route, converting the route from the computer file (Streets & Trips) to the GPS (Garmin Streetpilot), one cannot discount the importance of a good night's rest. Especially considering that for next 36 hours, rest won't come easy. However, the high point bonus is the Rest Bonus. The Rallymaster isn't totally out to ruin your day. He wants to afford you the opportunity to get some rest at some point during the next night. Therefore, the Rest Bonus will require that you stop rolling and collect no bonuses for at least a 2 hour time period during the next night. This stop must be documented with two receipts (start & end) from the same location showing date, time, location. This must all be documented in your Rally Book showing your odometer reading during this rest stop. It is recommended that you spend this time getting some sleep.

The Fuel Log is another chance to earn points. At every fuel stop, document odometer reading and provide a receipt showing: Date/Time/City/State/Gallons. If this doesn't all show up on your printed receipt, you must then have an employee of the fuel stop location fill in any missing information and provide their name and phone number (for verification purposes).

I don't recall what time my head finally hit the pillow, but I do remember thinking that during the next day/night, I would probably be wishing that it had been earlier. My thoughts, as I close my eyes, are about tomorrow. I have no delusions of placing in this rally, but I do want to finish. Non-finishers are tagged as DNF...I don't want to be labeled DNF on my first major rally. So I need to pay enough attention and stay focused long enough to complete the rally and hopefully make a decent showing for a beginner. I aspire to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack....if I'm lucky.

Day 3, Saturday RALLY DAY!
June 7, 2008
606 miles

The alarm goes off at 4:30am. Soon after, we are dressed and toting our gear to our bikes.
Soon the 2008 Minuteman 1000 Rally will officially be underway!

Here's a photo of the back of the rally shirt. It's a long sleeve, mock turtleneck, UnderArmor type shirt. Very nice.

Rally books & flags handy, pens & cameras at the ready, GPS booted up & ready to route, jacket zipped... I'm ready to plug into the GPS audio and strap on my helmet to take my place in line (near the end) and slowly make my way to the official start.
6:08am is our official start time as we roll on the throttle leaving the start line behind us. Our 24 hours have now begun!We pull through downtown Northampton on our way to our first bonus location...there are two bonuses just 30 miles away. I'm hoping that the sooner we nab our first bonus, the sooner that I'll get into a rhythm.

There is apparently only one obvious way to Chester and that is MA66 out of town...this according to both S&T and the GPS, but nothing warned us about the road construction. It would have been worth knowing about. For 2-3 miles (didn't think to clock it, really didn't think it would last that long), we find ourselves going 10mph following the orange barrels as they directed us from one side of the road to the other through an uneven, muddy, slippery mess. It would not have surprised me a bit if I'd found the RT on it's side before the orange barrels released us back on paved road. As nervous as the conditions made me, the RT actually handled the conditions like a champ! Still though, this has put us behind our schedule even before getting to our first bonus location.

First bonus near Chester, MA. That's "LUCY," the engine's name, under the number 74.
Now may be a good time to explain the poor quality of these photos. Our digital cameras are required (by rally rules) to be set to a low resolution setting. This is to help level the playing field...technically anyway. Traditionally, these rallies have used Polaroid Instant Cameras and have just this year started making the transition to digital. Since some participants are still using the Polaroids and not everyone has a high resolution digital camera, we find ourselves limited to the quality of the Polaroid film photograph. I feel/hope that this will soon change and participants won't be limited to the lowest resolution setting of the camera.

Next bonus near Becket, MA. We are to hike 15 minutes into the forest for a photo bonus in the Becket Historic Quarry and Forest. We enter into this challenge knowing that hiking for 15 minutes into the forest area would be time consuming, but decided that at 7am it would be cool enough not to be too painful. Under other circumstances, this could have been a very enjoyable hike. The trail led deep into the cool woods. The fog still lingers providing a surreal view as the sun filters through the thick canopy of the trees. There are several small streams where water runs across our path on its way downhill. I have no idea how far 15 minutes of hiking should take us and it wouldn't much matter if I did because there is nothing posted along the way letting us know far we have traveled. We just keep an eye on the time as we wonder how fast the hiker was that provided the 15 minute time guideline. Sure enough, about 15 minutes into the forest, we arrive at a grouping of plaques explaining some of the equipment that was left behind when the operation moved on. We get our photo and start our 15 minute hike back to our waiting motorcycles.

