Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Epic Ride Reports
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-23-2013, 07:21 AM   #1
PenultimateMan OP
Lost Boy
PenultimateMan's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Prodigal Mainer
Oddometer: 54
From Kuwait to the Keys

Long time listener, first time caller. It's all I can think of as I'm typing the first few lines of this ride report, because for a year, this site literally served as a sanity-check for me. I would read it every day, and through the ride reports and photos of the other inmates, I'd vicariously exercise the overpowering compulsion I had to ride. In February of 2012, the Army Guard Medevac unit I'm a part of mobilized to Kuwait, and my buddies and I said goodbye to our families and friends for a year. But in addition to the farewells I bade the people in my life, I also had to say goodbye to motorcycling, the hobby that occupies nearly every day of my life (which is saying something, given the length and severity of the Maine winters).

Anyone reading this who's been in the military will know how long deployments seem to stretch on, and the "feast or famine" nature of wartime operations. It's been popularly noted and reiterated that war is "long periods of boredom punctuated by sheer terror". I'll make no claims about Kuwait ever approaching sheer terror, but for every moment of our jobs there that looked like this:

...there were 100-times more that looked like this:

While you're thousands of miles away from home, it's your friends who really keep you going. The CHU (the aluminum and linoleum shed we lived in near the flightline), only affords you about 25 square feet of space to live in, too, so you'd better like who you're bunking up with. I lucked out. Our unit is pretty lucky to have some great people in it, and I ended up getting billeted from two of the best amongst the lot: my buddies Josh

and Tag

The three of us spent interminable hours together off-duty, staving off boredom, and somewhere along the way it occurred to me that if we can live in those close quarters for a year without falling out, these guys might make good riding partners. There was only one problem: neither of them had bikes or licenses. With months of free time at my disposal, though, I was confident that I could mount a propaganda campaign that would sway the two of them to two wheels. So, with the front-page slideshow of ADVRider as my opening salvo, I sat Josh and Tag down and turned the subject of conversation to motorbikes...and it never really fully got off of it again.

The idea started small, or at least vaguely defined: when we returned from the deployment, Josh would buy my old bike, Sabine

...and I would buy a new bike, the F800GS I'd been lusting after for years, Ilse a "Welcome Back to The World" gift for myself. Tag, meanwhile, would strike out in another direction entirely and buy a sportbike. Actually, he'd kind of get THE sportbike. As his second-EVER bike, Tag went big and sought out an 848. I give you Lily:

Oh, wait! Sorry. That's the bike Tag really wanted. Here's Lily:

The riding plans were initially left vague. When we got home, we thought, we would take a few rides, starting small, and see what suited our fancy. After all, Tag and Josh still needed their certs (the Army, in one of the wisest moves I'VE ever seen them make, requires and provides MSF training for all of its soldiers who wish to ride), and we didn't even know (though I hoped ardently) if they would like riding long distance.

But Josh had other plans brewing apart from biking. His brother, Mike, lived in Florida and had taken a freediving course there in 2011 that he had really enjoyed. One of the things that had initially brought Josh and I together as friends was his willingness to rearrange his life around his adventure list, and the idea of becoming proficient at long-period diving without the aid of O2 tanks proved to be no exception for him; we would go on bike trips when we got back, alright, but he would HAVE to be able to go to this class as well. It seemed patently indecent, since he had so willingly jumped on-board with my adventure, not to get on-board with his. So, the two ideas merged, and from the idea of a short trip we were very suddenly in the midst of planning a round-trip journey down the east coast of the U.S., Maine to Key West, for a free-diving class (and, of course, the reward of the journey itself).

We leave today. The certs and bikes are all in place and ready. The route (Route 1, actually, in its entirety) is set. An adventure we've been dreaming of for a year is about to happen, and we'll update along the way.

We'll see you from the road.
I wasn't born to ride, I was born to work.

