Day 1: Madison, CT to Staunton, VA.

Trip Start May 29, 2010
Trip End Jun 14, 2010

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Where I stayed
Staunton, Virginia

Flag of United States  , Virginia
Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Journey Begins!

"The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are." ---Author Unknown

After almost a year of planning, Mike, Kevin and I met in Guilford to begin the trip.  Although we had wanted to be on the road by 7:00 a.m., we were slightly delayed and left at 7:15 a.m.

The day actually started at around 5:00 a.m. when I decided to check ahead regarding the availability of hotel rooms in either Harrisonburg, or Staunton, VA.  It was a good thing I checked!  I learned that most hotels were fully booked in Harrisonburg due to the Holiday weekend as well as local graduations from various colleges in the area.  In Staunton, the local Hampton Inn wanted $149.+ for the night due to graduations in the area, a price that was 50% higher than usual.  As it turned out, the local Best Western had two rooms left, and with the Harley Davidson Membership Rewards Program, the price was only $66.99 per night....a far cry from the $149.

A photo was taken of us as we left Guilford, CT by Tony M. of GPD, a friend from many years ago.  While waiting to leave, I also met John O'Brien, the son of the late Nick O'Brien, former Superintendent from NHPD.  He is a great guy just as his father was.

The first hour of the ride was uneventful, however, at Mike's insistence, we did make a stop at Heavenly Donuts on Rte 34, in Derby, so he could have breakfast.  Although Mike insisted he had no breakfast before he left home, we all know that Val would never let him depart on an empty stomach!  So, we all ordered breakfast!  Mike and I did enjoy the breakfast, however, Kevin couldn't stay still as he was worried about the 'line painting company' that was painting the lines in the parking lot outside the donut shop.  His concern was that the workers would get the 'over spray' onto his bike. We let Kevin do the worrying on our behalf!  We were more interested in getting coffee. After about 30 minutes, we fired up the bikes and headed west on Rte 34.

While driving out Rte 34 toward the Stevenson Dam, we did take notice that there were several dead deer on the side of the road (struck by autos) and, being in the lead, I was cautious of any deer that may wonder onto the roadway in front of us.  Fortunately, there were no deer on the road to challenge us, however, as we approached the Stevenson Dam, a bird did do a dive from a tree toward my windshield, and at the last second, turned, but, not without striking my left hand.  I could feel the bird strike, and, according to Kevin and Mike, the bird fell to the road and flipped around on the roadway, and I assume, was not long for this world!

The ride continued from CT, to New York State, into Pennsylvania, and through the Pocono Mountain region.  Although it was suppose to be a great day to ride according to the weatherman, the skies were overcast and this resulted in a somewhat chilly ride until we reached Harrisburg, PA.  The ride continued from Pennsylvania and into Maryland, West Virginia and finally into Virginia,

We did make a few stops for gas and snacks, however, while in rural PA, the options for restaurants were slim (unlike us), and we ended up stopping for lunch at a 'dated' gas station that also served up, your choice, either Quiznos Subs, or Pizza Hut Pizza.  It was hard to picture this type of a restaurant operation in a gas station, especially given the lack of a typical "restaurant atmosphere', however, it was either eat here, or continue eating granola bars until we reached a more urban area. Needless to say, lunch was not an epicurean delight!

OK, let's switch gears and spend a few minutes on the topic of motorcycle helmets. Unlike Connecticut, some States require the use of a motorcycle helmet. Kevin was conflicted as to which State required motorcycle helmets, and which States did not. He had printouts with him from the Internet on this very topic, and made it a point to stop at multiple State boarders in order to either put on, or remove, his motorcycle helmet. In fact, he put his helmet on and off so much today that Mike and I ultimately figured out that he probably reduced his head size from 7 3/8ths to 7 1/8th! 

The trip to the Staunton, VA area was uneventful, yet scenic, and the views served up by mother nature made for a great ride the second half of the day.  We made many 'pit stops' just during the course of the day, and decided to make our last stop just 45 minutes north of Staunton, VA in a rest area off of I-81. You can see us at this stop just north of Staunton, and this photo was taken just seconds before the skies opened up, and I mean 'opened up.'  It rained very hard for 20 minutes.  Between the rain delay and the delay associated with Kevin's multiple stops to either don or doff his ill-fitting helmet, we got into Staunton later than anticipated, arriving to the hotel at 7:10 p.m.  It was a long first day!

The day ended with a great dinner at the Staunton Grocery, an upscale restaurant located in the heart of the downtown historic district.  Kudos to Kevin who suggested this restaurant after he read about it in the Southern Living Magazine.  Kevin has a number of hobbies, too numerous to mention, however a few of his hobbies are gourmet cooking and being a wine aficionado!  Thank you Kevin for your choice of hobbies!  Mike and I benefited, and we decided that we are going to have Kevin pick out all restaurants for the remainder of the trip!

Today's Mileage: 530.7
Total Mileage: 530.7
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