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justafurnaceman 07-27-2013 12:15 PM

Come hang out with the Furnace Man
After reading and lurking for several years I decided to join ADVriders. I'm not sure if that was a wise idea or not since it seems that I spend a lot of time on here reading, laughing, and adding to the 'My next motorcycle' wish list. I definitely enjoy everything about motorcycles. I enjoy wrenching on them in my spare time, riding, watching racing (hopeful to make it on to a track next year), reading about them, and looking at pictures of them. My 5 1/2 year old daughter told me "Daddy, you're always looking at motorcycle stuff on the computer." I have several different motorcycles. My usual daily rider is an '07 HD Street Bob. My sportbike is an '04 GSXR 600. My soon to be touring bike, when I get it tuned and set up, is a '80 CB750K. I also have a couple bikes in different stages of being torn down or built up. Being military and facing a PCS move next year I might have to downsize or buy a trailer. My wife realizes that my bikes help me to keep sane so she puts up with my addiction. (That sounds like such a dirty word... addiction.)

My main intent for this thread is to share some of my day trips and some of my longer trips as well. I'm originally from Maine and tomorrow I'll start on my second road trip from Missouri to there. I'll also share some of the local area that I've explored. Being an outsider I've spent the last 4 years in Missouri finding some great roads.

I'm not much of a writer and actually envy the guys and gals who write for motorcycle mags. I can never seem to put my thoughts completely down on paper. I hope that maybe with a little practice with this thread I can get better at it, add to value of this site, and help motivate other riders to get out of their neighborhood and go have an adventure.

Let's stop the babbling and look at some pictures: :clap

We'll start off with the trip three years ago. The bike setup. I learned a lot about what gear I REALLY needed so this time I've downsized a bit. I haven't taken a picture for this trip but we'll have to compare when I do.

My cute little niece who isn't so little anymore.

Up around Franconia notch I believe. Should be heading on Rte 2 headed towards Rumford ME.

Riding around New Vineyard ME (western part of Maine).

That's a pretty good start and might hold everyone over for now. We'll see how often I can post during the trip but I promise more pics when I return.

Oh, this time instead of heading straight to Maine (as much as you can), I'm taking a southern route through Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina to see friends before I head north. It'll add an additional 600 miles but it should be worth it.

Rutabaga 07-27-2013 02:10 PM

Have a wonderful adventure. Lots to see between Mo and Me.

Weldman 07-28-2013 07:52 AM

Your writing is fine; your mission is intriguing, and your Harley is cool. I'll be following your updates no matter what you ride though. I like old Hondas too. My old CB350 was my first "touring bike," since it was my first bike.


justafurnaceman 08-01-2013 07:42 AM

I've made it to New Hampshire! So far I have the running streak of making my arrival to my sister-in-law's house late at night. It isn't planned that way, in fact I would rather not ride through Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest in the dark so I could actually see the sites but somehow the trip in is always late at night. At least this year I was equipped with GPS so I didn't get lost and have to phone the wife for directions. Also, last trip was made mostly while wearing my rain gear which really didn't hold up to the label of "Water Proof".

I'm not able to upload any pictures at the moment but as I was riding a thought came in mind of why do I take these crazy trips. I purposely rode out of my way 600 miles to visit a couple of friends, ride some curvy roads, and eat some Carolina BBQ. I've been in two Army units that have hade at least eight riders each and I've been the only one that has done any traveling by motorcycle. In fact at first one command team didn't want me to go by myself until I proved that I thought out the scenarios of breaking down, getting lost, and other mishaps that could happen.

Now my intent isn't to focus on people who own motorcycles and go only as far as the local coffee shop but to focus on why my preferred method of traveling IS the motorcycle. What inspires me?

The first one would have to be Robert Pirsig and his book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Articles have been published, internet threads have been filled, and people have written books about his book. What did it do for me? Besides trying to define quality it opened the idea of traveling to allow for personal discovery. Without an aid for communications with other people a motorcyclist is alone. Little more can be heard while riding down the road than the wind and the engine. There's no radio, no passenger chatting, no other distractions other than the traffic and the scenery (oh, maybe the GPS). I use the time to cruise, relax, and if I have anything to resolve. I find such peace while riding.

Another thing would have to be you guys. There's not much more inspiring to go out and see the world than people posting pictures, videos, and the little equipment that they use to see such sights. I love this video:

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Getting over the fear of not have the "right" equipment I packed what I DID have and tried to go have an adventure for myself and see the USA. When I came back I tossed out a few things, read more Trip threads, and then bought a couple of things that I thought would enhance my experience. I'm sure that after this trip I'll go through another cleansing of gear.

