Sunday, May 29, 2011


I pulled into the vacation house just after three o'clock this afternoon. I was early. The cleaners were still there picking up from the last crew. I didn't bother to even ask if I could come in, I just walked around back, took my boots off and sat next to the pool, waiting for the rest of the family to show up. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore, just a few yards away, over the sand dune, helped relax my weary bones. I'm willing to admit I have weary bones. Twelve straight days of riding is a new experience. Not sure I'll ever do it again, but I can say I did it this one time.

Today was an easy ride. Took the interstate over to Virginia beach for lunch at Rockafeller's. Then I hit the back roads to get me back to the highway and on my way down to the Outer Banks. One thing I'm learning to appreciate is how well the roads are usually marked back home in Michigan. There are states that just don't bother, and it can make for a true adventure as you try to guess if the turn you just took was the one you were supposed to take or not. Apparently they expect you to know it's Princess Anne Drive, not Route 165, like it's marked on the map.

Being here on the beach for a few days will be nice. I might ride into town (literally right around the corner) but don't envision spending too much time in the saddle between now and when I leave. The weary bones are looking forward to the break. :)

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Location:Crown Point Cir,Corolla,United States

Saturday, May 28, 2011

SPF 100+

So, I need to give Rite-Aid some props. Here's a shout out for their SPF 100+ sunscreen. I've been in the blazing sun for four straight days, for over 6 hours per day, and I still look like Casper, the friendly ghost. OK, I may be exaggerating a little. Yes, I'm from Michigan (Pasty White skin tone should be an actual color in the Crayola Crayon box in that part of the country), but I'm usually burnt to a crisp after my first ride on a sunny day. I do have a bit of color in my face and arms, but it's a healthy light brown, not the crisp red that I normally wear about this time of year. Yay for sunscreen... I hate wearing that stuff. It's thick and greasy and gets all over my clothes and my motorcycle. The finger prints all over the bike are enough to drive me mad and it takes at least two showers to get it all off, only to have to put it right back on the next day...

...and no sunburns.

I had the chance to spend the night with an old friend from high school last night. Got to meet his wonderful wife and his precocious, and darling, little boy. We had a great meal together and got to watch a great game 7 in the NHL playoffs. I had to get on the road right after breakfast this morning to make my intended target for the day, but it was a great diversion from the hotels. It got me thinking that more of us probably need to spend more time visiting people we know and like...the world might be a better place for it.

It did rain today, for about 3 minutes while I was eating lunch. Just enough to get my bike wet enough to warrant wiping 4 days of road grime off and making it look mostly pretty again. Of course, 3 minutes of rain bumped the humidity up about 1000 notches, but hey, who doesn't like to sweat. :)

I also got to ride through the Chesapeake Bay bridge and tunnel system today. The $12.00 toll caught me off guard, but it was worth it. All those miles cruising along just a few yards above the water with a cool stiff breeze blowing a day of baking in the sun out of your system. The tunnel portion isn't particularly exciting, but is was still pretty neat to think that you're just disappearing below those waves, only to reappear on the other side of the tunnel, ready to enjoy a few more miles of riding over the water.

The trip today gave me time to think about what I want to do in between my next stop, the Outer Banks, and my trip out to Portland (which I've decided I'd like to fly to, rather than ride) and I think I may hear the Blue Ridge Parkway calling my name..

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

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Location:Gateway Ct,Chesapeake,United States


It's Saturday morning...Friday was yesterday...let me reflect...

The Weather Channel tells me it's about 85 today. The instruments on my fairing tell me the air temperature over the blacktop is closer to 100...and it feels every degree of it.

I'm not sure who to be more upset with...The Google...or me, for listening to The Google. I've been inching down this narrow parking lot for over an hour. My left hand aches from the constant use of the clutch. My clothes are damp with sweat. I feel like I'm baking from the top side and steaming from the bottom as the heat from my engine turns the sweat to steam.

I stopped for some liquid replenishment, for me and the bike, and The Google assured me that heading south on the road I had gotten off on would be a much quicker route than getting back on the interstate. For all I know The Google may actually be right, the interstate might not be moving any faster than I am right now...but there's no way for me to know for sure.

