Username: Password:

Author Topic: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again  (Read 2529 times)

Offline Dan

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 278
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Kawasaki Ninja
Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« on: September 30, 2014, 01:52:18 PM »

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.

Offline Dan

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 278
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Kawasaki Ninja
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2014, 01:53:05 PM »

Part 2



All aboard!!!  Leaving Muskegon for Milwaukee after a nice family breakfast with Tim's family.  All except for the most jaded rider gets a photo of his/her bike after it's strapped down.



The Milwaukee Clipper.  I was told that this boat used to be the ferry between Muskegon and Milwaukee a long time ago.  It has a very deco appearance and is currently being refurbished and to be set up as a floating museum.  I would like to go back and tour it sometime.  It's a beautiful looking ship.



Heading out into open water.  They were handing out dramamine to the passengers.  Captain says the waves will be four to six feet during the crossing.  Thanks to a few extra beers the night before and a full breakfast this morning I was feeling green for the entire crossing.  Didn't lose my lunch so to speak but came close.  That was one rough ride.



Which one of these is not like the other.  My cruiser crew in Milwaukee.  It was fun being greeted by family and friends on bikes when I arrived.  That silver bike is a VTX 1800, it is a fast SOB.



The beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum.  When the wings are spread it indicates the museum is open... unless there is really bad weather.



This i-beam structure is a work of art created by Mark di Suvero and he named it, "the Calling" but locals refer to it as the sunburst.



A different kind of artwork.  These three items are or were doors to brewery vats at Lakefront Brewery.  The last time I took the tour they were in use on the vats and are affectionately named after the Three Stooges they represent.  They must have updated the vats and moved the doors outside.



I stopped along the lakefront for a hot dog and admired the large and colorful windsock.  Milwaukee has a very cool kite festival every September along the expansive lakeshore park.  It's perfect as it is very wide open with nice gusts coming off the lake.  Some of the kites are monstrous in size and form looking like giant floating tentacled creatures.



Visiting my Dad's house for a cookout and my sister brings along her family's newest addition.  A cute little beagle puppy they named Leo.  My brothers and I grew up with beagle puppies as my Dad used to breed them.  By the time my sister came along that was all in the past so I think she was a bit surprised by all of our fawning over the little guy.



A very cool faucet in a bike dealership bathroom.  I was helping my friend pick out her very first bike and we were at Road Track and Trail looking at their hundreds of used bikes.



This is Max, my friend who wishes to keep her identity off the web as much as possible.  This is her new bike, Paco, a Honda CBR250R, slightly used.  From what I hear Max and Paco have been getting along rather well.

Offline Dan

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 278
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Kawasaki Ninja
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2014, 01:53:39 PM »

Part 3



After many cookouts and gatherings with friends and family I leave the friendly shores of Milwaukee to head out on the rest of my adventure.  Almost missed the boat because of construction.  By the time I got to the gate it was closed and locked if I didn't have pre-purchased my ticket they would not have let me on board.



This is about all I have of Indiana.  Not much to see really, at least in the north-western region.



The Ohio State.  From a rider's point of view Ohio isn't all that interesting either until you reach the southern part.  Lot's of fun roads and hilly, near mountainous terrain.



The front desk at my hotel recommended a restaurant just down the road.  Millstone BBQ in Logan, OH.  Delicious.  Bonus it was bike night!



The only other bike that wasn't an HD at Millstone's bike night.



Anyone want to talk about Kawasakis!!?!  No, not really.  I was given a lot of hairy eyeballs and the, "you're not from around here" vibe was pretty strong but nothing unpleasant.  They mostly treated me as an alien as I walked amongst them wearing my textile riding gear and holding my full face helmet.  The band was great.



Leaving Ohio for the great state of West Virginia.  Beautiful sunrise.



Hello West Virginia.  This was actually the second time I was entering West Virginia, the borders are drawn really strange.  The first time I was crossing a bridge and there was just no place to pull over for a decent photo.



Nature doing what nature does.



