Things were looking quite dire in my search for a private garage space for my KLR. I needed something close to public transportation, preferably on the same side of the Hudson as my family to avoid costly tolls. I even posted an ad on craigslist asking people to rent me their space. Plenty of parking garages, i.e. spaces in a large parking structure, but I needed somewhere I could leave my gear (anyone seen the top gear where The Stig rides the subway in full gear?). Fortunately, 2 days after I posted my ad, someone else posted their ad for half of a small garage bay. It was about a mile from the PATH, which is not bad at all. Especially when you consider that most of the places I'd been looking were on the Metro North commuter rail at several bucks each way (vs. $2 for the PATH). The walk is not at all bad, either, even in the heat.
So yesterday I rode my KLR down to Hoboken. The first thing I resolved was to avoid interstates. The second thing I resolved was to avoid Connecticut. Playing with these two variables in GMaps led me to take US-20 all the way out to the western half of MA, then pick up 23 to the Taconic. This was the furthest west I'd ever taken 20, though I was surprised how far out I'd been on it (somewhere near Sturbridge). I kept worrying I'd miss 23, but I hit it exactly 100 miles (to the tenth!) from home. 23 was nice, and actually twisty, unlike 20. Also unlike 20, it was pretty empty on a Sunday afternoon.
The Taconic was weird. It was like the PIP, another parkway, except with at-grade intersections. I don't think I ever saw anyone using those intersections, but it was still very "wtf?" I was pretty much dying (hard seat and bad posture) by that point, but it went by pretty quickly (minus the major speed traps that were more like border crossings). I ditched at 301 and headed to Cold Spring. Which was having a festival. I picked up an Italian Ice (which, in the heat, was more like an Italian Slush--or just plain sugar water after five minutes). Sitting along the river and stretching out on the bench really refreshed me. I attacked the road with renewed vigor, including the stretch of Rt. 6 between the Bear Mountain Bridge and Peekskill. For future reference, there's a traffic circle at the south end, so you can turn around and do it all again (this time hopefully with less-slow cagers in front of you). The view was beautiful, but the scenic overlook looked jam-packed so I skipped it. No pictures. I'm sure you can find some if you search the Internet for "Peekskill overlook."
Since the guy I was renting from had changed his story (after 6 became 5:30?), I decided to be selfish and take 9W the rest of the way down. Really glad I did. The PIP is lovely, but without the individual landmarks, buildings, and shit, the river itself, it's just not conducive to nostalgia. And I rode past (but not down to) Piermont, where we scattered my dad's ashes. Fitting, since today's his birthday. I paid my respects with a judicious application of throttle. Has he really been gone six years? Have I really been riding almost that long? Either way, thanks for the gift of motorcycling, Dad.
I slipped down through the Palisades park, along the river and under the GWB. Most of the slow-moving cars I got stuck behind moved aside for me, or otherwise let me pass. I wasn't exactly hell-for-leather (or whatever the expression is), but I was moving. I mean, I have the bike for those broken, narrow roads, where sometimes the waterfalls overrun the road, and often, tree branches (or trees) have fallen. Swerve to avoid a washout, throttle up over a road-spanning pothole; it gains a rhythm and becomes a mantra. "It is by will alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of gasoline that bikes acquire speed, the pants acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my bike in motion."
I went through Edgewater to see what had changed. I went past our old apartment to see what they'd done with it after 'forcing' my mother out to remake it into "affordable housing" (as far as I could tell from street level, nuthin'). Made it down to Hoboken without incident, drained a Powerade (hey, they were 2/$2 at the gas station in Otis, MA), and waited for the guy to show. Got my bike moved in, paid my rent, changed out of my gear. Then I walked to the PATH through the Hoboken night. All in all, it was exhausting. I had to drag myself off the subway at the end. The fun part was when after getting off the bike, I was walking like I was still on it. Had to fight the urge not to lean as I swerved around slow-moving pedestrians. Like, inner ear vestibular level. I felt myself leaning inside my head. "That's never happened before."
Now, of course, my workday is plagued by visions of leaving early, grabbing the train, and riding for 2-3 hours before dragging myself home again. I can handle it.
And, like I said, I'm pleased with my ability to turn the wisp of an idea into something concrete like this. I now have access to my motorcycle. Fuckin' ey! Now to map out all the places I want to revisit within a day's ride of here (left the tent home, so no full-weekend trips atm). I know, cry me a river. A year ago, I wished for problems like these.
Now I've got them. >=D