Saturday, June 13, 2015


In case you noticed, there were no posts for about a week. Since there has been only one person who inquired about the draught of posts, it is assumed that we had only one follower. Oh well...

We're home now; it's June 13. The trip lasted three days longer than planned. The cold wet weather, combined with staying in some places longer than anticipated, lengthened the trip.

Basically, we worked our way south through New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and home. Ironically, our last night on the road was in the same town as our first night, Frederick Maryland.

The final day on the road (today) was pretty tough. Traffic was stop and go from just south of DC to just south of Fredericksburg. That's about 38 miles of stop and go on a bike in full gear at a temperature right at 100 degrees. We sweated more than either of us had ever sweated.

But we made it home safely.

The trip was 24 days long and covered 4,370 miles. We spent at least one night in the states of Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and Connecticut. It was a great trip.

Janice did very well on the road. We encountered the full range of challenges of touring on a motorcycle, with the exception of a breakdown. We had hard rain, cold rain, fog, cold, extreme heat, and she weathered it like a seasoned rider. I'm proud of her; touring is not for the meek!

With this, the blog ends. New pics are posted below...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Days Seventeen and Eighteen

Time for another twofer. Both days were spent in and around Bar Harbor (Ba Ha Ba).

Friday's weather was overcast and cool to cold. Temps in the high 40s and low 50s made for an uncomfortable day.

We spent a good part of the day in Acadia National Park, just riding around and seeing the sights. We went to Sand Beach, which is a very rare sand beach in a small cove. The total length of the beach was about 200 yards, tiny by NC beach standards. The water was crystal clear and cold.  The wind was blowing fairly hard, and the air temp was 52 degrees, so there was no one in the water. Actually all of the people on the beach were all bundled up. We were in our bumblebees!

The ride was good, with almost non-existent traffic.

When it got to dinnertime, we rode to a nearby town of Trenton. We had decided to eat lobster, a natural delicacy of Maine. Each of us had eaten lobster before, but it had been many years earlier. So it was time to experience it again at a place recommended by the locals.

We picked out ours, chose the side items, and found a table for the feast. In a bit, our number was called, so we picked up our meal. The restaurant offered to cracking ours, but Malcolm was stubborn and told them he could do it. Probably a mistake! We did manage to pull out all of the meat, but it was quite a struggle. But it was good. Certainly not something for every night, but good for a change. 

Then back to the motel for the night.

Today brought bright sunlight and finally warmer temperatures. A beautiful day for a ride.

We spent most of the day riding in and around the park. Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Seal Harbor, Bass Harbor, Bass Lighthouse, Nelson and Eagle Lakes, and many roads in-between. A great day in a place we both love.

The last part of the ride was to the summit of Cadillac Mountain again. This time with good light and decent temperatures. We took the bumblebees off and went scampering on the rocks at the top. The views from all vantage points were breathtaking. It was fun to climb up and down the landscape like kids would do. 

About an hour of playing on top, and we were ready to head into town for an adult drink and dinner.

Both were good. When we finished, we called it a day and headed to the motel for the night.

A great day enjoyed by both of us.

Tomorrow we say bye to Bar Harbor and begin our trip back home. We know now that we're several days behind schedule, so we'll not be home on the 10th as originally planned. But we'll be there when we get there!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Day Sixteen

Sunshine at last! It was so good to see that bright orb this morning. I know folks get weary of reading so much about weather conditions, but when you spend 8 hours out in the elements, weather conditions are a big part of the day's experience.

We got up, had breakfast at the restaurant across the parking lot, got packed and left a little after 11 am. Janice had read that there was a beach nearby that featured millions of small smooth stones of red, grey and green hue.  Jasper Beach. So, we took off in search of Jasper Beach.

Hwy 192 went eastward down a broad peninsula to the beach. Riding along, we saw one single sign at a dirt road, but decided that there would be a "real" sign for the beach up the road. Wrong! Up the road was the end of the road. A U turn later, we were riding down the dirt road. It was short, and dead ended at the beach.

We walked out to the beach, and found that the descriptors were right--smooth rocks sized from about a half-inch to 4 inches or so went several hundred yards to our left and right. It looked like they washed onto the beach and piled up into several layers of different sizes. Pretty neat. Janice collected several and we were on our way.

