Kawasaki Concours Forum

Riding => Rides and Stories => Topic started by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:42:00 pm

Title: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:42:00 pm
Two weeks off to finish off the eastern United States.  Draft route completed.  Riding buddy who relocated to Ohio for work got the time off.  We both like to camp and are compatible in riding style and distances between breaks so one isn't compromising for the other. 


For me this is going to be about a 4000 mile ride so I prepped the Concours with the new Pilot Road 4 tires.  They are advertised as one of the best rain tires out there so I am ready for anything.

Day 0:  Today I interstate ride 300 miles and then finish up the 487 mile ride past pig and chicken farms.  Now, I grew up smelling cows and horses so those don't bother me, but I don't know how anyone can get used to the smell of pigs and chickens.  My buddy shows me his new town, we cook out, and prep for the next day.

Day 1:  Neither of us are fond of cities and the traffic that is associated with them so we plan a route that avoids as much traffic as possible.  The goal for today is to cross Ohio into Pennsylvania, ride through the Allegheny National Forest and stop for the night at the start of the finger lake region of New York.


Typical Ohio back road.  I don't think my friend is going to have much use for his ZX10R in Ohio.


The ride gets a little more interesting once we get into the forest.



Unless you spend a lot of time planning your routes, small towns like Kane, PA are going to be in you path.  I enjoy seeing the architecture used in historic small towns.


Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:43:13 pm
Day 2:  Because it is Memorial Weekend we had to start our trip out with a hotel night in Hornell, NY.  All the area campgrounds wanted a 3 night stay to secure a campground.  We are hoping that we can show up at a campground in one of the state parks on Lake Champlain and find an opening that will allow us one night since the Holiday campers should be settled in by now.

Today we ride past the Finger Lakes and the Adirondacks on our way to Lake Champlain.


This region of New York is scenic and vast playground for boaters and campers.


I sure didn't plan on riding gravel roads during this trip.  Especially in the middle of town.  Definitely have a love/hate relationship with my GPS.  There are times where I question the road choice and other times when I applaud it.  This was the former.


I got a lot of looks for my choice in riding gear, but THAT is the point of wearing the Hi Viz gear.  Most people did notice me.  I only got to see their looks when I decided to walk into a store still geared up. 






This is one turn I didn't want to miss.  I'm not carrying a passport on this trip and I hear they will let you out easier than letting you back in.  LOL.


For some reason I didn't get any photos of our campsite at Grand Isle State Park.  It was a nice campground near the water with enough space between sites for a semblance of privacy.  The showers were warm and cost 50 cents for 4 minutes.
Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:44:41 pm
The plan for Day 3 was to ride some of the roads in northern Vermont and New Hampshire that I had read about in Roadrunner magazine.  I have been in the New England states before so the goal of this ride was to ride roads that are particularly interesting and see sites I have not seen before or particularly enjoyed on past visits.


The weather forecast was for a Canadian cold air mass to move south, bringing with it rain and cold weather.  I had researched the average weather in this region for this time of year, and noted the extremes on either end.  Over the next couple of days we would see the lower end of the extremes.  Good thing I was prepared.


As you can see in the photos below the roads were hit or miss regarding condition.  I spent a lot of time picking my line through irregularities in the road surface.




Lunch was a welcome respite from the cold and wet ride.  Shedding wet gear in a restaurant brought a lot of stares from the local patrons.  I haven't had a Veal Parmesan Grinder in many years.  It sure tasted good


Back on the road after a nice break, but he skies sure were looking ominous.  Thankfully there was no lighting about.  I don't mind the rain and the Pilot Roads were up to the task.  Lightning on the other hand took the life of my Brother in Law 5 years ago, so I have a personal respect for lightning.



Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:45:32 pm
Day 3 Continued:



Yes, I did get to lean the bike over from time to time.  Maybe one day I will have the time to edit video instead of just pulling stills out of them.



Campsite at Moose Brook State Park in New Hampshire.  The campground was pretty much empty since the holiday was over.  Good thing because we spent a lot of time in the bath house charging electronics, rinsing clothes, etc.

Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:46:19 pm
Day 4 brought no relief from the rain.  Fortunately, the showers passed in waves so we were able to stow our wet gear without getting the everything soaked.  Today the plan was to ride a loop through the White Mountains, ride to the top of Mount Washington and make it to Acadia National Park.  The weather had other plans for us.  We couldn't climb Mount Washington because it was shrouded in clouds and snow was falling at the summit.  We were forced to stop for the night in Augusta, ME and seek the refuge of a hotel because Ray's gear gave out on him and he was getting very cold.


As we passed by the road to the summit of Mount Washington I looked over and saw a truck starting the ascent at about 5 mph.  Even on a good day that would have been very frustrating on a bike.

One of our other goals for this trip was to ride the Kancamagus Scenic Byway.  Kancamagus Highway in NH: Welcome to the Kancamagus Scenic Byway! (http://www.kancamagushighway.com/)  It is a very scenic road when you can actually see something.  We had visibility of about 30 feet when we got to the 3000 foot elevation.  It took a lot of focus and concentration to ride that road in those conditions.   We continued on 112 past Lincoln, NH and with a break in the rain we took a break and I shot the following two photos.



The on and off rain continued and we would barely get a break when the next wave would start.



The hotel in Augusta, ME had huge rooms and hot beverages.  We took advantage of the laundry area and streamed "The World's Fastest Indian" movie.
Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:47:24 pm
Day 5:  Still a cold rain in Maine.  We eat a hearty breakfast and take our time packing up the bikes for the ride to Acadia.  I think it was 11:00 AM before we hit the road.


The Penobscot River bridge connects one of Maine's many Islands to the mainland.  We were told that Maine has over 4500 Islands, 3200 miles of coastline, and from the look of it, more Lobster Pounds than McDonalds.  ;)



Even my rain gear matches my riding gear. 


We made it to Acadia under cloudy skies. 


$5 is the entrance fee for motorcyclists for a week. 


Since our gear was still wet from 2 days ago, we decided to set up camp first and then go explore the park.  We stayed at Blackwood's Campground within the park.  $20 a night, but no showers.  You have to go to a privately run shower house just outside the campground and pay $2 for a shower of indeterminate length.  Hurry up and wash and then enjoy the hot water until it shuts off.  My camping gear is going on 10 years old so it did not shed the water as well as Ray's new gear.  Fortunately, I brought along some line so I could air dry everything prior to setting it up.


A previous camper with a vivid imagination arranged these colorful rocks and feathers.  Ray kept mentioning something about Blair Witch Project or something like that.  LOL!


Once camp was quazi-set up, it was time to find our first Lobster Roll.  For some reason every restaurant has their own take on the Lobster Roll so we never did get to try the traditional lobster in a toasted hot dog bun lobster roll.  This one was very good.


Even though it came out of a Camp Store / Restaurant / Bed and Breakfast.


The weather cleared up while we ate, so we decided to ride to the top of Cadillac Mountain and take in our surroundings.




Self Portrait of the "King of the World!"




Yes, even my helmet is Hi-Viz.  When people notice me in their rear view mirror, they get the heck out of the way.  I guess they figure I must look official or something.



The town of Bar Harbor as seen from the summit.

Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:48:55 pm
Day 6:  The plan for today was to ride north east along the coast until we got to the Canadian border, also looking for lighthouses, and the easternmost town of Lubec, ME.


These smaller border crossings come along with little fanfare or notice.  I almost got in line to cross, but Ray noticed and told me over the Sena headsets so I was able to avert the hassle of explaining myself to the border guards and was able to zip into this parking area.


The land on the other side of this water is Canadian soil.


From Ray's perspective.


Our first lighthouse sighting.  You can imagine how many lighthouses a rugged coastline like Maine's would have.


Entering the easternmost town of Lubec, ME


Lobster boats on their moorings



Another lighthouse in Lubec.  No, I didn't capture the names of all the lighthouses.  Not THAT interested in them.  ;)



Quaint little town with it's own bridge into Canada.


