Al and his Harley packed and ready to hit the road.
A 2450-mile trip around and through New England - NY's Adirondacks, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and its coast, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The scenery was spectacular, the Harley ran flawlessly, and the weather varied from rainy wet and miserable, to perfect, to way too hot and humid.
As always seems to be the case, there was an element of adventure. Two unplanned elements in the same day, actually. A big wreck on the Interstate near Hartford CT forced me to exit the highway in 100 degree heat in territory unplanned and unknown. (West Hartford.) I was parched from sitting on the sweltering tarmac. I went to a nearby Dunkin Donuts seeking an iced coffee. It was in the midst of a Muslim enclave. Yikes! A car I was following on Route 7 in Mass., headed into Vermont, crossed the double yellow and crashed headon into another. Seven people were injured; 5 hospitalized. That proved very exciting. I much prefer the wind in my face, beautiful mountains, streams, and wildlife kind of adventure, thank you. Details, newspaper article see July 16.
NY's eastern Adirondacks - Route 9
Sunday July 7. 270 miles. New Milford PA to Elizabethtown, NY.
I took the back roads over the hills to Route 7 at Sanitaria Springs, NY. Then I took Route 7 through Oneonta, Cobleskill and Schenectady to Route 9 at Albany. I went through super-busy Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs before being treated to the relative calm of NY's Eastern Adirondacks. A heavy rain shower near Schroon Lake forced me to seek shelter in a Stewarts ice cream shop. Heavy overcast made me call it a day in a motel at Elizabethtown, NY. A nice dinner of surf and turf at the only nearby restaurant ended the day as rain came down steadily.
Deer's Head Inn - Elizabethtown NY
Monday, July 8. Elizabethtown NY to Killington VT via Lake Champlain ferry and Burlington VT.
Heavy rain A.M., tapering to a wet mist the rest of the day. Rode to the ferry landing at Port Kent NY and boarded the ferry across Lake Champlain to Burlington, Vermont. It was a calm and stable, but wet ride, taking about an hour once under way. Mist obscured any scenery. At Burlington, I headed out Route 2 and found a neat downtown shopping area closed to traffic. I decided to hang out there in the hopes the rainy mist would go away. It didn't. I pushed on to Ben and Jerry's Ice cream plant at Waterbury, seeking a tour and maybe some sample product. It was way too crowded for a rainy Monday with at least a 2 hour wait. I moved on without any B&J. A fire engine raced by as I left their parking lot. A fire in town had Route 2 blocked. Tractor trailers unable to navigate the narrow, sharp turns in the impromptu detour had things hopelessly chocked up. The Harley took to the sidewalks and made it through.Then I got to Route 100, a scenic route along a river running along the Green Mountains. It would have been more scenic were it not for the foggy mist that prevailed. Apparently, Rt. 100 was severely damaged during Vermont's big floods a while back and was under demolition and repair - less of the latter, more of the former. It was 3 hours of slow riding on big loose gravel and mud. Awful sums it up sufficiently. Finally, I reached U.S. 4 and the Inn at Long Trail near Killington. This was a definite trip destination (one of only seven; two I didn't make) and a real welcome respite. I craved - and had - their famous shepherd's pie and a pint of Guinness. It was worth the ride! Their truly Irish pub was great. The room was basic - clean and functional, but without air conditioning which, fortunately, was not needed. It brought back fond memories of my previous stay here when I hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) and first experienced their delicious shepherd's pie.
Ferry arriving at Burlington, VT port.
Shepherd's Pie and Guinness - Heavenly
McGrath's Irish Bar at Inn at Long Trail, Killington VT.
Mountainside rock protrudes from floor at McGrath's pub
Tuesday, July 9 Inn at Long Trail, Killington VT to Errol VT
In the morning, I treated a very hungry hiker to breakfast at the Inn before resuming my journey. That was a great way to start his day and mine. And the weather was improving a bit, though there were still periods of mist and clouds mixed in with some sun. I took U.S. 4 to White River Junction, paused for a picture of the Quechee Gorge and the huge dam at Wilder, then crossed into New Hampshire and took NH 10 to Hanover, an AT trail town and home of Dartmouth College. I parked and roamed around town a bit, but could not find a sidewalk cart offering sauerkraut hot dogs (per my previous AT visit there) so I moved on. The town hadn't changed much. My ride north took me along the Connecticut River with Vermont's Green Mountains to the left and New Hampshire's White mountains to the right. I intended to ride to the summit of Mt. Washington, but it and most of the mountaintops were shrouded in clouds and mist so I abandoned that effort as futile. The scenery was grand, despite the mist. I rode the Ammonoosuc river along Rt. 302 into Littleton, NH and did some meandering around Franconia and Bethlehem NH. I saw many signs protesting the Northern Pass Transmission Project - to bring cheap Quebec power to lower New England via high transmission lines cutting through the White Mountains. Local opposition was evidently very high.
