To Ohio and Back, Part III

NOTE: This post was started just before last Thanksgiving (original timestamp: 11/14/2006, 01:38). When I had just about gotten it finished, blew up, and finishing the post became a low priority. After I got the blog back up, I think I just forgot about finishing it, or assumed that I had already posted it. So here it is, two and a half months after Part II: TO OHIO AND BACK, PART III
Look, it’s a post so good it has been almost a month in the making. Not really. The delay is really just a testament to my ability to put things off until I forget about them. For those of you who remember (or just care to read the last entry) I was in the process of telling you of my super neat multi-day motorcycle and music trip to Ohio. It’s time to talk about Tuesday.

I woke up on day 2 to some really beautiful weather: 74°, clear sky. I couldn’t ask for a nicer day for a long ride. I quickly packed my things, checked out of the hotel and got the bike ready to go. The odometer read 993 miles at the start of the day.

993 on the morning of Day 2

The planned route for the day was Ohio 3 all the way up to Cleveland. Rt 3 was suggested to me by a coworker who is originally from Ohio, and the line looked just right on the map1, so I figured I’d give it a go.

For the first half an hour or so, Rt 3 was kind of lame. It was congested and a main suburban commercial district type road. I had suspected that this would be the case until I cleared the greater Columbus area. The upside is that it was on this stretch where I bought fuel for the lowest price of the trip2. See, look:

Woah, almost reasonably priced gasoline!

After stopping for gas, the road opened up within about 5 minutes of travel. No traffic, few buildings, and wide open scenery. Unfortunately, this is also when the sky got overcast and began to threaten rain. Luckily I was back under blue skies in a half an hour.

A little over half way from Columbus to Cleveland, I found myself entering Wooster, OH. I figured that it would probably be pretty lame of me to not at least check out the campus of The College of Wooster, given that institution’s indirect impact on the last five years of my life3. So, I decided to try to find the place.

You’d think that it’d be pretty easy to find a college in a small town. As it turns out, that’s not always so. The main problem is that there would be signs saying “College of Wooster” with an arrow, however there wouldn’t be any further signs when turns were required. I kept at it, and after riding around for about 20 minutes, I found the college.

I found a place to park, and walked around the campus a little bit. I stopped in the student center, checked my e-mail, and caught up on other Internet-things. I saw some of those weird squirrels everyone used to tell me about. I almost got run down by some maniacs in a golf cart. And that’s about it. There’s not really much to do on an unfamiliar college campus on your own. I headed back to the bike, fired it up, and got back underway.

The route for the rest of the trip was to take Ohio 3 to Ohio 94 to US 42 to Ohio 10. The rest of the ride up to Cleveland was very nice. Traffic remained very light and the skies stayed clear. I hit the Cleveland city limit at about 5:00 PM. I took my time riding around the city, and then made it to the venue by 5:45.

When I got there, I found out that the doors wouldn’t be opening until about 7:00. I had already figured I’d have to wait a while, and I was on my own, in a city I knew roughly nothing about4, so I figured there wasn’t much of a point in riding around and getting lost. The bonus to this plan was that I scored free street parking right in front of the venue, rather than paying the 6 bucks to park in the lot. The bike was parked not 20 feet away from the lot attendant too, so I was sure that it would be very safe.

The only food place in the area was across the street from the venue. It was a sub place. It also closed in the same minute that I arrived at the front door. For dinner, I stopped at an adjacent gas station and bought some junk food.

The venue for the show was the Agora Ballroom. From the appearance of the building from the outside, I was expecting a much larger venue. The stage area was not very large, and there was a smallish pit area in front of the stage, with a raised sections around the main pit area that had seating. I took up residence at a table just behind the sound booth, with a good view of the stage, and stayed there for the evening. I think that there may have been other sections of the venue closed off for this show, including larger stages. Like the previous venue, the beer selection was terrible. Here’s the best I had to deal with:

That's the best there is?

Immediately after doors opened, they had a DJ begin spinning. For the next 45 minutes or so, It was transported back to about 1999 or 2000. Someone was putting an awful lot of effort into perfectly beat matching a set of 6 year old gothic/industrial club classics for a staggering population of dancers of zero. Whatever passes the time, I guess.

