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!


Our cute B&B



Cute little shop in our B&B


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


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!



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.


Lunch with the ducks


No gravel


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.



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.


Goshen Pass



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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.



93 Memorial


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!


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…



First time I have been here!


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.


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.


One of the many beautiful lakes we rode around


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!


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 😛


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.


The route through the Adirondacks we took

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Portland, Maine to Waterbury, VT


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!


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.


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


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.


Nice views around the lighthouse


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.


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.


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.



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 🙂


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.


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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August 26 Boston, MA to Stowe, VT

This morning we had an early departure from our hotel to Boston HD. We arrived and checked in to find out where our bikes were located in the parking lot that house 200 Harley’s! Dawn and I are from different areas, but our bikes were relatively close. We both got the new 2017 CVO Streetglide in the orange and black paint. Boston HD was awesome in the whole process and they installed my sissy bar for me that I mailed to them in advance. We got the bikes loaded and headed out. Just for some idea of the craziness that is this ride…probably about 30% of the people on this ride are not from the U.S!!!!


My new ride



So, I have a 2015 CVO Streetglide in Alaska, and I am on the same bike here. Well, I failed the Dealer test, because I have yet to really learn the new 6.5 stereo system on the Harley’s, because I never need navigation in Alaska! So, I immediately start our trip out by going the wrong way, primarily because I followed someone else. Then we go the wrong way again while it was recalculating… Despite that headache the navigation did get us where we needed to go and I didn’t have to experience any bad drivers. Dawn had to trust that I was on the right track for the first part, because she couldn’t get her navigation to the right setting…this is why it is important to read the manual!!

So, we followed HD’s route which took us through primarily rural areas on back roads. The whole trip was beautiful. We headed West from Boston and then eventually north toward Stowe Vermont. We took a few side trips, like one to get as and water after the first 80 miles or so. Then we were heading on the right path and I had finally gotten the gist of the GPS, so I turner the “bitch in the box” down so she wouldn’t yell at me. Dawn and another rider (unknown) where behind me and I went left and left again when I should have gone left and right. I knew as soon as I went left that I was wrong and then Dawn and the unknown rider went right and she honked at me. Luckily I was able to make a quick loop since the streets were all one way and get on the right track.


Birds of a feather

The rest of the ride was pretty smooth as far as following the GPS from that point. We started to get hungry so we stopped in Weston and found a little restaurant called the Bryant House. This was an old house that had been re-purposed into a restaurant. It had great food and the layout was kept very much original including a cool room upstairs that they had the original bedroom set from the 1800’s!!


Bryant House

Original owners of the house, clothing and furniture

Original owners of the house, clothing and furniture


I really was hoping that along this beautiful road we would find little spots to pull over and take photos but unfortunately there was rarely any shoulder and the pull off spots were all sand and gravel. Mostly we rode through the hills and through forests. Right outside of Stowe we make a quick detour to the Cider Mill, I’m not gonna lie, I thought it was going to be “hard cider” but instead it was a family friend place with apple cider donuts and a pack of Goldwing Riders..you know, you meet the nicest people on a Goldwing 😛


Cider donuts are not as exciting as hard cider

We got some cider and then headed to the Stowe Mountain Lodge which was our final destination. We arrived to covered parking in the garage and great assistance to get our bags and our sweaty hot messes to the room. (It was very hot and muggy…ALL DAY). We had a dinner schedule for the HD Ride at 7pm so around 7:10 we headed down for a drink before dinner was served. As we passed the lobby we saw about 50 people waiting to get checked in, apparently about half of the riders were late getting in, so the line kept getting longer and the dinner kept getting pushed back.

They had a great fire pit outside, so Dawn and I mingled with the folks that were there and waited for dinner to start. It was an early night, as we are all tired from the long ride and warm weather. Tomorrow we will be riding from Stowe, VT to Portland, ME.


Campfire at the end of the day


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Dirty Thirty

This morning I woke up to a text from my mom…”so happy I’m thirty” which I didn’t realize until tonight was an acronym for SHIT. Well played mom, well played.

Despite my personal anguish with leaving my 20’s I am blessed to be spending my 30th with amazing friends from all over the country at the Annual Harley-Davidson Dealer Show. This year, they revealed the brand new Milwaukee Eight Engine! This motor is a game changer and my birthday ride from Boston, MA to Mesa, AZ will be a testament to that.


