Evansville, IN to Conway, AR

Today was a day that I humbly will admit I failed at. I woke up early this morning and planned my route. I thought that since I was in Indiana I would head west then south and I found some good roads, so I thought, to get me there. Before I get into my ride I want to talk a little about my time in Evansville. Bud’s HD was fabulous. I hung out all day at the dealership and mingled with the staff as well as worked from a computer Dawn set me up with. They did a check over of my bike to make sure I was rode ready, and when I went back to settle up, they said they only take “beer” as payment. So I grabbed Dawn’s jeep and picked them up a few beet options. They got my security system set up since it hadn’t be done originally, and had my bike washed and checked out completely. They are exactly what you expect from a home town dealership. It was funny how well I fit in. As I would walk through the showroom people would ask me questions like I worked there! I of course was happy to help and I even sold a pair of boots 🙂

When we rolled into Evansville to bike night there were already a lot of people who had been following us on Facebook, so I made some new friends and enjoyed my two days in Evansville. Last night we went to the hip part of town that is a newly renovated district with a lot of bars and restaurants. We had a good time dancing and enjoying the scene.

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Last night with Dawn Morand, the other DM
Morning came early for me, but I resisted and slept in a bit. By the time we got to the dealership it was 9am and by the time I finished drinking my coffee and chatting with everyone it was almost 11. I got the bike loaded up and headed out with my GPS on, but a mental note of where I needed to go…or so I thought. I had talked with Dawn before I left and was supposed to get to 41 but my GPS took me on 62, which was more of a highway. But I gotta give my GPS props because if it wasn’t for my GPS I wouldn’t have found my first stop.

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Route planning…apparently I didn’t do so hot this time

I was trying to get to Elizabethtown from Shawneentown, but the GPS took me to a dirt road that looked more like a private drive than 146 the road I was looking for. But I was intrigued by the signs for Old Shawneentown, so I headed further the wrong way to see what was there. I rode through the old town until I came to a turn and found 5 bikers sitting there. I pulled up and asked them how to get to 146 and one of they guys stepped up and gave me directions. I turned my bike around and realized that one of the signs I had seen on the way in was the historic landmark sign for the Bank in Shawneetown that was built around 1839. So I got a picture real quick and chatted with the bikers about my trip. Then I was off following the directions that they graciously gave me.

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The oldest town in Illinois and the bank that is the historical landmark

 

I made it through Illinois which was partially through the Shawnee National Forest and over the Mississippi River to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. This whole first part took way longer than I expected so I was already feeling the pressure to make it further west and south. I stopped at a gas station and trapped some granola bars and kept heading in the direction I had originally planned.

Let’s just say Missouri lived up to it’s name. I took 60 over to 160 which was highlighted yellow in the HOG book which means it is a good ride…however it took me over 300 miles to get to the scenic part and all I saw prior to the Mark Twain National Forest was a bunch of dead armadillos and foxes. It was a long hot ride until I got to the forest, then there was some nice twisties which made it a little better. Unfortunately as I was “hangry” and couldn’t find a place to grab some food besides granola bars.

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Misery I mean Missouri

I learned some good lessons today in my whole “wing it strategy.” Originally when I was making my plans for this ride I thought that I would go through the Arkansas on 9 to Clinton. I looked up hotels online and saw there was a Best Western there. So, as the day grew long and I was close to 500 miles I was anxious to get to Clinton. I was riding through the Ozark National Forest to the west of the Buffalo River. It was very pretty and had some great curves which made up a little more for the first half of the day. As I was riding through all the hills and twists and turns a I saw a Best Western in Mountain View, but was headed to Clinton so I kept on going.

 

I felt a little like I was starting to race the sunset. I still hadn’t eaten anything beside a couple granola bars so I was so very ready to get settled for the night. I kept on pushing to Clinton, and when I arrived just as the sun was setting I was stoked to see the Best Western sign. I followed the directions and realized it lead me to a driveway with a locked gate. I drove further down the road till I found a drive I could stop in. I looked up the Best Western again, which showed up in my search, and called the number. Surprise…it’s closed! So I check on the GPS for what other hotels are in town I literally drove around for 20 minutes realizing the GPS and the actual hotels were not accurate. So I stopped at the only one that was correct which was Super 8.

