It's the 23rd of October 2008, six months to the day since I left St Teresa's Hospice in Darlington. 26,000 miles, 180 days on the road, .... only 5 days of riding in the rain, ... most of which were in England. I'm within 100 miles of New York, I've ridden through 18 States, ... possibly even 19 and I'm now looking for my route home. I've written to British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, ... just to see if they would be willing to help. I'm waiting for a response from Virgin and although at first British Airways seemed keen to help, .... they can't do anything for me without a full months notice. There are several options open to me, but time wise I'd prefer to arrive back in Europe with the Tiger in close proximity. My US Visa expires on the 12th of November and over the next week it will probably begin snowing here, ..... I'd like to get moving as soon as possible.
I'll try to find somewhere cheap and warm to stay while I make my plans for departure. I really should have worked out my 'Exit' a few weeks ago, but every time I tried it simply reminded me that this journey was coming to an end, .... and that's not something that I want to happen. It feels as if I've come to the end of a long and amazing holiday from school, ... it's Sunday evening and 'Songs of Praise' is on television, ... instead of enjoying my final few days of the journey, ... I'm already struggling with the mental trauma of returning to reality.
Yesterday in a car park just North of Baltimore, I met Red's Horrocks and Don Curtis, ... two Harley Davidson riders. We chatted for several minutes, .. they pointed me in the direction of York where the Harley Davidson factory runs daily tours for visitors. I'd always thought that Harley's were only made in Milwaukee but apparently that's just the engines. I followed the road North, ..... I crossed the Mason Dixon Line, the line dividing the North and South of the lower 48 States, ... but there didn't seem to be anything there to see. Apparently a small group of historians are currently seeking to restore the stones that once marked this line, a line that is bathed in history, ... a line that has seemingly been forgotten, .. or ignored. Americans constantly tell me that as an Englishman I'm very lucky, 'we have great history', yes we do, .. but America has plenty of its own.
At the Harley factory, I was too late for the daily tour, .. I kept moving. It's getting cold, .. the wind is howling and the people that I meet all promise me snow. I landed in Lancaster, too weary and cold to consider camping, ... I checked into a roadside motel and soaked in the bath. Tomorrow I'll make arrangements for the journey to London, .... that will give me an indication of how long I have remaining in America. I will visit New York, .... but it's too expensive to stay there for any length of time. Hopefully, at the end of today my plans will be in place, my mind will be at ease and I'll possibly, ... head back West and tour the Harley Davidson factory. I don't think it will make me lust for a Harley, ..... but stranger things have happened.