Interstate 80 is always merely a means to an end for me. By the time I reached Pennsylvania though 80 becomes interesting again here I was done with it. Lockport and the low Mountain ridge to the North beckoned, so I pulled off, gassed up at the ubiquitous Gas Station/C Store/purveyor of bad fast food/and cheap wine location and started to navigate by compass again. North by Northeast should do it....
Let me back up....A couple of days earlier I left Chicago and spent the first night as a guest of old and new friends in beautiful Grand Haven, Michigan. Grand Haven is a charming lakeside town, with a nicely gentrified town center and great views of sparking Lake Michigan to the West. I spent the afternoon on their deck, alternately petting their smart and discerning pet Lab, Reilly and watching the colourful Finches, Cardinals depleting their respective bird feeders.
Hummingbirds buzzed my head as they hovered at their special feeder on the window behind my comfortable chair. Reilly the dog is an astonishingly talented creature and has both unlimited energy for, and serious talent at, finding tennis balls swatted into their surrounding forest.
My friends graciously fed and watered me and provided a nice room, somehow fascinated by my half baked plans to ride to Novia Scotia's Eastern Coast.
The following day I left late, more or less rode the width of Michigan, and rejoined I-80 somewhere South of Toledo. Since I had left late and had encountered a horrific traffic jam caused by an equally horrible accident, I was running very late on my more or less non-existent schedule. I stopped at one of the omnipresent Indian owned motels which was suitably run down...and shocked when they robbed me of $80 for a room that should have gone for $40. Or $30. Cheap motels and free camping are a game I play when solo motorcycling 'shame they hadn't gotten the memo.
Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are generally forgettable stretches of this Interstate.
Back to my story....
Navigating by compass I rode up into the low mountains and then headed Northeast by East towards New England. I always welcome advice from locals and on this advice also visited the Grand Canyon of the East which would have been spectacular in October... but merely very green in August.
Temps were in the mid 50s... which is great riding weather. I stopped at a local diner and sat at the counter as the wait staff all of whom could have been sisters (though they all denied it) hustled and bustled around efficiently. I had the special of the day at the counter, tipped well and continued my Eastward ride on a very scenic two lane Highway
Eventually I rejoined the Freeway shot across that small part of New York State and entered my old stomping grounds of Connecticut. I reverted to compass navigation again, and headed North paralleling the New York State Line on a winding highway that was often a twisting tunnel through the deep forest.
I did note, as the sun set and dusk crept in, that deer were grazing at the edges of grassy fields and meadows in the lengthening shadows. Yeah, deer are no fun to play with years ago my car was broadsided by a giant buck in Connecticut, not far from this very road, knocked my sideview mirror off and dented the door. That same collision on a bike would be bit worse.
I used my Garmin and found a local and nearly empty Connecticut State Park with camping. I pitched my tent and bedded down for the evening next to a burbling clear mountain stream.
The next morning I stopped at a local restaurant for coffee and a breakfast burrito (Don't go to Kent, Connecticut for their Mexican food however do go to Kent for their cool covered bridge)
I went further East and revisited a town where I lived for a decade of so, Avon. Avon in the fashion of this part of the country, was established around 1725 and in this and the surrounding towns have the wonderful white churches and crumbling graveyards to prove their history.