Group Weekend on the Puppy Dog Route, Vermont

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Hulked Up, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. Hulked Up

    Hulked Up Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
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    <o:p> </o:p>
    Along for the ride was: Andy (2008 red KLR), Andrei (2007 G-650X Challenge), Chris (2007 G-650X Challenge) and Craig (2008 R1200GS).
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    Day 1
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    Within a few miles of the interstate in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Greenfield</st1:place></st1:city> we hit the dirt for the first time. <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Green River Road</st1:address></st1:street> follows the River all the way into <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vermont</st1:place></st1:state> until you get to a nice covered bridge (Green River Bridge, circa 1870).
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    We had some initial confusion with the routing as my GPS was showing a different route than Craig’s. We later realized that I had downloaded the 2008 version of the route, while Craig had the 2009 one. This caused a little confusion until we just deferred to Craig and let him lead the ride on the big GS.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The route had us criss-crossing hills all over southern <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vermont</st1:place></st1:state>. The weather was hot, but in the woods it was at least 10 degrees cooler, really perfect riding weather. We didn’t see many cars at all. The views were pretty amazing as were the roads. It was one of those rides were we had to decide whether to watch the road or the scenery.
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    We took a break at Townsend Dam before stopping for lunch
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    <o:p> </o:p>
    I ended up leading for a while after lunch, using the 2008 route. To get us back on track we had to take a lot of paved roads. Fortunately most were pretty fun, in fact in one series of corners we all scraped our pegs.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Taking a break at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Amherst</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Lake</st1:placetype></st1:place>, right off Route 100
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    This is later in the day, stopped along a farm, next to some cows.
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    <o:p> </o:p>
    The roads we were on were all pretty well packed down and in the straight-aways you could get it up to 45-50 mph. The limiting factor was the visibility as there were a lot of blind corners. Many of those could be taken at 30-35 mph. The route is well named as it’s not a difficult ride even for the big bikes. I have well-worn Avon Distanzias on my KLR and I had no traction issues.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    We got into our hotel in Barre around dinnertime with about 150 miles under our belts. If you’re looking for a decent place to stay in that area, give the the Hilltop Inn a look. The rooms were only $69, clean and they have a nice bar and restaurant. We had a good steak dinner that night for only about $15.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Day 2
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    <o:p> </o:p>
    We got some unhappy news in the morning as Chris had to head home to attend to an emergency business matter. The poor guy had to ride the X-Challenge a couple hours on the interstate just to pick up his car/trailer and drive another 2 hours home.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The four of us set off to rejoin route. This time both Craig and I were using the correct 2009 map. We had to ride south a little bit to pick up Day 2 of the route. I picked out some dirt roads from the motel and within a mile and a half we were back on dirt. Some of these roads were not puppy dogs at all. One in particular had some wash-outs and water running through it. It was definitely more challenging than we were used to and made us think that we should work on a “<st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Bull Dog Route</st1:address></st1:street>” through <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vermont</st1:place></st1:state> some time.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    We rejoined the Puppy Dog and got to the top of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Roxbury</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Mountain</st1:placetype></st1:place>.
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    [​IMG]
    That’s Lincoln Gap and Sugarbush in the background.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    We descended and had a perfect breakfast at the Warren Store.
    [​IMG]
    If you are in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vermont</st1:place></st1:state>, you may not have much luck finding restaurants for breakfast or lunch. Check out the general stores for your meals. You won’t be disappointed.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Lincoln Gap didn’t have a summit view payoff. From there we rode into the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Green</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Mountain</st1:placetype> <st1:placetype w:st="on">National Forest</st1:placetype></st1:place>. We headed south down to Route 125 over this road called “Natural Turnpike.” It was just heaven…straight through the woods, completely isolated. From there we headed north again and were rewarded with miles and miles of mountain vistas of the <st1:place w:st="on">Green Mountains</st1:place>.
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    Andrei taking a break
