Sunday 23rd April
Although I should be resting I cannot. I have an inner monologue going on most of the time and on a regular basis it says ‘let’s go out’.
Quechee Gorge is only 30 miles from me and it comes with recommendations. A short ride behind possibly the slowest drivers known to man and I’m at the gorge. Very rarely can man beat nature when it comes to beauty but on the odd occasion man can compliment the surroundings. Quechee gorge is one of these places. A spectacular view from a bridge over the gorge is your first treat then a 40 minute walk along a purpose built path takes you to the rapids and I must say that the recommendations didn’t disappoint. Having time to sit and enjoy the moment was lovely too.
Monday 24th April
Just a relax today and a walk to a local deli. I sometime like to prepare my own dinner as it generally is a lot healthier than what is served in restaurants. Then I go and ruin it with a nice tub of Ben and Jerry’s.
Moved on to Bearsville N.Y and stayed in my first B&B. Staying in someone’s house is so different from a hotel. There’s pluses and minuses on both sides but this one was a winner on all fronts. Owned by a woman from Georgia (the country not the state) I couldn’t have been welcomed any warmer. And as a bonus she gave me her sons details in Georgia which I will keep and use when on my way through to Vietnam later next year. And found one of the weirdest displays of art along the way. I love these oddities.
Tuesday 25th April
I’m meeting Joe Martineau today. We shared some stories at a bar in New Mexico and remained in contact. We had planned to meet for lunch in a bar in Cobleskill N.Y. We were going to meet for a bite then I was heading further towards Oley Pennsylvania but as we met I realised that familiar conversation was what I’ve been craving so after a swift beer I rode to a nearby motel and dropped the bike off. A great afternoon I must say. European beer was on tap, good tunes were on the jukebox and the company was cool. Just what I needed.
Wednesday 26th April
Took a nice meandering route to Reading Pennsylvania which is just outside Oley and booked a room for my final two nights in America for the time being. A cool hotel with a bar and restaurant onsite which I find a godsend as it saves me having to mess around after a days riding.
Thursday 27th April
Time to finally meet Doug and say thanks for helping me organise my insurance. It’s a warm day so being as I’m only heading 12 miles I decided to wear trainers and jeans rather than my biking boots. I rode the quickest route which took me on a motorway sized road. I was riding and thought to myself ‘wouldn’t it be sods law that I end up in an accident on the only day I am not wearing my boots’. Sod was listening as out of the corner of my eye I saw a Silver car join the road and sweep across two lanes. All I could do was wind on the accelerator and wait for the crunch as he was on a collision course with my rear wheel. Thankfully my bike had enough low down power that I managed to avoid the accident but it was that close that it triggered an adrenaline overload and I was forced to pull over. The driver of what I now saw was a Passat pulled along side me and gestured a sorry wave. I beckoned him to pull over and to my surprise he did.
We sat for a good twenty minutes and I am pleased that I resisted the natural instinct to be aggressive as I feel the conversation we had will have a longer lasting impact. If anything he has seen a face behind the helmet which makes bikers more human to him.
Meeting Doug was so cool. He has been all around the world and even ridden in the Canonball Run. He had a friend Jeff with him and to sit and chat with people who have experienced similar to me was lovely. In fact the atmosphere of the bike show was so chilled it took my mind off the almost accident earlier.
Friday 28th April
Today I have everything planned as I just want to get home without a hitch. I had the address of the storage company in my satnav and a short ride of only 129 miles. What could go wrong?
Riding in to New York city all seemed well. Until I got about 20 miles from my destination. I took the New Jersey Turnpike across towards Brooklin and found the bridge was closed. I had two hours in hand so wasn’t that worried. I found a detour which added another 20 miles to my journey but I only had 36 to go with 2.5 hours left. Then New York struck big time. Nothing moved and time was ticking over, my calm changed and I was so relieved to arrive at 220 Jamaica Avenue where Public storage was meant to be with 55 minutes to spare before their closing time of 6pm. It wasn’t there!!!! I phoned them. ‘Where are you guys?’ I asked. ‘We’re at 220 and 2nd off Jamaica Avenue. I had got it wrong and inputted 220 Jamaica Avenue. I am now 40 minutes ride away. I can still make it. ‘But we close at 5.30pm’ the girl then said. ‘Your website says 6’ I responded. ‘Yes the building is open till 6 but the staff leave at 5.30’. Seriously??? What is the point of that???
I rode like a madman attempting to get there for 5.30 but I was not going to make it without either killing myself or getting arrested. I talked myself down from my rage brought on by the girl at the end of the line, pulled over and assessed the situation. I checked google maps and saw that there was another storage company within half a mile of me. I rode there in ten minutes and after another thirty stress filled minutes my bike was in storage and I was on my way to the airport. So much for precise planning eh?
But a big thank you to CubeSmart Storage for your help
Back home Saturday onwards
I had a lovely surprise as not only did my wife Beanie meet me at the airport but my daughter came with her. She’s 17 so I was shocked that she made the effort to get up early to see me.
Being home has been so needed, mixing back with familiar faces and even helping out for a few hours at my local pub ‘The Chequers’ has been great.
Mentally it charges me up ready for my next stint of 12 weeks where I get to ride through 13 of the remaining 14 states.