Thanks for the shot of wine Si!

Let me start at the beginning…

A few months ago, my District Manager strongly encouraged me to go on the “Dealer Ride” which is a ride that only HD Dealers can go on with some HD Executives after the Dealer Show. After some prodding, I finally agreed and signed up for the ride. I then discovered I was going to ride a brand new 2017 model and that it was going to be billed to my dealership. After a quick inquiry I didn’t seem to have a good chance of HD shipping my new bike back to AK (I am sure they would have if I whined loud enough) but I saw this as a great excuse to ride cross country. So, I requested a FLHXS….then surprise from HD I get a new 2017 CVO FLHXSSE! So I get to ride a brand new CVO Streetglide with HD for 3 days around the northeast then cross country!

 Have I mentioned, I LOVE MY JOB?!

Let me back track a little… I signed up for the Dealer Ride which is only 3 days. A good friend of mine is the dealer in Evansville, Indian so I begged and pleaded for her to join me when I saw her last winter in Phoenix. After dragging her feet and having to get a special exception from HD she snuck her way into the Dealer Ride. I then convinced her that she may as well ride all the way back to Indiana (The VERY scenic route) with me!

Fast forward to now… All the dealers met up this afternoon to go to our “debriefing” with HD about the ride. They are so prepared and well planned out! They have an awesome route for us to take from Boston to Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont then to Portland, Maine and then finally back to Boston. So we have 3 days of fun with other HD dealers and HD employees around the northeast. They were extremely well planned and executed, the dealership Boston HD actually got our first day map installed on our GPS for us!!!

We pick up our bikes tomorrow morning and will be riding through some beautiful country to Stowe, VT. We will be hitting some amazing county along the way and I will take photos and blog the trip so stay tuned!



Leaving Boston Harley-Davidson with Dawn

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Preparing for your epic journey…according to Dia


When planning a motorcycle trip, especially a long one, there are so many things to think about and get ready for prior to hitting the road. I am going to put together a basic outline of what I do to prepare for my longer trips, like the one I am taking in a couple of weeks from Boston, MA to Mesa, AZ. There are 3 key areas to discuss and plan during a long motorcycle trip: the bike, the gear and the journey.

I will start first with the journey since it will greatly impact the bike prep and the gear packing. Often times a motorcycle trip has a very specific set of parameters, where you will start, what route you will take, where you will stay along the way and how many miles you will do each day. For example, on the trips I have taken from Anchorage to Milwaukee for the HD anniversary parties, we have a complete schedule of the trip with each hotel booked in advance. If you have to be from point A to point B on a schedule you should plan a detailed route with the mileage between each point. You then need to determine if you will be camping or staying in a hotel. I am not one for camping, so I always get hotels. (Camping will be discussed further in the gear section)

Once you have figured out where you are going to, you should determine a reasonable amount of miles you are willing and able to achieve each day. Since you are booking hotels or camping spots you will want to make sure you plan for the unexpected and don’t put yourself in the position to have way too many miles to complete if you are held up for some reason.

Also, if you are having a set itinerary, you should consider the maintenance your bike will need along the way and you should schedule this in advance as best you can to ensure you are not delayed waiting for service. I will go into bike maintenance a little further along, but while you are booking hotels it is very smart and courteous to contact dealerships that will be along your route to let them know when you will be planning on arriving and what services you will need. For example, if you will be needing a new tire midway through your trip, plan for that and make sure the dealership has the tire you need held for your appointment.

The other alternative is my favorite way to travel, WING IT!!! (Disclaimer: This method of travel is not for those who cannot problem solve or handle uncertainty) In general, my life is very planned and organized, so when I get the chance to go on a long ride I like the thrill of the unknown. I like to allow my route to change as I heed advice of locals and stick to the backroads. My favorite tool is the HOG Touring Handbook. I use this as a general guide to find the scenic, fun motorcycle routes and figure out how I can fit them into my journey. I still have a starting point and final destination but I can take whichever path I would like, which allows for exploration and choosing direction based on weather too!

