Newfoundland 2022

Day 01

July 14

  I've been really looking forward to this trip for a while - especially after going through four surgeries since last September. I really need do some 'noodling' that I can only do while on the road with the wind in my ears. Since a good portion of this trip I will be camping, I've spent a lot of time sorting out how to charge what needs charging 'off the grid', dealing with possible weather issues and covering the distances I need to cover. Poor SweetTreat is loaded down like pack mule, but I believe I have everything I will need and today we head out.  
  The route today is pretty simple - I40 to I81 to Harrisburg, PA - a distance of a little over 730 miles. I manage to get across Nashville and back to I40, which will be my companion for a while today.  
  As I near the Caney Fork River, the fog is a pretty dense pea soup but the coolness feels really good.  
  Since I40 crosses the Caney Fork River five times in this area, I've always said it must have been a 'brother-in-law' bridge contract. Somebody's brother-in-law built bridges so they routed I40 through this valley instead of one slightly south or north that would have avoided most of the river crossings.  
  When I pass by the Crossville exit, I can't help but remember when my paternal grandfather and great uncle had a chair factory there. I remember us making the long trip (in those days) in an old rattle trap car barely fit to run to see them. I can still remember the sweet smell of the oak sawdust of that factory. And I still have several of their rockers at my house that have held up for well over sixty years of use.  
  Next comes the Harriman and Rockwood section of I40. The original plan was to run the interstate through Rockwood to avoid the unstable rock structure up on the mountain. But the city would have none of that so they moved it up on the mountain side. The story is told that they would pour support pillars one day and come back the next day and they would be sunken or moved down the mountain. At least twenty rock slides occurred during the construction. It took many years for the project to finally reach a workable conclusion in the late sixties.  
  And they still are working on it to this day as the slides continue.  
  As it will be on most days of this trip, I encounter a major traffic backup.  
  And as it is here and will be in the case of most of the ones I encounter, it comes down to the inability of American drivers to do a simple merge. I don't know if it is a matter of a 'me first' attitude or what but it is a recurring theme in interstate traffic.  
  I generally prefer to stop at Love's, Pilot, or Flying J truck stops when I am on the slab. They usually have plenty of clean bathrooms, an assortment of fresh snacks, and often a fast food restaurant on premise if I need something more.  

As I pass through Knoxville, I catch a glimpse of the Sunsphere, built for the 1982 World’s Fair which I attended.

• The Sunsphere stands 26 stories tall.
• Each pane of glass is made with 24-karat gold, giving the sphere its reflective gold color. Each pane cost around $1,000 at the time of construction.
• The Observation Deck features a gallery of local images and information and offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Knoxville.
• The Sunsphere stands proudly alongside other famous icons constructed specifically for World’s Fairs,most notably the Eiffel Tower (1889 World’s Fair) and the Seattle Space Needle (1962 World’s Fair).


  Soon I reach my 'final' highway - I81 - which I will be on for pretty much the rest of the day.  
  But my 'traffic fortune' seems to be no better as I am enmeshed into another major hold up.  
  Finally I am rolling again and I across the first state border of the day.  
  It's time to refuel and defuel, so I pull into a Love's. But the city has decided without notice to cut off the water while they do some repairs. So there are no working bathrooms and no food service.  
  But at least one dog is getting some water to play in as they drain out the plumbing via a nearby fire hydrant.  
  Further along I see an old abandoned manse that I have seen before. When I see noble old houses like this standing empty and abandoned, it always makes me sad. I don't know the story of this one but it has been this way for a really long time. I am amazed that it is still standing - which speaks to the quality of its original construction.  
  But I am shortly ripped from my musings as I hit another traffic fiasco.  
  And once again it is for the same reason - people just can't seem to merge from two lanes into one lane. That is why I wished they would allow lane splitting for motorcycles on interstates when they back up. As a motorcyclist, I am in terrible danger in these situations because of people who quickly and violently swap lanes without even looking.  
  Finally I get past the mess and I can enjoy viewing the lovely farm country of Virginia, nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  
  And once again I pass another old manse that I have seen before. But this one seems to have been kept up and stands in its original glory.  
  One of the frustrating things I see often on the interstate are 'safety corridors' with dire warnings about speeding. I just have to wonder if it is really about safety or more about revenue enhancement.  
  Then I pass a sign pointing to the Blue Ridge Parkway and I know that ...  
  somewhere up there she runs along those ridges. I have ridden the entire Blue Ridge Parkway from the north end to the south end and it is quite the journey.  
  When I pass this sign it brings back pleasant memories of FriendSToc - a fund raising meeting of like-minded motorcyclists we used to have. I was often the 'auctioneer' (affectionately called the 'unmasked bandit') to raise the money for riding families that had lost a love one or had special needs children.  
  This particular section of I81 crosses several state lines ...  
  in short succession until ...  
  I come to the last one for the day. This is about how I feel right now - very tired and fuzzy - as I cross the Pennsylvania state line.  
  In fact, when I see this sign I think that I am really hallucinating. I know I've ridden pretty far but I don't think that far! After the Alps, the 'real' Scotland is one of my favorite places to ride on the entire planet.  
  There are lot of really pretty homesteads in the Pennsylvania countryside and this is one of the prettiest.  
  After the many traffic 'crazies' of the day. I am really glad to finally see this sign - my home for the evening.  
  I ask specifically for a room close to door because I have to carry all of my camping stuff into my room. I guess my version of 'close' and the clerk's version of 'close' are not quite the same. I end up near the middle of a really long hall and there is no luggage cart. So I get to make several long hikes back and forth from SweetTreat to my room to ferry all my stuff in for the evening.  
  I finally get SweetTreat unburdened and put her to bed for the evening.  
  I am so tired, that I don't even want to eat, so I just head straight to bed. It does not take me long to get to the land where there are no traffic jams to speak of.