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The FIRST Long Ride– 2008

April 3, 2012


It’s a beautiful day in early April at my home on the Connecticut Shoreline.  I’ve been going through my trip journal and realized that I had not written about my first long distance ride in 2008.  It took me a while to find the pictures but here they are.  I’ll begin posting the stories as time allows over the next few weeks.  Also, I’ve finally gotten around to posting Singlesided Swingarm as a Facebook page and also setting up a Twitter account for the blog. 

Singlesided Swingarm on Facebook will have significantly more pictures and maps from my trips.  With Facebook it’s easier for me to batch post photos. On WordPress EACH picture has to be edited one at a freaking time!  So, click on the appropriate button above and you will be able to add my links to your favorites.  Facebook is worth a look as the pictures are really great.



I left Stowe on a cold rainy May afternoon.  I was wearing a Nelson Rigg rain jacket I bought on E-Bay.  I felt I was as carefully prepared as possible and ready for anything.  Less than an hour later, I realized that maybe I needed to re-think a few things. 

Firstly, I was soaked, miserable and cold.  Second, the Nelson Rigg jacket had almost completely disintegrated once I reached 80 mph.  It was almost comical.  The jacket split at the shoulders, elbows, arms, and sleeves.  Sitting under a gas station island, I had tried to mend it with duct tape.  However, short of a complete mummy wrap, it would be impossible to get it to stick together. 

The next thing I noticed was that the GPS was routing me all over the place.  Heading west from Vermont is essentially a no-brainer.  West – west via I-90.  The GPS had me on a crazy series of secondary roads.  It was raining heavily, I was soaked thoroughly, and it was getting dark – I was frustrated and more than a little worried.  This was not the “adventure” I had in mind. 

I gave up.  In Syracuse I hit the blinker and rode off the highway.  I pulled into the parking lot of a Red Roof, put the side stand down and leaving small pools of water behind, walked into the lobby.  I unpacked my gear in the room.  In those days, I took the panniers, tail bag and tank bag off.  I hung my things to dry and took a hot shower.  My fingers and toes were white and shriveled from the wet and cold. 

My dad once mentioned that his brother – an ex-fighter pilot, once did a cross country ride.  When he got to Los Angeles, he sold the bike. flew home, and vowed to never ride farther than the country club ever again.  This was on my mind more than a little bit as I sat on the bed watching the Weather Channel.  The national forecast showed rain from Maine to Oklahoma.  Sheesh.

One lesson I’ve learned in the many, many thousands of miles I’ve ridden since is to completely ignore weather forecasts.  I don’t let weather dictate my state of mind, or enjoyment of the ride.  It’s the travel that matters, not the destination.  Riders who become fixated on Point A to Point B destinations will never really enjoy long riding.

But, at this point on my first long distance ride, I was more than a little uncertain if I should keep going or not.  Not feeling like riding any more that evening, I walked across the parking lot to a run-down sub-shop and ordered a cheese steak.  This alone should be an indication of my state of mind.  Having significant  experience with the real Philadelphia cheese steak (Pats or Ginos!) I would only be disappointed and should have known better.  


Finishing my gourmet meal, I stuffed newspaper into my boots in an attempt to dry them and climbed into bed.  As I reached over to shut off the light I wondered if the next morning I’d be heading for home……


TOMORROW – Syracuse, New York to Findlay, Ohio.




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