Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Change of Plans

Coudersport Pennsylvania to Grantsville Maryland

The continental breakfast at the Westgate started at 5:30 am. We weren’t so early. I managed, while eating, to get another Blog entry up but I’m running about a day behind. I bought a notebook yesterday to keep track of each day’s events because the Super 8 pads I had been using were disintegrating.

We’re looking forward to another day of wandering with Ron, Laurie and Brad. They are great people to travel with. Since we are NFD (No Fixed Destination), Ron changed the target of Ohio to one of Kentucky so we could head down into West (By God) Virginia. Also, storms were forecast from the west and we weren’t thrilled with the idea of facing them head on.

Highway 6 was very good west of Coudersport. Not much traffic, enough curves to be interesting and very pretty. In Mount Jewitt, we stopped for a break. I decided to bump the trailer tires way up to 50 PSI, the pressure I originally had them at before Mr. Lee in Osoyoos suggested the 32 PSI setting. Since the compressor cord wouldn’t reach the trailer, we plugged it into Ron’s bike. After blowing two fuses, I jackknifed the rig and used my socket. We’ll see if this reduces tire wear.

Heading south on US219, the first thing we encountered was someone who just had to make a U-turn with their 18 wheeler. For a minute, I was afraid that we would be stuck for some time, but he managed to get going northbound quite quickly. Brad, who travels through this area a lot by car visiting Sylvania plants, told a joke about Johnsonburg, a paper mill town. To me, after living in Bathurst NB when I was very young, a mill smells like home.

In Brockway, we stopped at the Honda dealer. This was the place I bought my one piece trip trunk for the GL1000 back in 1978. The dealer, who I guess is Ray Bish's son, doesn't even have a picture of one of the trunks up in the shop. I was disappointed. Ron did buy a pair of ventilated gloves. Outside, we had a mishap when Sandy swung her arm and her hand caught the end of my cigarette. I'll be apologizing for this for a long time.

After Dubois, where 219 crosses I-80, it got overcast. The road started winding more. We arrived in Barnesboro and decided lunch was in order so we tried to get parked in front of Erma Jean's Family Restaurant. After contending with unlevel streets and unworking parking meters, we finally got in and seated. Our server, Amanda, was a cute young lady who laughed a lot and talked with an accent I would have placed farther south, even though she was raised in the area. She was very competent and attentive, though. The final laugh came when she asked "Can I get you'uns anything else". You'uns. Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's. She got a very good tip.

Outside, it was raining a bit. Sandy and I decided to ride in mesh since it was so hot and humid and hope it didn't rain too hard. Ron and Laurie put boots on. Laurie needed help, as you can see in the picture.

Heading south again, the road turned into a four lane divided highway. Ron missed the on ramp, but Brad and I caught it. Then Ron, moving to get back on track, almost got clipped by a kid who had been watch The Fast and the Furious too many times. The rains stopped shortly afterwards. We followed 219 down past Johnstown, site of the Flood, and past Somerset, where I could see the house my cousin Kathy used to live in. Shortly after, we were back on two lanes.

We stopped in Berlin for some ice cream at this fine place. The heat and humidity continued to be overpowering. As we left town, angry clouds started building to the east and our southeast track took us towards them. Finally, as the wind farms on the ridge stood starkly against black sky, we cut back to the southwest. Soon after, we crossed into Maryland.

We decided to try to escape the clouds to the east by heading west on I-68 (The National Freeway) towards Morgantown but we found ourselves riding towards more of them. They looked pretty severe, so we bailed in Grantsville and stopped at the Casselman Inn. The original building was built in 1824 to service the coaches travelling between Cumberland and Wheeling. The new 40 unit motel (pictured) was added quite recently. Our room cost $52 and was quite serviceable. Their restaurant in the historic building had a very Amish flavour and we ate there.

After supper, the storm was imminent and the winds started gusting. We had not been back at the motel for 30 seconds when it cut loose with high winds and torrential rain. After about five minutes, the winds abated but the wall of water continued falling for a while longer. Then it tapered off to a more normal intensity. The small brook beside the motel parking lot was a raging torrent and debris covered the lot. We stood outside under the awning watching the whole thing.

There is a chance that there will be a round two. We are under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 11:00 PM, but the forecast shows we should be on the backside of the front and out of trouble by tomorrow morning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Jim, it's been a number of years since we've been in touch. It's like another life ago. It's Glenn Healey former President of the Paudash Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club. I have moved from Peterborough to Barrie and have just recently got back into biking again. I picked up a 2001 Nomad and my wife and I are starting to do some touring. I was searching the VROC website when I stumbled upon your smiling mug shoot. I'd love to talk to you some time. You can email me at ghealey@collisongoll.com