It was 4 am on july 1st and I was about to undertake my first of what I hoped would be many cross country trips on my wing. By 6am I was approaching Thomasville, Ga.” HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!” The engine Quit. I had just taken my wing to Joe in enterprise the week before and had an oil change and had him check everything and we replaced the front brakes. When the engine quit the oil light came on. After coasting to a stop, I got off and walked around checking out the bike visually. Nothing leaking that I could see. I checked oil and it was ok. Mmmmmmm!. I also noticed that I lost my cooler off of the cooler rack on my trailer. I went back and tried the bike a couple of times but no go and then I saw I had hit my cut-off switch. I flipped the switch to RUN and she started right up and we were back on the road.
Well, the trip was under way. I arrived in Greenville, SC for 30th annual wing ding and met a lot of good people. Went to some seminars and the big one I went to was on Ham radio. Got to get my Aprs ( Automatic Positioning Reporting System) running. It was a beautiful ride and as I crossed into SC from Georgia I stopped and took some pictures of the Hartwell Dam. As I arrived in Greenville, I found a Hotel and there were already about 5 goldwings in the parking lot so I knew it must be a good place. The trade show was great could have spent a lot more than I did, but I wanted a certain few things and I got them the first day. After blowing my budget the first day, I decided to head north to my brother Mike’s place in Lewes, Delaware, so I struck out towards Virginia Beach, Va. I rode RT 29 all the way to Virginia and then rt 58 into Norfolk and to the Bay Bridge Tunnel going to Cape Charles. It was only $16.00 to cross to the tunnel. I Stopped at the rest area at the tunnel and looked back at Virginia Beach and noticed How many new condo’s had been built since I was stationed there. As I approached Cape Charles I could see the old Cement Ships off to the left. We use to fly over them when I was stationed at Norfolk. One day I need to ride down and check them out. Maybe next year. Only 150 miles to Mikes house and the weather had been beautiful so far, but there were clouds on the Horizon. I was on Rt 13 and heading to Rt 113 and Lewes, Delaware. I always loved traveling Rt 13 north because there are a lot of small towns and shops. I got about 10 miles from Mike’s house and the Rain came. But I was just about there. It was almost dark and Mike opened the garage door and I drove right in out of rain. Got to see my mom and brother Mike and his wife Kathy and my brother Ray.
I case you haven’t Figured it out yet, I love my toys, and being a Ham operator since I was 14, I like my gadgets too. Mike told me he had a GPS that he didn’t use. It was newer than mine and it was a megellan. So we mounted it on my bike and I still had my Garmin there also. I would keep both until I figured which one I liked better. Mine was an old one an had a very small screen. As I set off
I spent 2 days at Mikes house and my Brother Ray rode down from Camden N.J. (about 3 hour ride)on his m/c to meet me. He stayed over night and we decided to ride up RT 1 and RT 13 to his house in N.J. We stopped and had brunch along the way. We got to Ray’s and his wife Carol was there and it was great to see her. Her and I love to talk cooking. She gave me one of the best cookbooks I have for Christmas one year. I only stayed one night and I was off on my way to Maine, but I was going to ride the Delaware water gap into NY. I hadn’t paid much attention to the new GPS as I knew the way I wanted to go.
The next day I headed north and since I was not that far from Delaware River I followed it all the way to port jervis, NY. It was a beautiful ride and I got to see the canals and the history of the Delaware River area. Saw where George Washington crossed the river to fight the British. When I hit Port Jervis, I decided to head for Meadowbrook Camping, which is where my family is. It was only 6 hours away and it was 1pm. I could be there by 7 pm if I rode straight through. When I hit RT495 in Mass the rain came. It looked bad up ahead. As I continued on a guy pulled up next to me on an older gold wing. He pointed to my voyager and gave me a thumbs up, and although I was doing 65mph he took off until he was out of sight. A few miles further and it started to spit rain so I saw an overpass ahead and figured it would be a good place to put my rain gear. As I slowed and pulled in under the overpass there was my gold wing buddy. He was already soaked. As I put my rain gear on he asked me a lot of questions about the voyager. It poured rain and this was the first time since I have been riding that I had got caught in heavy rain. After about 30 minutes and the rain stopped about 15 minutes ago and we were still talking about our wings.
We bid each other goodbye and headed north. One more gas up in NH. And I would make it to campground. I pulled into the campground still wearing my rain gear and was met by a lot of old friends and my son, Chris, and the first thing he said was “why are you still wearing rain gear. It’s not raining?”
“I responded I know how cool it gets up after it rains so I left it on to keep warm”. We had a big laugh and I was there. And I still hadn’t paid much attention to my new GPS. Jamie (my daughter) and the grandkids Noah and Elliot were all there along with Lil Chris and Misty We all hugged and it was great to see everyone. Benny , WN1OTV and Jeanne were there and they had set up there spare camper for me to stay in. They have been work campers at our campground for last 5 years and we are close friends. Benny and I go to all the hamfests when I am up there. We have a lot of fun. I had called ahead and told lil chris to get a couple of lobsters and 2 pounds of clams ready for me so we could cook them for dinner. Lil chris informed me that dad had sold my clams but they would be in fresh tomorrow. Our Campground is known for our lobster pound and we cook them for our campers. We do between 2500 and 3000 pounds of lobsters between memorial day and labor day. Well I had my lobster and went down and got squared away in my camper. The next week was used going around and seeing old friends and seeing what was new in area.
On the july 18th Lil Chris and I rode over to Rutland, Vt. To the northeast goldwing rally. We rode 11 hours total that day but we saw some beautiful country and had a great time. On our way back when we hit Standish, Me., we ran into some weather. I had to wake lil chris up as he kept falling asleep on the back of my Bike. I was watching the lightning and didn’t realize how bad it was until we got home. I guess they had 60mph winds and 2 people were killed by a lightning strike in Standish. Anyway we arrived home and the last 45 minutes was a wet.
Monday morning was the day to say goodbye to the family and head south. It is always hard to say goodbye. By I was on my was back to My Brother’s house in Merchanteville, N. J. I stayed ther a couple of days and Carol my sister-in Law cooked Penne Pasta for me. Wednesday morning I left N.J. and headed west to Lancaster, Pa. I spent a couple days in that area checking out the scenery. I was in Elizabethtown, pa fueling when my cell rang. It was my mother, and she said she was on her way to Elizabethtown to me a Public relations person from the Masonic Home. I didn’t ell her I was there, but I thought it would be a good chance to see her again surprise her, so I found a motel and checked in. and went up to Masonic Home . When I pull in my cousin George was ther. I hadn’t seen him in over 20 years. He was a couple of years older than me but I use to spend summers at his house in Allentown, pa.
Well I found out a lot of family history that day, how my grandfather ran the Chicken farm that use to be located in front of the Masonic home and he use to supply eggs for the home. I am not sure when this was but my mother was a little girl then and George’s Father was born in the hospital at the Masonic home. It was very interesting. We saw old pictures of the Home and the Farm . Sunday morning found me heading south again and heading for the SkyLine Drive in Va. I would ride the Sky Line dr. from one end to the other and pick-up Blueridge Parkway. It was a beautiful ride all the way to blue ridge Prky and after I got on blueridge I need gas so I got off and found a place to spend night. The next moring I took Rt 81 south and headed home. I had been gone from home longer than I expected. So it was time to head home. I rrived home that night about 11 pm, but it was good to sleep in my own bed. All and all I was gone 28 days and drove over 4800 miles on my motorcycle. What a great trip and I am looking forward to my next one. My next trip will be to ride the Blueridge Parkway from one end to the other. That I hope will happen in Oct of this year.