Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2014 Motorcycle Trip - Part III

Days 6, 7 and 8 - NH, ME and NB

Day 6 - Auburn, NY to Nashua, NH (NY 20, NY 787, VT7, VT 9, NH 9, NH 101)

Our Day 6 plan was not written in stone, our plan was to complete New York State, move into Vermont and New Hampshire.  At the beginning of the day, we were unsure which route we were going, so we decided that we would continue on NY 20 to Albany, NY and then move into Vermont and New Hampshire.

Day 6 Routes

We started on NY Route 20 early in the morning and I have to admit it was a bit slow.  Luc piped up on the Scala communicator and said," if this speed continues, we will have to head for the Interstate".  Fortunately, it did pick up and we continued on Route 20.  The weather was overcast, however, the ride through farm country was scenic and enjoyable.  As we rode through the stretch from Sharon, NY to Esperance, NY we noticed a significant amount of damage from Tropical Storm Arthur...there were many uprooted trees and broken tree limbs scattered across the countryside. We stopped for fuel and a coffee and spoke to one of the local residents.  He explained that the storm moved through very quickly and even damaged his property.  This was the same storm (tropical storm Arthur) that hit our community the next day and caused significant damage, including damage to my property and Luc's property.

Next, it was on to Albany and the Vermont state line.  The ride on the 20, also known as the Western Turnpike was straight forward, it took us through Albany to NY 787 and then to the exit for Bennington, VT.  Due to the volume of traffic, it was not until we passed the exit that we realized we missed it.  A quick turn around and we were off to Vermont on VT Route 7.  The sun was shining, we got rid of our rain gear and continued on to Bennington VT.  Once in Bennington, we stopped for coffee as we had not planned our route past this point.

Making a plan!

We were not really sure what direction we were going to head in.  Luc mentioned that he wanted to go to Whitehorse Gear in Conway, NH and I wanted to go to Derry Cycle in Derry, NH to look at the new EBR 1190RX. As we looked at the maps and played around with Google Maps on my tablet, I said to Luc, "Nashua, NH is not that far, why don't we head there for the eve and see if we can connect with our good friend Jeff".  Luc said, "ok, let's see if we can connect with Jeff".  Jeff is a great guy and one of the most connected guys I know. We posted a quick IM on Facebook with Luc's cell number and within minutes, Luc's cell phone rang and we were thrilled to find out that Jeff was available to hangout with us.  So, the plan was to ride to Nashua, NH and connect with Jeff for the eve!  This is how Luc and I plan!

After our coffee, we left Bennington and moved on to VT Route 9 to Brattleboro, VT.  We rode this road last year and it is one that I highly recommend.  It is full of curves, twists and turns and is an absolute joy to ride!  At one point, while I was leading and having a great time accelerating coming out of one of the many corners, I met the State Trooper coming towards me.  I was pretty sure that I was exceeding the 50 mph speed limit, but on this day, luck was on my side!

We stopped at Hogback Mountain as there is a lookout area where you can see for miles and miles.  At the lookout point, we ran into a couple from Maryland who were returning home from a ride that took them to Bar Harbour, ME. We spent about half an hour exchanging stories and rides.

Hogback Mountain Lookout, VT Route 9

Following the stop at Hogback Mountain, it was on to Brattleboro, VT via Route 9 and across the state line into New Hampshire.  We continued on Route 9 and on to NH 101 into Nashua, NH.  Along the way, we stopped for fuel and at the same time checked on accommodations. Since we had such good luck with the three previous evenings at Holiday Inns, we decided to check out the Holiday Inn in Nashua.  The ride along Route 101 was good, with traffic picking up as we got closer to the city.  Once in Nashua, we checked into the Holiday Inn and contacted our friend Jeff to let him know that we were in town.

Later on, Jeff arrived and it was really good to connect with him as it had been 11 months since he visited New Brunswick and the last time we met.  Jeff took us to downtown Nashua where we checked out MT's Local Kitchen and Wine Bar.  We had an enjoyable evening discussing everything from motorcycles to families to jobs to rides...the food at MT's was very good too!

