Sunday, September 8th, marked my 16th day on the road. 51F & sunny was a heck of a lot better than the 37F & damp that had been forecast the day before. Got up bright & early, loaded up the bikes, then headed to breakfast at 7 AM with Ann, Rachel & Renee. Chatted with other Blue Knights & said our good-byes, then it was time to hit the road. The girls were headed back in the car & doing their own thing; so it would just be Uncle Joe & I, at least for a while….. Left the hotel at 8 AM, went & topped off with gas, and were on the highway at 8:10. West on Route 20 then South on Route 55 – By the time we hit Sherbrooke, QC we’d caught up with the wet front that had blown through that night; at first just a drizzle; but then getting heavier; but then breaking out of it. Made it to Magog, QC, around the 160-something mile mark, where we pulled off at Exit 29 and made our way into a market parking lot.
This is where we were to meet up with John “Boots” Bouchard, Sheli Aldrich & Kathy Lockwood, who were coming up from NH to meet with us & ride back into the States. The rain caught up with us again, so we started putting our rain gear on – Just was we did we heard motorcycles coming up the highway. As they appeared one by one off the exit ramp, there was an extra bike – In addition to those we were expecting, Patrick & Joyce Gorman had also come! It was great seeing everyone, and we ended up having coffee at the market and chatting a while before hitting the road. About 20 miles later were were at the US border – Boy, THAT took a while to cross! Two gates open; but they were moving fairly slow, one of them especially so. When I finally got up there, chatted with the Officer for a bit and when I mentioned the Blue Knights, he knew who we were and we chatted a bit more. Boots had gotten through before me, and the Officer in the adjacent gate told me the message to pass along was that we’d all meet at the first rest area in VT, about a 1/2 a mile up the road, which is where I headed. A bathroom break was definitely in order, and they had fresh coffee, too! We ended up taking another break there, as it took a while for all to arrive, then it started raining again, then we debated about a game plane for the rest of the ride, then we talked about who was hungry, then…. You get the point.
Finally decided we should get gas, so a short ways down the road we made yet another stop. Topped off with gas, chatted for a bit more, and then essentially said our good-byes, as we’d be heading in our own directions as we continued South. Didn’t really want to leave everyone; but it was time for Uncle Joe & I to head home. We left each other knowing that we’d be connecting again in October, as we’re planning a long Columbus Day Weekend get together – Something like a Great White North Foliage Run….. Even though it looked like it was clearing up, knowing how quickly the weather can change in the mountains, Uncle Joe & I left our rain gear on. Onward we continued down I-91 South through VT, where Boots, Sheli, Patrick, Joyce & Kathy eventually got off on old US-2 to head for lunch somewhere, while Uncle Joe & I kept going and connected with I-93 South into NH. Then Uncle Joe decided to take Route 302 across the back side of the mountains to get home – It was looking kind of dismal in that direction, and I later found out he ran dab smack into a wall of water up the road, which, thankfully, didn’t last that long. We waved & beeped our horns at each other as he took the exit, and then it was just I continuing South. Well, myself AND a bunch of traffic; but it wasn’t too bad…. 😉 I originally thought of stopping in Concord for gas, then pushed on to Manchester, then finally stopped in Londonderry, which was the limit of my bladder (reference copious amounts of coffee during the morning). Off with the rain gear, hit the bathroom, topped off with gas, then it was on to the home stretch! I-93 to I-95 (which us Locals still the Route 128 Loop), then back on I-93 (NORTH, believe it or not!) for a very short stretch to connect with Route 24 South. Once I connected with I-495 South, I suddenly felt like I was going in slow motion – The bike seemed to be running the same; but I just wasn’t getting HOME. All an optical illusion, though, because at 5 PM I rolled into Buzzards Bay, MA, having covered 477.1 miles, the longest of the entire trip, on the last leg of my journey.
My first order of business was to swing by my Mom’s house and let her know I was home. I showed her Dad’s memorial dog tag I’d been wearing for the whole trip and announced, “Cape Cod to Milwaukee to Quebec City and back – 3,321.4 miles and it was with me the whole way!”, at which point we both got a little teary eyed. Chatted with her & Rachel, who had gotten back a bit after 4 PM, then headed home, officially ending my road trip. And on that note, I have one thing to say about it……