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Debbie's Adventure...In her own words

Our own Debbie L. decided to go on an adventure ride from September 8 through September 15, 2012. She started in the Florida panhandle and rode all the way up to New York state and back by herself. Her daily stories follow in her own words:

From: Debi

Date: September 9, 2012 5:04:28 PM EDT

Well, I made it to Sanford.... No easy task! Lol. I left Crestview around 8 yesterday morning to spend the night in St Augustine. My GPS showed it would take 6.5 hours. It took 12.

I stopped at Advanced auto parts and a nice gentleman was kind enough to adjust my highway pegs (I have a thing about symmetry). He did well. As I was greeting on I10, the viser on my modular helmet flew off.... Then it rained.... From just east of Defuniak until 15 miles out of St Augustine. I visited numerous rest areas....

The FHP diverted me off I10 at the Havana exit. I followed truckers and got back on I10 at the Monroe St exit and was diverted off I10 again at the capital city exit. I found my way back on again. I also discovered that I cannot put my kickstand down with my boot covers on. So, yesterday 3 nice people put my kickstand down for me at gas stations every hundred or so miles.

I was very glad to get to my lodging last night. I stayed for the first time at a bed and breakfast. The Carriage Way B&B. Wow!!!! Fantastic. I was greeted at the door and offered a beverage and chocolate cake(thank God). The accommodations were fantastic. The bath and bed divine. They allowed me to park in a special location. Breakfast was fruit, scrambled eggs and crime brûlée' French toast.

I had asked my daughter-in-law to find a motorcycle shop open today so I could get another face shield or helmet so I thankfully left early to pick up that. Well, I couldn't find my keys.... Thankfully Laura had mentioned I should hide a spare set so, I hid 4 sets. I hid 2 so well I couldn't find them. Right before I left, I found them in my pocket....

So, I am cruising again, in the rain and my GPS dies.... I stop at a gas station for gas and asked if I could use an electrical outlet to determine if my GPS would work if plugged in. I was told "no".... I considered shooting him but didn't. I decided it was a fuse and removed the cover and the seat. All fuses looked good. While putting the passenger seat back on, I broke the screw... I didn't really know you could do that.

I then tried to charge GPS with the car adaptor and additional power source. Still nothing though power source works and phone charged fine. Laura had encouraged a tank bag with a clear window which thankfully I had and I had printed out turn by turn instructions. I bungeed my rear seat and headed to the train station.

I am going to go to Walmart tomorrow in Va and get an inexpensive garmin and put it in plastic cover on tank bag. I have an SD card with my routes on it. I hope I can transfer routes. I see on the garmin site they have apps for Android and blackberry, maybe I can view routes on iPhone or iPad. I don't know. They are not available weekends. I will call tomorrow and ask hem for advice.

On the train about to eat. The visor which seemed like a big issue yesterday, has taken a backseat (pun intended) considering my back seat is broken and my navigational device failed. All in all, any day you don't fall off a mountain is good.

Debi

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NOTE: Debbie borrowed Laura's SPOT Messenger device for this trip, so the links below will point to Laura's space on the SPOT website but it is actually Debbie making this trip.

Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 7:56 AM

Subject: Check-in/OK message from Debi checking in SPOT Messenger

Debi checking in Latitude:38.709 Longitude:-77.22101

GPS location Date/Time:09/10/2012 07:56:54 CDT

Message: I'm ok and in for the night. The map will show you exactly where I am.

Click the link below to see where I am located.

http://fms.ws/9aFU4/38.709N/77.22101W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=38.709,-77.22101&ll=38.709,-77.22101&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Debi checking in

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From: Debi

Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 9:35 PM

Subject: : Check-in/OK message from Debi checking in SPOT Messenger

Now that was funny! Yes, there was a certain amount of anxiety. Truth be know, my GPS is what has allowed me the freedom to ride. As a solo rider most of the time, I have to rely upon myself. I will freely admit to being directionally dysfunctional. I only recently learned possibly how to tell directions based on the sun. I struggle reading a map.