But I got laid off.
PenultimateMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2013, 07:28 AM   #2
Beastly Adventurer
klaviator's Avatar
Joined: May 2008
Location: Huntsville, AL
Oddometer: 6,731
This is a good start to what looks like a great ride report. I'll be following along.

Thank you for your service. Tell your buddies that too.
I ride, Therefore I Am.

klaviator is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2013, 07:40 AM   #3
Let's get tropical
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Northern VT
Oddometer: 1,491
Welcome home! Can't wait to follow along. Ride safe, and thank you for your service.
2013 Tay-Nay-Ray
Tallbastid is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2013, 10:29 PM   #4
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 86
Welcome back .Sense of humor and sense of adventure .This is gonna be good.
auldublinr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2013, 06:09 AM   #5
PenultimateMan OP
Lost Boy
PenultimateMan's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Prodigal Mainer
Oddometer: 54
Manventure: Day 0 - "I think it's back the way we came."

The worst time before a big ride are the few hours just before you take off. All of us had been keyed-up for the trip for weeks already by the time our departure date arrived, but because Josh and I had done a lot more of the gear planning during the preparation, we were both especially impatient to get on the road. Josh lives two hours south of me and had planned to leave his house round midday after having "lunch" with his wife. Tag would meet us there, too, and together we'd all ride up to Fort Kent, ME, home of the Rt.1 Zero-mile marker where we'd camp for the night and start the journey the next morning. There had been no small amount of debate about whether Josh's mid-afternoon arrival would leave us enough time for the long ride way up north into The County, as we say in Maine, but he was confident that we'd be able to beat dusk and the threatening weather. "Be READY TO GO at THREE when I show up!" he repeated several times the night before "I mean, be AT THE END OF THE DRIVEWAY, ready to just RIDE THE FUCK OUT."

Bearing Josh's edict in mind, Tag showed up well in advance to finish prepping Lily for the trip. When he's not flying or riding with us, Tag is juggling school and a job on the side, and the balancing act hadn't left much time for him to set his bike up. 848s, as it turns out, do not as easily lend themselves to being kitted out for long-distance touring, and even finding saddlebags that would fit over the stiletto-like pillion without being torched by the cans that wend their way up its underside was a chore. With copious amounts of modification and zip-tie surgery, we'd finally negotiated the pair he'd bought onto the bike in such a way that they'd hang clear of the exhaust. Next we'd have to figure out a way to mount the Starcom system we'd all bought into one of the bags. Josh and I had been able to mount our units under the seats of the dual-sports (it almost seemed that provision had almost been made in the design for such things), but under Lily's seat was a clear shot down to the engine, completing the simile of the 848 simply being a big, sleek rocket with some lights and fairings thrown onto it for decoration.

Using a more ghetto approach to PhilSpace's idea, we got Tag's unit mounted and set into his left saddlebag. With the power supply for the Starcom running all the way forward to the battery, this left just enough cord to poke out of the bag of the bag when zipped, leaving a tricky hook-up for Tag each time he mounted the bike. A tank-bag would have been preferable for the whole install, but finding one that fit the bike for less than $300 was next to impossible (cue the snarky discussions about relative bike and comm system costs now).

I've done plenty of long rides solo before, but only one that involved a riding buddy, and the navigation on that trip, a journey up through New Brunswick, had been a nightmare, especially in the cities. Turns were easy to miss, we were almost separated by misunderstanding the route numerous was a pain. The amount of urban area we'd be going through along Route 1 on this trip was considerable, and when we'd begun planning the the bike setup in Kuwait, a reliable commo system was one of the first things I wanted us all to budget for. I realise that other riders on the site may do just fine with hand signals or simply following the riders with a GPS, but my own mileage with those options has suffered; being able to talk not only makes stops easier to coordinate, it also helps pass the time when the scenery or traffic begin to drone on a bit. The Starcoms were one of the first bits of kit we ordered when we got home, but because we all live in separate parts of Maine, we had yet to be able to actually install all three systems until just before the trip started, and we intended to use it as a "shakedown cruise" of sorts for the system.

