Writing this on 7/21/15 at 8:15AM in Manhattan
Stephen and Isabelle were wonderful hosts, we had many an interesting conversation during my visit. I did not manage to leave Halifax on 7/18, and instead chose to stay another day. I spent most of the rest of the day playing in Stephen’s workshop. He’s a woodturner. I watched him for awhile, and then he set me up with a lathe and a piece of wood and a “have at it.” It’s something I’ve thought was really cool for a long time. I’ve on more than one occasion toyed with the idea of getting a lathe. It’s actually quite difficult to do well.
In the evening Stephen and Isabelle treated me to a wonderful dinner and lively philosophical conversations.
The next morning I was met with cloudy skies and rain. Stephen hooked me up with some mirrors, as I’d broken one off back in Quebec City when I was trying to get the bike out of the worksite. I packed up my gear, bid my farewells, and hit the road towards Bar Harbor in the rain, but not before stopping by Peggy’s Cove for my Halifax picture.
The day was a sopping mess. I had my thermals, leather, and rain pants on, as well as several layers under my jacket. Everything was wet. I was also frantically trying to make good time to avoid getting into Bar Harbor at night. Visibility was poor all through New Brunswick and Maine as fog was incredibly thick. Sometimes I couldn’t see more than three car lengths ahead of me and had to ride quite slow.
The border crossing was a bit of a pain. They pulled me off to the side for additional inspection, and I lost a good 25 minutes or so waiting to get through despite there not being ANY line. I guess it’s to be expected when you look as sketchy as I did.
Eventually it got too dark, and I had no choice but to reconnect the headlight. I fumbled with my tools in the dark to get the job done, and was surrounded by a cloud of mosquitoes. I couldn’t get the damn thing to come back together, I was completely out of patience, hungry, tired, wet, cold, and screaming in frustration all the while quickly losing blood to the swarm despite being in the helmet and leather.
Eventually I gathered myself and took the extra 10 seconds to get the damn thing to fit in correctly, and got back on the road. Once in Bar Harbor, google maps sent me off in the wrong direction, and I found myself in front of a stranger’s doorstep, phone dead, and the bike wouldn’t turn back on.
I knocked on this stranger’s door, must’ve been 10pm or so. The terrified look on the wife’s face reminded me how sketchy it must be to receive a leather clad guy on your front door of her house in the middle of the woods at 10pm.
I quickly explained I was just a guy that was lost, my bike was broken down and I needed to charge my phone to make a call. The husband didn’t speak very good english, but after repeating myself several times I got the message across and he brought my phone inside. I ran back to my bike and connected the car battery to the motorcycle one. I left them attached while the phone charged, as I figured that’d give it some time to send some of the juice to the bike one and maybe it would start and stay on long enough to get to my contact’s house in Bar Harbor.
I got the phone back, made the call to Malcolm, the dude I was going to stay with on the island, and tried turning the bike on. No luck.
Malcolm came out and rescued me with some jumper cables, and I followed him back to his place.
We set both batteries to charge, and I slept in my sleeping bag in his garage.
It was a trying night, but I was quite fortunate that I was less than a mile from Malcolm’s place.
The following morning I left at about 9 or 10 towards NYC, stopping first to do my oil change in Maine. It was a little early, but not by much. The weather was wonderful, and I hit relatively little traffic considering I am riding down the eastern seaboard.
At one point, one dude in the passanger seat of an SUV had his phone in his hands pointed at me, and he pointed to the phone, gesturing to ask if he could take a picture. I gestured yes, and then I gestured for him to send it to me. Initially I tried giving him my phone number as we rode down the highway making gestures with my hands, but it was quickly evident that it’d be difficult. Eventually I pulled up next to him and just shouted it across. It must’ve been quite the scene. He sent me the pictures and wished me well.
At one point I pulled off to get gas, and the bike died as I coasted into the gas station. I had been riding at 75mph in 5th gear. After quite a bit of asking, I got a couple mexican dudes in a landscaping truck to give me a jump. They attached the cables to the truck and the bike and left the truck running while they grabbed some food in the store. After 10 minutes or so of charging and chatting, I turned the bike on and beelined it back to the highway. This time I rode at 65-70mph in 4th gear. Again, when I pulled off on my last gas stop before NYC, the bike died as I coasted into the station. And again, I got a guy to give me a jump. We attached the vehicles, and chatted while he ate his food for 10 minutes.
The entire time I’m thinking to myself how impossible it is going to be to keep this bike on once I get into NYC traffic.
It was dusk when I got into Manhattan. With my phone nearly dead and the bike as well, it was a race to the finish. I had to revv the ever living s%$t out of the bike to keep the lights in my speedometer from dimming out. Every time I hit a red light I panicked. I even managed to get the watercooled bike to throw out a temperature warning light on account of all the revving. Fortunately I was less than a block away when that happened, and it did go away before I made it to my NYC contact’s doorstep, David. Quite literally, I pulled up to the front of the building, and the bike died with a huge backfire, right on cue.
David met me downstairs and we got all my gear off of the bike. When I tried to turn it back on so we could move it to a parking spot, it, of course, refused. We ended up pushing the bike a block away.
David is a doctor here in Manhattan. He and his wife have an epic apartment here. He took me out for some artichoke pizza, as I simply had to have pizza while in NYC. It was excellent. When we walked back he took me up to his rooftop and I shot a handful of pictures of the city. He left me with his keys, as he and his wife both had to go to work fairly early the next day.
The plan now is to walk around NYC until 4 or 5, when David gets off work, and then hit the road towards Philadelphia. David made sure we got both batteries charging the minute we walked into his apartment, so I’m hoping to make it the two hours to Philly without incident. If traffic seems far too horrendous at that time, I may simply have to leave tomorrow morning instead, but I really want to make it there tonight.