Saturday, September 12, 2015

The long journey home

I spent two days in Massachusetts. On Monday, time was spent with my sister's family and with my Mom. On Tuesday morning, I went to visit the Christian school I attended from fifth grade on up; Pioneer Valley Christian School (now Academy). It was a little strange seeing all the changes. The building isn't much like I remember it, and many of the teachers are new to me. Still, it was good to see that the school is still going.

On Tuesday afternoon, my mom needed help picking out a new computer. That event. I love my mother dearly, but many techies out there will understand that no matter how old we get, our mothers (or sometimes our fathers), will always question our judgement, no matter how many degrees or certifications we have, which makes helping them shop for any kind of technology an adventure. Eventually, she settled on the computer I suggested and was very happy with it once it was set up and running at home.

The next morning dawned warm and bright. My intended departure time was delayed a bit by breakfast (Mom made me cheesy eggs with toast), but at 9:30 after goodbyes were said and hugs were given, it was time to go. Rowlf was removed from my helmet due to the heat, which allowed for better ventilation. The tent and sleeping bag were left behind to save a bit of weight.

I took a different course home as it was an all day ride. This took me over the dam at the end of the Barkhamsted reservoir. At my accustomed stopping place, an older gentleman had stopped for a smoke break and his lovely Nissan GTR sat shining in the sun. The contrast between the powerful supercar and the practical and perky scooter provided a brief chuckle. After a short car chat with the gentleman, it was time to get back on the road.

For the most part, I followed route 202 and 6 south and west through Connecticut and into New York state. This led through small towns and down into the Hudson River valley. I've ridden the same route to the Bear Mountain toll bridge, up 202 and 6 along the river. This is quite possibly one of the most enjoyable short stretches of road for riding a small, quick motorbike or scooter. There was a Triumph that buzzed past me at the bottom of the hill, but couldn't quite pull away, which spoke more for the Honda PCX150's abilities than for mine.

Of course, when my own abilities come into play, I overshoot hairpin turns just a bit. Thankfully, no one was coming the other way. The video shows 202 west on the other side of the Hudson from my favorite bit of road, but it was still quite good. Unfortunately, it was a wrong turn, so I had to backtrack, but it was worth it.

Somewhere along the way, I saw another car that caught my attention. Such a pretty thing and when the owner drove off in it, the noise was lovely. It's a Jaguar F-Type for those who don't immediately recognize it.

A few miles on, route 6 became a four lane, which wove its way through New York toward Rt. 84, which I got on for a short hop. After crossing into PA, it was back to the secondary roads for a while, then down through the Delaware Water Gap. Then the GPS tried to be funny again. It wanted to take me into New Jersey, which would have added more than an hour to the trip. I chose to ignore it and followed 209 south through the Poconos with a short hop on Rt. 80 west.

Small town USA seems to always have at least one small creek bubbling through. Some, like the one pictured, have trees and shrubs around. Others have had the flora stripped from their banks and have even been imprisoned between stone or cement walls.

Another commonality small towns have in the U.S. are churches. There's always at least one with a steeple dominating the landscape.

As one draws closer to Lancaster County, the churches become more and more common, sometimes being the only building nearby, or perhaps only surrounded by two or three homes.

Since I was returning home on a Wednesday night, and would be arriving around time for prayer meeting, I decided to pop by my own church in Terre Hill. I got there just in time to see a lovely sunset. So, having left Westfield Massachusetts at 9:30 am I arrived in Terre Hill just before 7 pm. About ten and a half hours on a 150cc scooter isn't too bad, especially with a little wandering along the way. After leaving the church, the last 18 miles to home were a breeze.

As I've said before, taking a scooter on a long distance journey is not for everyone. For me, it's cleansing. The time alone allows introspection, and the small engine forces me to take my time. The lightness of the bike makes the corners a delightful adventure, and as I've discovered, the Honda PCX150 is capable of highway travel, at least for a few exits at a time, though that's not nearly as much fun as the secondary roads.

More than three hundred miles in one day over mountains and rivers... I think the Honda has passed the test.


kz1000st said...

"So, having left Westfield Massachusetts at 9:30 am I arrived in Terre Hill just before 7 pm. About ten and a half hours"

Even better is that there's two and a half hours from 9:30 until noon and seven hours from noon to 7:00 which adds up to nine and a half hours. Unless standard time suddenly sprung up on you.

Paul Smith said...

I'm horrible with figures. :D