Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 6 The Ride Home

Day 6 The Ride Home - US Route 1N, NB-3N, NB-2E

We had an early start on our last day of the trip and our plan was to follow US Route 1N to the Canadian border and then home to Fredericton.  Total distance for the day was approximately 525 km (325 miles).   The bikes were loaded and we rode to Freeport, ME for a big breakfast before our day of riding.

Day 6 - The Ride Home

The weather again was perfect...6 excellent days of riding!  For the first couple of hours the ride on Route 1N was great, traffic was almost non-existent  and we cruised along at the speed limit.  We stopped in Bucksport, ME to view the The Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory...this is one cool looking bridge!


 The Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory 

The bridge spans 2120 feet where the Penobscot River meets the Penobscot Bay.  There is an observatory at the top of the left bridge column that you can visit.  The Penobsoct River also has some historic significance that dates back to the 1700's.


Penobscot River and Penobscot Bay

After crossing the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, we made a quick stop for fuel, coffee and a snack.  From there, we continued on Route 1 to Sullivan, ME where we stopped for a few more pics of the Sullivan Harbor areas.


Sullivan Harbor, ME

We continued North to Machias, ME where we topped up our fuel and prepared for the final stretch in the USA to the Canadian Border.  Other than woods, there is not much to see on this part of Route 1.  The roads are decent and the traffic is very light...if you travel in this area, it would be worth your time to visit Campobello Island via Lubec, ME.  We cleared Canadian Customs at NB-1 and made our way to St. Stephen, NB for a bite to eat before making the final 120km ride home.

This was an excellent road trip, from the White Mountains to the Green Mountains to the roads of rural Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut to the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine!  We had the opportunity to view many geographic areas and ride on some excellent roads!  In addition, we made a few new friends along the way...especially Jeff from Amherst, NH!  I estimated that we covered 2700 km (1678 miles) on this 6 day ride through the New England States and would highly recommend this ride to others!  An extra special thanks to my friend Luc...you could not ask for a better guy to travel with!!!


Random Stuff...

Luc & Jeff in White Mountains

V-Star 1100 Classic in NH

Bear Notch Road, NH

Lost in Newport, NH (not really)!

View from Cannon Mountain, NH

Recovering from  2nd Degree Sunburn after Going Squid!

I am already looking forward to next summer's ride!  Until next time, ride safe! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 5 CT/MA/NH/ME

Day 5 CT/MA/NH/ME

After a nice breakfast with Luc's sister and niece, we planned our routes for the day.  Our goal was to head for the Atlantic coast through Seaport, NH and follow US Routes 1/1A North.  We loaded our bikes, gave our thanks, said our goodbyes and hit the road.

 Day 5 Route

Our first route was CT-97N...this was a very nice drive through the rural countryside.  It was a mix of mature forest and beautiful colonial style estates complete with rock walls as property boundaries.  Traffic was very light and we enjoyed the ride; this is another route that I would recommend.


CT-97N

We continued to make our way North and stopped at Worchester, MA for a coffee and a quick break.  From there it was East to Marlborough, MA via MA-20 and then to the much dreaded I-95N!  The ride to the I-95 was mostly urban...through small towns and business districts, nothing too exciting.

The ride on the I-95 was not fun, traffic was very heavy and slow.  Added to that, it was extremely warm, bordering on uncomfortable!  Once we passed all of the exits for Boston, traffic flow and speed improved.  90 minutes later, we were in Seabrook, NH and a much deserved break.  Traffic on US-Route 1 was very heavy as it was a Saturday and many were headed to the beach areas.

On our approach to Route 1A, Luc and I got separated for a short period of time.  We were in traffic and very quickly approaching the exit from Route 1 to 1A.  Luc was leading and I asked what direction he was heading as we were approaching an off ramp, he said straight, well, he interpreted straight as veering right and I interpreted it as veering left...we were riding close and as he veered to the right, I did not have time to do the same and ended up veering left.  He went one way and I the other...Luc said in his Scala, "I will find you"!  A few minutes later, we found each other and were heading for Route 1A...at least that's what we thought!

We ended up on the Hampton Beach strip, it was busy and very slow.  Traffic was at a stand still and it took us at least 30 minutes, maybe longer to get through the strip area and back on to the real Route 1A!  Route 1A to Portsmouth was a great coastal ride.


We passed through many beach areas and saw some amazing real estate.  If you are riding through this area on a nice day during the weekend, be prepared for a slow ride!