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    I did not realize there were that many National Forest Service dirt roads through the area. You could literally base in Middlebury or Warren and spend multiple days exploring those roads. It may be a future trip of ours.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The day 2 route had very little pavement compared to day 1. In fact we stayed off of it unless we were crossing from one dirt section to another. Just paradise for a dual sport.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    To make the day even better we stopped along the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Winooski</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">River</st1:placetype></st1:place> (within sight of I-89) and a couple of us jumped in and went swimming.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    After the swim we had a great lunch at Arvad’s right on Route 2. The food was amazing. We got a kick out of watching all the motorcycles cruising by, mostly Harleys. I’m sure they were having as much fun as we were, but we thought it was cool that we never saw another bike on the dirt roads over the entire weekend.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    After lunch we headed east of Stowe, staying out of the most populated areas. One road we really enjoyed through there was “Sweet.” We also began to see more of the extremes in wealth in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vermont</st1:place></st1:state>…everything from the multi-million dollar second homes to the people eking out a bare existence. At one point we all saw a woman outside of her home, which had begun to collapse in on itself around the center. She was still living in it. I also saw one guy living in a pop-up trailer on some property.
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    [​IMG]
    This is Andy just east of Stowe. Again we were blessed with many mountain vistas along the route.
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    Typical road in this area
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    We found this bridge out in the middle of nowhere, <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Sterling</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">VT</st1:state></st1:place> to be specific.
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    It’s called <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Red</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Bridge</st1:placetype></st1:place> and dates to 1869.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    At the bridge Andrei and I switched bikes for a while. The X-Challenge was so light and nimble compared to the KLR. It really took no time to acclimate to it. I had confidence immediately and could spin the tires out of corners with no problems.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    At this point we needed to find gas for the X-Challenge as it only has a range of a little over 100 miles. Gas in this area is not too common so we had to deviate from the route and go over to Johnson. Having a GPS is indispensable for a ride like this. There are gas stations and restaurants along the route, but if you have a small tank the GPS takes all the headaches out of it.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    By this time it was getting late in the day so we decided to modify the route again, do part of the 2008 route, which would shave some mileage off and get us to the motel quicker.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    We took a paved road and went by this old asbestos mine in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Eden</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">VT.</st1:state></st1:place>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    It’s hard to see, but the gray pile of earth on the right are the trailings from the mine excavation. I found out later that this mine took out asbestos from 1936-1993 and has been shuttered since. The gates are locked and no trespassing signs are everywhere.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Check out this web-site for better pictures.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    After that we found a water crossing on the way to Hazens Notch. Andy was dying to try it so he made a few passes with the KLR. There were no other takers.
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    By this point we had all been riding well together, all at the same pace and were just having fun as a group. A perfect day.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Eventually we reached <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Troy</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">VT</st1:state></st1:place> and the end of the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Puppy Dog Route</st1:address></st1:street>. We made it.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    You can see <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canada</st1:place></st1:country-region> from here
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    Andy and Craig
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Our motel for Saturday wasn’t all we expected. The Pine Crest in Barton had gotten good reviews on Trip Advisor and I booked it based on those recommendations. It was a little too small for our tastes, although it was clean. Pretty reasonably priced if you are doing the trip on a budget.
    <o:p> </o:p>
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    This was our cabin.
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    <o:p> </o:p>
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    The pool was definitely appreciated at the end of the day.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    Also had a waterfall, which blocked out some of the noise from Route 5
    <o:p> </o:p>
    For dinner we got a recommendation from the motel caretaker to check out The Parker Pie Company in W. Glover, VT. We were told it was behind a general store. Without the GPS we probably wouldn’t have found it because it was right in the middle of some farmland.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    It didn’t look like much on the outside.
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    [​IMG]
