Diary Of A Transcontinental Motorcycle Ride
Department of Sanitation Worker Ed Shevlin is on his way across American riding his Harley from Rockaway Beach (New York) to Rockaway Beach (Oregon) to raise funds for research to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. He is also doing in for Anthony Smith, a baby with the disease, whose father, Erick, will soon begin his second deployment to Iraq.
Shevlin promised Rockaway that he would keep in touch, providing something of a travel diary as he went.
Friday, July 13: The send-off party at Jameson's Pub tonight was a resounding success. The party was a fantastic celebration and raised more than $5,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. That brought my total fundraising to date to more than $8,600.
Saturday, July 14: Starting mileage at 35,524. At 11 a.m., my buddy Mike Gallagher and I fired up our Harleys and began what can only be called an epic journey. We rumbled over the cheese-grater that we know as the Marine Parkway Bridge and I was already dreading our long trek on the New Jersey Turnpike. Maybe it's just my luck, but I never have a traffic-free ride. Today was no exception. Such traffic woes are a great inspiration for lane-splitting and shoulder-scooting, so while Mike and I are law-abiding pillars of the community, we did have a need to overcome some adverse traffic conditions. That being said, we arrived in Wilmington, Delaware, safe and sound.
Sunday, July 15: Starting Mileage at 35,673. Not much riding today, but lots of excitement. We started out by scooting over to the Chase Center for an orientation and met the other riders who all set their own routes and agenda. Representatives for the Harley Davidson Company, the sponsor, set the safety rules for the ride and we raised our right hands and became official "Posse Riders." What a hoot! After breakfast and the orientation we all went to Mike's Famous Harley Shop on Route I-95. Our group of 500 riders caused quite a stir as we roared through the streets of Wilmington. There was quite a party at the shop, with the Marshall Tucker Band playing for the crowd.
Monday, July 16: What a great day of riding. We did more than 300 miles today, under sunny skies and favorable conditions. The Maryland countryside is very scenic with its rolling hills, green pastures and good air to breathe. Did 265 miles today to Greensburg, Pennsylvania. We were hosted with a great meal by Z and M Cycle Sales and also got free massages, which went well after a long day on the road. Lots of tired bikers. Tomorrow we go to Fort Wayne, Indiana, but there is talk of an afternoon rainstorm, so were going to boogie early from Pennsylvania.
Tuesday, July 17: Ohio is flat. I have reached that conclusion by riding clear across the state. Strangely enough, I was really happy that there were no hills, mountains or valley's to cross because it was raining today. Not all of the day, but while we were riding across Ohio. It was not raining when we left Pennsylvania, but as soon as we crossed the Ohio line, it was one drop then two, then a deluge. We stopped under an overpass and put on our raingear. Shortly, we were back on our hogs, making the best of it. It continued to rain until we crossed the Indiana boarder. You might wonder why I prefer flat terrain when it is raining. I'll tell you why. Water tends to puddle at the bottom of hills, causing the bikes to hydroplane. Also, motorcycles lean when you turn and less of the tire is in contact with the road. That means that an increased load is placed on a smaller piece of tire. Add that to a wet, slippery road and you have a situation that demands all of your attention. So, while we bikers are famous for our love of things which are curvy, there are times when a flat surface will do just fine. Ending mileage for the day is 37,394, so I guess we have traveled about 1,870 miles or so on the trip so far. Tomorrow, we're off for Dubuque, Iowa. The forecast calls for three to six inches of ..you guessed it .. rain. Keep the rubber side down, Shevy and we'll make it fine.
Wednesday, July 18: Today we rode through all of the states that begin with the letter "I." Starting in Indiana, we rode through Illinois and ended up in Iowa. I can tell you one thing, the people out here really like corn. It is everywhere! We covered 435 miles today, and corn was definitely the predominant feature of our ride. Believe it or not, that was a good thing because it was also raining again. So, when there is so much corn that it becomes a distraction from the adverse weather conditions, then one must recognize it for what it is. This morning we leave Dubuque, Iowa for Duluth, Minnesota. The bikes are running strong and this morning's coffee is just the same. Ending mileage for Dubuque is 37,829, so we've come about 2,305 miles since leaving Beach 129 Street on Saturday morning.
Shevy's diary of his trip across American to raise funds to fight CF will continue in next week's Wave.