Returned home

Sunday, 14th June 2009; 5:42 pm - Location: , , ,

The rest of the trip was mostly unremarkable, since I was just covering ground I’d ridden before, only in the opposite direction.

9999The biggest excitement was when my odometer rolled over! Well, not completely. I reached 1,000 miles at 114th Avenue, south of Saugatuck. Considering that I’ve had the scooter for only two months, that’s quite a bit of riding. With nearly a quarter of it done in the last 36 hours.

I also got some use out of my friend’s GPS on the way between South Haven and Saugatuck. The route was easy enough, but I was running low on gas and it helped me find a place before I ran out and would’ve had to tap into my 20-ounce bottle of emergency fuel.

I considered stopping at Saugatuck, but they’re having the big Waterfront Film Festival this weekend, and I’m sure downtown is swamped, and even scooter parking hard to come by. The time I arrived there didn’t line up with any of the movie starting times, so I figured I’d just keep going.

Passing by Saugatuck I got a chuckle. You see, motorcyclists are a kind of informal unofficial fraternity, and one of its rituals is that they wave at each other. It’s a “cool” wave, usually down-low or just a flick of the fingers. (Some are just way too “hardcore” for waving, of course.) Scooter and moped riders sometimes get snubbed by “real” motorcyclists, but for the most part, we’re included in “the wave”, and we especially wave at each other. Because it’s fun. Well, I passed this kid going in the opposite direction (no helmet, shorts and a t-shirt, probably rented scoot), who looked like he’d waited his whole life of 15-25 years to be able to wave at someone from a scooter, and now he was on one for the first time ever. He sees me, sticks his arm way up, his fingers spread wide, big grin on his face, and waves at me like the biggest dweeb you’ve ever known. Of course, I waved back with the biggest wave I could manage on short notice.

From Saugatuck to home was pretty much all anti-climax. At that point I was in the gravitational pull of Holland and then Grand Rapids, the two cities I’ve spent the most of my life in.

Somehow I neglected to record my starting odometer reading, and I didn’t really pay attention to how much time I spent on the road. Google maps the non-expressway route at about 230 miles return-trip, and I stuck pretty close to the obvious sequence of Chicago Drive, Blue Star Highway, and Red Arrow Highway so that’s probably accurate. I filled up the tank three times, and there’s half a tank left.

I made it home at about 4:30. Not exhausted, but definitely tired from a long day on the road. In the final analysis (at least as “final” as I can say at this point), it was a successful excursion. No major “gotchas” but a few minor lessons learned that will help with the Big Trip in a couple more months. As far as I’m concerned (and really, that’s all that matters), my goal of “100 or so” miles per day is just about right, allowing plenty of time for stops along the way, which will in many ways be heart and soul of August’s expedition.

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