My Java Journal

Not So Clear Skies: The Final Push Home

With a forecast suggesting less-than-clear skies, I left St. Louis on a Friday morning. The plan was to get home as quickly as possible; without sacrificing safety. It did not start smoothly though, because I first had a lesson that needed to be learnt.

Seems like the habit I had of placing my helmet over the rear-view mirror of my bike when I wasn’t wearing it probably wasn’t the best move.

Consequently, after packing my bike and saying my farewells I got my gear on, rolled the bike out of the garage and then tried to start it … nothing.

I had power, but the lights were dim. I tried again; nothing. Was my starter dead? The battery? Wait a second …

…why is the power switch on? Oh I see, my helmet was resting on the power switch and had turned it on. I wonder how long that has been drawing power? Looked like I would need a boost. Thankfully I brought my trickle charger.

Unpack the bike, take off the seat, disconnect the battery, attach the charger (and we’ll leave it there this time), and plug the bike in.

I gave it a minute with fingers crossed. Key, ignition switch, and … there, we’re back in business; let it idle a bit.

I put the seat back on, and pack the bike again. Now the sweat was dripping and I needed some water. I said my goodbyes again and, finally, off I went.

It was a pretty uneventful drive to start. In Cincinnati that would change. It was in Cincinnati when the rain came; and, oh right, rush hour … full stop. I checked my phone to understand the visible weather system building up around me and it wasn’t going to let up. It was 6 pm anyway.

Hotels nearby? There’s one. Room? Good. Bar? Good. WiFi? Good. I needed some rest anyway.

The next morning it was mostly clear skies. Likewise, the forecast looked good. Of course, it was a Saturday morning and there was less traffic. Goodbye Cincinnati.

That was all good until an unexpected downpour in Columbus. I decided to press on. The forecast still suggested this was a limited system. I got through that, however those Ohio hills were still fostering some angry skies. I saw my corridor so I kept moving. Besides, the warm air at speed was drying me out.

With Ohio behind me, Pennsylvania offered clear skies. Time for a coffee. After checking the forecast again, it looked clear to Buffalo, so back on the road.

Buffalo presented beautiful weather so I decided to get the border crossing behind me. That proved easy.

Should I stop in Niagara? I considered it but it was still early and perfect riding weather. Niagara became St. Catherine’s, which became Hamilton. One thing I didn’t know about Hamilton was how quickly it becomes the Greater Toronto Area. Once you are in the GTA, it’s go-time. The GTA also presented another weather system. I figured I’d keep it to my left and just get this behind me too. My luck continued.

Now Toronto was in my wake. Should I stop? Nah, kept going. I was getting tired though so I thought I would stop in Trenton.

What? There are no hotel rooms in Trenton? Alright, Belleville then.

What? There are no hotel rooms in Belleville? Why? Oh, high season and these are the gateways to Prince Edward County and Sandbanks. Alright, Kingston it is.

What? There is only one hotel room and you want $350 for the night. Not a chance. Onward to Ottawa.

As posted previously, that was an eighteen and half hour, and 900-mile day. I felt pretty good considering, but I still need to get my blog out.

With that done, it was bedtime. A planned 21 day trip became 9. I dropped at least 2000 miles from the route, but in the end it was the right decision. It also informed many lessons about solo motorcycle travel, some ideas and thoughts on coffeehouses and business planning, and subsequently allowed me to see some friends I would not have otherwise. All good. The formal Transition Tour is now complete. Retirement hasn’t fully set yet, but it is starting to.