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Thread: PA to VT - A Recent Retiree's Ramble

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    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    PA to VT - A Recent Retiree's Ramble

    Effective September 1, at the ripe old age of 56 and after 23 years of a research career at a large pharma company, I pulled the plug and retired. One of the things I plan to do is ride more, and what better time to do that than in the Fall?

    The trip at the top of my list was a camping trip to New England (VT) to see the fall foliage, so I went this week. I mayÔÇÖve been a little early, but I had a great time and saw some good color. The roads still curve even if the colors havenÔÇÖt peaked.

    I left my home in southeast PA on Monday, the start of the (non)work week, with a goal of getting to the Adirondacks and Ausable Point SP, near Plattsburgh. The description of the state park as a sandy point that juts into Lake Champlain sounded interesting and I could ferry to Burlington from there.

    Monday morning was electric jacket cool and I left the house by 5:30. Since the first hour or so would be in the dark, I took interstates and highways to MarshallÔÇÖs Creek near Stroudsburg, where I picked up PA 402 north.



    I watched a bit of the sunrise over Silver Lake.



    I picked up I-84 east and crossed into NY state at Port Jervis.



    NY 42 north had lots of gentle curves. The school buses were out, but I made good time.



    At one point, I came to the Neversink Reservoir, which I believe feeds NYC.



    At this point, I knew I had missed my turn, so backtracked and eventually picked up Frost Valley Rd, a road IÔÇÖve ridden in the past. Unfortunately, the effects of Irene are still being felt.



    I saw lots of damage still evident from Irene in NY and VT.

    I mayÔÇÖve been able to get through, but I turned around to find an alternate route. IÔÇÖve ridden this area before when attending the Airheads at the Aerodrome rally and the Color in the Catskills at Hunter Mountain. The roads looked vaguely familiar and I eventually ended up on Peekamoose Rd. What a roller coaster.



    IÔÇÖd ridden this road twice before with MOA members - once in a heavy rainstorm and once after the road had just been chip sealed ÔÇô neither time was all that much fun. This time though was very enjoyable.

    I eventually made my way over to Grand Gorge to pick up NY 30. In the spirit of practicing what you preach, I recently recommended NY 30 to a Forum member as a great way to travel south through NY state from Canada. I rode this road several years ago, and have wanted to get back there.

    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  2. #2
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    I picked up NY 30 and headed north. The weather was mostly sunny but with patches of dark clouds, and in places the road was damp from recent showers.

    Looks like a nice sunny day...



    ...but turn and look the other way...



    I passed through Amsterdam



    ...and headed into the Adirondacks, where the colors were still a little muted, and where I ran into a couple of light rain showers.



    There are lots of lakes, streams and ponds along NY 30, which are quite scenic, and the road changes elevation and has lots of sweeping curves. As the day wore on, I started to push a little to make up time, and since I hadnÔÇÖt seen a trooper all day, I was riding a little over the speed limit as the road straightened for a long downhill stretch and I accelerated as I passed a trooper. I saw him pull to the shoulder but not make a U-turn right away, but as soon as I saw him turn, I pulled over and waited for him. Removing the helmet to show all my grey hair didnÔÇÖt help as he clocked me at 74. I did have to explain to him that my vanity plate (BOXSR) wasnÔÇÖt related to me being a Red Sox fan.

    The next town I came to had a nice bench I sat on for a while as I changed my frame of mind and calmed down a little bit.



    I stayed within the speed limit for the rest of the trip and actually passed a couple troopers as I was doing the speed limit. I enjoyed myself just as much as didnÔÇÖt have to worry about getting stopped.

    I continued on NY 30 until Tupper Lake where I turned east to Saranac Lake and Lake Placid.







    I reached the SP at 6, which is a little later than I like to be on the road if I have to set up camp. I picked a site on the lake and set up camp as night fell.





    When I was setting up my tent, I realized I had not packed all my tent stakes. This is the first time in forever that I did not set up my tent before leaving to make sure everything was OK. I last used the tent in Sedalia and I bent lots of stakes on the hard ground. I mustÔÇÖve thrown out the bent stakes and didnÔÇÖt double check before I left. I could stake the tent, but not the fly.

