B4Time Home


US Map

NZ Map

RTW Links


e-mail Mac

All photos -
Thumbs are 2Mb

Most recent


16 Dec


8 Dec

2 Dec

24 Nov

15 Nov

4 Nov

26 Oct

16 Oct


5 Oct

24 Sep
(With Nick)

14 Sep

7 Sep

29 Aug

24 Aug

16 Aug

11 Aug

1 Aug

26 July

20 July

12 July

4 July

29 June

23 June

Initial Route

Planning 7

Planning 6

Planning 5

Planning 4

Planning 3

Planning 2

Planning 1


Diary 4


13 July

Played in the Catskills after dodging the rain in the morning.
Wandered round a number of the roads in the area till I noticed a sign for Woodstock. This I have to visit. In my youth I used to watch the video of the festival almost every Saturday night. I've seen quite a few of the acts live.
It was a bit of a disappointment. There were a few hippies, some in their 50s, bald on top with ponytails, some 'new age' hippies.
Kinda like Glastonbury. Certainly the shops smell exactly the same as Glastonbury. Expensive 'designer' shops and new age junk.
I guess that part of my life is in the past.
I didn't even take any photographs.
The road out of there was interesting. Route 212 goes from Woodstock to Willow by a circuitous route. There's my life in a road.

To Mike & Karol's for the night.

On the way I crossed a toll bridge. This is the second or third that I've crossed and again I had to pay.
I'm not sure I know any toll bridges in the UK that bikes have to pay to cross.
I know that the cars behind me were probably getting pissed about the time it takes to a) find out how much the toll is b) take off my gloves c) fish out my wallet d) pay e) put my wallet away f) put my gloves back on. All the while my feet were slipping in the fluid that all the cars have dropped.

14 July

Another birthday - this time mine.
Odd day. Very humid and very distracted.

I usually hate my birthdays and spend the day realising how little I have achieved during the last year.
This year was a little different.

Got the bike booked in for a service & tyres next Tuesday in mid Pennsylvania

15 July

Temperature in the 90s, matching the humidity.
This is not riding weather. On the open road it might be OK but in town it's a killer.
In this heat I curse every stop light and stop sign.
There's lots of road construction going on pretty much everywhere I've been and sitting in a queue waiting for the stop board to be turned to 'slow' I have wondered "If I sit in the sun much longer will I faint ? If I do will I get enough warning to put the side stand down ?" If I do ever faint I'll go down with quite a bang.

Rather than do miles today I thought I'd catch up on my movie viewing.
Caught the midday showing of 'Fantastic Four'. It felt quite faithful to the sprit of the original comic.
Coming out of the cinema early afternoon the heat was like a wall - so I turned round & watched 'Batman Begins'

I'm a month into the trip so far.
It's obviously not holiday anymore and is starting to feel like 'how I live'.
I do feel a little disconnected. Without a goal.
It's kinda difficult to stay focused all the time.

16 July

There's this blue jay that I rekon must have babies around.
Either that or it has a thing about grey hair.
If I don't keep an eye on it when I'm outside, and keep facing the tree it's in, it flies up behind me and bangs me on the head.

Mikes companies summer picnic. It's a little odd in that they have been selected as 'supplier of the year' by the company I've been contracted to for most of the last 10 years (No names - no advertising here).

Spent the afternoon in the pool with Mike, Karol, their boys, a neighbour, a couple of beers and occasionally the dog.
This is how we should live.
This is how to combat heat and humidity.
Possibly the most civilised and relaxed day of the trip.

(Later addition - Lazing in a pool you don't realise that your shoulders are getting sunburned :)

17 July

This morning I went outside with my coffee to have a smoke and a black hosepipe I was about to walk over got out of my way.
I went back inside & asked "Black with yellow markings - dangerous ?"
Apparently garter snakes are only dangerous if you're a frog.
This is comforting after the fact, but at the time I'm fairly sure I stopped breathing till it had slithered away.

Back on the road.
After about 10 miles the rain started. Before I had a chance to stop to dig out the waterproofs I was soaked.
Sod it - the rain will stop, the temperature will rise and the damp will keep me cool.

This attitude has it's good and bad sides.
Bad in that for the next hour I was quite cold, good in that I stayed cool till mid afternoon and bad in that after about 3pm I started feeling like a broiled chicken.