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Racing that sunset

On my way to the hotel I noticed a restaurant that I thought might be my dinner location for the evening. The sign outside said “Welcome Chuck Wagon Racers.” I assumed this was some TV sport people watched. When I went into the Super 8 I asked for a room, she look a little surprise as was I when she said she was completely booked! I will admit at this point I was tired, hungry and had a pit in my stomach fear about what I was going to do next! She said south of Clinton there was Conway which had some hotels that probably were not booked like she was from the races…I of course had to know what Chuck Wagon Races are….apparently it is pretty legit and people take it very seriously.

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Almost to Clinton and losing my sun

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Chuck wagon races are a real thing, I stole this off the internet

At this point it is dark and I am now tired, hungry, pissed and scared of hitting a dear in the dark roads. So I head out on the dark rural road that is thankfully 4 lanes, without any streetlights.

Thankfully I didn’t see or hit any animals. The 30 minutes seemed like an eternity. As I saw the lights of Conway I was relieved. I pulled up to the Quality Inn and went to check in. I asked the clerk if there was anywhere I could get some late dinner, he mentioned a couple spots but also mentioned the new fish place in town. So, after I dropped my stuff I ran up the road to the Shucked Surf and Turf. I was so relieved to find some food I could eat and some great staff that were willing to hang out and chat with me. After 540 miles alone with just myself and the road you kinda want to talk to someone!

So, for the rest of my trip I will be calling ahead as I head in and will find out if the hotel is still open and/or if there is room! I will also be making time to eat some food along the way! Tomorrow I am going to find something cool to check out in Arkansas then to Tyler Texas to meet my friend Chelsey!

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Virginia to Indiana

Tonight’s blog will be a bit shorter, as I am exhausted and ready for some sleep! Someone set the alarm in our room for 5:15am this morning so Dawn and I were rudely awakened by the hotel room clock, so we dozed until about 7:30. It was still a little hazy and wet outside, but looked like it was clearing up. We ate some free breakfast and hit the road.

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Tonight was the Bud’s Harley-Davidson Bike Night, so we decided to ride a little harder today and take a little more interstate and highway so we could make it from Virginia just south West of Roanoke to Evansville, Indiana. So we hoped on 81 and headed South West. The freeway took us into Tennessee and then we got on 11W into Kentucky. While we were in Tennessee, we kept getting closer and closer to what looked like a storm, but I thought surely we would miss it like we did yesterday…wrong.

When we got into it, it was raining so hard I was soaked within 2 minutes. After about 5 minutes I pulled over so we could put more gear on and I could cover my bag with the he rain fly. We were already pretty wet but we added more layers, I put my coat on and borrowed a pair of Dawn’s gloves. We had to ride in it for a little while, basically through a mountain pass, not very long then we were out of it. I literally did not have dry pants until after walking around Evansville tonight for an hour!

There were parts of the highways and freeways that were scenic but mostly we were just hauling ass to make it across 4 states and about 540 miles to be in time for bike night. We stopped right next to the Corvette Museum to get gas and grab a snack. When we pulled into the gas station there were 4 Corvettes there at the same time. I guess they all go there like a trip to Mecca or something. I guess I can’t judge, we all go to Milwaukee for the HD anniversaries and the museum!

So I have discovered that my steel nerves I developed while attending college in South Carolina are gone…I am terrified of bugs. As I was moving my bike out of the parking spot there was this giant flying thing that looked like a mutant bumble bee and June bug or it was possibly the spawn of Satan buzzing around my right lower fairing, probably eating the corpses of the bugs off of it. I tried to ride forward but it was pacing with me…so I stopped, put it in neutral then screamed. I put my sleeve over my hand and whacked it like a tennis ball. It was literally the size of a walnut, had a yellow head area and a big black body. It’s making me itch just typing about it.

