Holiday Inn Express in Winchester, VA
We never really plan on when to get up and stuff. We know what time the breakfast is and when we have to check out by. Seems we normally get up and are on the road around 8 am just out of habit. I often find myself waking up in the middle of the night then going back to sleep. It's a cool feeling knowing you're on vacation. No alarm clocks. No fire pagers going off. Just whatever the day brings. It's nice peeking out at a new morning sky and knowing it's your's to enjoy.
Mike lives out of one bag. I have a few. My main bag with clothes in it. Another bag with miscellaneous stuff...shoes, chargers, etc. And then I have my laptop case. This Holiday Inn has wired internet access which I don't care much for. I can never seem to get wired internet to work. I prefer wireless.
While Mike was taking a shower I got up, dressed, packed my stuff, and took it out to the Dumpster. I got a sun rising picture of the bikes. There was also a Goldwing under cover, some video production trucks, and a nice looking Road King sitting outside.
I'm not a big breakfast person, but I checked out what they had to offer. It was good...lots of hot food. So I fixed myself a plate. I told Mike about the video production trucks and we joked they should film a couple Goldwingers as they travel the eastern United States. We could act like we don't like each other to add some drama that seems necessary of the reality shows.
Winchester, VA. 8:16, mileage 36,108 - We rode across the parking lot to the gas station next door and fueled up. We had breakfast so our bikes needed some, too. The plan for today is to go through Washington DC and end up in Ocean City...the eastern terminus of US50 and the completion of one of my travel goals. Because we gained some time yesterday we might piddle around Washington DC for awhile and see some sights.
As we headed through Winchester one of the idiosyncracies of GPS mapping came to light. I had used Winchester as a waypoint when mapping out the route. If you don't specify a certain point the Mapsource program will often use the post office of the town as a waypoint. That's what it did this morning. It seemed to be taking us on a strange route. Then the GPS said "Arriving at waypoint" and there was the Winchester post office. Hmmmmm. Shortly thereafter it took us back to US50 and continued on the highway. From then on I checked the route as it was mapped out to make sure it didn't happen again.
For about 20 miles east of Winchester US50 is 4-lane. Then it merges into a nice 2-lane road for about 20 miles. As it passes through the towns of Upperville and Middleburg the speed limit drops and the road narrows to pass through these quaint little communities. They are very clean. The businesses along US50 seem to be geared for tourism. There are even cobblestone crosswalks and things look very historical.
Several miles west of Dulles Airport the road becomes 4-lane again with lots of urban sprawl and stoplights. Things were stop and go for awhile but got better as we got closer to Washington DC proper. More freeway'ish.
When we got to the capital area it wasn't what I was expecting. It was kind of confusing. When you see pictures of the National Mall and park areas on TV they look very open. I guess because they are shot from the air. When you're on the ground it's different. There are buildings on one side and trees on the other.
We thought about getting off the bikes and doing some exploring but we couldn't find any places to park. What few spaces there were were full of tour buses letting off tourists. There were no signs indicating parking so we drove around the National Mall area. At one point I stopped to see where I was at and I was sitting in front of the White House. It had just appeared from behind some trees. Some of the roads were badly heaved.
We continued around the mall and eventually found some parking spots across from the Federal Aviation Administration building. We got off the bikes to drink and to eat bananas we had gotten at breakfast. We weren't sure if we were legally parked or not, so we didn't want to get too far from the bikes. A whole convoy of tourists on segways went rolling by. Interesting idea. We decided Washington DC would be a fun place to visit if you did a lot of pre-planning. We hadn't, so we decided to move on. We might come back another time on another trip.
We looped around the Mall and headed through town. There were interesting buildings to see. I'm sure I've heard of some of them but I couldn't tell by looking at them. Joe at work listens to NPR so I took this picture with him in mind. Some of the roads were in terrible shape. At one point the roads were so heaved it felt like I had a flat tire. When US50 merged with MD301 we were able to make some good time...
...Until we came upon this mess about 1 1/2 miles west of the Severn River...a three lane traffic jam. At first it was just slow, then creeping, and finally stop and go. Here is Mike in the middle of the mess. An hour and 7.6 miles later the source of the problem was found. It was the toll booth for the bridge across Chesapeake Bay. I hope this traffic jam was related to Labor Day traffic...otherwise someone needs to be fired or shot.
While we were in the traffic jam we were passed by some members of the Pagans motorcycle club. The guy who looked like the leader looked at the Dumpster and asked if it were full of beer? I smiled and said "I wish". He laughed and kept moving on. It looked like a couple Harleys had overheated and were pulled to the side of the road. Even my water-cooled bike got hotter than normal.
