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2009 East Coast Scooter Trip
Start: New Hope MN
End:† Watertown. WI
We started at 8am and the weather was great.† However there was a problem with the GPS; it was not showing all of the data that had been entered and so we called Nat to bring a cable to Tracey's house in St. Paul. With that, John would be able to download stuff from the computer to the GPS.† At any rate that took a little more time than planned.† Also driving thru the cities was pretty time consuming although it went very well.
We wound up going on beautiful roads with very little traffic, some horrible roads, some windy roads, some busy roads and many not busy roads. We even went on I-94 for about 15 miles and it wasn't bad at all.† It's very nice to have 2 lanes; we stay in the right lane and people go around us.
As we got toward Mauston, it was getting VERY warm (yes!) and we both took off many layers of clothing. Then on the trip from the Dells to Columbus, there must have been a 20 degree temperature drop, plus the sky was looking dark.† We stopped at Columbus, filled the gas tanks, ate some dinner, and headed toward our final destination of Watertown in a very light rain.† I think we made it to Dick and Dan's house by 7PM.
All in all I would have to call it a very good day.† My back was a little sore, but I just have to get used to how I sit.† After all, we did go 300 plus miles which we shouldn't have to do again.† John had no complaints.
Start: Watertown, WI
End: Crystal Lake, IL
Around 11 AM I looked at Greg's computer at the weather and it showed dryness all the way down to Illinois, and then bands of rain and bands of dryness.† John was almost done with the GPS stuff, so we left Watertown at 12:20 PM† We traveled between 30-60 min. in dryness, or very little rain and then it started to rain for real.† Not really hard, but it's really hard to keep your windshield clear and your face shield.
The good news is I wore my rain suit and stayed warm and dry!† John had on rain pants and his jacket was waterproof, so he stayed mostly dry.†
Again we were on mostly the back roads.† In Wisconsin there was not much traffic but after we entered Illinois, there seemed to be more traffic.† Somehow we got on Hwy 14, which fortunately was a 2 lane Hwy (on each side) so it was nice, but it was so hard to see (because of rain on wind and face shields) plus there was a ton of traffic.† We stopped at the Super 8 Motel in Crystal Lake. Unfortunately the weather doesn't look too much better for tomorrow; however Wed. looks like a red letter day!† Sun!
Start: Crystal Lake, IL
End: Battleground, IN (Jos and Michael's)
Comments:†† We were going to spend 1 more day at the motel, but we looked out the window and the rain had stopped!† The weather channel radar showed the same thing, so we packed up and left.
There was some rain, but as we got going, we did in fact see the sun come out and the roads dried off.† That's the good news.† The bad news is that the winds picked up.† Out of the NW at 10 -20 with gusts as high as whatever; it was truly horrible.† We had planned to drive on Hwy 231, except that is a single lane road with much traffic.
When we left Crystal Lake, we had checked the maps and the GPS and found a quite nice route which consisted mainly of 2 lanes in each direction.† Loved it.† However on entering IN, there were little if any of those roads to be found, and our choice of Hwy 231 was a poor one.† Then take into account that the winds literally did not stop blowing and Indiana is so flat with no trees and we were getting blown all over the place.
We followed the GPS on the county untraveled paved roads which was slow going, but having almost no traffic.† The rain would come and go.† As we got nearer to Mary Jo's and Michael's the sky turned black and you could see rain everywhere; although most of it missed us.† Unfortunately, we wound up going on some gravel roads which I found to be terrible, and certainly REALLY slow going.† We did make it to our destination and as we pulled up into their yard, the sun came out.† It was short lived as the rain came and went all night; the winds never subsiding.
Start: Battleground, IN
End: Crawfordsville, IN
Comments: When we left there was very little rain, but it picked up as we started† driving.† The temp. was around 36, the winds about 10-20 and relatively heavy rain (for riding a motorcycle).† It was all ugly.†
We were fortunate enough to start off on 231 being 2 lanes in each direction and it was all good.† Then it went down to 1 lane each direction and we started going on the back roads.† We got on a long stretch (read 2-3 miles, an eternity) of a gravel road.† Somehow we got to a little town, saw there was a big city (Crawfordsville) nearby and we decided to stop.
Since then we have watched it rain most of the day from our $38.50 motel.† The weather channel says NO RAIN tomorrow, but still much wind.† John went out and got a decent map of Indiana, so tomorrow has to be better than today.
Start: Crawfordsville, IN
End: Tell City, IN
Comments: Yes!† A good day.† It was 40 degrees when we started, the sun was out and the roads were good.† Either we were on 2 lane roads with light traffic or 4 lane roads and then the traffic didn't matter.
We started on the back roads and when we hit the first gravel road (right after John saw a wild turkey running through a field) we decided to get onto 231 instead.† It worked so well we stayed on that highway and changed our route to travel the busier roads to make it more direct.
As we got more into southern Indiana, it became quite hilly and the roads were very winding.† It was very beautiful and fun to drive.† Unfortunately it started out being windy, although not as bad as yesterday.† By early afternoon it was quite windy again.† But by 2:30 pm we were at our destination.† In fact we stopped at the library and used their computers.
We were supposed to stop at Wickliffe tonight but decided to go further and here we are at Tell City.† (I think that's short for William Tell).† It is a beautiful night and this will probably be our last motel night.
We did drive down to look at the Ohio River.† We will be crossing it tomorrow to get into Kentucky.
Start: Tell City, IN
End: Columbia, KY
Comments: We crossed the Ohio River and went on lots of winding, hilly, beautiful roads.† The weather was actually hot, as the day went on.† The winds did not seem as bad today, but it may have been because there were trees and things to slow the wind down.
We made it to Mammoth Cave about 11:15 and just in time for the New Entrance Tour.† It was very enjoyable.† Oh, whilst we were driving in the Park, a wild turkey ran right in front of us and a little later a deer ran right in front of us.
So after leaving there, we took this roundabout way (because I did the mapping) and got to the Kentucky Parkway, or whatever it is called.† A 4 lane highway, with not much traffic. We got close to the city of Columbia exit and it started to rain and there was even some lightning, so we stopped at a Best Western.† There should be no rain tomorrow.
Start: Columbia, KY
End: Cades Cove, Smokey National Park
Comments: Started out on your run of the mill winding, hilly beautiful roads, not much traffic especially in the morning. We crossed into Tennessee.† They have no signs of what city you have entered; they didn't even have a "you're in Tennessee" sign.† But they ALWAYS have a sign of what county you have entered.
Lately it seems that we have chosen busier roads but on the up hills they frequently have 2 lanes, so the people can pass us.† We did have to travel on one of the I-systems for a short time because it was the only road.
Then we got on 441 that took us into Knoxville, on a Friday afternoon, at rush hour. We finally got out of that city, onto a double lane road and came into Sieverville and Gatlinburg which lead into the Smokey Mountains.† Picture 3-4 lanes in 1 direction of your worst nightmare rush hour; worse than Branson and that's what we were in.† For about 15 miles.† Then we hit the park and headed for the campground, but it was full.† All 200 plus sites, so we pushed on about 6 miles to Cades Cove.† It was very peaceful, very quiet with quite a few people.† Except for the fact that there were flush toilets, it would be considered primitive.† Everyone had a campfire; except us.† We ate peanut butter and jelly for dinner;† it was good.
Start: Smokey Mt
End: Easley, SC
Comments:† To get out of the park we had to go back the way we came in.† Anyway, we added on about 50 miles but it was beautiful.† As we were leaving our campsite, 3 small deer walked out right in front of us and meandered across the road.† After that we saw another wild turkey.† They have that road in the National Park graded perfectly.† Even when we were going down the mountain, we hardly ever had to break and it was so easy to do the switchbacks.†
†After we left the park we drove 2 miles to the city of Cherokee to get some gas and then went back to get on he Blue Ridge Parkway.† I thought it was even more beautiful than the park, although not graded nearly as well plus we went through about 3-4 tunnels that were pitch black and the road itself inside of the tunnels was bumpy and it made me extremely nervous.
After about 40 miles we got off the Parkway and got on some more winding roads with even worse signage and worse grading. (In the Smokey Mountains, when it said 15 mph, that is exactly what it meant.† Out here they just threw up signs for the heck of it.† 40 mph could mean 20 mph; sometime 30 mph and you could barely do it at 15 mph and sometime you just came into a curve and there was no sign whatsoever.)† I was getting pretty tired of all this by now.† After some unknown distance we turned onto another road that was fairly straight, but a lot of traffic.† At last we got to Pickens, which had a library so we stopped there and got on the internet.
Next stop was Lu's and Tommy's (Lu is Patís cousin).† They have a beautiful house although everyone (that we met there) agreed that their old house was sooo much bigger and better.† Micki (Patís Aunt) was there; it was so nice to see her,† she looks good and is dearly loved by everyone in that family.