So, what inspires you to "Motorcycle Adventure"?

justafurnaceman 08-04-2013 02:39 PM

So I left Missouri and didn't take any pictures since I ride around there all the time. I wanted to save the battery on my GoPro for Tennessee and North Carolina. It was a nice cool slightly overcast day, perfect for riding. With the bike loaded up, a full tank of gas, and a GPS and Google map instructions I headed for the wild country of Alabama. I made it 65 miles before the Missouri State Police Highway Patrol wanted to chat with me about my motorcycle and heavy throttle hand. :evil With 20 years on the police force and 3 years in the Army as a medic we chatted about careers and life. He let me go with a warning after I promised to slow down a bit. (At least until I cross state lines).

I made it to Huntsville Alabama without any problems. I've made the trip several times but always in a cage. For some reason it seems that I always end up taking a different route. Missouri and northeast Arkansas has decent riding with trees, hills, and curves but once you get closer to Mississippi and Alabama it flattens out. It didn't get exciting until I got into Tennessee. I was trying to find a good curvy road to ride from Huntsville AL to Asheville NC but the GPS kept trying to keep me strictly on the interstate. I have an older eTrex CV and I need to play with it some more to have it take me along the roads I want. I ended up following Route 74 along the river which was really nice. Nothing like a good curvy road along the river with multiple BBQ shacks to choose from. I had an extra day so I stayed in the area and continued to try to find good roads to ride. With so many to choose from I think I ended up taking some good ones. I'll definitely have to come back and ride some more.

Here are my pictures from RTE 129, Tail of the Dragon. I knew why it was such a good road to ride (when not busy) but I truly didn't understand how technical it was. I wondered why people kept crashing but my eyes were open when I got on it.

justafurnaceman 08-04-2013 04:47 PM

After I got done with RTE 129 I decided it was time to turn the bike north and start making my way to New Hampshire to meet up with the wife. As much as I enjoy riding around I did need to spend some time with the wife and daughter. I stopped at the HD store and after looking at the map decided to take Happy Valley Rd north. I made my choice based on curves and potential fun factor instead of quickness. I was sure that this was going to be the last "good" road until I hit New England. With some sharp corners, mountains in the distance, and green trees all around, Happy Valley Rd didn't disappoint.

I was sad to leave the area especially once I got on I-81. I saw that a few of you guys have done the whole Blue Ridge Parkway which will be my goal for next year. I'm definitely going to return to this area. So many great roads and great BBQ. Tennessee/ western North Carolina is up on the top 3 places to retire to when I get out of the Army so far.

ckjj888 08-05-2013 10:24 AM

Very cute little girl Oh!

justafurnaceman 08-07-2013 03:37 AM

Last time I rode from NH to ME I took Route 2 from Gorham, NH to Rumford, ME. It's a great ride with some nice roads but sometimes there's a lot of traffic. After seeing this great thread: I decided to go up to Errol, NH and take RTE 16 into Rangeley, ME and then head down into Farmington.

There was very little traffic which was great. After the old lady that was driving 10 mph UNDER the speed limit and braking at every corner pulled over to let me by I came upon a cement truck that was cruising along pretty well but I wanted to overtake him before the hills. It was a beautiful ride but I didn't chance stopping and taking more pictures because as you can see in the pictures I had dark clouds around me. I got to my Dad's house and put the bike in the garage as a few rain drops turned into pouring rain.

And then apparently a bug smashed into my GoPro lense because the pictures turned hazy. So now I have a collection of photos as seen through bug guts:

justafurnaceman 08-07-2013 04:16 AM

So to sort of layout the route that I took: Missouri to Redstone Alabama to Asheville North Carolina then up to Keene New Hampshire then over to Maine. The highlight spots were the roads in western North Carolina and Tennessee and traveling in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. There's nothing like riding twisty roads with green all around you with mountains, rivers, and lakes as the scenery. The boring part of the trip was I-81. Instead of taking my time traveling north I had used up my extra day riding around TN and western NC so I had to use the interstate to make decent time north. Although there's nice scenery along the highway but it just gets boring traveling in a straight line at a constant speed for so long.

I have more pictures on the camera but it uses the smaller SD card which the wife's laptop doesn't accept.

