Friday, November 11, 2011

An Imperfect Vacation

Part of the fun of wandering around the countryside on my vacations are the unexpected things that happen, interesting people I meet, new places to explore, surprises along the way. Most times, bad weather is just part of the adventure. Sometimes it gets in the way and is just plain uncomfortable.

This fall's little wander started with a forecast of 6 1/2 days of good temps and little rain. It turned into cold temps and rain every day but one. That, and some unfriendly people, made this an unusual trip.

Once in a while, the clouds would part as in this shot. I was crossing a ridge on Fairview Mountain when I got above the clouds. All the colors were washed clean and the view to the next ridge made it worth digging out of all the rain gear and finding the camera.

Included in this trip where experiments with the new video camera. I found that its hard to both take pictures and video at the same time. The mind set is just different. So while, I don't claim that any of the video I recorded on those few dry hours was worthy, it did mean that I didn't take my usual number of photos. And as any budding photographer knows, it takes a lot of bad photos to find a few good ones.

In this post, I decided to throw in a few pictures together with a few observations along the way.

Based on town names, I'm guessing that the settlers of eastern Ohio were pretty well read. After visiting, Gnadenhutten, the site of a late 17th century massacre of native people, I passed by Cadiz, Calcutta, Liverpool, Lisbon, and Palestine. Most of these were 19th century industrial towns with buildings like this old mill in Liverpool.

Two results from the helmet paint job. The fluorescent colors seemed to work as far as other drivers noticing me, but there is a down side. Apparently, the helmet looks like a nice bright flower to an insect. I had so many bug splats that I had to clean the visor multiple times during the worst days, just to see out safely.

I don't understand western Pennsylvania. It's really pretty empty. It's not even that curvy. But everytime there is a hint of a turn, a suggestion of a fun road, the speed limit comes crashing down. There were enough cops around that I was good boy, even on the devil's highway (666).

One interesting thing in Penn. are the junkyards. Most places these days, they dismantle the cars and store the valuable parts in a warehouse. Car bodies are often stripped and stacked or cubed and shipped to China. In Pennsylvania, the junkyards appear to be the classic rows of partially disassembled cars. If you want a part, you find the car and take it off. Ah, Tradition.

On my way through the thin part of Maryland, I stayed in Deep Gap. Leaving Deep Gap, I had to take Break Neck Road. It's like a challenge, a moral imperative. If you are a real man, you must take Break Neck Road and see if you survive. Since it rained about 7 inches of rain the previous day and night and locals were talking about washed out roads everywhere, I felt like I was taking on a real challenge. No big deal actually, just a cool name.

In the skinny part of Maryland, the southern border is a branch of the Potomac River. I came down to Old Town where the map said there was a bridge.

First of all, its a toll bridge. An old lady sat in an old toll booth waiting for her $0.25 toll. Of course, with all the rain gear, it took me some work and some time to dig out the money. Apparently, she was worried that I might pull out a weapon or something, because when I looked up, she had a large wooden mallet in her hand, poise to wack me if I did something wrong. As soon as she saw the coin, she relaxed, but I never did feel welcome.

As you can see in the photo, the bridge isn't any more welcoming to a motorcyclist. Very narrow, no guard rails, a wooden deck with gaps, and longitudinal planks laid unevenly along the tire tracks for cars. The track planks were 10 to 12" wide with warped ends sometimes sticking up and broken corners and knots making gaps of several inches. I did my best compromise between slow for the rough surface and faster for better balance. I never did feel welcome.

In West Virginia, I wandered back toward the Allegany mountains, an area I had enjoyed a few years before. Along the way, I wandered into Jordan's Run, a valley north of Seneca Rocks. The only advantage of rain is the light that comes after the rain. It took me 2 miles to find a place to turn around and come back for this picture.

I'll try to pull a video together, and maybe one more story of motorcycles in the rain.

1 comment:

  1. I like the Mt. Fairview shot the best, Jac, It almost looks abstract. Interesting.