Vermont Maple Syrup

When I was in the most beautiful state of Vermont, I stopped at a quaint gift shop located between two mountains beside a river.  It was on a bend in a curve, and I saw the sign “Vermont Maple Syrup”, so I had to turn back to stop in.  The parking lot was gray gravel and the building was made of wood with brown wood siding.  It had a metal roof that reflected the early afternoon sun.

I walked in to a warm welcome.  The people there were obviously locals that had known each other for years.  And they stopped talking just long enough to nod and say hi to the visitor.  I was dressed in chaps and leather jacket, but that didn’t bother them.  I was a friendly face and my smile told of me to them.

I looked around at the wood carvings and trinkets that they sold.  They knew what tourists wanted.  But I was riding on a motorcycle and could only carry a little.  So after looking around at what they offered I found the maple syrup area.  It had candies of all kinds: Maple syrup hardened candy that I remember being so good from my childhood; chocolate covered candies with maple syrup flavoring and of course large quantities of maple syrup.

I bought post cards and a shot glass, but the highlight for me and Sharon too was the 8oz of grade A Medium Amber pure maple syrup from Butternut Mountain Farm in Morrisville, Vermont.  This would be my gift to Sharon from a wonderful place.  I have pictures of that state and my stories, but this one item can share the entire flavor of the feelings I got while there.

Reluctantly I packed my new possessions.  I didn’t want to leave; I would have preferred to stay and talk all day, but I was on a journey with a set destination and there were people expecting me.  So again I got on my bike and headed out.

As of today we hadn’t opened the syrup, and I wanted it to be a special treat for her.  So this morning I got up and  made pancakes from scratch. With bacon the two of us sat down to a breakfast diner’s delight.  It was delicious.  With melted real butter and the syrup those pancakes will not soon be forgotten.  After waiting all this time they syrup was better than the world’s best candy and I’m still dreaming about the next time I get to savor it’s wonderful flavor.

Trip Statistics

I rode almost the entire gulf coast and almost the entire Atlantic coast U.S. anyway. I rode the length of the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River up one way and down the other. I crossed every major river in the eastern U.S. and many not major ones. I always stood up on my bike to look at them.

I carried Ethel from Pensacola, FL down to West Palm Beach, FL then up to Atlanta, GA in 3 days. Over 1500 miles. 670 of which was my longest day from WPB to Atlanta. Only a couple days did I not ride at all. I was with my family in Texas and Pennsylvania those days.

I stopped to help many bikers along the way, each one a Harley or pair of Harleys. And I only had trouble once, but it did not stop my trusty bike. Speaking of which, I probably rode 3000 miles in the rain.

I was interviewed for a local paper in Minnesota and a local radio station in Eastern Kentucky.

My total mileage was 13859 before I had my accident. And I plan to pick up my bike and finish the trip in October. I should have another 1000 miles before I’m through. This beats Emu and Raymond’s record by almost 2500 miles. I traveled almost 1400 miles in a cage during the trip that are not included with my total miles.

My trip lasted 71 days, and during that time I saw many IA members: many for the first time but many more as friends from the IA rally in Asheville. And I probably know more children from IA than any other member.

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crosscountry wrote:
First of all I would like to thank everyone that contributed along the way. I barely had to pay for anything and I never visited an ATM along the way. IA members are so generous that I’ll never be able to fully thank all of you that helped me.

Many times I was asked if I was doing the trip all alone. My reply was always, “I’m doing this trip by myself, but I’m not alone. I have people waiting for me every night and some that I just left waiting for me to check in. I am not alone.”

So for some details. I rode my bike in 31 different states and 2 Canadian Provinces. Actually many of those states I was in more than once. From start to finish:

1 Illinois
2 Missouri
3 Arkansas
4 Louisiana
5 Texas
Louisiana
6 Mississippi
7 Alabama
8 Florida
Alabama
Florida
9 Georgia
10 North Carolina
11 Tennessee
North Carolina
12 South Carolina
North Carolina
13 Virginia
14 Maryland
15 Delaware
16 Pennsylvania
17 New Jersey
18 New York
19 Connecticut
20 Massachusetts
Connecticut
21 Rhode Island
Massachusetts
22 New Hampshire
23 Maine
New Hampshire
Massachusetts
24 Vermont

Quebec, Canada
Ontario, Canada

New York
Pennsylvania
25 Ohio
26 Michigan Lower then Upper
27 Wisconsin
28 Minnesota
Wisconsin
Illinois
29 Indiana
30 Kentucky
Virginia
31 West Virginia
Ohio
Indiana
Illinois

In that order I completed my tour of every state East of the Mississippi River and many west of it. I crossed countless rivers and many mountains. I saw millions of ears of corn. I rode to every one of the 5 great lakes and circled 3: Michigan, Erie, and Ontario.

my account

here’s what I think happened to me.  There are some parts that I don’t remember so please bear with me.

Eddie D and I bought gasoline at a gas station near the West Virginia border.  I made a comment that I was near completion of my goal of riding my bike in every state east of the Mississippi River during my trip.  So when we crossed the border, which we could see, I could go home.  I planned to stay with a friend that night in Blacksburg, VA home of Virginia Tech.

