Day 2: Willow Hill, PA –> Champaign, IL (642 miles)


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Date: Saturday, August 27, 2005
Route: Willow Hill, PA –> Champaign, IL
Odometer: 10,690 –> 11,332

I was up and on the road by 6:45, big day today, lots of miles to cover.  It rained all morning, but traction was quite good, and the roads were washed clean of oil from the morning showers.  On the PA turnike traffic was held up as they cleared one of the tunnels of a Harley full-dresser which had skid out from under its rider.  I rode up past the traffic to the tunnel entrance and waited till they re-opened it.  Stopped for a quick coffee and to warm up and there was a couple riding matching BMWs in the lot.  We chatted for a bit.  They were on their way to Utah, some long days ahead for them as well.

I stopped in West Virginia for fueld and a little four year old girl at the gas-station with her mother kept looking at me and the bike till I waved to her. She’ll remember the red bike for a while.  Had lunch in Columbus, and as I’d expected I ran into a traffic jam on the Ohio turnpike.  I’ve never made it across Ohio without a delay of some sort.  The entire turnpike was closed and I thought I could ride around it on a country road, but a bunch of other people clearly had the same idea and it took about three hours to get back on the highway.  I was riding alongside traffic on the shaded shoulder since the heat was terrible, and this crotchety old guy in the back of a well-maintained Buick opens his window and yells at me to get back in the lane.  So I tell him to turn off his air-conditioning and stand out in the sun on the baking road before telling me what to do.  He rolled up his window and didnt’ glare anymore.  People can let their prejudices get ahead of their awareness of a situation so easily.  I should have just waited for the wreck to be cleared off the highway.

I got to Urbana around 9pm and called my high-school friend Apu once I’d checked into the motel.  The bike was parked and we rode to dinner at the Courier Cafe in his car.  Had an awesome milkshake and caught up on everything that’s happened since we left Bombay after high-school.  When I got back to the Ramada, there were a bunch of Corvettes and a Harley full-dresser in the lot.

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)