Saturday, July 20, 2013

2013 Blogger to Blogger Tour - Gettin' outta Dodge

Come Friday morning, we had places to go, and bloggers to see.

We broke camp, loaded up the bikes, and hit the road. The ride objective was Hartford Connecticut, merely a waypoint on the road to Portland, Maine. Five hundred and twenty-eight kilometers of mainly Interstate travel ahead.

We stopped at the local McDonalds for coffee and a bite to eat before setting out in earnest.
The day started cool enough, but the heat wave blanketing the Northeast continued unabated and had us in its fiery grip all too soon. Temperatures by mid-afternoon soared into the high thirties. The thermometer on Bob's BMW R1200R reported 39C. The humidex-adjusted Fahrenheit temp reported in the newspaper in Hartford was 101F.  The day crushed all historical records by an uncomfortable margin.

My all-black, non-mesh Tourmaster Caliber armored pants, and Icon Patrol boots that serve well in October and November, were nowhere near as uncomfortable as you might imagine. In fact, believe it or not, they did not cause any huge discomfort. To some degree the heavy gear insulates you from the heat. Up top I was wearing my BMW Airflow 2 jacket, and the Tucano Urbano mesh summer riding gloves I picked up in May in Rome.

Stopping for fuel at about one hundred and twenty mile intervals to feed the Vespa's nine liter tank was not the hardship you might think. We all needed to take a leg stretching and water guzzling break. Unloading and re-loading the Vespa (two dry bags, and the emergency five liter fuel container), was a pain, but is necessary to get at the gas cap under the seat.  There's no point in moaning about it. It's part of the adventure. Just embrace it, refuel, drink water, and like Bedouins trecking across the Sahara, move on.

This was my first experience touring all day with other riders. I had zero experience with what it meant to keep pace with much bigger machines. At first I felt I would eventually slow my friends down so I used the long, long downhill run from State College on I-80 to ride with the throttle locked wide-open. It turned out not to be an appropriate strategy. I was just way too fast, and Karen preferred to keep a steady (more mature) pace at 65 mph.
It took me a while but I realized that I could easily keep that pace whether on the flats, or in the rolling hills.  I eventually settled in behind Karen, with Bob as sweep for the remainder of the trip.

Bob had never paired his Sena with another rider. After a little help from the manual, courtesy of Google, we set them up. What a pleasure. I was cruising along accompanied by Colin James and Rod Stewart, and my 'new swing' playlist rocking out of my iPhone, trading text messages with my friend Marc back home, fielding a call with Melanie at the office, and more importantly, able to communicate with Bob whenever the need arose. At first it was serious manly sharing of ride information. Eventually it became casual banter. Pretty much what we might have discussed in a car.

The only painful experience on this leg of the tour was an interminable bumper-to-bumper traffic jam just outside Hartford. I felt that the heat was beginning to make me feel sick. We finally made it to our Motel 6. Modest accommodations, but clean, comfortable, and AIR CONDITIONED!!!

We had dinner at the adjacent Denny's, then repaired to our rooms for the night.

It was a very satisfactory day.

8 comments:

  1. It sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun despite the heat.

    I have heard after the heat rises above a certain temperature to close your vents as the hot air coming through heat you up too much.

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    1. Trobairitz, my top was well vented, my lower half not so much. To be honest, it really wasn't that bad. I may have lost some weight too.

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  2. You guys are a "force to be reckoned with"!

    How does it feel to be the envy of every moto blogger in the universe? LOL

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    1. Deb, if only that were true. It was a trip really well worth doing. It's going to take weeks for the blog to catch up.

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  3. +1 to what Deb said…

    Hope all survive the heat!

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    1. Thanks Richard. We survived, and thrived. We couldn't complain. Heat is better than rain plus cold

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  4. Glad the Vespa and gear are working out. And, congratulations on figuring out how to keep up and integrating the electronics successfully.

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    1. Ed, as in anything, being a newb means there's a lot to digest and adapt to. That's half the fun.

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.