Lu and Tommy's daughters were there - Lori and husband Michael with kids Leland (16) and Lori about 12.† Julie and her husband Ken (who's had a Harley for 9 yrs) and kids Steven, 12, Jacob,10 the left handed pitcher who got hit in the eye with a baseball, and Anna (6).† Wow there were a lot of them.† And Phyllis Kimbal, Lu's very good friend.† Later in the evening we got to see Micki's apt.† In the morning Kimball came back for an incredible breakfast of homemade biscuits, grits, sausages and eggs.†† We left after a great time and hardly able to walk as we had so much breakfast.
Start: Easley SC
End: Macon GA
Comments:† Our best driving time is the morning when there seems to be little traffic out.† The roads were pretty straightforward today; the traffic picked up about noon.† There were some crazy drivers out today.† Many people will just patiently stay behind us and not tailgate.† Then others will pass us in a no passing zone.† Then there are some people that I will slow down for, to about 4 mph so they can pass me, but they will just patiently stay behind.
The temp hit about 87 today, as it did yesterday.† The nights are cool and beautiful as are the mornings.† Tonight in Macon, the mosquitoes are out; but I'm still typing.† John is out here at our picnic table working on the maps.
There are few campgrounds around.† I can't even pronounce the name of this one, but it is very nice, small and maybe a little over half full.† Very quiet.† We set up the tent and went back into the city - to the Olive Garden - to eat.† There was a beautiful sunset tonight and while it was setting we could see a beautiful sliver moon.
Start: Macon, GA
End: Tallahassee, Fl
Comments: Drove on single lane and 2 lane roads.† Two lane are nice except when it is windy and the big trucks pass us and we just get buffeted like crazy.† The way that Georgia marks their roads is ridiculous. Of the few signs they have, they will literally have one that say ďhwy 27 NorthĒ go to the right.† And there will be a sign right by it, ďhwy 27 SouthĒ also to the right.† It's like the only way you have a clue of what they're talking about is if you live there.
Anyway, we had to stop at the side of the road to go to the bathroom and the mosquitoes were terrible.† Once we crossed into Florida things were better again, you could read the signs and we were on our way to Silver Lake campground. We took the little known shortcut and wound up on a sandy road. Not a gravel road, but a sandy road!† I dropped the bike over once, as did John.† My problem was I got into loose sand, started getting shaky and slammed on the front brake and the front wheel grabbed into the sand and we all fell over.† John just got into sand so deep that the bike couldn't go anywhere but down.† He managed to get both bikes up and running and he got through quite well.† I ambled through fairly well except the really deep stuff John drove through for me.† All this was about 3/4 mile and took about half an hour.† But I feel I am now dirt bike qualified but I never want to do it again.
After all that, we got back on concrete only to find there was no campground.† Some guys gave us directions for a campground 6 miles down the road and we went there.† They didn't allow tents.† So that guy gave us directions for 3 miles down the road for a place that accepted tents plus it was free!† They even had warm showers and it was very quiet; but they also had mosquitoes.
Start: Williams Landing in Tallahassee
End: Brooksville, Fl
Comments:† A nice day driving on double lane highways to the point where it was getting boring.† Nice, beautiful trees on either side of the road plus the trees were good at slowing down the wind.† There were also very nice rest areas; the one we stopped at was on the Suwannee River. The river was very high, from the all rain they had in Georgia.† In fact it reminded me of the current we paddled with on our Mississippi River Canoe Trip -really a strong current.† But it was a lovely park.
We got to Brooksville, found a very old motel and are staying there.† We went a couple miles down the road to visit Steve and Jean Wallace. Steve works for Seminole Electric that was one of Johnís clients in the early 1980ís.† We had a wonderful dinner there and got to do our wash!† They have about 3 acres and a gorgeous home.
Start: Brooksville, Fl
End: Midway Campground in Big Cypress
Comments:† Yes, what a day. We left Brooksville and didn't have many problems.† It was a nice day, traffic heavier than usual, but ok.† A mixture of double lanes and single lanes. There was a sign on whatever road we were on that hwy 29 was closed and parts of I-75.† Hwy 29 was the road we were on and the road we needed to continue on.† It was closed because of the fires and /or the smoke.† We stopped at Immokalee and John found a policeman who showed us how to get to where we wanted to go.† We got diverted about 60 miles.
While we were on some road, we saw a turkey vulture fly into the air with a snake in his mouth.† We also had some stretches of single lane road where there were millions of cars.† Usually they would turn off in short order.† However there was this one dude-a trucker, who appeared in my rear view mirror out of nowhere.† He zoomed up and I just naturally pulled way to the right as I felt quite sure he would run me over.† Even though there were double lines, meaning don't pass, he did pass.† Then he got up to John and never even slowed down. Then there was this car following the crazy truck driver who did the same thing.† He even pulled out with cars coming at him. Those oncoming cars had to actually pull off onto the side of the road or there would have been an accident.
We got to Big Cypress and couldn't wait to get to our campsite and it was CLOSED.† Good grief, it was getting late (4:30) and we had had a long day, but we were ready to drive to Miami.† And then we saw Midway Campground - OPEN!† There were 2 other campers there.† There were flush toilets, water, but no showers.† And, there was a small lake at the campground.† I walked over to look and there was an alligator!
The sun is down now and it's cool and beautiful out.† It is a perfect night for camping.† Hopefully the alligator will stay in the lake.
Started: Big Cypress
End: Big Pine Key
Comments: I was quite excited to be going out onto the Keys.† We took hwy 41 to get there and that was not a problem.† The problem is that every morning the sun shines directly in your eyes and there is no visor on our helmets to block the sun.
We got onto the Keys and it is so beautiful.† Water on both sides of the highway and such† beautiful shades of blue.† We were lucky on first entering the Keys because there were double lanes for all of Key Largo and then also onward a ways.† After that it would switch from single to double lane. The wind was definitely windy, but since it was so gorgeous riding, with such beautiful scenery, it didn't seem so bad.
We crossed over many bridges, at least one was 7 miles long.† The wind didn't seem to be as bad on the bridges as on the land.† Maybe because it would blow at you both directions and then kind of cancel out.† At any rate we got to Big Pine Key where we were going to stay with Dr. Jerry Horton and his wife Cynthia.† John and Jerry worked for the same consulting company for a while before Jerry left and started his own company.† Big Pine Key is also where they have those little deer that are protected and they wonder all over the place.†
As soon as we entered that island, we turned on whatever road Jerry lives on and there we were!† It almost seemed too easy. He and Cynthia have a beautiful house on the water.† It is not on the Ocean side, but on the Gulf side with a sea wall.† The people on that side can leave their boats in the water tied up to the sea wall. Jerry was out fishing in the back yard when we came, so John went out and fished too.† In Fla. you don't need a fishing license unless you are fishing in a boat. Everyone caught fish (except for me, I don't really like to fish).† I greatly enjoyed watching everyone pull in their fish.
We met some of their neighbors and went out to eat with them and generally had a wonderful time.† When we got back home, everyone went out to fish again but with very little luck.† Everyone went to bed except Jerry who stayed at it and did in fact catch a big fish (grouper) that we ate the next day.
Fri. 5/1†† This day Jerry took the 2 bikes that they have, put them in the truck and we drove to Key West. John and I rented some single speed bikes and Cynthia led us around Key West. We stopped to look at Hemmingway's house and we looked at the Little White House, we entered Fort Zachary Taylor, an old fort from Civil War times and from there went to the beach, went to a fabulous place to eat (Blue Something).† There were chickens and baby chicks running around the open air restaurant and the food was all served in an open court yard.† It was amongst tropical trees and was completely shaded.† And delicious. By 5 pm we had to have the bikes back, so we stopped for a drink at this incredibly beautiful resort that said "Guests Only" but we went in anyway.† After that it was a short distance back to the rental place.
We went back home, Cynthia fixed a pizza plus we ate the fish that Jerry had caught last night and it was wonderful.† Two other people, Joe and Roxanne came to spend the weekend.† They arrived late in the evening.
Sat. 5/2† †Today we got all organized to go out in their 22 foot boat, with a 225hp motor to go snorkeling, fishing and picnicking.† It was really exciting going out there because of the swells.† They were probably 3 feet but we were rocking and rolling all over the place and there was water spray everywhere.
The first stop was a place, not too far out, to a reef to go snorkeling.† It was so neat; even though I had to take my glasses off and couldnít see much of anything, it was great.
The bad news was that as I was coming up the ladder I swallowed a bunch of seawater.† Jerry told us that if you drink a glass of it, it can kill you.† Well, it didnít kill me, but it made me feel really sick.† Not to mention that we were rocking and rolling out there.
We went to a place to fish and caught some very nice fish. 1 grouper and 2 snappers. And a bunch of little ones that we didn't keep.† By that time, 3 of the 6 of us were feeling seasick, so we quit fishing and went to go to the place where the boats anchor and just hang out and drink beer. We were all feeling better by then. After that, we headed on back to the house.
Joe, the guest, fixed dinner for us.† It was just superb.† He fixed the fish and the vegetables on the grill, made a Dijon sauce for the fish and we also had rice and black beans.
