Thats right chevyPC, stickers only for this guy!
Its kind of an inside joke with my buddy Phil…AKA chevyPC and I. Because a few years ago he and my wife planned a great 40th birthday present for me, which involved trailering my bike down to the Tail of the Dragon.
It was an awesome trip, with one down side…I DONT TRAILER my bikes….I RIDE THEM!
So a few weeks ago I posted up on the NER message board that Mrs OSJ and I would be attending our very first weekend away with the NERd’s. They have been doing at least two of these weekend trips a year for the past 5 years or so. We have yet to attend one. This year would be different.
I put up that I would need to trailer the bike up to Stowe Vermont. I made some excuse that I needed to pick up one of my daughters in NH on the last day and didn’t want to ride home only to go back north with the truck.
A few days before the trip I over heard Phil telling my wife that I was going to take some heat from my fellow riders about this. I usually am pretty out spoken about trailer queens. The hook was set and he was ready to reel in!
Many people had left for Stowe on Wednesday or Thursday morning, we couldn’t leave until Thursday night. I had contacted another good friend Puckernomore (Richie) about meeting up with him at some point. I had to fill him in on the joke. We made plans to meet him and his wife, Sharon in NH
The OSJ’s ready to roll!
Our plan was to use back roads thru MA & NH up to Grantham. From there we will grab I89 and ride straight up to Stowe.
It was very hot and humid on this day. I tried to stay on the back roads that offered some shade and relief from the sun
We needed a break about 90 min into the ride…something to cool us down
Drive thru on a Ducati? Well it was the current theme tag….the girls behind the counter thought it was cool when I explained the tag games.
Back roads lead us to this spot, and from here we grab Rt 31 and headed north. It had been a few years since Ive been on 31 north of Wilton. The road surface is getting rough but the twisty sections just before it ends on Rt 10 are still fun.
It wasn’t long before we reached Grantham just as Rich and Sharon were getting there too. We hung out for a while at the gas station just catching up with each other
Sharon is one of those types…she rides her own! And both of them are Suzuki folks. Bandit 1200, Intruder and Richie has a sweet Katana 1100 back at home.
From here we took I89 for the 1.5 hr ride up to Stowe and the host hotel for the weekend. We got to watch the sun set behind the green mountains as we rode.
…the start of a long weekend on motorcycles is always the most exciting for me. Especially when I have roads to ride that Ive never been on. Having my best friend on the back even makes the moment sweeter. Getting somewhere on a bike is so very magical that I would never want to spoil it with the luxury of a car/truck and the bike strapped down behind….it just doesn’t seem right…thats not what real motorcyclist do…right?
We arrive in Stowe around 9:30 and find a bunch of bikes all parked for the night
Phil comes out to greet us…I tell him I pulled a Sturgis…I parked the truck and trailer 20 miles down the road…that way I can say I rode in.
The rest of the night was spent drinking on the deck and catching up with some great motorcycle friends.
Tomorrow we ride!
so after a great night with some awesome people we saddled up for a ride!
There were a few things I wanted to check out, and they were all in the same general area. One was Ducati of Vermont, the other was tracy road. The latter is something Ive read about for many years and watched videos of bikes on it as well. Ive spend a fair amount of time riding in up state NY but somehow Ive missed this road.
We had 4 bikes along for the ride….The OSJ’s on the Yellow duck…Phil and Judy on the ST1300….Glen on a FJR1300 and Bob & Bonnie on the Gold Wing
The route master (easy ed) had put together a bunch of rides on the www.newenglandriders.org website and one of them was our planned ride. He said tracy road wasn’t the only gem in the route. Bob offered to lead the group our for the day…which started with a run down rt 100 south to rt 17. Which most of you might also know it as Appalachian Gap road.
Know looking at Bob you might say…a retired guy riding two up on a wing, how much fun is that gonna be?
Well like our moms told us for years…don’t judge a book by its cover. Bob really knows how to ride that wing in the twisty. And he even passes…over the double yellow line too! Oh how things have changed in the NER
Okay back to the ride. We got stuck behind some traffic coming down the other side of the gap, which wasn’t a bad thing, I was a little disappointed in the condition of the road so far. I had told people over the years about the Lords Prayer Rock, Phil asked me to make sure we stopped at it.
So if you cant make it out from that photo..its the compete lords prayer carved on this big rock in Bristol Vermont! Why?
