All night long…

July 30, 2010

Some days… Yesterday, Thursday (I write this for myself as I get confused at times) started quite well. I figured I did really good by dodging the previous night downpour and finding a nice, cheap motel for the night.

I woke up and checked for a coffee-breakfast place to go. Found a couple on google map and headed out. Now, this should have been the first clue but sometimes I’m clueless. I headed out and there were no such places on Main street. Feeling flexible, I opted for the “Bagel Cafe” to get some sort of food in me, there I met a couple of really fun ladies, and headed back out in the same direction.

Beautiful road, mountains, views, country setting, big horned cows, a donkey, winding road by a peaceful river… All the way to Woodstock NY.

signs not read

That is when I saw the road sign : 4 East. EAST!!??!! WHAT!?!

Green wheels

Yup, I had gone some 30 miles in the wrong direction.

“How in hell can you get so far without noticing!!!” I berated myself. I headed back in the opposite direction just feeling miffed.

One thing I don’t like is to thread backwards, go over road I’ve gone, do the same thing over and over, especially for no purpose. I’m thinking “waste of gas, waste of time” I had really wanted to cover a lot of ground that day and this was not the way to do it.

I finally got back to Rutland and back on track. I got to Glens Falls or somewhere in that vicinity and found a AAA office by accident which was great as their maps are the best, I got a few maps and directions to the closest Starbucks. I had been AAA Mapless since New Mexico. I have an atlas but it’s not very detailed. The AAA maps have the camping, the scenic routes and are just awesome. I then found the Starbucks : wi-fi and triple espresso. What can go wrong?

From there I hit the 87 North. I wanted to go up a little ways then go for the 8 through the Adirondacks. I saw exit 23, thought that was a nice number but elected to continue. I took the next exit… and there was nothing… no road numbers, a dead end on one side and the road I was on was East bound which was not the desired direction. Call on the GPS.

I found that one of the small roads was actually the 30 which was a road I had scoped and wanted to take. 30, trees, winding, nobody around, great… but it ended really quickly near a lake and roads that were really not much more than trails with a bit of blacktop on them. I went up this beautiful trail…

NY lake side road

This road took me to Route 3. 3?!?! Oh no!!! 3 was the road I had taken when I came up from Pennsylvania.. Did I say I don’t like to back track?

So I backtracked for hours. And I started to get a bit grumpy. Which means I am impatient. I just want to get past the deja ridden into new territory. So I rode aggressively, passed aggressively, gassed up aggressively, all aggressively the way to Lake Placid.

Got there around 6PM, hungry. Food.

I pulled over this place that I had noticed on the way down. BBQ, torches, outdoor tables, live music and a very festive look. Looks can be deceiving. I got off the bike felt slightly giddy. The smell of freshly BBQed food, the music… the place was laid out in long lines of pic-nic tables, people sitting close, chatting. I realized I was a bit lonely and I could really use some fun, conversation and laughs. The waitress gave me a table… All by myself… away from everyone, in the back. Bummer.

Then I ordered my food and hot tea. I got a tea bag dropped in lukewarm water. Yuk. This is the way to hate tea : dump a bag in tap water warm water, all you taste is the actual bag, not the tea leaves. The food was so-so. The live music : two guys playing to a beat box. White dudes singing Kansas City here I come. It was sad. Then I felt lonely and left.

In the Adirondacks it’s always cold. That is my experience. So I bundled up : hoddie, gore-tex shell, goggles. I decided I was going to ride as long as I could. Be careful what you wish for as you might just get it.

I rode for hours. I passed Cranberry lake and all the towns all the way past Carthage and finally into territory I had not seen before. There is still light but it’s getting close to night time.

I ride on. Get to Watertown. It’s dusk. Everyone is driving super fast. Gotta say, the worst driving, most threatening on a bike so far has been in the East. Everyone is in a hurry, extremely impatient and ready to take big chances passing on the right, not stopping at intersections and slaloming into traffic to get wherever they are going faster. At this point I’ve been on the bike since 10 AM minus breaks for lunch and dinner. I am not aggressive. I am just looking for highway signs and not to get lost.

It’s dark.

I ride.

Coming out of Watertown I rode through the most disgusting cloud of bugs ever…. Holy crap! I’ve never seem so many bugs, and there they were splattering all over everything. There are so many it looks like a snow storm except those are live bugs… triple YuK!.