I crossed the Whites and got onto Rt. 16 for a lovely, lightly travelled ride along the Androscoggin River. My spirits were soaring when a bee stung me in the back of the neck while riding along at 50 MPH. It hurt, but I maintained control and the pain eventually subsided. I had a huge welt on my neck. I found a very nice little motel in Errol, the Errol Motel. It's interior was knotty pine with a sportsman's motif - very clean and nice. Errol is just about in the middle of nowhere, so its good I came across that motel - it was a very long way to another.
Along the Pemigewasset River, U.S. 4 VT.
Water rushes through the Quechee Gorge, U.S. 4 VT.
AT blaze at Dartmouth College, Hanover NH.
NH White Mountains seen from Rt. 302
NH White Mountains seen from Rt. 302
Weds July 10 Errol VT to Millinockett, ME
I crossed into Maine early in the morning, riding along an unnamed stream with lots of WATCH OUT FOR MOOSE signs along Rt. 16. The road was twisty, bumpy and uneven, requiring the utmost attention - however, traffic was almost nonexistent, making for a good ride. Shortly after entering Maine, I spotted a moose and her calf in a small clearing off the road. I parked the bike and grabbed my camera, taking 3 pictures before they strolled off into the brush. I was very excited at having great moose pictures - one of my hopes for the trip. Maine's Route 16 is a spectacular and naturally scenic ride. It took me to Stratton where I stayed in a hostel - a big old Victorian style mansion set on the banks of the Dead River and Flagstaff Lake - when I hiked the Bigelow range of the AT. Fond memories of the sweet, elderly hostel operators, now gone, came back to me. Northern Maine, home of the AT's 100 mile wilderness segment, is the AT's most natural, largest wilderness area. Miles of woodland and streams and dotted with beautiful lakes with unpronounceable names like Mooselookmeguntic. It's a nature lover's paradise. At Milo, ME, I turned onto Rt. 11 and headed north.
I passed the entrance to Katahdin Iron Works, and old iron furnace historic site, and access point for Gulf Hagas, a most spectacular gorge with a series of waterfalls and an AT crossing which I explored in the past. This has been a thoroughly enjoyable ride. As clouds thickened and mist started anew, I rolled into Millinocket, hoping to be able to climb the spectacular Mount Katahdin, The AT's northern terminus, again. But, disappointment again - on two fronts. The wet weather precluded a mountain climb (if it isn't fun, I don't do it!) and a new regulation prohibited ANY motorcycles in Baxter park, home of Mt. Katahdin. Damn. And another bad weather front was settling in for a couple days. I took a room at the Katahdin Inn in Millinocket.
Moose and her calf along Rt. 16 - camera malfunctioning.
Former "Widow's Walk B&B" - Stratton, Maine. Many years of hosting AT hikers in the Bigelow Range.
The Appalachian Trail Cafe' - Millinocket, Maine.
Thursday July 11 - My 2nd day in Millinocket
I decided to stay another day at the Katahdin Inn to give the bad weather a chance to pass. Reviewing my pictures on the camera, I was concerned - some did not look so good. I had access to a computer at the inn, which I used to monitor the weather and send some e-mails, but no card reader slot and no way to send pictures home. Between showers I explored Millinocket. What was once a bustling, quaint and pretty little town was seriously on the decline with the recent closing of two large paper mills nearby. The mills were the area's largest employer. It was sad to see all the empty and abandoned buildings. No Photos. So far I've covered 818 miles on my trip.
Friday July 12 Millinocket ME to Houlton ME via Fort Kent ME.
