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
    Day 3, Key West to Boynton Beach, FL

    Woke up early to a windy but dry day. Quite a bit cooler than the day before. I had a long ride planned so quickly broke camp, packed and headed out. Stopped for some coffee and a bagel on my way out of town. It was windy, the gusts were blowing me around a bit. I was a bit worried when going over some of the longer bridges. Turned out not to be an issue and made great time. I managed to stop after seeing the sign for the hurricane memorial on Islamorada.

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    From there I continued all the way to Miami with the intent of driving along South Beach. I probably made it to South Beach around one. I didn't have a real plan so just followed the signs. I was surprised to see little if no beach just a ton of massive condos! It was an interesting drive, I am guessing the beach is just on the other side? I only stopped to snap one picture, but this is when I was headed out of the congested area. I must admit, the architecture of some of those building is amazing.

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    A few hours later I made it to my destination, my aunt and uncle's in Boynton Beach. At some point, due to time constraints, I was forced to jump on the highway from the coast. I really wanted to follow the coast all the way north but time just didn't allow it.
    #21
    Skansen likes this.
  2. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
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    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 4, Boynton Beach to Sarasota, FL

    Had a great nights rest. Was up a bit late the night before, my uncle loves to chat and drink scotch into the wee hours of the morning. Wonderful man so it is a pleasure spending time with him and my aunt. Even had a quick visit with my cousin and his beautiful daughter before I left.

    I hit the road late, just before noon I think. This is a ride I had actually done a few months before. Just headed North, then West until I hit rt 70 across the state. It was still a bit cool, but a very nice clear day. I decided at some point to get off the main road and do some exploring. I came across a nice little orange grove

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    Not too long after this I was back at my bikes second home in Sarasota Florida. By this time my sister and her husband were down for a short visit so spent the next few days with the family.

    That's it for now. Next adventure is coming up fast, I need to get her home now that we finally have some sun in New Hampshire!

    Thanks for reading!
    -Steve
    #22
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  3. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Location:
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    Nice pics and report. Did the Seat Concepts conversion make much difference in the comfort factor? Also, did it require an air stapler or did you just have one available?....Dave
    #23
  4. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    B10Dave, the Seat Concepts seat for my bike was very comfortable, huge improvement over stock. A lot less Fatiguing. On the stock seat I found myself constantly squirming around trying to get comfortable after an hour of riding. With the new seat I never felt this way and could ride all day. I bought the Harbor Freight stapler and some staples per Seat Concepts recommendation, it was very inexpensive. Fortunately my father had a compressor, it made the install a snap. I never tried a manual stapler so have nothing to compare it to. My guess is it varies by seat pan and plastic.

    -Steve
    #24
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  5. nameuhpete

    nameuhpete Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    24
    Location:
    Jack, Alabama
    Nice report.
    #25
  6. Vinbowie

    Vinbowie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    441
    Location:
    Maryland
    The southernmost point in the US is on my list as
    well as the White Mountains. I need a certain sticker
    so everyone will know that my bike climbed Mt. Washington.:rofl
    #26
  7. firemedic309

    firemedic309 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2014
    Oddometer:
    188
    Location:
    Sarasota fl. Nancy ky
    Great report. I wish I had know your need for the stapler, I live in Sarasota and have done the seat concepts seat to a couple of bikes. My wife and I are going to Killington Vermont in September. Going to rent a Harley and ride the 6 gaps I think.
    #27
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  8. Skansen

    Skansen Twin addict

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
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    Location:
    New Aquitania, France
    Excellent pictures and report. As Oliver Twist used to say: "Some more please!"
    #28
  9. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 1: Planes, Trains & Motorcycles

    This past Memorial day weekend I brought my bike home. My original plan was to take a week and drive north on the Blue Ridge camping along the way. As always life had other plans so I was forced to try to get her home during the long weekend. Most of my gear was already in Florida so the 1st leg of the trip only required a backpack and a ride to Logan airport in Boston. Lucky for me I have a very good brother who picked me up and brought me down since leaving a vehicle in Boston wasn't a good option. So an early morning flight had me in Sarasota, FL by 2pm Friday. WOW was it hot and humid, that would basically be the weather for the next few days, with a twist of course.

