Everyone has a fight plan until they get punched in the mouth. Here's where I planned (click for link)- And here's where I get punched in the mouth. After some discussion with another rider on this forum, I decided to leave a day early so I could meet up with him and another rider and go across the TLH with them. I never saw them once. Rather than leaving on July 21, I moved everything up one day and left the 20th. I spent the 19th putting the finishing touches on my bike, then took everything off and put back 3 times so I felt confident everything was where I wanted it to be and that it was secured to the bike. I never had a problem the whole ride with how my gear was secured. I wouldn't change a thing about that. Taking the bike off the center stand and backing it out of the garage it started to lean hard towards me and I braced the bike against my arm and shoulder, taking the right hand side mirror out of alignment. Struggle and heart pounding, I kept the bike from going down, but it was a good reminder before I even turned it on that I should be cautious through the journey. The machine shuddered to life in typical GS fashion and giving it one more mental look over, took off up the road and onto my adventure. My first destination would be Glover, Vermont where and old friend of mine has a lake house. Instead of riding the highway straight there I took a series of roads through Connecticut to get me to Route 7. On my way up this path I came across 3 guys on adventure touring bikes- 2 GS's and a big KTM. I gave a wave as I passed them and felt I should turn back, something about their body language didn't look right. A brief conversation later it was clear they were lost. The guys were looking for Route 8 which they were going to take up into New Hampshire. They were about half a state away. Connecticut isn't that big, but half a state is still way more of a state than they wanted to be off their route. I pulled up my map and they got a plan together to traverse across Massachusetts to link up with the road they wanted. I bid them farewell and continued on up Route 7 through Massachusetts myself and into Vermont. I took a few smaller roads and got over to VT-100, the Green Mountain Byway. It was nice but overly warm. It was near 90 degrees the whole day. While it was warmer than I wanted it to be, it was sunny and not raining, so I considered myself lucky and pushed on. The whole path was green, and I made a mental note that I would love to take this trip again with my fiance in the fall. The only difference is that by the time the leaves change color she'll be my wife. My thought was I would continue on up VT-100 taking my time until my friend Tom contacted me asking me where I was, then I'd find the highway and get to his place making time. Somewhere around 2 pm when I was filling up the tank at a gas station I saw a text from him asking my ETA. I punched in his address on my gps and set it for fastest time. I'd be there in 2 hours I told him. 90 minutes later I was in his driveway. Getting off the bike he and his son marveled at all the stuff I had strapped down to the r1200. They both particularly liked the tires, I went with Metlzer's Karoo 3- which performed great the whole trip and have much more tread left on them than I was expecting. Tom greeted me with a bottle of beer and asked me if I wanted to head out to a brewery, saying that if we wanted to get there we should leave shortly. He took me to Hill Farmstead Brewery, and on the way was explaining that they had twice won, by some organization, been selected best beer in the world. I laughed to him and asked how in the hell they could know claim a beer to be the best in the world. We went in and each had a pint of what they had. I'll be honest- it might actually be the best beer I ever had, no kidding. We went back to the house and took his boat out on the lake, then got a fire going and had a few too many beers and washed them down with hamburgers. I drifted to sleep with a history podcast playing through my headphones.