I did some exploring down a secondary highway that wound through some beautiful country.  It was actually a recommended shortcut by my gps as I had gotten turned around and needed to get back to a different highway.



My little country highway turned into an awful gravel road.  I should've seen this coming, the road got narrow and more pitted as I went.  I decided not turn back as I only had a few miles to go to the next intersection, I was only hoping it would be paved.



Fortune favors the foolish, it was indeed paved and I was so happy.  If you look across the bridge you can make out the descent of the gravel road that I had just come down.  That last 1/8th mile was the worst because it was all downhill and the gravel got deep and soft and the bike did not behave well.



A very tight hairpin turn.



I made it to this little oasis along hwy 50, seemed to be a stopping point for lot's of bikers.  They had an entire yard of old tractors.



Steam power!



I just happened to stumble upon a vintage riders group.  "I'm on a 46, what about you?", I answer, "Vintage 2012".  They were a nice but enigmatic group.



The funniest person there was the station manager or employee.  She would stand by the pumps and watch everyone fill their tanks.  I was about half-full and didn't need any gas and had just stopped for a snack and water.  She kept staring me down like I was planning on heisting the deer apples they had in boxes in front of the store.



Tanks.



Indian.



Out of all the bikes I really liked the looks of this Indian's motor.



Not an exaggeration but everyone of these vintage bikes left a little calling card beneath it, usually a couple drops the size of nickels and quarters of oil.



Most of them finally kickstarted and went away.  Was a fun group to watch, I kept running into them the next few miles as they were stopping in different sized groups all over the area.



Hello Maryland.  It was the second time that I crossed into Maryland that I realized I was tempting fate as a storm was tracking towards the east coast.  I've been lucky, other than that one downpour I've stayed out of nature's bad side for the whole trip.  I had one more friend I wanted to meet and we eventually decided to connect just outside of Harrisburg, PA.  A bit anti-climactic as Redeye wanted to treat me to a nice dinner but I opted Arby's for expediency.  We had a very nice but brief conversation getting caught up on the trip I had made and the great score of new motorcycle tools and hardware he just got.  Gave me some great advice on how to get home from this point and avoid heavy traffic.  I foolishly believed I could make it home by midnight if I rode the interstate.  I didn't even make it out of Pennsylvania and finally gave up and parked it for the night at Wilkes-Barre, PA.  Next morning I awoke to a very steady to heavy rain and just soldiered on.  The bad weather finally gave way as I entered New York, by then my mindset was to get home.  Ran through Connecticut to Massachusetts and finally I was home, tired, worn out but very satisfied.



The whole trip was just over 2600 miles.  A very special thanks to Tim, Nick and Steve for taking time out of your schedules to meet and or ride with me for part of my journey.  While the sites were a treat meeting new friends and seeing old ones are the best memories.

Offline DesignFlaw06

  • *
  • Posts: 737
    • View Profile
  • Bike: 2006 Yamaha FJR
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2014, 09:33:06 PM »
We were happy to have you and you're welcome to stay anytime.

Looks like a great trip, glad I could be a part of it. Sorry about the rain.

Offline Bajakirch

  • Veteran Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6365
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Concours 1000
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2014, 09:43:43 PM »
What a great report! I'd love to someday do a venture like that, riding halfway across the country.

Thanks for sharing, and for all the great pictures.

Offline naskie18

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 34
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Triumph Sprint
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 05:15:29 PM »
Looks like a great trip, glad to hear to enjoyed yourself and glad I could join you for some of it!


Maybe you should consider making it an annual event.....I'm sure Tim can't bring rain every year  ridn2


Also....based on this trip and our Vermont trip, I'm starting to think your bike actually likes the gravel  :think2:
Nick

Offline Hog Dog

  • Contributing Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1195
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Nighthawk 750
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 05:30:41 PM »
That was a great adventure Dan.  Like the t shirt idea.  Thanks for sharing your report and pics.
Lucky Lindy's evil twin

Offline CountryG

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 87
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Nighthawk
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2014, 07:34:52 PM »
Another great ride report.  Thanks for sharing.
 
