Northeast Tour 04

Friday, June 11 2004, I couldn’t wait for everyone to get off work. The bike and trailer was all packed up ready to go. This will be our first trip to the Northeast on our Gold Wing. On this trip there were 4 couples. Steve & Sue James, Gary & Carolyn Gingerich, Dave & Julie Basham, and Greg & Darlene Hayden. I had the day off work, and so did the Bashams, but the other two couples were going to work a half-day.
Since the Hayden’s, Gingerich’s, & James are from the same general area we decided to meet at I-71 & route 35 at 4:30 PM, then head on out to Youngstown Ohio to meet up with the Bashams at the Super 8 Hotel. 240 miles later via I-71 to I-76 then to I-80, there was Dave & Julie in the parking lot at the Super 8 waiting on us. We had about 5 minutes of rain leaving our area of Ohio, then that was it. The Bashams was hit with a pretty good down poor. Dave commented on leaving some pucker marks on his seat, so it must of got pretty rough. Well, we all got re-acquainted at a restaurant and then called it a night so we could get a good night sleep.
We decided that 7:30 would be our departure time, but as it turned out by 7 AM we were all ready to go, and that was pretty much the pattern for the whole trip.
We packed lunchmeat and snacks, as we were to eat our lunch’s everyday as a picnic, and reduce the restaurant time and see as much scenery as we can.
Friday afternoon was the only time we planned on using interstate.

 

Saturday morning after breakfast we headed out 62 in to Pennsylvania then 965 to 62 through Franklin, and on in to the Allegheny National Forest. We then picked up 59 to 6, which was a beautiful ride through a piece of the Tioga State Forest.

Somewhere after stopping at the Kinzua Dam I heard a strange noise. After checking all my gauges I saw my voltmeter had dropped down to 10 VDC. Oh no! The dreaded alternator failure. That’s all I need now! Well, I got on the CB and informed everyone I would be looking for a place to stop as the alternator just bit the dust. As I’m looking for a suitable place to pull over all I kept thinking was I’m just about to interrupt a perfectly good trip for everyone. Where the heck am I going to find an alternator around here? Well, I found a restaurant so we pulled in. At this point I’m very upset, and I noticed a grin on Steve’s face. He tried to get me going a bit but couldn’t resist. He had a spare alternator. Do you believe that? Sweet! I was soooo thankful. I started taking the covers off, and pulled the alternator out and making things ready for the transplant when all of a sudden the big connector on the cable going from the battery to the alternator just broke. Well, I have connectors with me, but not that big. Dang! Another snag. As much as I hated to do it, I hopped on the back of Dave’s Wing and we went riding in to town to look for a parts store. Nothing like a ride in the “queen” seat waving to all the macho Harley riders go by. Oh boy, that didn’t bother me a bit. About an hour later we returned to the parking lot and I know by now everyone is getting tired of sitting there, and their first picnic of the trip was in the gravel lot. I felt bad, and I still had about an hour of work ahead of me. Well as soon as Dave and I got off the bike Steve hollers out “come on, let’s roll”. IÂ’m thinking to myself, yea…yea…yea, what a noble idea! Then Steve turned the key on my Wing and started it up. “What the heck” I said. “What did you do?” Apparently a construction worker pulled in to the restaurant and asked what the problem was. Steve explained it to him and the guys said “no problem, I have connectors that big”. Steve then proceeded to put the connector on, then install his spare alternator and was finished by the time Dave and I got back. How cool is that? I said, “come on, mount up and let’s roll’.

We needed to head north to New York so we went on up to 14 to Elmira New York and called it a night.

Sunday morning we took off with bellies full from the continental breakfast, and continued on up route 14 going along Seneca Lake and picking up 20 in Geneva.

Before we got to 20 though we stopped in at Montour Falls, NY along route 14 and saw the She-Qua-Ga Falls which were right at the end of Main Street.
We took 20 on across to 12 where we headed north through Utica then on to 8 on up to the Adirondacks. We decided to take a southerly route through the Adirondacks on route 8 to 74, and take the northerly route on the return. Route 74 took us to a narrow section of Lake Champlain where we ferried on in to Vermont. We took 74 to 30 to 73 across the Green Mountains to 100 in to Pittsfield where we found a wonderful Bed & Breakfast to spend the night. They took care of us real nice, and breakfast the next day was the best. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend staying at the Swiss Farm Inn B&B.

