Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bethel Maine to Binghamton New York

The morning weather showed that Ike had moved up to Arkansas but there was a tail of rain that circled up through the mid-west and hooked over to New England. There was no way we were getting out dry today. Although the radar showed nothing, there was a light, steady rain falling outside.

Since Tom Miller was heading home to Kentucky, we decided we would ride together. Despite all the places we have been together over the years, and the people we have both ridden with at different times, we had never actually put on any miles together.

Over breakfast, we planned a route. Tom needed to ride through Vermont since it was one of the very few states he hadn't ridden in. I suggested we head west on US 2 through New Hampshire into Vermont and then head south on Vermont 101, a very scenic route. Ol' Phart showed me a road out of Bethel, North Road, that would by-pass the construction zone between there and the state line.

After breakfast, we loaded up and suited up. The rain got heavier as we said our goodbyes and headed out. North Road was a nice ride despite the wet pavement. It brought us back to US 2 near New Hampshire. U-Turn rode with us as far as Gorham, where he headed south on 16 while we continued west.

Crossing into Vermont, it became obvious that the ride down 100 would be neither scenic nor enjoyable. Instead, we turned south on I-91 at St. Johnsbury. We followed the big road down to White River Junction, where the rain let up and we swung onto US 4 west. We made a quick stop at the Visitor Center at Quechee Gorge and then continued the fun ride along 4 to Rutland.

Lunch in Rutland was Mickey D's. We fueled and continued on to Lake George, where I took Tom for a cruise up through town so he could see where Americade took place. Then we got on I-87 and headed south towards Albany.

I hadn't realized that we needed to get on the New York Thruway, a toll road, to get over to I-88. This did, however, give us a chance to use our new EZ Pass transponder. It worked like a charm. Then I screwed up, taking the incorrect road as soon as we got through the toll booth. This resulted in a ten mile trip to Albany and back, along with a second toll, before we finally got ourselves headed west on I-88.

We made a gas stop in Oneonta where I found out that Hess is another one of those gas companies who require a Zip Code to be entered when paying at the pump. That takes them off my preferred list. Then we went on to Binghamton, where the GPS led us to a non-existent Super 8. Then it led us to another that was actually there. The pretty blond teenager working the desk said the Lamborghini and Porsche parked outside belonged to her boss.

We parked outside our room and passed the gear in through the window. Then we rode over to Cracker Barrel for supper. Returning to the room, we checked the weather. Ike was moving swiftly and was expected to pass west of us, heading north, overnight. It's amazing how fast it has traveled today after how slowly it came ashore. Before long, we all turned in early.

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