So we jumped back on the interstate and headed up to Evansville. Dawn jumped into the lead after Owensboro and we rode right into their bike night and had VIP parking waiting for us! Their Bike Night takes over a street that has a few bars, restaurants and food vendors on it. It was pretty cool, over 400 bikes and everyone having a good time. Bud’s put on a good show with some good prizes and grand prize drawing at the end. Everyone was really friendly and excited to hear about our trip that they had been following on Facebook and of course by reading my blog 😉 We hung out there till it was all wrapped up then rode our Twinsie CVO’s to Dawn’s parents’ house, which is beautiful! So here I am in my own room writing my blog and getting ready to get some shut eye! Tomorrow I am staying in Evansville to work with Dawn and her crew so I will not be blogging again until after my ride Saturday!

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Bike night

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Danger! – MUST LOVE CURVES!!!

No this is not the heading to my personal ad…this is exactly what today was filled with. Over 200 miles of nothing but twisty, curvy roads! We decided to sleep in a little after our late ride and dinner last night. We went in search of coffee and found it was a sit down dining room so we decided we may as well order some food. I am guessing my tattoos and tank top were not customary in these parts as they were pretty quick to get us served and not very friendly. I would have put on a sweatshirt if I new we were getting more than coffee lol. We didn’t get on the road till about 10:30am. Of course it was HOT out, but I can’t complain, I would rather it be hot than raining or cold!

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Our cute B&B

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Cute little shop in our B&B

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Tell Robin I had to use all my strength to not eat the pumpkin cookies

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We decided we would head south through the Monongahela National Forest on 219 all the way until we reached 39 to head East into Virginia. Of course my GPS had another plan, so leaving the B&B this morning we went on a really cool rural route through some farm country on 495 with was a direct shot south and eventually met up with the 219 anyway! I am literally working from two different print maps and the map on my phone when we plan our routes, it is pretty funny. Our GPS route was scenic, curvy and took us by a beautiful lake, through some hills and farms and by Deep Creek State Park. Eventually we met up with 219, and at first I was thrilled to be in the trees and in some pretty intense curves, then we would level out and it would be hot and in a valley, but soon we would be back in the mountains. It was awesome!

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219 scenery

Some of the corners were 100% blind and you just had to hope there wasn’t something on the other side of the curve. I enjoy the challenge and adrenaline from riding really twisty roads, but it can be enjoyed at a slower pace as well. Occasionally we got behind a big truck so that would slow us down. We enjoyed the 219 all the way until Marlintown, which is where we decided we would stop for some food. As we pulled into town there was a little restaurant with a deck over on the back that overlooked the river! We parked down the road so we could avoid the gravel parking spaces and headed up. We were entertained by the ducks playing in the water and enjoyed a nice light lunch. Then back on the road.

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Lunch with the ducks

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No gravel

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219 curvy road

From here we took 39 which cuts a little more east. We had decided that we would go check out the “Natural Bridge” in Virginia. Much to my delight this road was just as curvy as what we had earlier and in some spots even more so! IT WAS AWESOME!! These bikes handle so incredibly well and really have a smooth power transition, as I shifted into lower gears and then accelerated through the turns. It was exhilarating! Pretty much anywhere there was a valley it was set up with farms and little houses then we would be back in the woods. It is still shocking to me how much forest is over here on the east side of the US. I saw a lot in South Carolina, but I didn’t realize they still had some much natural space filled with hills, forests and plains. It really puts in check the preconceived notion that the east coast is all one big city. I have enjoyed how many small towns have American flags lining the streets and reminders to honor those who are serving and who have served our country.

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Trying to get us in with the giant windmill!