My left hand screams in agony as I squeeze the clutch for what feels like the thousandth time in an hour. I reflect that this is not the first time I've been stuck like this...and I realize it won't be the last because this memory will soon be repressed, sent back to some dark corner of my mind, far from the place where riding a motorcycle is all fun, wind in my face, and where you never get sunburned.

Traffic finally thins out as all the people in front of me turn down their respective cul de sacs. Trees line the road and offer the relief of shade. The air moving over me feels like a dream. Here is the interstate, it's time to really get moving....only the parking lot just got wider.

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

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Location:Shellburne Ct,Wilmington,United States

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not enough time...

Whew! I'm beat.

I took the long way to Rhode Island from Bangor, Maine: US-2 all the way to Gorham, New Hampshire, then Route 16 down through the White Mountain National Forest and west to I-93 on the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112). It was a great ride, although I do tend to get tired of having to slow down to 35 every 5 miles for whichever little burg I might be driving through. They need to build an express lane on some of these 2 lanes. :) The odometer on the Vision rolled over 1,000 miles just a little before I got to the hotel. The next 1,000 may be entirely different. A lot of it will be plodding down the east coast trying to find the easiest way to the Outer Banks.

What I didn't have time to do was drive up to the top of Mt. Washington. I was tempted to, but knew it would mean not getting to my hotel tonight until after 11PM. In addition, there were some pretty nasty looking clouds hovering around the top of the mountain and I did manage to get sprinkled on just a wee little bit as I was driving past. It's something I'll have to keep in the back of my mind for the next time I'm in New Hampshire.

As I made my way down the Kancamagus Highway, I got to thinking that every state has one of these...a road that is meant for riding. I know of several of them in Michigan, which then made me wonder why I was all the way over in New Hampshire...oh, yeah, the mountains! Riding US-2 out of Maine and into New Hampshire was an experience that's hard to find back home. As you head west, you're climbing almost non-stop, you just don't know it. Then, all of a sudden, you crest a hill, the trees clear, and there, splayed out before you, like the roller coaster of the gods, are the mountains. Admittedly, these aren't the Rockies we're talking about here, but they're pretty big hills none-the-less.

Picture of the dam system in Mexico...Mexico, Maine, that is.

The mountains, as seen from Kancamagus Pass, elevation around 2,800 feet.

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

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Location:Post Rd,Warwick,United States

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The payoff...

Victory, thy name is...comfort.

I rode I-95 from Bangor to Medway, first thing this morning. It's actually very similar to riding the blacktop in Michigan, between Clare and Big Mac, only here in Maine there are a lot more rocks and boulders in the median and along the side of the highway.

I got off the interstate, at Medway, and took route 11 north, all the way to Fort Kent. Very beautiful ride, reminiscent of M-41 in the UP back home, only the hills here might be a little bigger and it was a longer ride. Fort Kent is right on the border, and I was surprised, but not surprised, to hear most of the adults speaking French (with a little English sprinkled in) when I stopped at McDonald's for a drink.

US-1 runs along the river, so you can see Canada for miles and miles...tends to look just like the U.S. side, only more Canadian.

US-1, from Fort Kent to Houlton, was a little less "hilly", but just as scenic. Sweeping vistas of hilly terrain and large rolling hills follow the border from north to south.

Once I got to Houlton, it was back onto I-95 for the ride back to Bangor. More of the same from the morning. Lots of trees and rocks, and very few cars or trucks.

It was about 440 miles of riding today, just a little over 9 hours actually sitting in the saddle with the bike in motion. Less than 2 hours of total stop time between when I left Bangor and when I returned.

Some random thoughts from the day:

Cruising the interstate, when there are no other vehicles, is actually very nice. The road is yours, you own it. No turbulence, no noise, just you and your ride enjoying what's there to enjoy. I had over 100 miles of this today.

Cruise control = AWESOME (especially when you have no competing traffic on the interstate.)

Riding 400+ miles and having only the things you know should feel sore feel sore at the end of the day...priceless.

Victory has put a lot of effort into crafting an excellent ride. I averaged over 40 miles per gallon today...I may have just found my new favorite transportation.

