Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Suck It Up Bike Ride

Rob and I set off on the motorbike at 6:00am Saturday to meet Kim and Scott for breakfast and a biking weekend. As I hopped on to the back of the bike it didn't feel too cold even though it was 27° and I thought I'd wake up nice and gradually as we rumbled slowly down the hill. But when Rob opened up the throttle once we were on the main road, I gasped loudly. Traveling at 50 mph it felt as if a million ice cold needles were piercing my face. I couldn't speak or breathe, and seriously thought I would start hyperventilating. I must have looked like a fish out of water, my mouth opening and closing but unable to take in a breath as the air was so icy. Finally my voice kicked in and I yelled at Rob to stop while thumping him furiously on his back. He promptly stopped. I sucked in deep lungfuls of air and was finally able to complain very loudly about the chill factor. But the truth of it was we had to be in Leesburg by 7 and there wasn't much we could do except carry on. We had to suck it up. I steeled myself while the rest of the journey passed like a blur of pain, with me trying to keep my scarf in front of my mouth and having to change hands every few minutes because my finger tips were freezing. I kept wishing that I'd put on waterproof mascara that morning too as my eyes were streaming.
Kim and Scott were approaching the iHop as we got near and arriving together we all wailed about the frigid morning. A hot breakfast with lots of coffee helped but we sat for over an hour in the warm restaurant, waiting for the sky to lighten and the temperature to climb a few degrees.
We decided to stop at the Haley Davidson store at Frederick to get protective gear, and Scott admitted that his button up jeans had not been a good choice that morning. With immense relief we got to the store and bought face masks and insulated bike gloves, and I grabbed another coffee.
I was quite keen on this bike but the lovely orange paint job was not enough to convince me that a purchase was necessary.
We were seriously wrapped up and feeling nice and snuggly behind our warm masks and scarves. and ready to carry on with our trip north. Kim's helmet perched on top of her layers made us all laugh.
We headed up Route 15 planning on going to Pennsylvania and possibly winding through the mountain back roads. We rode through Gettysburg, a must do on my list of places to see, but we weren't stopping today.
We passed a lot of Halloween decorations but on this trip I didn't have a lot of interest in taking many photos or videos. It was all about keeping warm and stopping at places where we could eat or drink warm vittles. Stopping at a dive bar in York for lunch, we cracked our frozen joints as we scrambled off the bikes and staggered up steps towards the warm interior. The place was very friendly with a great beer selection but I could only have one; I was craving hot coffee. A guy at the bar was nursing a huge 90mm gun shell which he'd just bought at an auction. We chatted with him while continuously shooting glances at the kitchen door, willing our food to emerge. Eventually some crab cakes arrived and we hungrily chomped on them only to find that the centers were frozen. What an outrage after our morning! And then the hot pretzels were brought out, and they were also frozen in the middle. We were feeling very sorry for ourselves and had to wait for ages until the chili was presented, obviously the kitchen staff were checking it was hot. Thankfully it was and the waitress never charged us for the previous food so we were content.
Lancaster Prison. At least they were warm in there...
We rode to Lancaster and decided to call it a day. The light was starting to fade and we knew the temperature would drop fast after that. We found a hotel and walked to an Olive Garden where we were served with gloriously hot tucker and more coffee. Kim and I had a Grand Marnier to warm us some more and of course Scott and I had to do chocolate in some form.
I was actually trying to focus on a mouthful of my delectable dessert and instead my phone focused on Scott heartily enjoying his chocolate. Awesome photo! The cold day had beat us, we were all drained and exhausted, and so with full bellies we headed for our rooms and collapsed.
The next day Scott said that snow had fallen overnight just a few miles further north of us . We were so lucky we hadn't ridden any more miles the previous day. We decided to go east instead and rode towards Amish country.
This was the first Amish buggy I'd ever seen in action. We were horrified to see how fast the motorized vehicles raced past these carriages. While we were taking photos on the side of the road we saw a car and then a motorbike hurtle past and definitely going a lot faster than the speed limit. I felt bad for the horses and the folks in the buggies.
Fooling around at Intercourse.
Many of the local farms had buggies parked outside and we passed a few on the road, but we slowed down as we approached them. The two young lads in the back of this buggy seemed pleased to see us; I'd thought these were reclusive people.
We had to stop outside this store and walk around. We'd all had a small breakfast at the hotel so weren't looking for food but we were interested to see what kind of things the Amish made besides furniture.
There were a lot of these straw animals outside on the steps. I loved them but not the price, this turkey was $100.
These little Amish figurines were so cute. Kim got me one of a lady with a cat.
Inside and outside was stuffed full of antiques, about 40 vendors were selling their wares here. And the rooms went on and on, creaky wooden floors, low ceilings and old fashioned electric heaters hanging down to warm the store, although there were many corners without light or warmth. Then as soon as you thought you'd finished looking a staircase would appear, and a basement below was crammed too. We eventually found our way out and decided the best plan was to start heading south towards home. None of us wanted to be out after dark.
Really? Washing your car and laundry at one stop?
 Crossing the Susquehanna River, the longest river on the American east coast and one of the oldest existing rivers in the world. Before European conquest, the Susquhannock, an Iroquoian tribe lived along the river and gave the Susquehanna its name.
We stopped at a family restaurant and stocked up on hot stodgy food, and more coffee.
Then it was back on the road for the final leg, parting ways at the iHop in Leesburg. We said our farewells then Rob and I decided to go for one more coffee, and then somehow chocolate sundaes were ordered too.
We'd asked for plenty of hot fudge sauce and we were not disappointed. Zipping up our jackets, bundling scarves and masks around our faces, we climbed aboard the bike for the last stretch back to Meadow House.
The sun was setting quickly as we neared Marshall and the road leading to my house was very cold but not close to the 27° of the previous morning. I was thankful to be home and rushed indoors to get a fire going. We'd traveled 366 miles in winter conditions and proved we were all hardened bikers. We'd sucked it up but unanimously agreed that the next trip will be in the sprint or summer!

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