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Old 08-19-2013, 07:40 PM   #16
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:55 PM   #17
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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   #18
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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   #19
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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   #20
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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, 06:08 AM   #21
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Following Route 2 West from Bethel, Maine I saw a sign for Evans Notch along Route 113. I didn't dare go wandering off too far since I didn't take the opportunity to gas up in Bethel but the sign said it wasn't very far. The road is a small two lane road and is pretty well kept up. You do have to be a little cautious since I met a semi coming from Fryeburg and he wasn't all in his lane. If I had given myself more time I would have enjoyed hiking a few of the trails in the area. I don't know how I would feel having to leave all my gear on the bike while I was tromping through the woods though.



As you can see the road is a bit narrow but is fun to ride with the trees creating walls on either side. It was about 8 miles from Route 2 to this scenic point. It was nice to see all of the white birch trees since Missouri doesn't seem to grow them.



Two interesting things I found at this overlook. The first was this geological marker stating that we were 1458 feet above see level:



And the next was this grave marker for Errold O Donahue, a PVT who served in WW1. I tried searching for his name on the inter-web but didn't come up with a lot. I know some Donahue's back home, I guess I'll try talking to them. It would be interesting to know the story behind him and why they chose this spot for presumably his ashes. It might just be a memorial site that they chose for him.



Again, this area has some fantastic riding. Beautiful scenery, decent roads, and friendly people. You do have to watch out for Route 2 on the weekends when people are traveling a bit more between ME and NH, it can get crowded. If I run into a lot of people I'll take some other roads to get me to my location.

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Old 08-25-2013, 06:16 AM   #22
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Stupid Photobucket screwed up my photo album and tucked some pictures that I took earlier in my trip in a sub folder. It's alright though since I ended up passing by the same location on the way out. Route 115 in NH (I pulled off to the side of the road to take the pictures not realizing that I was 30 yards from the designated pull off/picture taking area.):



You can see the clouds that were chasing me all day:

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Old 08-25-2013, 06:37 AM   #23
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Okay, a little story then more pictures. I stopped for gas in Gorham, NH and decided get a Gatorade while I was at it. Not only is it good for the electrolytes and such but the big bottles make for good water bottles later. While I was standing in line waiting to pay in comes a small lady in full gear still wearing her helmet. My initial thought was of this thread in Perfect Lines and Other Myths where a clerk shot someone who walked into the convenience store wearing a helmet ( http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=909384 ). It was determined that it was a personal issue and not a real concern but I looked at the clerk to see his reaction. My second thought was that she must be in a hurry since she didn't take time to at least take her helmet off.

I paid for my Gatorade and walked out and was almost directly in front of her bike. Wow! It was a Honda Supersport piled with gear. I walked to the back to check out her license plate and it was from Ontario. Now, I'm use to seeing the Canucks running around NH and ME but not like this. I decided to wait for her to come out of the store and in the best non-creeperish way find out what her story was. It didn't take long and I told her that I couldn't notice that her bike was as laden down as mine. I pointed further down the store where mine was parked. It was amusing to see her eyes get excited when she realized that I was out traveling too. We exchanged stories and destinations. It was interesting to learn that she worked with Canadian Soldiers in dealing with PTSD and TBI so after finding out that I was military she asked me how I was doing and we talked about motorcycling helping me to relax and having a venue to deal with issues.

We didn't chat for too long since she was headed to a shop to try to get her bike running smoothly again but it was fun to meet a person who had the same crazy interest, especially since my friends and family think I'm crazy for traveling across country on a motorcycle.

Here's to you Sharon! Good luck and travel safe on your adventures!
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:38 AM   #24
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Good stuff bro............
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:16 PM   #25
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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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Old 08-27-2013, 04:06 PM   #26
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After getting off the ferry I stopped by the information center to grab a map so I could better plan my way through the Adirondacks which was the only place that I planned to ride through after Lake Champlain. Everything after the Adirondacks was going to be made up on the fly and then probably changed. I got on Route 3 in Plattsburgh, NY and headed west. It's a very scenic drive and I experienced very little traffic. My only disappointment was when I pulled off at the rest areas I thought that there would be a scenic view. Nope, not at all. The rest area was surrounded by trees and a couple had a lot of trash in the area.

