Day 29: Norfolk to Ocean City

It was all that remained…

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I was packed and, for the most part, ready to go.  It was a short ride up the Eastern Shore but I couldn’t check in to the motel until 3:00 pm.  There was a noon check out at the place I was currently in so I decided to relax for a bit. I’ll admit seeing the Chesapeake Bay at the end of the prior day made it sort of feel like I’d completed the trip.  The ride to Ocean City was just a formality at that point.

I finally got on the road.  No traffic, slightly wet tarmac and the sun was poking through; it felt relaxing.

I rode through town and made the left to the entrance for the Bay Bridge-Tunnel.  I was a bit nervous about crossing; I was really hoping there wasn’t a grated bridge deck.  With the wet road and potentially high cross winds a grated deck would be terrifying.  The crossing costs $13; so I paid it and moved on. Just before the first tunnel there was an observation deck and gift shop.  I pulled in a snapped a few pictures.

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Now I was really excited. I pulled out and went down into the tunnel.  The crossing was long but it didn’t include any grated deck so that was positive.

I started heading up the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  The road was pretty uneventful; I’d driven it last year so I knew what to expect.  The cross winds were awful though; they constantly came from different directions.  They were so bad that I needed to lean into the wind just to keep the bike moving straight; then the wind would shift and I would veer out of my lane.  The riding was tough.

I stopped to look at the weather.  Ocean City was getting pounded by storms and I was curious how much further I’d to go before I’d get wet.

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It didn’t look great; I wasn’t too far from it.  I grabbed some lunch then carried on.  The storm was moving toward me so I rode into the rain much sooner than expected. The last hour and half of riding was spent riding through a downpour.

I finally made it to US Route 50; the same road I’d been on at various times over the course of the last month.  It may have been the loneliest road in America back in Nevada but as I rode up the draw bridge to cross the bay I knew I’d made it.

I wanted a picture of the bike at the beach so I headed toward the inlet parking lot.  Ocean City, MD sits on a barrier island at an extremely low elevation and the last few blocks of town were flooded.  The water came up to my pegs.  There were a few cars heading in same direction I was; they were hesitant to drive through the water. I powered on through; it wasn’t even the deepest water I’d crossed this trip.  I rode out to the end of the parking lot where the sand had blown up off the beach, covering the lot.

That was it; I’d made it to the coast:

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I hoped back on the bike and started to make my way towards the motel.  I was going through a ghost town cheering like a lunatic in celebration of my successes.

I walked into the motel, water was pouring off of me and I checked in.  It was the best hotel yet too; 24/7 free coffee in the lobby!

The place I was staying was right behind the building we used to stay in when I was a kid.  I opened the door to the balcony and snapped a picture of it to send to my family.  As I snapped the picture the wind blew my bike over…

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I hurried down to the lobby and out the door to pick The Doctor up.  I decided to move her to a place more protected from the wind.  I hit the starter button; nothing happened…she didn’t even want to cough.  I had to push her over to the new spot.

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I tried getting her to fire for a few minutes but I was worried about killing the battery.  The DR 650 was notorious for flooding the engine with gas when dropped. I’d known this and was surprised that she fired first try after I laid her down back in Oklahoma to change the flat. I decided to get out of the rain and let her sit for awhile; I needed to figure out how to clear the flood before wasting my battery trying to start her.

I asked the people at the desk if there was anything still open in town this late in the year.  There was a bar across the street in the 28th Street Plaza.

I headed out for a celebratory shot and some many beers. They had a whole bunch of crap beer on tap and Dogfish Head 60 Minute since the brewery was only a few miles up the road. I’ll have that please…

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I had a burger and some wings.  The locals at the bar convinced me to try wings with Ole Bay seasoning on them; don’t ever fall for that.  They were edible but by no means good.

I’d had quite a number of beers, talked to locals about the trip and tried to figure out the best way to clear the flooded engine.  The DR 650 carburetor was a vacuum carb; which meant it used vacuum from the engine to lift the slide.  This meant the slide wouldn’t be raised if you turned the throttle while the engine was off. This was important because one of the old woods riding tricks was to give the bike full throttle and try to start it; hoping the extra air was enough to get the bike running.

I thought back to my plan if the bike wouldn’t run over the mountain passes; I’d simply take the air box cover off.  I grabbed my check and went back over to the bike to mess with it, in the rain, at about 11:30 at night. I ripped the cover off and hit the starter button; she fired.  I let her run and gave her some revs. I wanted to be 100% certain that the flood was cleared before shutting her down for the night.  I let her run for 45 minutes. Typically I’d have felt rude, but the only people in this town were the Volkswagen car show crowd and me;  I was by far the least annoying person revving an engine at 12:15 am.

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I wasn’t sure how the oil in the air box got there; I cleaned it out.  I’d sort that mess out at home. I decided to go down to the beach.  I threw my phone and wallet up in the room, changed into some gym shorts and headed down.  I put my feet in the water; I’d done it, I’d ridden a motorcycle across the country. I’d done most of it off-road.  It was an emotional experience.

I decided to go for a walk; mainly because I knew if I went to bed the trip was over, so I just walked.  I didn’t pay attention to the time; I didn’t care how far I walked because I could always take the $2 bus back down to the motel. Then I realized that I’d left my wallet up in the room; I didn’t have any money to catch that bus. I walked up to the dune to see what street I was on; the sign said 61st street, that seemed like a good place to turn around. I’d walked from 30th street to 61st street; a distance I later check and found to be 2 miles. When I finally got back down to 30th street I decided to go for a swim in the ocean.  This probably wasn’t the wisest decision I’d made this trip; it was still raining pretty hard.  I walked out into the ocean until the water came to my shoulders and I swam back in.

Dumb or not it felt like an appropriate ending for such a trip and I went back to my room.

Mileage: 144 and 4 miles of walking…

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