Monday, June 04, 2007

Crossing Paths and Confused Weather

Princeton West Virginia to Barrie Ontario

Today was a 640 mile day. We could have made the remaining 180 miles, but I wasn't keen on riding in the rain in the dark.

It started when we both woke up about 4:00 AM in Princeton WV. This was because we had fallen asleep early last night. I spent some time posting Blogs from the last few days and getting the bills caught up. A group of Harley's from western Wisconsin had pulled in last night headed for the BRP, and we spoke with one of them over breakfast. We were on the road before 7:00.

I adjusted the front tire pressure back down to 38 yesterday. I am in a conundrum about this. Metzeler is very specific that the front tire pressure needs to be 41 to rpevent cupping. The Honda manual calls for 36. Mike at Traxxion says that I should be able to run less than the 41 because of the reduced squirm in the front end. At 41, with the quicker steering due to the stiffer front end, the bike feels squirrely in corners. At 38, it handles fine, but I can't tell whether the cupping, pretty bad before the Traxxion mod, is getting worse. I guess I'll keep it at 38 in the interest of the handling and will see how the next front tire (not going to change until the tread is worn out) handles it.

Today's weather was like Rebel Without a Clue. It didn't know what it wanted to do, but it looked angry. We made it OK to Summersville where we stopped for gas. Back on the road, a nice GL-1800 trike pulled up next to us at a light. The lady riding it was travelling with a van hauling a two wheeled Wing on a trailer. They were bound for Erie, Pa. We ran along with them for a while and then got ahead on I-79.

A Yamaha we waved at at the Powell Mountain Overlook passed us on I-79, as did a black GL-1800 with a NC plate that said BIGDOG. I could hear the trike on the CB (which I finally remembered to turn on), but she couldn't hear me well. I guess she had the squelch up, since she was only talking to the van. I slowed a bit until they caught us and then we were able to communicate. They live in Florida for nine months but have a house in Erie they go to for the summer. They had left south of Charlotte this morning at just after 3:00 AM and needed to be in Erie by 2:00 because people were coming to turn on the water at the house. Our little convoy stopped north of Washington Pa for fuel and we got to meet the lady and the van driver, her husband. Sandy and I sat down to eat, but they rolled on to make their appointment.

Before we left again, the BIGDOG Wing pulled up to the gas pumps. The couple from NC were headed for Niagara and then Americade. He had an '01 with 100K miles and this '06 already has 28K miles on it, so they ride. I gave them some Americade tips and then we headed north again.

The trip up through Pa was uneventful except for the dark storm cells moving west to east, sucked in by TS Barry. We managed to slide between them, finally stopping at the last Rest Area before Erie, where the wet pavement told us rain had just been through. On to Erie and East on I-90, we encountered very wet pavement at the I-86 split. We then had a discussion about whether to lay over in Erie (my initial objective) or keep going. After dithering, we stopped for gas at State Line and suited up in the face black skies. We passed two Vulcans, a Rogue and a green/white Classic on the off ramp. They headed down US 20, leaving us wondering if they were VROC.

We caught the rain from behind on the NY Thruway, the same shower that had gone through the rest area and across 90. It was moving fast, but we were moving faster and went through it in about 15 miles. Then it was sunny and our rain gear got very hot. The border crossing was quick. More questions than usual, but we were waved through. US bound trucks were lined up for miles. Heading past Niagara Falls, the black Yamaha we had seen in West Virginia came rolling past us at a good clip. Small world.

We stopped at the Tourist Info place before St. Catherines and took the suits off. We threaded the QEW and 407 through crosswinds. The 40o North was stop and go, a usual thing for 5:30. We skirted one dark cloud and then a second one started dumping on us. In Barrie at 6:00, we could have made it home by 9:00, but the weather looked pretty choppy and I don't like rain in the dark, so we reigned in at the Travelodge off Dunlop St.

We had supper at Elaine's, a small restaurant in the hotel. Sandy has been nursing a stiff neck all day, and I was tired, so we went to bed early. Forecast for Sudbury tomorrow AM sucks, 4C and rain, but we'll deal with that when we get there.

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