Although I am not booking any hotels or having a set itinerary, it is still good practice to have a general idea of what route you want to take and where you are going. I like to ride as much on smaller highways and country roads as possible. So, when I am planning my route I try to avoid freeways. This is where the HOG map book comes in handy. As I plan a basic course, I use the state by state maps to determine if there are some scenic roads I can use to get from one place to another. I generally plan the night before and determine my destination. I look up the hotels in the town that I have selected to make sure there are some options then I hit the road. I stop where I want and take any detours I think will be fun. (This is a great way to travel if you are going solo or with someone who is as eager to enjoy the random ride as you are!)

Regardless of your itinerary it is always good to ensure you keep your tank full, so I often plan to stop every 100 to 200 miles. (This can vary depending on the type of bike as well). Depending on your personality and timeframe you can choose how you travel. If you are going to have a set itinerary, you need to book in advance and set a pace that is reasonable and allows some flexibility. If you are going the alternative route and “winging it” try to establish a basic idea of places you would like to see and the fun roads to get there.

Second, you need to prepare your motorcycle for the journey. After a few long trips, all of which have been on a Harley-Davidson Touring bike, I have a hard time recommending anything else. Not to say you can’t do a long trip on a Sportster, but it is a lot easier on a bagger. For a long trip you will need storage capacity, comfort and durability. Once you have selected the right bike for you, you will need to get it set up and ready for the haul.

If you are on a full dress Harley, you will already have the saddle bags and the tourpack. If you need additional storage you can place a rack on the top of the tourpack and a bag on the passenger seat if you are solo. If you have something like a Heritage, Switchback, Roadking or Streetglide I would recommend putting a sissybar and luggage rack on the bike for additional storage. You want to keep in mind the Gross Vehicle Weight, which is what the Motor Company recommends for the amount of weight the bike carries. This includes the rider, passenger and gear. This weight measurement is important because it affects the integrity of the motorcycle as well as the tire wear and overall safety.

The amount of storage space will greatly depend on the type of ride you are doing. If you are going on a ride that covers a lot of distance and a variety of weather should be expected you will need to pack layers and a diversity of gear. If you are camping you also need to consider what gear you will need to be comfortable camping. (I am not an expert in the camping department so, you may want to seek further council) My dad always taught me that if I had to ask “What If” I probably don’t need it. Although that can be misconstrued, what I believe he meant was bring the essentials and if you have to ask “What if I find myself needing a ballroom gown for a formal occasion I randomly get asked to” you should not pack the ballroom gown. So, be smart when you select your items and keep in mind your storage space. (More on packing later).

You will also want to make sure your bike is in the best running condition. I am not a mechanic, so I take mine in and have the trained technicians perform a service and make sure I am good to go for the long haul. I am a bit of an optimist when I travel, and hope nothing serious will break, but I did witness two flat tires in basically the middle of nowhere so, bring a patch kit and know where the nearest HD dealership is! It is also smart to get the Road America plan you can purchase at a great rate by being a HOG member. Every evening when you reach your destination, do a quick walk around on your bike as you unpack and make sure things are tight and not over worn. Check your oil to make sure it is at a good level and your tires and brakes look good. If you notice a noise or something not working right try to stop by a dealership along the way to have it checked out, and remember you should be willing and able to pay for their time, they have to make a living too.

Security is also important for motorcycle adventures. It is good to have a security system and to ensure you lock your bike, both the ignition and the fork locks when you park for any length of time. If you are feeling you need more security you can get additional locks to secure the bike. By having the fork lock engaged you make it difficult for someone to roll your bike into the back of a truck. Siren alarms are great as well to alert you if someone is moving your bike. Additionally, I ask the front desk if I can park in the covered entry area where they have loading and unloading vehicles. This way, the front desk can see your bike and people will be much less likely to mess with it. If you don’t have that option get a room on the outside where you can park within a view from your window.

Depending on where you are traveling you may want to consider some additional items, better lighting to be seen and to see at night, weather protection like fairing lowers, seat covers, and windshields. You also want to consider comfort. Do your handlebars put your arms in the right position for long distance riding? Is your ass comfy on that stock seat or do you need a Hammock Seat? Is the bike too high for you? Do you need a lower more narrow seat? What about the suspension? Is it set up for the extra weight you are going to be carrying? No need to worry, all of these things have already been thought of by the experts and you can pretty much find whatever you need for your trip at your HD dealership.

Every rider will be different but think about the things you will need to be comfortable and safe as well as provide you with convenient storage and space for your trip. I can’t stress enough how important it is to invest in making sure you are comfortable and you have the right accessories to help you on your journey.

