​​​BamaRider







Day 5
September 8th, 2005
KOA Campground
Near Middleboro, Massachusetts 



I was strapping my gear down when I was confronted by a tall white haired man, with black rim glasses.  He was 70ish and wearing plaid Bermuda shorts with deck shoes.  The lines on his face betrayed years of working in the sun.  
"So where ya going today?"  He asked, in a mid west, no accent of any kind voice.

"I'm headin to Plymouth to see Pilgrim Park, then north to Bar Harbor, then on to Prince Edward Island."

"So you're a history buff?"

"Not really, I like military history, but seeing the Rock was mostly a good excuse for a ride.  Yanno Long Riders kind of think differently than most," I said with a laugh.

"Man, wish I was you, that's a beautiful motorcycle."

"Thanks."  He turned around and shuffled off to the shower room, his deck shoes dusty from the dirt drive.

I fired the RT up about 6:30 and began the short ride west to U.S. 44 and Plymouth.  I wanted to beat morning traffic as best I could.  A bright eastern sun confronted me when I went east on the highway.  It was only 15 miles into the port, but I didn't know what the traffic was going to be like, so I gave myself plenty of time.

I could see a long line of cars entering 495 when 44 crossed over.  They were on their way to Boston.

The closer I came to the city the more driveways and streets I saw.  It was still early so the worst was yet to come.  But all in all, not near as bad as thought it would be.  Route 44 empties right at the park and before I knew it I had the Mayflower II in sight.


































                                                                     The Mayflower II


Plymouth, Massachusetts reminded me of Plymouth, England.  Touristy, water front shops, and ships docked in the harbor.  The park was empty and I had no trouble finding the RT a good spot near the Plymouth Rock Monument.  The rock is in a big viewing area with large columns, and it too looked like the portal in England, that commemorates the place the Pilgrims boarded.




































                                                   Plymouth, England.  May 2005


A short walk followed, and there it was-Plymouth Rock.  It literally is a big rock with "1620" burned in the stone.  A short narrative tells the tale of how they know this is the rock landed on, and where they climbed ashore to help settle a new nation.  I looked around and nodded my head in a snug way.  Now I can say I've been to both the beginning and ending point.  The things that stir the soul of Long Rider have no explanation.  I read about the Pilgrims every year in school.  Each year in a little more detail.  I had no idea when I was in 3rd grade I would one day walk the docks of Plymouth, England where they boarded, and see the rock where they landed.  The story can rest now, nothing left for me to do.



































                           Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Sept. 2005


A replica of the Mayflower is moored on the dock.  It opens for tours in a few hours, but I needed to get moving.  I found a bench overlooking the harbor and the ship, and called Debbie.  "yeah, lookin at the Mayflower right now, but need to get on the road for Maine."  "Ok call me when you stop for lunch."

After taking a few more pictures I saddled back up.

I left Plymouth on SR 3, a Interstate kind of road that shoots a guy to Boston.  Every mile that passed north the traffic would build, and signs noted you could take the breakdown lane from 6-10am.  I saw cars flying up the lane at 90 mph.  "So what happens if some joker does breakdown?"  I asked myself.  "Probably gonna bust him right in the ass end while he's changing a flat, no thanks I'm stayin over here."

Against my better judgment, I took I-95 after reaching the outskirts of Boston.  All 4 lanes were packed but moving, not as fast as I liked, but at least progress was being made.  Boston is one of the worst areas of the country for such travel.  Cars constantly took my space, and treated me like I was invisible.  I was cut off, backed over, spun around, and hung out over and over.  Motorist drove the highway like it was their own, and that bothered me, but I was determined NOT to let them get me.

My earlier planning prepared me fort a 25 mile run around the city.  If it was this bad out here, inside the loop must be like the wild west.

Despite the slow downs and back ups, I made steady but sure progress, and breathed a sigh of relief when I-93 appeared.  I knew then the loop was finished and I'd be on my way to New Hampshire.

Traffic was markedly better on the north side of Boston, and I celebrated in Amesbury with a tank of gas and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in front of BP con store.  It felt good to be out of the Northeast Corridor.  There were no more large cities to conqueror between here and Prince Edward.

A round gray haired man with a limp pulled his old Buick to the front door while I was sitting near on a soft drink crate.  "Beautiful bike, it is not Japanese, is it European?  "Yeah, German."  "Looks like the ticket, from Alabama I see."

We spoke about several topics. Mostly the mess the state was in, and my travels.  "I wanted to travel, but never got around to it, too late now."  The man was precisely the reason I make sure to have a good time everyday.  "Well, I wouldn't say that."   "Son you saw me getting out of the car, I'm so stiff and arthritic now days, moving around is hard.  Sitting on a plane or in a car for hours at a time, not something I can do."  I wished him luck as he climbed back into his car, grunting every time he moved his lower extremities, it was obvious he was in pain.

Back on 95 I paid my tolls to get out of New Hampshire and went into Maine.  

The weather of the last few days was still holding.  Brilliant skies and warm sun.  I'd never seen this much sun and warmth in New England.  Was I lucky or what?  I brought my cold weather gear (ok my definition of cold is more liberal than most.  It is any temp below 60) but so far not needed any of it.  I was wearing the fancy AGV leather sport gloves, and had the Roadcrafter vented out.  I can't ever remember riding New England with the vents open.

