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Old 05-29-2009, 09:39 PM   #1
DauntlessDave OP
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4 Days on an NX250 in NY, Quebec and VT

Because I made this trip on a Honda NX250, I thought about posting this on the Miniamlist Touring thread, but it's a ride report, so here is where it belongs. This is my first ride report and will document my first multiday trip on a bike. I began riding in the Spring of 2008 at the age of 38 and became interested in adventure touring after stumbling upon this website. Here's my current (second) steed. A 1989 Honda NX250 with roughly 7000 miles.


I have done a fair amount of backcountry camping, so I knew I could pack a camping load on a small bike. The bike I bought used was lacking a rear rack, so I had one fabricated by a local welder. The resulting rack is pretty heavy, but its very large and easy to hook bungies to, so I like it.



Another view.



A look at how the rack is connected to the frame.



After reading a slew of ride reports, I found that I like to know a bit about the poster at the git go, so here's a little bio:

I live in Troy, New York, USA in the northern valley of the Hudson River south of the Cohoes Falls. I'm an attorney and I work at the NY State Education Department in Albany, New York's capitol city. Here's a pic of my sweet wife Kathryn and my boy Owen. I'm on the right.



ANYhow, a while back my girl noticed I was spending some time on the ADV website and she said, "You want to do this stuff, don't you?" and I said, cryptically, "Yes, very much." And the idea for my first jaunt was born. Watching "Long Way Round" sealed the deal, as she enjouyed the series as much as I did.

In the fall of 2008 I replaced my Honda CB250 that i learned on with the NX250 in anticipation of spending some time on the dirt. I took the NX on dirt roads and lite trails whenever I could. The stock tires are not great in the mud, I learned from a crash, but dirt, gravel and rocks are no problem. Tarmac on the trailwings feels fine. In retrospect, I should have kept the Nighthawk as well, because the motorcycle repair shops in my area cant seem to do anything without keeping a bike in the shop for a week. But I digress. In preparation for my trip I made only two (2) modifications to the NX250. I added the rack and I significantly increased the padding to the seat. At one point I had installed a set of lite weight saddlebags on the bike but there was an ... incident ... and at the time I was packing for the trip, there were no saddlebags. ANYhow here is a pick of my bike loaded up on Day 1 of the trip in late May 2009:



Here's me in the driveway trying to figure out how the camera works:



Alright, so I'm an idiot and it was a new camera. Presently it occurs to me that I have not described my intended route, and I will do so now.

My plan was to travel North from Troy, NY along Route 40 and 22 to Ticonderoga, NY. From there I would ride aloong the Lake Champlain valley north to Westport or Essex, along dirt roads if I could find them. Day 2 would be from Westport to Montreal where I would visit friends for a night. Day 3 would be from Montreal to Nothern Vermont. Day 4 would be from Veront back to New York. I did not plan a street by street route or use GPS. I did gather paper maps and file them in water-proof sleaves so that I could stash them in my jacket as I went on the ride. Suffice it to say for now that next time I will probably ge a GPS.

Alright, longish post for now and I will close with a few pics from my first day on the roads near my house in New York.

A bit of back road twisty near my house:



Oh crap. Before I get to the road. I need to show what I was leaving. My boy, when I asked him to give me a last big smile before I left:




And my girl. We had just started trying to have a second child in the months before my trip. But at the time my journey was to comence she had not yet concieved, so she set me on the road with grace and gusto.



ANYhow, back onto the road. It's easy to discount the land near one's house, and a mistake to do so. So here are a few pics from the very beginning of the trip. At an overpass in Schaghticoke, NY on Rte 40 there is a great gorge view.



and



and nearby farm land,



Alrighty then. Thats the preamble and the moring of the first day of my 4 day solo trip. Much more to come including getting very lost in canadian cow country, being chased by USA border guards, and riding down to the end of way too many vermont dirt roads. The trip was great and I took nearly 300 pics so stay tuned. Next installment tomorrow!
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:23 PM   #2
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The rest of Day 1 in New York.