It was a sunny, clear day. I took Maine's Route 11 north out of Millinocket and into more of Maine's gorgeous wilderness. Towns were few and far between. At a coffee break in Patten I conversed with the locals about country life in rural Maine. It's really not all that different from life in New Milford, PA. A small restaurant was the town's social gathering spot where everyone seemed to know everyone else. I was welcomed as a stranger in their midst and there was a lot of curiosity about my ride. Continuing north, I stopped at a scenic overlook on Rt. 11, then on to the end of Maine Rt. 11 at the Canadian border, my northernmost goal, and the beginning of U.S. 1 at Fort Kent. A monument celebrates that road's first mile. I took several pictures and had lunch before heading south along the New Brunswick - Maine border and the St. John River.
I stopped at a Radio Shack on Rt. 1 in Presque Isle to review the pictures on my camera and e-mail some home. I was very disappointed - many of them came out blurry (the moose pictures) and some did not come out at all (monument at end of U.S. Route 1/Canadian border). Damn. I need a new camera. I continued south until I reached Houlton - and its Walmart. After discussing my situation with John, we decided on the camera and I purchased it and a high capacity memory card. Hopefully, this will put an end to my frustrating camera problems. I read the instruction packet, charged the battery and called it a day. I've ridden 1079 miles to this point.
Typical scene along Route 11 - designated as a scenic byway. Mix of farmland, forest and mountains.
The Harley poses along Route 11 with Maine's mountains in background.
Ducks and ducklings in pond - Houlton, Maine.
Saturday, 7/13 Houlton ME to Wiscasset ME (near Damariscotta)
The day was clear and sunny. YAY - I didn't need any more rain - that's probably what damaged my other camera despite my best efforts to keep it dry. A roadside pullout atop a small knoll offered spectacular views of Maine countryside and mountains. Another roadside turnout gave distant views of Mt. Katahdin - a marker noting the mountain was 52 miles distant. This area had lots of big farms, raising primarily potatoes and blueberries. I stopped for coffee along northern Route 1 at a quaint general store and met with a friendly owner and customers. He sold just about everything, including guns and ammo. We discussed the ammo shortage among many other topics. An ATV pulled up and filled up with gas. In Maine, ATVs and snowmobiles are common forms of transportation and may be licensed and operated on the roads. Shortly after leaving there I saw an old Esso station with a vintage 50's Oldsmobile at its pumps. It was obviously someone's hobby/project as it appeared well maintained to look exactly as it would have in the '50's. The price on its "contains lead" marked pumps was 37 cents a gallon. It was like stepping back in time, being eerily reminiscent to an Esso station on Binghamton's south side where I grew up.
Once I reached the coastal portion of Maine near St. Croix Island, traffic increased considerably and communities became much more frequent. I crossed the 45th parallel - halfway between the North Pole and Equator. It was slow going, having to navigate through all the small communities with the heavy tourist traffic. Of course there was construction - it seemed inevitable and everywhere. It slowed me down and gave me an opportunity to look around. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the ride, the scenery and the smell of salt air. I crossed the Penobscot River near Bucksport and Fort Knox State Park on a beautiful, graceful, modern bridge - very high above the water. It appeared to have observation decks in the towers but I could not see an easy way to get to them.
I found myself competing with tourists for motel rooms - most were filled up with no vacancies. Finally I found a room - it was questionable - but the only one available. It was not up to my standards but I had to have someplace to rest my weary butt. I have travelled 1405 miles so far.
Potato fields in northern Maine.
Route 1 roadside view - Lakes, forest, mountains - very few buildings.
Mount Katahdin 52 miles away in the haze.
1950's Esso Station and Oldsmobile
1950's Esso gas pump - note price of 37 cents per gallon and "contains Lead" label.
Another view of Esso station along Route 1, Maine.
45th parallel - halfway between North Pole and Equator.
Cable Stayed bridge over Penobscot River, U.S. 1 Maine near Bucksport
Cable Stayed bridge over Penobscot River, U.S. 1 Maine near Bucksport
Luna Moth on motel window, Wiscasset ME.
Sunday 7/14 Wiscasset ME (near Damariscotta) to Hampton Beach, NH. The Oceanside.
and Monday, 7/15 - My 2nd night at The Oceanside.