Our next destination was Prospect Harbor. A friend's grandmother was instrumental in founding the library there, so we wanted to see it. Down a narrow, winding road along the shore, the village was right where the maps said it would be. We stopped at the post office to take a pic, also hoping someone would show up so we could ask for directions to the library.

Our hope was realized when a woman came out of the post office and walked towards her car. Janice spoke to her, and 10 minutes later, we were on our way to the library. Turns out that the lady volunteers there, so she knew a lot about its history. And she had lived in NC at one time.

A block down the street was the library. We stopped, took a few pics and rode on.

She had also mentioned that we should see a part of Acadia National Park that most visitors don't visit. It was along the way, so we did. And it was pretty magnificent. Along the water, there were several vistas that were just beautiful. The park is directly across the bay from Bar Harbor, and you could just see a few sights of the town. A good diversion to find this jewel!

On to Bar Harbor. We had reserved a room before leaving the previous hotel, so we rode to the motel and checked in.. An older, but very well-kept room awaited us. Another nice place for a couple of nights.

After resting and unpacking, we uncoupled the trailer and rode the mile to downtown Bar Harbor to get something to eat.  We found a  local restaurant, West Street Cafe and had what Janice said was the best fish she had ever eaten -- Haddock.

Finishing our meal, we decided to ride to the top of Cadillac Mountain for sunset. It's one of Malcolm's favorite destinations in the eastern states. At 1,500 feet on the summit, it's not a tall mountain, but there's no other place with as pretty a view as you get from there. An almost 360 degree panorama of green, wooded islands in the bay and ocean, with blue-green water, it's breathtakingly beautiful. It was cold on top, but the sunset was worth the cold. 

When the sun dipped below the mountains to the west, we got on the bike and rode back to our room and called it a night.

It was an outstanding day.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Day Fifteen

We woke up, looked out the front window, and no rain was falling. Everything was still wet, but the rain had stopped. It was cold, 40 degrees, but it was forecast to warm several degrees per hour. So, we knew we'd be able to leave.

Because it was so cool, and in an effort to let it warm up, we took lots of time with breakfast and packing. Around 11 am we left the motel.

So, why did we ride to Ft Kent?  It is the start of the first US road in America. There's just something neat abut being in the place where all of the US highways began. The Interstate highways are great at moving a lot of traffic from point A to B, but they're so uninteresting. After a while, they blend into a collage of exits with the same gas stations and stores, making it difficult to remember where you stopped along the way. Makes for a bland, foggy trip.

On the other hand, the US highways are memorable and move traffic along pretty well. And they go through interesting places. I can still remember parts of US 2 from Duluth, MN to Glacier National Park that Gary and I rode on our way to Alaska. It's my favorite long-distance road. 

So, it's great to be at an important place for US 1. 

So we left the hotel and made our first stop across the street, where we took pics of the monument erected to mark the beginning. Then, we headed south on the great highway.

About 10 miles out of town, Janice spotted a Moose! It was an adolescent Moose, trotting along the edge of the St John river that separates Canada and the USA. We pulled over to the shoulder of the road and kept pace with the Moose so we could get some pics. This went on for about a quarter of a mile before it jumped a guardrail on the other side of the road, crossed the road, and ran into the woods. Unfortunately, the camera malfunctioned and she got only one pic of the Moose. Damned electronics! But there is one pic to show the family.

Next stop was Madawaska, one of the "Four Corners" of the USA. It's a small town that comprises the Northeast-most point in the contiguous 48 states, and a favorite of long distance motorcycle riders. The town has built a very nice small Park to commemorate the place, and there are many pavers with names of riders who have ridden there. This was an unexpected treasure along the way.

The rest of the ride along the highway was filled with small towns or villages, each with unique elements and structures. Some were very nice with manicured lawns and beautiful landscaping, while others were in serious disrepair. Seeing such contrast makes you wonder why one community is so "up" and down the road in a few miles is another about to fall in.,,,

The road surface varied a lot from one area to another. Some areas had a very smooth,nice road surface, while in other areas the asphalt was crumbling and very uneven. We need to look the bike over today to see if anything vibrated off. The suspension got a good workout yesterday.