West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.  It is on the easternmost point of the contiguous United States.  There has been a lighthouse in this location since 1808.


On the way back to Acadia we stopped at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound for more Lobster and delicious New England Clam Chowder.  If you look in the spoon, you can see that they put whole clams in their chowder.  There must have been a dozen clams in that bowl.  Mmm, Mmm.



Back at Acadia National Park, we decided to ride the rest of loop roads that we didn't get to ride yesterday.



Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:50:46 pm
Day 7:  Today's destination is a small town in Massachusetts where some of my relatives reside.  We will spend a day and two evenings visiting before departing for what will be our most challenging day on this trip.   


Another view of the Penobscot Bridge as we were leaving the area.  I have ridden US-1 to the southern end at Key West, so it was nice to be able to ride sections of it in Maine.



On the way to Massachusetts, we wanted to visit Pemaquid Lighthouse.  The GPS plotted a nice coastal route on a small twisty road that enticed us to play and we were rewarded with a beautiful coastal view that we would have not seen had we stuck to the main roads.



Quote from: [url]http://www.bristolparks.org/lighthouse.htm[/url]
Rising above crashing surf and spectacular rock formations, the Pemaquid Lighthouse is a cultural and historical treasure. Each year, about 100,000 visitors come to explore the park grounds, take in the panoramic view of the Atlantic and marvel at one of the state's best known icons. It is so honored that, in 2003, Maine citizens voted to use its likeness to represent them on the state quarter.




There were a handful of artists painting the landscape in the photograph taken with my droid phone.  Very popular place for artists I suppose.


We were able to ascend the lighthouse.  Maine Lighthouses tend to be on rocky outcropping high above the water so they don't have to be very tall structures.  Unlike the lighthouses I have visited in Florida which rise many more stories into the air.



Even though the GPS is new, has the latest maps, and was set on fastest, but avoid highways, once in a while it would have me veer off onto a road that looks like this and in no way saves time.


We rode over a lot of bridges and saw many typical New England looking structures during our ride.




Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:52:05 pm
Day 9:  Today is Sunday and we decided that in order to avoid too much traffic, we are going to depart as early as possible and ride through Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, make a wide circle around New York City, by Crossing the Hudson near the Massachusetts/Connecticut line, then riding backroads through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and into Delaware.  Then we decided we didn't want to get caught in Monday morning traffic because Sunday was dense enough, so we headed west into Maryland toward West Virginia.  In all we rode over 540 miles on back roads and through towns that seemed to never end.


There was nothing in these states that I wanted to stop and see during this ride, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to see and do in these states.  I have visited them many times before, just never on a motorcycle so today's ride was to find the least travelled roads through the states so I could check them off my list.  We did find many scenic and interesting backroads.


I have seen photos of Motorcycles in front of the towers of the Saville Dam and Barkhamstead Reservoir on various forums.


Crossing into New York and the scenic countryside of that part of the state.



Crossing the Hudson where one might actually be able to swim in it.  Unlike further downstream.


I now know why they call New Jersey the Garden State.  I did not expect country riding in Jersey.


Crossing into eastern Pennsylvania is where the traffic really started to build.  I think we got too close to Allentown, and from then on the roads were had pretty steady traffic.


We were pretty beat by the time we entered into Delaware.  A quick snack at a fuel station and we were on our way out of there.


We arrived at Cunningham Falls State Park and got our tents set up just as darkness fell.  We were on the bikes 14 hours and we were worn out.  Too worn out it seems to even take a photo, or know the difference between Men's and omen's rest rooms.  I did wonder why there wasn't an urinal in the rest room.  Good thing the campground was all but deserted.  LOL!
Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:53:02 pm
Day 10:  The plan was to go explore some of the fine roads in West Virginia and then go our separate ways on day 11, but the weather forecast was for thunderstorms the next few days, and Ray's wife was looking for homes and needed his input.  We decided to separate here and Ray could make it home by the afternoon.  It would take me at least a day and a half to travel the 750 plus miles to home.