US Route 1A - New Hampshire

We arrived in Portsmouth, NH about mid-afternoon, parked the bikes and went off on a search for a seafood restaurant in the downtown waterfront district of the city.  We found an excellent place...The Old Ferry Landing Restaurant and had an amazing feed of scallops.  The portion of scallops were large and they were cooked to perfection!  Two thumbs up for this place!  In addition, the restaurant deck has a great water view!

Old Ferry Landing Restaurant - Portsmouth, NH

Next, the plan was to jump back on Route 1 and continue our ride North.  We crossed the state line into Maine and proceeded on our way.  We had hoped to take Route 1A from York to Wells for another seaside ride, but that quickly changed due to weekend traffic...it was bumper to bumper at the exit to York and very slow, so we opted to skip it and stay on US Route 1.  The same held true for Kennebunkport and ME - 9.  We stopped near the Kennebunk exit for fuel and a much needed drink...I was starting to feel that I was physically overheating and I made the decision to go "squid" for a bit and removed my leather jacket...something I would pay for dearly later on!

It was approaching early evening when we arrived in Portland, ME and we thought it would be a good idea to start looking for place to settle for the evening.  We stopped at a Comfort Inn near the airport only to find out that everything in the city was booked solid.  The two ladies working at the Comfort Inn tried to find us a place, but no luck...they really went beyond the call of duty to try to help us.

Luc and I decided that we would jump on the I-295 and look for accommodations elsewhere.  We rode on the I-295 for about 15 minutes and took the first exit we came to that had signs for accommodations.  Immediately off the exit at Yarmouth, ME, we found a small motel called the Brookside Motel.


Brookside Motel - Yarmouth, ME

It was perfect, clean, air conditioned, had WiFi and on top of that was only $100.00! We were both pretty tired from a long day's ride in hot weather!  We went for a short walk to a local store and then settled in for the eve!

Next Day 6...US Route 1 to Canada.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 4 MA/CT Part B

Day 4 MA/CT (Part B)

The second part of our day 4 ride took us from Massachusetts to Northern Connecticut and then through central Connecticut.  Our first destination was the town of Granby, CT.  It took a bit longer to get there then expected as we missed a turn and had to go through Holyoke, MA before catching the I-91 South.

 Day 4B MA/CT

Once in Granby, we followed CT-20...this is an excellent ride!  The highway is 50+ km and extends through scenic roads with lots of turns!  It seemed like Luc and I were the only two vehicles on the road and we had a lot of fun...this would have to rank as one of my favorite rides of the 6 day journey.  It was so much fun, that I did not stop to take any pictures.  However, I did find this video on YouTube that will give you an idea of what the ride on CT-20 is like!

Video Credit - 24VFR (YouTube)

At the end of CT-20, we stopped for fuel at Winsted and planned our route to Luc's sisters place in Scotland, CT.  It looked like the rest of our riding would be a mix of Interstate and divided highway to Norwich, CT (CT-8, I-84, I-691, CT-9, etc.)...it was typical highway driving, not much to see and lots of Friday afternoon traffic.  

We ventured off CT-9 for fuel at East Haddam, CT.  Well stopped there, a driver of a beverage truck came over and started to talk to us.  He asked where we where heading and we replied, Norwich.  He said that he owned a Harley and that we should take CT-82 to Norwich...he said that it was an excellent "biker road" and that it would provide relief from Friday afternoon traffic.  Since CT-82 was adjacent to the gas station we decided that we would take the advice that we where given. The ride to Norwich on CT-82 was another good one, similar to what we experienced earlier in the day in MA.

CT-82

Once we arrived in Norwich, we rode to Luc's old neighborhood.  He grew up near Norwich and had not been back there for some time.  I enjoyed hearing Luc tell stories of where he grew up and the things they did as kids.  We stopped at the house where Luc lived as a child/teenager and grabbed a quick picture.


From there it was on to Scotland, CT and Luc's sisters for the evening.  We had a great visit and evening with Luc's sister and her family!  Up next, day 5...NH/ME coast...

Day 4 Massachusetts Part A

Day 4 (Part A) Quabbin Loop - Massachusetts (Routes 202, 122, 32A & 9)

For the start of our Day 4 ride, we checked the Motorcycleroads.Com web site and decided that we would follow a suggested loop called the Quabbin Loop.  Our 70 mile route started in Hadley, MA and ended in Belchertown, MA.

 Quabbin Loop

The ride started North on Route 202 and like other roads that we traveled earlier in the week, it did not disappoint.  Traffic was almost non-existent and the ride changed in elevation on several occasions.  Both Luc and I gained a real appreciation for the quality of this road!