As we headed toward the “Natural Bridge” I could see a huge thunderstorm to our east. I was getting pretty nervous, we had hit some small patches of rain while we were going through the mountains but nothing too serious. These storms looked pretty big. Each turn that would take me a little more west I would whisper a prayer that we would pass the storm. To back track a little, when we were on 39 still we went through Goshen pass which was an amazing part of this route where we were following a river on a twisty road with some areas that were canyons above the river and other spots that were level with the river. We ended up stopping twice which took about 10 minutes total to take some photos and walk down toward the river. So now, back looking for the Natural Bridge, we are really, I mean really close to this big thunderstorm. As we start getting closer to the area of the bridge the roads start getting wet and you can see the steam rising as it starts to evaporate off the road with the sun beating down on it. The further we got the closer I realized we were to the storm. Had we been 10 minutes earlier we would have been in that storm. The sad news is that the Natural Bridge was closed and we missed it on the way in, so on the way out Dawn saw the entrance to the now “amusement” like park of this natural wonder. Oh well, you can google to see a picture of the Natural Bridge in Virginia.

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Goshen Pass

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Elkins quick stop for gas but a cool statue and church across the street

We decided to head back toward the interstate and find a spot to stop to find a hotel since we didn’t have cell service by the bridge. We pulled into a gas station and started our quest for shelter for the night. I was hoping for a hotel with a bar/restaurant so we wouldn’t have to leave again. After several minutes of looking we decided we would go past Roanoke to Christiansburg to stay for the night. May as well try to avoid any morning rush hour traffic. When we checked into the hotel we unloaded the bikes and headed to the room. As we walked in I noticed a suitcase half unpacked on one of the beds!!! OMG They put us in someone’s room! Luckily there wasn’t someone half undressed in there! We got a new room and got our stuff settled. We then ran up the road to a Japanese Steak House and sat at the Sushi bar. We had a good dinner then swung by a store to pick up some Virginia Cabernet.

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Sushi dinner

As I was writing this blog I heard something outside my window…A HUGE THUNDERSTORM!!! For those of you who don’t live in Anchorage, you won’t understand my fascination! We never get these especially the big kind where it is pouring rain and there is lightning and thunder everywhere! I tried to go listen to it outside but, as soon as I opened the door I was greeted by about 6 men who are working in the area…let’s just say in my tank and pj’s I felt a little uncomfortable so I went back to the room to listen through the locked window!

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Orange is our route

Such an awesome day, I can’t imagine doing this ride on any other motorcycle than a Harley! I love my new CVO it runs so smooth! Might have to sell my 2015 after all…tomorrow Kentucky!!!

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Niagra Falls to Granstvill, MD

Today was probably the most interesting of our trip so far. We decided to get our bikes loaded up early so we could run up and see Niagra Falls before our 9am appointment at American Harley-Davidson. We stayed at a Holiday Inn last night, and they let us park the bikes under the overhang by the front door. As we were about to leave, I was sitting on my bike about to input the GPS location and all of a sudden over the top of my windshield crawled a freakish looking spider. I normally don’t freak out too much but this this was a weird light gray color and started descending in front of my screen. So I did what any rational, tough biker chick would do…I screamed…jumped off my bike and jumped up and down squealing. Dawn came to my rescue and flung it off with her gloved had. My excuse…I wasn’t wearing gloves.

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Nothing like a little spider action to get you going…so off we headed to Niagra Falls. When we got there we found some street parking around the block rather than paying $10 to park in the “official” parking lot. The falls are amazing, and really beautiful. There was a big rainbow overhead from all the mist. You can see the mist from miles away as you drive toward it. I might be a little crazy, but Dawn and I found a group of gray squirrels doing acrobatics off a little tree and tackling each other far more entertaining than water falling over a cliff! We stood and watched them for awhile just cracking up, Dawn got a video of them and we had a good laugh at dinner as well.

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Say hello to my little friend!!

