A few hours ago, I finished writing one of the great ride reports. A ride report that was destined to be inducted in the Ride Report Hall of Fame. I'd spent several hours putting it together. I'd edited out all the boo-boos. Just as I hit post, ADVrider had a problem. Yes, it was actually ADVrider who ate the greatest ride report ever written. This time I can't blame it on the lousy wifi at any one of the low rent motels that I've been staying in on my trek around the country.
But, being the persistent person that I am and not wanting to let my very dedicated audience down, here goes my second attempt to post the Greatest Ride Report ever written. If, after reading it, you're not convinved that it is, in fact, the greatest ride report ever written, it's not my fault.
The Whiskey Dick Scooter Rally ended this past Sunday. Since there were no events scheduled for Sunday, most people were busy packing up, loading scooters on trailers, saying their goodbyes and hitting the highway for home, wherever home was for them. Me, I just loaded up, as hitting the road for home wouldn't be for another week.
I think I mentioned before that I'm quite the baseball fan. In my spare time during the rally, I'd try to see if there were and minor league baseball teams that played in the area. Yes, there's a team in Scranton, Pa., but they're playing out of town. Then I found the Binghampton Mets, the double A affiliate of the N.Y. Mets. Ok then, it's off to Binghampton, N.Y.
Now, the official motel of the Whiskey Dick Scooter Rally is the Quality Inn, which is located just off of I-80, my intended route out of Stroudsburg. As I'm loading up the scooter, I notice that I-80 has come to a screeching halt. Nobody is going anywhere. Loading up next to me this morning is Carl, and his lovely bride of 32 years, Barb. I ask about other routes out of Stroudsburg that will get me to northbound 380. They tell to take 611 north. As a matter of fact, they're headed out 611 to a candle factory, of which there are many in this area. They say I can follow them. When they turn left, I should go straight on 611.
Off we go. In a few miles, they turn left and I go straight....as told. in another couple of miles, I spot another candle factory/store/place, only this one has something extra.......
A Haunted House. As with most things on this trip, it's closed! I'm not sure if they saw me coming and closed early or, like a lot of businesses in this area, they just haven't opened for "the season" yet.
If pictures are proof, here it is, my most northern state on this trip. Thank goodness because I'm freezing and wearing most everything I brought with me.
My ride north through Scranton, Pa., carries a bit of an ulterior motive. In addition to wanting to see a baseball game, I'm hoping to finally be able to track down a friends son who I have seen in something like 18 years. Not since the mid 1990's. Heaven knows it's not for lack of trying on my part. A few years ago, I managed to track Derek down through Facebook. Derek has a somewhat unusual last name so I knew that I wouldn't have to go through 14,367 people to find him. As a matter of fact, his name came up quite quickly. At that time, he was in Spain studying for a masters degree. Over the next year or so, I kept checking to see where he was. On one of my checks, I see that he's living in Mexico so I start planning for a Helix ride through Mexico. Just as my plans are coming together, I discover that he's moved to Carrboro, N.C.. Great!
Ok, no real problem. This trip is taking me through N.C. so I'll just make a slight detour to wherever it is that Carrboro is. A few weeks before this trip is starting I discover that Derek has moved onto Ithaca, N.Y. Now I'm beginning to question how much I really want to track him down.
Knowing there's going to be a bit of down time before the race starts, I decide that I will ride to Ithaca. If that plan doesn't work out, there's always the Mets game. In Binghampton, I call Derek. (I'd bootlegged his phone number one time when he'd actually put it on Facebook for somebody else.) He picks up. The conversation goes like this.....
Hello, is this Derek?
Hi Derek, it's Stan.
Wow, this sure isn't a call I expected.
We yack a bit and I tell him I'm about an hour south of him, in Binghampton and, if he's available, I'd like to ride up to see him.
No problem and he says he has a house and a place where I can stay.
Wow, he has a house, the kid must be doing good.
After blowing off the baseball game, I ride north on I-81. Then I cut west on Hwy 79 for a very nice ride through the New York countryside. In Ithaca, I call Derek again and we arrange a meet up place.
His "house" turns out to not actually be his house. As with most of the big old houses around the campus of Cornell University, this house gets rented out by the room. Derek has the bedroom behind the partially open window.
His room rents for $550 a month. Can you say ouch? This house has 5 bedrooms.
Derek wants to show me the part of Ithaca that is Cornell. As we were walking up one of the many hills on campus, I saw these.....
They didn't seem real skittish so I'm guessing their regular visitors to the campus.
By the time we got to this vantage point, I was really huffing and puffing. I know it doesn't look that steep but, trust me, it is!
One of the many great looking buildings on campus.....
After arriving at the top of the hill/campus, I tell Derek to pick a restaurant and I'll spring for dinner. He picks a Korean place. I later find out that he's an expert with chopsticks. Since this particular restaurant doesn't have forks, I have to eat my salmon dish with a soup spoon.
Before anyone asks, this is the only picture I took that has Derek in it. What with all of our talking and catching up, it just never crossed my mind.
The next morning, with the Helix all loaded up and unable to carry a passenger, Derek gives me directions to a restaurant on the pedestrian portion of State Street, if anybody knows where that is and we agree to meet there. At the restaurant, we meet up with Lauren, Derek's BFF.
After breakfast, which I didn't take a picture of, we say our goodbyes and Derek heads off to work. I start looking for a different way out of town than I rode in on. As I ride out of Ithaca, I'm really hoping that it doesn't take another 18 years for our paths to cross again. Perhaps Derek will head out on his own search for America and his path will take him through Tucson......here's hoping!