Route 202-N

There was a quick stop at the junction of Route 202 and Route 122 to check our map and to confirm that we were headed in the right direction.  The ride South on Route 32A was beautiful as well...a nice scenic ride through rural Massachusetts!  Luc and I really enjoyed the ride through mature forest regions of the area!

Route 32A-S

We opted not to stop by the Quabbin Reservoir as we wanted to leave enough time to tour Northern Connecticut.  Also, we were on a loosely defined schedule as we had plans to visit with Luc's sister in Scotland, CT later in the day!  After completing the loop, we stopped in Belchertown, MA for a coffee and to take a look at the next leg of our ride to Granby, Connecticut.  While at the coffee shop, we struck up a great conversation with an older gentlemen who suggested a route to Granby for us. After a quick break, we were headed for Connecticut.

Day 4 Part B to follow...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 3 NH/VT

Day 3 - New Hampshire/Vermont

After a great rest, we were up early and ready for our day 3 ride through New Hampshire to Vermont.  We looked at the route that Jeff suggested, set the GPS and were on the road early.


We started across New Hampshire via Route 11.  It was a nice morning ride through rural New Hampshire.  Our first stop was in Claremont, NH, near the NH/VT border.  While having coffee, we struck up a conversation with a lady who lived in the area.  To our surprise, she was very familiar with New Brunswick.  She told us her family history and explained that parts of her family were exiled to Canada due to the fact they where Loyalists and had sworn allegiances to the England during the American Revolution.  She stated that they were sent to Fredericton (my hometown), Saint John and Deer Island.  When she mentioned Deer Island, I almost fell off my chair...those who follow my blog know that I have a real liking for Deer Island and have blogged about it on several occasions. I asked where on Deer Island and she said Leonardville...a place I have been many times!  I said "do you know the main family surname in Leonardville" and she said "of course, it's Leonard, my maiden name!" (My friend Karl, will get a real kick out of this story).  Luc and I really enjoyed our conversation with the lady named Barb.  Barb also offered some advice on directions and roads to ride in Vermont.  We gave our thanks, said our good-byes and were on our way.

Our next destination was Rockingham, VT via I-91 South.  We made a quick stop at the state line for a few pics.



From there is was a short ride on the I-91 to Rockingham, VT.  Shortly after leaving the I-91 on Route 103, we came a cross the Vermont Country Store...we just had to stop!  If you are traveling through Rockingham, you have to stop here!



The Vermont Country Store

The Vermont Country Store is a true country store...it was like walking back in time!  A candy section, cheese and meats, dry goods, clothing and much, much more.  Check out the candy section and the old fashioned ice box!


Mmmmm...Candy!

While at the Vermont Country Store, I was challenged to a game of table hockey by a guy from Austin, Texas. The game started and I took a quick two goal lead...and then told the guy that I was Canadian! His response was "great, I don't have a chance to win" as I slammed home a shot from right wing for goal number three! End result, Canada 3 - USA 0!

 International Table Hockey Game!

I don't know if it is possible to have too much fun, however, Luc and I really enjoyed our stop at the Vermont Country Store...almost too much fun!

From there, we rode several routes (103, 100, 4, & 30)  through the Green Mountains and through farm country in rural Vermont.  I did not take any pictures as I was just enjoying the ride!  The roads were excellent and the farmland, lakes and hills proved to be great riding!  Thanks again to our friend Jeff for suggesting this route.

The end of the route took us to Brattleboro, VT.  It was extremely hot, so we found and air conditioned coffee shop and had a bite to eat.  We had a short discussion and were trying to decide if we were going to head back to NH for the night or on the Massachusetts.  We decided that we would ride towards Springfield, MA and look for a place to stay.  We jumped on the I-91 South and ended up in Hadley, MA.  We checked into a Comfort Inn and settled for another well deserved rest!  Total riding distance for day 3 through rural New Hampshire & Vermont - 260+ miles!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Maine/New Hampshire (Days 1 & 2)

Well, this summer's long ride is in the books...2700+ km and 6 days of riding later, I am back home in Fredericton.  This summer's ride took my friend Luc and I through five New England states - Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut.  The weather was perfect, albeit a bit warm at times and the scenery was absolutely amazing!  We rode through the Boreal forest regions of New Brunswick & Maine, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Green Mountains of Vermont, the country roads of Massachusetts, the scenic back roads of Connecticut and the sea coast of New Hampshire and Maine.

