Monday, August 12, 2019

Grove City Pennsylvania to Sudbury Ontario

Home Again

The final morning of the trip started under sunny blue skies. I got an Email from my car telling me it had a low tire. It was down to 16 PSI again, so I fired up the compressor and filled it back up. The pressure drop appeared to be time related and not dependent on whether or not we were driving.

Sandy grabbed some yogurt from the motel breakfast room and then we stopped at the nearby McDonald's (odd entrance arrangement) before hitting the road just after 8:00 AM

I-79 North in Pennsylvania

As we cruised along, first the car and then the phone chimed to warn us of possible flash floods in this area. We looked at the blue skies and scratched our heads. The warnings were in effect until 1:45 PM Eastern Time.

Flash flood warnings???

The new asphalt on I-79 had ripples in it despite its smooth appearance. This was, in my opinion, substandard work. Any imperfection in a finished surface will accelerate the wear due to traffic based on my experience with packed snow. The finished streets and highways these days remind me of home renovation contractors. Despite promises, they often don't really know how to achieve a quality result.

Reaching Erie, we transitioned to I-90 East and headed for New York. Just across the border, we paid the toll (the E-Pass transponder is a great device) and left the smooth free highway for the rough toll road.

We pay for this?

There was one final stop at the Angola Service Center for coffee (strawberry banana smoothie for Sandy) and the last American fuel. Gas was about $0.60 per gallon more than Tennessee but still a lot cheaper than home. Then it was on to the border via more construction ones.

US bound traffic on the Peace Bridge took up two lanes and was backed up most of the way across the span. It looked like no one wanted to go to Canada this morning, which was just fine with us.

Old bridge, new overhead signs

On the Canadian side, the electronic sign over the NEXUS lane was not illuminated and there were no vehicles visible. Not wanting to get into line for a closed booth, we went to one of the regular lines behind a couple of other cars. Once we were committed, we saw vehicles going through the NEXUS lane. Then I noticed there were three regular "Autos" signs lit but only two lines. The curved lanes made us miss the third booth which was just waiting for someone to approach. I told the young trainee about the NEXUS sign and she said she would notify her supervisor. No questions about purchases except whether we had any modifications done to the bike. Not this trip. At 11:30 AM, we were back on our native soil.

We should not be in this lane

The new building at 50 Road

Niagara bound traffic backed up like a weekend

View from the Burlington Skyway

Faced with Toronto traffic, I opted to spend the dollars and take the ETR407 around the north side of the city. The tolls were outrageous but the convenience more than offset that this morning.

No, we will take the Express Toll Road

Pearson Airport departure

Soon we were on Highway 400 North.

Vaughn construction

Canada's Wonderland was in full swing

We pulled into the King On Route service centre so Sandy could use the bathroom but there was no double parking space to be found. I dropped her off and then picked her up after driving around the lot. This was unusual for a Monday in my experience. We headed on the Barrie where there was a lot more room in the lot.

The tree looks lonely

Suddenly, I want a Creamsicle...

At the southbound Moonstone exit, there were a number of fire vehicles and a police car stopped. It appeared that a pickup truck towing a trailer had burned on the off ramp. Due to the angles, Sandy was unable to get any photos.

The last gas stop was at Derek Roberts Esso in Waubaushene. Because of the way the pickup at the adjacent pump was parked (while the driver went inside), I had to climb over everything and out the passenger door. I was too old for that nonsense but we needed the fuel. Then we grabbed a ham & Swiss sandwich at the attached Subway before starting the final 150 miles.

Southbound traffic was pretty heavy. Our guess is that a lot of people in Cottage Country took Monday off to beat the Sunday rush.

There was one last stop at the new Tim's at the Magnetawan River where I used the outdoor facilities and got a final coffee. There was an older Caddie hearse there with two young ladies in it. They were heavily pierced and tatted, while the rear window told the world that this was the Bats In The Belfry Tour. I guess these were two of the bats.

Young ladies on a mission

Working on the new French River Bridge

Construction has started

The construction zone at the French River was marked at 70 KPH. I was doing 90 and still had a long line build up behind me. Luckily, the four lane started just after this.