After Tag's splinter of a bike was fitted-up with some cargo capacity and we had done a basic functional check of the Starcoms for bike-to-bike, we still found ourselves with a few hours to burn. Maybe it's something about pilots, but we'll generally screw ourselves over in order to say that we were right. Giving Josh the satisfaction of having been correct about our proclivities for tardiness wasn't an option, so we geared up and waited in the drive. For 45 minutes.

When he finally did arrive, Josh was grinning like an imbecile. We all were. There are a lot of plans that people make when they're musing about home on deployments, and more than half of them probably never come to fruition. Though we had a long trip ahead of us with no guarantee of completion, and though the full weight of realisation hadn't probably settled on us yet, the very fact that we were all in my driveway about to set out on the adventure we'd been planning was pretty heady, and we were giggling foolishly as we mounted up and headed north.

For all of its surface area, Maine is only home to just over a million people, with the vast majority of that population dwelling south of Bangor. Though locals refer to Bangor as being in central Maine, it's actually south of the state's physical midway point, and the heavily forested expanse of primarily uninhabited land that lay north of there is endowed with fewer and fewer major roads. We didn't want to ride up to Fort Kent by Route 1 simply to turn around on the same road and ride right back again, though, so from Bangor we took I-95 to East Millinocket, the start of true rurality in the northern part of the state, and from there struck north along SR-11.

We had resolved to avoid the slab whenever possible along the trip specifically so that we could see roads like Rt. 11. As soon as we got off of the highway in East Millinocket, the road started offering up bends and twists to play in, and beautiful views along the side of the road that were a big change from the never-ending wall of greenery visible from the interstate.

Though the road was beautiful, it was also a bit more bumpier than the interstate, and bits of it had yet to be hit by the state's cleaning trucks that brush away all of the sand lain down to grit the roads during the winter, meaning that we had to be extra vigilant going around corners or over road junctions, lest we low-side in loose dirt. The bumps weren't an issue for the dual-sports, but Tag's bike is a lot closer to the ground, and picking a proper line through ruts and potholes became essential, meaning that he got to do a lot more swerving and leaning, which seemed to suit him just fine.

When we left Bangor it was under blue skies, but we knew that it wasn't supposed to last. By the time we rolled through Patten on the way the Aroostook Scenic Highway, the rain clouds that had been forecast to loom over Maine for the ensuing five days were already gathering, and we began to wonder whether we would make it up to Fort Kent without getting dumped on a little.

Patten also marked the first fuel and food stop of the trip, starting the trend that would follow of making meals out of convenience store items. I'd like to pretend that I have any sort of connoisseur's palate, but that would be such a grievous lie. After a year of eating in Army chow halls, whatever pretension I had to good taste in food has been destroyed, and the fare available at most gas stations is well better than what we'd become accustomed to in-theater. Dollar bags of peanuts and hot dogs (3 for $2! Who GIVES A SHIT what's in them?!!) would tide us over until we could grab a late dinner all the way up north.

All along the way the first day, I was constantly making Josh and Tag pull over so that I could snap photos. I knew that I wanted to type a ride report of the trip, and I was piecing it together in my mind out of the different vistas we saw as we rode past stuff along the way. I carry my Nikon point-n-shoot, though, in a tiny Pelican case clipped to my Camelbak straps, which made it hard to deploy single-handed while riding, necessitating the stops. I would buck my fear later in the trip, but on Day 0, my trepidation meant that we did a lot of doubling back for photos. The Starcoms made it so that I could hear Josh and Tag wondering when I would turn round without explanation, too. I would just pass back into the radio range sometimes as my whereabouts were being discussed.

"I don't know. He went back to the top of the hill for something."

"Yeah, we wouldn't want to miss more pictures of foggy woods."

By the time we made it up to Ashland, ME, our hopes of a dry passage had evaporated (HA! Science irony.) We rode in and out of several showers, and as we struck north of the town for the last leg of SR-11, the rain had begun to fall lightly but consistently.

