Today’s plan is to get home, no matter what. There is a lack of confidence in whether or not my bike will make it based off what happened yesterday but because we are so close to home our plan is to ride it out as much as possible and as soon as my bike breaks down, myself and Gomes’ will be joined at the foot pegs for the last time. Granted, we are 530 miles away from home which will make this the longest stretch of these last 33 days by an extra 130 miles.
To minimize electronic consumption, I disconnect my headlight, cluster, taillight, and blinkers. Pretty much anything that does not keep the bike running was sacrificed. I install the battery I charged overnight and once we’re all packed up we hit the road. There are 4 states to go through before Jersey and due to the distance we should be looking to stop at least 4 times for gas if not 5.
We hit the road and consume the first gas tank. I park at the pump to fill up, wondering if my bike will start up again once I’m ready. After consuming a pack of cashews and a bit of water the moment of truth arrives. I turn the key, start her up and she’s alive. Lets go for round two.
Second tank is done with, so we hit another station. The bike gets some more gas as I switch it up to a pack of peanuts. This time, she seems a tad bit weaker at turning over but the BMW starts up again. I pull out of the station before she changes her mind as I know Gomes will catch up accordingly.
The rest of the day played out the same way. Every stop was a brief Russian roulette session yet she always came alive and pushed through. Of all days, it seems that on our last, for once, we were going to make it to our destination even with a known problem.
Once we merged onto Interstate 78, we felt like home was just over the hill but it was still about 100 miles before we could celebrate passing the ‘Welcome to New Jersey’ sign. I can say that a euphoric wave and sense of accomplishment came over me when we did see that plaque. It was enough to ignore that we have finally come in contact with tri-state traffic as our road companions seem to all want to drive on the left lane strictly from the border eastward. We disregard such improper driving techniques as the next 45 minutes were the easiest thus far.
We pull off on my exit and begin to see all the familiar outposts, the CVS pharmacy and BP station that I pass almost daily. All the little mom and pop stores on this main street that crosses a few towns. We made a left, another left and then a right and then another left before coasting up my home street. Having all my electronics disconnected left me without a celebratory horn so some obnoxious engine revving was going to have to do to warn the family of my arrival. It seems to have worked because as myself and Gomes park in my parents driveway my father comes out. This is when you know you’ve made it back. I can’t wait to see all my family and friends to tell them in person about the experiences and hardships we fought through. Gomes has a few miles to cover for himself as he leaves my house in search of his own family. A few ‘see you soons’ and he’s off to splurge on a well deserved and craved for Portuguese meal.
Be it 1 week or 1 year from now but once all this excitement clears I’ll be hoping to hit the road again as this might have been my first adventure but it most certainly won’t be my last.