    I ended up going 525 miles, which is more than I usually do when using mostly two lane roads, and I was tired. After chili mac freeze dried, pop tarts and a little sipping whiskey, it was off to bed.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  3. #3
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Day 2
    I had fallen asleep to the gentle sound of lapping waves against the shoreline and awoke at some point during the night to the sound of a loud flapping of my tent fly as the wind had picked up quite a bit during the night. My first thought was ÔÇ£damn, I wish I had more tent stakesÔÇØ and my second thought was ÔÇ£oh, this should be an interesting ferry crossingÔÇØ. I vowed to get tent stakes in Burlington, and rather than get up and tie back my tent fly flaps, spent a fitful night listening to the ÔÇ£gentleÔÇØ sound of a flapping tent.

    I awoke at 6 as the eastern sky started to brighten, watched the sun rise over the Vermont ÔÇ£skylineÔÇØ and walked on the beach.







    After a breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, I packed up. At this time of year there are fewer ferries between Port Kent and Burlington, and the first eastbound ferry was scheduled for 9:30 from Port Kent. I left camp by 8:30 giving me time to get gas, stop at the Ausable Chasm, which is a pretty interesting series of waterfalls through a chasm, and arrive at the Port Kent harbor at 9...



    ...and was sent to the head of the line.



    It was quite windy with lots of whitecaps on the lake, but I was heartened to see two Harleys off load from the ferry. I was first on and was placed in the lee of the wheelhouse. Those ferry guys know what theyÔÇÖre doing - this was about the only dry spot on deck.



    The ferry rocked a bit but the bike was fine on the center stand. There was a lot of spray across the starboard bow, and a couple of times I stood by the bike as the tour bus and large RV on board were swaying on their suspensions.

    I was glad to get to the Burlington harbor after a little over an hour on the ferry.



    I rode around Burlington a little and then set off to find tent stakes as there was a forecast for rain and I would need a properly staked tent fly. A gentleman told me hardware stores sell them and directed me to an Ace Hardware, where sure enough, they had tent stakes.

    At about noon I headed north to St Albans.





    In St Albans I picked up VT 105 east and my plan was to keep on this road across northern VT and see what I could see. I planned to stop around 2 and figure out where I was going to spend the night.

    This part of VT is flat and there wasnÔÇÖt a lot of color, but I enjoyed the ride to Richford along the Missisquoi River.







    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  4. #4
    Cage Rattler wezul's Avatar
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    Oh for f . . . . wait this is a family show.
    Seems I'm tragically late to everything . . . . this time it's retirement.
    Geh!
    Oh well . . . . hey Terence, nice ride thanks for sharing.

  5. #5
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Richford is a little town hard by the Canadian border.





    The road east from Richford starts to climb and becomes great fun. As I gained elevation, there was a bit more color.



    Shortly before 2 I was in Newport, which is situated on a lake.



    I had initially wanted to continue east and maybe get to NH, but with the late start and not wanting to be on the road too long, I looked at the map and decided to head south to SmugglerÔÇÖs Notch SP and camp there for the night. SmugglerÔÇÖs Notch has some elevation and would probably have better color.

    I had to stop for the obligatory moose sign picture.



    I worked my way south and west over to Jeffersonville





    and headed south on VT 108 over Smugglers Notch.



    ThatÔÇÖs a fun road to ride, especially up and over the summit. The road becomes pretty narrow and truly goes through a notch, as itÔÇÖs about one car width wide between some large rocks.

    Down the other side took me to the SP, arriving around 4 after a shortish day of 170 miles.



    Most of the sites here are walk-in sites, so I walked in and set up camp in a nice secluded, wooded site. Notice the nicely staked tent fly.