We had tried to do research into camping areas in Fort Kent before we left the house, but had come up short on actually getting any of the places listed on-line to answer their phones. More attempt during stops on the way up had yielded similar results, and when we pulled into Fort Kent just after 7:30pm, we still had no idea where we would make camp for the first night. Hoping that we could get some help from the locals and a warm meal in dry surroundings, we stopped along the main drag at the Swamp Buck Inn and set to making calls over dinner.

We turned up the names of a few more leads, but every time we brought one up as a possibility, the bar patrons would answer with "Oh, I don't think that's open yet." or "Well, that's about twenty miles back the way you came, eh, but he doesn't open up 'til Memorial Day." Weirdly, though Claire, New Brunswick lay just across the river from Fort Kent, the differences in accents between the the Canadian and American bar-goers was noticeable. Some sounded distinctly like Maritime Canadians, others like Northern Mainers. Very odd.

At the end of the meal, the only realistic option we'd been given was to go park in the state picnic area at the edge of town and set up camp there for the night. It wasn't officially open yet, and the weather was foul enough that we were unlikely to disturb any late night picnickers. Thus it was that under leaden, drizzling skies, we deployed our tents for the first time and went to sleep, waiting to start our adventure in earnest early the next morning.

I wasn't born to ride, I was born to work.

But I got laid off.
PenultimateMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2013, 04:43 AM   #6
Beastly Adventurer
klaviator's Avatar
Joined: May 2008
Location: Huntsville, AL
Oddometer: 6,731
Glad to see you are on your way.

As for taking pics on the go, try putting a strap on your camera and hanging it around your neck. I do this and take pics left handed without having to stop.
I ride, Therefore I Am.

klaviator is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2013, 07:47 AM   #7
Gnarly Adventurer
eightup's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Oddometer: 126
Good read so far, definitely looking forward to the rest of this. I couldn't convince any of my military buddies to take enough time off to go travel Europe. Key West is a pretty cool place to visit, especially if you like diving and drinking. The Coasties down there are pretty chill if you ended up needing a place to turn some wrenches.
eightup is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2013, 11:30 AM   #8
Beastly Adventurer
FLARider1's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Homestead, Florida
Oddometer: 1,404
Congrats on your safe return and Thank You guys for your service!!!

Check your email........I am in south Florida and might be able to help a bit with this part of your trip.

FLARider1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2013, 01:45 PM   #9
marty hill
The Energizer Bunny
marty hill's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: marietta, ga.
Oddometer: 4,315
Welcome back to the world!
ride till you can't.
Boxer Cup Replika/red-white-blue

Semper Paratus
marty hill is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2013, 05:11 PM   #10
Lost in Cyber Space
AngryRed's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Vegas, yeah woo...
Oddometer: 382
This is absolutely awesome. Good luck on your trip and stay safe. Such beautiful country in your photos, I have to get out there sometime to see it for myself.

2013 Super Tenere
AngryRed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
Getting into it!
Joined: May 2013
Location: Montreal
Oddometer: 50
Looking forward for the rest of this great RR!
Toiretto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2013, 07:54 PM   #12
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Apopka, FL
Oddometer: 415
I'm in!

Oh and thanks for your service guys!!!

Eagletalon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2013, 08:38 AM   #13
PenultimateMan OP
Lost Boy
PenultimateMan's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Prodigal Mainer
Oddometer: 54
Manventure: Day 1 - "It's not Swampass if it's fresh water!"

