Fetching the Wing – part 4

I got up Wednesday morning and it was FOGGY. There was no real hurry so I had a nice breakfast and coffee with my parents. After the sun had burned off some of the fog I decided to get going. There was a lot of condensation on the windshield as I rode through the fog, lights on high beam to try and be as visible as possible. When I got to Columbia City on 30 west of Fort Wayne, the fog was almost gone.I bought gas In Plymouth and finished the trip home, arriving at my house shortly after 12 noon.

The first adventure with this bike is over, but I can’t wait for my first long trip on this bike. Stay tuned.

Fetching the Wing – part 3

The dealership, HDL of Shadyside, had everything ready to go except for a few signatures and a check. He went over everything on the bike and verified I knew how to get back to I-70 west. It was overcast amd rain was moving up from the south so I got going without wasting too much time. I thought that I could avoid getting wet by making a quick trip to Columbus. I was heading north from there and would have been able to put some distance between myself and the rain.

As I got closer to Columbus the skies started to clear and when I took the 270 bypass around to the north the sun was out. I took OH-23 north, intending to take US-30 west to Fort Wayne. I was starting to get a bit low on gas and since I didn’t know the range I didn’t want to get too low. Pushing an 800+ pound bike isn’t something I wanted to do – especially since it would be really dumb to run out of gas the first time I rode it. I thought that there would be plenty of places to get gas on US-30, since on US-30 west of Fort Wayne you cannot help but pull into a gas station. Well, I was wrong. There was no gas station in sight, the low fuel light was on and I was getting concerned. Finally, I decided to leave US-30 and head for Findlay. But, just 4 or 5 miles north of US-30 a small town had gas and I filled up to continue the trip.

I wound up at my parent’s house at about 2 in the afternoon, 300+ miles from Shadyside. The bike had performed flawlessly and was a joy to ride. Comfortable, great handling, smooth power, and plenty of range makes it a real cross-country machine. You can rack up the miles on this bike. Pizza for dinner (naturally) and a nice visit with my parents made this a great day.

Fetching the Wing – part 2

We left Chicago headed for Gary, Indiana (I travel to all the best places). We dropped off some passengers and picked up some replacements at what can best be described as the parking lot of a building that formerly was a tool distribution operation. Shortly afterwards we were back on I-65 south, our next stop to be Lafayette, Indiana. College students were heading back after the summer break.

Next was the bus station in Indianapolis. It seems that bus stations were built in the 40’s and 50’s and immediately thereafter a complete ban on improvements or maintenance was put in place. I’m fairly sure that rolling a rag, a broom, a trash can, and some random cleaning chemicals around the building does not constitute cleaning, at least not by my definition – maybe your definition is different. There is a small counter that sells substances that might be called food, but again your definition may differ from mine. There was a sign hanging from the ceiling that said “Traveler’s Paradise”. I’m familiar with the concept of poetic and literary license, but i think this was way across even those blurred lines. You could get some popcorn, made in one of those poppers that have clear plexiglass sides so you can see the enticing popcorn inside. But, this one was different. It didn’t look like it had been cleaned since the early days of the Carter Administration and the popcorn inside may actually have been made since the turn of the century.   With all the grease running down the plexiglass “windows” it was hard to tell exactly how fresh it was.   Despite the temptation, I decided to pass.

If I were shopping for jewelry, however, the carefully hand-printed sign saying “Fine Jewery” would have definitely caught my eye. I could have my choice of stylish rings for the bargain price of $3.99 and a matching pair of earrings would have added only $2.99. I’m surprised the line isn’t running outside the building and around the block, but I’m clearly not a marketing person. Maybe the thought of green skin underneath the ring and around the earlobes was a deterrent.

I had 3 hours to kill (waste) in the Indianapolis station and then we were on our way to Columbus, Ohio. At this station, I was actually to take the same bus on to Wheeling, so I was given a reboarding pass. Apparently, passengers that were on the bus when it comes into a station are given priority when continuing onward. How nice. After an argument with a large black woman that thought I was cutting in front of her in the reboarding line when she was in the boarding line, we continued on to Wheeling. By now it was about 3am or so, and most people have been traveling for a while and are in need of freshening up. I sat in the front of the bus, having been previously warned about sitting too close to the onboard “facilities”. I would like to have had my seatmate use soap and a washcloth but, sadly, it was not to be, and apparently had not been for some time. Having the air conditioning vents next to the window frame was a saving grace.

Finally, we arrived in Wheeling, pretty close to our scheduled arrival time. Just around the corner was a coffee shop and a fresh cup of coffee with a bagel was just what the doctor ordered. I called the dealership and soon was at the dealership taking delivery of my black 2006 Gold Wing.

Fetching the Wing – part 1

I decided to take a bus trip. I couldn’t find an airline flight into Wheeling, WV or anywhere really close and Greyhound goes directly to Wheeling. Seemed reasonable, and the price was too – $49.00. As I was to find out, the bargain price was only part of the cost.

For some reason that I cannot now fathom, I chose to start my trip at 95th and the Dan Ryan in Chicago. Let’s just say that the location isn’t too traveler-friendly. You get to wait for the bus standing outside on the sidewalk – rain or shine. It did both, and at the same time, too.

Now for the seat lottery. When a bus pulls up, there is apparently supposed to be a esp-type feeling that this bus is your bus because I didn’t see any other way to decipher it. And the really good part – Greyhound sells as many tickets for a bus as they possibly can, not concerned in the least that a bus has a finite number of seats. If you don’t divine the proper bus and wind up in the wrong line, there may not be a seat for you when you figure out the correct bus. But, don’t worry, Greyhound will take care of you. You can wait on the sidewalk for the next one. It may be an hour from now, it may be four hours from now, it might be 12 hours – who knows? It might rain, or shine, or snow, or sleet, ar all of them. Your next thought is – I’ll just get a refund and find another way to get there, but Greyhound has that covered too. No refunds. What a great business model – sell as many tickets as you can, knowing all the while that you don’t have enough seats, and then have a no refund policy. No wonder the number of passengers traveling by bus is climbing and the airlines are having trouble filling seats.

I did finally get on the bus, although there never was a sign anywhere that indicated where it was going. I could have been going to Des Moines, but at least I would have been leaving 95th and the Dan Ryan. That may have been good enough.