Rochester NY to Newark NJ – 9th August 2021
This morning still no word from Tom or indeed anyone else interested in buying the bike so time has definitely run out. I remove the adverts for the bike from Facebook and Craigslist; my friends Jackie and Chris are happy to hold on to the tent and camera and if anyone wants to come and get them they will give me the money when they see me, I tell them not to worry about it… keep the money it’s not important and if they don’t sell just ditch them at a charity shop or whatever.
I have emailed CFR Rinkens to proceed with shipping the bike, they reply immediately and send me some paperwork to complete and a proforma invoice. It takes a bit of time to do all of that and I also pay the invoice straight away to avoid any future complications. I will need to pay the UK charges when I collect the bike and also deal with customs duties and importation paperwork to get the bike registered with the DVLA. I need to get it MOT’d… I am allowed to ride the bike on the US plate as long as it is only to get the MOT done, so I will have to get it booked in for the same day as I collect it. The importation process, which, if memory serves, is quite straight forward and has to be done within 14 days of the bike’s arrival… I must check with Rinkens as I think they might do the notification anyway. I can’t register the bike for a UK license plate until I have finished the paperwork and paid all the duties and taxes.
Jackie and Chris’ daughter has to go to the child minder this morning so we take the opportunity to have a photo together with the bike before she goes…
Having made the decision to take the bike to New Jersey I now need to put the GPS bracket back on… that takes about an hour. Am a bit pissed off that I took the name off of the petrol tank, I really loved that so I hope James will be able to get some replacements for me. By the time I have done that and started packing the bike up it’s already lunch time.
Chris has had to go off to the library to get on with some work so I have already said goodbye to her. Jackie is working at home and has made me a delicious smashed avocado and spring onion bagel. I have been so obsessed with getting the bike sorted that it really has spoilt my time with my friends and their daughter. Of course we have spent time together and they are busy people, but it would have been so much better without all this stress. I must say a huge thanks to them both for all their support.
It is now time to leave, New Jersey is about 350 miles away so I really want to get there today if possible, rather than spend money on a hotel, I’m going to need one in New Jersey anyway. I say goodbye to Jackie, they are coming back to the UK in the Autumn so will see them then. Yet again so lucky to have people like them to be here for me, especially due to the circumstances… in fact Gloria has kept the news from me, waiting for me to be with my friends before dropping the bombshell. I would have just dumped the bike and gotten home asap had she told me when I was ‘on the road’, but I do appreciate the reason for the delay and the opportunity to decide properly what to do with the bike.
I am not going to mess around with back roads and photo stops, it’s just a case of get to Newark asap. I am looking at around 8 hours so an ETA of about 9-10pm this evening.
The GPS routes me out of Rochester via a main shopping area… one thing I am definitely going to need is another bag; yes I know I already dumped a couple. I am going to leave almost all my gear on the bike, that is what I have done previously when shipping from the States, but I need another bag to put the essentials that I must take home with me in, probably a cheap duffle will do the job. I stop at a couple of shops to see if I can get something suitable.. nothing. Oh well I’m sure I can find something in Newark, it isn’t desperate for now.
I have set up the GPS for fastest route, but to avoid toll roads.. I don’t want James to be inundated with toll invoices. I am on the 390 heading south, but the road then turns eastwards mmm I am a little concerned that I am now heading in the wrong direction so stop to check it out against Google Maps.. nope that seems right. I carry on until Elmira where I must stop for petrol and I remember I need a Covid test before I can fly.. this has to be done up to 72 hours before my flight. I know CVS Pharmacy has a walk in testing service so I ride into Elmira and find one. I go in and talk to the Pharmacist who tells me it’s not actually walk in, I still need to go online and book an appointment. Also, the results can take up to 72 hours as they have to courier the tests to a lab. Well, that’s no good to me; I’m obviously not staying in Elmira and I need to get it done asap so I’ll have to check it out in Newark tomorrow morning.
Back on the bike and the 390 becomes the I86 which skims along the NY/PN border for a few miles in a Schizophrenic ‘which State am I’ kind of way. It’s starting to get cooler now so I stop to put my jacket on in Tioga Downs and take a quick photo
a water tower of course. The road starts to head NE towards Binghampton and morphs into the I81 as it passes through the State border… Never Can Say Goodbye New York and Pursuing Again Pennsylvania.
Another stop for petrol in Scranton and then very briefly onto the I84 before I am riding the 380, which takes me into the Poconos Mountains. It is now getting dark and by the time I pass the signs for Mount Pocono it’s too dark to see anything… I expect it looks pretty much the same as other mountains so am not too sad to miss it.
Suddenly I am passing signs for the Delaware Water Gap.. oh does this mean it’s a four State route today I wonder… mmm must look that up… so Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow Pennsylvania, Need to Get to Newark Now! New Jersey.
A final stop for petrol in Stanhope and I must find somewhere to stay. I look on the favoured Booking.com for something cheap near to where I will drop the bike tomorrow. The drop point is in Hillside so I find a room with shared bathroom there, I think it is going to be grim, but never mind, this will do for one night.
I arrive at 11.30 just before the end of check in time, which is allowed until midnight. Oh dear, it looks like a crappy area… kind of expected really as it’s near to the port.
The stay is in a 3 storey house and I have been sent a code to open the front door. Once inside there is a box with ‘Keys’ written on it; inside are some envelopes and I already know that I am in room 7. Written on the envelope it says ground floor and one of the keys inside will open the gate and door… I look along the corridor and there is indeed a massive iron gate covering a door, not very inspiring I must say. I look in the envelope, but there is only 1 key.. I try it.. it doesn’t work. Ok I go up the stairs to the first floor and try another door.. it’s not locked, it leads into a corridor with a kitchen/lounge at one end and a number of doors, one of which is room number 7, I try the key and yes this is mine. There is a double bed, coat stand, standard lamp, table and one rickety folding chair.. ok well this will do. There’s no parking so I will have to leave the bike on the street, which means taking everything off the bike and hauling it upstairs.. grrrr.
All done.. now to eat something as I am starving. In my bag I have a microwave Chilli pot that I bought a few days ago and haven’t used yet. I go to the kitchen area and pop it in… back to the room and while I eat, (it is surprisingly good actually), I look up rapid PCR covid test places. I find one about 7 miles from here for $195… OUCH! but it will deliver results to my email in an hour. Other similar tests have been well over $200 so am happy to find a cheaper one, even if it means I have to ride a way to get it. I book an appointment for 11am thinking it will give me time to go and buy a duffle bag, get the bike valued, have the test, (which takes 15 minutes), and then get back to pack up and check out by noon.
Time for bed.. it is now 1.30am so I really need to sleep. At the other end of the corridor there is a bathroom… UGH!!! really no way I am using the shower in here, it’s disgusting. I don’t know how I even manage to clean my teeth as the basin is full of hair, (am gagging as I write this).