Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New release- The Cagliostro Chronicles III: Into the Heart of Evil!

New release! The Cagliostro Chronicles III: Into the Heart of Evil

Available at http://tinyurl.com/cagchronIII  Get your copy today!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Epic Adventure!

Orlando extended ride report

I left my home at 5 AM on Wednesday May 13th and headed west in the darkness, toward Manhattan and beyond to adventure. After as quick gas stop in Islandia to top off the big FJR’s 6.6 gallon tank I continued west with the first vestiges of sunlight beginning to peek over my shoulder. Onward I travelled along the Long Island Expressway, which was slowly becoming more and more congested with those on their way to work. By the time I was into the low 20 numbered exits I was practically crawling along. I was putting my feet down repeatedly for a stretch now and cursing NY area traffic just as repeatedly. After crossing into the midtown tunnel and out the other side into Manhattan itself it was smooth sailing over to, and through the Lincoln tunnel and out the other side. I stopped at the first rest area on the Jersey turnpike and had breakfast. I was basically alone in the building. It was 6:30 AM. It had taken me an hour and a half to go a mere 56 miles.

A quick breakfast over with, I saddled up on the FJR and headed out. There was no traffic here, heading west on 95. It was a clear run right to the Jersey/Delaware border. I gassed up again at the last rest area on 95 and began to roll once more. The plan was to get through Washington DC after the rush hour traffic and it looked like I was going to do just that. While there were other vehicles on the road by this point, it was not packed or slowed to a crawl anywhere I went. By 11AM I was through DC and headed south on 95.

I was following my GPS’s route and it took me off on I295 for a stretch. Originally I was going to ignore it, but I’m glad I didn’t as I would find out why later on. 295 skirts Richmond and avoids all the traffic that goes with it. The worst part of all of this was that I happened upon an accident that had 295 closed down and I had to reroute. The best part about this was that I went past an awesome aviation museum that had an SR 71 Blackbird out front. I was awed by it as I passed by. It was beautiful. I should have stopped and toured the museum. It was near Richmond Airport I believe.

I continued on and quickly passed into N. Carolina at that point. The road closure had cost me an hour of going in circles and stop and go until I figured out where 95 was. It was now nearing night time and I had had enough. By 7 PM I pulled off in Dunn, NC at a Hampton inn. I was actually heading for a Holiday Inn Express as per my GPS, but that was no longer there. I gladly settled for the Hampton inn. I walked across the lot and had dinner at a steak house there. After dinner I returned to my room and settled in, quickly realizing I left my contact lens cleaner at home, along with a couple of other things.

The next morning I ate an early breakfast at the Hampton inn and rode cross town to a Walmart that was open when I arrived at 7:30. I bought my contact lens cleaner, a belt and some toothpaste then headed back to my room where I remounted my saddle bags and rode out. It was Thursday morning and I planned to be at Orlando 600 miles away by nightfall. The day before I was wracked with back, hip and knee pain requiring lots of Ibuprofen to counter. Today was different. I was pain free for some reason and just rode. I was on 95 doing 200 mile legs, with a half hour stop in between. NC and SC were both beautiful states, while I found Georgia to be a bit boring, at least from I95. There was no scenery there, just constant trees on both sides, like a green wall for a long distance with far fewer exits than in the Carolina states. I exited at the end of Georgia for gas once again and made hotel reservations at Disney from there. If you go, try staying at the Coronado Springs resort, it was a gorgeous place built with Mayan architecture and was just a very cool place to stay.

I entered Florida not long after I finished my final gas stop and rode through what appeared to be rush hour. I rolled into traffic before Daytona where there was construction going on. It was slow going, but not terrible. Soon I exited on I4 and headed west toward Orlando. It was a 70 mile ride on a highway very reminiscent of a New York suburb; a bit too built up and congested for my liking. After an hour or so of this I came upon the heavily congested exit for Kissimmee, which was where I was supposed to get off, but the signs said otherwise. I ignored the GPS and followed the signs to Disney itself.

After riding in circles until I finally found where my resort was I pulled in and locked up the GPS and the Sena communicator. Then I walked in and stood in line to secure my room. Soon I was rolling toward where my room was within the complex of the Coronado Springs Resort.

One of the highlights of the trip was the guy who came to take my bags to the room saw my license plate and was amazed that I rode down to Orlando from New York. That was cool.

The next day I met up with my brother, his wife and their kids and spent the day in the Magic Kingdom. I have to say it was great. I didn’t realize how much I missed that place. I had a great time.

The next day they left and headed home and I went to Hollywood studios on my own. I saw a great auto stunt show and the Indiana Jones stunt spectacular. Then I took the Hollywood movie ride and finally I took the Star Wars Star Tours ride. It was also Star Wars weekend there with actors dressed in Star Wars costumes wandering around. It was a very cool day.

