Why Nova Scotia?

Why not Nova Scotia might be the better question. It's one of those exotic sounding places that I've never been to and that's reason enough for me. I plan on leaving around the 8th of May and spending several weeks on the ride. Along the way I'll be camping out, visiting unsuspecting friends , and maybe getting to ride along with them for awhile. Let me know if you're up to either!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jun 14 – Take Two, an easy ride & good food

Breakfast at the River Mist B&B turned out to be exquisite just as I expected it would be. Beginning with a tall dish of yogurt filled with fruit, nuts, and mystery ingredients, it then went on to Eggs Florentine with sides of potatoes and homemade biscuits with strawberry jam. Orange juice and good coffee completed the bill, all further enhanced by interesting conversation with the other guests and the hosts. You just don’t get this at Day’s Inn and the rack rates aren’t that much more so I may stay at a few more before I head home.

Once I’d decided it would be frugal to do so I elected to wear Big Red again and this time I’d do the whole enchilada, electric vest, double shirts, winter gloves, all of that. Ensconced in this cocoon-like affair I set out on the road to Pennsylvania, hoping the drizzle might abate after awhile. Except for a few encounters with brief morning showers I got my wish, the rain stopped around 11:00am and I was treated to broken clouds with sunshine peeking through.

The daily chain oiling routine had been delayed due to the morning drizzle so I looked for an opportune location to use for this task. The first place that filled the bill happened to be none other than the parking lot of a ski lodge, closed down for the season. It was perfect in that no one was around and the surface of the lot was dry, absorbent, and impervious to chain oil spillage should any occur. When I finished I took a few photos of the place as a reminder of how lucky we Oregonians are to have so many big mountains within easy driving distance to play on. The ski lodge in the photos wasn’t as high as my last neighborhood in West Linn where I lived before moving to Bandon. Everything is relevant isn’t it?

Back on the slab again, this time I was heading in a general southwest direction that would take me across the rest of Vermont into New York before turning westward towards Pennsylvania. Lunch time found me on the outskirts of Troy, NY, home of the original Uncle Sam. I rode past a few eateries but decided to turn back to one that had caught my eye on the way in. It was one of those older looking café’s that attract the locals and that’s the best endorsement for me. Inside the place was packed despite the fact there was a notice posted on the door that they were closing at 2:00pm sharp, no exceptions. I sat at the counter and within a minute the waitress appeared with a cup of coffee, no need to ask, there it was. I laughed and asked her if it was for me and she said yes, didn’t I want it? Hey, slap me around, this is NY, eh? I did of course and after perusing the menu for a minute I ordered an item I’d never seen before, a BLT with a fried egg. When the waitress came back to take my order she asked how I wanted the egg fixed. This seemed a bit odd given it was part of the sandwich and I countered with “Don’t most folks have it fried since it’s part of the sandwich?” She sort of nodded and then asked if I wanted tomatoes with it. Odd I thought, isn’t the “T” in a BLT for tomatoes? Pointing that out to her she picked up the menu and looked at what I was ordering and that seemed to clarify things for her. Off she went to the kitchen and when my lunch was delivered it was a genuine treat, a BLT with a fried egg tucked neatly away between the main ingredients. Plus, and this was just what my girlish figure needed, a scoop of mashed potatoes with gravy and a small token container of coleslaw. Man I’m gonna weigh in on the Richter scale when I get home…

With lunch out of the way and back on the road one of those damn toll-road things cropped up again. This time I figured I’d be ready so I had a small container of quarters stashed in the top of my tank bag within easy access; all I had to do was ask how much and deposit the correct amount of change into the toll booth person’s hand. With that at the ready I pulled up to the booth but the guy inside simply handed me what looked like a bus schedule or something akin to it. It definitely had writing on it but since I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses it may as well have been in Chinese so I asked him if I was to pay him or someone else. Error #2, besides being unable to read the damn thing I was wearing ear plugs and since I’m half deaf anyway I didn’t stand a chance of understanding anything he said. I could see his lips moving and since he was waving me on I figured I was to go on to the exit place where they would collect the toll.

As soon as I left the toll booth I pulled over to have a look at the paper he’d handed me. This entailed opening up my tank bag and retrieving my reading glasses which I did and at the same time I referred to the GPS for the next set of instructions. It said to take the exit to Buffalo and when I looked up the toll fare the amount was $12.50. Now that’s not such a big deal but I’d paid for my lunch with the only cash I had since they didn’t accept plastic. Sitting there at the side of the busy toll booth terminals trying to scrounge up some more walking-around money wasn’t my idea of fun. I keep a small amount of emergency cash in one of Aerostich’s quaint little money belts on my person but it was buried beneath several layers of shirts, back support, electric vest and ultimately Big Red, earth central for Velcro closures and endless arrays of zippers.

Now here’s the best part. Sliding the belt to one end as far as I could without actually removing it I was able to extricate a $20 note, enough to get me through the exit gate when I arrived, or so I thought. The immediate issue was that the onramp to the Buffalo route happened to be located across two lanes of very aggressive drivers who no doubt resented having to pay for the privilege of driving at all. With Big Red zippered back up and my money belt back in place I executed what I believed was a very convincing fast start, somewhat akin to driving in the Boston tunnel, i.e., aim it, pull the trigger, and never make eye contact. It worked. It always works; it’s one of those physical laws thingies they teach in college.

Continuing to follow the GPS’s commands I arrived at an off-ramp where the toll is extracted from the guilty parties, me being among them. At the ready this time, I moved quickly through the line behind drivers who were obviously well versed in the intricacies of the system. Myself, not being as talented as those people reverted back to my previous experience with toll booths; namely, holding the fare in my teeth as my hands were needed for operation of the motorcycle. This seems to work to a point as toll takers seem to appreciate a break in their routine. However today after accepting the twenty I’d proffered he said “OK, but I need to see your ticket, no tickee, no ride on the toll road.” Jesus, this was becoming a nightmare, the ticket was ensconced inside my tank bag and the damn thing was locked with my combination guaranteed-to-thwart-thieves lock. Cars were piling up behind me. Panic was arising in my craw. I wanted to get the hell out of there. I said “shit!” in my loudest loud and the toll taker said “Take your time, just relax.” He probably wondered if I was packing or something. After what seemed like forever I got the combination lock open and gave him the ticket. He was evidently having such a good time he handed the twenty back to me and said “No charge, the ride’s on us, have a good day.” Jesus Larry, where do these people come from?

My eventual riding goal for the day was to position myself somewhere close to the mid-Pennsylvania border for the ride across that state. I think I’m about there, at least I’m within easy striking distance for tomorrow and that’s good enough for now. I rode long enough today and I was beginning to get pooped so I opted for the first reasonable motel I spotted; in this case it was my old friends the Quality Inn people and their Apalachin, NY facility. My room filled the bill perfectly, easy view of El Nino, WIFI, and a nice restaurant within easy walking distance.

The restaurant is the Blue Dolphin or something like it and I went there for dinner. I’d never had Haddock and it was either that or the fried crab cakes, another tempting delectable item. Maybe I should mention I’m a firm believer that you should never eat at a place with the name “Mom’s” included or choose any menu item that says “medley” or “Chef’s choice” or “Cakes”. Nor should you ever ask the waiter or waitress what they might recommend, what if they like to eat tofu or something? Bottom line is I ordered a slab of fried Haddock with salad and mashed potatoes, gravy, the whole fat-farm works. Today is turning out to be another 10,000 calorie day, eh?

So do I care? Not!

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