50 States Day 189, Newark to Dover, Delaware 133 miles
"Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit."
Newark, NJ Friday night, 11:30 p.m.
The cab dropped us at the motel and after walking a few steps toward the building; I turned and whistled for the cab to stop. Because standing in front of us was an empty building, dark. The access to the courtyard where our bike sat, (hopefully) was blocked off with a van. My mind raced. Find another motel? How can we get the key for the bike? Would the cabbie know where we could go?
He stopped just as QG found the manager of the motel. He could get us in, give us the key, and move the van. I sent the cab away.
We followed the man's flashlight beam to the courtyard where the bike- hopefully- sat.
"Lost half the roof, “he pointed upward, "but the satellite dish stayed, held in place with cinder blocks."
I held my breath as we turned the corner. Would the bike be there? Okay? What about the trailer?
Sitting in the corner, just like we left it, sat the bike and trailer. And the roof of the adjacent stairway was gone. Lucky no debris landed on the bike.
"You sure you want to ride that?" he asked.
What are our options? "Yep." He took me to the office to get the key.
The bike took two seconds to crank, as opposed to its usual half second. But it fired and soon purred smoothly. Above the dark motel loomed another, fully lit.
I came up with a great idea. "I'll load the bike and you go next door and score a room," I suggested. QG hugged herself. "I am not going out there alone." Oops. Fine line between great idea and stupid idea. "Sorry."
We rode next door. Full.
"Where can we find a vacancy?" I asked.
"Which way you going?"
"West," I said.
"South, “said Quilter Girl at the same time. We don't know exactly where we're going. Just away.
"Go south on One."
We left at midnight under a full moon, into a bizarre and macabre scene; cars lined up a mile deep, waiting for gas. Telephone poles laying either over the road or the other way, the wires holding the poles up. Cops with lights flashing at dark intersections. And the scenes were schizophrenic. Restaurants brightly lit with people enjoying a meal and a block later, dark strip malls with caution tape across the entries. And traffic. What are these people doing at this hour?
We tried a half dozen motels with the same two responses: No, and Don't know where. We skipped as many motels too, as the jammed parking lots told the story. Onward we rode, breaking our 'avoid riding in the dark' rule. What choice did we have? I envisioned us folding out the tent in a church parking lot, huddled together under the covers for warmth in the forty- five degree weather.
Finally I switched from Motel Search mode to 'Find Denny's.' We would break out the Hot Spot and search for a place. More motels appeared as we rode through Princeton and on a hunch I stopped at a Best Western. QG hung by the bike, unwilling to take off her gear only to be disappointed again. But the answer was yes! Hallelujah, an answer to prayer. We unloaded, showered hot and hit the sack. Ultimately few problems, but the unknown factor weighed heavily on us.
Today (after reserving a room) we rode to Dover, an overcast day with the temperature refusing to rise past fifty. We dressed for it with (PP!) Garbing pants and gloves, but didn't plug into the bike. A few hours later the cold wriggled through the fabric and crept into our bones. The carnage from Hurricane Sandy abated with every mile, and we pulled into a gas station, no problem.
We popped into the Super 8 and cranked the heater. Another day, another adventure.
But some adventures are more adventurous than others.
And now, thawed, rested and ready, Quilter Girl!
It was an interesting night, the kind that makes a great story afterward. When you are shivering in the dark at midnight with no place to sleep, it is not so much fun. The Best Western in Princeton was a great, welcoming place. Their power had been restored the night before. It was surreal to see all the random devastation. There are pockets of darkness right next door to bright lights. The lines at the gas stations were the most impressive and scary. Thank goodness we had a full tank of gas!
Our motel is great, right on a lake. We need to regroup after our trip, getting our clothes and toiletries in the proper bags. I spent time sorting my 50 states quilt squares to find out where I am at. I talked Kevin into a stop at Quiltique when we were in Las Vegas. After all the quilt stores I have been in, I am impressed with the massive selection of fabric they sell. I found lobster fabric that I have looked for in 3 stores. One store assured me they can't get it from their supplier. I also found clock fabric (CN), great flip flop fabric (NJ), and even some town fabric for Iowa. I have some work to catch up on those squares. In spite of the cold, it is good to be back on the trail again.
Tomorrow we'll Church Surch and feature The Week in Pictures, including a huge Rant. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.