I was never so happy to pay a toll ($2.50) and get moving. The bridge and the views were interesting, but not worth the one hour traffic jam. Back on dry land we cranked it up and made some time. We passed a girl riding a Heritage Classic. I like seeing girls riding bikes. The more bikes the merrier.
US50 broke south and became a 4-lane. Maryland started taking on an Indiana look. Cornfields, bean fields. Even silos. About the only thing different was the housing architecture and the occasional water crossing.
Easton, MD. 13:18, mileage 36,418 - As we neared Easton it was time for fuel and a break. I drove down a main road looking for a gas station. Hmmmm. Didn't find any. I saw a mall area so I headed that way. Nothing. Definitely not like Indiana...there's a gas station at every intersection. I looped around through town and found a little station. We got gas but they didn't have any refreshments.
Travelers note: Mike's credit card hadn't worked this morning, and it didn't work this time. I've had this problem in the past and suspected it was the same problem Mike was having. He had multiple out-of-state charges and the credit card company had flagged it. I've learned to call my credit card company and give a 'travel notification' before I go on a trip. Mike wasn't familiar with this. Seems like something they've just started doing the past few years.
The aggravating part of Mike's situation was because it was the weekend his credit card company's customer service wasn't staffed to help him. All they could do was shut off his card. Because of the holiday he had to wait until Tuesday to remedy the situation. They quickly revalidated his card, but until then he had to rely on the cash he'd brought. His particular credit card company had flagged his card for charges over 100 miles from home.
We still needed something to drink so we headed down the road 19 miles to Cambridge and found a plethora of convenience stores. I bought a 6-pack of Coke and iced it down in my cooler. I'd have cold pop for a few days that way. We snacked a little. It had been a while since breakfast and it wasn't time for dinner yet.
60 miles and 1:40 hours later we reached Ocean City. We made a lap down the main drag looking for a place to park. We finally parked at a crab restaurant. We walked to the beach and took a few pictures just to prove we made it. Motorcycle boots make for hard walking in the sand. We took in the scenery for a few minutes, headed back to the bikes, and headed out of town. I'm not sure how I felt about Ocean City. Lots of 'parking for guests only' signs. Like Washington DC, it might be a nice place to visit with pre-planning. I'm glad we didn't try to make reservations here on the fly.
We've achieved one of our goals. We've ridden US50 to the east coast.
Berlin, MD. 16:34, mileage 36,512 - Gas and rest stop. We looked at the map. It's 100 miles to the Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel. We decided we'd stop in the Virgina Beach area and decide what we wanted to do from there.
For the first time in two days we left US50, heading down US113, and meeting up with US13 at Pocomoke City. The scenery was still reminiscent of Indiana. Since we were on a penisula I thought we might catch a glimpse here and there of the ocean. Nope. Just trees. There were a couple places where the cops had people pulled over so we watched our speed.
It seemed several miles would pass from one small town to another...with a stoplight and decreased speed limits. The sun was casting shadows and it seemed very peaceful. At one point we were passed by an ambulance. The rear flashers were pretty impressive and we could see it in the distance for many miles on the straight road. I thought of my paramedic girlfriend who was working on an ambulance back in Indiana and hoped she was being safe.
At 18:43 we reached the toll booth for another one of our goals...the 17-mile long Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel. The toll was $12 plus another $4 for my trailer. Hmmmmmmm.... Oh well, I only plan to ride this thing once. I must admit it was very impressive and scenic. Lots of seagulls...and cops. A beautiful sundown reminded me again of my girlfriend. Soon a tunnel entrance appeared...one of two. The tunnel itself was well-lit. Through it all Mike was right behind me.
The Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel had been ridden.
Getting ready to cross the bridge into Hampton Rhodes.
Newport News, VA. 19:43, mileage 36,668 - After crossing the bridge we got onto I-64 and hightailed it northwest to parts less crowded. We got off at exit 255, stopping at a nearby station to fuel up. We studied the map and GPS to see what our plans would be. We could push onto Waynesboro but it seemed a bit too far. We decided on Richmond. The GPS found another Holiday Inn Express. I called and made reservations. It was good to have a room waiting on us.
Since it was almost 8 pm we decided to eat before going any further. A Golden Corral was nearby so we went there and had the buffet. I was hungry and had two plates. This trip will wreak havoc with the 50 lbs I've lost. With full stomachs and tanks we headed northwest into the night on I-64. I was on stage 5 deer alert but we didn't see any. Once again a full moon kept us company.
Richmond, VA. 22:15, mileage 36,736 - The GPS led us into Richmond and to the parking garage. Our room was well received after 472 miles. Had it not been for the traffic jam we might have made it to Waynesboro and officially been a day ahead of schedule. Oh well, it's all good. Even better...this place has wireless internet! I could check my email.
Click here for our next day's adventure.