In the bar this evening I noticed a guy with the worlds worst wig.
Not only bad but grey. For Gods sake - if you're going to wear a rug them make the colour look younger.
After a while I realised it was a mirror.
I don't comb or brush my hair and it naturally parts in a really sad 'comb over the top' way.

It has to go.

I usually don't care about my appearance - I wear what is comfortable or practical, but it's unnerving to realise that you look stupid.

18 July

Because of the thunder storms I ended up further West than I had intended or anticipated.
The bike shop is only a couple of hours away and about 10 miles beyond that is State College.
Stopped in at Fastline Motorsports in Bellefonte to check that everything was ready & met the very lovely Lauren.
If you're ever in the area & need any bike work done - go see them.
Other shops I spoke to couldn't get tyres for a week (unless you had a cruiser - she had a choice and will go out of her way to source any specific tyres you might want - assuming, of course, that those tyres are sold in the US).
This is the level of service that you hope you'll receive when you visit a shop but are usually disappointed.

We talked tyres for a while and I decided to try the Michelin Pilot Road.
They'll probably last as well as the Pirelli Dragon Evos that I have on at the moment. I'd prefer a harder Pirelli but there are very few Pirelli models for sale in the US.

Headed south to Brad & Jack's at State College.

19 July

Dropped the bike off for 9am and went to get shorn.
I haven't had my hair this short since I was about 5 years old.
I rekon a number of managers that I have had would be cursing if they knew.
"20 years trying to get him to cut his hair and he waits till he's not working"

It is stupidly hot.
Spend any time outside - or worse - expend any energy outside, and you're dripping.

Picked the bike up mid afternoon and spent some time scrubbing in the tyres.

20 July

Today was a two damn day.
Damn it's hot and
Damn Pennsylvania's beautiful.

I got told off for not having enough scenery in my photos. To be honest I haven't taken many photos recently (When the trip stopped being a holiday a week or so ago I kind of forgot) also on places like Skyline Drive it was way too hazy to see anything, let alone photograph any views. I'll try to rectify that (the frequency that is - rectifying the weather is beyond me).

Because of the damage to the previous rear tyre I've decided to avoid interstates at all costs so I headed cross country on a back road route that Brad and I had plotted. Brad ran the first 40 miles with me.
We stopped at a gas station for some refreshments and there was a sign on the door that confused me.
"Book your striper fishing trip here"
I had to ask - 'Is there something called striper I'm unaware of, or is there a spelling mistake and fishing just got more fun?'
Much to my disappointment the striped bass is known as a striper.

Have you noticed I'm using more Americanisms? Gas station rather than petrol station? It's not that I'm going native it's just how the language is used here.

Anyway - time to post this.
Please feel free to ask any questions or send any comments. There's an e-mail link over on the left near the top.

Almost forgot - I stopped beside the river Youghiogheny in Ohiopyle for a smoke & a drink of water (please don't ask me to pronounce the river - I just copied it from the map).
Anyway, this old guy on a trail bike pulled up to ask if everything was OK. We chatted for a while about the usual bike stuff until he asked me where I was headed. I told him the road numbers by referring to the GPS and he said 'I'm heading the first 20 miles of that and there's a lovely shortcut over the mountain to Chalk Hill on route 40.
Off we went.
I think he was half expecting me to overtake him coz I was on 'one of those Jap rocket bikes' but I was quite happy to tag on behind him. The road ran past Kentuck Knob - another Frank Lloyd Wright house and was nice & twisty.
The old guy's riding style was interesting. For a lot of the run he sat half crossed legged with his right foot on the seat in front of him. At another point he waved me up beside him and he told me about spotting a cougar on this road as we rode along at 20 m.p.h., side by side, on the very narrow half of the road we could legally use.
Once we were on 40 there was a two lane overtaking section so I upped the pace, went past him & took off.
It was a little odd in that I wanted to loose him - not because I didn't want to ride with him, but because my usual pace was faster than he was travelling and I didn't want him to feel obliged to 'lead me'.
What I didn't know was that immediately after I passed him there was a steep downhill section with fairly tight turns. It was two lane on our side and with my new tyres (which I learned to trust pretty quickly) I managed a pretty rapid decent.
I really wish the police car had not been sitting at the bottom of the hill round that blind corner.
Thankfully I saw the bumper bars and realised it was police before he saw me and was hard on the brakes when I did come into sight. I might still have been in trouble but the car that was trying to keep up with me failed to spot him. Maybe my hard breaking and flipping to the slow lane confused him.
The police man stopped him about a mile down the road.
Shame really :)

Diary 6