Day 8: June 30, 2000
Harrisonburg, VA to Branford, CT
(471 miles)

Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, The George Washington Bridge, New York, and Connecticut. I included The GW Bridge in this list because it took me longer to get across it than it did to pass through several of the 7 states I traversed today. John Rocker was playing against the Mets at Shea Stadium tonight, and The Cross Bronx Expressway was like a parking lot full of Mets fans headed for the game. The approach to the bridge took at least an hour, and then another hour to get to the Hutchinson River Parkway. My planned route included a stop at the Stage Deli on 7th Avenue in New York City, but the traffic was so bad I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. The temperature was in the 90s, and the bike got really hot, so hot that I stopped and let it cool off after I paid the toll for the bridge. The Merritt Parkway is really pretty.

The first part of the day was uneventful, all freeways until I got off in Edison, New Jersey and visited the neighborhood where I grew up. It's weird going back to a place you know so well after having been away for so many years. Most everything is still where it was when you left, but somehow it all looks so different. I think my memories of the neighborhood were frozen at about age 9, because distances that seemed so far a long time ago now seem much shorter. I guess you can go home again, but you can't expect it to seem the same as it did so long ago. I ate lunch at a White Castle hamburger restaurant, what a treat to have a bag of those little burgers again. I think they would do well in California, I know I would be a regular customer!

So far on this trip I have had White Castle burgers, Crispy Creme doughnuts, and breakfast at the Waffle House. Now if only I could find a good roast beef sandwich. Maybe tomorrow.

I thought that lane splitting was illegal in this part of the country, but there seems to be a group of hooligan motorcyclists who take advantage of their small size to "share the lane" with the other traffic. The road surfaces make it doubly exciting, as there are cracks, ruts, and potholes everywhere, especially between the lanes.

In Connecticut the traffic was very heavy, and with so many people headed out of the city, I became concerned about finding a motel, so I stopped a little earlier than I planned in the small town of Branford, CT. Usually I drink a couple of beers at the end of a day of riding, but I have been so focused on this trip, tonight was the first time I have done that. I watched the Braves-Mets game on TV, and stayed up much too late writing a trip report.

Rick Brookes
ST1100, VFR750F, Hawk NT650GT
1998: 50cc Quest
1999: Bun Burner Gold
Summer 2000: BBG 3000, Four Corners Tour

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