    The night before this little adventure requires some carbo loading. A met a buddy of mine at a local bar and enjoyed this

    20160527_184907.jpg
    #29
  10. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 2: Sarasota to Sanford, FL

    The second leg of my journey would have me driving north on I-75 and I-4 from Sarasota to Sanford, FL where I would board the Amtrak Auto train. Motorcycle boarding was scheduled at 2. The drive itself in a car with no traffic was said to be about 2.5 hrs, I decided to play it safe and give myself 5 so I left at 9AM. As was the day before, it was hot and humid. The drive north was fairly uneventful until I got some traffic warning from my trusty GPS on RT 4. Fortunately google maps re-routes me if it feels it can save some time. Turns out this saved me many hours of being stuck.

    Quick picture of my bike fully loaded somewhere on I-4:

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    I am not sure where the GPS was taking me but it put me on some nice back roads in order to avoid the traffic. At some point it took me off I-4 and put me on 417 towards Orlando. No traffic on this road but the tolls!!! I was stopping what seemed every 5 miles to pay an buck or two. Not a big deal but I don't have a sun pass and only grabbed enough cash to get through the toll from DC to NH. Finally arrived at the train around 1:30PM

    In Sanford there are signs that point the way to the Auto Train, follow these and they bring you to the station. When you approach you are stopped at a gate where they check your name and tell you where to go. For me it was obviously the motorcycle loading area. I was originally a bit nervous about this but managed to youtube some videos about it, it is a simple procedure to load. Basically you drive up a concrete ramp onto a dolly that can hold 2-3 bikes. An attendant waves you into a front tire mount and has you sit on the bike until it is secure. If you're curious, a great video on the process can be seen here put together by Florida Outdoors Adventures:

    After securing the bike you have time to unload any gear you may want on the train. For me it was my pack with clothing and toiletries as well as a travel pillow and a blanket. You will need to bring your own pillow and blanket if travelling coach like I did.

    Here is the bike secured and ready to be loaded:

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    There is a snack shop in the terminal and you wait in a large air conditioned room for departure. I changed out of some very wet clothes before boarding, I was soaked with sweat under all my gear.

    Picture of some of the cars before boarding:

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    Boarding began around 2:30. I had requested a window seat and got one. I was fortunate to end up getting 2 seats to myself, it was a fairly full train, got lucky I guess. I didn't take any pictures inside the train. I found this image off the web to give you an idea of the coach seating. It is basically like a first class airline seat I guess. It doesn't lay flat, but gives you lots of leg room and support

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    The trip included dinner with your choice of 3 seatings at 5,7, or 9. I took 9 so I could eat and go right to sleep. The food is decent, and they have you sit with other passengers. They do have a lounge car for drinks and show a movie. I skipped those and just read and watched the world go by. The ride was comfortable and I even managed to get some decent sleep. The only problem I had was my boots. I should have taken them off and left them on the bike. They stunk really bad due to my sweat so I was forced to leave them on. I did have to foresight to bring a pair of clean socks.
    #30
  11. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 3: Lorton, VA to Woodbury, NY

    Still on the train! The ride from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA (Just south of DC) takes about 19 hours. There is one stop for the engines to refuel somewhere in South Carolina. At some point overnight we got rained on, turns out tropical storm Bonnie was going to chase me up the coast. Breakfast was between 6 and 8. I was up and grabbed a seat early. Basically like dinner they stick you with other passengers. Breakfast itself is continental with just baked goods, a banana and coffee.

    We were in luck today as the train arrived in Lorton early, 8am instead of 9. The plan for the day was to meet my good friend Ray who lived in Bowie, MD at the train station and go for a ride before relaxing at his house for the night. I have heard waiting for your vehicle can take a while, hours even. Fortunately the bikes are offloaded what seems like right after the priority vehicle unloading.

