A Northeast Adventure

Normally Wanda and I take an annual fall adventure trip to the "Smokies". This usually starts after the September club gathering at Nickajack or Monteagle. This year the club meeting weekend was in Nauvoo so we would have to start out from a little further west than usual. We left on Thursday morning, Sept. 27th and rode to Hammond, La. to meet up with Keith Gutbier. We rode together up to Nauvoo travelling some back-roads after entering Alabama following Al 17, 96, 171, 102, and 78. It was a great day for a ride with temps in the 50s when we left home. We spent the rest of Thursday plus Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with the club at our Oktoberfest weekend at the Harbin Hotel in Nauvoo. What a really nice location for our get together.

On Saturday Vance led those who wanted on a ride to the Rattlesnake Saloon for lunch at a neat restaurant in a cave. After lunch we followed him to the "coon dog" cemetery which was also interesting. We enjoyed a great meal Saturday evening all put together by the ladies and coordinated by Darlene. thanks to all for their hard work and a great dinner. I was also lucky enough to win the 50/50 drawing at the meeting which came in handy on our trip. We left Nauvoo Sunday morning with Wanda riding with Tommy and Jeannine Arnold while I rode my GS to their home in Scottsboro. We spent a lovely night with our friends and enjoyed another great meal for dinner. On Monday morning we suited up in full gear plus rain gear since it was raining off and on. We left their home and headed up towards our evening's destination, Maggie Valley N.C.

We encountered only some light misting until we reached Chattanooga where the sky opened up and our Frogg Toggs proved their worth. Just as I was starting to feel like a submarine pilot the rain stopped and we were able to have a reasonably nice ride the rest of the way to Maggie Valley although it remained damp and dreary most of the way. Highway 30 through Reliance and the Cherohala Skyway were still fun but had to be ridden a little more cautiously with lots of wet leaves on the roadways. We arrive in Maggie Valley, checked in to our hotel, very glad to be able to take off the rain gear and riding gear and relax. We were able to eat that night at Wanda's favorite place in Maggie, Legends Sports Bar next door to our hotel. Great burgers and the best wings around. We had planned to spend just one night here and leave on Tuesday morning for the far north but it began raining again and rained most of the night.

The forecast and radar showed the rain ending there in the A.M. but was travelling north so we decided to spend an extra night in Maggie so as not to follow the nasty weather north. On Tuesday morning we lead four riders from Minnesota on a ride along Hwy 28 through the Fontana area and to Deal's Gap and the Dragon. They had trailered down and had never been in this area before. they left to slay the dragon while we ate lunch at the store. We had told them about what other roads to try and ride in the area before they left. Wanda and I then rode back on 129 through Robbinsville and to Hwy 74 and back towards Cherokee and Maggie Valley passing through the Nantahala Gorge. The weather had cleared up nicely and we had enjoyed a great day of riding.

Wednesday morning brought some nice but cool weather for the beginning of the day. We decided to forego some of the roads I had planned to ride leaving Maggie because of the extra day we spent here due to the weather. We opted instead to travel 74, I-40 to Asheville, I-26 to I-81 and I-81 to Marion Va. to save a little time. We turned west at Marion and rode Va. 16 up to Va. 61 at Tazewell (WOW) what a road. We continued to US 460 and on to US 219 and ended the day in Lewisburg W. Virginia. Another great day on fantastic roads with great scenery, the colors were really nice in that area. In the morning we left early and rode back eat on I-64 for a short distance until we turned north on US 220. Another great road with lots to see and almost no traffic. We ended the days ride in Williamsport Penn. having ridden through West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. We were tired so we didn't get to do any sight-seeing in Williamsport. Friday morning we continued to follow my GPS route through Pennsylvania along US 220 finally turning east near Scranton. After navigating through Scranton using the evil GPS route (somewhere the inventor of some of the Garmin GPS software is having a good chuckle) we were able to get back on course for the rest of the route into New York state.

We crossed the Delaware River at Hancock and entered New York following N.Y. 17 to Roscoe at the lower end of the Catskill Mountains. Roscoe is a quaint little town on the Beaverkill river about 60 miles west of New York City. What's with all of the "kills" in New York? Everything is some sort of kill, Catskill, Beaverkill, Fishkill, sure is a lot of killin' going on up there. Vance, Ron Riggins, and I had spent a night here in '06 on the way up to the MOA national rally in Vermont. we checked in to the Roscoe Motel and after unloading the bike left for a jaunt through the Catskills. We rode untill we started hearing banjo music then pushed the button hoping the GPS could lead us out of there. We had dinner at a place Vance and I had eaten at in '06, Raimondo's Italian Ristorante'. Great "real" Italian food but on a sad note our waitress from 06, Alexandra, has left and gone to another state to work for the political campaign of someone for whom I am not voting. How's that for being "politically correct"? We did enjoy a good meal in nice little hometown restaurant. You should have seen the size of the pizzas and the guy making them looked exactly like the "Cake Boss" on TV. We tried to make reservations for the next day in Long Lake but could not get the motel computer to work.

We left Saturday morning for Long Lake, N.Y. in the Adirondacks riding up through the Catskills and then following N.Y. 30 up towards Long Lake. We passed through many beautiful towns, everyone which could be on a post card. The fall colors were great in many locations but alas the weather was overcast and gloomy and we eventually had to don our rain suits again. We arrived in Long Lake around noon in the rain and were lucky to be able to get a room at the Shamrock Motel due to some late cancellations because of the weather. This is also a motel where we stayed on our '06 rally trip.