The first band for this show was Rotersand, which was a band whose music I had not previously heard. They did a quick set, 25 – 30 minutes or so, and the music was enjoyable. I’d have to check out their CD to know for sure, but the songs didn’t strike me as particularly great. The music was definitely passable, though, and they were a good opener for the show.

Next up was Imperative Reaction. I like Imperative Reaction. I saw them on their 2004 tour and they rocked out. Their set lasted for about 40 minutes. While I would have liked to see more of them, they hit most of the songs I wanted to hear5. I will be sure to pick up their new album when it comes out… sometime. I was supposed to be released over the summer, but it is yet to appear.

They are The Men, silent and cold...

Covenant. That’s what this trip was about. Sure I wanted to see Snog, and sure I really wanted to go for a longer ride on the bike, but I’m not sure any of it would have happened if there wasn’t Covenant scheduled to be there at the end of it all.

Just as the previous times I saw Covenant6 the show was great. The sound was near perfect, I had a good view of the stage, and the sizable crowd had a good energy throughout. In a previous post, I had written that I hoped I wouldn’t hear much off of the album Skyshaper. Since this was the Skyshaper tour, however, they played a number of tracks from the latests album. As it turns out, I really enjoyed the new material much more seeing it live. Seeing the band in person gave the songs something more.

The set:

  1. 20 Hz 7
  2. Sweet & Salty8
  3. Bullet
  4. Tension
  5. Figurehead
  6. The World is Growing Loud
  7. The Men (extended)
  8. We Stand Alone
  9. Ritual Noise
  10. Stalker (Club Version
  11. Encore 1

  12. Happy Man
  13. Brave New World
  14. Dead Stars
  15. Encore 2

  16. Call the Ships to Port

At the end of the show, the sound guy gave me his copy of the set list, as I was sitting right next to the booth the whole time. I was disappointed to learn that they originally had played to play “Like Tears in Rain” during the first encore, which I would have liked to hear. “One World, One Sky” was also set to be included in one of the three intended encores, but I’m not too disappointed about missing that track.

The show was finished by midnight, which was great considering I had a 2-3 hour ride back to Pittsburgh. I was able to get out of the venue quickly, hop on the bike and get underway within about 6 minutes of the end of the show. Since I had to work the next day and was getting pretty cold, I decided to just ride back on the highways so I could get home as quickly as possible.

I stopped at the first rest area I encountered along the highway, about 30 miles or so outside of the city. Given the temperature, traveling at 70 miles per hour on the bike without a windshield was a pretty chilly proposition, so it was time to add a few layers of clothing.

As I parked, a car pulled up in the spot next to mine, and 5 people dressed in club gear got out. I spoke with them briefly, and found out they had just come from the show as well. They were headed back to Morgantown, WV. I’m glad I wasn’t them. While inside the rest area building I encountered two other groups of people who had come from the Covenant show. Crazy.

After adding some clothing, and fueling up the bike, I got back underway. The extra layers made a huge difference, and the ride was much more comfortable after that. It was very boring, of course, but at least I wasn’t cold.

Sometimes boring is better than exciting, though. This brings me to my next point. When you’re driving or riding along, never start thinking about how boring the drive is. Why, you ask? Well, that’s because as soon as you start thinking about that you’ll get pulled over by a cop.

I was cruising down the highway at about 71 or 72 miles per hour or so, no traffic to speak of. I’ve already past the last exit in Ohio. On my left, I passed one of the access roads between the East and West bound roads. I didn’t see the police car until I was already passing the access road. He was hanging out, lights off, like a snake hiding in the grass. He was facing the opposite direction, though, and I wasn’t really going that fast, so I figured I was safe. I did slow down a bit, and continued down the road.

After about a quarter of a mile, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw him pull out. Sure enough, the lights came on. I was only a half of a mile from the final rest stop in Ohio, so I decided not to pull over right away, and instead to wait until the rest stop9.