There is no way to describe, or depict, the exhilaration of cresting a hill to a sweeping view of the valley below, the road dropping before you like a roller coaster, disappearing into the twists and turns, and all you can see is where it comes out of the valley on the other side and know you you're really going to enjoy getting from here to there.

You would think that by the age of 39 a man would remember not to rub sunscreen into his eyes. I had to stop twice today, just for that reason. D'oh...

There is also no camera that can accurately portray the scenery that one takes in as one travels. The pictures below are but a poor attempt to show you just a fraction of what I saw while I was out today.

Thank God for a fairing and a windshield...those bugs would have been all over me otherwise.

Tomorrow brings a ride down to Providence, Rhode Island, via the Kancamagus Highway (otherwise known as the looooong way around.)

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

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Location:Perry Rd,Bangor,United States

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The game changer...

Things took a turn for the better today.

First, it stopped raining.

Second, it's warming up, almost 72 right now.

Third, I traded the Triumph in on a Victory Vision Tourer.

I've only been able to put about 60 miles on the new bike so far, but I'll be heading out in just a few minutes to add some more. The big test will be tomorrow. I'm planning on taking some two lanes all the way to the northernmost tip of Maine and back. It should be over 450 miles total, and enough to warrant stopping back at the dealer first thing on Thursday for the first service.

The Victory gives up a lot to the Triumph in terms of power. On the highway, it goes fast, just not as quickly as the Triumph could; but, what it gives up in power it gains back in features. Full fairing, stereo system with auxiliary inputs, heated seats, lots of little data related add-ins in the dash. To put it bluntly, the Victory is a touring bike designed for riding thousands of miles on a long trip like this. The Triumph is a touring bike,'s just not my touring bike.

Tomorrow is looking very promising in terms of the weather. It should be sunny from the time I hit the road in the morning until well after I get back to the hotel. Thursday is looking pretty good, too, and should help me make some headway getting south and heading towards the Outer Banks. I was seriously considering not going to the Outer Banks as part of this trip if I had to do it on the Triumph. I wouldn't have had enough time to ride all the miles I needed to ride to make it happen. Tomorrow will give me a much better feel for how long I can stay in the saddle and how far I should expect to go.

I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of rural Maine on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll get plenty of great picture opportunities.

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad & iPhone

Location:Perry Rd,Bangor,United States

Monday, May 23, 2011


Sitting here at a travel plaza outside Freeport, Maine, munching on some of Debi Woolsey's world famous chocolate chip cookies, trying to warm my inside with a large coffee (leave an inch for cream and sugar please) and my outside with thoughts of sunshine. At least one side of me should be warm by the time this gets posted. :)

After 3 days of short rides on 2 lane roads, today is a day dedicated to just getting there (read as riding on the interstate.) Each type of ride serves it's purpose, but I definitely enjoy the former rather than the later. Bangor, Maine, is the destination for today and I'll be spending at least 2 nights there. That gives me the opportunity for a couple of days to explore the twisting backroads of New England. Bangor is about two and a quarter hours from where I am now, probably closer to three hours by the time I add in stops and gas.

One of the things I appreciate most about small town America, which you can only see by getting off the interstate, is its pride. Most of the small towns I rode through over the past three days already have their flags out for Memorial Day. No last minute preparations, waiting until the Friday before to get the decorating done. What a beautiful and wonderful country we live in.

Speaking of beautiful...even though the day is gray and cold, the ride here in Maine is beautiful none the less. It's almost like fall, but in reverse. I've never seen so much color in trees that are just sprouting leaves. Gold, yellow, green, and purple, it's a veritable rainbow of new life springing forth to great another growing season. I can only imagine how wonderful it would look flooded with sunlight. It looks like I might get my chance to see that on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bangor calls my name, or maybe that's just the bathroom around the corner, either way, I'm off for now.

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

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Location:U.S. 1,Freeport,United States

Saturday, May 21, 2011

You are my sunshine...

The sun did come out for a little while today...but it was after we all got soaked on our Saturday ride. The weather was OK when we left the motel, but only the naive among us thought that would hold out. :)

This is definitely the kind of riding I most enjoy. Hills and valleys, twists and turns, stopping for a good meal and to see some beautiful sights. Had it not been for the rain, it would rank as an almost perfect day.

