New Hampshire to Florida and Back and More!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by GraniteStateGS, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Latest report starts near the end of page 3.

    First ride report and brief introduction. Decided to learn how to ride a motorcycle last year, got my license in the spring and soon after picked up a 2014 BMW g650gs. Made several day trips to the New Hampshire lakes region and commuted throughout the summer to become more comfortable with the bike. Highlight of the summer was a weekend trip with a dear friend going from Hampton, New Hampshire to Bar Harbor, ME and back. That trip officially hooked me on motorcycle traveling.

    At some point during the summer I got the idea of driving the bike from New Hampshire to Florida where my parents live. The original plan was to maybe leave the end of September or early October while the weather was still decent up north. Well, life kicked in and I found myself having to make the trip during Thanksgiving. Here is the trip report...

    Day 1, packed and ready to roll.

    Very short 1st leg from my condo in Hampton, NH to my brothers home in Woburn, MA. This would be the longest I have ever traveled on a highway (I-95) so it was a bit of an adventure to me.

    20151125_125136 (1).jpg

    The highway turned out to be very uneventful. The trip really starts on day 2 anyway...
    #1
    disconnected and brgsprint like this.
  2. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 2, Thanksgiving day, Woburn Ma to Bethesda MD.

    Woke up early, cold outside (maybe 30) so bundled up. Hit the road at around 5AM. Plan was to avoid I-95, stay north of New York City to avoid traffic, travel into Pennsylvania and south to Bethesda MD. My fears of heavy traffic were unfounded and made it to my 1st interesting stop on my little adventure. Gettysburg PA.

    thumb.jpg

    I was surprised to find the park open having never been before. It was getting late so I made a quick loop around the auto trail and snapped a few shots of the bike and the monuments. It's an amazing place and I will be revisiting the area soon so I can spend more time taking it all in.

    thumb (1).jpg

    All too soon I found myself back on the road and headed to Bethesda MD where I had booked a hotel for the night. Besides the visit to the battlefield the highlight of the day was a total stranger offering me homemade doughnuts at a gas station. Like many on this forum have said, you're never alone on a motorcycle as they seem to attract people and random acts of kindness...
    #2
    popscycle, Skansen and disconnected like this.
  3. brgsprint

    brgsprint Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    534
    Location:
    Endicott, NY
    I rode a lot of years before taking a long trip and a lot more before doing a long solo trip. (I still haven't done a decent ride report.)

    Thanks for taking the time to report. I'll be following along.
    #3
  4. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 3, Bethesda MD to Virginia Beach VA

    Another chilly start but an otherwise beautiful day. Started with a visit at breakfast with some college friends. One lives in the DC area, another was over from Germany with his family. Great visit with great friends and not enough time as each party had plans for the day and needed to depart way too soon. To get to Virginia Beach I decided to head towards Annapolis MD and take RT 13 south.

    Only picture of the day was taken just prior to crossing the bay into Virginia Beach:

    thumb (2).jpg

    Spent the night with another great friend from College and his family. Was properly introduced to some very good Sushi which I never thought I would enjoy.
    #4
  5. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 4, Virginia Beach VA to Myrtle Beach SC.

    Another early start and too shot a visit with a great friend. The plan was to head out to the NC Outer Banks and ride the coast. Day started beautifully and I soon found myself in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Stopped to view the Wright Brothers National Monument:

    thumb (3).jpg

    It was at this time I realized I wouldn't make the time I wanted to riding the outer banks due to the ferry schedules. I figured I would head south a bit more and have a look at the dunes then go inland.

    thumb (4).jpg

    I am glad I made this choice. My new route (264) brought me through some amazing NC farmland and some interesting small towns. The highlight of the detour was seeing cotton fields for the 1st time in my life. Unfortunately no pictures, I found myself hurrying to get to my destination that night.
    #5
    MarkVeeMarkADV and popscycle like this.
  6. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 5, Myrtle Beach SC to Boynton Beach FL

    Got in later than expected the night before. Had plans to go out and get myself a nice meal and a beer then a good nights sleep. Instead I found myself too tired and had some water and a protein bar then lights out. Up early the next morning. I got into Myrtle Beach in the dark and was leaving in the dark, so this is the only picture of me on the beach in the early morning hours....the waves sounded very nice...

    thumb (5).jpg

    I made the decision to drive all the way to Boynton Beach FL after a conversation I had with my cousin who lives in the area. It was Sunday, the Pat's were playing the Broncos that night and they planned pizza and beer for the game. Who could resist? So off I went. The ride from the coast to I95 was interesting, more farmland and rivers. It isn't until I hit 95 with all the cars and high speed did the day become hell. I was quit amazed that my thumper could keep up with the pace, but the little trooper did just wonderfully! I was making decent time despite some rain in Daytona then hit an awful traffic jam about an hour north of my destination. Sorry Florida, you have far worse drivers than Massachusetts, and it isn't the retiree's. I managed to arrive safely and spent the night with my aunt and uncle after watching the Pat's lose. I also missed my cousin as he had to bring the kids home for school. We did manage to link up the following day for a nice breakfast.
    #6
  7. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 6, Boynton Beach FL to Sarasota FL

