This past summer I got to take my R1100S to the Blue Ridge Parkway and back. Here's a little write-up on my adventure. Thanks again Country Rode Motowerks for one of the best bikes I've owned in my three decades of motorcycling... Craig Deats
JIM SPOTTS who logged 1436 miles between January 1 and March 1, 2016. Congratulations to a hearty guy.
(Next closed mileage was 738 by a Suzuki rider)
Motorcycles are engineered for performance in use. Unlike automobiles, motorcycles are not crash-tested for safety. Here's a video from Jon Delveccio from this Presentation.
Art, Lyn and Country Rode People.....
A Bob Pitkin Report
Thought I would report in with a brief description of my recent “Vespa Free Range Ride-About.”
For two weeks of glorious weather I was out of the Rochester area on my Dragon Red Vespa 300.
Had a great time, heading first to Olean, N.Y., then three quarters of the way through Allegheny National Forrest where I spent the night in my newly acquired Hennesy Hammock tent.
On day two I passed through the National Forrest and headed westerly to the quaint (ha ha) city of Youngstown Ohio, then south about 20 miles to a Circle 8 motel... Very comfortable.
On day three I headed south on Rt. 7 and followed the mighty Ohio River to the quaint
(no ha ha, really quaint) city/town of Marietta, Ohio, and from there across the big river to a very very quaint Williamstown, W. V.
I hankered down there for a week spending time with daughter, son-in-law and grand daughter, 3 Y.O.
Then, heading east, I crossed West Virginia and stayed for the first time at an AirBnB place.
Heading north I passed through western Maryland, beautiful country. There I passed through the little town of Accident, where the natives call themselves “Accidentals.”
A night at a Motel 8 in northern Pa.,then north on Rt. 36 where I stayed at a friends house about 7 miles west of Geneseo. In the morning we went to the crazy new little 50’s restaurant, and kinda a museum, in Caledonia for breakfast. I recommend a scooter trip there if the weather allows. After the meal, I completed the 30 minute last leg of the trip, getting the only rain (and not much) I experienced while traveling!
Total miles traveled: 1077
Animals approaching the Vespa while in motion: 1 chipmunk, 1 turkey vulture in flight! No dear or bears. 1.45 million insects.
It was a great trip through mountains and hills galore, chatted with a dozen or so “10 minute friends,” and averaged ( with me, 190 pounds, and 40 pounds of gear) 69.72 MPG!
Also, I was able to manage 5 Reddd Doggg volleyball teams at Hotshots on University Ave, through cell phone and internet via a Mac Air.
I didn’t say yet that the Vespa behaved perfectly. It did!
Hope to do something similar next year.
The photo is at the Glen Iris in Letchworth Park on day 1
Tuesday morning, Aug. 11th, I had a chance to ride the 2016 F800R, R1200RS, and the S1000XR. I chose the R1200RS to start with and which I liked a lot (this could be bad for my finances). At the Elmo Grocery I switched to the S1000XR. Very fast so the shift asst. worked great. At Berry Hill, where we stopped for a beverage & snack break, then I rode the F800R. This is a great bike for riding the 'twisties'. Each segment was about 30 miles.
Tuesday afternoon I had a chance to ride the S1000RR on Virginia International Raceway. What a bike! It's very impressive going along the straight at 100mph and have Nate Kern pass you at almost 200mph! Unfortunately, I had to leave the track early because of the heat which was in the high 90's with about a billion% humidity
Father/Son M/C trip across the USA began on 7/12. A 7/13 email says: "We're at the top of the thumb of the Michigan mitten." We wish them a safe fun riding adventure.
July 18 We've covered 1300 miles in a week. In Pierre SD tonight. Bad Lands and Black Hills next couple of days.
July 24 The bikes in the Wind River Canyon on the way to Cody WY. New tires and a reattached vacuum tube and I'm a new man!
I hear my dad's been sending you iiphone photos. Here's a much better one taken by yours truly :) Alex.
This photo was taken right off of route 28 in Idaho heading towards Salmon. The road is bordered on either side by separate mountain ranges!
Found a beautiful old farm house built in 1885. Wow! Craig
On our final leg to Portland OR yesterday. A marathon 368 mile day from Lewiston ID. Craig
Columbia River Gorge. Included ripe black raspberries warm from the vine.
We left Portland yesterday. Here we are waiting to be flagged on over Mt Hood. Spent this morning at Crater Lake. Now in Crescent City CA so we can ride the Redwoods tomorrow. Daughter, Hannah and wife, Theresa, are with us for this part in the pink Cadillac. Tired, but still enjoying the adventure and time away from work.
August 12: After spending some time in the San Francisco area doing the tourist thing, getting a few replacement parts & apparel, as a result of Alex's collision with a deer, Craig & Alex are headed back East. They are now halfway across Nevada. These are the sand dunes on Route 50, the loneliest highway in America.
Alex and I got to stay at a friend's back country cabin two nights ago. Very cool. Tonight we're in Delta, Utah after a 300+ mile day. Loved the Loneliest Road in Nevada. Gorgeous views and plenty of gas stations! Craig.
Thirty miles east of Steamboat Springs. Got washed by a thunder storm 20" later.
August 22nd: The 'Smith Boys' arrived home safe & sound after covering 7391 miles on their trip. We welcome them home. Craig reports that they had a great time but are also glad to be home!
