Canada 2001

Day 10

October 10


I get up early and shower, knowing I've got to rig up a ‘cooler' for the pork chops. I get my poncho out of my left saddle bag and ziploc bags out of the trunk. After raiding the motel cooler for some more ice, I double bag the chops, load the bag with ice and wrap them in the poncho. I don't want a bloody mess in my saddlebag. Today will be slabbing it, the type of riding I do not care for. It's just too easy and tempting to triple digit on the ST if you're not paying attention. We gas up and ease out of the truck stop, knowing there will be many miles to go before we sleep. Our next stop is a closed-up diner some distance off the road. Should have took the sign down, but I remember a Cracker Barrel sign we passed, so we head for it. I've eaten at Cracker Barrels all over the country – Connecticut, Colorado Springs, Waco – and the original one in Lebanon, TN. Breakfast done right – as I always say. We stuff our faces and we're back on the slab. Before long, we are at the Pennsylvania state line and I pull over to get my stateline shot.


Riding the slab can be very challenging because your concentration will wander. My preference is to stay on the backroads as much as possible, but our time schedule will not permit it today. Guy spots a white car moving at a rapid rate of speed. He decides to pursue, in hopes that if there's a state trooper ahead, the car will get it instead of him. We going a little faster than I care to go, because I know Pennsylvania State Police love out-of-staters. But I figure I'd better keep up with Guy or we will get separated a long way from where we are headed. Guy's strategy is great, except in the case where the trooper comes up from behind. I see the trooper in my review mirror with his welcoming lights on. He starts to pass me, but I pull off, figuring he will take the easy target. He does and boy is he hot. He immediately notices my CB and asks me -.

“Your buddy got a radio?”

“No sir, he sure doesn't” I tell him.

“I can't believe he ran off and left you” he says and I'm of the same opinion.

I can sense the tension building in his voice.

“Well, I'm awful sorry officer to cause you trouble” as I apologize..

He begins to calm down a bit and asks for my registration.

“You know, that car and other guy on the bike should be getting this ticket” he says with disgust.

“Yes, sir. I would appreciate any kindness you could show me” I add.

He calms down a bit more.

“Well, since you did pull over, I'm going to be easy on you. Instead of a speeding ticket, I'm going to give you ‘disobeying a posted sign'. That will be $94 and no points on your license” he informs me..

I breathe a sigh of relief and thank him for his kindness. He finishes with -

“But if you see that guy, you tell him he owes you for half of this ticket!”

“Yes sir, I will certainly do that. And thanks again for your kindness” I gratefully tell him..

We part ways, and I dutifully observe the speed limit as I meander across Pennsylvania. I do see a pretty valley scene and pull off to get the shot.


I keep an eye out for Guy, but I figure he's either in jail where the trooper called ahead, or off on the side roads trying to avoid getting caught. At any rate, I know the destination and I have the pork chops and salad. This is not my first rodeo, so I am comfortable being by myself and traveling alone. I notice my gas is a little low, so I stop and refill and have my usual diet drink and peanuts. But I splurge a bit and have a Reese's cup in celebration, knowing I just dodged a bullet. As I get back underway on Interstate 81, the statelines come fast in furious - Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia. I get each one to add to my ever growing collection. As I proceed southward, I keep an eye open at the rest areas for Guy but with no luck. It is always amazing how much distance you can cover on the ST if you just stay after it and stay steady. I see the Virginia rest area and pull over. Dragging out the map, I see Matthew's Arm, the first campgrounds on the Skyline. That'll work just fine. Fortunately, my Palm VII still has Guy's cell number in it, so I leave him a message as to my intentions. If he checks his phonemail, good, if not, I'll eat the chops alone. I beat a line to the Front Royal exit and enjoy getting on the backroads. The scenery is beautiful as I enter the Shenandaoh Valley. I gas up again in Front Royal, not knowing gas availability on the Skyline. Front Royal is a small southern town like I grew up in. The sense of responsibility and accountability to your neighbor affects all who live there. As I look around, I realize this town could be anywhere on the backroads of the South and it would fit. I pickup a few things at a store and head for the campground as I told Guy. As the sun begins to set, I'm on to the Skyline which is the beginning of the Shenandoah National Park.


The ranger welcomes me, takes my money and gives me the map. I ask her -

“Ma'am, have you seen another feller on a bike like this one today?”

“No I haven't” she replies.

Hmm, maybe he went to his relatives in Virginia. Or maybe he's in the crossbar hotel. Well, I'm pretty hungry and what chops I don't eat for supper I'll eat for breakfast.

“Well, if you do, just tell him his buddy will be at the first campground enjoying the pork chops” I tell her.

“I'll be glad too” she says with a smile.

I'm off, knowing it's 25 miles through heavy deer country and it's getting dark. I realize I am right in the thick of the history of the Civil War. This was the major operating theater of Stonewall Jackson. I treasure one of his lines when asked why he was so fearless in battle –

“When your duty is clear, you do not consult your fears.”

It is has served me well over the years. I do stop and take a few good shots of the Shenandoah Valley.


I know I must keep moving as the darkness is closing in, but the vistas are just incredible. I find one that I can see part of Skyline Drive behind me and have to pull over and take another picture.


I'm getting closer to the campground, but the low speed limit and the heavy patrolling almost makes the ride painful. I guess too many people have broken the speed limit in the park for so long, that they just decided to make it really expensive if you speed. As the sun is almost set, I pull off to get just one more shot before darkness envelopes me.


I finally arrive at the campground, set up camp and round up come firewood. I see an ST come by – an ST in this neck of the woods? As he whizzes by, I know it's not Guy. So I jump on my ST and hunt him up, figuring he's headed for EaSToc. He's Mitch from California and is headed on his way back home. And the ranger did ask him the question. He's also a semiprofessional trumpeter that has done several weddings at the Hearst mansion. We talk a little music shop, and I tell him I'll have a fire going in a bit and he's welcome to share it and the grub. Finally, I see another ST – this time it is Guy. I break out the pork chops, chuckling that I still have some ice in the bags. The stove refuses to cooperate, so I move to the fire to cook supper. It's not the first time I've done that, so I've come equipped with old leather gloves for handling hot stuff and a shovel to use as a poker. After supper, we gather a little more wood and I break out the ax. Pretty soon, we have a really nice fire going and enjoy sitting around it. Mitch is taking this trip to chill out a bit, so we understand when he wants to ride on alone. I bag the rest of the grub up in a tree so the local campground bear can't get it and settle down for much needed rest. Tomorrow I will begin something I have wanted to do for all my riding life - ride the Blue Ridge Parkway from end to another. With these thoughts, I drift off to a great night's sleep.