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Old 07-27-2013, 12:15 PM   #1
justafurnaceman OP
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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:

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.
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:10 PM   #2
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Have a wonderful adventure. Lots to see between Mo and Me.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:52 AM   #3
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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.

Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:42 AM   #4
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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:



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"?
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:39 PM   #5
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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. 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.









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Old 08-04-2013, 04:47 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:24 AM   #7
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Very cute little girl Oh!


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Old 08-16-2013, 06:37 PM   #8
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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!
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:40 PM   #9
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PM Sent Furnace Man with plenty of highways to choose from depending on which end of the state you plan to enter.
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:55 PM   #10
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I'm home! 3 1/2 weeks of traveling, visiting, and enjoying some beautiful scenery and weather I can't believe it's over. I finally uploaded the pics off the camera so over the next few days I'll post them and share some of my experiences. I met some cool people and some weirdos. I was able to see some different parts of the country which for the most part was gorgeous. I'm definitely scouting out where I want to put my retirement home. My requirements are that the place needs to have trees, water, hills, curved roads, and a fairly mild winter. Oh, and a small populace.

While talking to my sister-in-law about my trip to Maine and some possible routes back to Missouri she made a comment that she's never taken a trip to just go and see some sites without a fairly strict schedule. I don't think most people do what some of us do here which is to just travel and see where the road takes us. I must have changed my travel routes and sites a dozen times. Since I had a tent, clothes, and a little food it was very relaxing to be able to go where I wanted to go.

Here are some more of my pics. Starting out day one:

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Old 08-22-2013, 04:56 PM   #11
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Tennessee/North Carolina

So far Tennessee and western North Carolina is in the top 3 for possible retirement places. With plenty of green, hills, twisties, and water it was a true pleasure to ride through.

I tried following Highway 64 through to Hendersonville but ended up getting off it and followed 74 instead. The first part of 64 and 74 followed the Ocoee waterway. It was cool to be riding along next to the river. I tried not to pay too much attention to the rafters and kayaks but keep my focus on the road. I pulled off a couple of times to watch them.



The water looked really inviting. Next time I might have to rent a kayak, that or figure a way to lash one to the motorcycle.



One of the luckiest things that got me on a great road was having my plans for meeting up with my SIL in PA fall through. I decided to stay an extra day in the TN/NC area. I stopped for gas and a gatorade that morning, found a road map and was trying to figure out where I was and where I wanted to head. I asked the cashier for a good mountain road and she pointed me to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Boy, wasn't that fun. I only road it for a short time but it was very enjoyable. After getting up to New Hampshire I was looking in here in the Day Trippin' and saw that quite a number of people have done part or all of it. I'm making plans to return to do it all some day. One motorcyclist that I met up there said that he enjoys his lunch every Tuesday up there. I really can't blame him.









When I got off the BRP I took 74 towards 129. Again, some beautiful roads riding next to some fun looking water. I couldn't believe this set of rapids that laid right next to the road. It was definitely a tourist trap since it had two restaurants, stores, and rentals. The prices were too high for me but it was fun to watch people swim, kayak, and raft. If I could have been able to see my bike better I might have been tempted to go swimming.

These people were quite talented. The set themselves up in the rapids and were doing flips, spins, and going under water.





Looking upstream.



Down the road from this place there was a little BBQ sandwich shack right next to the water. There was a bunch of picnic tables under some trees which made for a great place to grab some lunch. Prices were good, food was good, and the scenery was good. While I was eating some lady passed me and using a quite loud voice asked if my sandwich was any good. I told her that it was, at first thinking that she worked at the BBQ shack. She then walks over to an elderly lady and has a conversation with her about what she wanted for lunch. I guess she was checking out the options. Next time I go to a restaurant I'm going to wander around taking a poll of what's good and what's not before I order.

Here's a pic at one of the scenery pull offs on Rte 129. The Tail of the Dragon was a fun road. The corners were great and I really enjoyed the technical aspects of it.