What I did like was that all through the Adirondacks there was a multitude of trail heads that was easily accessible. I could have stayed for weeks just going down the road, stopping to hike, and then continuing on. There was also a lot of lakes and bodies of water to experience too.



Even with this ride in mind I get in such a zone of riding and enjoying the moment that I forget about taking pictures. I could have, should have stopped a dozen times but I didn't. I even had to double back to take this picture when I saw the view and realized that I didn't have many pictures of this beautiful area along Route 30, heading south. It was a cool morning, with clear skies and almost no one on the road.





When I stopped for the night at the State Park at Durant Lake I was told that since I was not a resident of New York that I would be charge $27 for a piece of Mother Earth. There was no way that I was going to pay that much so I tried the whole 'Military discount' trick but I was told that I had to apply through Albany, NY for a special military access permit. Really? I have an ID that says that I'm Active Duty military. Nope, I have to apply for the permit. Well, I asked about any free camping in the area and was directed down the road to Durant Rd and a site down there that was 'first come, first served' area. The Park Ranger told me that there wasn't any showers or bathrooms down there, like that was going to discourage me. I don't think she realized that I wasn't looking for showers (or maybe she was trying to give me a hint) or that I didn't need flushable toilets. She also made a comment that the site might be full as to persuade me to stay and pay.

After turning around and heading back I found the road 2 miles from the pay site (she told me 4) and headed down Durant Rd (she told me Old Durant Rd) and I found NO ONE there!! I had the pick of the litter! And to add to the experience there was an outhouse. Luckily it was in better shape than the one at Flagstaff Maine.

I tucked my tent and motorcycle back in the woods on a nice, comfortable spot of leaves, cleared of twigs and rocks. The cool Mtn air was refreshing to sleep in.

The sign so you guys can google it and stay there if passing through:



My camping set up. Yes, it's a kid's tent. It's 5' x 6' and I have to sleep diagonally with my gear on either side of me. And the rain fly is that small piece of fabric that is covering the top vents. The tent held up to some light rain in VA that I experienced.



I would recommend this area to anyone and everyone. There's plenty of roads to choose from with small towns littering the area. I stopped for breakfast at Wendy's Cafe in Cassville NY which is attached to their fire station. I didn't take a picture of the food but I should have. $8.95 got me a plate of food called "the Trucker's plate" which is ham, bacon, sausage, onions, green peppers, potato and eggs all fried and mixed up served with two slices of cheese on top. Fearing that I was going to burst out of my pants and slip into a food coma I didn't dare eat everything on my plate. And if you know me, I can pack away some food.

This is going to be my new way to travel to Maine, even if I'm traveling miles out of the 'direct' way. (Well, I do enjoy Route 9 through VT but I'll figure it out.)
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:39 AM   #27
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Apparently New Hampshire has had a rash of toilet paper thieves so they locked it up. But you can still use it by unrolling it. Maybe they're concerned about the paper roll that's left at the end.

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Old 08-30-2013, 05:58 AM   #28
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After New York I started to head for home. I got on the Interstate and put the hammer down. I've driven this route several times before and really didn't want to spend too much time visiting sites. I felt a little rushed as I had things I needed to do at home, like mow my lawn after Missouri received 20 inches of rain. I did decide to stop at Kirtland Ohio which has a lot of historical sites for the Church of Jesus of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormon).

This is the temple that they built in the 1830's. Their sacrifice of monetary things to construct such a building for their spiritual needs is inspiring.



I was late to go through the Kirtland Temple but went over to the Kirtland Historical Center sites that are located down the road and took the tour through a set of buildings that the LDS church owns. They have a store, a home, a saw mill, and an Ashery. If you don't stop by for the religious history of the LDS church I suggest stopping by for the pure historical nature. They have a lot of artifacts from the early 1800's that's fun to see. The sawmill itself is interesting and actually functional although they've only started it once several years ago and they're nervous about making it a working historical site due to the liability.