Here are a few roadside views from Rte 40 around Greenwich.










Northern New York has a number of large prisons sprinkled about. As I approached Comstock State Pen there was an odd stretch of road where the houses all looked exactly alike and appeared to be in good condition, but unlived in. It was a bit spooky and I'm not sure what the houses were used for. Here is one of them:





Here's the prison. I had a better view further on but its tough to stop twice to take the same shot.



Near Comstock Rt. 40 meets Rt. 22. Rt. 22 is a terrific road, scenic and varied all the way north to the border, never straying far from Lake Champlain. Just before Rt. 22 enters the Adirondack Park, it crosses the South Bay, technically part of lake Champlain, over a long causeway.







Just after the causeway Rt. 22 Crosses into the park. For those not familiar with the Adirondack Park, it is a 6 million acre state park, the largest park of any kind in the lower 48 states. Its a mix of public and private land and there are a few towns within its boundaries, most notably Lake Placid, where the 1984 Olympics were held. Large stetches of the park are classed as wilderness, and off limits to motors.



The first hints of the mountains to come. The mountains are not too tall in the Adirondacks, the largest is under 7000 feet. But they are pretty.





I think I stopped for gas here. The speedo cable broke the day before this trip and I was without a functioning speedomerter and odometer for the duration, so I dont know my total miles or mileage. But the NX typically gets just under 70 mpg.

I intended this next shot to be of the huge turkey vulture I came across on the road picking at the remnants of a porcupine. you'll have to imagine the vulture though, cause it flew off just before I could get the shot.



Sorry about that. ANYhow, moving on. Rt. 22 is pretty curvey most of the time, but it does run strait from time to time.



The bike.



In a narrow piece of land between Lake George and Lake Champlian lies the town of Ticonderoga, a paper mill town today. But back in the day it was a stratigically important spot and a fort was built to guard the area between the lakes: Fort Ticonderoga, which briefly figured large during the American Revolution. You can just see the roof of the fort's barracks on the hill at left.



A few turns later I came to the entrance to the fort.





A few shots of the fort, which was set to open for the season in just a few days.









Its tough to tell from these shots, but the fort has an interesting star shaped main wall. Pretty cool place.

After that it was time for some chow in the town, people here were real nice and the food was ok. Forgot to take a food pic.



After Ticonderoga, I took to the hills around Moria and Fort Henry to see if I could find me some dirt roads. It didnt take long.



Although the day could have been sunnier, it was warm and dry and I had a great time tooling around in the woods and hills here.







Although you do see a sad amount of this:



Parts of the Adirondacks are a bit run down. There are nice modern camps and houses for the most part...





But around the next corner, literally in this instance, you might see this:



So thats how it went for a few hours of riding that day. From a dirt road to a stretch of windy pavement with a feww dead ends and gated drives here and there. Very relaxing and pleasant afternoon.



Thats all for now. I'll post more tonight.
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Old 05-30-2009, 04:23 PM   #3
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Old 05-30-2009, 04:46 PM   #4
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nice report, looks alot like northern mi only a little more rugged.
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Old 05-30-2009, 07:52 PM   #5
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Last part of first Day.

To Tommyg, northern NY is mostly hilly like this, but the western part of the Adirondacks is much more rugged than the eastern section that this trip will show. The eastern part of the park is dominated by lake Champlain, and there is a really sweet strip of farmland and tourist towns next to the lake, with the first range of mountains appearing 3-5 miles west of the lake. Makes for great views and hilly roads. North of Moriah I wanted to find some trails and dirt roads leading to Westport where I intended to camp for the night. I ended up finding just what I wantred in Spring Mountain Road and trails associated with it. There were several "Dead End" signs and other suggestions that the road was not passable, but it shows up on the Gazeteer maps that I had as well as Google Maps. Here are some pics of the entrance area:

The house at the end of the marked raod:



The House badge, bear right here.



