One Lap Of PA Route for April 20th, 2002
Start and End in Easton, PA

Lessons learned:
1) The Kawasaki Concours is a great sport touring machine, even when maintained by this doofus.
2) The Aerostitch Roadcrafter is the most versatile piece of motorcycling apparel I can think of.
3) Thank G*d for electric clothing and waterproof boots.
4) There are great roads in Pennsylvania (ex:SR281 from Confluence to US40).
5) There is great scenery in Pennsylvania (ex:again along SR281 and glimpses of Lake Erie along I90 first thing in the morning).
6) The more luggage your bike has, the more likely what you're looking for is not where you first look.
7) You will get wet at some point on every ride you take (and in this case, snowed and sleeted on).
8) People look at you like you're nuts when you take pictures of road signs (trip documentation for web page).
9) There are many pockets without cellular service in Pennsylvania.
10) There are a lot of people out there who could not drive well if their life depended on it!
and a couple others I cannot repeat in mixed company ;-)

See ride report(s) below.

Short Version
I started in Easton on Saturday morning, it rained along the way. I got caught in a traffic jam south of Pittsburgh. I stopped overnight in Erie due to neck and knee pain. On route 6 it rained, snowed and sleeted. I returned to Easton on Sunday evening. I collected $780 for the American Heart Association. I had fun.

I'm not usually a nervous kind of person. The friday night before I was to leave was different. For some reason, I did not sleep very well. When the alarm went off at 5:00 am, I did not jump out of bed like normal when starting a ride...curious. I assumed it was because of the problems I had on my last ride (CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS). I got dressed, kissed the wife goodbye, made a few last minute packing changes and was on my way.

I was to start in Easton, PA right on Rt611 next to the Delaware river. I had my witness form signed by an Easton PD officer, then moved to an Exxon station two blocks away for the obligatory gas up and receipt. Did I mention it was 68 degrees when I left my house at 5:40 am? I figured I'd start out with my full 'stich on and see how long the pants stayed on, good choice. If you're familiar with Rt611 and 32 south from Easton, you probably know what I mean. As soon as I made the tight turn under the underpass and onto the rural part of 611, the morning fog made itself known. The temperature seemed to drop a couple degrees every ten miles or so until I hit New Hope, where it felt more like 45 and the bike was dripping from the fog. Other than passing a very slow motorist over a double yellow (not something I enjoy), the ride down 611 and 32 to 95 was uneventful. Oh yeah, I did forget to snap a picture of the 611/32 intersection for my archives, oh well :-(
I HATE I95! Enough said.

Got off I95 south at 322 and headed towards US1, nothing to note except a pickup truck in front of me leaking something out of the tailgate. It turned out to be water, but for a minute I was worried. US1 was also uneventful except for a guy who just had to get in front of me and then cross two lanes to exit, d*ckhead. 272 came in the nick of time, I was getting tired of four lane, limited access highway (already). No traffic and a smooth, relatively open stretch of two lane gives me clear sailing to 372. On 372 I quickly dispatch with some slow traffic, only to be slowed again by a gravel truck. I miss taking a picture of the 372/74 intersection as I just got past the truck and didn't want to let him around me again. Left onto 74 and some more smooth two lane sans appreciable traffic. 851 comes up quicker than expected and I notice I'm about a half hour ahead of schedule. I try not to let it affect my pace as I'm only a couple hours into a long ride. 851 starts as a very fun, tight two lane then degenerates to numerous stops and back to a meandering country two lane. Just east of 83 I stop for my first gas stop, remove my stich pants and call home. Normally, this would have been a 2 hour ride as I'm just a couple of miles from the old house of a friend, a site we had begun many rides from. It has taken me over 4 hours by the circuitous route chosen for this ride, still about a half hour ahead of schedule.

Back onto 851 through Shrewsbury and on towards Hanover, my first 'problem' as I would say now. It's getting to be late morning and the traffic is not being kind. It seems to take forever to get clear of town and back up to speed on 116. Wait, what is this? Something is holding up traffic in Gettysburg so I take to the side streets. Next year there will be a different route through (or around) both Hanover and Gettysburg. I hit 30 on the far side of Gettysburg and head for Chambersburg. Traffic here is exceptionally heavy and I stop for lunch at Wendys just west of 81 and a quick call home. I check my time and find I'm a half hour ahead of schedule, but lunch will take care of that. After lunch I hope for clear sailing, but the weather has other ideas. It starts to drizzle and I pull over at a bank with a covered ATM to don the lower part of my stich, gloves I don't mind getting wet and to cover my tank bag. Back on the road, I head for Breezewood in a light rain. After entering the PA turnpike at Breezewood the drizzle quickly becomes a downpour. Traffic is moving along pretty well, but the trucks are throwing a lot of spray and visibility is poor. I realize that my Symax did not leak in this downpour as it did on my way back from the Marlinton CBX Rally last year, funny what goes through your head on a long ride. The miles click off pretty quickly and I exit at Somerset for a planned gas stop and another call home. My wife wants to play 1000 questions as she's just booked our summer family vacation. I'm kind of pre-occupied with another subject right then, but try to sound attentive. I don't think I was successful :-(