We pulled out and got on the main road.  At the first turn past the hospital he lead me onto a road that was marked scenic overlook.  He stopped at the beginning of the road to adjust his helmet strap and he took the opportunity to warn me of gravel that may be on the road.

A car was turning onto the road so we “hit it”  and took off.  I chased him a good way up the mountain; meanwhile it was getting dark.  I rode every curve as tight as I could, but with my gear loading down the bike, it wasn’t as tight as Eddie “the master”.  He hugged the inner lines of each curve.

This is where my memory gets sparse: On a tight curve near the top is where things started going wrong.  Nearly out of the curve I was preparing to line up for the next when I hit gravel, inside the white line by a good bit.  The gravel was nearly flush with the asphalt and at dusk was not visible.

This put me into a wobble that I could not control. But I remember the handle bars going back and forth while I was upright.  Without being able to control the bike I crossed the white line and hit a large pile of gravel.  Somehow I was leaning to get out of it, but my back tire slid to the right which put me at an angle to the road.  there was no recovery from that point and my bike went over the left side with me under it.  I must have slid 40 to 50 feet as the markings showed in the road.  All this was information we gathered the next day.

After the wobble I remember nothing until the bike had stopped.  It was on top of my left leg and still running.  I pulled several times to get my leg out and stood up as quickly as possible.  I knew immediately that my collar bone was broken maybe from the helmet, but most likely from the slam against the hard road.  I hobbled off the road and threw off my helmet, ear plugs, jacket, vest and turned around.  Eddie showed up around then and the the bike had been running up to that point.  It died then, but the headlight was still on.

Eddie jumped off his bike and came to make sure I was ok.  He lifted my bike off the ground to his back’s displeasure, but I could not have helped him.  This was the saddest part for me.  The bike was laying flat on it’s side.  The driver’s peg and highway peg were bent and the passenger peg was sheared off.  The left saddlebag had also ripped off so there was nothing to prop the bike up.  It was laying flat on the ground. Gas was pouring out of the top of the tank.     The memory of this still saddens me.  My baby broken.

I turned to Eddie and told him that my collar bone was broken and pulled my long sleeve shirt over my head to show him.  From his stance about 20 feet away he could see it pushing up the skin.  Luckily it didn’t’ poke through.

The car that was following us arrived then and the driver offered us help.  Luckily the hospital was nearby, about 1/2 mile or so, so I accepted her offer.  She drove me to the hospital and Eddie followed on his bike.  Then she took him back to pick up my things and ride my bike back.  It still ran.  We didn’t’ get her name, but she gave Eddie her husband’s phone number which I will call tomorrow to thank her again.

The emergency room was a whole other story which I can relay later on.

Moral of the story, don’t chase Eddie D up mountain roads with your bike loaded down.

don’t chase eddie d up mountains

You can get hurt.  I was showing off following eddie and I took a spill.  It’s all my fault for feeling cocky.  Should have been more careful.

I can’t ride for a couple weeks   , so I won’t be able to ride home from Virginia.  The good news is that I reached my goal of riding in every state east of the Mississippi River and several west of there.  But West Virginia was mean to me.

Anyway the bike is just fine, but I’m a little banged up and have to wait some time before I can get my ride home.  I won’t be able to ride my bike to Paducah either .  So, Eddie D is taking me to Ohio tonight so I can meet Sharon for her 1/2 marathon tomorrow.   Good luck Sharon.     

I made it almost all the way.  Last night Eddie D rode my bike back to his house and rolled over 30,000.  We didn’t take any pictures, but I look forward to posting mine from the rest of my trip.  I still got to meet everyone along the way  

Got something very cool in the mail today

THANKS BETTY JO AND A.D.

When I stayed with CBJ earlier in August A.D. showed me his travel gear, very nice Nelson Rigg stuff I believe.  Well he also showed me an awsome Saddleman t-bag that he no longer used.  I asked him what he wanted, and the deal was too good to pass up.

So today I received a package with this beautiful peice of travel gear inside just for me.  I haven’t even paid them yet, but I will at Paducah along with a big hug.  They are so great!!!

it is the Renegade I incase you are wondering.  with detachable side pouches, roll bag, back straps for use as a back pack, rain cover and much much more

THANKS AGAIN CBJ and A.D. YOU ARE TOO COOL!!!!

I love September

no not a girl named September; the month

am I the only one? Drifter made mention that he really likes early fall. To be technical we are in late summer, but a rose by any other name…

This month brings back so many good feelings from the past. School starting again, returning to meet all of my friends. Sometimes it reminds me of past relationships.

The weather is perfect. Away from the East Coast, we’re finally over the rain and heat that bother us so much in the Summer. The temps are cool enough that bbq and swimming outside are really fun. The shadows are getting a little longer, but the hours of the day are still plenty. You can still sit on your porch until twilight and be warmed by the sun and radiance of all things around you.

Colors are becoming more and more a part of our day. Crops are now being harvested, and the stars are getting to be the best of the year.

You can sleep with your windows open at night and leave them open all day long. This keeps the fresh moving withing and everyone (without allergies) happy.

Your motorcycle rides better in the fall, and kids are back in school, so the roads are clearer.

I think September is the month of passion, and it makes me feel good every time this part of the year comes around.

Come on everyone, join me in celebrating September.