On Sunday I had breakfast at the resort and headed out. Of course after three very dry days at Disney, as soon as I was pulling the cover off of the motorcycle it started to pour. I took off anyway. I was already checked out and it was after 11AM  so off I went. The rain stopped after a few minutes and I entered onto I4 and ran quickly into a traffic jam. It turned out there was a minor fender bender a few miles up, but the rain started again while I was standing there on the highway stopped.

The rain passed quickly and I began heading east on I4 for 70 miles. I entered I95 and hesitated about going to Daytona, but I figured I was still some miles away from it. Boy was I wrong! As I passed on the highway I saw the racetrack from 95. I was kicking myself for not getting off and checking it all out, but it was already about 93 out and I wanted to get out of Florida as fast as possible. I exited after a total of a hundred miles and grabbed a quick bite at a cracker barrel. I spent an hour there, not planning on doing more than 500 miles on Sunday, so I was taking my time. After lunch I rolled out and gassed up again. I was averaging almost 46 miles per gallon on the FJR, which is the most I ever did with it. I had switched to high test for this trip, just to see if there was a difference, and there was. I was getting almost 7 MPG more with the high test.

Now I was rolling. There were few cars or trucks around me and I was making great time. I entered Georgia and went most of the way through it before I hit my 200 mile mark. Once there I searched out gas and filled up. I took a short break in Burger King and rehydrated.

After a half hour I was astride the mighty steed once again and heading back to 95. Now I was making time along 95. Within minutes I was back in South Carolina. I rode a bit further than I wanted to. I had come upon a town whose name escapes me, but it had lots of hotels and restaurants there. I should have called it a night there but instead I kept going.

I passed ‘South of the Border’ once again and was entering North Carolina. I rode now looking for either a Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn, and passed a Hampton that did not have a sign on the road. Cursing, I continued on as the next exit to turn around at was some miles away. I just kept heading north. Now I was using my GPS as I rode to find a hotel. I was almost at the 600 mile mark for the day when I came upon Fayetteville, NC. I saw there was a Hampton Inn off of the exit according to the GPS and headed for it. Once there I found there was a ‘Ruby Tuesday’ in the same lot. I locked the bike up after emptying the bags and covered it for the night. I walked over to the Ruby’s and started talking to the bar tender. When I asked about how safe the area was I got an odd look. I was told that it was not so safe. He pointed down the road and told me it was kind of sketchy in that direction. Great. That meant sleeping with one eye open and on the bike all night.

But I had nothing to worry about. The night passed quickly, I checked outside my door several times and never saw a problem. Monday morning I was on the road by 10AM after breakfast, and heading north toward Richmond. The plan today was NOT to go through DC and then Jersey, but instead to head North West on I64 to I81 and then end up in Pine Grove, Pa for the night.

Mother Nature had different ideas though. I ended up running into on hell of a downpour on 95 going through Richmond. Of course there was an accident ahead so I was trapped and unable to go anywhere for cover. I pulled off at an exit into what appeared to be a ghetto. I rode for several blocks and the area cleaned itself up visibly. The rain had also stopped, even though I was soaked at this point. I found my way back to 95 and finally veered off at 64, heading away from Richmond. 64 was a nice two laner with trees and good views of the surrounding mountains. I headed toward 81 at a good clip and after a few hours ran back into another soaking storm right around Waynesboro, Va. Enough was enough, I had only covered 300 miles for the day, but that would have to do. I pulled off and found a Holiday Inn Express that I had stayed at a few years ago with some friends and parked it for the night.

Tuesday morning I ate inside the Holiday inn and was on the road by 8:45.  I headed up 81 and continued for hours, crossing first the West Virginia state line, then the Maryland and finally the Pennsylvania border. I continued on for another 200 mile leg and stopped in Pine Grove, Pa for lunch and gas. After a half hour I was back to it. I had approximately 90 miles to go to get to the 81/84 interchange and that was my destination. I kept checking the Sirius traffic reports for NYC and as usual crossing into and through the city was a disaster, so screw it I’d take the long way that I never had to stop moving on.  I was soon rolling onto 84 and heading east. I was 75 miles from 684 and moving. The countryside up this way is beautiful with lots of mountains and great curves in the highway.

After a short while I was heading down 684 to the hutch which was a mess as usual. But it cleared up past Scarsdale. Soon I was crossing the Whitestone Bridge and then on to Cross Island Parkway which was at a dead stop. I moved across the parkway slowly and finally came upon the Long Island Expressway. It was rush hour, I was screwed. They had the overhead signs lit up telling about the road being closed at exit 56, and I was at exit 30.

Traffic was heavy up to exit 41 and then it cleared up. I rolled until exit 52 where it began to slow down. I exited at 53 and headed south to the southern state parkway and then the Sunrise Highway and continued east to Nicolls rd. and home.

It was a 2700 mile adventure that I loved every minute of (Well, just about every minute of. The down pours really sucked.)

I can’t wait for the next great adventure!

Videos from the ride  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSH6uA9IPOHvn6_3O7-3Oo02duJty4-bo

Photo's from the ride https://www.dropbox.com/sh/72x8r9hwokombs2/AADAncz4vPKk6_ztTh_fMVgBa?dl=0