Well the story goes (quoted from Roadside America)
“A 19th century physician, Joseph C. Greene, of Buffalo, NY, thought of hieroglyphs when planning a way to commemorate his boyhood in the Bristol, Vermont area. He’d grown up in South Starksboro, and one of his jobs had been to deliver logs to the Bristol sawmill. The journey down the mountain, via 9 Bridges Road or the Drake Woods Road was fraught with difficult switchbacks and stream crossings. When Greene reached the big slab of rock and a level byway, he’d always say a silent prayer, knowing the worst of the trek was behind him.”
So Mr Greene later in Life paid someone to carve the Lords Prayer in that stone.
From here I took over the lead for a bit. Which means everyone followed me here
Finally a Ducati dealership in Vermont. It had been several years since the one up in Essex Junction had closed. This one was way cool with some really nice people inside. Plus one of these!
oh man…would I kill for one of these machines…
and a really cool new helmet
When they asked about our destination they informed us of the road construction of Rt17 west of RT7. I offered to lead the group on another good Vermont road to the new Lake Champlain Bridge.
Vermont 125 will take you west out of Middlebury. Another great road to ride, however some sections are starting to get rough. But the last few miles as it reaches Lake Champlain are very nice!
Michelle and I rode beneath it to snap this photo
The rest of the group crossed over into NY and stopped at the state park. We joined them over there as well.
It was hot..we were thirsty
But we still had roads to ride…and we were about to go one one that I would have to say is one of the best Ive been on in the north east.
NY CR-4 or Ensign Pond road…if you’ve never been to the tail of the dragon and wanted to get an idea on what it is like go ride this road
Just north of this is Tracy Road. I don’t have any photo’s or Video’s of these roads, we didn’t stop too much and Mrs OSJ was holding on tight. Tracy road was nice but not as nice as Ensign Pond. We did get stuck behind a big toy hauler at the beginning of Tracy. It had a big Harley Sticker on the back so I was hoping the guy would see 4 bikes behind him and let us pass.
nope, we all needed to pick our way passed him, which ruined the first few miles.
After Tracy road we took Lincoln Pond north towards Elizabethtown. This road was also very nice. I was sweep on most of these roads but the pace was still quick and fun. We did get passed by a kid on a R1 doing a wheelie! It was all I could do to resist passing everyone in my group and try to chase down the big Yamaha….He took off from our group pretty quickly so I doubt I would have been able to stay with him.
We needed to adjust the route a bit and head towards the lunch spot. Again another great feature to having Easy Ed plan your routes, he knows the best places to eat.
ADK Cafe is a great place to stop and eat. The food was very good, and of course I had to try the burger.
Unfortunately because of weather, light rain and a mix up with the gps (running route in reverse) we missed one of the best roads in the area. That okay because it give me incentive to return to ride this area soon!
And its really hard to complain about missing one road, when we were in motorcycle heaven with the roads we were on.
After a great lunch in Keene NY I took over the lead and took the group south on rt 73. At a traffic light we got stuck behind a 18 wheeler, and I thought we would be passing this guy soon. Boy was I wrong! This trucker was flying on route 73, which is a major road so the speed limit was 55. The truck was going 65-70 most of the time.
When we got to the intersection of Rt 9 we took a left and headed up towards New Russia and Elizabethtown. This road we had no such problem. It was pretty much empty and we were free to ride it at the pace we were comfortable with.
Once back in Elizabethtown the gps lead us on some terrific little back roads….Fox Run, Stowersville and Jersey were some of them. This lead us to Essex NY and the Ferry to Vermont.
It was a welcome break crossing Lake Champlain via Ferry. We had such a great time riding the roads in NY. The Current NER Vermont tag was the ferry landing, so we needed to snap a photo before left the lake side.
Once we got onto the roads of Vermont it was nice to slow down and enjoy the view a bit. It was also getting hot and humid and everyone seemed to be getting tired. Mrs OSJ said something about getting back to the hotel and using the hot tub. I was all for that!
We just needed to stop and drop the tag…I figured a spot near the hotel would be fun seeing several taggers were staying up in Stowe with us.
Again no photo’s of the hotel and dinner that night. Both our phones were dead and needed some charging. After some burgers at “the blue Donkey” we hung out with a bunch of friends in the lobby of the hotel. It was a great way to end such a perfect riding day!
Saturday morning we awoke to another sunny day. Even though we needed to ride home on this day we still had some great roads planned. One of them was a road that I haven’t been on in over 20 years..mater of fact the last time I was on it there was little pavement..most of it was dirt.