Art led a 'pack' of 9 (Art, John, Gary, Tony M., Tony & Julie, Harry, Gene, David & Doug) to Mac's Drive-in last night. He challenged the 'pack' to a couple detours and some fresh road chip but otherwise some nice country roads and curves so hopefully they forgive him. Lyn who left 15 minutes behind the 'pack' driving her VespaGTV 300 & taking a similar route beat them there. She won! Anyway, we ended up with 13 of us as Bill & Gabrielle from Syracuse joined the 'dinner party' for some lively chat. It was a fun evening and a beautiful one for a ride.
Everyone enjoyed root beer and dinner with fellow riders. Be sure to mark your calendars for our last Dinner Ride on August 19th at 6pm to the Pultneyville Deli.
Jim, Ron, Frank & Peter, members of the Finger Lakes Riders Association are packed and on their way to their 2nd annual trip to the Yankee Beemer Frosty Nutz Rally in Vermont. These guys are tough and maybe a little crazy. First night (today) will be in Tupper Lake in a motel with a hot shower. At the Rally they'll be camping Friday & Saturday! Brrr......it's going to be a COLD adventure and we can see why the Rally is named Frosty Nutz!
FROSTY NUTZ GANG APRIL 24th evening UPDATE.
After encountering blowing, drifting snow on a snow covered RT 177, the Frosty Nutz gang arrived intact at the Park Motel in Tupper Lake. They were more than ready for a hot shower, dinner and REST. That had to have been a stressful ride and maybe not so fun? Let's all hope today brings them safer riding weather! When we hear more, we will pass it on.
This is how the 'Nutz' found their bikes the next morning, They decided not to be 'nuts' and waited to leave when roads were clear. They safely reached the Frosty Nutz Rally campgrounds late afternoon on Friday. Word has it that they had a 'blast' in spite of the snow &, cold. Peter says he's ready to do it again. We hope to hear more of their adventure with a presentation at a later date.
I've been trying to get my wife to go with me on an extended "rideabout" on the LT. She and I have traveled quit a bit on the bike. We've been to Colorado three times, Nova Scotia, and the Southern states, but I was looking for a real cross country adventure. Well, she never was quite up to it so when a Harley riding friend threw down the gauntlet, I jumped at the chance. He sent out an email last December to a few of the guys that ride together once in awhile. It went something like this:
"I am retiring next summer after 34 years at Kodak. I'm thinking one day for each year and 300 miles per day would make a great bike trip. Anyone interested?" He didn't have to ask twice. Three of us left on May 17 and one of us left ten days later and caught up with the forward contingent in Gunnison, Colorado. We had traveled 4,000 miles in 13 days and he had traveled 2,000 miles in just 3 days.
Interestingly, we never got together to discuss the route or plan the trip, as it was all done by email. We had agreed on a general route that hit the major highlights we wanted to visit. We used Google Maps to determine the approximate mileage so we'd have a pretty good idea if we were ahead or behind the tentative schedule. The only Mountains and Motorcycles
Mountains and Motorcycles real issue was that we had a pretty firm drop-dead-date for the return since our initiator had one more week of work before officially retiring.
We pretty much slabbed it to Nashville, Tennessee and then rode the entire length of the Natchez Trace. The Trace follows an historic 200 year old road that is still visible in some places. There are access and exit roads, but no stop signs or traffic lights for the entire 400 plus miles. The speed limit is only 50, we set the cruise at about 58 and just rolled along enjoying the solitude and countryside. The LT got 58mpg! After the Natchez Trace we stayed on two lane roads almost exclusively until the last couple of days when we were back in the eastern sprawl and used the Interstates. We traveled thousands of miles on the two lane roads and encountered very little traffic. We usually had the road to ourselves.
We met a lot of interesting people and had only great experiences with everyone we met. On the top of Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado at almost 11,000 feet, we encountered a bicyclist who had ridden from Brooklyn, NY with a guitar strapped to his bicycle. He figured he was the first person to pedal to Wolf Creek Pass with a guitar and he wanted to record it for posterity. So we used his video camera and recorded him singing a song he wrote. If we ever hear of a new hit titled "Iris," we'll remember where we first heard it...
We all learned a few things on the trip.
- Texas is big!
- The Colorado mountains are fabulously beautiful
- Utah is amazing, all the parks are very different
- The Grand Canyon is big, but not as big as Texas
- California has many roads that rival the Tail of the Dragon, but they go on for 30 or 40 miles not just 11
- It's exciting to get to the Pacific Ocean
- This is one GREAT country. I absolutely enjoyed every mile, even going diagonally across Nebraska.
- The old two lane highways are in great shape and are much more interesting to ride than the Interstates.
- There are some very interesting people out there on the roads and in all those little towns.
I am ready to go again. If my wife would come along, that would be great. If she won't, I think I'll try camping next time.
2000 BMW K1200LT (starting mileage; 88,590, Ending mileage; 99,452)
2007 Harley Davidson Ultra glide (approximately 17,000 miles at start)
2007 Harley Davidson Ultra glide (approximately 10,000 miles at start)
2004 Yamaha FJR (approximately 22,000 miles at start)
All bikes changed oil once. All used synthetic
Both Harleys had new rear tire at about 8,000 miles
LT and FJR did not change tires, although FJR was getting pretty thin. Might have had problems if it had rained the last couple of days. The LT's rear tire can go another 2,000 miles
One of the Harleys stalled four separate times. It just stopped running. After flipping a few switches and hitting the starter button, it started again and ran fine. We never did find out what was wrong.
