I hadn't intended to take a long ride this morning when I left the house on the Piaggio. I was simply taking a forgotten phone to somebody (who'd have felt naked all day without it) and then doing whatever I felt like doing. What I felt like doing after dropping off the phone was to get something in my belly which was practically doing tricks to convince me to fill it. Lucky for it I was in a generous mood.
When I got to McDonald's (for the cheapo menu, not the great cuisine) and sat down to munch what I'd gotten (that I'm not going to specify here lest my cardiologist ever venture in to read this) I took one look at the sky and knew that heading back to the house after eating wasn't going to be an option. The open road was calling and after just a little internal debate I knew where I was heading - Honesdale, PA.
I visit Honesdale often enough when I'm away from the house for a few days and staying elsewhere, but then I approach it from the other direction, east going west. Today's trip took me from west to east and it was a marvelous ride. For good portions of it I was able to push the scooter to 80 mph just for the hell of it, staying at the posted 65 most of the time. In spite of its being nearly 10 years old and approaching 20,000 miles it ran beautifully and without seeming effort.
It's always enjoyable to take in new scenery and this trip provided much of it. Stretches of the trip that weren't on the expressway between Scranton and Carbondale were posted at about 45 mph, and on the scooter 45 is a very nice cruising speed at which to take in the sights and smells along the way. Though nothing was out of the ordinary, a lot of it was new to me and that alone made it something to savor.
I didn't tarry long in Honesdale, stopping just long enough to top off the tank, hit the men's room, and adjust my boxer briefs that felt like a thong after an hour and a half in the saddle. I snapped a picture or two and turned myself around for the ride back. Honesdale is one of those towns that takes two parallel streets, each plenty wide for two lane traffic, and makes one a ONE WAY main drag in one direction and the other a ONE WAY in the opposite direction. I abhor that and wonder what the hell it is that makes town planners do that instead of just keeping both streets two way. There's no advantage to it that I can discern.
Simply because of what side of the road it's on, the westbound side of the expressway which I took back from Honesdale lends itself to some wonderful scenery overlooking the valley and drawing the eye to the mountains forming the opposite wall of the valley, miles away. Because it was a gorgeous clear day with humidity much lower than it was before a cold front came through yesterday with some much needed rain, the eye could see clear to the horizon without the haze that often makes the view across the valley murky a lot in the summer.
I paused by a familiar church on the way back. It's a place I remember well from a very humbling day some years ago on which I failed the "written" (i.e., computerized) portion of the PA motorcycle test because I was too cocksure that I'd studied the book well enough though I knew I hadn't. My plan was to nail the test and trade in the 50cc Piaggio for the BV250, but after I flunked the test I couldn't swap the smaller bike for the bigger one because to ride the 250 I'd need a valid PA motorcycle learner's permit and I couldn't get that without first passing the test. (Anyone can ride a 50cc in PA with a regular driver's license.) I was passing by that same church on the day when I failed the test to take a phone call and remember well the shame with which I admitted to my caller that I didn't pass the test and couldn't get the bigger bike. Now whenever I pass that particular landmark I often pause for a bit just to remember the taste of humble pie that I gorged on that day, I guess just to keep myself in check lest I get too big for my own britches again.
When I checked the odometer after parking under the deck at home I discovered that my trek was 4 miles over the 100 mile mark. I hadn't taken a ride of this length in quite a while but today was an excellent day to have done so. The weather was perfect, the traffic light, and my spirit in the proper frame of awareness to have enjoyed every mile of the trip. All too soon the days of ice and snow will be here and I'll find myself looking out the window and longing to take a ride like the one I got in today. Hopefully my pictures of today's venture will keep the smile on my face then.