    (R to L: Andy, Andrei and Craig) There was some seating inside, but only a few tables and hotter than hell in there. Outside there were only 3 picnic tables, so we chose the logs until one of the tables opened up.
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    [​IMG]
    This is the back, where the restaurant and seating area is located.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I warmed up to the place pretty quickly. There were a lot of people there, it was clear this was the center of social activity in Glover on a Saturday night. It had a quirky-ness that made it a very memorable meal. The pizza was also delicious. Highly recommended.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Day 3
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I was starting to feel sick on Saturday, sore throat and tired, and needed to get home quicker than planned. Andrei was also headed straight home to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Brookline</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">Mass.</st1:state></st1:place> in the morning. Craig and Andy decided to take a side-trip over to <st1:place w:st="on">Mount Washington</st1:place> to ride to the summit, given what nice weather we were having.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The bikes:
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Mine, 2008 KLR:
    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Andy’s KLR:
    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Andrei’s X-Challenge:
    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Before I headed home though I decided to do a little exploring, since I was in the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Northeast</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Kingdom</st1:placetype></st1:place> and don’t get the opportunity to get up there too often.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I enjoy unusual tourist attractions that are a little bit different from the norm. I decided to combine visits to a few of them before jumping on the interstate to get home. I linked some dirt roads together to get to my first one. Again, another perfect day in paradise:
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Just down the road was the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Gregoire</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Castle</st1:placetype></st1:place> in Irasburg
    [​IMG]
    It was handbuilt by a couple and they have a café there, although it was closed when I went by.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The next place I went to was the Old <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Stone</st1:placename> <st1:placename w:st="on">House</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Museum</st1:placetype></st1:place> in Browington. It was built by the first African-American college graduate in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">U.S.</st1:place></st1:country-region>, Alexander Twilight, and he operated a school here. It’s said that he built it himself, block by block.
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    Pretty amazing feat, if true. The <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Northeast</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Kingdom</st1:placetype></st1:place> has a lot of these kinds of things that pop up where you least expect them.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Next I went to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Lake</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Willougby</st1:placename></st1:place>. Boston Magazine had recently named it one of the best lakes in <st1:place w:st="on">New England</st1:place>.
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    The <st1:place w:st="on">Lake</st1:place> is between the sheer rock walls of Mounts Pisgah and Hor. It’s stunning.
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    [​IMG]
    Route 5 runs alongside the bank in places
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    Definitely worth a return visit.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    As I headed south to St. Johnsbury, I was able to use the GPS again to link up some great dirt roads. Amazing riding up there.
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    Right on Route 2 in <st1:place w:st="on">E. St.</st1:place> Johnsbury was this roadside curiousity made out of two Ford Aspires.
    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    My last stop was at Stephen Huneck’s Dog Chapel. It’s an interesting story: the man was an artist who after having a near death experience, had a vision to build a Dog Chapel, "A place where people can go and celebrate the spiritual bond they have with their dogs." I’m not a dog owner, but I was impressed with the place and his art.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]
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    The chapel was closed when I was there, but you can leave behind pictures of your departed loved ones when it’s open.
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    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    From there I had two hours of interstate riding to get home. At the <st1:state w:st="on">Mass.</st1:state> border I passed a few fellow inmates from <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Connecticut</st1:place></st1:state>. Two guys on KTM enduros, a GS and the leader had a KTM Adventure with the license plate reading “ADV-RDR.” Hope you guys had a great weekend too.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I’ve been laid out with a cold since then, but it hasn’t dampened my enjoyment of the trip. You cannot go wrong with a few days on the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Puppy Dog Route</st1:address></st1:street>. You’ll see a side of <st1:place w:st="on">New England</st1:place> you’ve never seen before and you’ll get some great riding in to boot.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    My partners may add some pictures too.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    #1
  2. RockyNH

