Motorcycle Vacation StoryThis is the story of our September 27 to October 12, 2008 motorcycle trip. It covered 3240 miles and 16 States. The motorcycle is a 1989 Honda, Pacific Coast 800 CC Sport Touring bike named Recovery. I had mapped routes in our new Garmon Zumo GPS, but we had made no hotel plans and we were just going to enjoy the ride and stop whenever we wanted and go wherever we wanted. Our general route was to go to Vermont.
Day 1: We left Marietta, GA after breakfast at our favorite restaurant near Kennesaw Mountain at 11AM. We drove through Blue Ridge and then through McCaysville. We took Tennessee 68 to Hwy 411. Wow! What a great motorcycle road. I will defiantly do that road again. A lot of twisties through the National Forrest. Fantastic!
In Knoxville, I took a wrong turn and Jill (my GPS) got upset and re-routed us a different way than planned. We were going to be driving up 11E through Bristol. But instead we went up 33 to 25E and through Cumberland Gap NHP via US58. This is a 4 lane road and we were mostly the only ones on the road. It was a beautiful setting the whole way. A little longer drive but well worth it.
We stopped in Big Stone Gap at 7PM with 310 miles on the odometer. A great ride so far. My wife actually fell asleep several times on the bike.
Day 2: We left at 9:45AM and took back roads to West Virginia where we hit WV highway 16. This just happens to be the Coal Heritage Hwy that goes through the hills and passes many small coal mining towns. The whole day I never had a car in front or in back of me. It was a very overcast and damp day so I took it very easy on the curves. I only averaged about 40 miles an hour and rarely got out of 3rd gear. But it was another fantastic ride. We arrived in Beakley, WV around 2:30 PM and went to the Coal Mine Exhibition. This was very informative. I do not see how anyone would do this kind of work??? We got a nicer hotel room with a Jacuzzi tub, so I am off to soak!!!
Day 3: Today was the best weather yet. Seventy degrees and sunshine all day. Most of the day was riding through the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Beautiful roads that we would have never seen if we were on the interstate in a car. Quaint small towns and lovely farms. We spent the night in Hagerstown, Maryland. About 7 hours on the bike today. We decided that we were so close to Lancaster, PA we would detour there to see the Amish area tomorrow.
Day 4: Arrived in Lancaster, PA around 1PM. Decided to stay overnight to see more of the Amish area. Found a great B&B. Check it out at www.walkaboutinn.com we highly recommend it! Took a buggy ride over a covered bridge.
Day 5: Decided to stay another night at the B&B and enjoy the area some more. Attended the Millennium Theatre (www.sight-sound.com) and saw "In The Beginning". Wow, a great production and story line. We spent time in Intercourse and Bird-In-Hand and were only 2 miles from Paradise, but did not make it there. So goes our luck.....
Day 6: Left Amish country and rode to Port Jervis, NY. We are 3 days behind our original schedule, so we will have a long ride tomorrow to catch up. Hope to spend the night close to the Vermont line. We are planning on going through the Catskills.
Day 7: Today was motorcycle trouble day, but a lot of good luck followed us. We left Port Jervis early and about 30 miles out I noticed that my Idiot light that shows my battery voltage (green, yellow, red) was in the red. This should not happen when the bike is running so I knew there must be a problem with my charging circuit and I was running on battery only. I stopped and checked the battery connections and wires from the rectifier and all was good. So I asked directions to the nearest Honda Motorcycle dealer. It was another 30 miles away so I headed straight for it.
We went through a very small town and drove across a long bridge over the Delaware river. About a half mile later my GPS stated that it was going to its own battery power. I knew this meant my motorcycle battery was about to give up. I turned around and drove over the bridge again and the bike died just as I crossed to the other side and I was able to park in front of a cafe. Great luck as there was not other businesses for 15 miles on the other side of the bridge.