After all of that, we played a crazy game of progressive rummy. I could only stay up for part of it as I was dead tired.† But I heard that Cynthia won the game.
Start: Big Pine Key
End: Lake Worth
Comments: We left Jerry and Cynthiaís shortly before 8am.† I thought we would avoid the rush, but we had to wait for 8 cars to drive by before we could turn out of their road onto the highway.† However, it was not bad.† We got through the Keys in short order. Jerry had told us about this one road at the very end of the Keys; to take that instead of† Hwy 1.† So we did and it was very nice, except that the MS Bikathon was on so we had to keep passing the bikers.† We finally turned off on a different road, because the bikathon kept going the way we were going.† Then we would turn in a mile or 2 and there they were again.† We couldn't get rid of them.† So we finally decided to take Hwy 1 as opposed to A1A.† Best plan we ever had.† There were stop and go lights, but it worked out so great.† Not only that but we went right through the city of Miami with hardly any traffic. (It was Sunday). There were always a minimum of 2 lanes going in our direction and sometimes as many as 5.
There was one scare, where there were some angled streets that we were going through and this one car was in the wrong lane and wanted to get over to the other street and she couldn't have seen John, or perhaps didn't care; but she pulled out right in front of him and missed him by a hair.† There was also an accident that apparently happened right ahead of us; there were like 6 cars that got hit.† Somehow John figured that out and we were literally slowed down for about 45 sec.† In fact I didn't even know what was going on (can you imagine that?) until we drove past them and they all had their car doors opened and were talking to one another and some of the cars were clearly bunged up.†
So we got through Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton to mention a few that I remember and here we are at a beautiful County Campground at Lake Worth. As of 5:30 PM we are the only people in the tenting area.† Plus we are right on the lake and there is some great shade.
Plan to go to the ocean soon; it is 3 miles from here.
Start: Lake Worth, FL
End: New Smyrna Beach, FL
Comments: An interesting ride today.† We traveled on Hwy 1 and then switched to A1A.† All went quite well, with at least double lanes the whole way, sometimes as many as 5 lanes.
As we got near Cape Canaveral, the map showed that we could travel through it; however upon trying to enter the Cape C., there was a check point we had to go through and the sign said "have badges in hand"† oh oh.† John said the 2nd guy in the check point had his hand on his holstered gun.† This must happen fairly frequently because he told us which route to take and we had to turn around where we were.† There were cones set up and a big sign that said TURN HERE.† And if there were any cars coming out of Cape C., they would stop and wait, so that we scooters (and cars) could get out of there as fast as possible.
It seemed to take a long time to get to our final destination.† We did see a library sign right on our route, so we stopped for a little while to check email and finally got to Grace and Earl Maasí condo around 5 pm (Grace and Earl Maas are Patís Aunt and Uncle).
Comments: We spent the night in Earl and Grace's condo.† It is so lovely with 2 nice size bedrooms, a great kitchen, TV's in every room, 2 bathrooms, a living room and a wonderful large balcony overlooking the ocean.† We were too tired Tues. even to go check out the beach; we just went to bed.
This morning we got up and were on the road by 8:30 am to scooter into Daytona Beach because there is a CF Moto place there and they looked at John's scooter.† There was a problem with the clutch, and the guy looked at it and did something technical.† John was able to go and watch and help so he gained some knowledge about what was happening. And without a whole lot of time or trouble we were able to leave by 11 am.† We are both hopeful that we'll be able to continue onward without any problems.
We came back to New Smyrna and stopped for lunch and then did a little shopping and checked out the beach.† The cars are able to drive on the beach (for $5). The sand is quite hard packed and makes it easy for walking.
Later in the day Bob Maas, Patís cousin, and his wife Paula stopped by to pick us up and take us over to their incredibly gorgeous house on the Intercoastal Waterway.† We met their Dalmatian, Sparky and we all got to go for a ride in their big boat. We went slowly because it is zoned† a no wake area because manatees frequent there. Then we had a home cooked meal - fish on the grill. I love the fact that there is fresh fish so easily obtained around here.† I'm learning so many new ways to cook fish.† We had a wonderful time with Bob and Paula.
Today I got up a little before the sun came up and walked down the beach.† The sunrise was kind of foggy, so it was not spectacular, but the walk early in the morning was great.† I usually go barefoot but my feet are getting sore. John checked over the scooters and he went over all the maps for the next couple of days.† In the afternoon we both went for a walk down the beach.† It was quite a bit windier today than yesterday and the waves were bigger and better. Then we got our stuff organized and just hung out.
Start: New Smyrna Beach
End: Savannah South KOA
Comments: We had a good ride out of New Smyrna, with some early on stop and go lights.† Once away from the cities we moved well with no stopping, but whenever a city came up, it got slower going.† We were going to take 1 or A1A through the city of Jacksonville, meaning a gazillion stoplights.† So at the last minute, John decided to take the bypass and it was nuts!† Very intense with cars and trucks whizzing by like crazy.† But we got through in such little time.† So we decided to take the freeway all the way to our campground.† It worked out† well. †We went through about 30 miles of construction where we went from 3 lanes down to 2 and the speed limit went from 70 to 60,so we were able to keep up with everyone.
In Jacksonville whilst going on the bypass, we looked up and there in the distance was this beautiful structure.† We were miles away, but it looked like a huge sailboat and it seemed that what we were looking at were the sails. But you could see that there were spaces between the sails, so clearly it couldn't be sails.† Then I thought maybe it was a building, but again the spaces, so it couldn't be a building. (I'm thinking all this while we're tooling along at 60 mph, cars whizzing by us.) Then I determined that it must be some beautiful huge sculpture.† Well as we got closer, I saw it was a bridge.† A suspension bridge; the most beautiful one I have ever seen.† There was no place to stop and take a picture.†
Start: Savannah South KOA
End: Myrtle Beach KOA
Comments: Since I haven't typed in about a week, I'll have to see what I remember.† The KOA was pretty nice, we had a very long site, but it was not worth $50.† It was also Bike Week so there were a fair amount of bikers in the KOA.† However as we went out scootering in the city and we saw many motels that were cheaper than $50.† Myrtle Beach also had a sign out on the main road, that you couldn't pass the same spot more than twice in a 2 hour time frame.† We did go down to the beach which was nice.
We saw an alligator kill on the roadside.† It must have been crossing the road and got hit.† Wonder what the car looked like?
We also went over the neatest bridge, in Charleston, the something Ravenal Jr. Bridge.† It was so neat that we went back and parked nearby it, so that we could walk up over it.† We just walked to the top which was about 3/4 mile.† Extremely beautiful.† We were out there with the walkers and joggers and bikers and mom's pushing their strollers.
When we left there, we stopped to eat and then got on the road.† The traffic was unbelievable Ė and it was before 1pm.† It was ridiculous. After we got out of the city, it got better.
Start: Myrtle Beach KOA
End: Hans and Greta's house
Comments: The roads were pretty good in that most of the way was double lane.† There were not a whole lot of people out.† We got into North Carolina and they have these big arrows painted on the road; I guess so people know which way to go.† They're annoying to drive over because it is a raised area.† We were on our way to Hans and Greta VanMeeterenís in Merritt, NC.† John and Hans worked together in the consulting business.
On our way to Hanís and Gretaís house, the last big city that we went through was New Bern; after that we were on single lane, although there weren't many people out so it was OK.† But North Carolina has so much water on the Eastern Shore that I was not at all aware of. There are many rivers and streams that flow into the ocean and there are many inlets from the ocean, going into the land.† Not to mention the Outer Banks, which are the beautiful islands some miles off of North Carolina.† So when we got to New Bern, we saw these neatest big, long, fantastic bridges.† We traveled across some water on 1 bridge, went a little ways and then got onto this other higher neater bridge from which you could see all over the place.† I loved it.
And shortly after that we made it to Hans and Greta's.
Today we went out sailing on Hans and Greta's 33 foot sailboat.† It was so wonderful.† Greta packed a lunch and we took off before noon with the wind at about 10 mph.† It was just great, we let the wind push us.† And sometime the wind would stop or it would completely change direction. On the way home the wind stopped so we had to use the motor to get us back.
Their place is on a creek, or outlet and that flows into the Neuse River and that goes into the Palmico Sound; which is where we sailed.† I just cannot get over all the water everywhere.† Which is why there are bridges everywhere.
Hans and Greta had just recently put on a sun porch, which is where we spent most of our time.† They have a great house, but I loved the sun porch the best.
In the afternoon they took us into the city of Oriental, which is a cool little city, with a marina and lots of water to boat in.
Start: Merritt NC
End: Hateras Village
Miles: 96 plus 3 ferries
Comments: Hans and Greta had to go "to town" so we followed them to the first ferry. (it was a 20 min ferry ride).† We crossed the river together on the ferry and they went right and we went left, heading toward the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks are a long area of land out 10? miles from the shore.† Some of it involves the Cape Hateras Nat'l Seashore.
