Sunday, August 7, 2016


Sort of sounds like the price of a gallon of paint or something.

3,295 miles and 12 days later, here we are back in the 18036.  We pulled in nice and early at around 2:00, which would have left us time to get unpacked, get the laundry done, and go through mail - except we found out 2 days ago that the dryer died.  So, it left us enough time to do those other things, and to take the dryer apart.  I did, and found a broken belt.  The Sears Parts facility in Allentown has one for under $10, so we'll be doing laundry one day later than plannned.

The last two days of the trip were somewhat uneventful.  Dorinda's brother is the chef at the Parker House Omni in Boston, and he took us to a fabulous restaurant for dinner a short walk away on the harbor, which Jim graciously covered for the entire group.  Brother John is a Jersey boy and found out the hard way that there's no such thing as pork roll in New England, so he actually has a stash he keeps in the freezer in both Boston and at the summer cottage, and he busted out the goods to produce some incredible breakfast sandwiches for us in the morning.  He and his wife Nancy are wonderful people and treated us like family.

During the ride from Boothbay, ME to Springfield, MA, it turned cloudy and threatening every time I put my sunglasses on, and like magic they began to part the minute I took them off. Remember the other day in Canada?  Just like that, but simpler - I didn't have to stay indoors; I just kept my sunglasses off and remained blinded by the sun the entire afternoon.  Problem solved.

Speaking of weather, all week was cool while on the move, or even just in the shade, although the sun made you hot when neither condition was met.  This was also true back here in the US and in fact all the way home.  We had one day of rain, and unfortunate fog / mist the following morning that also required the gear and obscured the "breathtaking scenery" part of the ride, but for the most part the weather was good and in some cases downright spectacular.  We'll take it.

Back to the actual travel - once back in New Hampshire, Jim led the group as a result of his familiarity with the area from many trips to Laconia Bike Week, considered by most to be the third of the Big Three, after Sturgis and Daytona.  We'd been to both locations but not events, and then managed the actual Daytona bike week last year.  Jim took us to the famous Weirs Beach sign near Laconia for our tourist picture, as well as to the Harley dealer for a poker chip and a great spot for lunch.

Not long after, just as we're bunching up to pass a car on a rural 2-lane road, I had a bird strike at speed, something that has never happened to me before.  I never saw it until it was falling out of my lap after ever so lightly bumping into my chest.  Later, the feathers on the mirror stalk and blood on the switchgear and sweatshirt told the tale and confirmed it as a fatality.  Donna saw it and thought it was just me losing another personal item on the highway.  She was betting on "glove."

We passed through some Massachussetts towns that dated back to the mid-1600's (MID SIXTEEN HUNDREDS!) and stopped for a quick picture at the old Indian factory just up the road from our hotel in Springfield.  Tuesday was Donna's birthday, and the only 2 hotels the entire trip that did not have a restaurant either on the property or right across the street were the first and the last.  We managed to get by on pub food from the lounge (I bought - last of the big spenders :) and stuck a cocktail straw in a slice of cheesecake and lit it on fire for the birthday girl.  I had brought a card and picked up a memoir gift along the way, so we got where we needed to be for the occasion.  We find ourselves on the road as often as not on August 2, so it certainly wasn't the first.

For Wednesday morning, we mapped out a quick detour to avoid Hartford rush hour, popped out on the "big road" around 9:30, and from that moment it was hammer down.  We were in 5 states that last day, which sounds like a big deal, but in New England is really not.  I'm pretty sure we did 7 once.

In any case, as exciting as it is to furiously get everything in order, set the alarm, and head out on our adventures, it sure is nice closing the garage door at the end and sleeping in our own bed.  Poorer in assets, richer in experience.  This is the good life.

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