Hello inmates! Not sure if this RR belongs on ADV, no off road stuff, but at least one guy was on a dual sport! Does that count? Impatiently waiting for the weather improve, dreaming of riding again. But today the bike remains in the garage, with no end of the foul weather in sight. Rather than brood over it, I figured I might as well write up a ride report of our one week trip through north east USA last summer. Sorry I'm about eight months late! This RR is heavy on not-so-good photos; if you're looking for meaningful writing, move on. Other than an appointment on the Monday, we had no set schedule, and no specific route. The idea was not to spit out as many miles as possible, but to avoid the slab, take our time, and do as we pleased. Three of us set off Sunday, July 28 from the Toronto area. I was on my trusty Thruxton, my brother Harry on his well used 1987 BMW K75S, and his son Alex was aboard his dad's '04 GS1150. Eight oclock in the morning, five minutes into our epic trip, and we're split up already. I stopped for gas, while they misunderstood and carried on. We made our way to Kingston, Ontario to take the ferry to Wolfe Island, then on to Cape Vincent, New York. Bikes go to the head of the line! The city of Kingston is justifiably proud. Rain began to fall as we crossed the border, then we chose to stop for lunch just outside of Watertown. I knew itd be an interesting trip when my brainiac nephew asked the waitress: Does the special include the coffee? Following lunch, father and son decided a brief nap was in order. Im not sure they chose the most appropriate location. The sight of Alex, crashed on the front steps of a funeral home, dressed as a half-assed astronaut, was hilarious! Gas stop somewhere along New York State Route 3. Up to this point, the rain was little more than a drizzle, but from Cranberry Lake to Tupper Lake, the skies opened. Torrential rainfall, the likes of which I'd not experienced. We became split up, but carried on. My hands and especially my feet were soaked; I was certain there was a litre of water in each boot. The rest of me was essentially dry, as was most of the luggage. We met up at a gas station in Tupper Lake, a little worse for wear, but the spirit remained strong. The original plan had been to ride to Lake Placid, but we spied a mon 'n pop motel with a sign exclaiming, "Biker Friendly!" Good enough for us, and we were in no particular hurry to get anywhere. He gave us the so called "deluxe suite". Deluxe, in a seventies kind of way, I suppose. To us, it was little more than three beds and a motorcycle gear drying facility. A room with a view. So, 440km for day one, and despite the rain, a ton of fun! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Day 2, Monday July 29 We awoke to overcast skies, but no rain, so all was well. Bikes prepped and ready to go. A couple of parting shots of Raquette Pond. We stopped for breakfast in Lake Placid, and as it turned out, it's a good thing we didn't stay there the previous night. The town was hosting a triathlon and was jammed with thousands of competitors and volunteers. Finding a spot for breakfast was tough enough, there's no way we'd have found a room. On the ferry from Essex, NY, to Charlotte, Vermont. Harry discusses quantum mechanics as Alex listens intently. Lunch time pit stop in a tiny Vermont town. We had made arrangements to meet up with my buddy Lou, from Massachusetts, at Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Lou was riding a 1999 Ducati Monster. No sooner had we arrived, than the sky turned black and unleashed buckets! We waited out the storm, then took a short ride until dinner, at a Mexican spot, of all places. Lou had offered us his mother-in-law's condo in Bartlett, NH for the night. We rode from Lincoln to Bartlett along route 112, the Kancamagus Highway, known locally as "The Kanc". All the gear on the Thruxton was staying dry. Lou contemplates a loose muffler on the Duc. Plenty of miles and experience on these two. As opposed to the previous night, this place truly was deluxe! Beautiful balcony view, no extra charge. Day 2 summary: Tupper Lake, Ny, to Barlett, NH, 417km. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Day 3, Tuesday July 30 Up late the night before, up early the next day. Lou had planned to show us around some good local roads. Before we hit the road in earnest, some breakfast was in order. I skipped the Oreo waffle, and went with something a bit more traditional. No doubt my daughter would've liked it. No winter maintenance? Always a good sign for riders! We followed Lou along route 113, which crossed into Maine. Took a break at an abandoned motel in Gilead, ME. Another break a while later, along a pretty river bank. Lou and Harry debate private versus universal health care. Riveting conversation. The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch, NH. Looks like a great place, unfortunately closed for renovations, or so they say. Another pit stop. Lou checks out the Thruxton. What's a trip without a selfie? A quick inspection to determine all was well, and were off once again. I bought this at an outfitter somewhere in New Hamshire, just for the novelty. Anyone tried it before? Our bikes take over North Woddstock, NH., where we had come full circle from the day before. A river runs right through the middle of town. Plenty of activity and children swimming. We stopped for dinner at the Woodstock Inn. None of us were brave and/or foolish enough. As soon as everyone sits, the cell phones come out for a quick check at home. Following dinner, it was time for Lou to return home. It had been a great day of riding; we were so glad Lou joined us and showed the way around. We carried on south, looking for a place to stay. We had camping gear, so it didn't matter if it was a motel or a campground. We stopped at a run down place with cabins and a giant sign: "WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS!" The attitude said different, though. Unpleasant hosts, way too expensive, and a decidedly unfriendly vibe. We moved on. Wound up at the Days Inn in Campton, where I had a fun time negotiating with the clerk. She said "There is bar across the street. You have shot!" Didn't bother mentioning it had closed years ago. Our bikes were parked some distance from the main entrance, so we chose to enter through the window. We met a couple from Quebec, who had a Harley trike, fresh off the showroom floor. Day 3 summary: Bartlett, NH to Campton, NH, 320km. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Day 4, Wednesday July 31 I had planned to ride the Mount Washington Auto Road, at 6,288 ft, it's the highest peak in the north east. Harry and Alex were less keen on it, perhaps something to do with the $16 toll? In any case, I won out. Alex arrived at the mountain with a hitchhiker. Father and son paid the sixteen bucks each, then up we went. It's amazing how quickly the vegetation changes from the base on up. About halfway up, I stopped for some photos. It takes about twenty five minutes to reach the summit. The road is all asphalt now, except for one gravel section near the top of about a quarter of a mile. The meandering road seen from above. Note to Alex. Impressive shot, don't you think? See how smart I am? I can ride and take photographs at the same time! I knew better, but kept shooting. This proved to be my undoing. On the gravel section, moving very slowly, I rounded a tight bend, still with the camera. Suddenly, things got busy and I needed three hands. I stashed the camera into the tank bag in a big hurry, but it was too late. The bike was going down, ever so slowly. It was just beyond the tipping point, I couldn't hold it, and had to gently lay it on its side. Well, how embarrassing. Cars rounding the bend to find an idiot rider down. None of 'em bothered to stop to see if they could lend a hand or to see if I was okay, though. Just as well, all I wanted to do was get out of there. The bike was pointed up a steep hill, with a drop off on the right side. I tried to pick it up, but no go. I turned my body around and picked it up backwards. As I was lifting, I thought "Great! As soon as it's up, it's going to roll down the bloody mountain! I'm screwed!" Of course, a calmer head prevailed, and I realized the bike was still in gear. Duh! A quick inspection revealed the tiniest scratch on the muffler. I could buff it out, but I think I'll leave it as a reminder to not be so foolish next time. I threw a leg over and carried on, as if nothing had happened. This guy duck walked his Harley up the whole way. "Hey! Where the heck have you been?", he asked. "Uhh...". I sheepishly relayed my tale and took what I deserved. A week earlier, I was in Key West, Florida, lining to have my picture taken at the southern most point in the continental USA. Things were no different here. The cog railway is another way to the summit, though sadly, no longer steam powered. It was a busy day at Mount Washington, with plenty of bikes making the trip. A trumpet and a goose. The happy trio. The highly coveted prize. Having learned nothing from my earlier screw up, out came the camera again. Not my photo, but we passed this cool sign at the junction of routes 5 and 35 in Lynchville, Maine. They have a real sense of humour in Harrison, Maine. Somehow, my camera was inadvertently switched to low resolution for a while. I had my way earlier with a trip up the mountain, now it was Alex's turn, so we took the long way to Portland with the promise fresh lobster for dinner. Yes! The Portland Lobster Company! Alex was a happy fellow. A fine view from the restaurant. Does every town have one of these? Or a "Before I Die" wall? We took our time over dinner, then walked around the water front area, had coffee. It was no trouble finding a place to stay this night, as we had all agreed we'd camp at Bentley's Saloon in Arundel, about a half hour ride from downtown Portland. "$9 Home Cooked Suppas"! Bentley Warren is the proprietor, very familiar to us from his long career in auto racing, particularly the supermodified division running in Oswego, New York. It's also interesting to note the Bentley's CV includes two starts in the Indy 500. We arrived in the dark, set up camp, then headed to the saloon for chicken wings and plenty of beer. Day 4 summary: Campton, NH to Arundel, ME, 342km -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Day 5, Thursday August 1 The campground is very modern, with all the necessary amenities, including the enormous washroom and shower facility seen here. Packing up, ready for more fun and adventure! Despite what some might think, I say the Thruxton makes for a fine touring machine! What? The saloon's not open for breakfast? We figured if the Maine Diner in Wells is good enough for The Food Network and Guy Fieri, well heck, it was good enough for us! A fine breakfast, indeed, for about seven bucks! We rode along the Atlantic coast, considered a dip in the ocean, but nothing came of it. Plotting strategy. Unsure where to go next, we headed north back to New Hampshire. Another stop, more planning and scheming. About this time, Alex and I swapped bikes. I was on my tip toes on the big GS, and almost fell over in the parking lot! Alex, on the other hand, was right at home on the Thruxton, praising it's fine manners. We rode north west for some time, heading to Vermont, then the rain came again. We