Anyway, we traveled maybe 50 miles to the next ferry.† The winds were picking up and since there was water on either side of the road, we were getting blown all over the place.† The good news is that we kept missing the rain.† This 2nd ferry (which was a 2 and a half hour ride - $5 per scooter) didn't leave for 2 hours so we just hung around in the visitor area and ate our peanut butter and jelly .
The wind was now up to 35knots (about 40mph).† They always put the bikes on last so they have some protection from the cars.† The guy said that they quit running the ferry when the wind hits 45knots.† It was quite exciting.† We were actually fairly worried, because they told us that it was our responsibility to make sure the scooters didn't tip over.† Most ferryís have anchor points were you could tie scooters or motorcycles to the deck to keep them upright so you would not have to worry about them but not this ferry.
Starting out was OK, whichever way we were going the wind was hitting us at the right direction.† Near the end however we had to change course somewhat and we were rocking and rolling all over.
Everything turned out fine. We landed on Okracoke and considered spending the night there, but decided to go another 10 miles to the next ferry, which would take us to the Hateras Village.† The problem was that the wind was so strong that I could hardly stay on the road.† It was a struggle to go that 10 miles.† But we got there just as they were loading the ferry. (this was a 40 min ride). John stayed outside in the wind and the rain steadying† the scooters as there were no tie downs on this ferry either, while I got to go to the lounge and stay warm.† I also found a motel and called them so we had a place to stay when we got off the ferry.
Start: Hateras Village
End: Gloucester Point
Comments: Since the wind finally quit blowing sometime during the night, I got up in the morning and walked out on the beach.† It was just great.† It's just more rugged and wow! the shells are bigger and better.
So we took off from our motel at Hateras Village and shortly thereafter, stopped at the Lighthouse; however it didn't open until 9 and we were there at 8.† Had it been open, we could have walked some 220 steps to the top.
We did stop at a beach just to check it out-very nice.† And we did stop at another lighthouse; but this one you couldn't go in. We just walked through the visitor center.
We went into Chesapeake and stopped at a library and then went onto see Josh and Julie Davis, Josh is Johnís nephew. We visited for a couple of hours; it was so nice to see them and the kids, their new camper and their remodeled house.† We had a great time.
Instead of staying in Chesapeake, we decided to jump into the afternoon rush hour traffic to go another 50 miles and get that over with.† It turned out to be not so bad and we wound up at a fairly nice and relatively inexpensive campground at Gloucester Point.
Start: Gloucester Point VA
End: Silver Spring MD
Comments:† Since we went through Chesapeake, Norfolk, and the highly populated areas yesterday, we had some beautiful, quiet roads to travel on most of the day.† It was quite wonderful, especially since I was thinking that it would be terrible.
John picked the perfect route and we took the quiet, little known route into Washington DC.† But there it stopped. Millions of people, millions of cars and an equal number of buses.† After scootering around the Mall and stopping for a picnic lunch near the Jefferson Memorial, we went about 35 miles farther to Silver Spring Maryland to stop at†† Dr. Jim and Susie Davidís home.† Jim is Patís cousin.††††††††††††
That was a total nightmare. Rush hour at 1 pm in the afternoon. It was unbelievable.† But at last we got to our destination.† We had a delicious meal and then got to sit in the hot tub.† Wonderful!!
Today our official tour guide, Jim (our host) took us to some County Garden which was absolutely wonderful.† Plus the Azaleas were still in bloom and gorgeous.† As an added bonus we went to the butterfly garden which had hundreds of exotic butterflies everywhere, flying all over the place.† I was lucky enough to have one land on my face.
From there we went to a private garden that had primarily Azaleas.† Just beautiful grounds with every color azalea you could possibly think of.
Since we were all hungry after that, we went to this exceptionally nice French restaurant and ate outdoors.† The food was sooooo good.
We then were on our way to the C&O Canal, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Nat'l Park.† After walking about a quarter of a mile, we got to see where† the size of the river is constricted and there are fabulous rapids and raging water.† Plus they had a canal that had at least 10 working locks. (I believe this canal was working from the late 1800's.).† They had a boat from that time period that you could ride in (for $5) and they would take you through a lock. The boat itself, after it went through the locks was pulled by 2 donkeys.
At any rate, we didn't go for a boat ride, but we did get to see it go through one of the locks.
Back home, another really good meal and a quick jump into the hot tub and we were all ready for bed.
Start: Silver Spring
End: Blackwood, NJ
Comments: Once again I was planning to have a horrible day in all the metropolitan traffic and it didn't happen.† John picked the best roads; beautiful scenery, little traffic, just a really nice ride for mostly the whole way.† We ran into some traffic at one point and John just turned off onto a quiet road.
We crossed 2 big bridges; the one over the Delaware was huge.† The other one not as big, but that one cost us $10. Near the end of the day, we decided to go onto I-95 and even that wasn't bad. All in all it was a good day of scootering.
We are spending the night in a Howard Johnson's in Blackwood, NJ.
Start: Blackwood NJ
End: Bensalem PA
Comments: We left the motel and traveled 2 miles to Stan Syke's house.† Stan worked for Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) which was one of Johnís clients.† We visited for a while and then went out for lunch. John and Stan got to talk about old times.† A great time was had by all.
Then we traveled not very far, maybe 30 miles to our next motel in Bensalem, PA.† From there we went over to Ray Mikulski's house, who is still working for Exelon (formerly PECO), to visit with Ray, Patti and their daughter Alyssa.† It's so nice to see all these people that we haven't seen for so long and catch up with everything.
From there we went out and had a wonderful dinner.† Patti was talking about a vacation she would love to go on, sometime within the next 3 years, which would bring them through the Minneapolis area.† We hope that will happen and we can visit some more.
Start: Bensalem PA
End: We never left Bensalem because it was rainy AND windy and cold but I didn't know it was cold until I went outside.
Comments: Dick and Louise Lehman drove over from Lansdale and we all went out and had lunch - at Michael's. Very good.
Dick Lehman worked out of the Philadelphia Office for the same consulting company that John worked for.† He and John worked together for a few years on the same consulting project.† At lunch, Louise suggested that we might want to go to one of the nearby county parks because they had an educational tour of a Lanape Indian village. It actually took a couple of hours but was very interesting.† The Indian Lady was in traditional dress and she walked around and we did stuff that the people in the village would do.† There were 3 boys there, ages 10, 11, and 12.† They got to be the warriors.† I think they had the best time of all.† We all got to play games, but when the Indians children played the games, they were actually practicing killing deer, and hoeing in the garden, and chopping wood and doing the manual type things.† It was a lot of fun and everyone learned a lot.
Start: Bensalem, PA
End: Erwinna, PA††††††††
Comments: Had a beautiful ride this day.† When we first started out, a detour sign appeared after the first couple of miles and it took us through such a picturesque, lovely area.† There were old stone houses; it looked like England. (I've never been to England, but that is what I would expect it to look like).† We were on our way to Ralph and Peggy Caritaís.† Ralph and John worked together.
Then we eventually wound up on Old River Road, right along the Delaware.† Beautiful.† We saw a deer and a turkey. We crossed the Delaware and went to this cute little town in NJ called Frenchtown and had some lunch.† When we came out, this lady ran up to us and said† "are those your scooters? Tell me about them".† And we talked for at least 20 min.
We made it to Ralph and Peggy's house up on a big hill.† Very beautiful area, and a huge beautiful house. John worked on the scooters with Ralph's help and I could not believe it when he said that all the maintenance was done and it was only 6PM.† They had taken both scooters apart and checked them out, changed the oil† and then Ralph cleaned both scooters.† He is really serious about cleaning.
Ralph and Peggy both have corvettes that they take to Corvette shows and so they go to extreme detail to clean them.† So when Peggy and I came out to check on what was going on, Peggy grabbed a bottle of cleaning solution and a rag and started cleaning a scooter.† So I grabbed a rag too and we left there with the cleanest scooters ever.† Also Peggy gave me a ride in her yellow corvette.† Obviously it was just wonderful.
Start: Erwinna, PA
End: Medford, NJ
Comments: This was another nice day of riding.† It's nice because it was not very long, but also we were on some nice roads.† There was one road that kept having signs about a tunnel, for quite a ways out and we were expecting something great.† It turned out to be more like a bridge with one side missing so you could look out at the river that you were going over.† It was pretty neat, but I don't think it qualified as a tunnel.† We were on our way to Ed and Nancy Dobrowolskiís home.† Ed and John worked together for many years on many projects for PECO.
We got to Ed and Nancy's; their street address is Golfview Rd.† And indeed their house backs up to a golf course.† I thought it was great even though there were not many golfers out that day.
They took us out to eat and then we got a tour of Medford Lakes.† It is an older city with many smaller lakes and they are all connected.† The homes are older and in one area they were all log houses and they look to be in really good repair. Not too long ago they got many inches of rain and one of the dams broke and the onslaught of water caused all the dams to break and it was a mess. Since Ed and Nancy live in Medford and not Medford Lakes, they did not have that much of a problem.†
Start: Medford, NJ
End: Rocky Neck State Park, Conn
Comments: This was the dreaded going through New York day and it turned out to be wonderful!† Ed and Nancy had some suggestions and we already had a route, so we put all the ideas together and came up with the "perfect route".