I know that the locals don't enjoy us outsiders poaching on their riding territory but looking back it was one of the best riding days that I had on this trip. I'm going to hit it up again some day.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #12
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Maine

After spending some much needed rest in Maine which included 5 days on Flagstaff lake (see 1st page for pics), skeet shooting on a friend's front lawn, and a family reunion, my vacation was winding down. It was pretty easy picky a route to get to Maine since I had friends to meet up with but on the way back to Missouri I had nothing lined up except wanting to see Lake Champlain. After discussing some possible routes with various friends and looking at google and the old fashion Atlas I came up with a plan. I decided to follow Route 2 out of Maine, across New Hampshire, picking up Route 115 and 302, and then picking up 2 again to go into Lake Champlain. This part of the trip was easy to map out. Going from Lake Champlain, through the Adirondacks and towards Missouri was a little trickier.

Here's an ADVRider sponsored boat ramp found near Bethel, Maine:



Whenever we went by the paper mill in Rumford Maine as a child I was always fascinated by the bulldozers that continually pushed around the wood chips. They seemed HUGE and I would image myself running the machine. Now that I'm an adult I figure that it would be a pretty boring job.



Again, notice the beautiful weather. Very much unlike my last trip.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:48 PM   #13
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As I mentioned in my first post, I'm not the greatest with putting my feelings into words. My trip back to Missouri started at my in-law's house and brought me through the town that I was born and raised in. One of the town's landmark is its cemetery that overlooks the lake. My grandparents, older sister who died an infant, and other relatives are buried there. During my vacation it never crossed my mind to stop and visit even though it was only a couple of minutes from my brother's house until the moment that it came into view as I was riding down the road. My decided route home took me right next to it. I didn't plan it like that, it just happened.

At first I wasn't going to stop since it would mean seeing the grave of my cousin who passed away this year. He was 44 years old and left behind a wife and 3 sons. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard but held an AGR slot so he put on his uniform for work every day. My brother and I are stationed in Missouri but thanks to an understanding 1SG and Commander both he and I made it to the memorial service when he passed. Over 400 people showed up for my cousin's viewing and over 1000 attended his funeral. 100 of us were military with 2 Generals. The town that we grew up in only has around 4500 people and the next town over where we went to school has around 8000 people and is the county seat. This man volunteered much of his time and energy to his community, his boys' activities, and family. To see such an outpouring of love for this man and his family was incredible. They had to hold the service at the local college because of the mass of people.

I would like to say that everything went smooth as I stood over my cousin's grave marker but it didn't. I'm not exactly sure what turned me into a blubbering fool. He was my hero growing up. He was so much fun when he babysat us. The oldest of us in my family are boys so we were pretty rambunctious. We had one pair of boxing gloves so we would put one on and then have boxing matches with our cousin as the referee. The older boy would have to wear the left glove with the younger boy wearing the right one to try to even out the match. He rode a Kawasaki Ninja and was an big influence for me to ride. I tried to buy his bike when he was selling it but my mother wouldn't let me. I wish so hard that I had it now. Part of the reason that I'm in the military is because of him. I saw him graduate West Point, heard about him flying helicopters in Kuwait, and all of his other adventures. I knew that if a great man like him could serve his country and provide for his family that I could do it too.

I had to leave the visor up for a few miles when I got back on my bike to try to dry the tears. I thought about him a lot on the way home and I'm glad that I stopped and visited his site since I wasn't able to make it to his burial.


RIP. I miss you.

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Old 08-25-2013, 06:38 AM   #14
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Good stuff bro............
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:16 PM   #15
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On the way back to Missouri I only had two places that I really wanted to visit and the second coincided with the first. All the time growing up I never visited the Northern Vermont/Lake Champlain area so I wanted to remedy that. There's a few places in the US that are so grand or great that you really need to put on a list of places to visit; The Grand Canyon, the Great Lakes, Mt McKinley, the San Francisco bridge, and Lake Champlain. I was pretty impressed with the Lake Champlain area. Not only is there some good riding nearby, the size of it is pretty impressive. It's big enough to have a ferry to cross if you don't want the hassle of traveling up almost to the Canadian border and then back around on the western side.

Here's a few pictures of the lake and the War Pig's first trip on the ferry:







$6 to cross the lake? Sure! Why not? I was a little disappointed that they didn't offer snacks or drinks but for $6 what can you expect. It was an easy way to put down some miles.



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