Day 10

Brooklyn, NY 12307.0
Youngstown, OH 12739.8
432.8 miles

I don’t really want to go, but I don’t want to stay, either.

Had a relaxed morning, drank coffee and talked. I left about 11:30. When I was planning the trip, I had figured I’d do about 4 or 500 miles a day; I’ve been hitting 600 regularly, so now I have some time, I don’t have to do 600 miles every day. But I probably will.
     I got caught in the rain in Pennsylvania. I had stopped to put my sunglasses in a bag, use the toilet, and may as well top off the tank—and I saw lightning. One advantage of riding from East to West is that most weather in America is going the opposite direction: I’ll blow right through this storm in about 5 minutes, I could even see blue sky behind it. As soon as I pulled on the freeway it started raining. I slowed down for traction. Then it really started raining. Avoiding semis, my high beam on, riding slow for safety, I hit the first exit looking for anything with an overhang. Right off the freeway was an abandoned gas station. Perfect, then I could stay as long as I wanted without worrying about traffic or loitering. I settled in, took some pictures, and waited for the storm to pass.
     Strangely, I was cheered after this break. I felt like I had gone swimming, I was cold and wet, but all of a sudden I had a burst of energy and was in good spiritis. Still, considering my temperature after the deluge and the setting sun, I decided not to press on.
     Stopped in Youngstown, Ohio and got a room at the same crappy motel I stayed at last time I was in this town.
     Same towns, same route—obviously there’s some comfort in familiarity, but how dull.

I plan on using some of my extra time to stop every so often and take a picture or two. For some time now (even before the trip) I’ve been relying less on pictures, and just trying to remember, just keeping my life to myself, abstaining from documenting everything (though my reasons are a discussion for a different time).

The grinding noise has not abated. I’ll check my oil in the morning, but I’m concerned that the sound’s coming from the gear box. If I can find a Honda dealer anytime soon then I’ll get it checked out. I don’t really want my transmission—or anything else—going out and having another breakdown. I’d rather go on my own.

I looked into taking a train for part of the way back, but apparently Amtrak only has motorcycle carriage from Virginia to Florida. I have no idea why.
     As far as taking a train part of the way and not riding the whole way, I thought, I know that I could do it. Who else do I need to prove it to, and prove what? Hanging out in New York, not riding, having fun, was one of the best parts so far. It seemed like, with the whole thing, something was missing. Do I really need to be so masochistic and ascetic? Still? Haven’t I learned yet?
     It doesn’t matter.

I decided to take I-80 to I-84; I thought about taking I-90, but I’m nervous about going through Montana with a 100-mile tank. And I-90 looked to have a lot more North-South action than I needed to do.

I got on the freeway going east today. I had to go 6 miles for the nearest exit (not too far bad) and made a really fucking stupid traffic maneuver getting back on heading west. My head clearly wasn’t on the riding—dangerous. Stupid and fucking dangerous and I got lucky. I re-focused, remembered everything I was taught and have learned and experienced, and remembered to ride as though there’s no such thing as luck.

At dinner the waiter asked if I’m from around here—every so often in restaurants or bars, people have asked me out of the blue if I’m from around here. We talked a bit about my trip, then he asked, “Was it a bet?” I laughed and said it would make more sense if it had been.
     Burger and a beer, then dry out warm up and sleep. Before I left the motel room I turned the heat up to 80. I need my boots and jeans to be dry by morning.
     And press on.

I want to stop talking.

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