Day 1: Greenwich, CT –> Willow Hill, PA (322 miles)

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Date: Friday, August 26, 2005
Route: Greenwich, CT –> Willow Hill, PA
Odometer: 10,368 –> 10,690

Hopped out of work a bit early so I could cover some mile before the sun goes down.  The riders amongst my work colleagues wished me well and were envious for the most part, the rest of the crowd mostly shook their heads at what seems to them like a dangerous road trip.

I was on the road by 14:45, onto I-95, turned towards Tappan Zee bridge, crossed before most of the weekend traffic had hit it, and was soon settling into riding mode.  I’m elated to be on the road again, it is a feeling unlike any other.  The world seems full of possibilities when you are on an American road, at the beginning of a long road-trip.

The rolling hills or Jersey and I-80 were a cinch to navigate, its my backyard.  Got lost a bit around Harrisburg as the sun was setting, took a wrong turn and had to back-track 15 miles or so.  It was getting dark, but I’d wanted to get out past Harrisburg, and onto I-76 on day one.  Around 8:00 it started to rain and I began looking for a motel.  Stopped at a couple of places and the lots were full of well-maintained Corvettes, turns out there’s a big Corvette show in Harrisburg every year and I’m riding through that weekend.  Clearly most places will have been booked.  I keep riding on I-76, through what is now steady rain, till I see the sign for Willow Hill, and the Willow Hill motel.  It looks hopeful, not a lot of cars in the lot, which is gravel and a bit of a bear to cross on a bike in the rain, but they have a room.

Not a lot of options food-wise in town, but I’m told the Double Dip Drive-In down the road is a good place for burgers and shakes.  The place is run by a woman and her two daughters, both of whom are giggling as I waddle up to the counter in full-fledged motor-cycle armor.  One of the girls asks whether I ride a “crotch-rocket”, and I wonder how that term made it out to Pennsylvania farm-country.  The burger and malt are stupendous, road-trip food the way it was meant to be.  The place is emtpy, 9pm is late out here and the only other place that will stay open is a rowdy bar further down.  A dairy farmer out with his family on a Friday stops by the table to say hello and we chat for a bit.  People are always more open to chatting with you when you’re on a bike.

The Great American Ride (Preparation)

I’m planning a cross country road trip, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for many years. I initially thought I would do this on a bicycle, but I’m going to leave that for next year 🙂

The trip is planned around visits to Glacier and Redwood National Parks (both of which I’ve been dreaming about visiting for many years now). It’s my birthday present to myself.

My trusty Katana 600 will be the steed for this jaunt through wide open spaces.

Here’s the itinerary. It might change a bit, weather is the big unknown and the times are a little tight. But I get 8 days in Glacier and 5 in Redwood. A total of 11 full days traveling with the little bit on Friday, Aug 26 to kick it off.

  • Aug 26: Greenwich, CT –> Snow Shoe, PA (268 mi)
  • Aug 27: Snow Shoe, PA –> Champaign, IL (630 mi)
  • Aug 28: Champaign, IL –> Sioux Falls, SD (630 mi)
  • Aug 29: Sioux Falls, SD –> Buffalo, WY (556 mi)
  • Aug 30: Buffalo, WY –> Browning, MT (509 mi)
  • Aug 31 – Sep 7: Glacier, NP
  • Sep 7: celebrate birthday biggrin
  • Sep 8: Columbia Falls, MT –> Seattle, WA (537 mi)
  • Sep 9: Seattle WA
  • Sep 10: Seattle, WA –> Crescent City, CA (499 mi)
  • Sep 11 – Sep 14: Redwood NP
  • Sep 15: Eureka, CA –> Elko, NV (725 mi)
  • Sep 16: Elko, NV –> Cheyenne, WY (666 mi)
  • Sep 17: Cheyenne, WY –> Des Moines, IA (628 mi)
  • Sep 18: Des Moines, IA –> Cleveland, OH (662 mi)
  • Sep 19: Cleveland, OH –> Greenwich, CT (495 mi)
  • Sep 20: Order a Red Busa (external link)

Total distance: 6,700 miles (give or take a few). Things to take:

  1. Open Mind and Pleasant Attitude.
  2. Riding Gear
    • Helmet
    • Touring Jacket, Gloves and Pants
    • Armor
    • Boots
    • E-Z Pass
    • Pack of ear-plugs
    • registration/insurance
  3. Luggage
    • Tank Bag
    • Rear seat Bag
  4. Clothes
    • T-shirts
    • socks
    • boxers
    • Jeans
    • Cotton pants
    • Sandals
    • Bathing suit
    • Sunglasses
    • Contacts and solution
    • Neck warmer
    • Winter gloves
  5. Other
    • iPod
    • GPS
    • Paper and writing pad
    • Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga”
    • Camera and charger
    • Cell phone and charger
    • Water bottle
    • Granola bars
    • Maps (including Starmap)
    • Binoculars
    • Flashlight
    • First Aid Kit
    • Tire gauge
    • Chain Cleaner
    • Chain Lube
    • Brake Fluid
    • Knife

Things to ship ahead (to GNP and RNP for backcountry camping):

  • Expedition Backpack
  • Technical pants, t-shirt, jacket and socks
  • Boots
  • Tent
  • Head lamp and Flashlight
  • Spare batteries
  • Maps and book
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Therma Rest
  • Water Bottles
  • Stove
  • Matches/lighter
  • Cup, spoons
  • Pot
  • More granola bars
  • Food: Miso, Dried fish, instant rice, protein shake?, cheese,
  • Water purification
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunblock and Hat
  • Purell
  • Starchart
  • Ice axe
  • Walking Poles
  • Bear bag/container
  • Knife, Swiss Army knife+altimeter/compass

Schedule a service in Crescent City to cover:

  • Engine Oil and Filter
  • Air filter
  • Rear tire replacement (if required)