pulled over, donned the rain gear, again, and returned to our respective rides. The rain grew intense, with no end in sight. We made our way to Hanover, NH. I stopped in the main town square and waited. And waited. In the pouring rain. I turned around to find the two nitwits, but no luck. Back to the town square and more waiting. In the rain. Finally, I moved on, and discovered the two bikes parked on the main street. Sure enough, Harry and Alex were inside a restaurant, cozy and warm, enjoying a hot, delicious meal. Nice guys. Following supper, we rode aimlessly, looking for a place to lay down. Two local women in a pick up truck spied our confusion, and kindly offered to show the way. They directed us to the Fireside Inn in West Lebanon, NH, where motorcycles enjoy preferred parking. The Goldwing belonged to a fellow all the way from Alberta! Day 5 summary: Arundel, ME to West Lebanon, NH, 281km. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Day 6, Friday August 2 More wonderful riding of the back roads. Harry has a keen sense of direction and plenty of experience to draw upon. He chose some wonderful routes, but at times the pace was bit too quick for yours truly, the photo boy. Don't get me wrong, I didn't mind some brisk riding, but I know I missed out on lots of interesting sights to photograph. Stopped for gas in Waitsfield, VT, and across the street was the Localfolk Smokehouse. The fellow who runs the joint was another GS rider, so he came out and had very pleasant conversation with us. The three BMW riders swapped lies while the Triumph rider was left to mope about on his own. I think I may have threatened to knock over Harry's K75. Another good sign, this one leading onto route 17. Up and over a mountain. There's a parking area at the top. I rode the mountain like a hero going up, like a granny going down. Young Alex brings the big GS to the end of the line. And once again, he'd picked up a passenger. Back on the ferry from Charlotte to Essex, NY. Stopped for a late afternoon lunch at the marina beside the ferry dock, then into New York towards home. Heading back towards Lake Placid, we stopped at the North Pole Inn in Wilmington, but there was a Stromtroopers rally going on that weekend, and they'd taken all the rooms. So, on to Lake Placid, on one of my favourite twist-the-throttle roads: route 86. Running parallel to the Ausable River for much of the way, this short blast is a true delight. Whiteface Mountain Ski Center. The top of Whiteface, at the end of the Whiteface Memorial Highway can be seen here. The Olympic ski jumping facility. Concerned that the weekend might make accommodations difficult, we stopped at the first flea bag in town. The price was right, but you get what you pay for. Top notch, first class all the way! Alex drew the short straw, and wound up on this most appealing cot. We drew upon some nifty engineering skills to stay comfortable. As soon the beds had been sorted, I headed back to my bike, without even unloading the luggage. The other guys were feet up, beer in hand, but I wasn't done riding. I headed back to Wilmington for more route 86 goodness. I passed a couple on a cruiser of some sort and left 'em way behind. I turned around in Wilmington and was about to head back, when the pair on the cruiser pulled into the lot. Before he even came to a halt, I could hear him yelling "That's the bike I want!" They were a couple from NYC on a borrowed bike for the weekend. He went on about how much he digs the Thruxton and his intentions to buy one. Very nice couple, nice conversation. They went on their way, then I pointed my bike towards Lake Placid and waited. And waited. Waiting to get the biggest hole in traffic. I sat for few minutes and as soon as I saw a car coming my way, I gassed it. I had the road to myself for most of the way and enjoyed a spirited ride back to the roach motel. I took a short ride through town. The place was packed. The V-Strom convention had come to town. Back at the motel, I celebrated another day of wonderful riding with a gigantic can of Genesse Ale, purchased at the last gas stop for a whopping 99¢! Alex caught lovingly stroking the Triumph. Five star accommodations! Day 6 summary: West Lebanon, NH to Lake Placid, NY, 330km -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Day 7, Saturday August 3 Early morning dew. Stopped briefly in Saranc Lake for two reasons. One, I was chilly, and needed an extra layer. This was the second reason. Our last breakfast on the road, at the Stone Manor Motel & Diner in Cranberry Lake. Stopped once more in Watertown for fuel, then crossed back into Ontario at the Thousand Islands. A funny moment occurred when we were almost at the front of the inspection line. The three of us were jockying for position, I was behind Harry and Alex, then saw my opportunity to squeak through. I had removed my helmet and hung it on the lock at the side, but didn't close it. When I tried to squeeze by, I failed to take into account the hard cases on Harry's bike. My bike got by, but my lid didn't. It pounded his case, then bounced along the pavement. Rather than be embarrassed, I found the situation to be quite humourous, producing lots of giggles among us. The final leg was the mind-numbingly boring run on the 401 back home. Alex decided us old dudes weren't fast enough for him, so he took off ahead, while Harry and I kept one another company for the last couple of hours. All in all, a great trip, great people, great roads, and despite our fair share of rain, great weather. I wouldn't have it any other way. Looking forward to the next one. Thanks for reading. Day 7 summary: Lake Placid, NY to Toronto, ON, 508km. Trip total, 2638km.