I haven't done a lot of riding this season but I sure made up for it with my ride to Milwaukee and back. I couldn't tell you the specific route as I just winged it the entire trip with the only planned stops with my Michigan friends, Nick and Tim, family in Wisconsin and then meeting up with Redeye when I got back east. I rode through Massachusetts, New York, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. It was a whirlwind at times as I was trying to stay ahead of a storm front, that didn't work out and I was finally caught on the last day. Of course I took some photos along the way so without further adieu...
Made up a tour shirt for the ride. I had other riders I met along the way sign it, was fun and a great ice breaker when meeting new people.
Leaving Boston. This is around 7am on HWY 3 heading west out of the Boston metro area. Typical rush hour traffic out here, just boogered up.
Eventually made my way to HWY 2 heading west towards New York. This area on 2 is named the Mohawk Trail and it's quite peaceful as well as being twisty and fun.
My first stop for breakfast is at Hagers Farm Market. These are the places I like to find on road trips. Small businesses, usually family run with unique offerings.
This little fella was at a gas stop. He was running the show and very unruly, or more accurately he is a puppy and he is playing the part. The owner is trying to have him sit still for the photo I'm taking. I was lucky to get this shot off before he took off again.
Just some roadside oddities along HWY 2. There are two or three of these tourists traps along the road but only this one has a twenty ft. tall native american.
The town of North Adams at the northwestern edge of Massachusetts. I've stopped at a pull out that is at the apex of a hairpin turn. This is a great area to ride, if anyone is ever thinking about a destination for a rally this is perfect. Great roads all around and very little traffic.
My goal was to get a photo of each state and province I rode through. Fell short on this as many of the crossings were over bridges with no stopping or along an expressway and of course, there were no signs for the Lake Michigan crossing.
Fine dining in the middle of New York, where HWY 20 and 10 cross.
Man was I getting sleepy. I've never nodded off riding a motorcycle before so I decided I needed to pull over and take a nap. I found this Quarry Art Park just off the highway and decided to hop off my bike and take a snooze amongst the art. A small side note here, there are very few things I hate more when riding than gravel. So this parks roadway is one way. Half way through it turns into gravel and to make matters worst, it's all in the downhill part which makes traction the worst. Still, I needed the sleep and liked the art just wasn't thrilled with the gravely surprise.
Oh Canada! I made it to Niagara Falls for my first stop, about 500 miles from Boston. I wasn't looking for five star accommodations or anything but this Travelodge was a pit. Don't let the "NICE ROOMS" sign fool you. Filthy carpet, walls and bathroom. Broken remote control for the TV and the worst part, the bar soap that was wrapped crumbled when I opened it and was wet. Just really nasty. And to top it off, in the parking lot next to the hotel is an outdoor beer garden with karaouke that goes on until two in the morning. I was so tired I eventually fell asleep and wasn't bothered so that wasn't so bad.
But before sleep I need to take in the sights and sounds of Niagara Falls, Canada. The town is so cheesy, look at all the neon and signage. When you walk around there are loudspeakers blaring about nearby attractions, haunted houses, and all sorts of goofy midway entertainment. It's really kind of amazing that this town needs those distractions with the beautiful falls so nearby.
The falls lit up with colored spotlights at night.
I got up early enough to catch the sun rising over the USA side of the falls.
Walked around to the larger section of the falls before heading back for breakfast. The mornings are really nice, so quiet and peaceful and really the best time to see the falls. The rest of the town is in hangover mode, most places, including coffee shops aren't even open until 10 or 11 am.
The best part about my hotel is that they joined up with an independent restaurant for their breakfast offering. Just a short walk from my door to this fine breakfast.
While not on the border, Ontario is kind enough to put up signs all over the province.
I'm skipping over a lot of stuff to get to this point. Before I get into the photo above a special thanks to Nick for letting me stay at his place and showing me around his hood, near Pontiac Michigan, before heading to Muskegon the next day. This photo is an actual Corvette modified to hang on the wall as art. It is part of the decor of the Filling Station in Muskegon. Tim and his lovely family gave me shelter and food for the night.
After lunch we rode around the lakefront. Here are our bikes parked in front of the USS Silversides. "Commissioned just a few days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, USS SILVERSIDES completed 14 combat war patrols in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. USS SILVERSIDES is officially credited with sinking 23 major Japanese ships (the third highest total for any U.S. Navy Submarine) for an approximate tonnage of 90,080. Silversides received the Presidential Unit Citation and 12 Battle Stars for her wartime service."
, from the USS Silversides website.
Our bikes down by the lake. After a few shots by the water we choose to head south because all the forecasts show rain to the north.
Pere Marquette 1223 Steam Locomotive
Combined weight of engine and tender - 400 tons
Overall length - 101 feet
Height of engine - 16 feet
Driving wheels diameter - 69 inches
Tender capacity water - 22,000 gallons
Tender capacity coal - 22 tons
Cylinder horse power - 2,979 hp
As we rode south we noticed a few splashes of rain. Looked up at the sky and everything was overcast and gloomy. Rode to a gas station and got under the overhang and after a brief discussion and consultation with our radar phone apps decided we could, "shoot the gap" and beat the rainstorm. We weren't even close, no more than one stoplight away and the sky opened up on us in Biblical fashion. The streets turned to rivers, lightening bolts were coming down from the sky, we needed shelter and fast. We found another gas station and made camp. Between the run Nick offered me his rain jacket as I had left mine with my luggage at Tim's house. We finally took off after about twenty minutes or so as the rain softened to a light drizzle.
Nick and Tim (left and right), it always rains on your parade, hey Tim! And we learned that it never rained to the north... go figure.