We left Medford and took Hwy 206 to 130 and on this part there was light traffic.† Some parts of the road were in terrible repair, but we got over that and then took Hwy 1 into Newark with absolutely no problem, light to medium traffic, and at times we were the only people on the road.
After Newark we started looking for Hwy 1 and 9, found that, but then it took us into the city; that is off of the freeway part. There was construction here and it was tough reading the signs, so we went through a tunnel (pretty neat) and went up on the Pulaski Skyway and bridge. On the first pass, we missed our turn off the Skyway. So, we had to turn around and go all the way back over the bridge again and turn around and come back over the bridge again for a third time and found the correct exit. We went through Jersey City, Union City and up the West side of the Hudson River and it still wasn't bad.† Traffic was still medium heavy but moving well.† The signs kept pointing us to the George Washington Bridge, which we did not want to take; however we had to keep following those signs because we needed to stay on Hwys 1+9 in order to get to our desired highway of 9W.† There was no mention of that anywhere until we got to the George W Bridge and right smack before we would cross the bridge, the sign for our 9W highway appeared.
Ed had said that after crossing the George Wash. bridge, that Hwy 1 was in hopeless disrepair.† We therefore took 9W, still on the New Jersey side.† It was a beautiful road with very little traffic.† And it took us to the Tappan Ze Bridge, where we crossed the Hudson River.
After that we took hwy I-287 toward Connecticut.† We wanted to take Hwy 15 after about 8 miles, but they called it XYZ Road instead of Hwy 15 so we defaulted to I-95 and wound up taking that all the way to our destination of South Lyme.† I-95 was primarily 3 lane in our direction.† The speed limit was 55 so the cars didn't go faster than 80 and it worked out quite well.† It was a great day going through/around New York.
We camped at Rocky Neck State Park, within walking distance of the ocean.† A beautiful park with some wonderful and stately old buildings.
Thurs. May 21
Begin: Rocky Neck State Park East Lyme, CN
End: Truro, MASS †- campground
Comments: A lovely day.† We thought about taking the interstate, but instead followed the GPS wherever it took us.† We had some areas of extreme congestion, but once we got through the city all was fine.
We went over a couple big bridges.† When we finally got to Hwy 6 that would take us to Cape Cod and our campground, the highway was a double lane with a speed limit of 55.† Unfortunately we were THE only people going 55.† It was nice when they were doing construction and it was then single lane.† There was a truck ahead of us doing 55 so it was great. The people tomorrow are going to have a bad time, because there should be about a million tourists coming in and that single lane road is going to be terrible.† It was good for us though.
We are about the only people in the tent part of the campground.† The guy said that they were about 60% full; the number being so low because the kids are still in school.
For dinner we drove Hwy 6A into Provincetown.† We went on 6A because it was so windy, and 6A was protected more from the wind.† There were very few cars on 6A plus it was a 35 speed limit, so it was easier to handle the scooters.† We found the main St. and it was one way.† It was all quite crazy.† The street was very narrow and there were cars parked on the right.† So that left room on the left for cars, scooters, bikes, shoppers, dogs, joggers, Mom's pushing strollers, and whatever else. John was having a great time bopping and weaving in amongst all the congestion;† I just tried to not hit anyone.
We stopped at a nice place for dinner and then finished going down the one way street;† we were near the end of all the hustle and bustle and we came out at a beach. We stopped because the sun was going to set in 4 min.† It was neat watching it fall into the ocean, but there weren't many neat colors.† Then we had to drive home in the dark.† At least the wind slowed down a little and there was little traffic.
Comments: Spent one more day on Cape Cod.† Went down to a beach that was near our campground.† While we were there John noticed something in the water.† It was a seal!† It just sort of hung around swimming back and forth in the waves about 50 ft. out. Then we went to the library. We stopped at a little grocery store and got some stuff for lunch. John changed my oil after lunch.† In the afternoon we went toward Provincetown, checking out the countryside and the beaches.† It is quite† a beautiful place.† Sand dunes all over the place.† Unfortunately you have to pay to go to many of the beaches, but they didn't have the pay stations manned yet, so we got in free.
After a very nice dinner of lobster (John) and scallops, shrimp and cod (me) we went back to our little beach near the campground to watch the sunset.† It was quite beautiful although we were facing the wrong direction.† But there was much more color than the night before.
Begin: Truro, MA
End: Kennebunk, ME
Comments: We left about 7:45 thinking there would be little traffic, but there was a lot.† However, there were no traffic jams, just a lot of cars.† And then all of a sudden we were entering Boston.† We were on I-93 (and it was raining) so there were 4 lanes going in our direction.† The bad news is that it rained most of the way through the city.† We did put on our rain suits.† One of the problems is that the windshield, obviously, gets all wet as do the face shields.† And there are no windshield wipers.†
As we got near the end of Boston, we went through a tunnel.† Now this was a tunnel.† Either 3 or 4 lanes in our direction and it had to have been at least a mile long.† There were even a couple of exits leaving the tunnel.† Plus it was warm in there, but the neatest thing of all was that by the time we were out of there, all of the rain on our windshields and face shields had completely dried!† We could see again!! AND as soon as we left the tunnel, we went immediately to a beautiful suspension bridge.
After all that, we got off the freeway and went to Hwy 1.† This was good until we got to any city and then it was horrible-like a major traffic jam.† As soon as we left the city we zoomed right along and then came to a standstill at the next city.
We did jump on the freeway once, but it was a toll road.† So we decided to just fight it out on 1, because we only had 20 miles and 3 cities to go.† As it turned out, we only went through 2 cities because at the 3rd city we decided to stop at a motel before the city because it is supposed to rain overnight.
Plan to order a pizza for dinner tonight.
If it wasn't for the traffic, Maine is pretty nice.
Start: Kennebunk, ME
End: Bangor ME
Comments: We left our motel and immediately got on the turnpike, in sunshine.† After about 65 miles it started to rain† which means we drove the other 100 miles in the rain.† It was a light rain, but still not any fun.† John did see a wild turkey.† There were a number of "beware of moose" signs, but we didn't see any.
We got to Bangor, to a motel, got everything inside and the sun came out.† We did get some wash done.
Start: Bangor, ME
End: Sussex NB Canada
Comments: Had a beautiful 100 mile ride from Bangor to Canada.† Nice road, little traffic, sunshine, and wonderful scenery.† Reminded me of northern Minnesota.† You could even smell the pines sometime.
I got through customs without a problem; John was like the ďx numberĒ person in the line and they chose him to check out more closely.† He had to go to the adjacent building and they just took his passport and examined it again and then it was ok.
The town itself, where we crossed over, St. Stephen's, had a Bank of Montreal so we stopped and converted some money. For $200US we got $220.40 Canadian.† If the visitor center had been open, we would have stopped, but it said "Closed - open in the spring". The roads in the city were really bad. Really bad. The people were very friendly however.† Food, gas and motels were more expensive than in the states.† And it was supposed to be a beautiful sunny day but as we were eating at Subway, the sky was getting dark and we saw a few drops of rain.
We took off, heading for St. John and there we found some nice highways.† Beautiful scenery (even the sky that kept getting darker and darker).† Many of the roads had long inclines, well maybe half a mile long and then equal lengths of declines.† Since we are in Canada, everything is in kilometers instead of miles, liters instead of gallons (more tricky) and Celsius instead of Fahrenheit (super tricky).† But I'm adjusting.
We got to St. John without any problem and decided to go another 45miles to Sussex.† When we left St. John, we encountered wet roads; no rain but areas where it had apparently rained.† The skies off to our left were getting dark, really dark and you could see where it was raining. And then we saw some lightning. Then it started to rain so we pulled off the highway and put on our rain suits.† Then it started to hail! Good thing we wear helmets.† There was a nearby bridge so we sat under the bridge and it didn't take long for everything to pass over.
We were going to camp and stopped at the campground where the guy had a sign on the door that said "back in 30 min"† We sat in the wind for a little while, waiting for him to return, but then we decided to just ride onward.† As it turned out, after a short distance, we came upon a cute little motel that had a diner associated with it so we stopped there.
While watching TV, I determined that they just have somewhat odd shows.† The weather channel is nice because they actually show the weather (as opposed to The Weather Channel that has a million ads, then Storm Stories and every once in a while you can catch the weather).† But Canada's channels are just kind of cheesy; not quite as professionally done.† I guess that doesn't really make it bad, but it is different.† And instead of having stations in Spanish, Canada has stations in French.
Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny. Hah! We've heard that before.† They did say it is supposed to be windy, like up to 40 Km (25mph).† Another windy day.