We awoke on Friday to the steady patter of rain on the tent canopies. The wind had fairly howled at a few points the night before, and had only dissipated a little by the time we got up. We'd set up the tents Thursday evening by the light of the bikes pointed at the center of the picnic clearing, which had done little to illuminate the surrounding area. We knew that a small stream wended its way past the site, and that there was a blockhouse fort on the hill above us, though we hadn't been able to see that the night before. I'd been the first to get up due to having inadvisably set my bivvy bag up on a slope; the rain had conspired with the weird angle to form a pool at the base of the tent, soaking my sleeping bag and rousing me from sleep with cold, wet feet. I put my riding gear on to warm up, broke down my bivvy and mounted my gear on Ilse. Josh woke while I was shuffling gear around, and we both went over to shake Tag's tent until he got up too and started getting ready to go. Having a bit of time on my hands, I decided to snoop around a bit and take some pics for the report.

The blockhouse fort the town takes its name from was erected for what can only be described as the most quintessentially Mainerly and Canadian "war" ever: out of 50,000 men and $10M allocated to the border dispute between the U.S. and Canada (Britain), NO fighting was actually done, and the dispute that necessitated the whole affair ended up being settled by anticlimactic negotiation. The fort remains as a memory of the little piss-up, and all I could think about looking at it in the morning was how nice it would have been if they had simply left the place unlocked so we could have camped inside and stayed dry.

By about 7:30am we'd gotten camp broken down and and were all mounted up to go. The rain was still falling at a decent clip as we made our way out of the picnic area and rode a mile or so down the street so that we could take a photo at the Zero-Mile marker of Rt. 1. We pulled the bikes onto the side of the road across from the Border Patrol station at the edge of town and I was just getting the gorilla-pod out of my bag to mount the camera on for a selfie when a black truck pulled up in front of the monument. Having gotten reprimanded in Calais, Maine before for taking photos too near to a border stop, I thought at first that the truck might be one of the Customs agents come to tell us off. As the window rolled down, though, a local greeted us with a big smile "You guys picked a hell of a wet day for a ride!". He was right; as we doffed our helmets to pose for the Mile-Zero picture, it became clear that the worst of what we'd heard from the forecast might be about to come true. The guy who snapped the photo for us joked that he does this quite a bit, and that he might as well just hang out across from the monument and open a side-business taking pictures of groups of travelers.

"Are you doin' the Four Corners?" he asked almost conspiratorially as he handed my camera back to me, looking at me out of the corner of his eye as if he were measuring me up. I'd been thinking of this trip for so long, and it had seemed so enormous in my head that I was a little struck by how diminished it suddenly felt when he asked. All four corners of the country: it would be grand to do it, but we were already taking three weeks for this little adventure. Who could afford the months off that the whole nation would require?!

"Ha! Well...maybe someday." was all I could think of to answer. He laughed out loud and slapped me on the back, wished us luck and then got back in his truck and drove off. My ease about the trip size returned as we donned helmets to leave. I suppose nearly everyone on the site dreams of having that one massive adventure someday. For now, like most of us, I was going to have to take it one little bit at a time.

Our plan for the trip had initially been to wake up each morning, bolt down a quick but filling breakfast of oatmeal and some bacon we'd made up in advance, wash it down with some coffee made in Josh's Jetboil and then hit the road. When we'd gotten up, none of us had really felt especially inclined to stand around in the rain any longer than necessary in order to prep breakfast, though, so we hit the road straight away and resolved to find a place for a meal after we'd put some miles behind us. So it was with empty stomachs that we mounted up at the very start of U.S. 1 and started our long trek south in steady drizzle and blowing winds.

Underneath our riding clothes, all of us were bundled up with heated liners, and we were all wearing heated leather gloves to ward off the cold. All of the gear we had on had been tested through rain showers, and we surmised that it should hold us in good stead through the showers we'd be experiencing throughout the day. Within an hour of riding, weather durability claims were already being put to the test. I have NO complaints about my Kilimanjaro jacket. Firstgear makes some great stuff, and that's no exception. It's kept me warm, dry and safe through many gnarly days of riding, but I just don't think that days like this one were what its designers had in mind when they branded it "Waterproof". In my experience, sustained 70mph speeds are enough to push moisture through almost any fabric eventually, provided there's enough exposure. Well, exposure certainly wasn't a hard to come by on the first leg of our ride from Ft. Kent to Presque Isle. The road in between towns was all but deserted in the early morning rain, so we fairly put the hammer down, and it put a good soak on all of our gear. By the time we stopped for breakfast in Presque Isle, we were already starting to get seepage through to our under layers, and we occupied almost the entirety of the coat rack at the diner where we stopped so that we could get our stuff dried out a bit.

