GOE VI Day 1: Going Our Own Way
For 2002, Gathering of Eagles VI, or GOE was being held in Farmville, Virginia. It was always held the week after Father's Day, and if you read about other posts about my journey's to GOE, you will see I have had to skip out on Father's Day. Always felt like I was honoring my father, as he is the one who taught to ride!
Between the two gatherings, my brother had joined the Indianapolis Chapter of Cruiser Club, USA, and so he was in tow for this trip. By the way, we were able to celebrate Father's Day, as we took the day after. We had taken trips before, to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and through Ohio. Our father was along for the Kentucky Ride, as wells my brother's wife's brother. My brother was now riding the steel steed that the brother-in-law used to ride. At the time, I had a 2000 Shadow Sabre, and my brother had a Kawasaki Concours, not sure of the year. So I cruised, while he sport toured.
From Cumberland to Cumberland
We left Indianapolis, Indiana with the plan to stay on the National Road, US 40, to Cumberland, Maryland. We would overnight there. This was before either of us had delved into the world of GPS, as they were just catching on, and had high price tags. So armed with an array of maps and atlases, we headed off. We knew we would have to stop, pull them out, and check our progress after we have trailed off the directions tucked into the map holders on our fuel tanks. Of course, we would also find out how long ago that wrong turn was.
I would suspect that US 40 is about as popular, or well known as Route 66. The National Road, as US 40 is also known, was part of the original highway system. They were replaced by the Interstate System. The US Highway System featured East-West Routes that were even numbered, and the odd numbered routes went North-South. The original system the lower numbers are north, but the Interstate System the lower numbers start in the south. The crossover numbers can cause some problems. In southern Indiana their is an Interstate 64, listed as a scenic byway, and Highway 64 which is much more scenic.
US 40 is considered off the beaten path, as you travel, you notice all the little towns that dot the way.When I was young, my dad always referred to US 40 as Cumberland Road. It does lead you east from Indianapolis to Cumberland, both in Indiana and Maryland. It also passes through the Cumberland Gap. This stretch parallels Interstate 70, and we would have times we could see the interstate. We cruised through Cumberland, then Philadelphia, Greenfield, Dublin, and Cambridge. As I drive through these little towns, I can see the vacant rows of shops. When the highway paved through, the people probably thought things were headed to a boom. I can almost see the ghosts of the people strolling from the bank to the grocer, to the hardware store. When I look over to the Interstate, all I see are cold, shiny, large fueling stations. No house are around, as it is just a place to drop by, not to live.
Besides the one lane drives through small towns, were we often get stopped at the only traffic light, there are areas that mirror the Interstate - dual laned and separated with a grassy median. Richmond, Indiana is the last big city before crossing the border into Ohio.
More small towns lined the pavement before we hit Dayton, Ohio. The was Springfield, Ohio. It seems like a nice little town. I also remember a very nice section over a dam that had a great view. Next would be Columbus, Ohio, and one of the stretches we would veer off The National Road. We didn't mind the one stop light town, but Columbus would have many more, and probably traffic. We had 400 miles to cover today, so a 30 mile stretch on the super slab would give a little handicap. As we continued back on US 40 we could see the Interstate. Many times we were traveling at the same speed, but every once in a while, we would glance over and see the cages and semis at a slow crawl, or even a stop.
Shortly after Columbus, when we returned to US 40, we stopped for a bite to eat. Don't recall anything fancy, just something to get our human fuel tanks filled up. Since we spend time speeding up and slowing down along the route, I had noticed more and more backfiring. Wasn't sure what was causing it, I thought maybe bad gas?
As we pulled into Zanesville, Ohio, and filled up the tanks, I noticed that a bolt was missing from my exhaust where it attaches to the cylinder head. The air leaking would explain the shotgun blasts. Luckily, this town has a Honda Dealership, and was able to supply the nuts, and lock washers to hold the system on. They even offered the tools to fix it, but we had them. With that fixed, and not putting us too behind schedule, we headed out. We still had a few miles to get through Ohio, and then there was a corner of Pennsylvania to come.
The rest of the ride was more of the same, slowing and stopping at those one stop light towns. US 40 starts drifting south, passed Ohiopyle State Park, and then dips down into that weird section of Maryland. I am not sure why, bought I always pictured Cumberland to be a bigger place than what it was. Of course this section of Maryland is only about six miles wide. We found the hotel, checked in. After some conversation with the lady at the front desk, we ventured out for dinner. It had been a long day, covering 400 miles or more, so we were ready for a good night's sleep. Of course this also meant a battle over the temperature in the room. I'm a cozy kind of guy, my brother likes it as cold as a meat locker.