As I pulled into the rest area and parked the bike, I could tell right away that the officer was not happy. The first thing he said to me was, “Why didn’t you stop right away when you saw me.” I explained to him that since I was on a bike, and not in a car, I didn’t feel comfortable stopping on the side of the interstate, so I chose to do so in the rest area instead. The answer didn’t exactly please him, but he at least seemed to understand somewhat.

He then proceeded to tell me that he clocked me at 82 miles per hour. I informed him that his reading must be off because I wasn’t going any faster than 71 or 72. He told me he was sure of his reading, and I continued to insist that his equipment was off, and that I had no reason to travel 82 miles per hour, in 40 degree weather on my bike with no windshield or nifty heated accessories. It was then that he admitted that he had only got me at 70 miles per hour, but had figured that I must have been going faster, being on a bike and all, and that he was trying to get me to admit to that.
He then asked for my paperwork and such. As I began to reach into my inside jacket pocket, I saw him tense up so I said, “I’ve just got to get my wallet from my jacket. I’ll do it slowly, and in your plain sight.” When I told him that I had to get my registration out from under the side cover of my bike he tensed up again and told me that I couldn’t open it up.

“Sir, I can’t let you open that,” he stated.

“Well, I guess I can’t show you my registration,” I responded.

“Sir, don’t be difficult. I need you to show me your registration. Now.” The guy was backing off, getting super agitated.

“My registration is with my tool kit, underneath the side cover. I need to use my key, then unlock and remove the panel so that I can show you the registration. That’s where it is.” I was doing my best not to come of as defiant, and really trying not to show off my annoyance.

“Okay, but do it slowly.” He backed off a couple more steps, shined his light on the bike and covered his weapon with his right hand.

This really bothered me. First, he lies to me about what he observed. Then he gets testy when I try to comply with his requests. I figured there was no way I was getting away from this one with just a warning, even if he did admit I was just going 5 over the limit.

I produced the paperwork and he took it back to his car. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later, he returned with a freshly drafted speeding ticket. He also told me to make sure I “watched my attitude when dealing with officers of the law.”

Since I was stopped anyway, I fueled up the bike again and got back underway. The rest of the ride passed without incident, and I arrived back on campus around 3:00 or so. Odometer reading at the end of the ride? Well, you can see that for yourself:

1227 at the end.

And that’s pretty much it, folks. It was a great first road trip on the bike, and I’m looking forward to taking more long rides next season. As for now, this past weekend, I did most of the winterizing on the bike, so she’s asleep for the winter.

Rest well Shadow, rest well.


1I have a pretty good track record for figuring out what roads a good motorcycle roads by looking at maps. Really, it’s not that difficult to figure out, but I bet that all of that time I spent reading maps as a limo driver is paying off these days.

2This was not the lowest observed price. About 20 minutes later I saw gasoline advertised at $2.01.

3I find it highly unlikely that you’re reading this if you don’t at least have some idea of what I mean by this.

4Except that whole bit about Moses. Confused? Read this.

5Aside from “Rift”. How could they not play that? Fuckers.

6Synthpop Goes the World in Toronto, June 2002, and at Manray in Cambridge, MA, May 2003.

7This song came with a helpful little intro, in which a computerized voice would say “100 Hz” and then a 100 Hz tone would play, and then 80Hz, and so on, all the way down to 30, 25, and 20 Hz. Very educational.

8Despite what I said about coming around to like the rest of the new album, I still maintain that this song is useless.

9Choosing a safe place to pull over is a perfcetly legal practice. If you don’t feel comfortable stopping for a cop on the side of a dark and secluded road, you can wait until you find a well lit or less isolated place. While being legal, it usually pisses cops off, as you’re not pulling over right away, and they assume you’re screwing with them. I did it though, because I don’t want to be on the side of an interstate on my motorcycle… not with a rest stop just a mile up the road!

5 Responses to “To Ohio and Back, Part III”

  1. vossanova Says:

    bastard cop.. probably grabbed an out-of-stater knowing you’d be less likely to show up in court for an easy dismissal. and what did the idiot think you were going to take out, a gun?

    i think i only recognize maybe half of those covenant tracks. i guess, starting with their older stuff, i never cared much for the newer stuff.

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