Day 2154 Wednesday 7th September
Just another long day riding. Diane had mailed me and said she was in a small town north of Ithaca and we could meet, as it was en route with a small diversion and to get off the interstate would be great. Route two twenty was interesting to see small strip villages hugging the road side. Once again smart new paint standing next to derelict literally falling apart abandoned houses and the full spectrum in between.
I got into town as night was closing in and being too weary to make any sense of the GPS I rode around town making no headway. I thought of finding a cab to.follow but saw none. In pizza bar a guy looked on maps and gave the directions I needed.
Finally on the camp site putting up the tent in relative darkness was a struggle, hooking the poles into the wrong pins, the cross banding tangled wth the fabric, what a farce. Finally with it up I sat with warm beer and just stopped. Having ridden so far in such a short time it felt good to be near the border and my final North American camp.
Day 2155 Thursday 8th September
Went into Ithaca in a cab as the next bus was in the afternoon. The driver showed me photo graphs, yes paper ones! of his metal detecting in old gold mines, he did it for two years and made good money at it, not to its full potential as he wanted yo cut out Uncle Sam’s share. I wanted to change some U.S.D. into euros, all the banks said only if one has an account. The nearby tourist info rang a heap of places and finally was given the reason of if the bank teller makes an error then they have access to your account to rectify the miscalculation.
Downtown was nice, local shops and bars, not the big chain stores which was nice.
I sat outside of a coffee shop for wifi and a drop out young guy with a backpack and a nice Rottweiler looking young dog asked me for change. He had a lot or metalwork in his face and tattoos, if one was short of money why spend it on having holes and ink on yourself. I wax in my old worn thin and holed short work pants, now fading from black to grey, my tee shirt with a few holes in from welding also fading pale from many washes and the sun, I had my laptop in a plastic bag with my cash to keep I out of site, I looked at him and said ” do I look like I have cash to spare” shocked he said “I guess not man, sorry for asking”
The bus stop was near where Diane was staying so I bought a six pack from the gas station and walked there. It was good to see her again but felt like we were old neighbors or something, odd. Adam and Pat invited me to stay for supper, so I did. After he gave me a ride to the camp site which was nice of him.
During the night it rained, not like on the farm where it had thunder and a huge light show, just English style rain. The tent leaked somewhere at the back and the floor got soaked.
Day 2156 Friday 9th September
I woke at two to find there was even a puddle of ten mil, finding higher dryer ground to the west I managed to warm up a damp area with body heat and sleep again till day break. It was a cloudy morning, the sun tried to break through without much success, so drying not happening, walked the camp ground end to end and found no laundry room. A guy said there was no laundry on site due to well water and summer shortage, they could at least have a drying room!
Diane had said the guys she was staying with had offered a place to put my tent, so I rough packed and rode the three clicks, I could re launder my wet stuff and dry out the tent which was great. I helped a little with her gardening.
I need to get a cover for my bike so we cycled to Trumansburg eight clicks and found beer instead of a cover. Gonna go back to Ithaca in the morning as reckon Europe is gonna be wetter in the north. More crap to carry!
Adam made an awesome pizza for supper while we put up tent they let me use in case of rain and wetting mine, nice guys!
Day 2157 Saturday 10th September
Adam had gone to work and Pat was going to a wake few hours away and overnighting there, she dropped us at the auto store and went on her way. Bought a cover which was christened that night as it rained heavy, it did a good job. We walked The Commons pedestrian area and found an iPad repair place for Diane’s broken screen, might be the end of it as she said it broke because it got so hot!! Spending a few hours in an Irish bar we talked of the demise of our relationship, not sorting anything out, however starting to understand where the other person was coming from. We got a cab back as the next bus was in three hours.
Back at Adam and Pats we did a few hours in the garden the Diane made yummy fish burgers for supper. Watched a little television and retired to our separate sleeping quarters by half eight or so.
Day 2158 Sunday 11th September
While Diane gardened I took down their tent and dried it out, as I had left the door unzipped the flor was once again a swimming pool!
We talked a lot and she said Chris and Jon in Perth would appreciate a dog sitter while the are in Britain and Germany, she Diane is heading back there and I to Britain to see family and friends. By half twelve I was packed up and leaving once again. We had a brief hug and a peck and I rode to the highway, turned north and just let my head spin.
Soon I was on the interstate, makes for easy navigation and I now had flights booked for Tuesday night, so got to get there. It should have taken four and a half hours, however took six as took a wrong turn off I ninety and got a bit lost in Bufalo. The traffic after the border was hectic. Six lanes in each direction of swift moving vehicles. I watch in dread as two SUVs’ started to merge in the same lane, the one slightly in the rear must have been in the other guys mirror blind spot. As they saw each other they pulled sharply away, the front one looked like it was going flip, the turn was so sudden. A few other cars around them also moved away, it just looked to me like a fifteen car pile up was in the making. All this time I was braking and dropping back, the car behind me did not so I was on his front fender. Thankfully they all sorted it and carried on, speeding back up to twenty above the limit!