The temperature was 84 F in Sudbury as we arrived home just after 6:00 PM. Unloading would have gone more smoothly if I had not left the bike key in the Accessory position when I got the mileage after fueling it in Erwin, Tennessee. The booster pack got it going and then I left it on the smart charger.

Unloading was complete by 6:30 PM.

It was a good trip. I didn't get as much riding done as I wanted because I let the flat tire distract me, but it was good to see folks again. We'll see some of them again in Arkansas next month.

I need to thank Zeke for putting us onto audio books. Some folks are music oriented while others prefer words. I am of the latter persuasion. We listened to The Woman Who Smashed Codes, the true story of Elizebeth Smith Friedman and her husband William. They were key players in cryptography from World War I through the Cold War and contributed to the founding of the NSA. Ms. Friedman did her work before and during WW II for the US Coast Guard. Some of her key work was co-opted by J. Edgar Hoover and presented falsely as FBI analyses. When that story was done, we listened to The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov (although Sandy was not as interested as I was in this 1955 time travel tale).

Today's Route (501 Equinox/trailer miles):

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Fontana Village North Carolina to Grove City Pennsylvania

Homeward Bound

All things, even the good ones, must pass. The alarm sounded at 6:00 AM, with the second one coming five minutes later. We rolled out of bed and quickly packed the remaining overnight bags. The car tire was only down to 20 PSI so it didn't take too long for the compressor to bump that up to the recommended 35 pounds (cold).

We drove around to the office in the main lodge and checked out. The desk lady said Big Grouch had beaten us to the road, telling her he was worried about crossing the border with all the knives he and Bill won last night.

Checking out of the Fontana Village Resort

The next stop was the trailer parking lot down by the General Store, where we connected the already loaded trailer. We rolled out onto Highway 28 at 7:01 AM. There was a light fog in some places as we made it all the way to US 74/19 without a single vehicle catching up to us. In fact, we only saw one car going the other way.

A quiet morning on NC 28

Still on 28

We stopped at McDonald's in Bryson City where I cheated and had a couple of sausage McMuffins with no egg. The tire pressure was holding well, so we continued on. The route was the same as always; US 74 to I-40 to I-240 to I-26.

Fog near Waynesville NC

Balloon near Asheville NC

It was time for fuel by the time we got to Erwin, Tennessee (south of Johnson City). The tire pressure had dropped a few pounds so I topped it up. I also put $2.35 gas in the bike in the trailer. Then we continued to Johnson City. From there, it was US 19W through Piney Flats to TN 394 (Tennessee Ernie Ford Parkway) to US 421, TN 44 and VA 75, joining I-81 in Abingdon. We know these roads like the back of our respective hands.

Bristol Night Race next weekend

Rider heading for The Snake

From Montreal

I-81 was busy, as usual

Toj and Bub Z passed us near Wytheville Virginia

Now on I-77 North

The Gateway to West (By God) Virginia

Approaching Beckley, West Virginia, poor signage in a construction zone resulted in us accidentally leaving the Interstate and driving through town. We stopped at the McDonald's at Exit 44 before getting back on the super slab. After trying to merge with flowing traffic from a dead stop, I concluded that we should have stayed on US 19 all the way out of town. There was still roadwork everywhere.

Interesting art on Atlantis Transportation Services trailer

Based in Toronto

Fayetteville West Virginia

New River Gorge Bridge

New River Gorge

After getting on to I-79 I was feeling tired again, so we pulled into a gas station near Sutton, WV. I got out and walked around and also went on line and booked a room at the Super 8 in Grove City where we stayed on the way down. Oh yes, I added some air to the tire.

NASA at Fairmont West Virginia

Tired older driver

Fourth state line of the day

Memorial at Pennsylvania Welcome Center

Coal mining is more dangerous than hard rock

Pennsylvania countryside

Crossing the Ohio River

North of Pittsburgh, I used the GPS to pick a Speedway gas station near an off ramp for fuel. We exited and found the entire intersection had been rearranged. Luckily, we did find the Speedway on the other side of the Interstate hidden by trees. It had the oddest signs on the parking spaces in front of the store. No SUV's? Did that include the Equinox?

We arrived at the Grove City Super 8 around 7:30 PM after a stop at the Subway to pick up supper. I spent the evening sorting out a week's worth of bills and sorted the photos but did not get this post finished.

Today's Route (612 Equinox/trailer miles):