Next bonus location is a short 20 miles north in Pittsfield, MA. This is a quick and easy nab. Now we settle in for a 120 mile ride to the fourth bonus location. But on the way, we spy the opportunity for our first wildcard bonus. This is maple syrup country. Our task is to collect a pint of pure and authentic, Grade A New England Maple Syrup. We spy the Bradley Farm family store and make a U-turn back to picked up a pint each. Receipts stored safely away and pints packed, we check off our syrup bonus and continue down the road.

Still on the lookout for wildcard bonus opportunities, I ask GPS Jill where libraries are located near our route. She finds the Rutland Free Library in Rutland, VT. Free sounds good. I ask Jill to take us there. Inside the library, we each obtain our official library card, complete with our name. This will be good for another wildcard bonus.

Feeling pretty good about how the day's going...
On the road for less than 6 hours and with 138 miles on the odometer, we've already got 3 regular bonuses and 2 wildcard bonuses. I have no idea what to compare this too, but it seems that we're doing okay.

Just 37 more miles up the road and we'll have another bonus ... life is good.

But maybe I speak too soon. Jill takes us on another "shortcut"...off US7, a perfectly good road, I might note. Nothing to worry about as we turn onto VT73, but then when Jill guides us onto a much smaller road through Goshen. It's still mostly paved, no reason at this point to consider backtracking to US7... that thought will come just a few more miles down the road. Next comes a newly graded section of road. Thinking this can't last too long, we keep going. Besides, now we have gone far enough to be fully committed to this route. It's just 8 more miles to the turn onto another VT state highway. How bad could it be?! We are rolling along on this freshly graded road at about 23mph. The dirt is soft, but not too deep and the baseball plus size rocks are easy to see and avoid in the smooth graded road. This goes on for several miles, then we see why ours are the only tracks in the freshly graded road... Because it is indeed, FRESHLY graded. We run up on the rear end of the maintainer doing the grading! After about a quarter of a mile, it became apparent that he sees no reason to pull over for us to easily pass. So now we have this perfectly formed line of dirt mounded right down the middle of this narrow road that the maintainer is leaving as a wave in its wake. We just need to get over it without letting the tires go squirrely. Sylvia stops and puts both feet down as she plowed the VTX through it. I'm thinking that if I do that, I will loose touch with the ground as the front tire climbs over the mound. I decide to think on this another few yards, then decide to just pick a place where the mound is a bit lower than normal to make my move and scoot around the maintainer. Yeah, finally past all that! But wait... Now the nice smooth dirt where the large rocks were easy to spot has been replaced with a rough, washed out road full of many large rocks. Oh well, what to do...? Just don't fight it, maintain a steady speed, and try to avoid the largest of the rocks. Only a couple miles of this to go. We finally reach the intersection where the Goshen-Ripton Road pops us up onto VT125. This would have been just another fleetering adventure except during a rally it has put us way behind schedule going so slow for so long. Now we are behind schedule and the day is beginning to warm up to an unseasonably high temperature. Still smiling, but now as much.

We make it to our fourth bonus location in Robert Frost Country, collect our bonus, use the primitive privy, and move on to our next bonus location 84 miles further north.This time we will be using US7!
On the way up US7, we stop at another library to see if we can obtain another library card to join the first. Initially, the answer was "no," but then when I explain about a motorcycle "Reading Is FUN"duh"Mental" endurance rally where we get bonus points for this sort of thing, she gives up the cards. Now we each have two official library cards from Vermont. I'm kind of liking this library wildcard bonus option! Sylvia isn't in such agreement...at the library where she pitched the request, we were turned down unless we ponied up $25 per card.