    The last leg! This day would bring my to my destination. My parents home in Sarasota FL. After having a great morning with my relatives I hit the road a little later, around noon, for the trip across the State. I decided to take RT 70. It was a warm day but the road was clear. Central Florida is very different than the coast, obviously flat, but full of farm and cow pastures, really pretty actually. The crossing was largely uneventful until I hit a turkey vulture as it slowly took off. I was going maybe 65 when I saw it take flight, started to slow down then thump, off the windscreen and helmet as I ducked. I managed to stay upright and slowed down trying not to lose my ez-pass that popped off it's mount and into my lap. I quick inspection of the bike showed no damage other than some feathers. I took a look for the bird but didn't see it, I think it flew off...or got eaten. No way was I wandering off a road in the middle of Florida. An hour or so later, I was done!

    thumb (6).jpg

    The whole trip was about 2200 miles. I was absolutely soaked with sweat under all that gear...but glad I had it!

    The bike is now enjoying Florida waiting for our next little adventure, thanks for reading!
    #7
    rvsparky, CavReconSGT and Tallbastid like this.
  8. ADVCoop

    ADVCoop Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,053
    Location:
    Springtown TX
    Good stuff, thanks for sharing.
    #8
  9. yankeeone

    yankeeone Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    209
    Hi, thanks for posting your ride report. I would like to get down and check out the outer banks my self at some point.
    #9
  10. Hernando

    Hernando Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    WNC
    Day 5: Myrtle Beach to Boynton—That’s a looong haul!

    Day 6: “No way was I wondering off a road in the middle of Florida”, -- don’t blame you, those Burmese Pythons are all over the fecking place down there, and they’re heading north quickly. I bet those sugar cane fields around Lake Okeechobee are crawling with them.

    Enjoyed your RR, thanks for posting.
    #10
  11. CoonDogFarmTruck

    CoonDogFarmTruck Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    SE Pennsylvania
    Nice ride! I'm planning a trip from Philly to Maine this summer, followed by a trip South to Boynton Beach to see my grandparents on my Vstrom. Any suggestions on places to go or things to see in the New England area? Did you use navigation?
    #11
  12. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    CoonDogFarmTruck, Thanks for reading. I used my smartphone for navigation, I also carried a Michelin Map book. There is tons to see in New England. Being a newer rider I am still exploring the area and plan to hit a lot more this year now that my confidence has increased. I live on the NH coast so have gotten to know it and the areas north and south well. I would highly recommend following the coast from north of Boston, maybe starting in Gloucester and the coast road around Rockport. Then hop onto 133 to 1a into Newburyport. Downtown and Plumb island are nice places to visit when there. You can then continue on Rt 1 over the bridge then back onto 1a to drive up the coast all the way to Portsmouth, NH. Portsmouth is another great town to explore. You can add the loop around New Castle just prior to Portsmouth as well, that is 1b.

    From Portsmouth jump on RT 1 and bingo, you're in Kittery Maine! I would then recommend 103 north, this is a beautiful road that runs up the coast into York. These pictures are from my trip last year Make a stop at Nubble light:
    thumb (7).jpg

    Then continue up the coast via 1a. There are several roads off of 1a that lead to the ocean and beautiful views. Follow Rt 9 into Kennebunkport and up along Ocean drive, this also takes you to a viewing area for the Bush compound:

    thumb2.jpg

    From there find your way back onto Rt 1 or divert into Old Orchard Beach then back onto Rt 1 into Portland, ME, another great city to visit. You can add the Cape Elizabeth loop if you need more ocean and light houses. North of Portland is my favorite part of Maine. There are so many places to explore. I have only followed Rt 1 from Portland to Bar Harbor with a stop over in Booth Bay on my bike:

    20150812_145934.jpg

    Plenty more small towns to visit on the way to Bar Harbor such as Wiscasset and Camden. Plan to spend a few days in Bar Harbor, that area is amazing and a sunrise viewing from the top of Cadillac Mountain is a must (Fogged in the last time I was there so no pictures of that).

    20150627_201331.jpg

    Writing this up makes me want to take the trip again! Let me know when you're coming through and maybe I will tag along! For your return trip head through the White Mountains of New Hampshire then into VT. I can't recommend any roads as I have yet to ride them but the scenery is stunning. Or just keep heading north into Canada and over to Nova Scotia!

    Enjoy!
    #12
  13. BearNH

    BearNH Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2015
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Central New Hampshire
    Nice ride report granite state. If you find yourself in the Winnipesaukee area let me know always looking for a reason to ride. Might even try to get out today.
    #13
  14. CoonDogFarmTruck

    CoonDogFarmTruck Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    SE Pennsylvania
    Writing this up makes me want to take the trip again! Let me know when you're coming through and maybe I will tag along! For your return trip head through the White Mountains of New Hampshire then into VT. I can't recommend any roads as I have yet to ride them but the scenery is stunning. Or just keep heading north into Canada and over to Nova Scotia!