I researched iPhone apps and though Garmin has a $49.99 Garmin USA app, it did not meet my needs. I called Garmin to review my options. The first rep was not helpful. The second one tried to help me. I needed a computer, not an iPad. So, I asked the Amtrek Supv, went to the Lorton Public Library and The Lorton Volunteer Fire Dept. They were all kind and sympathetic but could not allow me to attach the garmin to a computer and hold the power button for 30 seconds. While looking for Kinkos (rumored to have computers). I saw Allstate, my Good Hands People!!!! They assisted me and allowed me to try to revive Zumo. Zumo 550 had died.

She sent me to a Harley Dealership in Dumfries Maryland where I purchased a Zumo 665. Though the sales people were kind, my bike was sadly discriminated against being a Honda and they would not mount the device. I asked a gentleman at an Exxon about where I could mount the GPS and he sent me to Hagerstown MD and I had it mounted and I replaced my visor and cup holder which Wanda will be grateful for. No time for the seat but it is unlikely my seat will fall off riding..... I ate at a Texas Roadhouse and then enjoyed for several hours the reason I came.

I ride because it brings me joy. There is nothing like it in the world. There is no one here I need to see. I have no visits to museums, family or friends. I love the outdoors. I love the air, the light, the smells and the sights. That is worth the sweat, the rain and the struggles. The trees are so different. The outdoor rolls. I loved watching the landscape change from the flat and familiar vegetation of Florida and the south. I have never been here. I haven't seen this sky.

I got into Bedford, Penn just before dark and am staying at now bed and breakfast number 2. Very different from the Carriage Way in St Augustine. This is the Jean Bonnet Tavern and Inn. It is very rustic and warm. When the wench, I mean proprietor showed me to my room, I was very pleased. The floors are old hard wood with large rugs. It has a gas fireplace that smells like my childhood memories of home. It has the old round doorknobs. Dinner downstairs was served on pewter and beverages were served in ale mugs. I had some soup and cidar. There is lots of seating outside on porches. Again, beats the Marriott or hotels for me so far.

Tomorrow I venture into New York. It is 58 here now. I brought my heated suit!!! I am doing a jig. I smiled a lot this afternoon and riding is like childbirth, you forget the pain when you see the beautiful mountains and hills as well as architecture of our Great Land.

I will sleep well tonight. The train..... Not so much sleep but the food and service was good. The view was great.

Good night,

Debi

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Okay its Day 4 but what an adventure

Sent: 9/11/2012

From: Debi

Today is actually Day 4. We had St Augustine, the train, last night in PA and tonight I am at the Old Library Inn Bed and Breakfast in Olean, NY. Today was fantastic. I have to say, I am truly enjoying staying at B&Bs though I never have stayed in one before. This morning before I left Bedford, Pa and the Jean Bonnett B&B I had wonderful French toast, bacon and fruit. I enjoyed coffee on the veranda as well. Now you can't do that at a hotel.

And then, well, I just had the best day. As I was donning my heated gear ( and mentally patting myself on the back for bringing it) you could see my breath. There was nothing about the ride today that was anything less than breathtaking. It was cool to ride through the places I scouted on the maps. I saw beautiful black squirrels. Pennsylvania is breathtaking with it's farmlands, pastures, mountains and rivers. I will never forget today. The red barns and quaint two stories. Towns such as Redemption and Providence speak of the Quakers and signs of the Amish were present though I saw none. Maybe tomorrow.

I ate lunch at The Lumberjack Steakhouse somewhere between here and there.... I had a local specialty which was sausage and leeks on a hoagie. The place was great. I was surrounded by murals of early settlers and railroads. The ride into NY revealed magnificent vistas of the Allegheny mountains and forests. Sweeping curves combined with mountain passes and twisties covered by canopies of tall trees with the leaves just starting to change. I am about 2 weeks early. We should make a mental note for next year. Oh yes, I am ruined as Laura would say. My face hurts from smiling and laughing out loud all day long.

I was greeted this evening by the manager, shown to my room and all the common areas. Then, she announced she would return in the morning. Myself and the other guests are on our own with the run of the place. How great! I walked 4 blocks and through the town park to eat tonight. There is a fall bite in the air. Dinner was excellent and I brought chocolate cake home. Just in case I get hungry.... I am eating like a horse.

