We took an extra day to travel out to BASICS, and planned an extra to return. Not wanting to use the Thruway, we figured the extra 80 miles of the Southern Tier route would be a nice ride for the bikes. I'd done it before and found that I-88 and the Southern Tier Expressway is really a nice ride. We left early afternoon on Sunday under a mostly clear sky with a bit of wind. We hit worsening head winds most of the way, and the rain and hail starting in Binghamton--we hadn't planned on that! Generally, the rain, hail and snow—yes, snow—were gone as quickly as they’d come upon us, and slowed us down without stopping us; but at one point the hail was hard enough—it was blowing across the road in sheets—that we stopped under an overpass and just laughed as it passed us. In spite of that, we made our overnight point by dark and had a restful night; then got underway in a timely fashion in the morning (in spite of finding snow on the seats of our bikes). For a few hours, it went downhill from there.
About an hour into our ride—which was much slower than the speed limit due to intermittent snow, rain and hail—we stopped at a rest stop and found that the temperature was a balmy 32 degrees! We were encouraged there by a bunch of men from a church in Sidney, NY who were headed to the same place. About the time we hit the PA border the weather changed and we began to make better time. When we got to our hotel, the sun was out and it was quite pleasant—comparably anyway. However, after changing clothes, we opted to catch a ride in a van with some others attending the conference rather than get back on the bikes…yeah, we were pretty well chilled through. In spite of losing about 90 minutes of planned travel time on account of weather, we beat the rest of our group into town. You could say it was not a bike ride, it was a trip! We met the rest of our party (who had driven the church’s van) at the conference and enjoyed our time with them and the others at the conference. That’s in the other post.
Our trip home was the trip we had hoped for on the way out: the weather clear, the wind at our backs, the scenery delightful across NY’s Southern Tier, and the traffic light. We were making such good time that by the time we made our third rest stop we decided to make the entire trip in one shot. With a stop about every hour, it took us just about ten hours to turn the 520 miles or so home.
Like a sleigh ride for which you have to climb a long hill, in which the battle uphill was not too much to pay for the ride down, that’s the way we looked at the trip out, payment for what we had on the way home. We really appreciated the ride back, it a wonderful end to an awesome few days of conference.