While we were there, a older guy with a scraggly beard came up and started talking to us about the bikes, where we were going and who we were. When it came up that we were Medevac pilots, he cracked a yellow-toothed grin and shook our hands. “Well thanks for comin' to pick my ass up in Vietnam, man. You crazy fuckers saved my life. Well...not you, of course. But the guys in front of you! Right on, man, that's a hell of a job.” We run into this with some fair frequency, and it always feels a bit disingenuous to accept thanks for shit we didn't do. But a lot of GIs, especially ones this guy's and my dad's age, are very appreciative of the fact that there are people who do this job, and I guess that's what they're really thanking. It's always a little humbling. While he waited for his take-away meal, the old guy chatted us up about getting busted numerous times for insubordination while he was in Southeast Asia before he finally got sent forward and was wounded. He left us with another handshake and wished us luck on the trip, and then left the restaurant to a generally stunned silence from the other patrons at the staggering number of F-bombs he'd dropped with us in the course of five minutes or so of casual breakfast conversation. Army through and through.

When we walked back out of the diner, our clothes had only dried to the most infinitesimal degree, and the rain was actually coming down harder than before. “Dude, we're gonna need our rain gear.” Josh intoned, looking about at the increasing downpour. Trying to keep the mood light and optimistic, I disagreed.

“We should be fine! We may ride right through this bit on the way out of town. I'm sure our gear will hold up. It can't get that bad, right?”

Wrong. SOOOOO Wrong. We kept up a pretty steady pace all throughout the morning with the imperative of making it through all of Northern and Central Maine by the end of the day down to Josh's house in Topsham, near Bowdoin College, where a warm meal and hot showers were awaiting us. Along the way we'd need to stop in the Ellsworth area for Tag's MSF card lest we need it to get onto any of the various DOD lodging areas along the way of the trip (the Army requires the proof of course completion in order to ride on its installations, and we'd been unable to ascertain whether the other branches did as well; Army goes out of its own way to make life harder for itself and its soldiers). An hour into the ride our outer garments were soaked. Two hours in, the rain had been coming down so steadily for so long that it had soaked through all of our layers and was pooling in backpacks, boots and tankbags. The Starcoms, unable to handle the flood, began to function strangely or sporadically, making communication difficult. The electrically heated kit became so saturated with water that the warmth it managed to provide became all but unnoticeable, and my gloves, the oldest set of the lot and well beaten from many, many miles, actually began to short out somehow against my skin. I could feel the electricity pulsing against the top of my middle finger of my left hand, causing a twitching, burning sensation, as if the gloves themselves were telling me to fuck off, and that they weren't meant for this sort of weather. The crazy codger we'd talked to over breakfast had told us to stop past Houlton for what was known locally as "The Million Dollar View". "It won't be worth shit today, of course" he'd said "but you should stop anyway just to show how bad it is in this weather." Who were we to argue? The opacity was breathtaking.

"I've got the worst swampass ever right now." Tag announced as we climbed back onto the bikes at the turnoff. "Water's actually RUNNING down the crack of my ass!"

"Tag, you fool!" Josh replied "It's not SWAMPASS if it's fresh water!"

"But it's SWAMPY!"

"Wait 'til later in the trip. If you want to see real swampass" Josh assured "I'll show you some." Ew.

I should mention here that, though the weather was truly foul, the roads themselves were incredible. Later on along US-1, we would encounter stop-and-go traffic of the worst kind, with lights and intersections every two or three-hundred meters. We would get mired in byzantine detours and stymied by poor to non-existent signage. We would be boxed in by traffic that stood almost completely still on 55mph stretches.