My K1200LT needed a new radiator cap. After the engine was heated above its normal range, not over heating but hot enough to have the fan come on, it began spitting coolant out of the overflow reservoir. After several days of adding Honda coolant, I decided I needed to get a new radiator cap. One problem with BMW is that dealers are few and far between. I had to travel 150 miles to get to a dealer. That was actually not too far; there were many times we were not within 500 miles of a dealer.
- Averaged 320 miles per day
- Longest day: 614 miles, Indianapolis to home, smelled the barn
- Shortest day: 125 miles around San Antonio, stopped to see the Alamo
- 33 Days, 24 States, 10,562 miles
- Mostly fabulous.
- Only two days of rain.
- We were just ahead of or just behind floods and snow storms, but we rode on in pleasant sunshine
- Hottest day; 104 degrees in shade at Big Bend National Park
- Coldest morning: 28 degrees in Jasper, Wyoming
- Worst conditions: Sand storm crossing Mojave Desert
- Stayed in motels
- Most expensive: $198 at Grand Canyon
- Least expensive: $46 in Williams, AZ (found a local motel after rejecting a $115 Best Western)
National Parks visited:
- Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
- Big Bend, Texas
- Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
- Mesa Verde, Colorado
- Capitol Reef, Utah
- Bryce Canyon, Utah
- Zion, Utah
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Sequoia, California
- Yosemite, California
- Redwood, California
- Grand Tetons, Wyoming
- Yellowstone, Wyoming
- Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
—David Granzin, Penn Yan, NY
Ron and Evelyn Stone had a simple strategy for their trip west this summer: Follow that road.
In their case, the road was U.S. Route 20, a highway that starts in Boston, MA and ends in Newport, OR, near the Pacific Coast. With Evelyn sittng behind him on his R1200ST, Ron picked up Route 20 on June 27th in Canandaigua.
On their trip, they left the mostly two-lane road occasionally either to skirt cities or to take in an interesting sight, but generally they were true to 20 as they traveled more than 3000 miles across the country. Ron, 64, and Evelyn, 61, arrived in Oregon on Route 20
Route 20, coast-to-coast July 6th and then left Route 20, heading south and then east to see their son Mark, in New Mexico. Coming home a faster route, mainly on interstates, they arrive home on July 19th having logged 7500 miles.
That many miles, that many hours of close, wind-buffeted contact, might strain some relationships. But for the Stones, there's no better way to travel. "I like the freedom a motorcycle brings" says Ron, who has been riding for more than 30 years. "You can smell the rain; you can smell the pines: you can smell the manure. Evelyn adds that not only do motorcyclists get to see the country in a more up-close-and-personal way, they also get to meet more people. A bike is a conversational ice-breaker. People at restaurants and gas stations come up to the Stones, ask them where they're from, where they're going, where they've been.
This was Ron & Evy's fourth cross-country trip, the last being a 2005 trek following Route 50, a road running from Ocean City, MD to Sacramento, CA, which is billed as "The Loneliest Highway in America." On their treks, the Stones travel light, packing just enough clothes for seven days. On the seventh day, they take a break, do their laundry and rest. (On this trip the seventh day came in Cody, Wyoming).
The Stones ride between 300 and 400 miles a day stopping about 5PM, as night rides on a motorcycle can be a little risky, given deer, buffalo (yes) and other creatures on the road.
They allow for "wander time." Their favorite deviation from their route this time was a ride up and over Beartooth Pass in Montana and Wyoming. But many sights along Route 20 - including lava flows in Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho - stopped them in their tracks.
"It's hard to explain how beautiful this country is," says Evy.
The Stones stay in motels, often filling up on the provided continental breakfasts and then skipping lunch. For dinners, they try to eat in non-chain restaurants, off-the-beaten path places where the food is generally good and they get to meet the locals.
Ron's motorcycle averages about 50mpg, so they don't spend a lot on gas, though they traveled this summer at a time when prices were nearing an all-time U.S. high. (The peak in California was $4.98/gal.). They drove through a draught and experienced no significant rain on this trip. There was still snow in the Beartooth Moutains.
The temperature was 62 degrees as they rode through northern California and 118 degrees in southern California after they moved inland on their way to New Mexico. Ron & Evy are looking forward to more long journeys, including a jaunt to Newfoundland with friends. And they hope to cross the U.S. on Route 30, another one of the vintage highways.
"So many roads, so little time," says Ron, whose motorcycling avocation is also a vocation, as he works as sales manager at CRM. Ron & Evy will be giving a packing seminar at CRM on February 14th, 2009 as they really know how to pack.
Ron's advice to anyone who wants to travel by motorcycle is "Just go, just make up your mind and go".
Ron has an album of about 400 photographs here
—Jim Memmott, Democrat and Chronicle
My good friend, Vaughn aka Buford Pembroke and I left Rochester May 24th to attend the World Super Bike races at Miller Motor Sport Park in Tooele, Utah. We made good time by staying mostly on interstates. Although we did ride some of Rt. 30 in Nebraska where we stopped for pie and coffee at a neat place called the Red Rooster. Once back on the interstate we ran into heavy cross winds of 20-40 knots. It was work, keeping our bikes in our lane fighting the crosswinds. Makes you tired. There is so much open space in Wyoming that there's nothing to stop the wind.
