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.