The mad dash for home started 4 days ago in Custer, South Dakota. For the final day, we were in Youngstown, Ohio and packing our motorcycles once more for the ride across multiple states. While packing my bike, it began to rain. The darkness of the clouds over head meant that we would be wearing rain gear, and the low morning temperature meant that we would be wearing leather. We wore both for almost the entire way home. Being cold and damp is almost the norm for us and for our ride from west to east, from South Dakota to Maryland.
Leaving Youngstown and the state of Ohio didn’t take long. Within 20 miles, we were rolling across the state line of Pennsylvania. We would be friends with the PA Turnpike for a while, and the PA Turnpike had a lot of other friends this Monday morning. Traffic rolling east on I76 was heavy at times and our first fuel stop at the service station was particularly packed with people. The service station did have one thing that I was keen on for the morning, Starbucks. I needed something hot to drink to warm me and I hadn’t had a Starbucks in a long while, at least since we left for South Dakota. By the way, it was good.
That first stop was the longest stop of the day. We cranked out 80 miles and I only had about another 220 miles to go. All three of us were jazzed to get home. We rolled across the hills of western PA winding between the highway construction sites and the other travelers on the road. We were making good time. At the next stop, we only got gas for the bikes and to use the bathroom. Then it was back on the bikes to crank out some more miles.
Wearing the rain gear had it’s desired effect on the weather. Since we rolled out of Youngstown, it hadn’t rained at all, except a sprinkle here and there. The dark clouds were still hanging over head and threatened us at all times, but the roads were only damp in a few places. But over all, we had dry pavement and we tore up the miles.
The switch over to I70 to head into Maryland was interesting. On the map it looked like a normal highway interchange. But instead we had to exit the Turnpike and drive thru an enormous amount of fast food restaurants and hotels. Only then are you directed to turn left and enter I70. Very odd, but I’m sure it was setup by those same restaurants and hotels.
We could smell home. I could feel my favorite chair and I knew my own bed was right up stairs. Plus I wouldn’t have to pack and re-pack the motorcycle every morning and night. It was only a 4 day road trip coming home, but I was tired of traveling. Spending 8 to 10 hours a day on the motorcycle had taken it’s toll. I wasn’t sore in the butt and my wrist wasn’t numb from holding the throttle open as we rolled across the country. In all, I was just tired from the traveling and wanted to be home. In my own home. In my own bed.
Hagerstown passed by in a blur. Frederick, MD was next in our sights. The weather in MD was a big improvement from PA. Since we were almost home, the sun decided to come out and greet us for the last few miles. I pulled off the highway with only 20 miles between us and Frederick. It was just too hot with the leather jacket, the rain gear and the full face helmet. It was also to be our last stop together for fuel for our Sturgis adventure.
Each of us gladly put away the rain gear and got more confortable. We fueled up the bikes together for the last time, shook hands and rolled back onto the highway for the last few miles together.
We blew thru Frederick and the Mt. Airy exit and RT 27 beckoned me. Once the exit was upon us, Michael pulled up next to me and we waved goodbye and he motored on ahead of me. I waved to Steve and I exited the highway by myself as they continued on.
RT 27 north for about 12 miles, Nicodemus for another 3 miles, RT 31 for another couple miles and I turned towards my home. Rolling onto my street and then rode up my driveway. It took me much longer this time to unpack the motorcycle than it had for the entire trip. But I also knew that it would be the last time for this trip.
I was home.