We arrived in Sandy, UT on May 27th. The motel was hard to find even with the GPS. I missed a turn (I never miss a turn!) and had to ride through a mall (yuk) to find the motel (thank goodness for GPS).
Friday the 28th we checked out BMW Motorcycles of Utah. The crew there suggested some great roads for us to ride. We headed south on Rt 15 to Spanish Flats. There we picked up Rt 89 south. Then it's Rts 31, 10, 72, and 24. We still had strong cross winds, but the roads were wonderful fun. Lots of turns and beautiful scenery. Again, the wind got to us, so we stopped for pie and coffee in Lyman. You can tell we're both fond of pie, any kind will do. It was time head back. We took Rt. 24 north to Rt. 50 heading to I5 and the motel.
Our exciting motorcycle trip ended in seconds with a sudden zero-visibility sand storm on Rt 50 about ten miles south of Scipio. A vehicle coming the opposite direction crossed into our lane, hit me on the right side knocking off the right cylinder of my R1200ST, and then hit Buford's K1200LT head on. We were doing everything right, slowing and hugging the shoulder line. Couldn't even see what was on the other side of the line to know if it was safe to pull over and stop.
I sustained 8 broken ribs, a bruised lung, and a broken right hand, but was able to return home a week later. Buford was not so fortunate; he remains in Utah Regional Medical Center in Provo with a broken sternum, collarbone, and three ribs. He had a shattered T3 vertebra and although has use of his arms and hand, may be paralyzed below the chest. He has had many medical issues keeping him from progressing with his rehab so that he is not yet medically stable enough to send home.
BMW Motorcycles of Utah was very accomodating in collecting and sending our gear to NYS but also in transporting my wife and sister when they came to Provo. They were wonderful, so if you visit them know you will be treated well.
In reviewing this accident with the police photos, I realize that Buford and I are lucky to be alive. I can only emphasize how important it is wearing all of your riding gear all of the time.
If you are interested in following Buford's progress, his family has set up a Blog site called Rebuilding Buford. As Buford's Rehab, home modifications, equipment, etc. will be very costly, Country Rode is accepting donations to pass onto him. If you wish to donate, you can make a check out to Vaughn Pembroke and mail it here, we are taking cash donations at the counter too. Walworth Hardware where Buford works is taking donations. Their address is Walworth Hardware, PO Box 50, Walworth, NY 14568
Buford needs all the support his fellow motorcycle riders can give him.
—Ron Stone, Sales Manager CRM
For avid riders, a journey using all your vacation time is usually a great challenge. Not just the journey but the scheming, conniving, bartering, etc, one must do before your partner in life finally relents and agrees to let you go.
Before getting into the trip itself, I’d like to share a sense of the experience. First, the vastness of the arctic terrain and the sense of a solitary experience are without equal in my experience. It’s just you and your bike. This trip was all about being self-sufficient, depending on me and on my bike. The environment was hostile, unrelenting and without the slightest wiggle room for error. My sat phone was my only safety net. And yet, the trip itself was comfort in that it provided all the challenge and payback that I could have possibly built into a short period of time. And the few other riders I met, whether for a meal even for only a few minutes, reassured me that if I needed help, they’d be there. It was a true band of brothers, brothers of the road.
The trip began in Anchorage, to Fairbanks, then on to Tok, Alaska, a real out of the way place. Traveling to Tok I took a less traveled road, the Richardson Highway and then the Tok Cutoff Motorcyclists Gather
Gathering for Chow Highway, a large portion of which follows the Alaskan Pipe Line. It was a very scenic highway with an abundance of wildlife and only seven other vehicles during a five hour ride. I spent the night at a lodge just south of Tok, owned by a couple who moved there from Syracuse in 1980. The next morning I headed off to Dawson City, Yukon, Canada through Chicken, Alaska, on the Top of the World Highway.
For the most part the roads were decent, the scenery was spectacular and the village of Chicken was fun. From Chicken to The Top of the World Highway was fabulous. It truly was the top of the world. In some places I was able to see the road snaking its way over the mountain right to the horizon.
From the border to the ferry crossing, you see great scenery and the Klondike River winding its way past Dawson. There is no charge for the ferry, however, if you’re unlucky and hit it wrong, there could be a wait.
Dawson City is a town loaded with history. The outside of the buildings look the same as they did during the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. During that period Dawson's population was between 30,000 and 50,000 people. Today there are fewer than 1,600 residents.
The Dawson Downtown Hotel is biker friendly, a very BMW friendly hotel. The owner is a rider checked out the weather for my trip up the Dempster Highway. He delivered the forecast to me with his best wishes for a safe trip, and a warning. "Even though the weather looks good, the road can be treacherous, the weather can change in a matter of moments."
When I returned to the Downtown Hotel 5 days later from Inuvik above the Arctic Circle. I returned there a day ahead of the well-known Dust to Dawson annual ride that goes from Anchorage to Dawson held each year with an estimated 200 bikes (mostly dual sports) arriving in town. It is estimated that, of the 200 bikers attending this event, less than 5% will travel the Dempster Highway. Gives one pause for thought.