But the scenery was outstanding. The Road followed the St Johns river for many miles, and with the border between the two countries being the river, our best views were in Canada. The Vistas were so pretty. 

And although still very cool, it was not as bad as yesterday. Overall, it was between  5 and 10 degrees warmer.  AND NO RAIN!  Janice got cold once or twice, but not like the day before.  

About 6:30 we pulled into the motel parking lot in Machias, our destination for the day. It was like an oasis, with lots of cars and trucks in the parking lot and a large motel and restaurant. Along the way, we had passed many motels all very small with less than a dozen rooms, so seeing this one was quite a sight.

A delicious seafood dinner was the end of a good day on the road.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Day Fourteen

Greetings from the northern terminus of US Highway 1.  Ft Kent Maine is just about as far north as you can go in the contiguous USA, and that's where we are tonight. 

Like the past few mornings, we woke to steady rain and COLDER temps. It was 42 degrees in Bangor when we left. We wanted to see two particular sights in Bangor: Paul Bunyan and the home of novelist Stephen King. So, we did. It wasn't easy with the weather conditions, but we got to both, and Janice managed to take pics. I don't know how she did it, but she's good!

Then, we turned north on I 95 and tried to make some miles. Did I say it was cold? It was below cold. The wind chill temp was 27 degrees, made colder with wet feet and hands. An utterly miserable day for a ride.

But what a ride it was, once we got off I 95 and on Maine 11. We both love roads like the 11. It's one of those roads that follow the lay of the land. Up, down, left, right, with high peaks and low valleys. In some places, the road was straight, and when on a peak, one could see for a couple of miles, with usually several smaller Hills and valleys as far as eye eye could see. Very sparsely populated, a house every several miles made it a place where vehicle breakdowns could be real trouble. But the BMW just purred along.

We stopped twice along the way to warm up. After a while we were able to climb back on the bike and move on.

According to locals and the news, the weather is much colder than usual. It should be around 70 daytime temps and around 40 at night. We planned for those temps, with a little extra (just in case), but we didn't have clothes for what we encountered. Janice wore a tank top, cuddleduds,long sleeved tee shirt, fleece jacket, bumblebee, and a Columbia jacket on her upper body. And froze. I wore a tee shirt, long sleeved tee shirt, fleece jacket, and my bumblebee and finally got cold. We stayed dry, except for feet and hands.

About 10 miles from our destination, there was road construction that resulted in several miles of gravel and mud. Fortunately, we didn't slip or have any problem, but it was a bit unnerving. The bike and trailer are trashed; looks like we were on the Alaskan Highway!  Instead of black, both are now brown and yellow, along with the bottoms of our bumblebees. Ugh...

We got into Ft Kent around 5 pm, checked into the motel, and tried to warm up. Had dinner in the restaurant nearby and called it a night. 

Tomorrow, we plan to get on US 1 and ride south towards Bar Harbor.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day Thirteen

Rain, rain go away...
come again another day!

That little rhyme is our mantra for today. We went to sleep last night thinking we'd head north this morning. However, Mother Nature had other thoughts. We woke up to rain and 39 degrees! And the forecast was more of the same all day.

So we talked it over and decided to stay put for the day. We had a reservation at a hotel in Caribou that had to be canceled, and had to tell the front desk that we wanted to stay over. Then back to bed for a nap.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a smidgen better; a little warmer and maybe some breaks in the rain. But we've stayed cooped up long enough and are going to brave the Elements and move on. Not sure whether north or east, but we are leaving here.

So, it was a lazy day in the room. All the gear dried out and we got some much-needed rest. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day Eight

No pics today unless I post some pics from earlier days.

Basically, today was spent riding from Watkins Glenn to Vermont. Only thing is, we didn't go to Vermont! We actually ended up in northwest Massachusetts for the night.

The day started out clear, then cloudy, then monsoon... We rode probably 2/3 of the way in heat and clouds. Muggy weather. But the scenery was beautiful. Lots of rolling hills and small mountains along the way. Many, many dairy farms spotting the landscape. Also, and this is just an observation over several days of riding--this part of the world is covered with ice cream parlors. In small villages and towns, but also in the middle of nowhere. We're not sure if they are so prevalent because of a surplus of milk from the dairy farms, or whether they become the social gathering place for the community in the afternoons. But they are plentiful up here.

