This past weekend was my first real weekend trip on the new bike (09 Versys). I was pretty determined that I was going to ride no matter what, as the last few trips I planned didn't happen.
There (Harrisburg to Pittsburgh)
I checked the weather Friday morning and they were calling for chance of thunderstorms in Harrisburg beginning around 2PM (I was leaving at 4PM), and continuing until 9PM. Everywhere west of Harrisburg was calling for the same but ending between 3 and 4PM. I figured I might get a little wet on the way out of town, but should be good once I got a little bit farther west.
I left a little bit later than anticipated (around 4:30) and was fine. I hopped on the PA turnpike to zip over to I-81 and avoid all the rush hour traffic. Everything was fine until I got off the turnpike. Right after the toll booth it began to rain a little. I pulled over put the rain covers on my luggage and continued on. Once on I-81 it began to downpour. I will usually just ride it out but the combination of not being able to see, and lots of lightning had me looking for the closest overpass. As I stood there and dripped off for a few minutes it looked like it was getting brighter then it would rain harder. It did this a few times.
After about 5 minutes cars started pulling in under the overpass too. I thought this was odd, surely it wasn't raining that hard. It was then that a guy in a BMW rolled down his window and said, "There are tornado and hail warnings for this area." Excuse me? I thought that was a good reason to wait it out a bit longer.
Twenty minutes or so passed and cars began to leave. The rain had almost stopped so I figured this was a good clue that all was clear. Traffic wasn't moving very fast though. I got going again, and about a mile down the road, the highway was covered in leaves and branches. Another half mile or so and it looke like it had snowed. There were piles of hail along the highway, and the grass was almost completely white. It was a very surreal experience. I wish I would have had my camera, and been able to snap a few pictures as I rode (didn't want to stop again).
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. There seemed to be a thunderstorm at the top of every mountain across the state. Other than seeking shelter from one other storm that had some crazy winds I didn't stop the whole way to Pittsburgh.
Back (Pittsburgh to Harrisburg)
The return trip, by comparison was a breeze. On a Sunday evening I think I passed less than a dozen or so cars on the 70 miles of Route 30 that I travelled. It was very nice. The sunset was also very cool. Bright pink and purple, a stark contrast to the dark clouds that covered the entier sky on the way back. I did leave later than anticiated again, and hopped on the turnpike for the second half of my trip. It was nice riding the back roads, but I wanted to make it home before midnight.
The Versys handled the trip with great ease. Even the highway was completely comfortable. The Versys could cruise all day at 70-75 MPH and be completly fine (I on the other hand would be bored). It travels those speeds with such ease, a couple times I looked down and had to readjust my wrist. I would have had a hard time riding 230 miles non-stop on the 250, but it was relatively easy on the Versys. It is mostly stock with just peg lowering brackets. I have a Mike's Shields Touring demo at home waiting for me, that unfortunately didn't arrive in time.