Babes Ride Out East Coast Trip Recap: Days 1 & 2

There's nothing like the anticipation leading up to a big trip, especially one with two of your best friends. Our destination: Narrowsburg, New York and the Catskill Mountains for our third consecutive Babes Ride Out East Coast event. (If you're not familiar with the event catch up here)

Kaaterskill Falls, a 231 foot drop and the furthest point east we traveled during our 2017 trip
Door-to-door distance one way is around 630 miles, not including reroutes to "the squiggly stuff." Doable in a day, if you're motivated, but we split the ride over two days to allow for maximum goofing off. (It's really what we do best.)

The most make-or-break part of these trips is your attitude. How you choose to react to things will really determine how much you enjoy yourself. For me personally, I'll jump ahead spoiler-alert-style and say that this has been my favorite of our trips OF. ALL. TIME. Everything felt easy and—magic—it was easy.

[So a quick story the other ladies don't even know about (until now), last year on our second day of this exact same trip, I got a phone call in my helmet that our kid didn't get in to the school we'd applied for. I tried to plead our case while zipping down backroads with terribly spotty cell service, but in the end they wouldn't concede. I was suuuuuper pissed.

I was also having some under the radar medical issues I didn't even know about, and needless to say I spent the rest of the trip in a bit of a gloomy haze. It all ended well and we had a great time, but definitely a real life reminder that positive state-of-mind is priority for not just successful but enjoyable long distance motorcycle travel.]

We agreed to leave from Melanie's house at 8am on Thursday morning. Bags packed, snacks stowed, and tech inspections complete, we actually LEFT ON TIME. The first of many unique BRO miracles.

The humidity was fierce but the skies were clear, and after a quick gas stop it was officially time to crush some miles. But not without our cheering section! This trip more than any other we had the most friendly gas station conversations, including the women who blessed our initial departure with a, "YESSSS QWEENS, GET IT!" shouted out the window of her Cadillac.

Hello, it's a gratuitous photo of my beautiful motorcycle 😍

To get out of the city as quickly as possible, our first leg was all highway. There's some latent wisdom in just getting the hell out of dodge while you're freshly rested.

Our goal was to cover 400 miles in our first day, which would put us comfortably past the halfway point. In previous years, we've arrived at the event well after 6pm, sometimes closer to 7, which left us scrambling to set up camp and then try to enjoy things. With a timely second day in mind, we didn't set an official stop point but instead picked a spot on the map to aim for.

At our first gas & snack stop right off the highway we met Paul, the Dam Man, who was on his lunch break on his cruiser. We tried to coerce him to abandon work to ride along, but no dice.

Immediately after meeting the Dam Man (never gets old), things got infinitely more interesting. We were now on state routes and winding our way through central/eastern Ohio, quickly approaching Hocking Hills, Shawnee, and Wayne National Forest. This is code for: THOSE TWISTS AND TURNS YALL.
Ohio Route 26 (Not my photo, too busy riding!)

I always forget how great the riding out in eastern Ohio really is, especially as you start to approach West Virginia. Beautiful wooded winding roads and elevation changes.

At points we hopped on to some of the area's more "famous" motorcycle routes, including Route 555 (the Triple Nickel), Route 26, and Route 78 (the Ohio Dragon). Not the most direct route (one man at a gas stop commented "You're going through WHERE??"), but absolutely fantastic.

I know looking at other people's routes is not hot entertainment unless you're a huge nerd (GUILTY), but I like to be able to come back and jog my memory the next time I'm in the area. First day standouts included: 550 out of Nelsonville, 555, 676, 339, 60, 530, 145, 260, 537, 26, 78.

Lunch was at the Cornerstone Inn in Beverly, OH, a recommendation from the gas station attendant down the road. (Shout out to Cinders, you did not steer us wrong for the "nice atmosphere"). I'm not quite sure they knew what to make of us three sweaty, cursing motorcycle women, but no one else really does either.

Ohio Route 555 (Also not my photo, too busy riding!)
We couldn't have asked for a nicer day or more traffic-free roads. I was riding at the back and was grinning ear-to-ear watching the three of us bob around corners like three ducks in a row. It was the kind of day you're always trying to recapture next time.

At one point, Shannon indicated a left turn up ahead, and we rounded the corner only to find that the road immediately turned to loose gravel. After a brief pause we all looked at each other and gave the thumbs up—let's do this shit.

Shannon is on a Tiger and Melanie is just crazy fearless, but I absolutely avoid gravel on the Hornet if I can. Street tires and a fully-exposed radiator are not the most off-road friendly. 1.2 damp & downhill miles later we were all uneventfully back on solid pavement. ADV HORNET ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!

Almost 300 miles in. We're big fans of Sheetz, of both the gas station and John varieties. (I am eating cheese.)

Around 6pm, we got caught in some terrible congestion outside of Wheeling, WV and pulled off to check traffic and get some gas. We took a long look at the map and realized our 400 mile goal was probably not meant to be, thanks to the divinely twisty roads we had been on all day.

We could have forced the issue, but dinner and relaxing seemed more important than another 50 miles, especially since we weren't in a hurry. We picked a spot and powered through the final leg through Ohio, into West Virginia, and finally across into Pennsylvania on a mix of highway and state routes.

We rolled in to our first overnight stop around 8pm. They were nice enough to let us leave the bikes right under the awning.

Though normally we're hardcore campers, we had agreed in advance that this trip were going to live our very best luxury lives and get a hotel room on the way to and from camp. HOT SHOWERS. AIR CONDITIONING. Are we getting weaker or just smarter in our experience and old age? You be the judge.

Right off the bat, day two took us through an area that I absolutely must ride again. Everything southeast of Pittsburgh around Laurel Highlands and Seven Springs is scenic and mountainy like something right out of a fairytale. Cute little vacation communities and car drivers who like to speed. What more could you want? Definitely not the last we'll see of Laurel Mountain or Laurel Ridge.

Daaaaaamn, them mountains' cutesy.

It was a beautiful and uneventful morning, and I was happy to start it off with pretty backroads, because soon enough we had to make up time. With less than 300 miles to go, we hopped on the highway and slabbed it allllll the way to Wilkes-Barre, PA. Not the most thrilling, but it was time to twist the throttle and make some progress. If we were hoping to arrive at camp at a decent hour, the clock was ticking.

Highway time is when everyone gets a little stir crazy in the Taco Bell parking lot. My apologies to the old woman I inadvertently flipped off for several minutes straight, I blame Rage Against the Machine.

The miles flew by in a blur of highway, punctuated by lots of left-lane passing and jams blasting in the helmet. But, as we got closer to Scranton, the highway ground to a standstill. We made a last-minute decision to get off I-81 and backroads the rest. We would have had to split off eventually (no highway leads directly to Narrowsburg), but this time we split off quite early and took our chances.

Which, turned out to be a bit of divine intervention because google maps had us sweeping down some great roads. It was the perfect end to the first part of our journey, and the roads got better and better the closer we got to the river.

During those last 10 miles a huge feeling of excitement took over. Every time we saw a bike, our heads snapped eagerly to see if it's a woman rider. Is it a woman? Could she be headed to camp?! Our excitement spilled over and our friendly waves turned aggressively enthusiastic. I stopped waving at men completely. Penis time is officially over. ✌️

We crossed the bridge over the river into New York and rolled into event check-in at a DREAMY 5pm. It's barely even five-freaking-o'clock. BAM. POW. TEAMWORK. Right on schedule!

Part 1Part 2 • Stay tuned for Part 3!


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