Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Maine to Arkansas - Day 3

The weather strategy worked perfectly. By dawn, the rain had passed by and was out east over Hagerstown Maryland. There was some broken cloud cover but it was 66 degrees in Morgantown. We uncovered the bike, wiped it down and went in for our continental breakfast.

After loading and fueling, we rode through Morgantown and connected with I-79 South. This stretch of road is an old friend. This is the fifth time we have traveled it this year. But, for a change, we didn't turn off on US 19 to Summersville. For the first time since 1990 we continued on towards Charleston. I was still not in the groove as we went up, down and around at 80+ MPH on one of the more interesting Interstates in the country. Not sure what is wrong, but I'll work it out.

On the outskirts of the state capital, we stopped so Sandy could get her McGriddle. A lady with a two-for-one coupon offered her a second McGriddle, which we split. We connected with I-64 West out of Charleston towards Kentucky. Stopping at a rest area, we met Dan and Deb from Valparaiso Indiana. Dan owns a GL-1500 but they were traveling in their van since Deb likes to shop for antiques. We talked for a while before going our sperate ways.

Huntington West (By God) Virginia sits on the Kentucky border. For many years, Inco owned Huntington Alloys Inc. located here. I communicated with them for years about product and recycle shipments between our divisions but I had never been here before. No matter now, because Inco sold it some years ago to raise money for other projects. The town is pretty with rolling hills and very many trees. After crossing the Big Sandy River, we were in Kentucky.

Lexington. I've passed by many times on I-75 going north or south. This was the first time heading west. Strangely, there is no restricted access road going west and connecting with the Interstate. We had to find US 60 and proceed at street level before getting on the New Ring Road. This took us around town past a three car pile-up on the other side before connecting with US 60 West. Several miles out, we turned on the Bluegrass Parkway. This is like an Interstate without the number. Different stretches are named after different people. We headed southwest and found that exits were few and far between. With the exception of Elizabethtown, there were few towns of any size. At one exit, we stopped for a bit and had some local older gentlemen ask us questions and voice their comments on motorcycles in general.

When the Parkway met I-24, we took the latter towards Paducah. We had scoped out some places to stay. I stopped at a rest area at Exit 7 for a pit stop and found the building was an old mansion listed in the Register of Historic Places. That was different. We ended up at the Pear Tree Inn at Exit 4. Pear Tree is Drury's budget line, with the rooms going for about 2/3rds of the Drury rate. The WiFi is good and the room is nice. Exit 4 is one of those that looks like it has sprung into existence overnight with new buildings and streets all over the place. For supper, we walked across and down the street (no sidewalks) to an IHOP. Turns out it was the opening day and the place was IHOPping, all right. Our server, Jamie, was a large girl with a winning smile and a bubbly personality. All in all, it was a fine experience.

Now we are back in the room and I am about ready to call it a night.

One note on today. It wasn't the backroad wander I had wanted, but most of the superslabs and scenery were new which was nice.

Also, a warning. I don't know if we will have Internet access over the next few days. If not, I will be writing just the same and will post at the first opportunity.

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