Abut thirty clicks further on a five car smash slowed the traffic big time. I was relived and thankful to be putting up the tent at seven. Writing this by oil lamp light I realized I could see my breath!
Day 2159 Monday 12th September
This camp reminded me of New Orleans I woke a couple of times to the rumble of huge freight trains, rolling by for what seemed like an hour and now at five thirty the steady rushing sounds of fast traffic. While not wanting to leave North America I’ll be relived to be back in Europe, no more large bodies of water to cross, just ferries.
Well, I have had an awesome morning, from nine till three, went to meet the guys at air Canada cargo, mostly to know where I’m heading for in the morning, they are typical hands on shipping guys, just workers like normal folks.
All sorted I went to the people freight, to pay my fare. I called a week back and was told 650$ yesterday was told 2075$ should have booked it, bugger, is what it is. The guy on the desk coughed and said “whoa man that a lot” oh well can’t be helped said I. He made a call to head office who, over forty minuets said tough poo. He explained this to me, then said that he had an idea. With a line of thirty customers he spent close to two hours getting my flight to 760$. I told him that saving would pay my passage through Europe and maybe back to the uk. He smiled and said “they made me dance for a job that I would not get, but they have to show they advertised, bastards”. During our two hours he often passed me the phone while on hold to the bastards while he sorted out his ever increasing line, when HQ came back I called him over. He also said he enjoyed taking his family out for a burger, he had 11 yrs twin boys. He gave me his email and contact to leave feed back at air Canada, as I asked for. I gave him a hundred bucks and shook his hand. The man had gone beyond the call of, and saved me a heap. By cancelling my refundable ticket and rebooking another cheap, non change ticket three weeks away then changing it, costing me three hundred down from 2075$ to 760$ how cool is he!!
When I parked the bike in the airport I was still surprised that I had got to the correct place, the roads in were like a plate of spaghetti. Entering the building I thought where was the bike, glancing back a saw a huge number five on a column. Getting back I realized that five was the floor, where on level five, it was like a football field, and full. Starting to walk and look it was only two minutes later I found it. I said out loud “what you doing there, how did you get to be so close you could have been anywhere”. A couple coming toward me, the guy looked back and asked “are you talking to us sir”. I said ” no sir, my bike over there, I think he moved while I was away”. He took his wife’s elbow and hurried inside!
Later back on camp with beer I was unsure how I feel that under the shade of a berry tree, gentle breeze blowing the leaves, aside of the demise of my relationship I have enjoyed most of my time in North America, a few times in the cafe were less than enjoyable, but that’s part of running a bar, good and bad. Very strange to think in two days I I’ll be riding in Portugal. After an email from a friend in Britain I have decided not to head south and see the popular Algarve, but continue north into Spain and across the bottom of the Bay of Biscay into France.
Day 2160 Tuesday 13th September
Got packed his Tuesday morning pushed the go button, as yesterday it was slow on the go, today even less, asked for a boost start at camp office. I turned the bike to face the sun and by the time they came to boost it, it had started.
Phoned freighter, he told me Canadian tire, they had none, going else where and got a new battery for 200$. It should have a 14 amp hour battery, the one from Moto city was 8.5, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.
With new battery went to cargo weighed bike with five liters of gas 300 kg 100 kg of STUFF, unreal.
Walked round the airfield to cattle gate to sit and drink beer in a dark corner. Got picked up by a local bus who said it was not safe to walk with the traffic, she dropped me en route to the air port and gave me a ticket to get there. I walked, I got a km further on when a cop stopped and asked where I was going, I told him, he said you can’t walk this, I can’t help you unless I cuff you and put you in the back, however as you are a non resisting white male I’ll cuff you at the front. He had to do this for protocol? He left me at the terminal doors un cuffing me and saying enjoy your trip man, other cattle moved away from the fallen. What a hoot me in a cop car might see me on your Crime stopper show!,
So at the air port now, no bike just more cattle in line, as always felt wrong leaving my in the hands of strangers, however they were apparently good guys.
I stayed the city side of security and drank the rest of my beer from the day before and managed to get on the internet and send a few emails that I was unable to do on the camp site as the wifi was so poor.
Trying to buy some food the lady said the string net of cheese I had was ten bucks, as I like cheese and it was a lump I said that was ok, however the one hundred mil long sandwich was fifteen bucks, twenty five bucks for a roll and cheese, I was hungry but not that hungry, I slept on and off and drank some of my jack.
As normal in an airport one just sat around till your number was called, I slept on the floor however got woke often with the tanoye calls.
Giving up on sleep for a while I went for a walk, I found my correct gate and sat and watched the line get shorter, then checked in.
Later on the plane waiting on the tar they said the were having problems getting unusual cargo on board, was it my bike?P