Traffic became insanely heavy, congested and dangerous for a motorcycle as I moved toward southern coastal Maine. Really - a lot of morons end up with licenses, talk on phones or text and generally are distracted while making a feeble attempt at driving. I decided to take the interstate highway - which I generally avoid given my preference for back roads. I cruised uneventfully right into Portsmouth NH then took Rt.1 along the coast into Hampton Beach. 35 years ago John and I stopped at the Oceanside, soaking wet from motorcycling in Main's coastal storms. Reluctantly, the innkeeper (Skip) at the very modest (back then) inn, allowed us a room to stay and dry out. The Oceanside and Hampton Beach has been a favorite destination since then. It has been transformed by the most gracious owners Skip and Debby into and extremely elegant and exclusive award winning B&B. It was a must-do destination on this trip. I stayed for two nights. It was very hot out (95+) but the beach and ocean made it comfortable. I took the customary stroll down Ocean Boulevard and Hampton Beaches jammed-up tourist district, enjoyed some junk food and people watching and marveled at the new buildings on the state beach. I spent a couple hours in the water and on the beach. Hampton Beach is just as lovely as ever. I rode up to Portsmouth and walked around town, took pictures and had a treat at the "Breaking New Grounds" corner sidewalk cafe". Portsmouth has changed with many new portside buildings. It is the quintessential quaint New England ocean port town - lovely, charming, and beautiful - but congested.
Skip and Debby and I enjoyed dinner at the Galley Hatch in Hampton and spent quality time catching up. Each morning I was treated to Skip's incomparably elegant and tasty breakfast . My last evening I had dinner in nearby Kittery, ME at the Weather Vane, another must-do destination. I walked over to the Kittery Trading Post, one of the largest gun shops in the Northeast, and found them suffering from the same ammo shortage as everyone else. 22 and pistol ammo were stripped from their shelves. The evening was spent relaxing on the Oceanside's front deck with Skip and Debby.
A typical summer day, very busy at Hampton Beach, NH
Debby (L) and Skip Windemiller (center) - The Oceanside's most gracious innkeepers.
The incomparable Oceanside Inn - gracious elegance and comfort without pretense.
Portsmouth "Breaking New Grounds" cafe across from fountain.
The main street in Portsmouth NH
Sidewalk cafe; "Breaking New Grounds" (formerly Cafe' Brioche) - A favorite spot.
Portsmouth Harbor and I 95 Bridge crossing.
Portsmouth harbor- side new buildings, tugs, and fishing boats.
Atlantic Ocean and rocky shore near Rye Harbor, NH
An Oceanside room
Oceanside room sitting area.
Breakfast fruit at the Oceanside (What a way to start a day)
Skip's French Toast. Homemade bread and indescribably delicious - my favorite.
Tuesday 7/16 Hampton Beach NH to Bennington VT via Boston MA, Providence RI and Hartford CT
Ever so reluctantly, I headed back on my journey, leaving the elegance of the Oceanside and fun of Hampton Beach area behind. I decided to continue with interstate driving as it seemed safer, though much faster paced than I prefer. It was over 100 degrees on the highway as I sat in traffic held up by construction through Boston on I 95. I took I 295 to Providence RI, and Rt. 44 across to Hartford, CT - and another 100+ degree interstate turned parking lot due to an accident. I managed to exit and wound up in West Hartford's Muslim Enclave. Desperately in need of a beverage, I went to Dunkin Donuts and got an iced coffee. Male customers there were adorned with long white robes and bearded while the females wore traditional Muslim dress - in this heat. All eyes were on this clean-shaven white boy that drove a Harley adorned with an American Flag. After hearing several Allah-Akbar's and other foreign tongue, I guzzled my coffee and took the first road outta there without taking time to refuel or navigate. Whew! I finally navigated my way back to CT Rt. 44 and headed west.
Just before the New York border, in northwestern CT,I decided to return to Burlington VT and see what it was like when not raining. I had no schedule, but was way ahead of my allocated time for the trip. I got onto Rt. 41 and took it north to Great Barrington, MA and Rt. 7. That took me along Massachusetts's Berkshires and the Housatonic River - Appalachian Trail territory. What took me several days to hike, I covered in a few hours. The scenery was real nice.
