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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Western/Central Massachusetts
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    1,703

    Default August Solo Trip 2010

    Monday, 8/23/2010 2:07 AM - Out the door and on the road. Destination: unknown. I'll point my car out of New England and hopefully away from this weather system that's going to stick around and dump rain all over the region all week. I have the important things I'll need: cell phone (not a smart phone,) maps, and experience. No GPS or other handholding devices, where's the adventure in that? I work in technology, and it's good to get away every now and then.

    Wilbur Cross and Merritt Parkways, in heavy rain. Jersey barriers leaving no shoulder on either side, and lane markings that are difficult to see. Fortunately traffic is very light, and I don't have to be concerned about the other guy except for rare instances.

    Interstate 78, New Jersey. Overhead, clouds. Ahead to the West, clear skies. I can clearly see the change in weather. Looks like going South was the right choice. Where am I going, anyway?

    Harrisburg, rush hour, heavy construction. Traffic is not burdensome, and in fact seems very light for a Monday morning near a state capital. Time for a break. Dig through some maps. "Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History" looks interesting if only because it seems obscure. Okay, that's a good focal point for this trip.

    The day progresses, with the only point of concern being appropriate locations for bathroom breaks. Drinking a lot of water is good, but comes at a price. I-81, I-68, I-79. Where is everybody? Hey look, a van from Ohio for Dish Network. What's he doing in West Virginia? The van passes, I'm out here alone. Spooky.

    A stop for a lunch that is memorable only because it was so greasy. Options are limited in this area so I'll take what I can get, and the local greasy spoon was the first (and only) choice.

    Time to assess how I feel. Tired? No. Alert? Yes. Stretch, a glance at the map, and back on my way. Where will I stop for the night, a campground or a hotel? I think this is a good hotel day.

    Traffic gets heavier, so now instead of being all alone, I'm only slight alone. Did I miss some important meeting that the rest of the country is attending? Charleston, then Huntington, in the afternoon "rush," which again isn't a big issue to navigate. On into Kentucky.

    How am I doing? I think it's time to find a spot for the night. I'm not tired right now, but I know I will be soon. Okay, Mount Sterling looks like a good stopover point. Into the hotel room. A quick inspection and the decision that I'm not staying here due to overwhelming evidence of a bug infestation. I wait patiently for the lobby to clear out of arriving guests to notify the front desk of this condition, gaining a tip on a local eatery. Despite being tired and a bit upset, I keep my cool when the inevitable denial comes forth from the hostess. Still, she doesn't argue and I'm back on my way. Dinner at the bar in downtown Mount Sterling, and then back to I-64.

    Lexington, and finally a room that fits what I need. A bonus: the hostess here gives me a significant discount after I recount my story from the previous hotel. This was an 890.8 mile day, which wasn't my intention when I left in the morning. Taking rests every two hours and being in the right mindset helped enormously. I kept my speeds legal and made sure to keep assessing how I felt.

    Back in my room, I organize myself for the night and realize I forgot my razor. Two options: find a store and buy one, or start to grow a beard. I choose the latter.
    Last edited by Mass Tim; 11-07-2010 at 10:05 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default August Solo Trip 2010 Continued

    Tuesday, 8/24/2010 - A good night's sleep and I'm somewhat recovered from the long trip yesterday. Still, I can't seem to get my rear in gear and I stick around the room for far too long, munching on whatever I can find at the continental breakfast.

    I'm out the door around 10:00 AM and going to Fort Knox to see the General Patton Museum. On the Bluegrass Parkway, nothing but a pickup belching black smoke as it struggles to pull a horse trailer.

    A sign: "Rent - a - Fence." I don't know what that means.

    I pull into the parking area near Fort Knox and enter the museum. Hey, look, it's Saddam's head from the statue torn down several years ago in Iraq! Checkpoint Charlie, tanks going back to World War I, Patton's sidearm. Wow!

    Off to Bardstown for what will be a late lunch. Construction all throughout downtown, the sidewalks are mostly missing, but crews are working like mad to complete their projects. "Bourbon Festival" announces a poster in the restaurant window. Now it makes sense, they want to get the downtown in tip-top shape for the Festival, which is only a few weeks away.

    After lunch I stroll around downtown and then make my way over to the Oscar Getz museum, which is closing in a few minutes. Somewhat dejected, I head back to Lexington via a mixture of back roads and the Bluegrass Parkway.

    I check in to the same hotel as the previous evening, but I don't get a discount.

    My face is itchy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Western/Central Massachusetts
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    Default August Solo Trip 2010 Continued

    Wednesday, 8/25/2010 - A plan for the day: get on the road at a reasonable hour, and go to the Oscar Getz museum and then to the Maker's Mark distillery. Yesterday, I almost decided to go West after Fort Knox, with an eventual goal of the Shawnee National Forest, but I had a change of heart. There will not be any Ohio River crossing on this trip.

    Traffic around Lexington is somewhat heavy as I head over to the Bluegrass Parkway; seeing as it is around 9:00 AM, this is expected. Back on the Parkway, nobody is around yet again.

    I get to Bardstown and the Oscar Getz museum and spend a long period of time looking in detail at every exhibit, taking pictures of every bottle I can find that once contained product with the word "old" in the moniker. Needless to say this uses a significant portion of my camera's memory card.

    Some time later I work my way back into downtown and look for another place to eat. Amazingly, the sidewalks that were gone yesterday now have people walking on their replacements. A similar project in my hometown has, as of this writing, taken five months. I find a diner with a mishmash of flea market furniture and have an excellent burger.