    Enjoy!

    I just entered it into my phone (which I'll use as navi as well). This looks like a beautiful ride! I will definitely let you know when I schedule it and see if we can't ride together for at least some portion of it!
    #14
  15. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Thanks BearNH! I have some good friends who have a camp on Ossipee. I go up there at least once, sometime twice a month during the spring/summer. I will let you know the next time I ride the bike up.
    #15
  16. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Thanks for the advice Geology Rocks, I think I will. I am actually planning a short trip in a few weeks when I head down to Florida. I have a new seat to install (Seat Concepts Kit) and the bike needs its 6k service. If I can get all that done and have some time I may take a few days to ride around Florida some more. Stay tuned!
    #16
  17. disconnected

    disconnected brap

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    8,620
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Thanks for sharing!
    #17
  18. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Just a quick update on my little adventures. I managed to take some time off in February and plan a ride for a few days. My trip plan was to head out from my parents in Sarasota and camp for 2 nights in Key West. I have always wanted to drive along the keys from Miami. But first I needed to address a little issue I had coming down a few month before, a very sore rear and the need for a new seat! I had a Seat Concepts kit shipped a week before my arrival. It was an easy install with an air stapler and in an hour or so it was done.

    Here is the bike with the new seat all ready to go. This would be the 1st time I was packed to camp. All my camp gear is stored in the duffle bag. One hard bag has bike specific gear in it, the other personal items.

    20160223_083617.jpg

    Day 1 Sarasota to Key West

    I left around 8 am to overcast skies. Weather report showed scattered showers. First few hours were all highway until I hit RT 29 s just East of Naples. Uneventful highway travel, managed to avoid all the rain. Things started to get interesting on 29 when I saw this sign

    20160223_113947.jpg

    From 29 I jumped onto 41 East. Beautiful road, you certainly get a feel for the everglades here. Lots of places to stop and take an air boat ride. No pictures along this route as the weather was really threatening to rain. I almost made it to my turn onto 997 when the rain hit and it came down hard. I had to pull off at one of the air boat rides and take cover under one of their shelters. The rain soon stopped, and I jumped back on the bike and headed East. And wouldn't you know it, the rain was headed East too so I caught up to it. It was near my turn though and I pulled into a gas station full of Harley riders. They were all tucked under the cover over the pumps with seemingly no extra room. I was ready to park my bike out in the rain when one of them made room for me. Turned out to be a great bunch of guys down for the week from North Dakota headed to Marathon key for the night. The rain soon stopped and I was on my way.

    While heading south on 997 the skies finally cleared and it was beautiful. I soon found myself on Key Largo. At some point I stopped and snapped this photo. I don't recall exactly where it was, I was just excited to finally be driving the keys.

    20160223_164100.jpg

    The ride through all the keys was beautiful as to be expected. I did have it in my mind there would be a lot more bridge with water on both sides. I was surprised at the amount of driving you actually do through the various keys and not on bridges. I finally made it to my destination, Boyd's Campground, atl around 6 pm with once again threatening skies. It rained a bit before I arrived but soon passed. I quickly checked in and setup camp. I did have a friend from work in town with his wife. So that night I headed into town to Duval St to meet them for dinner at Fogarty's. We had a great meal and they talked me into joining them for one of those ghost walks. I was very tired at this point but decided to join them. It turned out to be an interesting tour and I looked at it as more of a history lesson and got some ideas for places to visit the next day. After the tour I headed back to camp for some much needed rest.
    #18
  19. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 2, Key West

    I woke to the sounds of roosters...soooo many roosters! Not a huge deal as I am an early riser. Snapped this shot of my little camp:

    20160224_070445.jpg

    I enjoyed the sunrise and the roosters and started planning my day. It got very warm very fast. I was camped just a mile or so from downtown. I went against my better judgement and decided to head into town on my bike with just the helmet and gloves with shorts. I am always ATTGATT but I figured warm weather and low speeds I should be fine. The plan was to head in early, find a place to park and wander the town. I managed to do just that. Had a nice breakfast with roosters and chickens at the Six Toed Cat on Whitehead St in town. After asking the waiter it turned out I parked my bike in a great spot right across the street that was free all day and very safe. So off I went to explore, here are a few pictures around town:

    20160224_102700.jpg

    20160224_103455.jpg

    20160224_110552.jpg
    #19
  20. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    20160224_121257.jpg

    20160224_152047.jpg

    Later this day I met up with my friends for a late lunch before they headed back to Ft Myers on the ferry. I headed back to camp around 5. I was in luck this night as the camp was having a cookout. I got some food and met some nice folks but then started noticing the wind pick up a bit. I quickly finished my food and headed back to camp. Not long after some high winds came rolling in followed by rain. I had read this could happen so already had my tent staked in and all my gear under cover. I spent the next few hour listening to the wind and doing some reading in the tent.
    #20
    RandyG and Skansen like this.