Day 1 - NB, ME & NH

Day 1 was a ride from Fredericton to Gorham, NH.  We started early in the morning and crossed the US border at Vanceboro, ME.  From there it was ME - Route 6, the I-95 and ME - Route 2 to Gorham, NH.


The first part of the ride via Route 6 was mostly through a forested region and a few small towns.  The I-95, well it's straight and boring and Route 2 takes you through small towns and a few farming communities.  With stops for fuel and food, the 509km ride took us about 7.5 hours.  We both started to get excited as we approached the White Mountains and in anticipation of our day 2 ride!


We reached our destination in Gorham, NH, checked into hotel, unloaded the bikes and ventured out for a walk in this quaint New Hampshire town. Along the way, we came across a cool general store and some antique automobiles.




After a quick bite to eat, we ventured back to the hotel for some air conditioned relaxation and rest!  I was really looking forward to Day 2 for two reasons...the White Mountains and the opportunity to meet long time Twitter friend Jeff aka @JoeRocket.  I have been following Jeff pretty much since I started on Twitter and when he saw my Tweets about our trip, he offered to meet us and ride with us for the day.  Jeff and I exchanged several e-mails and set a plan in place for us to meet on day 2 of our ride!

Day 2 (Part A) - White Mountain National Forest (NH Routes 16, 112, I-93, 302 & the Bear Notch Road)

The weather for our day 2 ride was perfect...not a cloud in the sky!  Luc and I were like two kids at Christmas, excited in anticipation for our ride through the White Mountain National Forest with Jeff!  Our first leg of the day 2 ride was to North Conway, NH via route 16 to meet Jeff .  We were only riding for 10 minutes when we made our first stop to view the Mount Washington area...our reaction was the same, "beautiful"!



Here's a short video clip of the Mount Washington region...

video

We met Jeff at Starbucks in North Conway...although Jeff and I had never met in person, immediately after introductions, it felt like I was meeting with an old friend who I had known for years!  After coffee and a great chat and deciding on a route, it was time to hit the road!  Jeff was very gracious in being our tour guide and said, "this is your ride, I am going to hang back and let you enjoy"!

Route 112 also know as the Kancamagus Highway was the next destination.  This 35 mile stretch of road is a must ride if you have not done so!  It is a twisty road through the mountains...fun, fun, fun!  I am sure that I heard Luc's floorboards scraping the pavement through the Scala on at least one occasion.  I did not get any pics through this area as I was fully engaged and enjoying the ride!  It's one of those rides that just leaves you in awe!

From there it was to the I-93 North...this ride through the valley of the White Mountains was very scenic.  We stopped for a quick break and a few pics.



During the stop, Jeff said, "I am just going to throw something out there...there is a tram that is not too far from here that goes to the top of Cannon Mountain".  Luc & I got as great laugh out of the "just going to throw something out there" statement as we use this all the time when riding.  We thought it was a great idea, so off we were to the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tram.

Here's just a few shots from the 4080ft summit of Cannon Mountain.





The Summit!

After a great time at Cannon Mountain, we continued on I-93 to route 302...another very nice ride.  Jeff had two further suggestions for us, a lunch stop and a ride through Bear Notch Road.  The lunch stop did not disappoint, we had a great meal and conversation at Fayban's Station on route 302.


The Bear Notch Road is another must ride.  This is a summer road and is closed during the winter months...it twists and I mean twists, through a mature forest in the hills.  Here's just one view from the Bear Notch Road!


Day 2 (Part B) - Lake Winnepesaukee

The later part of our day consisted of a ride through the Lake Winnepesaukee region. We stopped in the Town of Wolfeboro for a view of Lake Winnepesaukee.


 Lake Winnepesaukee & Wolfeboro

At this point it was getting late in the day.  Luc and I decided that we would head for Laconia while Jeff made the two hour ride to his home in southern New Hampshire. It was great meeting Jeff and I am sure that our paths will cross again!  Both Luc and I are also grateful that Jeff joined us on the ride and showed us around the region.  We said our good byes and soon parted ways.

Luc and I then rode to Laconia, made a quick ride through Weir's Beach and found a place to stay for the eve.  The motel we stayed at was an older motor inn, but it was extremely clean, had air conditioning and WiFi...all we needed!  I had a great chat with the owner and found out that he owned a Harley Davidson Sportster and a Ducati Sportbike...another friendship was struck!


View from the Barton Motel

What a great day of riding and friendship we had (thanks Jeff!)...after a Pizza, it was lights out for the eve!  Next up, Vermont!