So from there we headed to the dealership, which was smaller than we expected and we were early so we had to wait around for about 15 minutes until the Service Department opened. After they checked us in, we asked if there was any food nearby and one of the guys said that there was a “Tim Hortons about a 1/4 mile up the street.” So we headed out, by now the sun was up and it was hot and muggy! After about a quarter mile and no restaurant in sight we asked a lady and she informed us that it was at the next intersection, which was actually almost a mile from the dealership. When we arrived we discovered it was a fast food/donut shop. If you know me, you know I can’t and won’t eat that kind of food, so black coffee for me and a snack for Dawn. I had some snacks back in the bike. One of the service advisors used to work up in Fairbanks at the dealership up there, so we knew a lot of the same people. I sent a text to the owners up there with a photo of myself and Nick. Small world indeed!

We headed out on the 219 which was a beautiful road and it took us through some great twists and forests. We rode on the outskirts of the Allegheny National Forest. I was using the GPS and realized I had some avoidances wrong so I changed it to fastest route around DuBois, PA. We had originally planned to take 219 the entire way, but instead I took us on quite an adventure of random roads. Some by accident and some from listening to the GPS which kept coming up with fun short cuts. I honestly can’t even tell you what roads we took but I know we did a lot of zig zagging between south, east and west. We had a low fuel scare, a low food scare and a late night dark twisty farm roads scare. I even managed to find the only restaurant when we were starving that had a GIANT gravel parking lot! Poor Dawn, she hates gravel. It was also so hot, I could feel my face getting more burnt as we rode so when we stopped I used my spare bandanna as a face mask so I would prevent further raccoon face.

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New sun block

Earlier in the day we had decided we could make it to Granstville, MD and we found a cute little motel that had originally been a B&B. During our scenic route to get to Maryland, we had about 45 miles left to go and we ended up on 219 again which was now a expressway with multiple lanes. Then I saw the sign for the Flight 93 Memorial. As soon as Dawn saw the sign and she saw my blinker she nodded yes and we headed toward the memorial. All Americans have memories from that day, and I think most of us think of the Twin Towers since that was the largest loss of life. The memorial that is built in the middle of this rural farm area with rolling hills is sobering and awesome to say the least. It is hard to explain, but it is very interpretive and they have a number you can call to received information as you walk through the site. The path of the accident is now the walkway, it is all very humbling. As we rode out of there you can’t help but be in a reflective mood and we had a beautiful sunset highlighting the sky and just enough clouds to capture the light. We rode through rolling hills and it was simply breathtaking.

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93 Memorial

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My poor directional sense and a whacky GPS had us on some really small and curvy roads which were fun earlier in the daylight but as it started getting dusk it is a little scary with the potential for deer etc. It really got fun when we were on the small farm roads, with not lanes, and it would go into a wooded hollow and it would be basically pitch black! Let’s just say I prayed a lot that God would keep the critters off the road! We made it to the freeway for the last 5 miles and then got to our destination. It was 8:45pm when we checked in, and of course they were closed for food. The nice gal at the desk said there was an IHOP about a mile up the road…what is with these people and directions!!?? We drove about 4 miles, including driving through the main intersection which we discovered was where we needed to make a right and drive another 1/4 mile to find the IHOP. We order our food, and after about 15 minutes the waitress comes back to tell me they messed up my order so they were remaking it. About another 20 minutes later it finally came out…let’s just say their “omelet” looked more like a poorly done hash. But at 10pm beggars can’t be choosers. I felt bad for her because the kitchen messed up a few times, so I gave her a generous tip, it wasn’t her fault.

We finally made it back to the motel and decompressed for a minutes. Now we are off to bed so we can start our next adventure through the Virginia’s!

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Waterbury, VT to Buffalo, NY

Wow, what an adventure this has been! Dawn and I got up early this morning with a goal to be on the road by 8:00am and we did exactly that! We are traveling my favorite method and figuring it out as we go! This morning we headed down 100 in VT which was a little of the same path we took when we were going to Stowe. We rode through the Green Mountain National Forest (which I believe is where Green Mountain Coffee brand is from) to Middlebury and then across an amazing bridge into New York!

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The bridge to NY

I have flown through New York one time, but have never really been here. It is still surprising how rural upstate New York is! We rode a beautiful road through the Adirondacks, with mountains, lakes and rivers all around us. Truly a place you could spend weeks in! There were several large lakes with a lot of activity and room for boating etc. We rode by Lake Placid, no giant Alligator sightings…

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First time I have been here!