We booked a room for two nights and settled in to watch the rain and 40 degree temps. The motel is on Long Lake and has a really nice view and large back yard with a walkway down the lake and beach area. It was really a beautiful view later on when the weather cleared up some. We walked the short distance into town to eat at the Adirondack hotel for dinner where we enjoyed pizza. The next day we rode west to the town of Old Forge passing lots of small villages and lakes along the way. We ate a late breakfast after the 36° ride there then toured the town and the main attraction, The Old Forge Hardware & General Store, a really neat place. On the ride back to Long Lake we stopped at the Adirondack Museum and spent a few hours going through the many buildings and exhibits. This was well worth the admission with lots of history of the Adirondack area.

We left Long Lake on Monday Oct.8th and rode some really good back roads up through Saranac Lake and Lake Placid on our way in to Vermont crossing Lake Champlain at Chimney Point. We traveled up towards Burlington and checked in to a motel just south in Shelburne at around 1 P.M. My onboard computer showed that I needed a service and after checking my service book I confirmed that. This was Monday and we had only planned on spending two nights here and didn't think the dealership would be open. I called the number and a girl answered and said that they were open. I told her that I was from out of state and on a trip and asked if they could squeeze me in for an oil & filter change. she said that they could and we followed the GPS to Franks in Essex Junction.

I had visited this dealer in '06 when I had a problem with my RT during the rally. I wound up having a very heated exchange with the owner at that time after I waited for over 9 hours for them to check my bike when they said that I might have to wait 3-4 hours due to the rally crowd. After finding out that they had lost my service ticket and did not even know that I was there, the owner promised to "get right on it". Thirty minutes later no one was working on my bike so I had Frank get it back out of the shop and I left after giving him a sample of some of the lesser known terms in the Cajun vocabulary. Now I needed an oil change at the same dealer. I was thinking that the man I had the discussion with was probably no longer there; I was proven wrong when he exited the front door as we rode up. We left our helmets on and walked inside to the service counter and spoke to the girls at the counter.

After telling her what I needed done we turned around to see Frank standing beside us. He asked if we were from Louisiana. We said yes and that we were touring the northeast. He looked at me and asked if I had been at the rally in '06. I said that I had. He then said that he recalled that I had gotten pretty upset with him during my visit there. I again confirmed that I had. He said that he recalled that I had told him that I had been in law enforcement. Bingo again. I starting to get a sinking feeling that I just might wind up with maple syrup in my engine. He said that in his defense they had been really busy with the rally people being there. I said that in my defense I had just retired and that 20 years of pent up frustration dealing with law breakers had come out. I guess he bought it cause we started talking about other things and went to eat next door with him. After lunch we returned and the girl at the counter said my bike was ready. I gave her my credit card and she printed out an invoice and gave me the slip to sign. I was shocked when I looked at the charge slip and asked if was correct. She looked at Frank and said yes. Frank asked if it was too much.

I said that I had not expected it to be this amount. For the four quarts of BMW 15W50 synthetic, oil filter, and labor he had charged me $21.00. He said that he always likes to rectify any situation with a customer and make it right. I thanked him, a lot, and we left. What a great gesture. I don't know if they put maple syrup in the engine or not but if they did, I'm going to have to keep using it cause the bike has run great since then. Just my luck, maple syrup is more expensive than 15W50 synthetic. Getting the service on Monday evening really helped because it gave us the whole day on Tuesday to travel to New Hampshire and ride the White Mountains. We spent the entire day and rode about 350 miles and even crossed into Maine for a short spell. More great roads and beautiful scenery.

Wednesday morning brought more dreary weather with clouds and cold. Once again we had to put on our rain suits in lower Massachusetts. We rode in the rain for about two hours into New York and Pennsylvania. We took US 209 south and spent the night just outside of Stroudsburg, Pa. The next morning we rode interstates until we got to Strasburg, Va. where we headed for Front Royal and the north end of Skyline Drive. We took a leisurely ride down to Big Meadows where we checked into the lodge for the evening. We had a nice dinner that evening at the lodge and relaxed for the next day. The next day saw us finishing the rest of Skyline to Waynesboro and then rode US 25 back to US 220 at Monterey, then south on 220 to Roanoke, and on to Wytheville, Va. for the night.

Saturday morning we rode I-81 to Marion and took Va. 16 East to US 58 and on to Damascus. This was part of the route that we cut off at the beginning of our trip. From Damascus we rode down to Shady Valley for a break and watched the parade for the cranberry festival. Then it was on to Johnson City and I-26 to Asheville and back into Maggie Valley for the night. Lots more people now and prices for lodging have almost doubled. We came across an accident involving a Gold Wing trike and a small truck. It looks like there were some injuries with EMTS on site.

Sunday morning we rode up to Robbinsville on 28 and 143 then rode the Cherohala over to Tellico. It was very cloudy on the N.C. side with very dense fog at the top. The Tenn. side started getting sunny and the colors were pretty good. We took a break in Tellico, then headed back through Greasy Creek and back through Ocoee and Cleveland. Then we just cranked it up and rode straight through to Meridian, Miss. for the night. Monday morning we got up early and finished the 250 miles home and arrived by 11:15 A.M. It was a great trip overall. We had a few rough spots in the weather but were blessed for most of the trip with great roads, great scenery and many nice people. Can't wait for the next trip

Bob Daigle