I try to find a position on the bike where I am protected somewhat from the onslaught. Without a big windshield they land in my face. I crouch down, not much difference. I gotta focus on something else because I’m really getting grossed out. Frptptptptptp is the sound I hear. Thankfully they are small and fairly “dry” if you see what I mean…

A guy on a Ducati passes me at stupefying speed. He’s wearing only shorts and a t-shirt that is pretty much off his back with the wind and he zooms in the night followed closely by a souped up pick up truck barreling down as if it was a police chase.

It’s cold out. I got all this stuff on and I am cold. There are some air currents, some warm but most just freezing and damp as there are lakes and water all around the area. I think of this guy on the Ducati, he’s got to be cold or so full of hormones he doesn’t feel anything.

As I said before my instruments are dark. The lights died somewhere down the road. All I can see is a blue square light that tells me if the high beams are on and an orange number, currently 5 that tells me what gear I’m in. The gas gauge and the tach are unavailable for perusal.

I pulled in a gas station around 10 PM. Just to be sure I’m not going to run out of gas. I clean the googles… yuk.

Across the street is a motel. Should I pull in? Hmm… I’m still good to go a little longer… I looked at the motel again… looks expensive… Next town? I see pictures in my mind of nice cosy little rooms.. Lets go to the next town.

Next town. Check the GPS for motels. I think that was in Mexico NY. First one : the place had been bulldozed. Second one : the place is abandoned.

Stupid GPS. I turn it off. Frustrating. Geez, I am tired. I lay my head on the right handlebar, close my eyes. I feel my heart beat a bit too fast. I am tired. Breathe. Rest for a second. Or two. Cars zoom by. Open my eyes. I chance it on the GPS again for a third location… Motel located.

Kickstand up, engine switch on, start motor, look up, right, left, first gear and back track up to the 3rd motel.

I get to the third motel : there is nothing there. Sigh. OK…. lets get to the next town then and so much for GPSsing for lodging.

I went through 5 or 6 towns. Nothing. No motels.

I see a road sign : 104 West. Shit. I was on 3. Where is 3? where did that happen? Did I mess up again… Well West is the general direction so it’s not all bad… But where the hell am I?

At that point I am sitting at an intersection. I turned the engine off. the lights are on. It’s night. I hear a fan running in the barn across the road. Bugs and critters crittering in the night. I am a bit frazzled and I almost want to feel despair. I check the GPS yet again and everything shows to be East, North or 30 miles ahead. I want to stop now right here.

Start the engine, straighten up, go.

I pulled in a lonely gas station. Walked in there was 3 teenagers there. The smell of grease is overwhelming. I ask: :
“is there a motel around here”

the girl approaches the counter, another one is washing dishes, a guy is making food. She said : “a motel?” Turns to the other two : “where is the closest motel?” They confer. She turns to me :
“Well there is this place in Ontario” Ontario! Where the hell am I? I think.
“We’re in the middle of nowhere here” she adds.
|”hmm hmm, I noticed “ I said.
“go back up this way” she points west. “there is the xyz motel up that way”
“thanks” I said.

I walked out. There is a semi revving in the back of the parking lot. There are two gas pumps that are strangely close to the building. In the windows colorful neon ads for beer glow happily in the darkness, the kind of colors that attract you in the night. Bugs are flying around the parking lot lights. I walk to the bike and take the map out. Ontario… Oh, Ontario, NY. Get it. Like Paris, Berlin, Lebanon and all the others.

I get on the bike and leave, turn the corner go about 500 ft… Shit!!! the goggles. I stop. Fumble in the dark, are they still there, I had put them on the luggage on the back. It’s pitch black. I can’t see them. Damn! I turn around, looking at the road, trying to locate them in the glow of the headlight. Get back to the joint. I can’t see them anywhere on the ground. Maybe I left them inside… I walk back in.

Did you see some goggles? I ask the same girl. “You left with them” she said. Gngngng… I walk back out, look around drive the same way I did. Gone. They are gone.

Thank God, there are no more bugs because now I have to ride without the goggles. I guess they went to bed. I rode for what seemed like an eternity looking for a motel. I see one. Fair Haven Motel, I had seen a sign way up the road. I ride in the parking lot. Gravel, watch for big rocks and holes. There are no “Office” sign lit or no sign of life. A few parked cars. But it’s dead… I walk to a separate building and I saw this sign : “if you need help with the motel please call this number” Goody. I don’t have a phone.

I sat on the ground. My body feels like it’s going back and forth, vibrating from the road, the engine and the wind. I have the option to cry. I decided against it. Well. Fuck it. I can ride. I will find something and too bad for you dear motel owner, you lost a sale. I got back on the bike, started it and down the road we went decisively.