There was NONE of that to be found on the first leg of the trip.

Coming out of the Northern Maine, US-1 runs dead-straight all down the eastern periphery of the state, and for vast, hilly lengths, the road is gloriously bereft of traffic, leaving a wide-open ribbon of asphalt to bolt over. But for the possibility of hydroplaning, there was nothing to impede our travel speed, and we made amazing time through scenery made misty and mysterious by the fog that drifted down through the tops of the trees and clung to the riverbeds and valleys. THAT part, for all of the cold and damp, was beautiful.

All of this being said, absolutely EVERYTHING we had on was soaked through when we pulled into Millbridge, just north of Tag's house. The rain was coming down in literal sheets and waves by this time, and when we all pulled up to one of the stop signs in town, we looked at each other in a moment of silent understanding and mutual bewilderment: why the hell were we all doing this?! Even the impermeable, vinyl-lined map pockets of the tankbags were falling victim to just the ambient moisture. Upon removing my iPod in Tag's driveway 20 minutes later, I found it had left its mark on the drenched interior.

Tag's dad welcomed us into the house where we stripped off saturated riding clothes to be thrown into the dryer while he made hot chocolate for us. There was nothing for the leather gloves at this point: throwing them in the dryer would damage the outer shells, and we had no idea what it might do to the electronics inside. Similarly, our boots, which we'd been able to actually dump water out of when we took them off, would just have to air dry; at any rate, no standing water would be better than the puddles we'd had our feet in all morning. We may be able to dry off some of our other gear, but we resolved ourselves to the fact that we'd be shoving our hands back into wet gauntlets and soaked boots when we started riding again in a bit. My camera, too, had succumbed to the pervasive moisture. The first shots of Tag's house were less than inspiring.

Tag tracked down his card while Josh and I set to looking at the weather for the rest of the ride. The outlook was a bit bleak.

Steuben is right by Ellsworth, and before we could ride through any of the "light" rain symbolised by the green areas, we needed to get through all of the red and yellow shit south of us. With no way out but through, me made our way through another round of hot chocolate, put on our slightly less wet riding kit, and broke south again while the rain was temporarily lulled to a steady downpour.

From Ellsworth to Topsham, US-1 wends its way through some of the most classically scenic and quintessentially "Downeast" parts of Maine, with Camden, Woldoboro and Damariscotta falling along the route, and I'd love to tell you that we really enjoyed that part of the trip, and that all of those places looked positively enchanting in the late spring showers. The truth, though, is that from Tag's house we simply put our heads down like men on a mission and rode like Hell for the warm shepherd's pie waiting for us at Josh's place. Just as the dark of night was truly coming on, we pulled into his drive, where his wife Mindy was waiting for us and had lain out dry things for us to wear (what a girl!)

It was every bit as good as we were expecting. With full bellies, we went to bed right after dinner. Manventure: Day 2 would start on the morrow.
I wasn't born to ride, I was born to work.

But I got laid off.
PenultimateMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2013, 06:02 PM   #14
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Oddometer: 577
Thanks for your service and have a great trip.
murdock84 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2013, 02:06 AM   #15
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Maine
Oddometer: 27
Pissed Your Ride Report is My Downfall

Damn yous! As I sip my wonderfully warm, tasty coffee at 0500 reading your ride report, the angel on my shoulder, (dressed in the IPFU, I might add), is screaming to shut down the computer. The angel warns me of the impending conversation when I arrive at work, late for my APFT:

Sergeant Major: "Where the fuck have you been?!"
Me: "Um, reading Abel's ride report, Sergeant Major."
Sergeant Major: "Who the fuck is Abel, Soldier?!"
Me: "He's one of the 3 aviators on a bike trip to Key West."
Sergeant Major: "Fuckin' aviators."
Me: "Yes, Sergeant Major."
PeteinMaine is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 08:17 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015