    Some shots of the vehicle unloading and the bikes:

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    Unloading the bikes is quick. They have you sit on it and unstrap the front wheel. You then simply walk the bike out and down the ramp. Right before unloading my buddy Ray showed up on his beautiful BMW GSA. I didn't get any pictures of it, but you can see it in one of my earlier posts about my trip to Bar harbor, ME.

    Soon we were off and cruised some nice roads on our way to Ray's home. We stopped for a quick bite to eat where I decided to assess the weather situation. I learned that Bonnie was making it's way north basically along my route home. Sunday wasn't going to be bad until the evening but Monday looked questionable. It was here I basically decided to keep pushing north in order to stay ahead of the storm.

    Took this picture somewhere in Maryland after crossing over the Potomac River, nice little park, but no time to explore:

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    The new plan would be to leave from my friends home to Woodbury, NY where my cousin and his family lived. Doing this I could stay ahead of the storm on Sunday and have less road to travel Monday. I left my friends around 2 pm after a far too brief hello and goodbye to him and his wonderful family. The route had me driving all highway up I-95 and onto the NJ turnpike. Traffic wasn't bad. I did get a little rain before the Delaware bridge. It was along this route that I was cursing myself for forgetting my ez-pass. The cash lanes were all backed up and I must have spent 30-45 minutes in various toll lines along my route. A nice reward for the days travels was a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline as I approached NY. I wish I could have snapped a picture, it was incredible.

    I finally arrived at my nights destination in Woodbury, NY. There is an interesting story behind me visiting this particular cousin and his wife. The 1st time I visited them was when they were in New Mexico and I was on a round the circumference trip of the lower 48 in my 81 mustang in 1991. My buddy and I had just graduated Norwich and were awaiting our orders from the Army, me Infantry Officers Basic course and he Artillery school later that year. I thought they knew we were coming and phoned them when we arrived in Santa Fe. Turns out they didn't get the memo but invited us in anyway. My cousins wife is Romanian and made a special dish for us, something wrapped in grape leaves with yogurt. So now, almost exactly 25 years later here I am on my motorcycle. And, Mirela had her special dish all prepared, it is called sarmale, and is very tasty.

    I spent a wonderful night with my cousin Dave's family. Before heading off to bed I reviewed the weather and travel plans for the next day. Looks like most of the bad weather would pass overnight and the next day looked promising.
    #31
  12. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 4: Woodbury, NY to Hampton, NH

    The day started wet as predicted but the forecast had it clearing in NY by mid morning. So I said my goodbyes and hit the road around noon.

    To me this day is justifies why I decided to start traveling by Motorcycle. I had just spent 2 days and too many miles in hot weather on the interstate. Today was going to be basically all back roads home. Took Rt 32 north to RT 9W in NY for starters planning to reroute in Albany, NY. Nice roads. Before I hit Albany I decided to head east after re-plotting to Bennington, VT. This new route put me on the Taconic State Parkway, what an amazing road. No traffic, 2 lanes and amazing views.

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    Later that day I drove through a very special place

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    That's how I spell my name :-)!

    I think I arrived in Bennington around 3. From there it would be RT 9 east. Another amazing road. I forgot what hills and curves were like having been driving in Florida for a while. The twisty descents down some of these hills were fun. Here is a picture south from one of the vistas on RT 9:

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    From RT 9 East in VT I jumped onto RT 9 East in NH. I soon found myself back in familiar territory travelling RT 101 East in NH. This is a nice road until you reach Bedford, NH where it becomes a 2 lane highway to the coast and my home in Hampton, NH. I finally arrived at my destination around 7 PM. I think I manged about 320 miles of basically back roads for the day and I couldn't have ended the trip any better.

