Start: Framingham, MA
End: Columbus, OH
Route: 90 West/84 West/380 North/81 South/80 West/76 West/71 South/270 South/70 East
Miles Ridden: 726
A surprise visit to send me off from Long Haul Paul got the trip started on the right foot. I had taken much of his advice from “What’s in Your(Saddle) Bag?” and thought I had one up on him when I took out my spare buttons and zippers from my Triumph riding gear asking if he carried such items. Paul, of course, reached down pointing towards the bottom of his inner left leg. “Yup, just replaced that zip right there.” Okay. The guy really does think of every little thing.
Paul also brought a bunch of stickers to adorn the Tiger so I could represent the MS5000 as well as his website. They were a good match for the bumper stickers I had made, emblazoned with “#BostonToAustin”, “#BahstinTaAhstin”, “#ForTheRide”, and “#DeeRocks”. The stickers would get a fair amount of attention on the coming ride, with several vehicles passing and slowing to take note before moving on. A handful of thumbs up were thrown my way, and I also spoke with a few people in person while fueling up. In Clarion, Pennsylvania, I ran into Jenny and her boyfriend; Jenny shared she is originally from Framingham when she saw “Boston” on the stickers…small world.
My British steed would be well matched to the weather I would face. I lucked out in the morning with one of the warmer early mornings we have had for the 8:00am departure time I had planned. It would stay dry and overcast from the time I left until eastern Pennsylvania. I had pushed through some sprinkles in my regular riding gear, but there was a point ahead where I could see the real rain coming down, and a rest stop was less than a quarter mile ahead. I made the decision to suit up in my rain gear knowing I had been lucky to this point and the worst was potentially yet to come. The lowest temperature I had seen was 52 degrees which was great, but I also knew I had some riding to do during the night and it would get very chilly. The day was dominated by off and on rain, overcast skies, and a lot of fog; British weather for a British bike, and it was right at home. The most notable part was going both under and over patches of fog. At one point before Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the road dipped under a huge fog cloud that separated the mountains behind it, giving the appearance that the mountain tops were floating alone in the sky. A half hour later, the road traversed a pair of valleys at different times, each filled with what looked like a lake of fog.
There were a couple spats of heavy rain under clouds that darkened the entire landscape but otherwise it was manageable. My rain gear held up quite well; the only wet spot on my body for some reason was the area around my right pinky toe which, given the duration of the ride in inclement weather, was nothing. Remember how I said earlier the lowest temperature I saw was about 52 degrees? The highest I saw was 67 and I tried to keep those warm thoughts as the temperature dropped to 43 degrees during the night hours. My gloves were saturated (the waterproof lining worked fine so my hands were dry inside) but that cold water held within the fabric chilled my hands pretty dramatically. Keep in mind that at 43 degrees outside temperature, given highway speeds, effective wind chill on exposed skin would be about 25 degrees or less. I was able to find a space under the frame of the motorcycle just above the engine on each side where I could take turns warming my hands. One minute of warming would yield a solid 20 minutes of sustainable warmth, enough to get me through the last two fuel stops on my way to Columbus.
As I’m writing this the new Triumph television commercial popped on ESPN. Funny.
Other than the wet weather becoming cold, the trip wasn’t very dramatic. My Bluetooth headset that was piping my favoritetunes into my helmet worked all the way until the last hour, which was great considering I was on the road for about 14 hours total. I even took a couple quick work calls. Everything I packed stayed in place and dry. My lighted Triumph riding vest gave motorists more awareness as to my presence on the road with them. The cruise control on the bike was a blessing to have on a trip like this and worked very well and the comfort gel seats performed equally well.
Tomorrow morning is the Tiger’s first service at MotOHIO and then it’s on the road again. The six and a half hour ride to St. Louis is half as long as what I did today. What will I do with all that free time?
#BostonToAustin #BahstinTaAhstin #ForTheRide #ForTheAdventure #MS5000