Start: Sussex NB Canada
End: Auld's Cove
Comments: Day was cold to start, but sunny and windy.† We had double lane the large proportion of the way.† Mostly good highways with great scenery although no wildlife even though we saw lots of "moose" and "deer" signs.† There were quite a few mountain streams and I even saw a waterfall.
The waysides in Canada are quite nice to stop at.† They seem to have a lot of information, plus the last place had 2 computers you could use.† This place that we stopped at, upon entering Nova Scotia had a young lady playing the bagpipes.† It was neat.
I had a tough end of the day, the wind seemed to get worse, although John didn't think so.† And unfortunately this was on single lane.† Anyway, we made it here to Cape Breton because it is supposed to rain on Thurs or Fri and Sat, depending on which channel you watch.† But we wanted to get here before the rain.† However tomorrow John will travel about 250 miles around Cape Breton and especially scooter on the Cabot Trail.† Just knowing that it will be super windy, I'll stay here at the motel.† Everyone should have a good time.
Start: Auld's Cove
End: Auld's Cove
Comments: We (actually John has) scootered 6200 miles as of today. I took the day off.† He† did the Cabot Trail loop and† Finally saw his first moose, a baby and a mother.† Many commercial fishing boats were near the shore with tons of seagulls all around the boats.† Single lane roads were not bad.† A little snow yet at 1400 feet.† Returned to Auld's Cove for the night.
John did almost hit a rabbit but was able to slam on his brakes, come to a screeching halt and just miss him.† He did have to pay something like $8 to go through the park, but the scenery was spectacular.† There was much water because it was up on a plateau of about 1400 feet (with some pretty challenging hills to get up).† So as he was descending, there were wonderful places where the water was falling over the rock outcroppings
He even stopped at a gas station and asked the guy if he could change his oil in one of the gas station bays, but the guy told him he could just change it in his parking lot and did he need anything?† There are some pretty nice people in Canada.
Start: Auld's Cove
End: Truro-Rainbow Motel
Comments: We left Auld's Cove and took the back road (Hwy 7) across the country going south toward the coast of the eastern shore.† We continued on 7 winding our way back and forth, from the coast and then inland, back to the coast until we got to Dartmouth.
Some of Hwy 7 was terrible with potholes and deep grooves and a real mess.† Most of it was pretty good.† There was very little traffic and the scenery was wonderful.† It reminded me so much of the Boundary Waters.† They also had about 3 terrific picnic spots on this route.† However as hard as we looked, we didn't see any wildlife.
We were planning to stop at Halifax, but when I figured out the route, I screwed up.† We were supposed to exit on Exit#2 and the first exit we encountered was Exit#10 and then they started counting up.† So we went on to Truro.
Since it was the afternoon, we went right to the place where the tide comes in so high; they call it the tidal bore.† The place we stopped at was on the Salmon River. So the Bay of Fundy is a big body of water that slowly decreases in size as it comes toward the land around the bay.† Then the size of the area that the water travels in gets smaller as it moves into the rivers. The rivers are the ultimate place where the tide travels to when they talk about the tidal bore.
The lady at one of the visitor centers said the tide comes in 2 feet high and one of the locals sitting there waiting for it to come in, said that he thought it would only be an inch or 2.† Our piece of paper said it was supposed to happen at 4:10PM and the guy said that the paper said 3:30PM.† So we were waiting and more people were coming.† It probably happened about 3:50.† I looked down the river and there was this kind of sparklingness coming forward.† Yes!! It was coming!! †We and everybody else just watched as this wave of water, the entire width of the river came toward us. I guess it was between 6 and 12 inches.† There were rocks lining the side of the river where we were standing, plus we were up on the grass about 10 feet high.† The bad thing was that everything about the water was muddy.† When the wave passed by us, right near the rocks, it literally looked like 12-18 inch waves of chocolate.† The brown color was most predominate right along the shore; the rest of it just looked to be your normal color of muddy.† We watched for 5 minutes and then wondered how long it would take to fill this area of the river.† And you could just see it happen before your eyes.† There was a huge amount of water going by us and you could see the rocks being covered in minutes.† The middle of the river had been like an island mudflat and you could just see it being covered quickly with water.† Then all different kinds of wave actions started to happen with the quick entrance of all the water.† It was absolutely amazing.† We watched for at least half an hour.† Oh, I forgot to mention the sound of the water as it came toward us. Like a roaring sound. The entire thing was just the greatest.
We stayed at the Rainbow Motel and the guy was nice enough to let John change my oil in the parking lot.
End: Sussex-Bluebird Motel
Comments: Took the scenic route to Sussex because yesterday we took the scenic route and it was so nice.† The one problem was we had to go through some city to get to the right highway.† How can there be a rush hour at 12 o'clock in the afternoon?† And then there are few road signs and of course construction. It was quite ugly but John just has a sense for taking the right road, even when NOTHING is marked so he got us to where we were supposed to be.
We then rode along the Shore of Fundy for a while.† Very little traffic and when the roads were good, it was nice.† The scenery was good regardless, it was just harder to see it when you were dodging potholes.
And then the real crux - our route took us right through the Bay of Fundy Nat'l Park; which they usually charge for, but no one was collecting.† And it was a good thing.† It was about a 10-12 mile drive and started out good.† Then there was a construction sign.† We wound up on a gravel road.† Then pavement. Then† little further they had grooved pavement, which is ok but nerve wracking to ride on.† From there we went to out and out packed dirt with rocks strewn in.† That went on for a couple of miles, and at last we got onto pavement.† But only for a minute.† It was just to lull us scooter people into a false sense of security, because that crummy packed dirt road came back again.† I was so proud I made it through and at last we were back on a ďfor realĒ road.
From there we got onto the main highway and went back, in fact, to the same motel we had stayed at before, when we were in Sussex, the Bluebird Motel.
Start: Sussex, the Bluebird motel
End: Bar Harbor ME- a beautiful $38 motel
Comments: We woke up planning that it would be raining, but it wasn't! We took
off in a mist, that after a while became fog and sometimes drizzle. Not really good weather, and then when we hit the Border town of St. Stephen it started to rain in earnest.† And the reason is because they have the worst roads in the world, so we had to fight our way through the rain on horrible streets.† We stopped at the same Subway we had been at before, and the lady there was telling us that the line to get across the border was so many blocks long.† But she told us about the little known border crossing that no one knows about and so we had to sit out in the rain for only 40 min. to cross. Once we finally got up there, we got through quickly and drove through Maine in drizzle, rain and fog. When we got maybe 30 miles from Bar Harbor, it cleared up YAH!! We also went on some exceptionally beautiful roads.† There was a hawk of some kind that flew right along with us for a little ways.
We went into Bar Harbor, a very lovely town.† We went through the city and called some of the nice motels to find out that they were charging around $100. We then stopped at the wharf and just took a leisurely stroll around that area.† Then we went back out of the city to the cheap motels and found a really nice one for $39!
We also met Marv and Donna at the motel; they had a room very near our room.† As it turned out, we also saw them at dinner.† We went to this out of the way place that served lobster Ė the whole lobster.† The food was great, the company too.
Start: Bar Harbor
End: Ellsworth, ME
Comments: What a day.† Last night I had heard a clunking sound every now and then from what appeared to be the back part of the scooter.† We thought it could have been stuff rattling in my back trunk.† So anyway the day started out lovely and we went to Acadia Nat'l Park and listened to the 15 min show at the Visitor Center and then drove through the park.† We went to (I can't remember the name, but Thunder something). It's a spot by the shore where with every wave, it funnels into a 40 foot long 6 foot wide area and the water bores under the rock at the end of this 40 ft funnel and frequently it makes a loud noise and sometimes the waves shoot way up in the air. It was super cool.† The whole ride through the park was beautiful, including the ride to the top of Cadillac Mt. It would be a great place to hike, backpack.
From there, John drove my bike a while to listen to the clunks. We went back to Hwy 3 to head over to Augusta, and then to New Hampshire.† However first we stopped at a biplane and glider place and I chose the glider.† It was most exciting being pulled up by the other plane.† It felt effortless, no tug, no pull, we were just lifted up. Then we stayed up there† for 15 min. or so, just soaring around looking for wind to keep us up.† (Of course the pilot did all this while we sat in the back and observed the scenery). The other really exciting part was landing.† It was like we were up and then, bam, just like that, we were zooming down.† He didn't waste any time landing the plane.† It seemed to me like we were doing a nose dive;† I wanted to say "put the nose up, put the nose up!"† And John thought that at the direction we were heading that we would be going down the main runway.† But as it turned out, at the last second, like right before crashing into the ground, the nose came up and he turned a hard right and we were only on the runway a very short distance and then he turned onto the grass where we stopped quickly.† And we were about right where we started. It was great fun.
†About 1 mile before the glider place, we had stopped at a parking lot and John took my bike apart to see what the noise was.† Everything looked ok, but he did find a loose bolt by the wheel (whatever) which he tightened and we hoped would have fixed the problem.† To make a long story short, it didn't fix the problem.† We stopped again (actually in the McDonald's parking lot) and after eating, he took the scooter apart again. He took the swingarm off and that was wrecked because the ball bearings were falling out of the wheel and some, many had already fallen out, probably for some time.† So we need a brand new swing arm and the corresponding little parts including ball bearings to fit into the middle of the wheel so it rides smoothly and actually just rides, period.† So we are awaiting parts.