What's interesting is that I can ride through this type of terrain in Michigan...only it takes longer to get to it than it does to get out here. The western and northern UP have very similar natural characteristics to this area, but it's just as far away from home (well, maybe not exactly, but it feels like it.)

As a lifestyle/hobby/whatever I find one of the things about riding that I most enjoy is that even when you're riding with a huge group of people, you're still a little bit by yourself. You're in a group, but independent of the group. The solitude is a great time for thinking/pondering/dreaming.

Here are some pictures from today's ride.

Pretty bikes, all in a row.

The covered bridge we stopped at for a little gawking.

One lane, you must take turns!

A beautiful view of the river from inside the bridge.

Folks getting ready for the rain, which came down in spades after we left the bridge.

All in all, it was a good day. There were a few minor issues on the ride, but I'll save those stories for another day (or not, since they'd just make some of you worry.)

Tomorrow is a short ride day to the greater Boston area. It will be nice to get some laundry done and have dry pants to wear when I leave for Maine on Monday morning.

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:S Main St,Orange,United States

Friday, May 20, 2011


Joel & I getting ready to leave his place on Wednesday.

Lunch with Slimbone, Sister Moo, Studly, and me.

Quabbin Reservoir Tower profile.

Picture of the picture taker, a must have photo op.

Listening to the Quabbin Reservoir ranger tell his tales.

Back at the Executive Inn, just hanging out.

Finally got my highway peg extensions installed!

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I dub thee...

Wednesday and Thursday are behind me...which is for the best. You already know about Wednesday night, but Thursday was just a long hard day.

Let's just put it this way...this is going to be a short trip if the weather doesn't change for the better.

When we finally rolled into Massachusetts, the sun had set. It was getting dark and it started raining again. Then to make matters worse, it got really foggy. We struggled along I-90 for what seemed like forever before we finally got to a travel plaza. After asking around and looking at our maps, we realized we had 10 miles to travel until the first/next exit, where we could then take backroads the rest of the way to our destination. We got back onto the highway, traveling as quickly, but as safely as we could...which means we were doing about 35 to 40 while semis and cars whipped by us at 65. I was riding in back; most motorcycles don't have flashers, so every time a vehicle started approaching us from the rear, I started pumping my brake, hoping to get enough attention to divert them to the left lane instead of plowing into us. We had gone about 3 and a half miles this way when God sent his angel. A good Samaritan pulled in behind me, turned on his flashers, and followed us all the way to the exit. I'm sitting here crying just thinking about it. I have no doubt he may have saved our lives. He never stopped to accept my thanks, I pray that God blesses him tenfold for his great act of kindness.

I'm finding I'm going to have to change my travel plans for another reason, too. There's just no way I can ride 500+ miles per day on this motorcycle. This is my first big trip on it, and I've learned that the kind of travel I had planned, with the hopes of riding out west, are just not going to work. Instead, I will probably grab a hotel in an area for a couple of nights and ride the local roads. I have a feeling that's going to be better anyway. The short ride we took today was a great reminder to me that I really enjoy riding through the hills and valleys, enjoying the scenery, and stopping often enough that the body and the mind have time to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, for me, the Triumph just isn't going to be a good long distance bike. Some guys like to name their motorcycles...Sally, Sue, etc...on long trips, the Triumph has earned the name "Vasectomy."

Pictures are on the way, I promise.

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:S Main St,Orange,United States

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The rain in Spain...

They say that a journey of one thousand miles begins with a small step...apparently it also begins with cold rain. I don't mind the cold. I don't mind the rain. I hate the combination.

It rained all the way from Jackson to Livonia where I met my riding partner, Joel. We were pretty free and clear of the wet stuff all the way to Toledo, but as soon as we got on the Ohio Turnpike, down it came.

I was thankful many times today for having heated hand grips.

Today totaled about 250 miles, the most I've put on the Triumph in one day. It's a very different motorcycle from my Honda, and I'm going to need to take my time and "learn" how to ride it.

We finally pulled into the hotel about 11:30PM, full of pie (thanks Dave and Cathy) and crossing our fingers hoping that the rain will find some way to leave us alone when we pull out of the parking lot in the morning.