Today I decided I would shut off my avoid highways and see what route the GPS would have in store for me.  It didn't last long once I got onto I-81 south.  Trucks travelling 1/2 mile faster than other trucks would do the long pass which would queue the cars up behind them.  It got very frustrating and with the power of the Concours I knew I could weave in and out of traffic and get myself into a potential bad situation.  I decided to exit the interstate and tell the GPS to avoid highways.  Doing that caused frustration because I felt like the GPS was taking me way out of the way to find a good route.  I kept ignoring it and going my own way forcing it to recalculate.  I experienced some interesting roads, but was getting nowhere fast.  I finally forced it enough where it decided to keep me on US-11 that intertwines with I-81.  Once in a while I would pop on the interstate to avoid a town and pop back off to enjoy the two lane. 


I knew I did not want to continue this course once I got close to Knoxville, so I took an hour or more break at an Arby's and reserved and hotel room and plotted a route to Clinton, TN that would put me on some fast sweepers and hair raising turns in the hills north and west of Knoxville.  Unfortunately, I was too worn out to stop and get the GoPro going, but here is a close up view of some of the roads.



After checking into my hotel in Clinton, got cleaned up, and walked over to the Golden Girls restaurant for a home cooked meal of Broasted Chicken, Fried Okra, Fried Apples, and Fried Corn Bread.  Topped it off with a Black and Tan and a good nights sleep.  I don't know how many miles I actually rode this day, but it was a lot.
Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: twowheeladdict on June 11, 2014, 06:59:55 pm
Day 11:  A nice 300 something mile ride and I am home


If you are ever travelling I-40 west of Knoxville, do yourself a favor and get off the interstate and ride Hwy 70.  Fun curvy road that will provide some thrills.


About 100 miles from home I was pulling away from some vehicles before settling in at about 5 MPH over the limit.  When I looked in my rear view a bright blue explorer was riding right behind me.  I upped my speed a little so I could put some distance between us and all of a sudden blue lights.  Dang, he is a LEO.  I pull over and take off my helmet.  He gets out of his vehicle and puts on his hat.  He told me I was speeding and I told him he was driving too close to me so I speeded up to put distance between us.  He just checked the validity of my license and sent me on my way with a handshake. 

About 60 miles from home my Tire Pressure Sensor alarm started flashing on my dash and I could see that my rear tire pressure was dropping steadily.  Damn!  I looked for a place to pull over and moved into the shoulder and finally pulled into a closed business.  I got the bike up on the center stand before it went totally flat.  Of course it was also raining. 

I spun the tire and could not find the source of the flat.  I connected my compressor but it couldn't put enough air into the tire for me to disconnect and spin the tire looking for the puncture.  I couldn't feel anything on the parts of the tire I could reach.  Double Damn!  Good thing I have ROK roadside assistance.  I gave them a call and arranged for a tow to my home or dealer of my choice.  I opted for home so I could pull the wheel and take a look.  Most motorcycle dealers won't repair and few have the proper tire in stock.

This is how I finished my 4000 mile ride.


It was a great trip, and I am sold on the Tire Pressure sensors.  Riding out a flat tire on a loaded motorcycle is not a fun experience.  The TPMS that come standard on the Concours made a flat a safe experience.
Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: RFH87_Connie on June 12, 2014, 05:44:39 am
Great odyssey!  And great write up.  Sounds like a wonderful trip.  At least the flat at the end was easy to resolve to get home.
Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: Pilgrim on June 12, 2014, 03:45:10 pm

Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: Rhino on June 12, 2014, 04:39:50 pm
Nice! Thanks for sharing! I don't know why but for some reason I'm hungry for seafood.
Title: Re: My 2014 New England Tour
Post by: Sly on June 12, 2014, 06:53:40 pm
 :goodpost: :finger_fing11: too bad about the tire, at least it didn’t ruin the whole trip!