The proprietor at the restaurant tonight saw me viewing my regional mad maps. He has a Harley and said if I leave here and hit highway 6 and then 66, it is amazing and it will cover 2 sections of two routes on my mad maps. The drivers have been very respectful on the road and people I meet have been great. The weather is perfect. Several times today I have been truly cognizant of how fortunate I am to be able to do this. I am so glad I did this.

I don't want to come home. But, I will, and I will plan to do this again! I wish I could share this with my Mother. Four years ago, I took a class that Wanda, Chris and maybe Michael taught in order that I could obtain my motorcycle endorsement, get a bike and ride. That was the beginning of how this girl from Crestview, Fl got here. Motorcycling has given me the confidence to do new things and enjoy life in a different way. What a fantastic sport.

Good night,

Debi

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From: Debi

Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:02 PM

Today was a great day! It started this morning having slept very comfortably last night. They have what I think are called radiators in the rooms for heat. Those in the larger areas are very ornate. I had coffee on the front porch which overlooks the city park.

I had breakfast in the DR and was fortunate to enjoy the company of Ginny and her granddaughter. Ginny is about 70, an anthropologist and she came here after giving a lecture at Penn state. She was brilliant, humble and just truly a delight as was her granddaughter. Her studies involve weaving and indigenous people in Mexico. Wow.... Wonderful!

It was 48 degrees outside. My mood is exuberant and after a beautiful hour or so, I saw 2 bikes at a diner and pulled in for coffee. I was able to pick the riders out right away. They were the very classy 2 couples laughing. I asked to join them for a cup of coffee and we visited a spell.... It was great. Laura said I would meet great people.

While nearing a bridge, I saw over the embankment what I thought was smoke but it was actually a HUGE buck with apparently his butt on fire as he was in a hurry to leap across the road. I slowed and ducked expecting more. None.... Whew. He looked like a small but healthy horse with horns. I saw a dead doe by the road. She was very big as well. They must grow 'em big up here...

I enjoyed lunch at the Bucktail Hotel in Marienville on route 66. It is mentioned in mad maps as a roadhouse. It says you must go there and if you do not walk to the "back room it is taken as an affront". I showed this to the owner. Her and her husband purchased it not long ago. They were thrilled. I told them bikers were very important and they definitely wanted the nod from us. Hehehehe. I had a meatloaf sandwich, apple pie and was sent off with a root beer float.

I lally gagged around fascinated that my new garmin tells me the posted speed and my speed with my speed typically being in the red. I wandered through Punxsutawney and saw Phils everywhere. Mailboxes, hedges, burgers and on. I laughed and I thought of many things a town might be known for but grateful it wasn't. I ran over a skunk. No odor. That would have been bad. There were several larger carcasses in the road, maybe brown gophers. I saw no snakes.

The afternoon was fantastic and around 2 I put my mesh gear on and stopped at a Dairy Queen for a Banana Split milkshake and my visor comes loose on one side. Gee.... So, I went to Indiana, Pa. Yeah, I liked that too and was told that the side plates I got a few days ago were essentially after market and a poor fit. He tried to replace the side plates with the newer version and shield but of course, the screw holes are in the wrong place.

They have no extra small modular helmets of any brand. Rats!!! I called 2 other stores, no luck. It seems they have big heads up here. One gentleman volunteered most though were full of rocks. I will keep my eyes peeled for a helmet but I have goggles.

Tonight I am at The Heritage House Inn B&B in Johnstown, Pa. The HH is actually the rectory associated with a Catholic Church next door. It is 125 years old. The Assistant proprietor is wonderful. OMG can she cook. I have brownies in bed with me now. I spent an hour visiting with 3 other guests. Very enjoyable evening. Again, this owner left and will be back in am. This is the 2nd night I have been left with someone's home and told to help myself. Wow!

Tomorrow is West Virginia.... We did that ride with Terry. Sweet 16. I may have to do part of it if it is anywhere between here and there. My left thumb and shoulder are a little sore. Not complaining though. Besides, I am looking at almost 2000 miles on the bike not counting the train by the time I get home Sat night. She'll ride!!!