Pretty quickly thie road to the right became very rocky, much more so than any of these pictures show. there was a sign prclaiming that it was a seasonal road maintained by the town. I think that it is common for riders to push through hairy sections of road rather than stop for photographs, and I did the same. Here is some of the milder sections:




The trails here had ATV and/or snomobile markings here and there, but it wass all greek to me considering that I was navigating with a gazetteer road map.




There is a steep drop off the right side of the road for much of the latter section.



There are a ton of camp driveways and unmarked turns in the area, but if you ride true you will reach this sweet little pond, free of bugs this time of year:





The bike near that pond. I was real happy to be in this spot.



Near here I saw this intersection, I rode by many this nice or better.




this turned out to be a dead end, but who knew at the time.



I saw this nice bit of flowers near an really old grave yard:



This is heading out of the pond area. I was quite without good mapping for this area and was hopeing to find a connection further north to get me back to Rt. 22. I found it eventually, but the batteries in my camera died so I did not get a pic of the outlet.



I soon arrived in Westport, NY where I hoped to camp and asked directions for where to get some batteries from some girls who worked in a bakery. They directed me to Elizabethtown, where amenities could be found. Here are a few pics from therabouts. The first one depicts a horse ground I think, but I dont know for sure.



and



above is the view from the supermarket parking lot. You wont find that nice a view everywhere.

Here are a few shots of the approach to the campground I stayed at the first night. The camp is called "Barber lake"....something or other and it sits on the banks of Lake Champlain.





Here are some shots of the campsite, the food I ate, and the rocks near the shore that I passed the time o, in no partricular order.





Although the campground was thick with RVs, they were uninhabited... So I could enjoy the trees in the afteroon without company.



The people who let me in here were nice and explained all the camp ameneties, which included a hot shower. A first for me, as I had never had access to a shower of any kind while camping previously. More later. This RR is more work tghan I expected, but I hope to keep the detail high in future posts. .
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:30 PM   #6
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Great small bike RR

Thanks for writing. Very nice pics of a beautiful area. More, por favor.
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:38 AM   #7
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Thumb simplicity

thanks for taking the time to post

I love the simplicity of your journey.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:48 AM   #8
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Still working on Day 1 here.

Thanks for the encouragement gents.

Here are some more camping shots and the view from shore. I was hoping that the campsite would have a water view, but it didnt. Otherwise the campground, called Barber Lake something or other, was excellernt. Clean facilities and easy to find. You'll note I'm eating MREs. I find that they are a sure fire way of getting a decent dinner even if you dont have a stove, just make sure you get the ones with the self heating bag, some of the look alikes dont have the bags, but real military MREs always do. The other things that I like about MREs is matches, snaks, powdered drink mix, toilet paper and a place to put your garbage. Good deal, in my estimation.



Yours truely









At this time of year, late May, the bugs are not bad in this area, not bad at all. By mid June the black flies are pretty terrible, and in July and August the mossies are pretty bad. I had no problems, only applying deet once on the trip when I was in Vermont.

The pic above was from sunset, the one below is the same place a hour or so earlier.



Heres another shot of the camp. I use a tarp as a gtound cloth and when packed up the tarp is used to wrap up my shotgun. Why am I carrying a shotgun? Laugh if you want but I'm afraid of bears. I've been too close to one unarmed and whenever I camp without protection I end up waking up at the slightest sound. With the Mossberg next to me in the tent I sleep like the dead.

Ok, finally finished with Day 1, Day to to follow, naturally.
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Old 05-31-2009, 03:47 PM   #9
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great RR ! I always love the ones where someone uses a bike that's not just the usual BMW or V strom ( even though I love my V strom ). Ride safe and keep us posted !
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:20 PM   #10
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Looks fun! Thanks for the posts. I love to read things like this that inspire me to get out and ride somewhere
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:49 AM   #11
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To Whatsgnu...