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:E 65th St,Cleveland,United States

Monday, May 9, 2011


There's just a little over a week left until launch day arrives.  Not much to write about between now and then.  The burn on my leg from my exhaust is looking gross.  I won't post a picture of it, but it was a little worse than that first picture I posted makes it look.  I'm keeping it dressed and hoping the skin grows back before I leave next Wednesday...or at least grows back enough that I don't need to dress it as well as I am right now.

You may have noticed the map at the top of the blog.  I've had this tracking app on my phone for a long time but never used it.  I was checking it out the other day and realized it would be a great way to help people know where I'm at during my travels.

I still haven't decided if I want to give up any of my packing real estate to take my laptop or not.  I've got my iPad, and I bought a keyboard for it while I was in Louisiana.  It makes it just about all I'd need, with a couple of exceptions.  If I can figure the exceptions out between now and Wednesday, laptop stays home and iPad wins again. :)

In different traveling news, I've been spending a lot of time on the road, even if it hasn't been on my motorcycles.  I got a new truck at the end of March.  In less than 5 weeks I've managed to drive almost 5,000 miles.  For some people that may not seem like much, but over the past 14 years, Sara and I had never put more than 7,000 miles on a car/truck in a year.

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sitting in my big chair...

The first day back home, it's relaxing and comfortable.

The past 6 days included almost 4 full days of driving, over 3,000 miles on the road (both in the truck and on the bike), way too much fast food, a lot of good conversations, fun, and more than a couple hard moments in processing being away from home, the things that were going on back here, and coming back home.

It also gives me a little perspective on what I'm setting myself up for, if I really intend on spending 6 weeks traveling starting 15 days from now.

Things I have to consider:
  • Staying in cheap hotels usually means bad beds. Staying in hotels with nice beds will cost more, which I OK, just need to be aware about it upfront.
  • I need a better food plan, which might be easier traveling by myself on the bike. Mobility with a truck and trailer really makes finding places to eat that aren't right along the highway less appealing. Riding is more physically exerting than driving, so I'm not as worried about the days I won't be at the Y walking my 3 miles per day.
  • I need to find at least one "touristy" thing to do each day. Just riding, sleeping, and eating will end up not being very fun.
  • I may not be able to ride as far or as much as I thought I was going to be able to. I think I need to cut my target down from 500 miles per day to about 300. This would allow me to travel at a slower pace and stop to enjoy where I am more often. Trying to make 500 miles per day just means I'm trying to get someplace different than the place I was.
  • I probably need to take a couple of long day trips over the next 2 weeks to get ready.
I'm still looking forward to traveling, but the excitement has been tempered a bit by the expereiences of the past week. Fortunately I'm not really on many hard deadlines in terms of travel. At any point I can change my mind, change me path, and change my destination.

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Back in the saddle...

Well, up and at 'em. Only 6 hours of driving until we get to my house and drop my bike off, then it's over to Detroit to take Joel home, those extra 3 hours of driving are necessary...and I figure since I like Joel I won't just boot him out and my house and make him ride home in what likes like might be rain. :)

We drove through Alabama on our way home The damage from those tornados is just horrific, and I'm sure what we saw along the highway was just the tip of the iceberg. Louisville has apparently had a lot of rain, too. We're staying at the Holiday Inn and when we arrived they said we had to park out in front of the building because the parking lot closest to our room was completely underwater. Eek.

This 6 days from home as been interesting. It's been good to get out into a "new"/different environment. I didn't realize it, but the night I spent in Midland last Friday was the first night away from home since I was at the hospital with Miranda.

The hardest part of the trip (which you'd think would have been the 2,000+ miles I've already driven) has actually been realizing that when I get home, it's just me getting home. No Sara waiting at the door, wanting a hug, a kiss, and a good snuggle to make up for being gone. It's the emotional toll of travel that I've been expecting, and yet, when it hit, it was not easy to handle. It gives me some perspective on my six weeks travel plans that I didn't yet have.

It's raining here today. A quick look at the weather map tells me it's going to follow us at least part of the way home. Another day where it's good to be in the truck, pulling a trailer with the bikes, and not on the bike wishing I was in the truck. :)

Tomorrow is another day, and another road.

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Location:W 10th St,Clarksville,United States