The famous Dempster Highway is the only road north from Dawson. It’s approximately 500 miles to Inuvik, North West Territory, and is as far as one can drive. The highway is gravel, pot holes and, if it rain, is the slickest mud. Otherwise, it’s fun. The thickness of the gravel pad ranges from 4 feet up to 8 feet in some places. Without the pad, the permafrost would melt and the road would sink into the ground. It is one of the most desolate roads I’ve ever traveled, with only one place to get food/fuel/lodging. There are many emergency airstrips built right on the road.
The halfway point is Eagle Plains; far enough from the last fuel stop so you have to carry extra fuel or invest in a GS Adventure. Just as one can never be certain about the weather, likewise you can't be certain about the road conditions, I spent a night at Eagle Plains both going to and coming from Inuvik. While the roads were good and I didn’t hit rain and mud until leaving Eagle Plains heading back to Dawson, I was happy to get off the bike in Eagle.
I met a few riders who tried to push all the way and they all ended up camping uncomfortably somewhere along the way. I met all of them at the junction where the Dempster Highway begins and we shared our experiences. The Dempster scenery was absolutely spectacular. The wildlife was plentiful, with multiple spottings of moose, black bear, and a healthy grizzly who ran along beside me for about 20 yards, arctic fox, coyote and numerous varieties of birds.
At the north end of the Dempster, after crossing both the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers, lies Inuvik. It is on the East Channel of the Mackenzie River Delta.
I returned to Eagle Plains June 21, the day of Summer Solstice. There was an Inuit celebration that lasted 24 hours directly across the street from the hotel. I enjoyed chatting with the Inuit people and enjoying their food, a great meal that featured moose, caribou and arctic char, cooked over an open fire. There was a band and lively dancers. At midnight, a 10k race started. An armed escort person in a truck led the race. There had been reports of a couple of grizzlies on the track. Before they took off. I asked "What happens to stragglers?" Answer was "They're on their own. I'm just clearing the trail. Besides, up here you don't have to be the fastest, you just don’t want to be the slowest."
The return trip, from Eagle Plains to Dawson, was what all the horror stories are about. The rain hit and the mud was the slickest I’ve seen. There was an outdoor pressure washer at the end of the road. It took $15 of pressure washing to get the bike clean (the mud was almost 1" thick). Then there was me. Another rider offered to hose me off and I let him.
Then I was back on the "roads more traveled."
I hope you enjoyed sharing my arctic journey. If you are planning a trip to Alaska and are interested in my maps and waypoints drop a line to Art and Lyn.
I have already started softening up my wife for my next Adventure.
5,300 miles, 17 days, 1 tent, 14 states and 1 province. What a trip! I packed up my R1200GS and headed out from Rochester, NY with a desire to go West. I met a buddy in St. Louis, MO and we continued on towards Denver. Once in Colorado the pavement ended. Wide Open Spaces and the dirt road adventure began.
The GS handled like a dream on both the hard pack and loose gravel two tracks. Climbing to an elevation of 12,126 feet, I crossed the continental divide in Cottonwood Pass. The snow began to fly and the temperatures began to drop (33°F). Thank goodness for the GS's heated hand grips!
Continuing on through Cumberland Pass, the road deteriorated to a narrow, rocky, ATV type trail. My progress came to a halt when I ran into a four foot spindrift wall of snow across the road. I took all the luggage off the bike, laid it down and then spun it so that I could retreat to a lower elevation and find an alternate route to Grand Junction, CO. The road was so narrow I couldn’t think of a better way to turn around. Once on the western slope of the Rockies, I reunited with my buddy and we headed for the deserts of Utah.
I met up with a friend living in SLC so we could launder our clothes and have a shower. A shower was greatly appreciated because the nights in the tent were beginning to be Black Hills Tunnel repulsive! :-) Turning North we toured Wyoming with all its splendor. Making a right turn we began heading back East. South Dakota offered fantastic twisties and unique road conditions. The Black Hills in SD are definitely a highlight of the trip. We also ran into the occasional bison.
Throughout the trip I had no mechanical failures, accidents or mishaps (well, at least nothing I couldn't fix). The GS ran beautifully and the top/side vario cases worked perfectly. My gear stayed dry and protected. I also really enjoyed the comfort and protection the Rallye 2 gloves and Summer 2 pants provided.
I want to thank all the folks at CRM for their knowledge and advice. The gear recommendations were spot-on and the shared excitement for travel on two wheels made the trip planning that much more enjoyable.
Eric Hambsch, a BMW motorcycle owner from Odessa, Florida, was in the Rochester area in September to attend a wedding. Eric and his lovely wife (check gallery photo) decided to spend some time kicking tires by checking out scooter dealers in the area. Interested in scooters and new technology, Eric tried a Can-Am Spyder and was not fully impressed, so he stopped at CRM to check out BMWs. While here, he discovered the 500cc Piaggio MP3, and he took a demo ride. Eric was so impressed that he purchased it on the spot (the customer made in heaven). Eric then decided that he was going to ride the MP3 back to Florida on the following Monday, so he also purchased the necessary riding gear to get him there safely (and warmly) attired.
Eric called CRM the following Friday, having just arrived back in Odessa, and reported to Drew that he had the time of his life riding the MP3 home. Eric said that the MP3 was awesome on the "Tail of the Dragon." Eric is willing to share the photos that he took on his most excellent Scooter trip. If you'd care to view them, they say it all.
