Posts Tagged ‘Motorcycle’

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If you follow me on FaceBook (which most don’t as I don’t really push it) or Twitter you know that I collect Harley Davidson Motorcycle Dealership Pins.  Debbie and I also collect pins that remind us of our motorcycle rides to various destinations.

This year we collected motorcycle ride pins during out nearly 3000 mile vacation ride, touring along a couple of the Great Lakes and into New England.  Neither of us had been into the northeast United States for anything beyond a business trip, so that is why we chose to go there this year.  You can read about our rainy, soggy, drenched motorcycle vacation starting here.

We rode to so some pretty cool places along the way.  On White Face Mountain we got to see the inside of a rain cloud and at Ben & Jerry’s we tasted a new ice cream that is not yet on the market.  All in all we had a great time touring and these motorcycle ride pins will be conversation starters moving forward.

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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WELL…. Pulling out of the B&B and heading south on the Maine coast in a blue sky morning was just a picture perfect motorcycle vacation, too bad it did not last. With Boston and New York on the horizon we were not thrilled with the thought of the traffic that lay ahead.  Our intention was to ride around Boston on I495 and then head south west toward New York. 

Those plans did not really hold hard due to a series of rain storms.  With rain drops the size of small birds smacking me in the face and my glasses fogging up repeatedly we decided to pull off early and find a room… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  It seems that every hotel along the I95 corridor was sold out!  WARNING….do not travel on the I95 corridor during the summer vacation season if you are free-styling (i.e. no real plan). 

Luckily for us our daughter jumped on the computer and started looking for a hotel while we were riding.  During one of the stops, attempting to hide from the rain, she called and told us we had a room….in Rhode Island. The hotel was about 50 miles away and it was raining hard, sigh.  BUT (insert a choir of angels going AHAAAAAA) all of a sudden the clouds cleared and the rain stopped.  According to the weather radar that was not what was supposed to happen.  Not looking a gift horse (Trojan horse) in the mouth we quickly remounted our steed and took off.  The rain, and some hail, resumed almost as soon as we were checked in.  I really did not ride faster than my guardian angel could fly! 

WP_20170628_09_09_30_ProSeveral band of storms later we woke up to another beautiful morning and the weather radar showed that there was no rain anywhere!!!!!!!! Our new plan was to ride cross county to Hartford, CN then down to Danbury then on to Orange County Choppers headquarters in Newburgh, NY.   

The stop at Orange County Choppers was a blast.  Regardless of your thoughts on the WP_20170628_16_02_47_ProTeutul’s, the bikes they produced during the run of their show are just so cool to look at in person.  Too soon it was time to get back on the road.  Making it to Scranton, PA we stopped for the night.  The next morning we made the push for home. 

2982.6 miles from Virginia to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Niagara Falls to Lake Placid, Bar Harbor and back.  Even with all the rain we endured this was a great motorcycle vacation.  If you have not stepped up to long distance motorcycle touring it is something you should consider for your future.  What you feel, see, and hear while riding your motorcycle is so much more intense and impactful then riding in a car. For me it is being in the movie not watching the movie through your windshield.

 

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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

 

WP_20170621_09_54_49_RichWe did not do a lot a riding today.  We took the motorcycle to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls to check out the sites an some of the tourist trap things.  We ended the day riding the Maid of the Mist boat up to the falls… and that is where we got wet today!

Tomorrow we hit the road again.  The plan is to travel up the coast of Lake Ontario then inland to Lake Placid.  So for now here are some random picks from today!

 

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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!