    Home:

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    Thanks as always for reading!
    #32
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  13. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    292
    Location:
    Ontario
    Ah, theres nothing quite like riding eastern US... Love it all :) I'm jealous though, it was a dream of mine at one time to ride to key west, I haven't (yet) made it that far!
    #33
  14. little foot

    little foot Super Mediator

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
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    Location:
    The Springs, Oklahoma
    Great pics, keep it up.
    #34
  15. Tom48

    Tom48 Been here awhile

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    Jul 22, 2004
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    977
    Location:
    Fremont NH
    Thanks. It was a great read.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #35
  16. TM1(SS)

    TM1(SS) Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2013
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    351
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    A very enjoyable RR !!
    #36
  17. Firenailer

    Firenailer Still Ridin'

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    396
    Location:
    New York
    Great ride report, I enjoyed it and agree - I love riding our Eastern roads!
    #37
  18. lazeebum

    lazeebum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2014
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    146
    Location:
    Northwest Alabama
    A good ride report is an inspiration to a destination. Yours fits that description.
    #38
  19. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 1: Hampton, NH - East

    Haven't posted in a while, managed to get another great little trip in since bringing the bike back north from Florida. Finally have the time to post it. I had this past 4th of July weekend free so knocked some items of my ADV bucket list. Decided to head East this time. Left early on Friday morning, beautiful day. Started mostly highway up 95 north from Hampton, NH towards Bangor, ME. Rather uneventful ride to that point. From there it was onto RT 9 to RT 1. Finally ending up at my 1st destination.

    The eastern most point of the USA: West Quoddy Head in Lubec, ME

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    Absolutely stunning location. The visitors center was closed so I walked around a bit. Nice little park. That landmass in the distance is Canada.

    I was going to be camping this trip and had booked a night at a local campground. By far one of the most spectacular spots I have ever setup a tent 20160701_174024.jpg .

    After setting up camp I went into town for some food. Lubec is very small, I managed to find a nice Irish Pub (Cohill's behind me, not the tavern pictured) on the water and had an awesome shepherds pie.

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    Fog was rolling in, long day on the road so back to camp before sunset and off to bed.
    #39
  20. GraniteStateGS

    GraniteStateGS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Hampton, NH
    Day 2: Lubec, ME - Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, QC Canada

    Saturday, up early to a drizzly morning. Broke camp after throwing on my wet weather gear. Headed out to RT 1 north, roads were slick with fortunately very little traffic. Stopped for some gas and a breakfast sandwich at a small gas station. Followed RT 1 north into Calais, ME. Here I would make my 1st official boarder crossing on a motorcycle into St Stephen, NB Canada. The agent asked me the reason and duration of my visit. I told her about 30 minutes, just wanted to visit another town named after me. She laughed and actually let me enter the country. I drove around a bit looking for a sign or something that said Saint Stephen, but had no real luck. After my allotted 30 minutes I crossed back into the USA. Sorry, no decent pictures to post of that visit. Rain let up so no need for the rain suit anymore.

    Back in the good ole USA I continued north up RT 1. Quick stop on the million dollar view scenic byway.

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    This was a great part of RT 1 to travel. This far north you get into the potato farms I believe.

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    At one point I saw a massive thunderstorm cutting across my path. Fortunately I was in need of gas and had a town up ahead. Soon after filling up the clouds rolled in. Then bam! Thunder, lightning and marble sized hail. Good thing I was under cover. it didn't last long and soon I was on my way north to knock out another item on the ADV list

    Fort Kent, ME and the northern tip of RT 1

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    Definitely NOT Key West....

    Nice town but it was getting late and the rain was threatening again. Onto my second border crossing of the day into Clair, NB Canada and my next stop for the night, Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, QC Canada. Nice roads leading up to my final destination for the day. Not much to report other than figuring out how to convert kilometers to miles, don't want a ticket in a foreign land.

    My campsite for the night:

    20160703_071548.jpg

    I opted for a spot with power to recharge my devices. I walked into town and grabbed myself some food and beer.
    #40