Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle vacation’

After this last motorcycle vacation we have “knocked off” the entire east coast of the US and Ontario, Canada.  We have truly enjoyed the touring we have completed thus far and are looking forward to exploring the western regions of the US next.

Maybe we will do something in the Rockies next.

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Continuing our motorcycle vacation, we pulled out of Bangor early to make it Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park with enough time to enjoy the sites.  Our original plan was to spend the night in Bar Harbor but we ran out of steam before making it to Ba Habr.

WP_20170626_13_04_42_ProIt took about 90 minutes to get to downtown Bar Harbor.  We dismounted and took a walk around town, down by the harbor along Main Street and looked into some of the shops.  After about two hours we decided to ride the Acadia Loop.    

WP_20170626_11_07_17_ProOnce on the loop I soon released that that we were fully in tourist season.  Cars were lined up for miles and every parking lot was over filled.  In the first half of the loop we were sharing the park with about 100,000 of our closest friends.  The second half of the loop was a lot less filled with tourist, not including me of course.

Part of the Acadia National Park is Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the island.  Riding our Harley Davidson motorcycle to the top of the mountain we WP_20170626_12_32_00_Prowere again inundated with cars and tourist, again, not including me!   But, event with the crowd the views from the top were spectacular.  If you want to go to Acadia and Bar Harbor I highly recommend that you study the tourist season and go at the low points.  There were just too many people to truly enjoy the ride.

Making it back to Bar Harbor we decided to have lunch, buy a few trinkets and get back on the road WP_20170626_19_54_38_Proheading south.  It was a bit warm at this point but the water cooled motorcycle just putted along without any issues.  About 5PM we decided to call it a night and after looking at a few different spots decided to stay at the Spouter Inn Bed & Breakfast.

The Spouter Inn (built in 1832) is in Lincolnville Maine and is right across the road from the local beach and pier. The view from the rocking chairs on the front porch looking out was idyllic.  The breakfast part of the B&B was divine, Don and Erin are a pair of great Inn keepers.  I have to say that both Debbie and I loved our stay it was the best of our 2017 motorcycle vacation.

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Waking up to the roar of motorcycles outside our window had me jazzed to start this leg of our vacation!  Riding to the top of Mt. Washington is an item on my motorcycling bucket list, and it is about to get checked off.  But first, the most important meal of the day breakfast! 

We were in a McDonald’s mood so we stopped at the one just up the street from WP_20170625_07_47_45_Prothe hotel.  Turns out this is a “Skiing Themed” McDonald’s with six old gondola’s now serving as tables and lots of antique ski equipment scattered around “ski lodge” type paneling, very unique and very cool!  OH… and who had ever heard of Lobster Rolls at a McDonald’s? After topping off our bellies and the motorcycle’s tank we hit the road. About 45 minutes later we were at the base of Mt. Washington about to ride up the auto road.  

Mt. Washington at 6,288 feet is the highest peak in the Northeastern United WP_20170625_09_55_45_ProStates.  You can click on the link to see all the details but here are some highlights; fast wind speed ever recorded (not associated with a hurricane) and on average it snows every month of the year.  During the summer the temperatures can often be 40 or more degrees cooler at the top then the base of the mountain.  On our accent we started at a temp of 70F by the time we reached the summit the temperature was a crisp 42F. There will be a second post on our ride up and down Mt. Washington as Debbie filmed both the accent and decent of the mountain.  I will publish it at a later date after I have time to work on the raw footage.

Another interesting fact is that the operators of the auto road has contingencies for people that make it to the top and then do not want to drive their cars back to the bottom.  If you happen to be one of those folks you can take the train back to the base or ride down in a passenger van.  The operators will then drive your car to the bottom, for a fee of course! 

After getting back down we stripped off the layers (the temperature was now 76F) WP_20170625_11_40_38_Proand headed east.  Our goal was ambitious, we wanted to reach Bar Harbor, Maine.  You can tell by the title of the post we only made it to Bangor before we called it a day.  The plan now is to get up early and get on the road to Bar Harbor and Arcadia National Park.    

 

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 Pulling out of the Lake Placid hotel into a light rain (yup wet again) and lots of road spray day 7 of our motorcycle vacation begins.  The Adirondacks was just an awesome place to ride, even with the rain. 

WP_20170624_09_33_31_ProWe needed to reach Port Kent, New York no later than 930AM in order to make sure we are on the first ferry of the day to cross Lake Champlain.  We made it to the landing with about 10 minutes to spare!  We were the first to board the boat (they move motorcycles to the front, not sure why but I enjoyed the perk).  The ride across the lake on the Valcour (built in 1948) took about an hour before we rolled off the ferry and into Burlington, VT. 