Visit Eric's gallery
Linda and I started our excellent adventure on July 5th. The first day we went to Bloomfield Hills, MI to visit some friends and stay the night. From there we went north on I-75 to the Mackinac Bridge to the upper peninsula of Michigan. We stayed at Munising at a Holiday Inn Express with a nice lake view room.
Next day we traveled to Duluth, MN, and this part of trip was cold due to winds off Lake Superior, with a temperature range of 56° to 74°. We traveled on Route 2 for most of this day. Our stay at Hampton Inn came highly recommended with a glassed-in lobby right on Lake Superior, and shopping with great restaurants within easy walking distance. It was 56° when we left Duluth and headed west again on Route 2 to Rugby, ND. We stayed at Econ-O-Lodge in Rugby, a 441 mile day. From Rugby we went 40 miles north to the Canadian border. There is a beautiful garden there called the Peace Garden which is half in the USA and half in Canada. We had a nice time there. If you are ever close to this, you should see it.
We made a mistake by not having reservations in ahead of time at a motel as there is a lot of oil drilling currently going on in this area, and all motels were booked for miles. We went about a hundred miles further than we wanted and stayed at a flea bitten dive in Culbertson, MT. I told Linda it was better than a picnic table in a park. Lesson learned was always have the next night covered.
Another hint along this route is "Never pass up a gas station when you are at a half-tank of fuel." These towns are 50 miles apart and not all have gas. We ended up buying fuel at a grain elevator / hardware store / tractor and combine repair, which only had regular gas and you have to double the price as it's an old pump type place. But we were THANKFUL. We got up on Day 6 with no flea bites and headed off for a place that might have a cell-phone signal. Found that and breakfast at Wolf Point, MT. Gave the KLT a drink of high test as it was having some kind of withdrawal symptoms.
We also ordered our next night motel at Havre, Montana. The ride through the plains states was really something to see. Miles of fire brush (locals' term) and two-lane 70 mph straight as an arrow roads. Some times we went 30 minutes without seeing another vehicle in either direction. Cross road sign humor: name of some town with an arrow pointing the way at 52 miles!
From Havre we went to Glacier Park in Montana. Take the "Going to the Sun Highway" if you are ever here. Have your camera ready, for the views you will see are breathtaking to say the least. We stayed that night at McDonald Lake Lodge and we were surrounded by beautiful vistas every way we looked. Eat at the Lodge if you are in this area. Next stop was Kalispell at the Hampton Inn. It was a short trip, and we secured the room early and then took a ride around Flathead Lake, about 120 miles.
We looked at the map and cut the distance from Kalispell to Mount Saint Helens in half. There was Ellensburg, WA, 427 miles and we stayed there for the night. This day we went through deserts and temperature range for the day was 53° to 100°. Cool vests worked well to keep you going and several stops to drink water this day. Linda's cousin lives in Tacoma, WA, and we called him to say we were close by so he invited us for two nights.
While in Washington we got an oil change, saw Mount Saint Helens, and Rainier Park. On Day 12 we traveled to Ocean Shores for a photo op and then to Portland, OR where followed the Columbia River east on I-84 almost to The Dalles, OR. I say almost because there was grass fire that forced us to retreat about 15 miles and cross over to the Washington side to travel to another bridge to The Dalles where our motel was. 423 miles with 30 mile detour. From The Dalles, we went 493 miles to Twin Falls, Idaho where we saw lots of charred grass, we assume from smokers.
Day 14 we traveled from Twin Falls, ID to West Yellowstone, MT. Plenty of nice places to stay here and eat here. From West Yellowstone we traveled through Yellowstone Park to the North East corner of this park, where the road to Beartooth Pass starts. Beartooth Pass is a motorcycle must-do road: 10,974 feet or so elevation, and snow on the ground with great mountain views. There are 20 peaks over 12,000 feet in elevation along the highway. Switchbacks going on in the mountains... what a ride! This road is from Cooke City to Red Lodge.
We stayed that night in Billings MT. Day 16 we were headed for Rapid City, SD and went through some rocky terrain in Wyoming. We rode into Sturgis to see what this town was about. They were getting ready for some kind of motorcycle event coming in a couple of weeks. We got our room in Rapid City and took a side trip to Mt. Rushmore. That was impressive! It was getting dark so we did not go to the Crazy Horse sculpture which is eleven miles away.
Day 17 was Rapid City to Sioux Falls by way of the Badlands National Park. Linda took us on the scenic route where we rode the KLT about 20 miles on loose pea-gravel roads. Save this trip for GS type motorcycle. We made it. Day 18 we traveled from Sioux Falls to Madison, WI. When we got to LaCrosse, we got off the interstate and took Route 14 to Madison. The locals say this is one of the best roads in the state and it was very pretty. A small town every 20 miles or so; this was nice.
Day 19 we went from Madison to near Toledo OH. Instead of traveling through Chicago traffic we took I-39 to I-80. We stayed on I-80 to I-90 just south of Chicago. This traffic never slowed below 50 MPH which is a lot better than I-94/294 traffic jams. 450 miles this day. Day 20 was Toledo to home, 409 miles. Linda loved this trip! We traveled a total of 7,067 miles and never got rained on.
