Sunday, May 02, 2010

415 miles: The Keystone State

After leaving my mother's house in Connecticut, I got all turned around in New York State without a map and had to resort to Plan B.  I managed to land on Interstate 287 to cross the Hudson on the Tappan Zee Bridge.  Plan B entails taking the highway to Harrisburg, PA and then back roads south from there.

Where am I now?  Myersville, PA.  It's a little town about 7 miles south of the highway.  I got off exit 10, so I'm about 10 or fifteen miles from Harrisburg.  I'm in a little basement dive called the Limey Pub which seems to be the only bar in town.  I'm drinking a two-dollar pint of the local brew, Yuengling.  It doesn't taste like much but for two bucks I'm not one to complain.

It just started to spit a little rain as I pulled into town, otherwise it's been beautiful weather.

How's the Little Ninja doing after almost three years spent idling in Boston's stop-and-go traffic?  It's the happiest motorcycle in the world, doing what it was built to do.  It's running an average of 8000-9000 rpm, average speed between 65-85mph.  Driving around Boston, the temperature gauge noses into the red.  Today, the needle never broke the halfway mark.  Idling in town the Little Ninja is purring contentedly, grateful to be out on the open road.

New Jersey is the Garden State and the western part I was in was very green.  I spotted some horse farms towards the Pennsylvania border.  Pennsylvania is an agricultural state.  Past Allentown, the hills are plowed and ready for the crop.  Silos and barns and spacious farm houses dot the rolling landscape.  I passed a horse and buggy with its lights on at dusk.  I've passed a few Mennonite churches and the women sitting on porch swings and playing badminton in the back yard wear full skirts and bonnets.  The men wear straw hats and full beards.

Do you want to know how much gas I've purchased to travel these 415 miles from Dorchester?  I left with a full tank.  I stopped in Hartford at 111 miles and spent $7.09 ($3.04/gal) for 2.27 gallons.  In Yorktown Heights, NY, I had travelled another 92 miles and bought 1.71 gallons for $5.49 ($3.19/gal).  In Somerville, NJ I had gone another 106 miles; I put 1.29 gallons in the tank for a total of $3.71 ($2.85/gal).  I stopped in Allentown after another 58 miles and topped off with 1.13 gallons for $3.18 (also $2.85/gal).  Right now the odometer reads an additional 48 miles.

I'm not really tired and I'm not stiff nor saddlesore.  I've got a room in a dumpy motel that has a photo mural of a German Chalet on one wall.  It will be the first thing I see when I awaken.  The room is full of flies, otherwise it seems clean enough.  I'm just going to sleep there and this is the kind of broken down motel I'm looking for.  $45 for the night.  Once I get a little further south, I intend to stay at campgrounds.  Hopefully tomorrow.  I don't have forty five greenbacks to burn every night and I don't really want to squat my tent on private property.  We'll see; I'm prepared for many contingencies.


Michelle H. said...

You hit Amish country. I'm surprised you didn't try to bunk with them. Many will let you do it for free, setting up a tent in a field somewhere. Something about never turning away a stranger in need of a bed. I might be wrong, though.

Keep an eye out for shotguns. We're a trigger-happy folk in PA when seeing strangers on farmland uninvited. Not to unnerve you or anything. I just grew up a country redneck gal. Andy Warhol described Pa in the best way: Pennsylvania is nothing more than Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in-between. Nothing has changed over the decades.

Whalehead King said...

It's a good thing I didn't set up a tent in a field. Terrible thunderstorms last night. I got caught in the beginning on the way home. The lightening lit up the fields. It was amazing, if tough driving on unfamiliar roads.


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