I woke up the next morning, and got ready to head out. I threw open the curtains in my room, which is funny, because I normally do that as the first thing when I arrive in a new room. I was surprised to find the hotel sat on a fairly large pond, hence the singing of the frogs the night before. I kicked my feet up and watched the sunrise, drinking my coffee and thinking about home. I would be home tonight, but there were miles and miles between us.
I threw small pieces of my breakfast bar into the pond, and they were hungrily devoured by catfish. There were hundreds of them, writhing in a slimy grunion-like feeding frenzy. A lonely turtle also surfaced, looking for a meal, but found it difficult to compete with the swarming catfish. I was able to toss it a bite, and it brought me a small satisfaction.
I left and hit the road. It seemed that, at each stop, I was able to make new friends, from bison to elephants, and even the occasional human.
At one stop, an elderly woman parked next to me and eyed me and the bike, then got out of her car.
"Is that a Ducati," she asked.
"Yes it is," I replied, surprised not for the last time.
"My grandsons think those are the bees knees!"
I smiled, and said, "You tell them they're right!"
We talked for a while, about you her grandsons, my trip, the bike, and the like. In the end, she asked if she could take my picture to send to her grandsons, and I agreed, so she did.
Much of the rest of a trip is a blur, until I reached Pennsylvania. There is a quickening of the soul, on a trip like this, when one reaches one's home state.
One thing about Pennsylvania, though - you MUST be careful of the bears!
I narrowly avoided the attack, and quickly moved on.
T.S. Eliot once wrote:
We shall not cease from explorationAnd so it was when I reached the Susquehanna River, seeing it anew yet recognizing it as home, nonetheless.
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
I rode along the river at sunset, the steady thrum of the engine bringing me closer and closer to my door, then turned over the bridge and made the short hop to home.