Each fall, as our annual motorcycle trip is winding down,  Eric and I always start talking about next year's plans.  We had done the West several times, but had only done the East once, on our 2004 Civil War trip.  I had never been to New England, and Eric had enjoyed what little time he had spent there in the past.  So, New England it was.

Somewhere in New York

We checked our schedules and blocked off two-and-a-half weeks, and I started planning.  We had missed West Virginia in 04, so I wanted to spend some time there.  Neither of us had ever seen Niagara Falls.  We had an old college buddy in Toronto we would like to see.  The coast of Maine was supposed to be spectacular.  And the thought of riding the ferry over to Nova Scotia and then coming back into Maine by land had a certain appeal.  Could we do all of that in the time allotted?  We typically ride 300-400 miles a day, and we stay off the Interstates, preferring local back-roads to anything else.  Sometimes our route, when viewed on a map, will look like it was planned by a drunk.  We meander all over the place...we rarely take the shortest route anywhere.  So I finally decided to just make a list of places we would like to see, and hit the road headed north, seeing how many of them we could make.  I wanted to keep the schedule as loose as possible.

Our Toronto buddy, Rob, is self employed and works out of his house.  He said we could show up anytime we wanted and stay as long as we liked.  Cool.

In the meantime, Lana planned a trip with her parents up to Chicopee, Massachusetts, to visit family.  They would be there while we were on the road, and I would be remiss in my husbandly duties if I didn't stop by for a visit.  They would be there for a week, so that gave me a big window of time to shoot for.  No problem.

As our jump-off date approached, I began to do some route planning.  We wanted to ride all the twisty little scenic back-roads that we could.  The Internet is a wonderful source of information, so I posted some questions on the Motorcycle Tourer's Forum, asking advice on good roads in the East.  I got tons of responses, and we hit a lot of the routes that were suggested by MTF members.  The MTF is a great online community; if you are into bikes, you owe it to yourself to spend some time there.  I also got some good information on the Motorcycle Roads website, the New England Riders site, and Adventure Rider.

Now, which bike to take?  Which tool was best suited to this job?

Either bike would be fine for this trip, but I took the FJR.  The better wind protection and engine heat that the FJR is known for would be welcome on cool fall days, plus I like having the ABS brakes and hard luggage on tour.  Also, if we ended up doing any Interstate time, it is a real mile-eater.  I will make it up to the V-Strom in late October with a short trip to the mountains...

I wanted to make more pictures on this trip than past ones.  The problem is that once I am riding, I hate to stop and take pictures!  "Oh, that's pretty, but there is no place to pull over, I'm in a hurry, there's too much traffic, maybe there will be something better up ahead..."  Always some excuse.  So I rigged my camera to a little retractor gizmo made for carrying keys on one's belt.  I attached that to my tank bag, so that I could take pictures with my left hand while in motion and not have to worry about dropping the camera.  It worked out pretty well.  Some of the pictures aren't level, and a lot came out blurry, but overall I was pleased.  Of course, than means that the following pages have LOTS of pictures, so please excuse the long download times.  Face it, you would rather look at pictures than read the drivel that I write, anyway...

Before I knew it, the day arrived.  I put a new front tire on the bike, changed the oil, grabbed my passport, and headed north.



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