From time to time I turn on the GPS to see if there is anything around. Nothing. Rochester, here we come.

I found another motel, drove in the parking lot. Here too : no office. No lights. Just the rooms and some parked cars. Back on the road.

About 3 miles from there I see this place. Motel. Vacancy. In bright red colors. I pull over. Hard to tell if it’s good or bad but I really need to stop. The thought of riding until daylight and getting a noon motel and sleep the rest of the day crossed my mind… but I am virtually whirring. Turning into a machine myself. My arms are sore and I’m starting to lose coordination.

I walk in the office. A calendar with a bold lettered “Namaste” is hanging on the left wall. Last time I had a spiritual motel owner it was quite decent. I ring the bell which looks like an intercom system we had at home circa 1978, beige and brown and grimy. An east Indian guy in dirty basketball shorts and undershirt opens the door. I obviously woke him up.

“How much for a room, one person, one night, non-smoker?”



“ fill out the form” he asks. There was no pen. The guy turned around opened the door and walk back inside the room behind the door, it looked to be in utter disarray. Dirty. He fumbled around and brought a black bic pen. It barely writes. I pay and get the key for room 107.

“Thank you and sorry for waking you up” I said He grumbled something and we headed each our separate ways back into bed.

I walked in the room and what greeted by what seemed to me as the most godawful smell I had ever smelled in a habitable building. Kind of like the smell of an abandoned barn, old sheets, humidity, and other unmentionables and unrecognizable malodorous stuff. As tired as I was I almost turned back. Holy shit.

Motel room

I looked at the beds, there were two. Which one? I pulled the sheets on the one I was going to take and as I did that I saw a silver fish like bug run away from the light. HOLY SHIT! Can you say RE-PUL-SION. I did not want to touch anything… I’m so tired… I pulled the sheets off the second bed and looked for runaway bugs of any sort… nothing. I smelled the pillows. Hmrgngn… GeeZus.

OK, there is a bath. Lets start with a bath. I pull the curtain and spiders are running around fleeing the invader (me). I washed the tub and ran the water. Got into the hot water. Oooooohhhh. This IS good. Water, the ultimate healer.

I was so dirty. Black grime is coming off of my neck and back. I guess 14 hours or so on the road will leave it’s mark. I stay there until the hum in my body goes away. I get into bed. I fall asleep.

Voices wake me up. It’s about 8:30 AM. A little more I think. Got up at 9:30. jumped in the shower. Packed up my stuff. I was lubing the chain and checking air pressure and oil level when I met Peter, a permanent resident there I believe. Was in the army, now retired, nice guy.

We chatted a little. The usual questions ; where you headin’, where you comin’ from, how long on the road? Then all the repulsion and the yukness washed off of me. The motel owner walked by, he said “Oh you look refreshed! Last night you were.. He makes a face, we laugh.

I’m always amazed at the power of the judgments we make, how they change our ability to perceive and receive and absorb what life brings to us. Yes, the room stank and was gross no doubt about that. I would never recommend this motel to anyone.

But what we deem acceptable is only decided by force of habit and of conditioning and by what we know to be what we can have. I mean if I was born in the slums in India, or in the forests, acceptable would be quite different.

On that morning it’s the genuine interest and good vibe of Peter that set me straight.


4 Responses to “All night long…”

  1. Erika Says:

    hi D, permission to use ‘Hotel Room’ for a collage piece….

    eternally yours, e 🙂

  2. Mark Says:

    New York Sucks!
    Good luck in your quest.

    Mark, Owner Pannaway restaurant

  3. Pete Says:

    Hi sweety
    This is Pete (the guy with a bike just like yours Milwaukee) I’m haveing a wonderful time reading your journal. If your rideing back through this way your invited for food, lodgeing and a tour of the H D museum. I’m sure my girlfriend would love to meet ya and hear your travel stories ( I put that bit in so ya know theres no strings or expectations attached). You have my email if you have another break down don’t hesatate to contact for anti rip off advice on repairs (or a tow and repairs if your in strikeing distance).
    Love and light to you sweety along with safe travels! ! !
    AKA Reiki practioner/Akashic student/Care giver/Biker/ wrench


  4. Melonai B Says:

    Oh, comme tu ecris tellement bien
    J’ai tellement rit!
    I know exactly how you felt that night
    It’s how I felt when we slept in Whitehorse, la place que la dame nous a heberge- omg, yuk, we wanted to leave, but too tired to do anything else!
    You suck it up, and laugh about it later.
    Comme tu es belle, et j’espere que tu pourras faire un tour chez nous. Tu es la bienvenue!

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