Considering our delays of the day, we can afford no more stops before the next bonus location. It has a time limit...they close at 3pm, but we make it there with plenty time to take care of bonus business. This is the bonus location that is just a few miles south of the Canadian border. Here we obtain the required syrup, but don't rush back out into the heat to get back on the road. It was now in the heat of the day and we are feeling it. I don't recall just how hot it, but I remember that the GPS weather function was telling me that the heat index was over 100 degrees. That's warm enough for me to wash my face, throw some water on my arms, then sit a spell in the shade on the front porch and visit a few minutes with the proprietors of the Carmen Brook Farm.
This is a sample of those pints of syrup being collected.This photo lets on the real reason that I sat a spell on the front porch. Yep, those are cute little dachshund puppies in the box with their momma and that's the older brother feeling left out. You HAVE to "stop and pet the puppies." It's rather like "taking time to smell the flowers."Time to pack the syrup and safely stow the receipt. We ride eastward 30 miles to collect two more photo bonuses.While Sylvia takes her post office photo, I go across the street to set up a photo of the covered bridge. When she's done at the post office, I ask her ride through the bridge for a photo-op.We're now about 11 hours and almost 300 miles into this rally. We're hot, hungry and behind schedule. We decide to take a break at the local general store/deli for a sandwich and a coke. After pulling out our notes and looking over our options, we decide to cut the easternmost loop. We trade that loop for three bonus locations on a smaller loop closer to rally HQ. By doing this, we can head back to the hotel and take our rest bonus in a room already paid for. The other option would be to find a cheap room on the road, grab a quick nap lying on a picnic table, a nap next to the motorcycle on the ground, or maybe even a nap while still sitting in the saddle. Given the choices, rally HQ sounds like a good option. It will be the sweet side of the giving up some of the bonus points located further away.

Armed with a revised route, we saddle up and head south. Our eighth bonus location is 116 miles away. To get there, we ride down part of VT100, the most popular motorcycling road in Vermont. Even under the time crunch and in the heat, it's an enjoyable road. There are plenty temptations along this route that would have had me pulling over for closer looks if I were on a non-rallying fleetering trip.

Next photo bonus is located at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. We arrive around 8pm to a flurry of activity. It seems that today is graduation day at Dartmouth. The folding chairs are still set out in formation on the lawn and the apparent recent graduates are still taking photos with friends and family. It's probably a good thing that we didn't arrive any sooner or we may have had a problem accessing Webster Hall.
The sun sets as we head down I89 toward Manchester, NH.

We reach our ninth bonus location near Goffstown, NH with 470 miles on the clock and about 16 hours into the Rally. We have a slight challenge getting the bonus photo at night, but with two headlights and two sets of Motolights lighting the way, it comes out fine. Since it's about 10pm, there's no one to ask about the name "Sacred & Profane Books." Just seems like there's a story there. See how nice the flag is displayed? I found a snow shovel on the porch. Perfect tool to clip the flag to for display!
Only two more bonus locations, then we will head for the barn...or rally HQ in this case.

Our tenth bonus is a quick and easy Question/Answer affair that we take care of in short order...if only they would all be so quick and easy. We make our way down some more back twisty roads through seemingly residential areas. It's hard to tell for sure in the dark with so many trees and wooded lots.