Lastly we need to think about how we are going to pack all this stuff on our motorcycle! First remember the wisdom of “If you have to ask ‘what if’, you don’t need it!” The variety of what you will need to pack is even more diverse than the accessories you will need to put on your bike. Weather is probably one of the biggest factors. You will need layers if you are going through areas that will have variability. If it is very hot, you will be best served to have some lightweight gear that will allow airflow, just remember to stay hydrated. When you are riding in high temps it is very easy to become dehydrated from the wind wicking the perspiration off of you and not drinking enough water to replenish. If the climates will be diverse a jacket that provides multiple layers is best. This way you can add or subtract layers as needed, and utilize the ventilation features.  This is also a great option if the jacket is waterproof. The more combinations one jacket can provide, the better, since you will have less to pack. IF you are not familiar with the FXRG line from Harley-Davidson, it is worth the investment as it provides all of the above and a lifetime warranty. There are a few options for full pants, chaps or riding jeans. Again, dress for the diversity of weather. Helmets are required in some states, so you should pack a helmet if you don’t already plan on wearing one the whole way. If you will be riding at night you should pack some eyewear that works at night, clear or yellow are most common.

When it comes to packing your clothing and toiletries, think less is more! Remember if you are on the road, no one but you and your riding buddies will know if you wear the same shirt 3 or 4 times. Obviously be considerate of others and don’t get too stinky! I have found that a lot of hotels provide laundry facilities so you can wash clothes along the way. Again remember to pack in layers and bring clothing items that are comfortable under your riding gear. Bring only what you need and remember if you are traveling in a civilized area you can always buy something if you need it!

If you are camping you need to pack with the plan to carry a lot of additional items, so plan accordingly. If you need a small camp stove, tent, sleeping bag, mattress pad etc that is a lot of space to take up on the bike. It is a good idea to pack some basic first aid items, tire patch kit (not for long term patch but to get you to a dealership) rag to wipe down your windshield, cleaning supplies, additional gas and/or oil if you are going to rural areas, and sunscreen! It is really easy to get sun burned while riding, so bring some good sun block and be prepared.

There is a lot more detail that could be covered in a topic like this but hopefully this gets you thinking in the right direction. Your HD dealership is a great resource and fellow riders who have been there done that. I will never forget when I was a kid and I forgot to pack underwear on a trip to Mexico…guess what? You can buy underwear in Mexico! Ride and have fun!


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This is how we do it in Alaska…

Trike riding in Alaska during the winter is not for the fashion conscious. You look like the “Michelin Man” with all your layers to stay warm, but it is probably the one of the best adventures I have had with my Harley lifestyle.


Our new Sales Manager at House of Harley, had this wild idea to do a trike ride on Halloween. From this seed we developed the Trick or Treat Ride to be a poker run to benefit The Downtown Soup Kitchen with a $10 buy in and prizes from House of Harley for the winner. I was in the mood for adventure so I told Sal he and I could go on the trike ride on a couple of used trikes we had. I figured I would borrow the beautiful used Dyna trike with the Frankenstein conversion that we just took in on trade. Well as things go, the trike I was going to ride was sold! Good for business bad for me. So, I thought well I guess I can take the new Freewheeler that is on the floor for a “demo” ride. To be 100% honest I was super nervous for this ride since I had never really ridden a trike more than around the parking lot and then add in the snow! Sarah, our Marketing Director decided to also join on a borrowed trike. I pretty much had no room to be nervous since she is pretty far along in her pregnancy and was hardcore enough to go on the ride!


After a super short practice ride I was already grinning ear to ear. So our small group of bad ass trike riders gathered up and pulled our first card for the poker ride. We headed out and in about forty-five seconds I knew I was hooked. I literally don’t think I have smiled so much in one ride in a long time. Trike riding is completely different than riding two wheels. Don’t get me wrong I won’t give up my awesome two wheeled bikes but trikes open up a whole new type of riding. It is a lot easier than I thought to switch from two wheels to three wheels. I was worried I would forget to keep my feet up at stops and have a hard time turning without the ability to “lean” in the corners. Our buddy Ben aka “Jamaican” gave Sarah and I some tips along the way on how to turn and where to ride in the lane. Our poker run was not super long or spread out but was so much fun. We had a small group, Dan on another Freewheeler, Ben on his Bengineered “big wheel,” Nich on his Dyna trike, Mike on his Sidecar Ultra, Ed on his Triglide Ultra, Sarah on the Sportster trike and myself on another Freewheeler. As we rode through town we had people waving and cheering us on. We even had a guy stop and take a selfie with us as he walked through the crosswalk. Our ride took us from HOH to the Northway Mall, then from there to the cemetery downtown (it was Halloween after all), then to Earthquake park and finally back to HOH for the final card.