I tried to get out and take more riding pictures of the nice roads around here but I end up stopping at friends' houses and talking. Some of these people I haven't seen for several years so we spend a few hours catching up. One of the guys is a retired gunsmith who has an incredible collection of old guns and is restoring an old car. He wouldn't let me take pictures as he doesn't want a lot of people to know what he has and where he lives. He's a brilliant man and enjoys fine old things. What he's spent on ONE shotgun would give my wife a heart attack. (He said that he nearly got divorced over that one). He's chased old cars and old guns for quite some time and has made mostly good investments on them.

It has been hard to see so many houses and former businesses for sale in these small towns. Without saying too much to get this Ride Report kicked to the CS&M forum, the recession has hit this area pretty hard. We'll see how things are in a few years.

So, even though I still have a couple of weeks left before I head back I've been trying to think of the best ways home. I think I'm going to do some exploring of northern VT and NY. I've never been to Lake Champlain so I think I'll ride around it. Route 3 will take me to Watertown, NY and then I'll head southwest. I'm not sure how long I want to spend in that area or what roads to take west. We'll see how much time I have. If I have the time I would like to stay off the interstate and take secondary roads.

Laconic 08-07-2013 06:17 AM

If you have time, it's a great ride up through the Champlain Islands and back down through the Catskills.

Glad to see another Mainiac on the board! :freaky

justafurnaceman 08-09-2013 08:34 AM


Originally Posted by Laconic (Post 22046628)
If you have time, it's a great ride up through the Champlain Islands and back down through the Catskills.

Glad to see another Mainiac on the board! :freaky

I mapped it out and it looks like a great ride! I'll head over to Watertown, stay the night and then out. I'm excited about it. The hard part about taking these incredible scenic routes is that I want to stop every mile or so and take a picture. If I allow myself to do that it would take me forever to get anywhere. I have to settle on the pictures from the GoPro and then an occasional stop for a break and a picture.

buzzardair 08-09-2013 09:55 PM

Enjoying the writeup. Love that video you posted. :clap

justafurnaceman 08-16-2013 05:47 PM

So I might be cheating with these next pictures since technically they didn't have anything to do with riding a motorcycle. They were part of the whole trip experience and the main reason for taking leave. 3 families... 5 adults and 6 children... 5 little girls ages 7 - 3... 5 days and 4 nights on Flagstaff lake in a remote location. My younger brother and his 3 children, one of our best couple friends and their 2 children, and my wife and I and our daughter with 3 canoes, coolers full of food, and no cell phone reception. It was such a relaxing time that no one wanted to leave but we had a family gathering to get to. I have photos of other places that I've visited while traveling in trip but I'm not going to be able to get to those until I get home in a week so I'll share these out of order.

Some of the beautiful scenery that we were enjoying at the lake. Only one day with a bit of rain off and on throughout the day and one day with a little wind. The other days were beautiful sunny days. We were out on one of the more remote campsites that had a couple of beaches for the kids to play on.

My turn to pull lifeguard duty. Look at that beard! 3 weeks of no shaving! What will the 1SG say to that I wonder?

My friend posted this when she shared this photo; "This is blurry...but it sums up perfection. Good food, friends, fire and laughs ."

justafurnaceman 08-16-2013 06:10 PM

Is there anything better than heading off in to the wild to go and relax for a few days? With no cell phone reception I couldn't be bothered about work, or any other issue going on. Before I began to venture to Maine I took off my watch. I decided that I was going to relax and not worry about a schedule and so far it has paid off. I eat when I'm hungry, sleep when I'm tired, and visit with friends until they or I am tired of visiting. I laughed so hard when childhood memories were brought up or when my brother's 12 year old stepson did dumb stuff (or any of us for that matter).

It seemed like the kids were in the water more than out of it. The shallow parts of the lake were fairly warm but if you got into the deeper parts it cooled off quickly. We ate great food including a breakfast sandwich consisting of a hamburger, fried egg, and bacon in a bagel. We also ate fried chicken, hobo stew (tinfoil dinner), and ran out and got some pizza when we decided to stay an extra night. We made smores every night. The only time that the fire wasn't going was after we all went to sleep. We had to do a bit of searching to find good fire wood and definitely suffered the consequences of Maine's wet summer. The last night there we made a decent bonfire with the remaining wood that wasn't still green or damp. It was nice being out with people who are experienced with the outdoors. Everyone assumed a duty and chores were shared almost seamlessly.

I love the simple life.

iBiker 08-16-2013 06:37 PM

If you decide to pass through North Central West Virginia get in touch on here.

I can take you on an amazing ride through the mountains of WV.

If not, have a safe trip and enjoy the open road!

Hooah! :gun2

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