In northeast Mass – Rt. 7 – almost to VT – I was riding right behind a car that crossed the double yellow line and crashed head-on into another before landing on its roof. It was a HOLY S%$&T moment - I managed to avoid the wreckage and pulled over. The three people in the car that was hit (news photo) were hurt but walking outside their vehicle and calling 911. The other car was on its roof in the middle of the road had its entire left front end ripped completely off. I helped 3 elderly people out of the overturned, smoldering car. They tried to pull a 4 th person out, but were unable to because he was unconscious and tangled in his seat belt and they were injured and dazed themselves. I crawled into the demolished car and saw he was hanging by his neck from his seat belt and that he wasn’t breathing. I released the belt and gently lowered him to the roof of the car and he gasped for air and groaned. He was not bleeding seriously and was semi-conscious, breathing, but still unresponsive after I released him. I heard sirens and exited the vehicle as emergency crews arrived. I informed the medic of the man’s condition – and he then began to respond to questions. I told the officer at the scene what I saw, then got back on my bike and headed on.
Berkshire Eagle News article of accident attached below.
5 injured in 2-car crash on Route 7 in Williamstown
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Wednesday July 17, 2013
WILLIAMSTOWN -- Five people suffered non-life threatening injuries Tuesday night following a two-car crash on Route 7 near Bee Hill Road, according to local police.
Shortly after 7 p.m., 85-year-old Malvin Krupitsky, of Pittsfield, was driving north on Route 7 when his 2012 Nissan Murano crossed the center line and collided with a 1999 Volkswagen Jetta in the southbound lane operated by Cody Mountz, 20, from North Adams. The impact of the crash caused the Murano to roll over, but remain on the highway, police said.
Both drivers and three passengers in the Krupitsky vehicle, his wife Marcia, 80 along with Brooklyn, N.Y. residents Donald and Judith Marcus, 82 and 76 respectively, were all transported to Berkshire Medical Center. BMC officials late Tuesday night reported all five accident victims were still being treated in the hospital's Emergency Department.
The three passengers in the Jetta, 18-year-old Dylan Digenaro, from Adams, and Pownal, Vt. residents Sara Atherton, 20, and Leo Yasi, 18, were treated at the scene of the crash.
Police say they have cited Krupitsky with speeding in a 30 mph zone and failure to stay within marked lanes.
Police say they have cited Krupitsky with speeding in a 30 mph zone and failure to stay within marked lanes.
Village Ambulance Service of Williamstown, North Adams' ambulance squad and the Williamstown Fire Department, along with local police, responded to traffic mishap.
I crossed into Vermont, took a motel room near Bennington, called home, ate supper and called it a night. I have travelled 1912 miles so far.
Soldier's Monument, Sharon CT in Northwest Connecticut.
Weds 7/17 - Bennington VT to New Milford PA via Burlington VT.
A clear, sunny morning greeted me. I had breakfast in Bennington them headed north through Vermont's western edge along Rt. 7. Friends had recommended I take 7 through Vermont, if possible, for some great scenery. Boy, were they right - I was not disappointed. The highway was in great condition, parts of it new, and went right along the Green Mountains. The many little towns were quaint and characteristic of New England. Vermont's farmland lay at the foothills of its Green Mountains. In Burlington, I strolled the closed-to-traffic main street. It was a very pleasant area, reminding me of Ithaca NY and its commons, only it was much larger and more prosperous appearing. Small shops, restaurants, an attached mall and food carts along with sidewalk cafes and sunshine made it most pleasant. I had a delicious toasted, buttered sesame bagel and cup of coffee.
I took Rt. 7 back down to Vergennes VT, then Routes 22A and 17 and across the Lake Champlain bridge near Port Henry NY. The bridge is an impressive structure and nearby interpretive signs describe the history of the area. Remnants of Fort St. Frederick can be seen on the NY shore of the lake. I rode NY 9N and 22 down to Ticonderoga, then Rt 74 over to the Northway, I 87. Then I90 at Albany to Schenectady and I 88 To Binghamton, to I 81 and home - New Milford PA. The entire trip was 2450 Miles.
International Harvester / Farmall tractor collection lines parking lot of auto dealership along Rt.7 Vermont
Scenic view of farmland in mountain foothills - Rt. 7 Vermont
Sunny Burlington Vermont shopper's promenade.
Bridge over Lake Champlain connecting NY and VT
Lake Champlain, NY Adirondacks Left rear, Ruins of Fort St. Frederick . 1734 to 1759 - French.