Our first stop in Vermont was Green Mountain Harley Davidson.  I am very glad we did, Alan at Green Mountain turned us on to a different, more twisty, route over “Smugglers Notch” to get to our second stop.  That second stop was the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory.WP_20170624_13_10_51_Pro 

During the factory tour we got to see some of the history of the company, it started in a gas station, and how the ice cream is made today.  At the end of the tour we got to sample a new ice cream “Triple Carmel” which both Debbie and I really liked! 

After leaving Ben and Jerry’s it was only a short time before we were on theWP_20170624_16_19_58_Pro Kangamagus (and no I don’t know how to pronounce it!).  This could have been a great ride through the White Mountain National Forest, but, alas, it was a chore and a bit of a bore.  There were way too many cars on the road that had no clue on how to drive the curvy, somewhat mountainous route.  There was even an accident in one turn that I have no clue how it could have happened without a serious lack of driving skill and experience.  

Coming out of the other side of the Kangamagus I was beat.  We found a hotel, had a Mexican dinner and went to bed!  The next day we are heading to the top of Mount Washington.  By the way we are over 1500 miles on the trip so far.

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We pulled out of Niagara Falls about 8AM for this leg of our motorcycle vacation.  The plan was to ride along the coast of Lake Ontario until we reached Oswego, NY.  The day started out nice, puffy clouds, bright sun and open road.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe began the day’s motorcycle ride heading north on the Niagara Scenic Parkway.  The parkway runs up the American side of the Niagara River and is an excellent “Chill-out” ride.  When the parkway ended the Great Lakes Seaway Trail continued. The Seaway Trail runs along the coast of the lake but only in a few places is it actually on the coast, just as it was during the 3rd leg of our ride. But, the ride is just an awesome cruse through a lovely part of the country. It is hard to believe that upstate New York is the same state as New York City and surrounding area.

Riding though the countryside we stopped at a couple lighthouses andWP_20170622_10_11_51_Rich admired the views of the lake.  After a while we rolled up onto the Lake Ontario State Parkway, this parkway did actually run on the coast for a good part of the time.  BUT, there was a 6-10 mile stretch of the road that was like riding on a washboard.  By the time this part of the road was over we felt as if we had completed 100 rodeo bull rides, 1,000 jumping jacks and run a jack hammer for 10,000 hours!  This was one of those rides where it was just horrible during but becomes funny and a great story afterwards. 

Taking a break from the ride we decided to stop at Harv’s Harley Davidson.  If I thought that the Gowanda dealership was isolated Harv’s is really out there.WP_20170622_11_36_58_Pro  The folks that work there were super friendly and knowledgeable!  Turns out they are the sponsors of Wyman Racing (Kyle races MotoAmerica Superbike). I wish Kyle was there so I could have discussed MotoAmerica and the DawgHouse Radio’s thoughts about promoting the sport.

Harv’s also has a biker themed bed and breakfast and a café/bar called Milly’s Handle Bar Café.  This is one happening dealership. 

WP_20170622_16_44_36_ProAfter leaving Harv’s we got back on the Seaway Trail, after a little why we started talking about the time of day how much further we had to go.  This was the point I realized that I had miscalculated the time required to get to Lake Placid. We decided to hop up on the Interstate and get going!  We pulled into Lake Placid about 6PM, I really don’t like riding that long when we are trying to have a leisurely vacation. 

OH….did we get wet?  Yes, but just a little, we were racing the rain for the last 4 hours.  We were sprinkled on and off the entire time.  And based on the forecast it is likely that we are going to be damp for the rest of the trip. 

Last post It did not rain but we still got wet

 

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Rolling out of Eire, PA we headed north along the Lake Erie coast on Route 5WP_20170620_09_43_14_Rich(The Seaway Trail, an American Byway Seaway Trail, an American Byway).  We made an assumption that this part of our motorcycle vacation would be along the coast.  It was a great ride in good weather, for a change, but the road is not directly on the coast so that was a bit disappointing.  For the most part you only see Lake Eire a few times.

 Along Route 5 we stopped at several locations including a coupleSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES lighthouses.  The one thing that really surprised me was the amount of vineyards along the road.  There was miles upon miles of grape vines, thousands of acres.  This day’s ride, along route 5, has been our best, so far, for this year’s motorcycle vacation.  

After a few hours we riding the motorcycle through the cool mid-morning we decided to take a side trip over to Gowanda Harley Davidson.  Talk about being in the middle of know where, this is one of the most remote Harley dealerships we have been.  

Riding out from that dealership I set the GPS to take us to Buffalo Harley Davidson. Unlike the past, the last update to the “infotainment system” seems WP_20170620_09_24_55_Richto have fixed the problem of the GPS not quite finding the dealerships but, there are still some problems like the road showing up in Lake Erie.  If you follow me on FaceBook you know I collect the dealership pins but Buffalo HD was sold out, dang!   

