Vita Rara: A Life Uncommon

Part I: Prologue and Departure


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Prologue

This is going to be long. It's over 10,000 words which is about 18 pages in a standard MS Word document. I hope it's worth your time to read. It was an amazing incredible life changing experience. I came to understand that the way we get to know each other is by sharing our riding experiences. Well here is mine. I will be posting it in several pieces over a few days.

Monday August 11, 2003: T-Minus 3 Days

I made the decision to ride down to Deal's Gap and ride The Tail of the Dragon with Shawn, Lone_RT_Rider, and some other members of the board. Getting out of town had been a long time in coming. I bought the RT this past March with the intention of getting in some long distance riding, but life has changed and it looks likes like I'm going to get to do a lot of riding. Suffice it to say I was thinking about riding the whole month of August, but things didn't work out to get me on the road, then I saw Shawn's query of wether anyone would like to get together at Deal's Gap and I took it as the motivator to get on the road. I had tires on order and they should be in on Wednesday. God willing if they show up on time and I get them mounted I will be on the road to Deal's Gap first thing Thursday morning.

Wednesday August 13, 2003: T-Minus 1 Day

Got a call. The tires are here. That's the good news. Bad news they can't mount them until tomorrow. No amount of cajoling, groveling or begging is getting me anywhere. So, decision time. I won't be able to leave in the morning like I want to, do I try and make it anyway. It's 885 miles from my place to the rendezvous point with Shawn and company. I've never done a ride of this distance before, ever, not even in a car. So, I start doing laundry, packing and making my list. My friend Moose and I put our heads together to see if I've forgotten anything and it looks like I'm ready. Now I just need to get the tires changed, and stash my car at a friends house.

Thursday August 14, 2003: T-Minus 5 Hours

The bike is at the shop on time. Time to stash the car. My father has scheduling complications. Call Moose! Moose is clear. Head to my friends house to drop off the car and have Moose ride me back. Fifteen minutes late, no Moose. Thirty minutes late, no Moose! One hour late! NO MOOSE! Finally he rides into the parking lot. Off we go back to my house. Call the garage. Bike's ready. Go pick up the bike. Put the top case on and stash a few final things in the side bags.

Thursday August 14, 2003: T-Plus One Hour -- Lift Off

With the delay in dropping off the car I'm an hour behind schedule. Oh well. Time to put some miles on the odometer. Rest the odometer. I won't reset it until I return. I head out the NYS Thruway from Albany, NY to I-88 to Binghamton, NY. I bought a Camel Bak for this ride and it worked very well. I-88 is a very open piece of highway with very very low LEO presence. (ie. I didn't see a single one.) I'm making very good time heading South to Binghamton. The wide open road has some nice views of the Catskills to the east in some spots and in general is a nice road.

Return to Civilization???

Time for a break and some more water. So I head off the highway to a gas station. I pull in and there are a bunch of people milling around and there seems to be a general air of confusion. Hmmm... confusion in the craft, what's going on here I think. I strip off the gloves and helmet and the attendants tell me the store is closed, "no power. No ones got power. The whole east coast is out." Well now that's news. I'm on the bike for two hours and the world goes to hell and I miss it live on CNBC! Damn, where's the Dow?!? What a day to be trading. Oh well, another day. Guess I'll have to watch the film at 11:00. Finally someone pulls in who says there's power one exit south and that there is power in PA. So, south I go.

One exit south the gas station is swamped with people buying gas and ice. It seems like everyone decided it was time to fill up. Well, I top off, just to be sure and head south.

At Binghamton, NY I get onto I-81 South, this will be my main route for a long time. I over night in some town south of Wilkes-Barre, PA. This is my first real trip on the RT, so I don't have a routine yet. I want to be off the highway by 8:00 everyday, I don't care much for riding at night. So, I find a room and started watching the news. OMG, glad I wasn't in NY anymore. I call home and the power is on and off for them. Not much fun. I have some servers online at home. I have someone turn them off for the duration. I'll deal with it later.

I did about 250 miles, not bad for starting at 3:00 in the afternoon and running into construction in PA. I should have expected it, seeing as it's the "Construction State."