During the night, a torrential rain. I was smug knowing how dry I was until I felt a chill on my back sometime around 3am. I was laying in about an inch of water. The rain pounded on the outside of my tent.
What a miserable night, and I paid $12 for the opportunity. Today was going to be a long day.
Though I felt a bit cloudy-headed from my lack of sleep and whatever bug I seemed to have, I got on the bike as early as reasonable.
Lots of whitewater rafting in this area, and I stopped at this cool old store to gas up.
State highway 72 had been recommended to me, so I turned left onto the little country road.
Just after taking this pic, I noticed that none of my gauges were working, nor did I have any lights on the bike, save the headlight. What the heck? I found a blown fuse and a quick Google search informed me that this is one of the few common problems on the V-Strom. On one forum, it was referred to as the "Dreaded 15A fuse problem." Unfortunately the solution was not easy to find. I stopped just a few yards from the above pic and started searching around for any wires which may be grounding against the frame without luck.
Meanwhile, three people stopped to ask if I were all right. Two of those people suggested I "drift" down the hill to a local repair shop. Must be a regionalism, since both people used the word when they meant "coast." In the end, that's what I decided to do. Here's the repair shop.
Though we couldn't find the problem, we did find a switch I'd installed which had some exposed wires. The mechanic taped them up with electrical tape and we tried a new fuse. Seemed to work, so I went on my way. No charge.
Back on 72 I found a narrow, curvy road.
Twenty minutes into my ride, my gauges went out again. No speedometer. No taillight. No turn signals. No brake light. Great.
With my late start and electrical troubles, I was behind schedule. Today was one of the few days I had a set destination. I have a friend who lives in Jamestown, New York and we'd made arrangements that I'd stay with her tonight, her only free evening. Furthermore, the friend I was staying with tomorrow
was heading out of town the following day, so I couldn't be late. I had a long way to go, and was already late.
I stopped at this former coal mine where there was a geocache, but I didn't have the time to look for it. Just a quick little look around and then on my way.
Though I was behind schedule, I still planned to see a few things. I stopped at Fallingwater, a Frank Lloyd Wright house built in 1937. The literature for the tour asks you to leave your camera behind since photography is prohibited. I followed the directions and left my camera on my bike.
Just before the start of the tour, the tour guide tells us that photography is not allowed inside the home, but you can take pictures outside. I must have been the only one who read the rules because everyone else had their cameras, and I was stuck taking pictures with my phone.
The main design element of the house is horizontal lines. You find very few vertical supports and where they are, they're either craftfully hidden or are made to be as small as possible.
Fallingwater is so named because it is built over a waterfall on a small creek.
The tour was quick (somewhere less than an hour) and expensive ($23), but it was an impressive sight as well as an interesting cultural lesson about life in the 30s. But what can I say? I had to wait in line on a Monday afternoon to get tickets, so it looks like they can charge as much as they want. At any moment, there are probably four or five different tour groups going through the house.
My next must-visit location was the Flight 93 National Memorial in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The memorial is a relatively new addition to the National Park Service, having been dedicated less than a year ago. As such, there wasn't a lot of infrastructure. There is a walkway and sculpture (which I think will eventually be a fountain) leading out to the wall of names. My understanding is that the actual crash site is spread out in the field just beyond this photo, though there is no public access.
The wall of names is still under construction.
Up near the parking lot there were some benches and some scattered plaques with photographs. One very cool aspect is that each photo had a QR code which would direct your phone to an audio recording describing the scene in the photo.
I talked to my friend in Jamestown and told her that I would be late, but I was on my way. I had a few more than 200 miles to her house. I replaced the blown 15A fuse hoping it would get me into the night. If it failed, I'd have to stop.
I pulled into her driveway about 10pm. Tired, but with lights. My friend was still awake, waiting up for me.