 

Monday morning after a wonderful breakfast we headed on down100 to route 4 and went to Woodstock. Actually, went through Woodstock (VT not NY), then on in to New Hampshire. Now we had to swing by Venco Wings in Loudon to say howdy to Jim & Sue Venne. I talked to Jim about the problem I had with my Wing, and it turns out my alternator was okay, but my starter relay was sticking causing the starter to crank. I won’t turn this in to a tech info article so I’ll just leave it at that. We continued on through New Hampshire focusing on being in Maine by that evening. We took 202 into Main, picked up 25 then got on to I-95 on up to Freeport by LL Bean to get our Hotel for the evening. We had a nice visit & dinner with Dave & Julie’s cousin after doing a little shopping at LL Bean.

 

Tuesday was going to be a short trip mileage wise as we were heading to Bar Harbor. We left Freeport and went straight up route 1 to Ellsworth then picked up 3, and went on to Bar Harbor. Once arriving we headed up Cadillac Mountain where we were greeted by a cloud at the summit. We went down the mountain a little bit to where the cloud cleared and stopped to have our lunch along the road. After lunch we went in to town to find us a hotel for the evening. Once booked in to the hotel Dave & Julie road on to Sand Beach then around the island. The rest of us decided to walk in to town for some sight seeing and shopping. We all got back together later that evening for dinner outside on the terrace, waterfront at the Bar Harbor Inn. A very nice setting which took us in to sunset. One of the things we wanted to do there is go on a whale watching expedition, but the morning cruise was full, and the afternoon cruise which left at 1 PM wouldn’t get back until 6:30 PM, and we felt that was too late as we planned to move on. We decided to just hit the road the next morning, and work our way to our next destination, Niagara Falls.

 

Wednesday we walked down the street for a lovely breakfast on the deck of This Way Cafe. It’s a little cafe down an alley in Bar Harbor. After breakfast we checked out and away we went, off to somewhere in Vermont. In order to get back to Vermont we obviously needed to go through New Hampshire so we took 3 out of town up to 1 then picked up I-395 in Bangor to I-95 to make some time. We followed I-95 for about 35 miles to Newport where we picked up 2 and rode that in to New Hampshire. Our plan was to take that to route 16 south and head in to the White Mountains to get to Mount Washington. We stopped along a roadside rest area right next to the Androscoggin River to have our picnic lunch for the day, when a couple on a Gold Wing le up to warn us of some heavy road construction just ahead where we were heading He didn’t know the street name, but told us as soon as we crossed a bridge going in to town to hang a right and follow that road to get around the construction in to New Hampshire. Well we were very grateful of the heads up as it turned out to be a wonderful 2 lane twisty road, and by watching the GPS we were perfectly paralleling route 2 into New Hampshire then we jogged back over to 2 and hit route 16 as planned. Thanks for the tip who ever you were!

Well we went on down 16 to the place that turned out to be the highlight of the trip for me, Mount Washington.

The Northeast's highest peak, 6,288-foot Mt. Washington, will captivate you with its remarkable views of the Presidential Range, the White Mountain National Forest and beyond. The route, the views and the magic of this mountain sanctuary have remained largely unchanged since travelers began winding their way up Mt. Washington in 1861. The "Road to the Sky" was an unprecedented engineering achievement and remains the first man-made attraction in the United States! Today, it awaits your personal voyage of discovery.

Read more about Mount Washington at http://www.mt-washington.com/autoroad/

Well we all decided to climb the mountain using the Auto road on our Wings. We took our trailers off and left them down at the bottom, paid our $17, and got a nice informational cassette tape to listen to on the way up, then down. We were most fortunate to have such a nice day to do this. It was 80 degrees at the base and 45 degrees at the summit. Darlene was scared to death on the way up, but hung in there as the trooper she is. Gary is a little afraid of heights, but wanted to make the climb too, and was glad he did. Once on the summit there is a nice refreshment stand and gift shop. We also saw the cog train pull in at a snail’s craw when we were there. Visibility was 88 miles that day. After we did our picture taking, and viewing from the top, down we went. The trip down was much nicer as you had a clear view of everything as you road down the mountain. Once we got to the bottom we hooked up our trailers, and away we went. We stayed on 16 to 302 then on to the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, a beautiful scenic motorcycle road. We followed that on in to Montpelier Vermont where we found our next hotel. After finding that hotel, we decided to let the girls inspect the rooms before taking them from then on in. It was a little on the dumpy side, and us guys were in trouble.

