This is my first long trip on the motorcycle. I loaded up the Ducati Multistrada, using all three cases to maximum effectiveness. I packed and repacked half-a-dozen times, shedding weight, gear, and space each time. At 4.30 AM, I rose, kissed Mrs. Fish goodbye, and went downstairs to the bike.
I laid everything out the night before so it would be easy to get started.
My riding companion, Brad, has been riding forever, and is largely responsible for getting me into this hobby. The plan was to meet at the Middlesex Diner in Central PA, and ride out together to St. Louis, MO. Then, we would split off, with Brad riding out to Vegas then Seattle, while I went south to Arkansas, then noodled back east toward home. The Middlesex had the perfect start to the perfect day...
...only, not really. Coffee, people! Make me a decent cup of coffee. You're a diner, for crying out loud.
As soon as we walked outside, it started raining. Fortunately, we both had Frog Togs, but I wasn't really digging trying them out 15 minutes into our trip. One of the things about being Baptized into a long road trip is the Baptism itself, and I had forgotten that Baptisms require water. So, into the Frog Togs we climbed, then off we went.
We rode south into Maryland, then took Interstate 68, running west into West Virginia. We were going to go south into West Virginia, along some of the beautiful roads there, but every time we looked south, the skies were darker and darker, forming a bruise across the sky, or a burned out light bulb. It was raining pretty hard, so we pulled off at a rest station to see what the storm was going to do. Brad asked, "What's going on with your pants?" I looked down to see they were shredded below the knee, from the wind whipping them on the motorcycle. Also, I took my gloves off, and my hands were stained purple from the rain on the leather of my gloves.
We waited and waited, but the storms kept getting thicker, so we decided to continue west into Ohio, through Columbus and Cincinnati. Fortunately, the next rest stop had a Cabela's, so I popped in there to score a pair of waterproof riding pants...at half price!
Unfortunately, we went through Cincinnati on I-71 at 5.00 PM. Rush hour. And, while it's nothing like Philadelphia, it's still a major city at quitting time. Not cool. It took us a while to get through the tangle of traffic. We headed south into Kentucky, the storms dogging us the whole time, but I was just glad to be on the trip.
We rode into Louisville, Kentucky, across the Ohio River, into New Albany, Indiana, where we stopped for the Chinese Buffet. Because you simply MUST eat at the Chinese Buffet when you are traveling with Brad - it's required! I like Chinese food. I do not like Chinese buffets, mostly because they are sketchy, at best. There is one in Harrisburg, PA that got busted about a year-and-a-half ago for serving groundhog in the buffet. But, because it's required, we went. I figured the sushi would be fine, and it was.
As soon as we walked out, we were greeted with a downpour of Biblical proportions. Again, we waited for the worst of it to pass, then dug out the rain gear (didn't we JUST put this stuff away?) and got back on the road.
We journeyed another hour westward, to Dale, Indiana, where we called it a night. There is nothing spectacular about Dale, Indiana, but my pillow was soft, and my bed was comfortable, and after watching a show with a Murder Nova and a Farm Truck dusting off souped-up Trans Ams in illegal street races, I drifted off to sweet, sweet sleep.