... I have really been liking the NX as a minimalist tourer. It could use a bigger gas tank. But the bike is very lite, and the liquid cooled DOHC engine can go all day and puts out a lot more horsepower than most 250s, 26 as opposed to about 19 for most 250s. The AX-1 version of the bike had a reported 29 horsepower. Its a six speed and the gearing is very well laid out. I wished Honda still made the bike, actually. I'd likely get a new one, rather than the Super Sherpa I've has my eye on. I am not that big a guy, 5'9 180lbs, and I would not be comfortable on a KTM Adventurer even if I could afford one. I dont really need the off road ability that the DR400s of the world offer, and those bikes dont look that comfortable for 8 hour days. In fact, the only larger displacement dual sports I've been interested in are the 650 BMWs, including the Xcountry.
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Old 06-01-2009, 01:06 PM   #12
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Oh man, these pics are making me homesick. The Rte 22 pix are part of my school<->home trip from my college days.
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:24 PM   #13
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Morning of Day 2.

The day dawned bright and sunny and it stayed that way throughout the day. It got hot and windy later, but the morning was perfect. I ate some very good boil in bag eggs. That and coffee were the deciding factor on wheather to bring a stove or not. In the end, I was glas I did.





I changed the way I packed the bike the second day, as the first day the dry bag was cramping me. SO I switched it to a vertical orientation. This pic shows mid pack process, with the tent and the sleeping back lashed to the sides of the rack, then I put the dry bag in the middle and lash everything together.



This is a view of the first ranges of the Adirondacks looking west from Lake Champlain.



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Old 06-07-2009, 06:54 PM   #14
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Morning in the Eastern Adirondacks

The riding this moring was terrific. I went on small roads and the occasional dirt in the area of Westport, Essex and Willsboro. I avoided Rt. 22 most of the time as I was vaguely hunting for dirt. These towns are so quaint, they put other quaint small towns into another, lesser category. At about 7:30 am I enceountered a half dozen deer crossing a wide dirt road, but I had no trouble stopping well short of them. Nonetheless, they scattered like I was a demon and I failed to get a picture.





Here's where the deer thing happened.



On one of the dirt roads west of Essex I came across a small cemetary with some old gravestones. I'm not a morbid guy, but I like old things. Tough to live in the US with an interest in old things, but I get by. Here are some shots.









No shortage of really nice older houses in these parts.







Next, nearing the border and leaving the mountains...
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:49 PM   #15
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Nearing the Canadian Border

North of Willsboro is the City of Plattburgh, and eventually, the busy Border crossing where I-87 tunrs into Canada's Highway 15. I wanted to avoid this because the I-87 crossing typically involves a 30minute plus line. But just a few miles to the west is a rural crossing where Rt. 22 turns into Canadian Rt 219. I aimed the tires thataway. North of the Adirondacks the the land flattens out into mostly empty flat forests. The wind begins to pick up too. Here's the spot where I decided not to enter I-87 super slab.



Saying goodbye to the hills for a while.








With the wind comes Giant windmills. In my other life I worked on a project to put 64 of these 400-footers up in central New York, but thats another story.



Nedless to say I crossed a bunch of small rivers and only took pictures of a few.




This guy gave me directions when I got turned around close to the border, was was a nice guy despite his failure at ATGATT.



Last stretch of road before the border. The crossing went fine. Five Canadian Border guards, all female and rangeing from attractive to very attractive. Welcome to Canada! There was no wait to cross. I could have made it through without even showing identification but my research sugested that I ought to declare my shotgun in order to avoid hassles and the possibility of having to pay an imprt duty upon reaching the US. $23 fee of some sort. The border guards acted as though it was the first time they had filled out the paperwork. Oh well.



First Canadian sign and a handsome bulls near the road. He had soulful eyes.



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