Thursday were on our way back to the Adirondacks, and wanted to go through Burlington Vermont and take the ferry on the wide portion of Lake Champlain. It was my turn to lead again, and as we pulled out of the hotel I realized I went the wrong way so I got the u-turn in early, then headed to I-89 to Burlington where we had breakfast, and filed up. One thing about the northeast during this trip was the as prices were brutal averaging about $2.18 a gallon. Oh well, would you let that stop you? With full tanks and bellies we went to the ferry. While we were in line waiting for the ferry to board us we parked behind a Harley loaded down with back packs, blankets, and a South Dakota plate. I met the young lady riding the Harley and had a nice conversation with her. I turns out she was wrapping up a 12 month 4 corner tour all by herself. Wow, I have to give her a lot of credit for that. Not only was she traveling alone, and camping by herself when she wasn’t staying with friends and family, she was doing it on a an 03 Road King. No windshield, no trunk, no trailer, just some leather saddlebags. She had 27,000 miles on her bike and left August 03 when she bought it brand new. You go Carol, and I can’t wait to read YOUR story.

After crossing Lake Champlain we took 373 o 9N to 86 on in to Lake Placid. I was determined to find a nice place along the lake for our picnic lunch that day, and after going through town twice I lead us to a nice cabin resort along the lake that was empty, and just had our picnic in the back yard next to the lake. We didn’t even get kicked out went management road by on their little wheeler. From Lake Placid we followed 86 to 30 to 28 on in to Old Forge where we found our next hotel. After the girls approval and Dave Basham’s failed attempt of a discount (for the 1st time) we decided on a nice little hotel on Fulton Chain Lakes.

Friday…wow, is it Friday already? Bummer! That means our trip is coming to an end. Well Steve led us on down 28 to 12, and then on to I-90 so we can make some time over to Buffalo to go see the Niagara Falls. We decided to view the Falls from the Canadian side so we followed Steve on over and finally found a place to park. We spent about an hour and a half there, then when we left we stayed in Canada a followed the Niagara River on a really nice road with beautiful homes. We crossed back into the US on 955 and then got on 5 and road along Lake Erie. There’s a road just off of 5 the hugs the lake called Lakeshore and we road that all the way to Erie Pennsylvania, and stopped along the way at a harbor for yet another very nice dinner. We took 8 up to I-90 to find our last hotel for the trip. We found out that here was a soccer tournament and a bass fishing tournament so we were lucky to find a room. After we checked in we were talking to some of the fisherman, and admiring each others toys. Wow, I thought Gold Winging was expensive. After checking out there $15,000 motors and other toys, I felt a little better about my little ole Wing.

Saturday is here, and it’s time to make tracks and get home. Hey wait! It’s raining! Wow, we’ve been so lucky with the weather this trip we were spoiled. Well, we donned the Frogg Toggs, and took I-90 on in to Cleveland where the weather turned good again, then I-271 to I-71. Steve and Sue stayed in Erie for a while to visit a military buddy of his, so it was just the Hayden’s, Gingerich’s, and the Basham’s until we got to Columbus where Dave & Julie took route 23 on down to their hometown of Franklin Furnace near Portsmouth. Gary, Carolyn, Darlene, and myself took 35 to 42 and on home. We really wanted to stop in Xenia and go to the Buckeye Rally, but we were so tired we just went home to dust off the lawn mowers and cut the jungle we used to call a yard.

The next morning Darlene and I woke up and were a little depressed. Where are our buddies? We want to ride some more and see more of this beautiful country of ours. I got to tell you, it doesn’t get any better than that. That is the best way to see the country, on our motorcycle.

I just want to say thanks to our friends that made the journey with us. What a wonderful time we shared together. I can’t wait until next time. Let’s break out the maps and look to the west for the next one.