The rain appeared to be subsiding, but I kept my full stich on anyway (good thing). Turning onto 281, I was hoping for clearing skies and drying roads. I have been on this stretch before and I really enjoyed it. The rain did not cooperate so the speeds were a little on the sedate side, but still interesting. I'm still not a fan of the Metzler MEZ2/4 combo in the rain, it feels to me like the tires need more heat in them than I can generate on wet roads or maybe it's just me. If you get the chance, ride 281 from Confluence to Rt40, it's a blast! A quick right onto 40 and I head toward Uniontown. Crossing the mountain in the rain and fog, I think conditions are okay but everyone else seems to be tip-toeing. I pass a whole string of cars and trucks both on the ascent and descent. Many of them pass me back when we get to the flats again. The rain is now thinning substantially and I can see dry spots on the roads. Zipping along the 119 bypass around Uniontown, I catch a glimpse of my first police car and he's making a bee-line for the crossover. Sh*t, what did I do now? Cruising at 65 in a 55, but having just been passed by a small car at a high rate of speed, I just click it down a notch and motor on. Merging back onto 40, the police car turns left into a shopping center, right behind that Cavalier and the lights go on. Thank goodness for rabbits :-)

From 40 I get onto 79 north and then it happens, traffic stops dead. There's an van overturned and the police are sitting in the median handing out tickets to those who attempt to transition over to 79 south. I had been making good time since Chambersburg and was about a half hour ahead of schedule again. This one hour wait took care of that :-(
Immediately after traffic started flowing again, I came upon a cyclist in trouble, so I stopped to help. I tried to push start him, but it would not start. His buddy showed up just then and they got it started so I could get on my way once again. Nothing eventful happened for the rest of the ride up 79, thankfully. I stopped just outside of Erie for gas and another call home. By now it was windy and getting cold so I added a couple more layers and my winter gloves. It was then that I noticed my knee was aching pretty badly and I had a very stiff neck. I guess I had been too busy to notice for the last couple of hours, but stopping lowered my concentration level just enough to let the pain in. I decided to stop for the night in Erie and make a fresh start in the morning. If you're in the Erie area along I90, stop at exit 24. There's a nice looking Italian restaurant, an Applebees (try the 'perfect' magaritas), a steak/rib place, a Bob Evans (my favorite breakfast place) and numerous motels. After a couple drinks and some good food, I turn in around 10:30 pm.

The next morning (7:00 am) comes too soon. I often say one of the things I do well is sleep, so I try to do it as much as I can. Seriously, I feel pretty good but am a little slow getting moving. I had planned a Bob Evans breakfast, but settled for tea and a bagel so as not to get too late a start home. I pulled out of the motel at 8:30 am on Sunday. Did I mention it was cold, 34 degrees to be exact? The sun was shining brightly and when I caught a glimpse of Lake Erie off to my left, it felt kind of like seeing the Pacific again after many years. Why I don't know, but it did. Did I mention it was cold? Off 90 to 89 to 6 east and it 'feels' like I'm heading home. I've never been this far west on 6, but I sort of know what to expect. Pretty smooth two lane, long straights and sweeping corners allow much higher than posted speeds and I take advantage. The only possible problem could be the precipitation has now turned almost white and at times is hard enough to bounce off the windshield. Damn, it's snowing/sleeting but fortunately doesn't last long. It also doesn't hurt that it's early Sunday and there's no traffic to speak of. I make excellent time on 6 and hit Rt59, a road I've never been on. 59 is tighter than 6, but still pretty open and follows a river leading to the Kinzua Dam. The dam created a large reservoir nestled between the mountains and boy is it big. This would be a fun place to bring my JetSki. Enough sightseeing, get back to the job at hand! 59 leads back to 6 and it's time for gas in Port Allegany and another call in to the misses (cellular service is almost non-existant in this neck of the woods).

The rest of 6 is uneventful, running in and out of rain showers till after Scranton. I made a mistake near Scranton, turned around and took 6 business (big mistake). I should have stayed on 81 a little longer and then taken the 6 bypass, four lanes, but no stop and go traffic. Stopped for my last gas and call in just outside of Honesdale. I'm definitely on the downhill run now. I let a Harley rider by in the rain on 209 just before Marshall's Creek. He's obviously in more of a hurry than I am. We get stopped at a light and exchange chit-chat. He's coming back from Marcus Dairy, headed for Pen Argyl. We part at 80, he heads west and probably thinks I'm nuts for heading east. A quick trip down 611 and back to Easton finishes my trip. Gas up and get my forms signed, it's over. An SS1000 would have been nice, but it was not to be on this trip. Besides, the reason for the ride this time was charity, and I surpassed my goals on that account. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for info on the second annual 'One Lap of PA'.

Bob Held

Must consider:
a) re-routing around Hanover-Gettysburg-Chambersburg, or
b) run route in the other direction, or
c) start at a different time.