Some folks were surprised to read that I’d agreed to take the back seat for our recent road trip. So many people yearn to transition from passenger to rider. Going from rider to passenger just sounds backwards.
But it was cool. Really.
One thing for sure, being a motorcycle passenger adds a whole ‘nother element to that letting your mind wander thing that motorcyclists enjoy.
All I had to do, literally, was sit still and enjoy the ride. And announce, every now and then, that I needed to pee.
Do you know what that husband of mine actually had the nerve to say to me on Sunday?
“We should have hooked you up with a pavement wetter.”
For you non-riders, that’s a tube apparatus that long distance male riders affix to their, um, works, that runs down the leg of their pants and hangs out below their foot. So they don’t need to stop for pee breaks as often. He didn’t say it because I had to stop a lot. He said it because he’s a smart-ass and knew it would make me laugh.
It did. We laughed a lot during our short little road trip, the plan for which was actually hatched innocently enough during a conversation we were having over beers in Belgium.
The number of beers may have something to do with how clearly I remember this chat, which went something like…
“I’d be willing to test the backseat. We could do a little trial run when we get home.”
“Where to?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Niagara Falls?” I said. Because it was the first thing that popped into my head.
I’d been wanting to see the falls, and didn’t think it was all that far away.
That’s why, shortly after our two-week trip to Europe, we were off on another adventure.
It was raining when we left on Friday. We could have taken the car, but that would have been boring. Besides, that’s why they make rain gear for motorcyclists, right?
The rain only lasted for the first two hours or so. It remained cloudy and overcast, but at least it was relatively dry.
Hubby admitted that the roads would have been more fun if dry — riding a motorcycle on wet roads requires extra caution — but we both still enjoyed the scenery. It had been several years since we’d seen that part of Pennsylvania.
Since we had to take it a bit slower on the wet roads, we ended up riding later into the evening than we’d anticipated. We were thinking we’d stay in Punxsutawney, but couldn’t find a hotel or motel. I don’t know where all the media and groundhog watchers stay in February when then crowd around to see Phil the Groundhog emerge from his hole. So we continued on to Brookville, Pennsylvania, which is where we happened upon the Gold Eagle Inn.
I love quirky lodging, especially when it is clean and lovingly maintained. Yes, it was old. Yes, there were pink fixtures in the bathroom. But it was very clean, inexpensive, had a restaurant attached that served good food AND beer… what more did we need?
Lucky for us, when we woke up on Saturday, it was sunny. After a quick breakfast at a nearby McDonalds, we continued north.
The further north we got, the more colorful the leaves were. Temps were moderate, in the 50 to 60 F range (10-16 C), which was fine thanks to our gear.
All in all, it was a lovely day for a ride.
I’m surprised I was able to capture enough decent pics to share. Not because of the weather, but because of the weird electrocatastrophalytic “thing” that dogged me all weekend.
My old point-and-shoot camera, which I was wearing on a lanyard around my neck, ate through batteries like you wouldn’t believe (10 AAs in two days) and kept dying on me.
Saturday it was dry enough to carry my fancy-schmancy NEW point-and-shoot camera on the lanyard, but it died before we had even reached New York. And by DIED, I don’t mean a simple loss of battery power. No. It completely stopped working. I can’t even get the thing to power up.
My older model iPhone has always sucked when it comes to battery life. Plus, I just knew I’d drop the thing getting it out of and back into my pocket as we rode. Sigh…
But I persevered, and managed to snag some decent pics for y’all.
You folks who like seeing the foliage in this area should enjoy these…
Some of these pics were taken along a portion of the Longhouse National Scenic Byway in northwestern PA.
I told you it was pretty, didn’t I?
Buffalo is bigger than I expected. I’d show you a pic, but I have other images that are better. Like this Niagara Falls collage.
There’s Niagara Falls, NY, USA. There’s also Niagara Falls, ON, Canada. Oh, and there’re these three waterfalls known as Niagara Falls. It all combines to form a crazy, chaotic, over-commercialized blight on the map.
Everyone always says the Canada side is better, so we chose to go to Canada.
Hubby had done the planning. At one point he’d mentioned something about it being off-peak season. Little did we know it was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. LOL.
I’m glad I finally got to see the falls, but as a whole found the area far too built up for my tastes. It’s sorta sad, really. The falls are quite majestic. But they are surrounded by stuff.
I’m a nature girl. A natural wonder like that should be surrounded by nature. Not a gazillion hotels, chain restaurants, casinos, and every other kind of kitschy attraction/distraction under the sun. And I like kitsch. Love it, really, just not next to and practically on top of a set of waterfalls like that.
Don’t get me wrong, we had fun. Lots of fun.
But I won’t be going back.
The ride was awesome, though. And the trip as a whole was a cool little impromptu adventure.
Here’s proof that we enjoyed ourselves.
We look like we’re having fun, right?
The ride home was a bit odd. We experienced some of the weirdest weather conditions ever.
Remember that funny sign I showed you? The one that mentioned mist?
It was serious. So much mist rises from the falls and into the air that it forms clouds. Big ones. Sunday morning, it was raining in Niagara Falls, Canada, but only near the falls. And it was 38 degrees Fahrenheit (just over 3 C) at around 7:00 a.m. as we were leaving. I figured it would warm up as we rode inland.
As we made our way around to Niagara Falls, NY, something in the air caught my eye.
That’s a totally lucky capture of the moon above the cloud of pink mist. Shot with my OLD, slow point-and-shoot, from the back of a moving motorcycle.
My theory about it warming up was flawed. It got colder. Temps hovered very close to 32 F (0 C) for the first two hours.
Thank God the “Barcalounger” (Dar, that cracked me up) has heated seats.
A little while later, we hit what I thought was a small patch of mountain fog.
We rode through that thick, wet, heavy fog for at least 45 minutes.
The McDonalds in Salamanca, NY was truly an oasis. For real.
We lingered at that McDs for about an hour, having breakfast, drinking coffee, and warming up. By the time we left, temps had crested the 40 degree mark.
You don’t realize just how warm 45 degrees (7 C) feels until you’ve ridden through the low- to mid-30s for a while.
The rest of the ride home was long, but uneventful. It was pretty, and relaxing. You’d think it would have felt unpleasantly long, but it didn’t. And we arrived at our house right around 5:00 p.m.
I’m not going to make a habit of being a passenger, but I’ll do it again.