Day Nine by Dave Schultheis
Monday, May 28, 2001 - Bristol, Tennessee
I slept well. I was out of bed at 6:51 a.m. and looked out the window to see heavy overcast. The parking lot and the Road King were wet as it had been raining overnight. I recall thinking that it should be fun riding.
I dressed, packed, walked down to the office for their Continental Breakfast (not much) and checked out of the hotel. I left about 7:30 a.m.
Once I got back on northbound I-81, the Virginia Welcome Center was just a few hundred feet. I took a couple of photographs and then continued north with some rain.
At this point it was clear that my day-and-a-half delay in Arkansas had forced me to miss Rolling Thunder for 2001, but I knew I could try to attend another year.
However, I was still planning to continue to Harley-Davidson's Final Assembly Plant in York, PA. I knew that they were closed on Monday but would be open on Tuesday, so my goal for the day was to make it to the Red Roof Inn near the plant.
At 9:10 a.m. I stopped for fuel and photographs in Wytheville, VA. It was no longer raining but was still quite wet. I talked to some other riders, one of whom was wearing the symbol of the Christian Motorcyclists Association. They had started their day in Knoxville early that morning.
Back on the freeway, I took a slight detour on side streets to take a photograph at the Roanoke County Schools offices, then continued.
At 11:07 a.m., I stopped at McDonald's in Troutville, VA (exit 150A, just south of Roanoke) for some breakfast. Although it wasn't raining, I was pretty thoroughly soaked from the rain I'd been through (without proper rain gear) and from the wet roads. I was informed that I was too later for breakfast so I had to make do with some chicken nuggets and hot chocolate. The air conditioning system worked fine but I wish they had the heat turned up.
After lunch I continued for a couple hours and stopped for fuel. It was getting warmer but I was still wet and cold. I hit upon the idea of putting my gloves on the primary (engine) case to warm and dry them while I refueled. It was marginally successful.
Another hour and forty miles later I took a rest stop and noticed that it was getting much warmer. By the time I had ridden another hour, it was quite a bit warmer, so I stopped at another rest stop and took off one layer (the green plaid shirt).
Next stop was for a photograph at the West ("By God") Virginia Welcome Center and then a short while later I passed into Maryland. There was no welcome center and the sign was not in a good position to safely stop for a picture.
A little while later I passed into Pennyslvania but the welcome center didn't have a sign. I thought it was strange.
About Exit 5 on Interstate 81 I saw a couple with a red Gold Wing pulled over on the other side of the freeway, so I took the next offramp and went back to see what kind of help they needed. It took two telephone calls but they reached someone who would come and get them.
The rider wasn't sure exactly what the problem was, but thought it was pretty serious and was afraid that they might have to rent a truck to get their bike back to Florida. But they thanked me for the use of the phone and said that I should keep on going, so I went down a few miles to the next exit and turned north again.
A little while later I turned east on U.S. Highway 30 and then pulled into a Sheetz gas station in Chambersburg, PA for fuel. While there, I talked to the fuel delivery man who said it was about 45 miles to York, but it would take a while to get there.
He wasn't kiddin'. It was horrible. Just horrible. Timed traffic lights, lots of cars, too many side streets, too many poor drivers, every problem you could imagine. Took 90 minutes to get to York.
On the other hand, Hy 30 goes right through historic Gettysburg. I know I should have stopped and taken tours, but I was still injured, I was hot and tired, I was out of sorts and wanted to get to my next destination. I will try to get to Gettysburg another time for a more extended visit.
Upon arrival in York I took a couple of photographs and then got lost. I stopped to look at the map and flagged down another Harley rider for directions. He told me how to get around some construction and I arrived at the Red Roof Inn at 6:38 p.m.
The room clerk was a young woman named Leslie, who saw "San Jose" on my vest and said that she was from San Francisco. Yes, they still had rooms, and they were cheaper, too, due to the fact that the weekend was a lot slower than they had expected. So she checked me into Room 102, on the east side of the building, where I could park the Road King right outside the door. The room was kind of small, but I could see the H-D plant's front parking lot out the window. Does that qualify as a view?
After I put my stuff in the room, I went out in search of victuals. I had seen an advertisement at the Sheetz in Chambersburg for a particular sandwich that looked good, so when I saw another Sheetz in York, I stopped there. I tried to use their computer ordering system but wasn't getting anywhere, so I asked the clerk for help. He said that the special sandwich had been discontinued, but he made something similar for me. I stopped at a nearby McDonald's for a milk shake and thus, my epicurean needs were satisfied.
On the way back, I rode over to the H-D plant and located visitor parking, then took my grub back to the motel. I sat down at the table in the room at 8 p.m. to enjoy my sandwich and CNN, then updated my list of cities and counties and the next day's maps. The goal was to know where to stop for a "needed" picture and where to keep right on doing [because I already had that letter].
Miles for the day = 477.
Miles for the trip = 3735.
Number of wet miles = too many.
Tomorrow: tour of the York Final Assembly Plant.