    RockyNH Older Than Dirt!

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,122
    Location:
    Georgia Coast!
    Hulked Up,

    Great ride report and great photos.. I did that last year with a friend of mine.. brought back lots of memories... good job and thanks for sharing..
    #2
  3. Spinalcracker

    Spinalcracker former redriderofma

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,093
    Location:
    Western MA
    Hey Hulked Up


    Great RR. I'm glad you such great weather for the weekend. I have only done the Southern section. From your photos I need to get to the North ! I might try in the fall when the trees change color.

    Thanks for posting
    #3
  4. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    17,390
    Location:
    In the shadow of the Uncanoonucs...
    Isn't that a great ride? Looks like you guys had a fantastic introduction to DS touring. That was my first one as well and I try to make it an annual event now.

    :nod

    [​IMG]

    There's some great riding in western Mass as well. Our route began down in CT thru MA to the PD route and ended in Marshfield, VT. That was apeirce you saw in the lead on the 950. Probably Beez on the GS and the two enduro riders aren't officially on here yet but that will likely change.

    Nice RR. Thanks for taking the time and posting it.
    #4
  5. Icehole

    Icehole HOOLIGANZ

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    Green Mountains
    Nice report, and very nice pics. I know some of those roads quite well. Glad you had nice weather for the trip, those dirt roads would have been different kind of fun if you were here in April/May/June/July.:D
    #5
  6. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,120
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Nice. Check out the Bayley-Hazen Military Road next time; you'll love it.

    --mark
    #6
  7. Hulked Up

    Hulked Up Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    Did you ride all through Mass on the Trans-Mass Trail and then link up to the PDR?
    #7
  8. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    17,390
    Location:
    In the shadow of the Uncanoonucs...
    :huh Good question.:D

    I believe so. I just followed the guy in front of me through some very cool dirt roads.:lol3

    Ended up cutting the PD short as we had some 'technical difficulty' early in the day that delayed us a bit. It was a fairly aggressive route at over 300 miles and 15 or 16 riders.
    #8
  9. CBejbl

    CBejbl Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,043
    Location:
    East
    Nice pics and Narrative HU!

    Thanks so much for putting it together.
    #9
  10. ridingAK

    ridingAK On the Road Less Taken...

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    250
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    That was beautiful. I've never ridden in that part of the country. Now it is on my list of places to go. Thank you.
    #10
  11. Drewha

    Drewha Thunderbirds Are Go

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    656
    Location:
    Tolland,Ct
    More photos from the trip, before my camera crapped out. Mt. Washington was a an absolute blast. Glad Craig and I made the side trip. He should have some photos to post.
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    Fred Garvin , Male Prostitute/Adventure Rider ( aka Chris )
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    Heading over the Dam
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    Cresting the summit.
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    Craig
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    Breakfast at The Warren House
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    The restroom rock album wall at the W.H.
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    Then my camera crapped out.
    #11
  12. Drewha

    Drewha Thunderbirds Are Go

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    656
    Location:
    Tolland,Ct
    Thanks for all the planning Keith. :clap Great time as always. Awesome time riding with you guys. 819 miles total.
    #12
  13. Hulked Up

    Hulked Up Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    Thanks for the on-board shots! Awesome.

    I appreciate everyone going...definitely got to do that one again.
    #13
  14. PsychoSayWhat

    PsychoSayWhat Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    437
    Location:
    not in denial
    Awesome RR and great pictures :clap

    I'm hoping to get up there in September for some of the PDR and I'm really stoked now. I'll be heading over to Gilman/Lunenburg somewhere along the way and probably riding a couple notches as part of the trip, time permitting.

    I stayed at the Hilltop when I was up for graduation (MSIA) at Norwich in '07 and agree that it was pretty nice place - didn't realize it was convenient for the trail but I'm glad you mentioned it now. Good breakfast there (and close to the school).
    #14
  15. OutDoorMoto

    OutDoorMoto Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Love the pics, thanks for sharing!
    #15
  16. Beez

    Beez Given to fly

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,928
    Location:
    Framingham, MA
    Nice report HulkedUp. :thumb That was me on the GS and Adam, Dan and Ray on KTMs. We were slabbing it home and I peeled off 91 to 2 then 495 to home. What a great weekend and route, huh? Here's my gallery for the weekend. http://beez.smugmug.com/gallery/9300335_DHQZu
    #16
  17. Hulked Up

    Hulked Up Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    It looks like you guys had a great weekend too. Weird, I think you guys were riding a route through Mass. that I laid out last year (Trans-Mass Trail). I know Old Route 9 was on it. Is it possible to bypass the trees now?
    #17
  18. DirtGrlll

    DirtGrlll Positively Motocyclic

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Southern Worcester County, MA
    Great ride report...I've been thinking I'd really like to hit this up and now I know that I would love to try it sometime! Thanks for the write up and pics.
    #18
  19. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,543
    Location:
    Diamond Bar, CA.
    Ahh, New England... :tb

    Next time I'm back on the East Coast, I want to do this PDR ride...

    Perhaps mid winter...
    Anyone?
    Studded tires?
    Anyone? :wink:

    Only crazy ADVriders need apply.
    Q~
    #19
  20. Leebo

    Leebo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    754
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Another great ride report Keith.
    Lee
    #20