    Now in what I can only call a state of "roadtrip," I head out along the county routes to find Loretto and the Maker's Mark distillery. I move through the tour with the rest of the group, and then wander the grounds enjoying the park-like scenery.

    From there, I drive along the county routes back towards Lexington, a rewarding drive through farmland and over roads with the profile of a camel's back.

    Where do I want to sleep tonight? I think I'll camp. I should also consider making this the point I start meandering home, which will take a few days. Thus the longest night of the trip begins.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
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    Default August Solo Trip 2010 Continued

    Wednesday, 8/25/2010, continued...

    With a goal of staying in a particular campground in West Virginia, and the intention of finding some small town eatery along the way, I get back on I-64 in Lexington after a drive through the center of the city during rush hour. Something inside of me - oh, let's call it instinct - tells me to stop downtown to grab a bit to eat because it's unlikely I'll find something else for quite awhile. Despite repeated experiences which have given me a reason to trust this feeling, I ignore it. My rationale? It is only 4:00 PM. In the four hours between here and the campground, I'm absolutely likely to find a place to eat. The worst-case scenario is that I'll have to find some chain restaurant and eat that.

    So, with that in mind I head along I-64. Time passes and I'm back in West Virginia. I'm getting hungry, so I watch the exit signs for something that looks appealing, but all I'm seeing are chains which I've experienced and of which I'm not too fond. Soon, Huntington and then Charleston will be at my back. The time to the campground dictates how much time I can spend on searching for food. I ponder heading into one of the cities and doing an ad hoc search, but decide against it. Charleston fades from the rearview and I'm back out into the mountains.

    What happened next is a blur, but I spent the next few hours doing the following:
    - Searching for the campground, which I don't find and ultimately realize this once I'm 20 miles North of where it's supposed to be located. I later find out the campground is for RVs only.

    -Driving along US-19, followed by a police officer - I pull into a very muddy driveway and the cop disappears into the night. I travel along the same single highway, with no side roads, and never see the cruiser again. I do see several deer, however.

    -Eating what I thought would be a marginally satisfactory grinder/hoagie/sub sandwich that turned out to be a flavorless affair useful only for filling the void in my stomach.

    -Driving, a lot.

    Finally I pull into a rest area in Marlyand. A State Police cruiser sweeps the parking lot, which contains several vehicles with folks sleeping in their cars. Satisfied that nothing untoward is happening, the cruiser heads back to the Interstate. I take this as a sign it is okay to get some sleep here. It is well past 1:00 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
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    Default August Solo Trip 2010 Continued

    Thursday, 8/26/2010

    Before dawn an intense feeling of pain in my stomach wakes me up. After a couple of hours which involve repeated visits to the bathroom, my body decides it has removed whatever items have given it offense, and I can settle in for a bit more rest, which never comes. I instead sit staring out across the fog covered landscape and wonder how long the residual nausea will last.

    At some point I decide I feel well enough to get back on the road and I head along I-68. I stop at the Green Ridge State Forest overlook to catch my breath. Next, the Sideling Hill rest area. Alternately hungry and detesting the sight of food, I grab the least offensive item I can find from the vending machine and have a light breakfast. Feeling better that I have all morning, I walk on a pedestrian bridge across the highway and up to the observation area. A magnificent view yet again. Below, an 18-wheeler flatbed drives by, a load of old diesel engines its cargo.

    By the time I leave the Sideling Hill stop, I feel fairly decent and decide my goal for the day will be to visit Antietam. I spend quite awhile at Antietam, driving the loop, walking to some of the highlights, taking pictures, and learning the history. The Burnside Bridge road is closed. I'm informed it's a significant walk, but well worth it. Given the events of this morning, I pass on taking the walk.

    I head through Hagerstown, stopping for a healthy lunch and then drive along the two-lanes into Pennsylvania. I eventually end up driving around Hershey and then making another decision. Do I find a campground near Carlisle and go to the Corvette event, or do I head north of Harrisburg and position myself for an easy drive home tomorrow? And another: If that Volkswagen goes on I-81, I'll take I-78. The VW takes I-78, so I take I-81. I find a quiet campground, an okay dinner at a nearby restaurant, and have a great night's sleep...with the sound of long-distance electrical transmission lines crackling overhead.
    Last edited by Mass Tim; 11-07-2010 at 10:44 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
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    Default August Solo Trip 2010

    Friday, 8/27/2010

    My illness now only a memory, I grab some breakfast out of provisions I found at a nearby grocery store, take down the tent, and get in the shower. I look in the mirror after the shower and notice that I don't quite recognize my reflection with all this facial hair. My face is still itchy.

    I head to Carlisle and get a respectable parking spot. It's the first day, and it's a work day, but there are a lot of folks attending the event. I see a 1990 ZR-1 through the clear section of a propped open 2010 ZR1 hood, which makes me pause for a moment to reflect on how long ago 1990 actually was. I feel better when I happen upon a group of old-timers reflecting on their high school years, which involved their first sighting of a 1960 Corvette.

    After a few hours, I decide it's time to hit the road. I get lost near Emmaus looking for a beer distributor, which I ultimately find and purchase a case of regional brews that we can't get in Massachusetts. Later, on the Taconic Parkway, I find myself caught up in a swarm of vehicles that must have been fleeing Manhattan for the weekend.

    I pull into the my driveway at close to 11:00 PM, tired but happy, looking forward to my next trip, which would be in about three weeks.

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