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After the first few days of riding around New England on all the back roads I realize how it can take so long to only go a 100 miles! You go through the downtown of so many towns we barley ever got above 50mph. As we got further south west the road became more like a highway with a divider and two lanes going both directions. As I rounded a corner I was shocked to see a buggy being pulled by horses! Then I realized they were Amish, but I was still surprised to see them on such a busy road! Also to note on the way I saw a “Matteson’s Market”! Spelled the same as our name! Pretty cool! After riding through the Adirondacks today, we decided we would get some distance and ride all the way to Buffalo via a freeway.

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Stopped in some construction

While we were stopped for lunch at Old Forge, still in the scenic mountains, we mapped out our route to see where we would end up tonight. We are a little over the 1,000 mile mark so we needed to find a dealership that could get us in for service and hopefully be close to Niagra falls.  We found a dealer called American Harley-Davidson and a Holiday Inn close to each other so I called the dealer and asked if he could squeeze us in for a service first thing. They were accommodating and said we could drop the bikes off at 9am. The hotel had a room available with 2 beds so we booked that too.

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One of the many beautiful lakes we rode around

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Getting onto the freeway was a bit of an experience, it was a toll rode, so when we got on we got to the booth but instead of paying money he gave us cards and they were punched for where we got on and we would pay the fee depending on where we got off. (Excuse my negligence, I am from Alaska!) So from peaceful 30 to 50 mph cruises to white knuckle high speed riding with semi-trucks all over the place!

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Big trees and big hills they call “mountains”

We did just fine, stopped about 20 miles in at a gas stop that is built off the freeway so you don’t have to exit into a town etc. We then rode the remaining 180 miles non stop. It was pretty boring as far as scenery goes, but we made it across the state. When we arrived at the hotel, there were very few cars in the lot. We pulled up under the overhang and parked our bikes. While we checked in we saw that the local bar/restaurant had happy hour till 7…as you would have it, it was only 6:45! So we got some wine and chatted with the bar tender and another traveler then we unloaded the bikes and got showered. The hotel was nice enough  to allow us to keep them under the overhang by the front door. We also had a very interested customer who wanted to know all about the new motors while we were unloading the bikes. See…I am working on this trip 😛

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Raccoon eyes after 500 mile day most of it heading west into the sun

A late dinner in the bar was slightly disappointing as there were not many options but we chatted with a fellow patron. During dinner Dawn jumped up to put our load of laundry in the dryer and found a nice gentleman had already moved them into the dryer for us…my immediate response was “I should have counted how many underwear were in there.” I am sure he was just a nice guy that wanted to use the wash machine and he did put enough money in to start our dryer so I guess I can’t complain! We are getting up early to get the bikes serviced and see the falls.

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The route through the Adirondacks we took

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Portland, Maine to Waterbury, VT

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You know the saying “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”? Well this was more like our eyes were bigger than our endurance. We decided to skip the finally dinner and shin dig in Boston with HD so we wouldn’t have to ride into Boston then ride out the next morning. It is not fun riding in Boston! So we opted to ride up the coast of Maine from Portland on Highway 1 to Rockland. We thought we would have a little more scenery of the ocean but as it turns out we mostly rode through forest. It was still pretty, but when we got to Rockland we decided to find good food and some coffee.

We parked the bikes and walked past this adorable store full or nautical themed items, which I immediately went into to look for a gift for my bestie Christy. I found a couple items, but decided we could eat first and I would grab something on the way back. We ended up at this adorable little restaurant called the “Broken Egg.” As soon as I looked inside I knew it would be right up my ally. We ordered our food and were planning our route for the day. Since we hadn’t seen much ocean scenery since we left Portland we were discussing riding up the coast further to see some lighthouses and coastal towns. The kid in the high chair next to me kept dropping his marble on the floor so I would have to pick it up…as if it was a game…clearly he didn’t know me. I put it on the table till he started whining loudly then I finally gave it back 😉

As we were looking at the time frame, heading further north was going to put us pretty far behind our plans (not that we are on a set schedule) so I decided to see if there were any lighthouses close by. To my delight there was a cute lighthouse at Owl’s Head just 15 minutes south of us. So we decided we would ride there then follow our original plan to head west. As we were finishing up our meal someone opened a champagne bottle. It was almost in unison that Dawn and I perked up and said Mimosas! We flagged our waitress and justified it as a Sunday brunch tradition!