I called my insurance (Progressive) and they quickly had a tow truck there to carry us to the Honda dealer (www.rustypalmer.net). They diagnosed it to be the rectifier, but they could not get one in until Tuesday. Today is Friday by the way. I asked if we could use their computer and logged on to the Internet Pacific Coast Riders Club (www.pc800.net) and put out a distress call. Within 15 minutes I got a call from Tim Davies who said he had an extra regulator and he lived three hours away and was headed my way now. I later received two other calls from fellow riders with offers of help. Wow this was amazing! Tim arrived around 6 PM, two screws and the rectifier was installed and the bike was running again. We took Tim to the best restaurant in town and gave him a steak dinner. He saved us 4 days of vacation time. We spent the night there.
Day 8: We took the interstates today to try to make up some of the lost time. We arrived in Bennington, VT around 4PM. I called several hotels to find out they were all booked. Using my GPS I kept calling and finally found the last two rooms in the city and booked one. We checked in and then toured around town to see some of the sights. It was a very cold day today, but we stayed warm with our gear. We will start our ride up Vermont 100 tomorrow.
Day 9: Went through several small towns today on VT100. There colors varied from 50% to past peak based on altitude and were very pretty. We road through Woodstock, they were having a fall festival in the middle of town. We hit the interstate and spent the night in Burlington. Downtown has Church Street closed off to traffic and everyone walks the street. We ate at a restaurant that had sidewalk sitting. It reminded us of Paris. We also walked down to the waterfront.
Day 10: Today we traveled to New Hampshire. On the way we stopped at Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory and took the tour. We also stopped at a cider mill, a wine tasting shop, and a maple syrup farm. We spent the night at the Littleton motel in Littleton, NH. This is the oldest motel in New Hampshire! A very cute town voted the 9th best small town in America. Today was the coldest day yet. When we got to our room it was in the low 30's. Our gear is working fine but we were a little chilled today. (Tourmaster Intake jackets and Firstgear HT overpants)
Day 11: We rode the Kancamagus Highway. It is a 34.5 mi (55 km) long two-lane road that runs, east and west overall,through the White Mountains to Conway. We did not have very much traffic, very nice. We were deciding to start heading back home when someone told us that we should head over to Portland Maine that it was only an hour away. (I am so amazed at how close everything is here in the North East) We headed there and then decided to head to Boston, MA on US1. We spent the night in downtown Boston right in the historic district at the Omni Parker House Hotel. This is America's longest continuously operating hotel. This is also the most expensive night on our trip, but very worth it.
Day 12: We spent the day walking around Boston. Took the SuperDuck tour on land and water. We enjoyed it very much. We also saw the USS Constitution. Left town around 4:30 in rush hour traffic. We made it out of town without incident. The Big Dig is now finished and works well. My GPS even worked there. Traffic flows a lot smoother than when I was last here. We stopped in Connecticut overnight at a truck Stop.
Day 13: We rode the Merritt Parkway through much of Connecticut. This is a beautiful 4 lane limited access road surrounded by trees that does not allow any commercial traffic on it. We passed around New York City and into New Jersey. The central part of New Jersey is very pretty. I see why it is called the Garden State now. We made a decision to visit Delaware as we were riding. If I had thought of it earlier we would have gone through Rode Island, but too late now. Maybe the next trip. We headed for Rehoboth Beach. We found a hotel in Lewes, Delaware. This town advertises that it is the first city in the first state. This was our hottest day - 80 degrees.
Day 14: We took the morning to go to the local state park and walk in the sand as well as take a lighthouse picture. We ate lunch in the downtown area and headed out around 1:30 PM. Our GPS headed us through Washington DC. We hit I-95 South rush hour traffic and it took us over 2 hours to get around DC. We spent the night in Orange, VA. Orange County was created in 1734 and it's western boundary extended to the Mississippi River and the northern boundary all the way to the Great Lakes! We hope to make it home by tomorrow night.
Day 15: As we were driving through Charlotte, NC we decided to reroute ourselves to visit friends in the Asheville, NC. area. We drove through some beautiful areas on the way on US-74. We stayed there overnight.
Day 16: My wife decided to stay an extra night and catch a ride home with a friend. I had to leave that afternoon to be at work Monday morning. I took US 178 across the Continental Divide to SC 11 scenic hwy. This is another great motorcycle road that you must ride!
This was a dream vacation. Great roads, great scenery, and great experiences.