After we arrived at the shop most of the group hung out and drank some coffee to warm up. I managed to do about 20 minutes of work and knew I had to go ride some more. We had such a beautiful day. So, I talked Jamaican and Nich into continuing our ride a little further. I was hooked.

Monday morning several roads were closed and we had something close to 60 accidents in Anchorage because of the snow we had and the icy roads. I stayed home for the morning and did some yoga. I had an appointment to get my hair done at 12:30 and didn’t want to miss that appointment (I have to maintain my bangs) so I jumped in my car and headed down the hill. I was only planning on getting my hair done then heading back home. However, after I made it down from hillside I saw the roads really weren’t that bad. The main ones were pretty much melted. I saw that my riding gear was still in the car from Saturday and decided I wanted to take that trike out again. The Freewheeler handles amazing. I can’t believe how well it corners and how much fun it is to ride. So I called my buddy Ben and asked him to go triking. Of course he was still in bed…at 1:30 in the afternoon, so after he got ready he met up with at the Peanut Farm. We grabbed some lunch and headed to the east side of town. Just a week ago Nich was saying how there are not enough people to ride trikes with, so I guess when he saw Ben and I posting our adventures he decided to join. He met up with us at Cabin Tavern on the east side. By the time we left there it was getting dark and a little icier, the Freewheeler handed great! We headed to downtown then back to the shop. Besides getting coated with slush from my fellow riders I had a blast! Now I am looking forward to getting some more heated gear and extending my Alaska riding season to year round.

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Harley-Davidson, Sturgis plan 75-year agreement

Deal Names Harley-Davidson Official Motorcycle of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; Creates Year-Round Main Street Plaza For Riders in Sturgis, S.D.

MILWAUKEE – (Jan. 15, 2015) – Harley-Davidson and the City of Sturgis, S.D., are setting their sights on the future – far into the future. In the spirit of
this year’s 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the company and city officials are finalizing an agreement covering the next 75 years making Harley-Davidson the official motorcycle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

“Harley-Davidson riders have attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for decades. This new agreement will help fuel many more years of freedom, independence and rebellion for this iconic gathering,” said Matt Levatich, president and chief operating officer at Harley-Davidson. “Riding is a passion passed down through generations, so it’s important we celebrate the legacy and history of Harley-Davidson in Sturgis, while helping creating new memories.”

As part of the agreement, a permanent plaza will be built on Main Street in Sturgis that will include a stage for events, concerts and even weddings. The year-round location, which will be completed in time for this year’s 75th rally, will be the official Harley-Davidson destination for riders and fans alike.

“For decades, Harley-Davidson has been the motorcycle of choice for Sturgis Motorcycle Rally fans and a great partner to the City of Sturgis,” said Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen.  “Today it gives me great pleasure to solidify its importance by making it the official motorcycle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.”

Sturgis: Baked into the bricks of Harley-Davidson
To ensure the new multi-purpose space builds on the legacy of the brand and is pure Harley-Davidson, the plaza will integrate bricks from the company’s Milwaukee headquarters, a building that once housed the company’s factory dating back more than 100 years.

During a news conference at the company’s headquarters, Harley-Davidson announced the planned agreement, which has an initial term and renewals running through 2090. To unveil the deal, Harley-Davidson removed a brick from the historic front entrance using a 2015 Harley-Davidson Street® 750 motorcycle. That brick, alongside one from the Harley-Davidson Museum and 73 bricks from the headquarters’ famous motorcycle-only parking area will be delivered to Sturgis on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Whether riders are trapped inside for the winter or riding south toward warmer weather, now is the perfect time to plan a trip to the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The party starts Aug. 1, 2015, and for those who’ve had Sturgis on a bucket list, this might just be the year to attend. For inspiration and pictures from the 2014 rally, visit www.h-d.com/sturgis.

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