Love the pictures

Offline Dan

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 278
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Kawasaki Ninja
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2014, 07:36:38 AM »
Glad to hear you all liked the photos.


Baja, definitely, if you get the chance take a big trip.  Looking forward to doing it again next year... if the stars line up of course.  Taking that much time is a tricky business.  I was only able to do that because family obligations kept me from DF's Nighthawk Rally.


Tim and Nick, both of you are welcome to stay here in Boston with me if you are ever on a New England road trip.  Lobster rolls all around.  Certain states just love their gravel roads, looking at you Vermont and West Virginia.

Offline Hawks Nest

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 104
    • View Profile
  • Bike: 02 NH750,99VFR
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2014, 08:43:33 PM »
That's an epic trip, Dan. Guess you're catching up with the WV rally you missed?   Nice RR. 

Offline hockeyhawk

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2610
    • View Profile
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2014, 08:06:20 AM »
Awesome trip Dan. As usual some great pics. Nice to see you got to meet up with Tim and Nick as well. Hope to ride with you guys again in the near future.
03 FZ1, 97 DR650

Offline Burgi

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 69
    • View Profile
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2014, 11:35:18 AM »
Looks like a great trip.
The Milwaukee Art Museum looks amazing! Don't know how good it is inside but the building alone looks worth checking out.
Don't we get to see the shirt with signatures post trip?
'09 BMW R1200RT, '09  Bonneville, '08 SYM HD200

Offline Bajakirch

  • Veteran Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6365
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Concours 1000
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 03:28:59 PM »
Looks like a great trip.
The Milwaukee Art Museum looks amazing! Don't know how good it is inside but the building alone looks worth checking out.

The Art Museum's equally cool inside; very white.. Plus, they have a nice restaurant with decent food downstairs that looks out over the lake.

Offline Dan

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 278
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Kawasaki Ninja
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2014, 05:29:47 PM »
Hey Hawk, very true statement, because of a family commitment I couldn't attend the West Virginia rally.  Serena was kind enough to give me a week of time to myself and the open road because I missed the rally.


HH, hopefully we will have another east coast/mid west rally.  Would love to ride with you again as well.


Burgi, as Baja said, it's very nice.  There isn't much art in the new section and the big winged building is used for events rather than showing off collections of art.  The actual museum part is just north of this building accessed through that long connector hall behind the bike.  And yes, it's very white on the inside, my first time there I felt bad for the folks that have to keep it clean.


I'll snap a pick of the shirt.  That was a lot of fun and a great way to meet other riders.

Offline Burgi

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 69
    • View Profile
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2014, 06:48:11 PM »
I'm guessing you came across Ontario and into Michigan? Did you cross at Port Huron? Do they have you remove your helmet at customs?

'09 BMW R1200RT, '09  Bonneville, '08 SYM HD200

Offline Dan

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 278
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Kawasaki Ninja
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2014, 10:27:16 PM »
Yep, Burgi.  I crossed at Port Huron/Sarnia and they do make you remove your helmet plus turn off your bike.

Offline Dan

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 278
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Kawasaki Ninja
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2014, 07:46:51 PM »
Here you are Burgi!  One signed t-shirt from my ride.



Offline Bajakirch

  • Veteran Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6365
    • View Profile
  • Bike: Concours 1000
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2014, 09:44:59 PM »
What a great idea!

Offline Burgi

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 69
    • View Profile
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2014, 09:30:33 AM »
Very cool! Thanks for putting it up.
'09 BMW R1200RT, '09  Bonneville, '08 SYM HD200

Offline Captainkirk

  • Contributing Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 805
    • View Profile
  • Bike: '85 Nighthawk S
Re: Chowdah to Cheese and Back Again
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2014, 11:42:13 AM »
What an awesome thread! Finally found time to look at all the photos in detail and looks like an amazing time! Thanks for the detailed description and incredible photos!
Measure twice, cut once

 

Copyright © 2006 - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums.com
All Rights Reserved