After touring the site, and forgetting to take pictures, I got a list of local campgrounds from the front desk. I called the first one that was a town owned park/campground on Lake Erie. The Park Manager told me the price was $20 but after explaining that I was military traveling on a motorcycle with a small tent she was willing to give me the resident price of $10. She told me that she was in the concession stand and to meet her there.

When I got to the park she comes out of the concession stand before I had the kickstand down. She had me follow her over to the gate that blocked vehicle access to the campground portion of the town park and asked if I was able to maneuver around it. Of course I can! She told me to find a spot on the back side where ever I wanted. I realized as I was puttering slowly towards the back that it wasn't a big camping site and it really was a RV site. I picked a piece of ground tucked into the treeline a bit, away from the RV's and the only other tent. After setting up I headed over to the concession stand to pay for the site and to get something to eat.

The Park Manager was one of the funnest people that I've met on this trip. Retired from a big paper company, that my father also worked for some time for, she returned to this town and got hired as the park manager and lives at the park year round. She handles the concession stand and many other duties with only a couple of other people that handle the ground keeping and the upkeep. After refusing my money for camping there for the night she gave me a 2 for 1 deal on Nathan hotdogs with bacon, onions, and ketchup. Part of the fun of her job was meeting interesting people from around the US that stopped at her campground and if we passed her "not a weirdo" test she allowed some to stay for free. Apparently I passed. We chatted like we already knew each other, telling our life story and what got us to the park. She was a cheerful, humorous lady and was a lot of fun to talk to. I owe her a Christmas card.

I feel bad when I get up early in the morning to leave these kind of sites. Being military (and as my junior Soldiers think) and old I tend to get up early even on the weekends. I try to be as quiet as possible on a V-Twin motorcycle.

What a difference in traveling between motorcycle and RV. There were a couple of sites that were very plush. Picnic tables, nice lawn chairs, satellite TV , and other amenities. Compare that to my rucksack, dufflebag, and sleeping pad strapped to my sissybar.



Although I've traveled through this area several times before, I never stopped to visit any of the great lakes. It was immense! I could totally lie to my child and tell her that we were at the ocean, although she might ask where all the waves were and why the water didn't taste salty.

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Old 08-30-2013, 06:25 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by justafurnaceman View Post
Apparently New Hampshire has had a rash of toilet paper thieves so they locked it up. But you can still use it by unrolling it. Maybe they're concerned about the paper roll that's left at the end.
They want you to use it, they just don't want people to walk off with them..
I bet you see that in most bathrooms around here..

Nice report....
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:32 AM   #30
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Being home now almost 2 weeks it has given me time to reflect on the trip and my experiences. I have some stuff that I want to change to try to do a little cooking well traveling so I'm not eating out as much. I think I did well picking up the Wenzel tent. I was a little disappointed on how rushed I felt on my last two days traveling back to the house. I need to figure out how to travel through Indiana and Illinois (which was so much hotter than NY and the New England states) so I'm not tempted to blow up the motorcycle and just take the Greyhound home.

Weirdest person that I met: My brother-in-law's father-in-law that was quite a talker and almost earned himself a punch to the throat when he yelled "KABOOM" while standing next to me as I was grilling. He knows that I'm military. He sheepishly apologized and recognized his error when I jumped and was about to slam him. Moran.

Coolest person: Perry Park Manager. Coolest job of living at the park and managing it. Was very nice and fun to chat with.

Best breakfast: Wendy's Diner Cassville NY. HUGE portions and great prices. Locals love the place.

Best scenery: Quite a toss up. Eastern Tenn, western NC, and the Adirondacks all had incredible views. I'll definitely go out of my way to visit those places again.

Worst scenery: Illinois and Indiana. Maybe I wasn't visiting the right places but with the heat and MILES of corn, I'm currently looking at roads to bypass those states.

Funnest roads: Too many to name.

I'll update this thread but mostly with rides around the Missouri area until I can sneek away and do a longer trip.
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