The last bonus is another Question/Answer bonus. This one doesn't go so quick and easy. We find ourselves in Peterborough about midnight. It should be a simple task. Follow the directions less than two miles out of town and find a plaque located on the street side of someone's yard. I promise that I followed the directions carefully, but I see no plaque. The road is home to many wooded lots. We don't know how deep the plaque is onto private property or what side of the road to even be looking. We drive back and forth several times within the mile of the targeted location. I zigzag back and forth across the road hoping to throw light at the right spot and find what we're looking for. I remember the officer that had someone pulled over a couple miles back at the edge of town. I know that my riding technique could certainly be viewed as a possible (more likely probable) DWI. I'm not sure if I'd be able to pass a sobriety test, short of blowing for a breathalyzer, after this long day. I decide to straighten up my line. Seems the prudent thing to do. Eventually, I start thinking maybe I just haven't gone far enough down the road, so I leave Sylvia using her flashlight sweeping the area to head further down the road. Nothing. I head back to where I last saw Sylvia to see if she's had any luck. We've already spent more time on this bonus than the "hike-in" bonus. I hate the thought of giving up on this bonus after spending all this time here, but if Sylvia wants to give up, then I'll agree to leave it behind. Finally, I reach Sylvia. She's found it! She stands proudly with her light beam lighting up a small plaque less than two feet high near the ditch in a nicely manicured lawn. The directions were at least 1/2 mile off and in the dark it created quite a challenge. Apparently, it was at the zig while I was zagging. We collect our information, make notes on the time, and note our odometer readings. Time to head for the barn. It's about 80 miles back to rally HQ and at least half of that is on small, dark twisting roads through the woods.

We are closely watching the clock. We don't want to miss the window for our rest bonus. As it is now, we still have plenty time to make it back to HQ before starting the rest bonus. If we run out of time, we will just have to stop wherever we can find a receipt supplier on our way back to HQ. We only make it about 15 miles down the road when I decide that the cool late night air was just too cool for my mesh jacket. Knowing that when we hit the freeway and increase our speed, it will just get colder, I decide to stop now to switch to the jacket that I started out with early this morning. I very much appreciated the mesh in the 100 degree heat index today, but now it's time for the warmer jacket again. Exhaustion hits us on this final leg. With only about 20 miles to go, we do the smart thing and pull over for a quick "wake-up" stop. After 20 minutes or so, we set off again with time closing in on our deadline. Baring any other stops, we will arrive with about 20 minutes to spare. Plenty of time. Without any other delays, we pull in and get our receipts - 2:45am. This means that we will need to get our rest bonus end receipt between 4:45am and 5am-ish. 5am is when the check-in area opens. This means we can check-in as early as 5am. There is an hour targeted for checked. Anyone checking in after 6am will face penalty points up to a certain time, anyone checking in later than the final cutoff is DNF.

After getting our receipt from an ATM, we pull our stuff off the motorcycles, drag our stuff and ourselves into our room, set the alarm and crash. It's just a short nap and then we are back to getting our end receipt from the same ATM and officially checking in with a rally official for our finish time. If I recall correctly, our finish time was 5:15am. All officially paperwork, rally book, fuel logs, etc. were kept by rally officials after scoring. Those are the typical rally rules. So all times and details that I've named are approximate.

Now for an activity that will take mental awareness -- prepare for scoring. We each gather our camera, rally book, fuel log, stack of receipts, library cards, pints of syrup, and rally flag. We go find a table on the deck near the indoor swimming pool and start the process of preparing for scoring.

*Riding the miles and capturing bonuses is only as good as the documentation that proves it happened.We spend about an hour sorting, tallying, and organizing ourselves to sit at a table with a scorer. This is a rather tedious chore at this stage of the game. Our mental capacity is a bit dull after the long day and night.

Stats: 606 miles, 11 regular bonuses collected, two wildcard library bonuses and a syrup bonus collected, fuel log completed, rest bonus documented, photos verified. We think we are ready to place ourselves at the mercy of the scorer. We gather up everything we should need (no leaving the score table once we sit down) and go get in line for the next available scorer. There are some close calls during scoring, but by the final ruling, all the points I submitted for approval were granted for a total of 12,075 points. We won't know what these points mean until the awards brunch. Now, time for another nap before the brunch at 10am.

This is a photo of the rally parking corral taken while most participants were either still napping or heading to the awards brunch. I wanted to take the last chance for a photo. I'm guessing that when the brunch is over, this lot will clear out rather quickly.
Rob Nye, rallymaster, addressing the group at the awards brunch.Here is a link to the final tally of rally finishers and their ranking. I'm happy placing 16th of 25 in the Open Rally. http://www.minuteman1000.com/

Rob Nye and his group of volunteers put on a great rally. I feel glad to have been initiated into rallying with this group of fine folks!