The last third of the ride was in the rain. The line of thunderstorms caught up with us and stayed with us into the night. The rain was pretty steady, with it light sometimes, and sometimes hard with frogs dropping from the sky. Lots of lightening hitting around us. As I wrote in the first post, visibility was poor. But we didn't push it, we stayed focused on the road, and made it okay. I did get a little wet--one boot leaked, one sleeve got wet at the cuff, and my upper chest got damp. Janice stayed dry. Our hands and gloves were soaked, however.

We ended up in Massachusetts because we could find a place to stay there. A nondescript motel at a good rate, and we're in for the night.  Overall, it was a good day, but the last two hours were very wet and challenging.

Days Eleven and Twelve

Another twofer! And no pics of the two days to post. But we'll post a few pics from earlier days so there will be something pretty to look at besides these words.

On day eleven, we started out in Bellows Falls and rode north and east our destination for the day was Gorham, New Hampshire, near Mt Washington.

It was a beautiful day, with temperatures in the mid 80s and clear skies. The mountains were steeper than Vermont's, with patches of snow and ice visible in the tops of some mountains, and more granite showing on more mountains. Absolutely beautiful to ride along and see steep mountains on each side of the road. We really enjoyed the ride, so we stopped very little to take pics. Janice took some pics along the way with her camera,but we have no means to transfer those pics to the IPad for blogging. 

We rode by Mt Washington on the way to Gorham, but since it was getting late in the day, and we were tired, we decided to ride to the top the next morning.

We picked a motel for the night and checked in. While the outside looked OK, we were delighted to see that the insides had been completely renovated and our room was very nice, well above average. And a bonus; there was a nice restaurant and lounge next door. So, we had a very pleasant experience in Gorham. Oh, and a second bonus, most of the rooms were occupied by motorcyclists, so we chatted with several couples.

About 10 pm, a weather alert came up on TV, and a few minutes later, the bottom fell out. Thunder and lightning came and moved on, followed by steady rain all night. The forerunner for today,

The morning started with the pitter-patter of rain on the roof. Ugh, rain. And the temperature dropped over 30 degrees from the day before. Cold and wet is not a good combination when on a motorcycle.

So, we debated just staying in bed all day and resting and napping versus taking advantage of the best of the next three days and moving forward. The forecast was for showers today (90%) and 100% rain the next two days. After a bit, the rain eased up and we decided to move on to Maine.

We packed quickly and took off in moderate rain and 52 degrees. Traffic was light, so we jumped on US 2 and headed east.  A little over an hour later, we stopped in Mexico, Maine for brunch. It was good; we also warmed up while there, and Janice put on another layer of warmth to fend off the cold.

The rest of today's ride was more of the same-- rain and cold. Temps ranged from 49 to 56 degrees all day. And the rain never stopped.

Around 4 pm, we decided to quit for the day. Janice was a block of ice, and my hands and feet were getting soggy. We stopped for gas in Bangor, made a hotel reservation, and checked into a motel for the night.

All in all, it was not a horrible day, but it was wet and cold. Tomorrow, we plan to ride in the rain to Ft Kent, Maine, see what is there, jump on US 1 (this is the northern terminus for the road that ends in Key West, FL).  Then turn southeast and ride to Caribou Maine for the night.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day Ten

We got out of the motel at a decent time this morning, but we still didn't make very many miles today. Instead of focusing on distance, we focused on covered bridges.

We made a list of bridges along the proposed route we wanted to travel, and that was a help. We found 9 bridges we wanted to visit. So, we went looking.

Out of the 9, we found 8! Not bad at all. Each one took some hunting, and of course, some time taking pics, so we made great progress on bridges, but little in distance. And we tire easily. Although it didn't get hot, we got hot, especially in places where traffic was slow. 

Lunch was good in Brattleboro. We found a hole in the wall place where Malcolm had a "Hot Mess", which was a plate full of home fries, mushroom, cheese, onions, green pepper and eggs over light. Delicious!

We're not too concerned about the miles were making, but a little more concerned that we get tired so easily. Neither of us are sick, and everything is going well, but maybe the miles and disruption of normal routines makes a difference.

About 5 pm, we were bushed so we stopped for the day in Bellows Falls, Vermont.