A few years back Phil discovered 232 and claimed it as one of the best roads in New England, it had fresh pavement and 13 miles of sweet corners
But before we got to ride that road Phil took us to the Cabot Cheese Factory. The roads leading from Stowe to Cabot were also fantastic.
Following Phil on these roads was a pleasant surprise. Seems riding with the crazy OSJ has rubbed off on my good buddy. His pace was fast but not dangerous. Very few times I saw him stab the chicken sticks. We were riding what is commonly referred to as the “pace” Which is something I read a long time ago by one of my favorite moto journalist Nick Ienatsch
“A fool can twist the grip, but a fool has no idea how to stop or turn. Learning to stop will save your life; learning to turn will enrich it.” Ive always felt if you have to apply your brakes before a corner your not riding the pace and are opening yourself up for trouble. That may be the best way to ride at the track but out in the real world its not smart.
Phil was doing a great job riding a fun pace. I was content to follow him for most of the day. Behind me we had Glen (riding the FJR1300 from yesterdays ride) and Ken and Pam on their HD’s.
Some people might think its funny to have a full on sport bike, 2 sport tourers and 2 Harley’s on the same ride. But this is what makes the NER such a great motorcycle group. We don’t care what you ride, or how you like to ride it. Because we always wait at turns no one gets left behind
So back to the riding.
Phil and I planned for me to pass him on 232 and he would run his video camera and tape the road. Once I got passed Phil I noticed a car not too far ahead. I could tell the car was moving right along because it took some time to catch up to him.
Passing him was going to be fun. And let me tell you I had to get by him, why? Well do you think anyone would let me live it down if there was a video of me riding behind a VW Passat wagon and not being able to pass? I had one short little straight, one tiny little section of road that I could make the pass.
I took it!
The passat guy didn’t like that, so he really accelerated hard when I made my move. I felt Mrs OSJ hold on just a little tighter as we reached the left hand corner at triple digit speeds. Now I was passed him I needed to put some distance between us.
The next few miles we rode that 232 like we use to back in the day. Hard!
I mean accelerate fast out of corners, than brake hard for the next one. Not the way we usually ride, but I wanted to get some distance on the VW. I was wondering the whole time if Phil would ever get by him.
I quickly caught up to one more car but he didn’t give me any challenge when I passed him. The rest of 232 was run at such a great pace. What a awesome road for sure!
After we all got back together I let Phil and the rest of the gang take over the lead. I was the tail for the next 2 hrs while we rode towards lunch.
we had some lefts…
we saw some soliders…
some small bridges…
some big one…
we reached the Famous P&H Truck Stop at noon. Paul and Karen were already inside enjoying lunch. This is one of the best places to eat in New England. However Michelle and I were not too hungry and we still needed to ride home. So we said good by to everyone while they sat and had some lunch
Sitting from L to R, Judy, Phil, Karen, Paul, Glen, Pam & Ken. Mrs OSJ is standing.
We were bummed to be leaving the group, but I also had all back roads planned for the ride home.
We crossed over into NH and took Rt 25a east. The road condition was okay, but traffic was light so we really didn’t seem to need to push it too hard. Once we reached NH 118 I took a left and went north just a bit, why?
To show Mrs OSJ this..
Truly a WTF is that doing there photo.
The center of Warren NH has..
We didn’t stick around long, just enough time to snap a few photo’s…we didn’t even take our helmets off. I had a plan.
Seems a little bird on a yellow gold wing told me that the current NH tag wasn’t too far away. I was worried another certain white gold wing would be out searching for such tag. I wanted to bruce him if I could.
Not too far down the road we came across the tag location
Once the tagging was done we clicked on the random button on the Ipod and just settled into a nice relaxing ride towards home. About 90 min later we stopped for fuel and a quick check of the phone. Turns out Rich & Sharon (remember them from the first night?) were already home in Manchester. Richie offered to pick up lunch if we wanted to stop by.
So we made plans to meet up at KC’s Rib Shack.
It was a perfect place to head too. We were starving! The smoked ribs were so tasty!
Nice Rack? Naturally of course!!
Leah was a great waitress and a very good sport when I explained to her about the “burger photo’s” we take.
Rich and Sharon wanted to get in on the action
Thanks for an AWESOME meal Richie!
Your company was just the thing we needed to put an end to such a perfect weekend!
The last hour ride home was pretty uneventful, its sprinkled just a bit, but for the most part we stayed dry.
We arrived at home around 6pm. 48 hours from when we left. 748 miles were added to our total for the year.
We were Tired, full and happy!