Day 4, Sunday
June 8, 2008
0 miles

Sylvia and I didn't feel too left out when most everyone else saddled up to head home. We just smiled and waved good bye as they took off. Although we weren't the ones to travel the fartherest to participate, most of the ralliers did live much closer than Virginia. We decided to stay another night at the host hotel to get caught up on our sleep and start fresh the next day for our flower-sniffing ride back to Virginia.

Day 5, Monday
June 9, 2008
265 miles

Monday morning we leave Massachusetts heading south into Connecticut. Just 44 miles into the day, we come across Saville Dam on the south side of the Barkhamsted Reservoir. The earthen dam was completed in 1940 on the East Branch of the Farmington River and was named after the project's chief engineer, Caleb Mills Saville. The reservoir was created to provide for the water needs of Hartford, CT.

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We can't pass up the opportunity to eat at The Winsted Diner in Winsted, CT. It's a small diner on US44 in downtown Winsted. This is definitely a locals' hangout. We are the only ones in the diner that didn't enter already knowing everyone else, but they (the owner and patrons) welcome us into their chatter about the warmer than normal weather. The diner is cozy (read small) enough that you feel very much part of the action as you watch Janie, the owner, prepare your order.
This oddity warranted a U-turn. It's an old car converted into an alien spaceship. You can see the little green faces through the windows and read the message in the back window... "Roswell or Bust"
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We ride through the Catskill Mountains in Upstate New York. The hundred mile stretch from Kingsport to Hancock is a much more interesting ride as we get closer to Hancock.
At Hancock, New York we both fuel up then turn south on highway 191 and promptly find ourselves being Welcomed into Pennsylvania.We arrive at the Comfort Suites in Scranton, PA and at take the last room at almost 7pm. It's still warm outside at 91 degrees and we are feeling fortunate to have nabbed the last room. I almost feel bad for the two people who get turned away while I am still at the counter checking in.

After getting to the room and cleaning up, we walk to Muggs Tavern for super. It was a good day for a ride even though the northeastern states are experiencing warmer than normal weather.

Day 6, Tuesday
June 10, 2008
344 miles

We endure about 70 miles on the freeway the next morning, before we break off southbound on US11. In Northumberland, I make a quick stop for stamps and to drop some postcards in the mail slot.

The plan is to stay southbound on US 11 to Harrisburg, PA. Didn't happen though. In Selinsgrove, we are detoured westward due to a bridge that is out. The detour signs do not tell us how long this detour will last or how far away it will take us from our planned route. But, in Middleburg, we find highway 104 that will take us back to US11 at Liverpool. We continue south on US11 and in Harrisburg we easily find our way onto I81 and start making the miles back home.

Today's high was 97 degrees (Liverpool, PA), but we find some heavy storms near Winchester, VA where the temperatures dropped into the high 60s. We don't much mind the wet after the heat of the day. The visibility during the storm is so bad that many drivers are turning on their emergency flashers as they crawl along US17. I turn on the RT's flashers and follow Sylvia as we join in the slow moving parade creeping through the downpour.

By the time we finish the last 80 miles to home, we'd already dried off. After making it past the weather front, we found it hot and dry on the other side. So hot that we matched the high of the day at the end of our ride. It's 97 degrees when we pull into the driveway at 6:40pm! Even though the temperatures had been higher than normal while we were in New England, at least it had been cooler than the weather here at home!

The Cape Fear 1000 Rally Trip Summary
Distance: 1,931 miles
States fleetered in this trip: 9
Time on Road: 6 days

To see this trip on an interactive map:http://jasonjonas.org/spot/tripViewer.do?id=48
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1 comment:

  1. Claye:
    Just read your trip blog... excellent! You sure have a way with words. Like being there myself. Ride Safe... Ghost said it!