13,694

April 17, 2013

Packing in Dummerston 13,694.  That was the odometer reading on my motorcycle this morning when I left Dummerston, Vermont. The journey has begun.

I’m debating if we should have a contest to see who can make the most accurate guess about how many miles I’ll ride on this trip. Let me consider it. There would be a prize, of course.

I left Dummerston at 12 o’clock, but didn’t enter New York state until 5:30 in the early evening, despite the fact that it only takes one hour to drive from the eastern to the western side of the lower part of the state. You can tell by the long shadows in this picture that the afternoon was waning and early evening was settling in. Hello NYI had to stop by Lynde Motorsports to have one last modification made to my bike – a cigarette lighter attachment that allows me to plug in my new motorcycle vest. It’s like wearing an electric blanket on your body.

The vest is the ultimate “stay warm” apparel for motorcyclists when you want/need/have no choice but to ride in weather that chills the bones. I didn’t think I’d need it until I was down into the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. But because of my late start and several detours, I had to drive in the dark for the last 45 minutes. At dusk it got cool. I pulled over, got out the chord that runs from the outlet on my bike to my jacket, plugged myself in, and wallah! I was toasty warm for the remainder of the ride.

Thanks again Stanley and Laura!

On the western side of Vermont I made my last visit in Pownal before entering New York state just a few miles across the border. I had to stop in and see my good friend, Eric Caron, who I haven’t seen in ages. It would do me good to see Eric more often. He has made my life so much richer.

He just got a new Guiding Eyes dog. His name is Ryan. I had to be introduced. When I glided into Eric’s place he was out back stacking wood. Eric took me to the house where I was roundly greeted by Mae, Eric’s retired Guiding Eyes dog, and big ole Ryan. I helped my friend Heidi dog-sit Mae for two weeks while Eric was at Guiding Eyes school getting acquainted with Ryan back in February. Mae retired early. She’s only seven years old. Late last year she suddenly experienced liver failure. The veterinarian gave her a few weeks to live. Eric worked heroically to save her. She’s still here and looks great. Every moment with Mae is precious. She reminds me that every moment with all those we love and cherish should be no different.

Mae and I really bonded during those two weeks. These dogs are total sweetness. You can see it in these pictures. Before we did a photo session Eric showed me how he plays hide and seek with them. They’re so well trained!  He put them in a sit-stay on his porch. Eric and I then wandered out into his expansive yard and hid behind his shed, about 50 yards away. He blew his doggie whistle that tells Mae and Ryan they may leave the porch. For about 20 seconds we stood silently as we listened to the little bells attached to their collars indicate their whereabouts. Almost simultaneously, both dogs appeared excitedly from around the toolshed – one from the left and one from the right. Eric rewarded them with a treat. I’m going to reward you with pictures of Eric and sweet Mae and Ryan.

I’m in love!

Eric, Ryan and Mae

Eric, Ryan and Mae

The Family

Brother and sister: Ryan and Mae

Mae and Ryan

Mae and Ryan

Mae and Ryan

Sweet little Mae

Sweet Mae

Sweet Mae

I landed in Pawling, NY, on the farm of my friend, Lewis Kofsky. He runs a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I arrived around 8:30 in the evening, set up my tent in the dark and tucked myself into my first night of camping on the road across America. I’ll try to get a blog post in later today with pictures from around the farm. For now, it’s time to pack the motorbike, hit the road and make my way to my next destination, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The sky is clouding up. There’s a chance of showers in the forecast. The weather goes with the trip. I have no choice but to take what’s given. Onward to Pennsylvania.

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All content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella

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