After our meal, we ventured down the street to Castro's Back Room, a local cigar shop.  The selection at this place was impressive and my two friends opted for Dominican Cigars.  We sat outside on the sidewalk and continued our conversations. After an hour or so, Jeff drove us back to the Holiday Inn and we bid our farewells! You can always tell a "true friend" when your conversations pick up where they left off the last time you met...Jeff certainly fits in this "true friend" category!

Day 6 - 486 Km.  Hotel - Holiday Inn

Day 7 - Nashua, NH to North Conway, NH (NH 3, NH 102, NH 28B, NH 28, NH 109N, NH 25, NH 3, I-93, NH 112, NH 113, ME 302, NH 302, NH 16)

Day 7 Routes

Day 7 started out rather slow. We really only had 3 goals in mind, visit Derry Cycle, visit Whitehorse Gear and stop in North Conway, NH.  We were given complimentary breakfasts at the Holiday Inn and we took our time mapping out our day.  Once breakfast was done, I called the Colonial Motel in North Conway and reserved a room.  We stayed their last year unexpectedly during a huge rainstorm and the owner (Jerry) was very accommodating and let us park our motorcycles in his personal car port during the rainstorm.  We figured we owed Jerry a return favor by booking a night at his motel.

We proceeded to load our motorcycles and it seemed to take longer than usual and it was not until we hit the road that I figured it out.  Luc was purposely stalling, as he knows I like to get on the road and that I love to ride.  The reason he was stalling is he wanted to ensure that we would arrive at Derry Cycle when it opened and so we would not have to wait around.  He knew if we arrived to early, I would probably say the heck with it, let's ride on...what a friend!

The ride to from Nashua to Derry via NH 102 took about 20 minutes and we had no issues finding Derry Cycle as I had it programmed in my GPS. We arrived about 15 minutes before the dealership opened, so we went back to a Dunkin' Donuts that we had passed.  Luc ordered an ice coffee, so I figured I would give it a try...that was a mistake, the stuff is crap and mine ended up in the trash!

Back to Derry Cycle...I have to admit, I was quite excited about having the opportunity to see the new EBR 1190RX.  Those who read my blog know that I own a 2009 Buell 1125R and that I am a big fan of EBR Motorcycles and Erik Buell.  As we entered Derry Cycle, I was instantly attracted to the EBR 1190RX and asked the salesman a few questions and asked if it was okay to take a few pictures.  His response, was heck, you can take pictures and we can sell you the motorcycle!

I think the EBR 1190RX fits rather nicely!

While I was examining every part of the 1190RX and taking pictures, Luc spent time looking around the dealership and talking to the parts guy!  It was a real thrill for me to see these bikes and the salesman was confident that we could work out a deal and import one to Canada, I said maybe next year!

As Luc was looking around, he asked the parts guy about highway pegs as he is looking to make a change to the ones he currently has on his bike.  I entered into the conversation and the parts guy took out a set of OEM Harley Davidson highway pegs and mounts, he explained that they were take offs and that he would give me a very good deal on them.  I asked if I could try them on my Street Glide and he said sure.  The pegs were a perfect fit and match with my floor boards and passenger pegs.  I asked the parts guy how much he wanted for the pegs/mounts and he said $60.00 for the pair...deal!  He even provided the tools for me to do the install! Small note, I had been looking at exactly the same pegs in the HD catalogue.

New Highway Pegs Installed

The team at Derry Cycle were a great bunch and if you are in the area, stop by.  Prior to leaving, we asked what was the best ride North to Wolfeboro.  They recommended scenic bypass NH 28B & 28 and we took their advice.  We said good bye and were on our way.

NH28B and 28 did not disappoint, it was a nice 110 Km ride to the lakes region of NH.  Upon arrival at Wolfeboro, traffic was very heavy so we choose to take Route 109N around Lake Winnipesaukee and ride to Laconia Harley Davidson in Meredith.  I picked up a t-shirt and we priced the foot pegs I had purchased earlier in the day, HD price, $99.99 for the mounts and $150.00 for the pegs!  I got a great deal at Derry Cycle! Thanks again Luc for bringing the highway pegs to my attention!