—Vaughn and Linda Pembroke
My Son Michael graduated from Wake Forest University with a Masters in Business Administration, so I took the opportunity to ride the K1200LT to his home in North Carolina. Graduation day was a beautiful warm and sunny day, and the ceremony was very impressive.
After a week in North Carolina, I got back on the K1200LT and pointed it toward sunny Florida. I worked my way through South Carolina, with a side trip to Savannah, Georgia, a lovely little city with tons of southern charm. Then it was on to Fort Myers, Florida, where Sharon was to fly into the next day.
Sharon and I spent the next couple of days exploring the gulf coast of central Florida, and then started for the Florida Keys. We drove across Alligator Alley and made a right and headed through Homestead, and on to the Keys. The traffic across the causeway was horrendous. After fighting the traffic on the causeway, we found a hotel on Key Largo and used it for our base, for the next few days while we rode up and down the Keys.
One evening, after exploring all day, we stopped for ice cream and got to talking with a woman who was a local resident of Key Largo. She told us of a little "out of the way" watering hole, that she said we should visit. (and I mean "out of the way"). So the following morning, we got on the road early and headed for Key West. On the way, we decided to follow the woman's directions, and try to find this little "Watering Hole". It was almost lunch time by the time we made it to Big Pine Key, so we made a right and headed up a long lonely road that made a lot of turns and led us farther and farther into the out of the way parts of Big Pine Key. Suddenly I saw a sign on a tiny shack that read "No Name Pub" built in 1936. After finding a place to park, where the 850+ pound BMW wouldn't sink into the gravel, we went inside. As we went through the door, the first thing that struck me about this place, was the thousands and thousands of dollar bills that literally carpeted the walls of the pub. I thought to myself, if this place ever caught fire, they would lose a bundle of money!
After a very good lunch at the No Name Pub, we continued on to Key West. Arriving in Key West we headed to the southernmost point of the continental United States, and the obligatory photo in front of the monument. There was a light rain starting, so I wanted to see that place before it turned into a Florida downpour. I figured if it started to pour, we could hide out at Sloppy Joe's until it stopped. It never turned into a downpour, but we found a place to sit down inside Sloppy Joe's anyway. That was not easy! The place was packed! After a great day on Key West, we headed back to the hotel on Key Largo.
The following day we headed back to Fort Myers, since Sharon was scheduled to catch a plane back to New York the following day. After taking Sharon to the airport, I headed to Cape Canaveral via a road that bordered the western shore of Lake Okeechobee. The water level of the lake was so low that the vegetation that would normally be under water was on fire, due to the drought in the southeastern U.S. this year. I then continued to Route 1 on the eastern Florida coast. The ride up Rt. 1 is one I recommend because there are many very beautiful and expensive homes along the way.
The Kennedy Space Center is a place I have wanted to visit for some time now. It is a very interesting place and the bus tour was very informative. There was a Space Shuttle on the launch pad that was due to launch in two weeks.
After an afternoon at the Space Center, I headed back to my Son's house in North Carolina, for a couple of days, before returning home to New York.
The annual fall Motorcycle Camping Trip is anticipated with caution due to the unpredictable weather in the North East. This year's trip along the Seaway Trail and through the Adirondacks was greeted Fall Ride with fantastic warmth and dry conditions. The first portion of the trip consisted of straight line runs along the eastern shores of Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River. The twisty roads were saved for the run from Massena to Tupper Lake and Old Forge. The trip from Syracuse no Highway 3 led through Mexico, NY to cross the Salmon River. Route 3 parallels the many sandy beaches along the eastern shore. Our first stop was Sandy Pond beach. It was closed for the season, but that isn't important when you are just there for the sights. When the parks close many times the lavatory facilities close... so be aware!
As we continued along Route 12 North to Cape Vincent, the scenery looked very much like the flat lands of Nova Scotia. Route 12 East took us to Clayton and its Shipyard Museum; then on to Alexander Bay and the beautiful Kring State Park. (You camp along The St. Lawrence seaway and watch the ocean ships sail along 24/7.
The middle of September is about the last week for many of the larger restaurants in Alex Bay, but the locals will steer you to the best spots.
Route 12 will merge with 37 E to Ogdensburg, land of the steel roofs, classic diners, and the northern tip of Black Lake. Then the route goes on to Massena and the massive Robert Moses power project and State Park, and Eisenhower Locks. All along the river Fall Ride there are areas where camping is available. The flat topography draws you to the rivers edge.
South on Routes 420, 49 and 458 lead you towards the Adirondack Park and St. Regis Falls, then on to Meacham Lake. Half of the parks are closed after Labor Day. Many of the state park staff members are summer helpers. When they leave, the parks consolidate the remaining staffs, and close many camping areas. Therefore, the demand for limited sites can be high. It's a good idea to reserve ahead or stop early.
Route 30 funnels you to Paul Smiths and eventually to the Fish Creek Pond Camping area. Following this familiar route will take you to Tupper Lake, Long Lake, and the famous Blue Mountain Lake and its Adirondack Museum. Then Route 28 takes you back to Old Forge (quite the popular place for the day trippers from Central New York), then on to Route 12 as it intersects with Route 365. This road runs through a small town with beautiful architecture called Holland Patent, NY. Finally Route 365 takes you to Rome, NY and back to the I-90 for a slab ride home into the sunset.
Stay safe, ride hard.