After we checked into the hotel, and clocking 900 miles, we decided to ride down to the American side of the falls.  BIG MISTAKE…not to check the WP_20170620_15_17_29_Proweather radar.  About half way to the falls we could see rain in the distance and it was very clearly a heavy rain.  Turning around at the first opportunity, we made a run back to the hotel…. LOL we did not make it.  Quite well soaked we stopped under an overpass to wait out the storm.  I am very happy that the hotel has a laundry. 

After dinner we tried it again…this time we had no rain and had a good time at the falls.  Tomorrow we are going to travel to the Canadian side and check out the sites.  I know for a fact that we will be getting wet again tomorrow, we plan on taking the boat ride to under the falls! 

2017 Motorcycle Vacation Day 2

Ijustwant2ride.comToday we started the second leg of our 2017 motorcycle vacation. If you missed the first day’s wrap up you can check out our ride across US Route 50 here. 

Yes, todays 2nd leg of the vacation is subtitled correctly we rode in the rain…quite a bit.  We delayed our start time leaving Debbie’s dad’s home for more than an hour waiting for the rain to end.  That worked, to some level, as the morning rain ended but there was a lot of road spray. Wearing rain gear was mandatory all day. 

ijustwant2ride.comAbout three damp, dreary hours later we arrived at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. After spending about 2 hours walking thorough the very cool exhibits and videos we began getting weather alerts on our phones.  Based on the projections we decided we had time to grab lunch at the hall before hitting the road.  The hall has a small café (the entire facility is smaller then what I expected) that has three separate food preparation stations each with a menu from a famous chief, although I did not know any of them.  Debbie ordered a BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato sandwich)…check out what she received LOL. 

ijustwant2ride.comOne thing of surprising interest to me was that there were 2 motorcycles on display plus pictures of rock stars on bikes were scattered throughout the hall. One of the motorcycles is a custom trike from the Elvis Presley collection and one owned by John Mellencamp.    

Not forgetting the pending thunderstorm we quickly finished the lunch and got to the motorcycle. We made it just in time for the storm’s leading edge to make itself known.  By the time we got the rain suits on, the bike mounted and on the road the thunder boomer was at full power.  I attempted to find a place to pull off but when I did I noticed that every window in the homes and businesses were fully barred.  That and some other noticeable clues told me to move on, which we did.  This was some tricky riding, there was at least ½ inch of rain on the highway, big trucks and merging cars everywhere! 

After about 30 minutes the rain let up and we picked up our pace.  The plan was to make it to Erie, PA for the night.  Tomorrow we are going to ride the coast of Lake Erie up to Niagara Falls.  I hope that the forecasted rain is not as bad as it was today!

 

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We started our motorcycle vacation today.  We left the house about 8AM and headed out to Ohio on our Harley Davidson Ultra Limited.  Our, path for all but a few miles on day one, is via US Route 50.   

We picked up Route 50 just a few miles south of Leesburg, VA. I have to say that Route 50 from this point to our endpoint is a fantastic motorcycle ride.  In Virginia you ride through horse and wine county (I quite counting vineyards and wineries at 15).  In fact in Middleburg we saw folks preparing their horses for a jumping contest (I am sure there is a proper name for this contest, but I do not know what it is) there were dozens of horses and riders milling about. My wife said she thought it was called “Trials”, to which I replied then they are all guilty!

WP_20170615_09_55_38_ProShortly after crossing into WV you head into the Appalachian Mountains.  These mountain roads are some twisty fun for a motorcycle!  Swooping around turns, quick climbs and steep descents (up to a 9% grade) with spectacular views from the mountain tops and rolling farmland in the valleys make this a route, in my opinion, as much fun as any of the roads around the Tail of the Dragon.  By the way I dragged the floorboards of the bike a few times without even trying! 

WP_20170615_12_05_47_RichI had forgotten that Route 50 passed into Maryland for a few miles so today we traveled in 4 states. When we left Maryland and rode the motorcycle back into WV Route 50 also became the Northwestern Turnpike one of America’s Byways.  Stopping for lunch and gas in the little town of Grafton, WV we ate a McDonalds, which had to be one of the least clean stores we had been in…unfortunately I did not notice this until after we had received our food.    

WP_20170615_15_41_58_RichWe did make a side trip to Cairo … I am still taking my wife to all the great cities of the old world, via motorcycle.  I was able to get her to Lisbon and Damascus last year.  Athens is next on the list!   

The first day of our vacation motorcycle trip is now over.  315 miles through some of the best country for motorcycle riding.  I highly recommend this part of Route 50 to anyone passing through WV, MD or VA.  OHHH… for got to mention, that per Standard Operating Procedure, we got wet in a thunderstorm!!! Storm Chaser powers ACTIVATE!