Motorcycle Wanderings, General Travel, and a Weird Mix of Other Stuff

I Rode on Back, And I Liked It

IMG_9342Some 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.

Cloudy sky and wet road didn't dampen our spirits.

Cloudy sky and wet road didn’t dampen our spirits.

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.

Nice country road in Pennsylvania.

Nice country road in Pennsylvania.

 

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Curve!

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.

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Gold Eagle Inn in Brookville, Pennsylvania

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.

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Our view from the room on Saturday morning.

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.

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Snowmobile road?

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…

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Lovely scenery.

 

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Autumn Splendor

 

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Don’t you love the colors?

Some of these pics were taken along a portion of the Longhouse National Scenic Byway in northwestern PA.

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Longhouse National Scenic Byway

 

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Longhouse National Scenic Byway

 

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Longhouse National Scenic Byway

 

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Longhouse National Scenic Byway

 

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Closer to New York State.

 

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Entering New York

 

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Beautiful Orchard

 

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Random Scenery

 

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More Random Scenery

 

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Buffalo was just over that hill. Sorta.

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.

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Niagara Falls is a giant megapolis. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

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.

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Rainbow in the mist above Horseshoe Falls (Canada).

 

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American Falls (US)

 

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Horseshoe Falls was my favorite.

 

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Infamous boat ride.

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.

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Funny Sign

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?

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Goofing Around

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?

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Clouds of mist, from the waterfalls.

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.

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The morning sun had turned the mist cloud pink.

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.

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Shadow Capture

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.

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Little wisp of fog. See the frost on the ground?

A little while later, we hit what I thought was a small patch of mountain fog.

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Into the 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.

One day.

12 Comments

  1. October 16, 2014    

    That looks like you two had yourselves a fine time 🙂

    Are you able to emotionally relax as a passenger? I have not been able to do that.

    • ToadMama's Gravatar ToadMama
      October 16, 2014    

      We did! And, yes, I was completely relaxed.

  2. October 16, 2014    

    Heated seats? Geez that would just have to make me pee more often. Heat gets the blood pumping and kidneys going. Or at least the ones in the Subaru do that to me.

    Loved all the fall colors in the pics. Beautiful scenery.

    Did the big comfy seat make you want to fall asleep? I’ve been known to doze on the back of hubby’s by accident.

    • shan's Gravatar shan
      October 16, 2014    

      Trobairitz – In my passenger days, I was always afraid I’d fall asleep and fall right off the back with the other rider none the wiser! That always kept me awake, that’s for sure!

    • ToadMama's Gravatar ToadMama
      October 16, 2014    

      B, I hate heated seats in the car. On the bike, I was desperate.

      I got sleepy once. And then I envisioned myself falling off, making a scene, and getting run over by a truck or two. Didn’t get sleepy again. LOL.

  3. shan's Gravatar shan
    October 16, 2014    

    Maybe your batteries in your OLD camera were dying because it was cold? I noticed the same thing used to happen with my old camera and I figured out that if I took the batteries out and warmed them up in my hand a bit, they were good as new again. (Of course, this after throwing away probably way more batteries than I needed to.)

    Salamanca? Isn’t that where Eric and Kelsey are moving to? 🙂

    The freezing mists at/near the falls are no joke. I went in December and everything was frozen over. There was a partial ice bridge formed over the falls, too, which was cool to look at, but just goes to show how cold it really was.

    Nice pictures, too. I liked the blur that let us know you were taking them as a passenger.

    Finally – woo! Straight to comments, yay!

    • ToadMama's Gravatar ToadMama
      October 16, 2014    

      Shan, glad the comments thing worked. I’ll tweak the look a bit more when I have time. The amount of mist was impressive.

  4. ToadMama's Gravatar ToadMama
    October 16, 2014    

    I did try warming the batteries. No luck. Yes, Salamanca is the same town in Spain where Eric and Kelsey are. Which is what made that pic cool, especially when I sent it to them saying, “We’re here! Where the Hell are you guys?”

  5. October 17, 2014    

    Beautiful photos girlfriend.
    You two are so fun!!
    Thanks for sharing your adventure from the back..hehe
    Hugs
    Trace

    Yeah I could comment!!!

    • October 17, 2014    

      Trace, yay for comments! 🙂 Glad you liked the pics. Hugs back at ya!

  6. Raindog's Gravatar Raindog
    October 17, 2014    

    Lovely pics, especially those of the autumn leaves.

    Gotta’ love modern devices… Just last week I had to send in my DSLR for a touch screen on the fritz–a touch screen unfortunately essential to the full function of the camera. The blasted things can be as expensive to repair as to purchase new!

  7. October 17, 2014    

    Raindog, I thought of you when I was absorbing the colorful sights. I really, really love Fall in these parts. Though I still need to experience Fall in Utah.

    Worst part about the camera is, I bought it on September 2 and it broke on October 11. Not exactly a good lifespan. 🙁

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