—John & Derek Goodemote
Ev and I left the Finger Lakes BMW Rally Sunday. We stayed on the interstates to St. Louis where we picked up US Route 50. In Rosebud, MO we took Rts. 28 & 42 to the Lake of the Ozarks. What a great route this is, with lots of curves with very little traffic. I love curves.
That sure changed when we got to Osage Beach, MO. We left town on Route 54, and stayed on it to Tucumcari, NM. Route 54 was hot, flat and boring. We did pass through Greenburg, KS. where a tornado went through last spring, and almost everything was gone. They did have the hospital open but it was mainly a tent village. Makes you count your blessings.
We stopped in Liberal, KS, the home of Dorothy's House (Wizard of Oz) and the Coronado Museum. The Coronado Museum is named after the explorer Coronado who in 1541 passed through the area in search of the seven cities of Cibola (Gold). These places are worth the time to tour. Just down the road, still in Liberal, is the fifth largest air museum in the country. The Mid-America Air Museum is home to over 100 aircraft. The site is located in the former Beechcraft plant, and was a B-24 training base during WWII. Unfortunately, it was 100 degrees with no air-conditioning in the museum, otherwise very interesting.
Next stop was Tucumcari, NM to spend the day with our sons-in-laws. Then, Route 104 from Tucumcari to Las Vegas, NM and Route 518 from there to Taos. These are real motorcycle roads. It was up and down the mountains and through the woods... What fun!
We went to the Land of Enchantment Rally at the Sipapu Ski area about 20 miles south of Taos. It's a small rally, attendance about 400. The area is beautiful, much like the Adirondacks, but at 7-9,000 ft.
We spent time in New Mexico with touring Taos's historic sites such as Kit Carson's Home with our son Mark and his wife Rena.
Heading home, we went north into Nebraska looking for cooler weather. We found it alright, low in the 40's and highs in the 50's. Highway 34 took us into McCook, NE, where we had the worst meal of the trip. The Country Kitchen restaurant next to the motel advertised home cooked meals, we sure hope they don't cook like that in any home! Only go there if you want cheap.
We made one more stop before the dash home, at the John Deere museum in Moline, IL. They have a great display of old to new farm equipment. Kind of a step back in time and a neat place to spend an afternoon. From there, it was on home to a wonderful welcome from our dog Dunkin. We covered approximately 4,200 miles in 14 days. Now we plan next year's trip.
—Ron & Evy Stone
November was the window that opened for Cheryl and Lyn to take advantage of some outstanding weather. We headed into Pennsylvania on our trusty steeds – an R1200GS (Cheryl) and an R12000R (Lyn). We took Route 19 out of NYS, to PA Route Elk Country Roads
Roads in Elk Country 449 to Route 6 to Route 144 to Renova, PA where we stopped at a Tourist Center. The comment of the day was from the lady who was operating it, who took one look at Lyn and said, "I can't believe you're riding a motorcycle!" What do you suppose that meant? Anyway, we continued to Lock Haven via Route 120 where we stayed the night. What a beautiful town. It sits along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and there is a lovely walkway along the river as well as an amphitheater. Still some color in the trees too.
We didn't think it was possible to find any better quiet curvy mountain roads that we had found on Tuesday; however we were wrong. We had a brochure about an Elk Scenic Drive, so we thought what the heck, let's see if we can see any elk and make the guys envious. We took Interstate 80 back west to Exit #111 (Elliot State Park) and then followed the trail of Routes 153 to 255 to 555 to 120 to 144 to Snow Shoe (about 125 miles) More wonderful curvy mountain roads with barely another vehicle in sight. In Benezette we rode up to the Elk view area; although a beautiful vista, no elk – too late in the AM probably. We continued on a short narrow mountain road with a tricky (for Lyn) hairpin turn back to Route 120. Cheryl also got Lyn to ride her steed up a loosely graveled dirt road. It was a short one, thank goodness, as Lyn found it a bit slippery coming down. A few miles further down Route 120 we saw approximately eighteen female and young elk resting by the riverside with a big male on guard. Awesome. We hated to see Route 144 come to an end in Milesburg, it was such fun. But we were ready to go back to Lock Haven for a walk along the river and some decent Mexican food and a good bottle of wine.
Heading back home again on Thursday, we took I-80 to Route 44N to 414N. 414 was a lovely surprise as it is a narrow woodsy road (1½ lanes wide with a wicked crown) about 20-25 miles long near Pinecone Creek. We stopped at the Rattlesnake Rock rest/picnic area and discovered that there was a very nice bicycle trail running parallel to 414. While there we met a nice couple from Alfred who were riding the bicycle trail.
Our "window of opportunity" was very relaxed for us. We only did about 200 miles per day. The roads were really "the roads less traveled" as all cabins were closed up for the winter and not many year-long residents were in the areas we traveled. We both had our Gerbing heated gear which was perfect as temperatures were sometimes in the high 40s and low 50s. Our outer jackets were breathable enough for when the temps went up to the high 60s which was never prolonged.
Our trip was no great feat but it was literally a breath of fresh air. Everything smelled wonderful, and there was so much nature to look at that it was like being in another world. It was hard to come back to reality. And yes, the guys were envious.
We traveled a little more than 600 miles for $28 and about ten gallons of gas. I (Lyn) averaged 52 mpg.