Our next destination was Conway, NH and we wanted the ride the 112 again, also know as the Kancamagus Highway.  We took Route 3 out of Meredith and hit the I-93 North to Lincoln.  The ride on the I-93 isn't bad as it is very scenic and you are in awe as you enter the White Mountains region.  Traffic on the 112 was very light and there are many views along this route.  I have to admit, I was very disappointed with the condition of the 112, it was much rougher than I recall.  While scenic, it would not rank as one of my favorite rides of the trip.  We had been on much better roads in VT, NY and PA.

White Mountains via the Kancamagus Highway

The last part of our ride was rather comical, we entered into Conway and wanted to find our way to Whitehorse Gear.  Traffic was heavy and we thought we knew a different route with "thought" being the key word! When we crossed the state line into Maine, we knew we were not heading in the right direction!  We had a great laugh and ended up on back roads, crossed the state lines a few times again and rode on what I think is the roughest road in all of NH!  We eventually made our way to the 302 (thanks to GPS) and headed straight for the Colonial Inn.  We unloaded our gear, went for a short walk through North Conway and found a place for food and coffee.  Whitehorse Gear was going to be part of our Day 8 plan!

Day 7 - 300 Km, not a great day mileage wise, but a very fun day!  Motel - Colonial Inn

Day 8 - The Voyage Home, North Conway, NH to Fredericton, NB (NH 16, NH 2, ME 2, I-95N, TC 2)

Day 8 Routes

We woke to a beautiful morning in North Conway and went Priscilla's Country CafĂ© for breakfast..  We went to the same restaurant last year and the breakfast is one to die for, ask for the Maine Blueberry Pancakes!  In the parking lot, we spoke to a couple from Maine who were touring on their Electra Glide, again, we shared stories and rides and had a wonderful conversation!  Luc has said on many occasions, half the fun of the trip is the people you meet and the conversations that you have!

Back at the Colonial Inn, we loaded the bikes for one last time.  Jerry, the owner came over to wish us well and thanked us for staying with him.

Day 8 and Loaded

Our next stop was Whitehorse Gear and we knew how to get there this time. This is another must stop for motorcyclists!  The selection is amazing and the staff is friendly and very knowledgeable!  We spent about an hour or so there and Luc purchased a new rain suit and a pair of riding glasses.  I enjoyed browsing through the warehouse and dreaming of all the things I wanted to purchase.

It was time for the last leg of our journey, the 600+ Km ride back to Fredericton.  NH Route 16 is another fantastic ride, the view of Mount Washington and surrounding areas is picture perfect!  Traffic was very light to the Route 2 intersection, so we were able to enjoy the ride and take it all in.  We stopped in Gorham for fuel and made our way through to Skowhegan, ME where we stopped for coffee and fuel.  The ride along ME Route 2 was slow at times due to truck traffic and construction. 

At Pittsfield, we jumped on the I-95N for the journey to the Canadian border.  A stop for fuel in Lincoln, ME and then we continued on the I-95.  Once you get past Bangor and head North, there is one word for the I-95, boring!  It is just a ride through the woods!  For entertainment, Luc and I took turns passing each other on the Interstate.

Another stop for fuel in Houlton, ME and onto the Canadian border and the 100 Km ride home. We did make a quick stop at the duty free store in Houlton for some liquid beverages!

We arrived back in Fredericton around 7:30pm, said good bye and ventured each on our own way.  It was nice to be home and it was with a great feeling that we had experienced another excellent road trip!  8 days and 4000+ Km of riding, beautiful roads and scenery and new friends and conversations.  The trips keep getting better every year!  Also, thanks to Luc for being such a great travelling partner, we both share a care free attitude and just enjoy the ride...the way it should be!

Ride safe!

No comments:

Post a Comment