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Is that the sound of mimosas?!

After our amazing meal (I had a Lobster Frittata minus the cheese and hollandaise sauce) we hit the road to the lighthouse. As we approached the Owl’s Head park, it was a dirt road. I was pretty confident that the lighthouse was through there and I am not one to be scared off by dirt roads, but Dawn hates them. I decided I was just gonna go and if she decided not to follow she could walk in. She followed and the giant dirt parking lot awaited our parking. I made the widest turn I could so we could park facing the exit and we got the bikes situated. We walked to the lighthouse, took some photos and walked back. The scenery was beautiful.

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Christy’s nauti gift in tow!

As we got our gear back on and were getting on the bikes, I had to use a little extra effort to stand mine upright. I looked back at Dawn and she wasn’t able to get the bike up,the sand was a little too soft and the bike sunk too much. I rode mine forward thinking I was getting it on more solid ground, jumped off and helped push her upright. Then I jokingly said “mine better not get stuck!” I jumped back on and well shit I was stuck. I literally threw all my weight to the high side, but I am just not tall enough. After 3 attempts and no one nearby to help I told Dawn to ride up next to me and push my bike as I lift. Well after some maneuvering we got it up and rode out of there. I literally laughed for the next 20 minutes at our dilemma. #girlproblems

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That stupid sand parking lot!

Now we were fed and ready to get a move on! We needed gas but I decided we would get out of town a ways before we stopped again since all our galavanting had taken 4 hours to only get about 100 miles. We rode through Augusta and Livermore Falls on 17 until we met up with 2 west. The scenery was amazing, lots of cool old towns and hills and forests. We followed several rivers and rode by a lot of beautiful lakes. When we passed into New Hampshire we rode on 2 through the top portion of the White Mountains which we rode through yesterday. So it was a new road with new views and it was awesome! We were able to ride around Mt. Washington, although we still didn’t have time for the auto road up the mountain. We crossed into Vermont and rode on 2 further west. As the day was getting longer I asked Dawn if she thought we should try to reach the boarder. We agreed it would be late and there wasn’t much on the boarder with New York. So, we opted for a Best Western in Waterbury.

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Nice views around the lighthouse

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The hill leading up to the hotel is intense to say the least, but we were able to get a room. The front desk clerk informed us there was no bar or restaurant on site that was open, but her favorite the “Prohibition Pig” is just down the road about a mile. So we parked the bikes outside our first floor window and got our gear inside. We decided since we had a bit of a walk we would head there right away. As we ran across the highway with no cross walk, under the overpass of the freeway with not lights and through some neighborhoods to Main St. We discussed our options getting back…

The food was great, we managed to snag a couple seats at the bar rather than endure the 30 minute wait. We asked the bar tender if there was a taxi or uber in town…pretty much a no. It isn’t a large town although all the bars and restaurants were full, there are several towns near by and several colleges. So we walked back…all up hill. I whined half the way just to give Dawn a hard time, because I was convinced we should have rode there or asked someone to give us a ride up the hill. We got our cardio in and made it back to the room. Now time to shower, plan our route for tomorrow and hit the hay! We are hoping to make it through the Adirondack’s and close to the western side of New York.

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Stowe, VT to Portland, Maine

Started the second day of riding with an awesome ride through smuggler’s notch north or Stowe Mountain Lodge. We were on a single lane road, like what was in Ireland! We were riding through these twisty corners with giant boulders blocking your view on the other side. It was awesome! A great way to make sure you were awake with a little rush of adrenalin.

