I set out at about 10:30 this morning with a route in mind after inventing yet another rigged scooter modification. This one's a clear plastic pouch suspended between the mirror mounts and it's sturdy enough to hold the cell phone, GPS, and iPod Touch. While the displays aren't worth much in full sunlight, the sounds of the phone ringing or the GPS shouting instructions are sufficiently audible even at a decent throttle. For where I was heading I'd be needing the GPS just in case.
The first leg of the trip took me to the butt end of Scranton where I had to stop to return a few calls. While the phone auto-answers with the headset on, I don't do a full conversation on the kinds of roads I was traveling along. While I was stopped my stomach growled like a lion so I checked out the various restaurants nearby. After a quick survey and calculation of the cheapness factor I decided on some pizza at a place with a Vegas theme. It was very good stuff and I regretted that it's not closer to my end of the valley. I figured this might be as close as I'll ever get to Las Vegas so a picture was in order.
Country roads often lead to golf courses out here and it was no surprise to find one on "Country Club Road." The sprinklers made for a good shot so I doubled back to get a snap as I'd been rolling too fast to make a stop the first time by.
Not far from there I came upon a scene that reminded me of an illustration I remember from my third grade geography class when I was about 8 years old. There was something about that print in the book that called to me and I can still see the original scene in my mind's eye in spite of a generally lousy visual memory. So help me, if I ever inherit untold wealth first I'll get me some minions and send them to research and find a copy of the book with that scene. Then I'll dispatch them to all corners of the globe to find a place that best approximates the view in the picture so that I might build a home there.
This shot isn't true to that view, but the general slope down and then up on the other side reminds me of it in a sufficiently pleasurable way.
The descent down the side of the mountain brought me to familiar turf with railroad tracks to my right and the rocky face of the mountain itself on the left. They'd paved the road since I traveled it last, last summer, and gone were the big chunks of warped pavement over which I used to roll very hesitantly while praying that some speed demon wouldn't come up behind me while I was taking baby steps.
I don't slow down in the twisties these days as I used to almost as if by instinct. I can generally keep my pace with the posted speed limit (or better) now, whereas even in the spring I was still rolling back off the throttle automatically before entering a curve. After three years of riding it was time to break that bad habit so for the past few weeks I worked at it remembering especially the sage advice of the Marty, the safety course instructor, when he preached to us that the bike goes where your eyes are leading it. It really does! And it's kind of fun to do that steeper lean than I'd been doing all along while navigating a sweet curve or twist.
The last part of the trip brought me to this idyllic setting along the bank of the Susquehanna. Railroad tracks, a river that doesn't look dirty in the picture, and a cool bridge - why, it's as pretty as a picture!
My days of riding are numbered now that I put the countdown to the first day of school into the iPod. There are 33 of them left. Oh, yes, I'll ride long past that inaugural day of the new school year, but gone will be this totally unique sense of freedom I feel when I know that I don't have to put on that tie and long slacks tomorrow and the next day and the next. I'll savor these days and this feeling. And I'll take a lot of pictures over which to reminisce to get me through the winter days when the scooter's grounded under the deck by ice, snow, and maybe a touch (or a whole helping) of seasonal affective disorder.