Whenever we would stop and John would start tearing apart the scooter, we would always have people stop and come up and offer their assistance, or frequently offer the use of their tools.† John carries a ton of tools and so usually he could get by, but everyone is so thoughtful and friendly.
To get my non-working scooter from McDonaldís to the motel that was a quarter of a mile up the road, John brought tow straps!† Whoever woulda thought?† So he pulled me up to the motel.† The scooter fell over only once; that was when we were starting out.† You canít make a sharp turn at 3mph when your motor is not running.† After that it wasnít bad at all.
Mon June 1
Place: Ellsworth, ME
Comments: We spent the day resting a little,† going out and searching for parts and some groceries, doing laundry, and changing the oil in John's bike.† And then hoping that the parts come tomorrow.
Tues. June 2
Start: Ellsworth, ME
End: Standish, ME - York Family Campground
Comments:† The parts came at 11:15, John had them all installed by noon and we were on the road by 1, with a noticeable difference in my scooter; no clunking sound, the rear end was much tighter and it drove beautifully.
We had nice roads, mostly all single lane, but not a lot of cars and those that were out driving weren't going like speed demons.† We stopped for lunch at a State Park, but that cost $8 so the guy sent us a quarter of a mile down the road to a boat launch where we didn't have to pay.† Plus the boat launch was so close to the State Park that we just walked over to an empty campsite and ate at that picnic table.
We crossed a really cool bridge; I was going to remember the name of the city-maybe Bucksport or Belfast.† But anyway, what a cool bridge.† Not super long, but the long expansion beams or ropes or whatever they are, is what makes them so really beautiful.
We stopped at Burger King at 5PM, started driving again around 6:15, looking right into the sun.† So we stopped at a campground and it's nice except that the mosquitoes are going to carry us away.† So I am signing off.
Date: Wed. 6/3
Start: York Family Campground-Cornish
End: Merrimack, NH
Comments: Left the campground and traveled a couple miles into New Hampshire.† We had good roads and a nice day.† When we got into the Merrimack area, where there were bigger cities, it got a little crazy going through the downtown areas, but it was all fine.† We stopped at Applebee's for lunch and then went to look for a library because it had been quite a while since we had checked our email.
After that, we stopped at Twin Bridges City Park in Merrimack to see what that was all about,† A very nice park; we looked at the park and all the people at the park.
Then we drove over to Jerry and Carol Hurwitchís.† John and Jerry met at MSOE in Milwaukee in the early 1970ís after John got out of the Army.† Our families have kept in touch over the years.† We had been at their house maybe 15 years ago, but I didn't much remember it.† They have a big pool in their backyard and a beautiful big yard.† They just had a wall knocked out in the kitchen area and had new countertops put in.††
Carol wanted to see what the scooters were like so John gave her a little ride.† She had a good time.
They took us to a great place to eat, I had salmon and rice; John had some kind of steak. Jerry has not been feeling too well as he has had quite a few different health problems.† But at least from our point of view, he is making great progress.† It was great to see them again.
Start: Merrimack, NH
End: Compton, NH
Comments: What a day this was.† We started out by going south to Windham to a CF Moto Dealer because Johnís rear tire was badly worn and needed to be changed.† John had called them yesterday and they said that they could order a tire that would be there today but they were very busy and could not tear the scooter down to change the tire until Monday as they were going to be closed Friday through Sunday for family reasons.† John asked it they would put the new tire on the rim if the wheel was removed from the scooter.† They agreed and said he could tear the scooter down in their parking lot.† We got there and John took off the tire without any problem and we just had to wait until the Fed Ex guy brought the new tire.† But to get the wheel off, John had to remove the swing arm that contains the rear wheel bearing.† After inspecting the bearing, he noticed that the† bearing was bad.† Since the guy in Windham didn't have any ball bearings, John took my scooter north to Manchester to get the ball bearings and returned.† When he got back, the tire had arrived and had been put on the rim.† With the assistance of the shop owner and his son, Loren and Josh Broady, the new bearing got installed and John reassembled the scooter with the new tire and new bearing and we left that place about 1pm in the afternoon.† We were on our way to Todd and Teese Mosenthalís home.† We had meet Todd and Teese in the Twin Cities many years earlier and enjoyed their company playing tennis, canoeing, running, etc while they were in the metro area.† We kept in touch over the years after they moved out East.†
We headed north to Todd and Teese's house† on some pretty ugly roads.† They weren't all bad, but boy, the ones that were, were awful.† When we got near their house, it just seemed to take forever to get there, but finally we made it.† Everyone was out in the yard playing basketball. The 2† youngest girls, Teagan and Risa were so excited about the scooters and they both wanted a ride. So John gave each one a ride to their Lacrosse practice that was about 5 min. away.† Then he left the scooter there and Todd, Teese and me picked him up in the car and we drove a short ways to climb Rattlesnake Mt.† Beautiful view but it was a heck of a climb; that is very steep in parts.
Teagan fixed us some steaks on the grill; some incredibly good steaks and we had a very nice dinner. Their 2nd oldest daughter came home after her Lacrosse game (the finals-but they lost).† So we got to meet Nika.† Their oldest daughter Kia is in her 2nd year of college, so we didn't get to meet her.† Oh I forgot to say that they have a beautiful house on 50 acres of land, basically in the Wilderness.
Start: Compton, NH
End: Speculator, NY
Comments: Yes, today was the day we had to go through Lake George, where 8 million Bikers converged for Americaid. After we got into NY we started seeing lots of bikers.† And as we kept getting closer to Lake George we saw more and more.† Then to get to our destination for the night we had to drive right through the blasted city.† Oh my. Parking lot traffic, bikes everywhere, it was quite amazing.† John took some pictures but it doesn't do them justice.† After we got through the thick of it and started moving I thought we were home free, but there was another city that they had taken over and we moved at a snail's pace again.† When we were finally done with that, we drove on and found a campsite.
This was the worst campsite in the world because there were so many mosquitoes.† I had complained about mosquitoes a couple of nights ago, but that was nothing.† These swarmed from the minute we got there until the minute we left.† And just to make it more interesting there were also biting gnats.† It was a miserable night, although we were safe in the tent.
Start: Speculator, NY
End Lakeside, NY
Comments: We got up in the morning, got everything put away and rolled up in the tent that we could and then got out of the tent, packed and left.† We didn't even eat breakfast.† We just got out of there. There was some Bible Church a couple miles up the road, so we stopped since no one was there and we ate our cereal in their parking lot.
It was a nice day with nice roads, not too much traffic and we made good time.† We even went on I-90 for about 50 miles to Syracuse.† We got off of there and headed for the Lake Ontario shoreline drive.† It was quite uncrowded, very beautiful with 50 mph speeds or less.† Except for the couple of times we missed our turn because they don't always mark their roads very well, we did great.
And the best part is that we are at another State Park and there are no bugs!! We are right on the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Start: Lakeside, NY
End: Angola, NY (Evangola State Park)
Comments: We expected it to be quite chilly last night, but we think it got warmer.† There were a few sprinkles of rain. This morning, as we took off it was quite cool.
Today was Niagara falls day.† We got some brochures, but they never tell you anything like how much it is, how to actually get there.† But remember, John is the master pathfinder so he got us to the jet boat place that rides in the rapids.† However there are 2 of them.† In one you get wet and the other one there is an enclosed dome so you stay dry. When we got there, they told us that the dry one is only in Canada.† So we got directions and headed over to Canada. (We are such worldly travelers).
After going through Customs, paying some kind of a toll, and then winding on this extremely beautiful road lined with very nice homes with great gardens, we got to the boat place just on time to see the bus driving out of the parking lot as we were driving in.† That was 10 AM† the next was 1 PM.
So we decided to take that delightful (but slow) drive back the way we came, to at least get a chance to look at the Falls and then we would drive back to the boat place to get there before 1 PM.
Well when we got to see the Falls from the Canadian side, it was just spectacular.† Plus you could see the Falls as you were driving along. We decided to go to where there was "parking" for the Falls.† It cost $20 to park and the lady was kind because it should have cost us $40.† From there we could walk right to where the Horseshoe Falls are.† There was so much mist coming from the Falls it was just like it was raining.† They provided chintzy raincoats if you wanted to buy them, but we had on our jackets and wind pants so we stayed dry.† We were literally 8 feet from the top of the Falls.† It was amazing and beautiful.† After that we decided that we didn't have to do the boat thing since we were able to get so close to the Falls and actually get wet from the mist. So we went back to the US side (through customs again) and drove along Lake Ontario and then Lake Erie and are now at our campground.† It's our 3rd NY State Park in a row and there don't seem to be any mosquitoes; or if so, very few.
