Friday, September 22, 2006

Day 21 - Coney Island, then Home

About the pictures: The flowers were somewhere in Idaho. Stan Obal in the center "won" the Cannonball.
This buffalo was in Wyoming (and probably still is), posted just a little late.

Today we rode our victory lap to the ocean: from Scooters Originali in Orange, NJ through Manhattan to Brooklyn and to Coney Island. Then I rode home to Ellicott City, Maryland. Too much of the day was eventful.

We got a late start. If you don't know what "scooter time" is, be glad. We were to leave for Coney Island at 10, but it was more like 11:30. Patrick's wife Heather needed a lift because his scooter wasn't set up for two, so she hopped on back with me. We took the slow city streets for the scooters that could not go on the freeway, went through the Holland Tunnel, and stopped at Battery Park. I was starving, and I remembered the Amish Market there, so I dashed in for a quick bite of tuna salad and pickled beets. I hated beets as a kid, but I love them now.

From there we rode over the Brooklyn Bridge to the Heights, and then on to the Brooklynbretta scooter shop. It drizzled a little, but that was all for the rain. We finally got to Coney Island about 4 p.m. We went to the original Nathan's. I had a chili and cheese dog. I can't imagine what a visit to the original McDonald's would be like, but there was nothing special about this Nathan's. I never got heartburn from the dog, though.

Patrick and I were in a hurry, so we mapped our own route for the 28 miles back to the scooter shop across the Belt Parkway, through the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel, up the Westside Highway, back through the Holland Tunnel, and then out to Orange. It was almost 5 o'clock, and I was astonished that we did not get in any serious traffic jams. However, I had another brush with the law. Somehow, due to poorly marked lanes, I ended up in an E-ZPass only lane for the tunnel. I cut between some orange cones to get back to a cash lane, and when I got to the toll booth, a transit cop asked for my license. But he could see that I was a clueless tourist and he let me go.

I left the scooter shop for home just before 6 p.m. I had a nice route of back roads planned based on leaving Coney Island about 1, but Plan B was in order now because I was still 220 miles from home. Yes indeed, I do mean the New Jersey Turnpike and I-95. I was really late. I had told Loriann that I would be home about 6. Big mistake. Even though I left a message that I would be later, her 8 pm message on my cell phone (cleaned up a little) was "will you f-in call me!!!"

The exhaust leak gradually got louder. I limped home the last 70 miles with a very loud exhaust and no rear brake. As the gasket blew out, the exhaust heat melted the brake line! But I-95 was not busy tonight, and I made it home about 10 p.m. without needing to brake suddenly.

It feels so good to be home and to see the family. I'll take the scooter in to Vespa Washington for service, and I know Wellesley and Greg will take good care of it. But I'm not in a hurry. If I don't ride a scooter tomorrow, it will be no big deal ...

There will be another Cannonball in 2008. If I do that, I think it will be on a vintage scooter this time.

Miles today - 290
Miles total - 8246
Best Hotel - Renaissance Cleveland - thank you, Priceline!
Worst Motel - Stagecoach in Dubois, Wyoming - no working internet, no breakfast, bad coffee, but it was a cool town
Best Meal (tie) - Meatloaf lunch special at the Red Rose Diner in Towanda, PA; also Dungeness crab omelet at Genie's in Portland
Worst Meal - gruel at the Original Taco House in Portland, and even worse, we had a real Texan with us for that disaster


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