Good night,

Debi

On Sep 12, 2012, at 9:36 PM,

From Debi and the 5th night B&B > >

-----Original Message-----

From: noreply@findmespot.com > Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 7:12 PM >

Subject: Check-in/OK message checking in SPOT Messenger

> Debi checking in > Latitude:40.34272 > Longitude:-78.93344

> GPS location Date/Time:09/12/2012 19:12:30 CDT

> Message: I'm ok and in for the night. The map will show you exactly where I am.

> Click the link below to see where I am located.

> http://fms.ws/9cghp/40.34272N/78.93344W

> If the above link does not work, try this link: > http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=40.34272,-78.93344&ll=40.34272,-78.93344&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

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From: Debi 9/13/2012

Today was another gorgeous riding day. I started out with a great breakfast. Nothing new there. Some egg dish with fried potatoes and ham steak. No grits to be found here. I made a few calls and found a motor sports store with the side plate to my helmet. After I took care of that, I headed into West Virginia.

Let me back up. I saved WV for my last full day. I knew it would be the most challenging ride for me. That proved true but the most challenging part of today actually involved an early turn off an interstate depositing me abruptly into the downtown area of some city in Maryland. One way roads and ridiculous inclines among construction areas and homeless people. Uhhhhh. After I successfully got out of there, WV seemed much less intimidating.

That said, WV has such a unique look and feel. I got lost a few times and that was ok. I did have to make several u-turns with limited space. I looked at the distance, told myself I have done it many times, can do it and then did. One u-turn was on a road with a significant camber. I just told myself the bike didn't care. I just had to control the engine. I was aware of where I parked and pulled in even for gas. I considered my exit when I considered my possible entrance.

I ate in Romney WV where again I found very friendly folks. Tonight I am in Edinburg Virginia at the final B&B. The Edinburg Inn B&B was built in 1870 and was originally a boarding house. Parking was a problem but the next door neighbors let me park on their grass rather than the driveway which just was not doable. This place is not as well maintained but clean and comfortable. The proprietor's live in the back. My room is great.

I have sauntered a few blocks to eat at Sal's. I will call it a day soon. Today warmed up nicely and I rode hard most of the day. By noon it was 70. I knew I had picked a good route when every other vehicle passing was a bike. I saw a dead raccoon beside the road. Gosh these animals are big here. Wonder why? Heading for the train in the morning. Ahhhhh.

Good night,

Debi

Okay its Day 6 and here is the SPOT

Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:12 PM

Debi checking in

Latitude:38.82207

Longitude:-78.56558

GPS location Date/Time:09/13/2012 18:13:08 CDT

Message: I'm ok and in for the night. The map will show you exactly where I am.

Click the link below to see where I am located. http://fms.ws/9dZh6/38.82207N/78.56558W

If the above link does not work, try this link: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=38.82207,-78.56558&ll=38.82207,-78.56558&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

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Well all Adventure's have to come to an end, Debi is on the way home, on the train which is still way cool.

From: Debi

Sent: 09/14/2012

Well, today was another fine riding day. Sad it was cut short by having to catch the train. I enjoyed a breakfast of Belgium waffles, fruit, sausage and juice today before I left the B&B. The only other guest was a couple who brought up their Goldwing. We admired each other's bikes.

The day was the warmest yet. The ride in was great. A truck quite a ways ahead of me lost a load of wood. I quickly pulled onto the shoulder as for some reason I thought the boards were coming to me and I couldn't swerve around bouncing boards. I quickly got off the bike to take cover. Then, I sheepishly remounted and drove around the boards. I did feel pretty special that my vehicle navigated around them when the cars couldn't. I have always been leery of traveling closely being trucks with logs or other objects.

My mom had a friend who was decapitated by a log that came off a logging truck when she was a girl and I have always remembered that story.

I put my tank on reserve fuel as I ran out of fuel on my way into the train yard. I noticed my bike is coughing a little also. I wonder if the gas is different here? Sorry I couldn't send the SPOT out tonight. No reception on the train. Amtrak tracks run right through Quantico. That was cool. The Potomac River has a green algae all over it but the James river was beautiful.

I will drive home after I arrive in Sanford. My grandson has a birthday party tomorrow night I do not wish to miss. Your only turn 3 once.

I hope the weather is good and no rain but at least I have my visor. I do miss my bed. I hate to go home. I feel like such a big girl now.

Good Night

Debi

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Last revised: September 15, 2012
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