    As I went to heat water for a cup of coffee, I discovered my two lighters had gotten wet from a little bit of water left in my cook set and neither lighter worked. Determined to have a hot cup of coffee, and since I HAD to have freeze dried chicken teriyaki for dinner, I suited up and headed down to Stowe muttering to myself the whole way. Note to self ÔÇô itÔÇÖs probably not a good idea to pack your main and back up lighter together, just like pilots and co-pilots canÔÇÖt eat the same meal.

    I found a convenience store and got a pack of matches and headed back to camp as the light faded, STILL muttering to myself.



    Now I was a happy camper.



    After my much-anticipated freeze dried dinner and a little sipping whiskey, is was off to bed. The forecast for Wednesday was for rain, so I started to mentally prepare myself for a potentially wet day.

    Day 2 was a good day
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  6. #6
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    You're in my backyard this morning. Connect with me if you'd like some scenic route suggestions in the area.

    Oh, and I envy your ability to stop and take photos! On my trips I carry 2 or 3 cameras and spend most of my time thinking, "Damn, that would have been a good photo! Oh, there was another photo op!"

    Pete
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  7. #7
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terham View Post
    GREAT shot!

    That is cover quality...

    Ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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  8. #8
    Geeser
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    well written. thanks for sharing.
    Marty
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  9. #9
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    Thanks a Big'ol Bunch! for sharing. You have a talent for photography & narrating the photos. Really enjoyed it!! Glad you had a good & safe trip!

    BTW; I ate lunch in that sandwich shop / store in Tyson Village, when I was up that way in 2007, after Americade.

    Ron

  10. #10
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Thoroughly enjoyed your trip, albeit vicariously. Great photos to along with the dialog. Thanks!
    Dan

  11. #11
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    Nicely done. Thank-you for posting; I know it takes a bit of doing. This is definitely a different (and very scenic) area than I am used to on the western side of the continent.
    Last edited by bogthebasher; 09-30-2012 at 12:24 AM. Reason: spelling error
    Ken
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    Gee-whiz...

    You have a gift of picking camp sites! A couple of those camp photos
    are, as they say in the movie.... "real nice clark"
    And, your a lucky guy to have "flagged down" a passing car with what
    you had going on.... what did you use, the "neck wiggle, helmet bob" method!?
    Thanks for the great report.

    "travel'in john" ; 04R1150R

  13. #13
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyhi2cfar View Post
    You have a gift of picking camp sites! A couple of those camp photos
    are, as they say in the movie.... "real nice clark"
    And, your a lucky guy to have "flagged down" a passing car with what
    you had going on.... what did you use, the "neck wiggle, helmet bob" method!?
    Thanks for the great report.

    "travel'in john" ; 04R1150R
    I used a persistent hand wave, and there much have been a certain amount of desperation in it, as the first car I tried it on, stopped.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  14. #14
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terham View Post
    Effective September 1, at the ripe old age of 56 and after 23 years of a research career at a large pharma company, I pulled the plug and retired. One of the things I plan to do is ride more, and what better time to do that than in the Fall?
    I'm fast approaching age 63 (February) and I am wrestling with the notion of retiring.

    Thanks for the great trip report. It really strikes a chord with me because I look back fondly on trips through New England on my bike. I live in Western NY so New England and points NE are some of my favorite places to ride.

    I've had some trouble getting any riding in of late, with medical problems some years and family commitments other years. When I take a week off for a family get-together, then I don't have any time for a bike trip.

    My career has been in road and bridge construction, which has severely limited my time off during the riding season. Going on bike trips like the one you just presented is one of my main motivations to retire, so wish me luck in taking the plunge and actually retiring. My plan is to retire this winter, after the construction season ends.

    Thanks again for the nice pics and trip report. It brings back memories of trips to Laconia, Bar Harbor, Quebec, Nova Scotia, etc. and reminds me I need to retire to do more of these adventures. Let's hope your trip report helps in some small way have me see the light and retire while I am still able to do road trips on the bike.



    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  15. #15
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Harry, I'm certainly a newbie to this whole retirement thing, but so far so good. It feels a little like Groundhog Day - every day's a Saturday.

    If you haven't seen this, I found this thread interesting and informative.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

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