Start: Angola, NY
End: Meadville, PA
Comments: We left our campground and basically traveled along Lake Erie as much as possible.† It was a nice drive.† Eventually we got to Erie, PA.† They have a beautiful section of the city along the waterfront.† We wanted to travel out to Presque Isle which is right on the Lake.† The whole place is a State Park and there is a road that goes into the park and loops all the way and around it.† Also there are biking/walking trails that follow the direction of the paved road, plus I believe there were more bike trails.†
The place was just beautiful.† There were picnic areas here and there and beaches here and there and a nature center, tons of trees, lots of bathrooms.† We even saw a deer.† It was probably about 6 miles to the end of the park, that end being super windy, and then the road looped back a ways, then you took the road back out.† It was a great place.† Unfortunately there was no camping.
From there we headed south to Meadville to visit Cathy and Dave Hood.† Cathy is Johnís cousin.† We visited with Cathy and then went out to lunch before she had to go to work in the afternoon. (Sheís a bartender).† Cathy took us to one of the local spots and the food was very good.† John went out and worked on the scooters awhile. Cathyís husband Dave got home and we visited with him and then we went out to a fabulous place for dinner.† Then we all went over to where Cathy was bartending and visited some more. On the way home we got to see some of the beautiful old, huge homes of Meadville.† Itís a very nice city.
Start: Meadville, PA
End: Fort Wayne, IN
Comments: This was a long day, although it turned out to be a good traveling day.† The roads were quite cooperative.† We started on single lane roads that did not have much traffic and we just moved along nicely. (Iím writing this about 2 weeks after the fact).† It seems to me that there was just kind of a question about what roads to take because after a while none of them seemed to be straightforward. And we thought we may end up going on the freeway.† Well I think we kept seeing signs for Cleveland but we wound up in the way southern part of the city, which of course was under construction.† So we stopped in some parking lot to look at a map and we decided we missed our turn a little ways back, what with all the construction.† So we went back and sure enough; we easily got on the right road but unfortunately it was a freeway, like about 6 lanes with everyone zooming around like crazy.† We look up and saw a sign (for whatever road it was we wanted). (I think it was I-71).† And we had to cross about 4 lanes of traffic in about a quarter mile and the road was where they had ripped off the top asphalt because they were going to repair it.† That is the worst to travel on, plus we had to do it at breakneck speeds (55mph) cutting across all those lanes.† But we made it!† After awhile we figured out that we were in the express lane, which was nice; but it wasnít really necessary that we had cut over here so quickly.† We could have taken our time.
From there, we just followed that road (I-71) and that took us to Hwy 30 which just happened to be a double lane road and it took us all the way to Fort Wayne, our destination for the night.
We visited with George and Shari Lapacek, Shari is Johnís cousin.† Shari had only recently had an operation done on her leg and is still unable to walk on it.† But she seems to be getting along quite well and we even went out to eat in the evening and then we went out for breakfast the next morning.† It had been a long time since I had last seen Shari and I had never met George.† Itís always so neat to be able to talk to all the people we meet and catch up on old times and new times and find out whatís going on in their lives.† We thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
Wed. June 10
Start: Fort Wayne, IN
End: Battleground, IN
Comments: Surprisingly there was a relatively straight and direct route from Ft. Wayne to Lafayette and it was a nice (double lane most of the way I believe) route.† Since we were in Indiana, it was drizzling. (and yes, very windy).† As the day went on it rained on and off, finally ending toward the end of our riding day.† When we got quite near to the Lafayette area, we started taking all their little, unknown back routes to avoid the single lane roads that are heavily traveled.† In fact, we came in an odd way that I was not aware of and it was quite unique. I do remember however, as we were riding on those back roads, that the sky looked just as intimidating as it had the last time we had been in this same area.† Does it always rain in Indiana?
We arrived at Patís sister Mary Joís again and no one was home but the dog (Strider, a friendly German Shepherd).† So we went over to Dave and Ruthís house (the next door neighbors) to get the key to get into Michael and Mary Joís house.† Strider was happy to see us and we just made ourselves at home until M + MJ got home.
It was good to see them again and we had a nice visit, went out to eat and then in the evening sat on their back porch and reminisced.† Since MJ has 2 cats, I planned to stay over at Ruth and Davidís house for the evening; John came over there also.† So we walked over there at 10PM with pjís on and toothbrushes in hand.† We sat around and talked with them for awhile and it was getting late that they were traveling the next day too so we all decided we needed to get to bed.† To say that they are such nice people would not begin to do them justice.† Jo and Michael are very lucky to have such great neighbors.
It rained most of the night.† We got up, said goodbye to our host and hostess and went over to M + MJís for breakfast.† Michael makes incredibly good smoothies every morning; so we drank our breakfast before heading on our way.
Thurs. June 11
Start: Battleground, IN
End: Rockford, IL
Comments: I donít exactly remember what route we took when we left, but I do remember that after about the first couple of miles we ran into construction which meant traveling on gravel roads for a couple of miles.† And, it was drizzling and rainy.† We then found our way to whichever route we had planned to take.† All in all it worked out well although we did run into some additional construction now and then; but none of it was on gravel roads.
When we stop for lunch, we frequently run into people who stop and look over our scooters and even go so far as to try to find us to talk about the scooters.† One of the fun things about these trips are the people who just love to stop and talk about what weíre doing and then you find out about what they have done in their lives.
And so we went onward to Rockford. †When we got to Genoa, IL there was a road that would take us to Cherry Valley, our destination for the night.† John let the GPS take us the last couple of miles to Rick and Dara Dickinsonís house.† Rick is Johnís nephew.† The GPS took us on some cool back roads and we crossed the Kishwaukee River 3 times. They must have gotten rain too because the river was quite swollen.†
This was kind of a newly planned stop, to see Rick and Dara.† At the beginning of our trip we planned to just drive from Watertown to Battleground IN and finishing up our trip, we had planned to drive from Battleground right up to Watertown.† However after visiting with some of Johnís relatives in Meadville and Ft. Wayne, we decided we should make the rounds since we would be so near Rockford, where many of Johnís relations still reside.† So we called at the last minute and luckily Rick and Dara were going to be home we could spend the night there.† We spend Thanksgiving in Cherry Valley with Rick and Dara every year.
Rick and Dara got home a little while after we arrived and we visited awhile and then we showered and the 5 of us (their 8 year old son Nolan included) went out to eat at Granite City.† A wonderful time was had by all, not to mention fantastic food.† Our waiter was Daraís older son, Justin, and so we got special treatment.†
Start: Cherry Valley IL
End: Watertown WI
Comments: John got really good directions from Rick and Dara on the best way to get to Rockford and so we were easily able to find the first house and visit with his Aunt Dorothy and Cousin Sandra. Then it was just a couple of miles to see his Aunt Gloria.†
We then took Hwy 51 through Rockford, Beloit and onward into Wisconsin.† It was a nice route with double lane the majority of the way.† Hwy 51 took us on the scenic route.† Somehow we switched onto Hwy 26, in Janesville I think and then went up to Ft. Atkinson and the back way into Jefferson.† I canít ever remember taking this route and it was quite nice.† Once we got nearer to Watertown, John decided to take some of the back roads and he got us to Greg and Sandyís house with no problem, plus it was a scenic, quiet drive.
Just as we drove up to their house, we noticed they were working on their roof.† They had had an ant infestation and had taken off some stuff from their roof, including some boards and they were then replacing it as we got there.† So John helped them with that.
Comments: We spent Friday night, and all day Saturday in Watertown.† We went out to brunch with Grace and Earl Maas, John and Chris Maas.† These are the people who were so kind as to let us stay at their condo in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.† We ate at the Upper Crust, in Watertown, a very nice restaurant with great food and it was so nice to visit with everyone.
Start: Watertown, WI
End: New Hope MN
Comments: We didnít leave Watertown until later in the morning because we never got a chance to visit with Sandy.† She was attending a class Friday night and then most of the day on Sat. So we visited with everyone Sun. morning and got some more really good directions for the route back home.† We took Hwy 26 to 18 and then 14 all the way to LaCrosse.† It was a very scenic route, not a whole lot of traffic and just a good drive.† Iím fairly sure I have never taken this route before and it was fun.
The part that wasnít fun was that my scooter started doing bad things.† It would make a loud screeching noise from the front.† The front wheel just did not feel stable, it was like it had some play in it, maybe the tire was out of balance.† Anyway, John was good enough to drive my scooter and we stopped frequently so he could check to see that both wheels were attached securely.† A little later there started to be a clunking noise in the back.† And the screeching noise was super loud sometime and then there would be a clunk and it would stop for awhile, only to begin again a little later.
After we got to LaCrosse, we crossed the Mississippi and came up on Hwy 61.† We eventually took Hwy 52 to 55 in the Cities and then got onto Hwy 62, going through construction (which wasnít too bad except that at that time of the day, the sun was shining right in our eyes). We exited onto Hwy 100 and came home, screeching and all.
Both scooters made it, mine reluctantly.† It was good to be home.