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View from the room

We woke up around 7am and slowly got ready for our adventure. We got the bikes loaded up and pulled them out of the parking garage to make our plan via the GPS in the bike. I haven’t spent too much time using the GPS in my bike in Alaska, so I got a little frustrated with it and decided to use a piece of paper and my memory to find our way around today.

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After our exciting start to the day, we enjoyed riding on the back roads through Vermont for a bit. Around 10 I was starting to feel hungry and when we pulled into Hardwick, and I saw a bunch of the riders from our group so I pulled over. We wandered into a small little cafe and ordered some breakfast. Connie’s Kitchen had a fun chalkboard menu and a cool atmosphere. We opted to sit outside to enjoy the town small big intersection feel of where the kitchen was located. We watched cars come and go and met a DOT commissioner on his way in for breakfast, with a curiously for all the new Harley’s in town.

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Breakfast stop

After breakfast we planned our next part of the ride and decided to stick to the route we originally were going to take on the Kancumangus Hwy. On the way toward the highway we were pretty much only on back roads that took us through a lot of small towns. It was some great scenery but a little hard on my clutch hand 🙂

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The highway was great, very beautiful and some nice twisties. I have learned I am not going to get to go fast on these roads, so I finally settled in to staying between 2nd and 4th gear. The bikes are running great and staying pretty cool. People started to notice the new motor when we stopped along the way, like when we stopped for gas and had to go to the local laundry mat to find a bathroom! I had a guy from New York offer to buy my bike if I could drop it off in New York on my way back. I countered with an offer for him to come pick it up in Arizona…no dice!

While I was following the signs for the roads we were supposed to follow, we stumbled onto a little Harley-Davidson location (merchandise only) which was perfect because I needed a white long sleeve shirt to keep the sun off me and my body cool! They had a men’s white wicking material shirt right when I walked in…mine now! We chatted with some other riders and let them listen to the new motors then headed back out…the right way this time 😉

It is a pretty slow pace riding around here, but when we hit construction a little under 30 miles out of Portland, it was REALLY slow!! At least the construction around here consists of very packed down dirt that is oiled and not a lot of loose gravel. After a few trips down the AlCan I am well adapted to construction. The irony in the situation, was I was being critical of the road conditions while I was bouncing off of frost heaves and dodging breaks in the pavement, then I had to ride through 6 miles of “construction” to fix those issues! The new suspension is great by the way! With all my gear and stuff on the bike, I might need to adjust it a little, but it is a simple turn knob with a schematic in the owners manual with settings for weight…I guess I should do that tomorrow.

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When we finally made it into Portland they had ALL of the roads we needed to get to our hotel blocked. At this point I am HOT, HANGRY and my clutch had is killing me!!! After a good 20 minutes of driving in circles we found the long back way to the hotel. Minus almost getting knocked off my bike by an angry bum (he was mad because he decided he wanted to use the cross walk after I had already started going through) it wasn’t too bad as we got to see the whole downtown areas. I didn’t really almost get knocked off by the bum, he just made a swinging gesture. Finally we arrive at the Holiday Inn, park and unload the bikes. Air conditioning has never felt so good as it did to an Alaskan who has been cooking all day!

Quick showers and a change of clothes and we walked to a cool little spot called the Porthole, which is built out on a pier/dock area. They had whole lobster for only $20 so we decided we should take advantage of the ability to get fresh Maine Lobster! Dinner was fun, but after a lot of slow riding in the heat we decided to lay low and come back to the hotel to plan our day for tomorrow. Originally we were supposed to go to Boston for the final evening of the dealer ride, but Dawn and I both agreed that we would rather miss the free dinner and drinks to avoid the shit show of riding through Boston! The hotel was DOWNTOWN…I can’t even imagine this Alaska girl dealing with all the jerks there and not losing my mind!!

So we are now going to take a scenic route around the coast of Maine (north) then head west back across New Hampshire and Vermont to New York.

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