I was in Maine motoring along at 75 mph when 3 single lights closed down on me quickly.  A Harley cruiser, and Yamaha came abreast.  "What the hell?  This has never happened before, I looked down at the RT's gauges to see how fast I was going.  "Yeah 75, not seeing things, but 2 cruisers just passed me".   I went to 85 and caught up with them.  I knew the cruisers had to be close to full throttle, and the riders had to be taking a beating in the wind and noise, but they pressed on, so I went along for the ride.  Suddenly, the third bike shot by, at well over 100, a blue FJR with Connecticut tags.  Now this was more like it.  I didn't mind getting passed by a FJR, but 2 guys on cruisers?

I sped off with the FJR leaving the cruiser guys behind.  If he was willing to take the ticket I'd be glad to follow.  We rode north at 100 mph, jetting past RVs and 18 wheelers with sleepy drivers.  The FJR is a fast bike.  I was right behind him at 105 mph, but he could easily pull away with just a little more throttle.  I brought the screen up to escape the wind blast.  At 100 the RT is a docile and quiet bike, but not as smooth as the ST at the same speed.  The wind noise on the RT at this speed is reduced compared to the ST, but the RT's motor feels more busy then the quiet purring 1300.

The fun lasted for about 20 miles when the FJ rider grabbed a Burger King for lunch, at one of the exits.

The weather was great, and like that day in Minnesota, I was annoyed at wasting it on a slab ride.  On impulse I decided to take the next exit with a east bound route.   I had to get off 95, I'd had enough.  I wanted a road that carried me over the land, not through it.  I wanted to feel the highway rise and fall with the hills, and see the places and people that make a journey a memorable.

U.S. 202 served that purpose.  I left 95 riding toward the Auburn-Lewiston area.  

I was working my way through Auburn when I saw Ray's Hamburgers at a busy intersection.  I whipped in for a chicken sandwich.  It was one of those places where you order at the counter and they call your number out.  The hamburgers looked good, but I was going running this afternoon, and skipped it for the less fatty chicken. 
 
Three middle aged men left their SUV and stopped to look at the RT on their way in.  They stood there 5 minutes walking all around it, and checking it out.  That stuff never happens on the Honda.  I guess the RT is a nice looking bike, but I don't think it looks any better than the 1300.  But judging by the publics reaction, the RT is the hands down winner.  I'm like the mother with 2 daughters, one's a 10, the other a 3, everyone sees it that way, but she would tell you both are equal.
After lunch I put a few notes in the Axim, and checked the atlas for a route to Augusta.  I was on a slightly different course than planned, but once I reach Augusta I pick up my planned route.  I called Debbie., and sent my son a pic of the hamburger stand with the text, " Eating lunch on the road, but some guys gotta work."  He replied, "SHUT UP."
Fall was still a few weeks away, but early signs of the approach were easy to find.




































Even though fall was still a few weeks away, several trees
were showing signs of what was to come.


It was warm for Maine this time of year.  Temps 20 degrees above normal and locals were complaining about it.  "So dam hot, I'm gonna melt."  Today, was one the hottest days ALL summer here, a whopping 85 degrees.

Auburn was a mixture of old New England and a more modern Northeast.  Brick store fronts were spaced around glass and chrome banks and law offices.  I pointed the RT on SR 9 north back to I-95 and Augusta.  I was only on the freeway for a brief time.  I left it when I came into the busy city.  Augusta is the state capital, and because I wanted to go to SR 105,  I had to sift way into the center of town.

The city is a pretty place and I didn't mind the ride in.  I had plenty of time, and was nearing my final goal of the day.  I made a wrong turn trying to follow the signs but quickly corrected it.  I guess I need to buy a GPS one of these days.
SR 105 is the kind of road I seek out and enjoy.  It was void of traffic, and the scenery was good.  It ferried me along peaceful pastures and tranquil timberland.  Lakes and other water bodies teleported by.  I stayed with 105 all the way to SR 220 where I went north to SR 3, one of the main connectors to the Bar Harbor-Arcadia area.  
































   
                  "It ferried me along peaceful pastures and tranquil timberland..."

When I got on SR 3 I was immediately stuck behind three Kenworths; sans trailers.  They were rolling along at 70 mph, and spaced out for better than quarter mile.  I managed to take them one at a time, but it wasn't easy.
Even though it was after Labor Day the route was busy. 

Bucksport is one of my favorite places in Maine, but today it out fell off the list.  It was crowded with after school traffic, and pedestrians were everywhere.  My butt was stiff so I went to a con store just across the bridge for a Dew and blueberry muffin.  I checked the gas situation and still had half a tank from the Massachusetts fill up.  "Man this bike gets good mileage."  A lot goes into a bikes mpg, things like load, riding style, kind of windscreen, and even how smooth you shift gears.  But the biggest reason I'm getting such good mpg is my weight-155 lbs, 50 pounds less than just a few years ago.  If you think that doesn't make a big difference think again.  I gained several percent on the horsepower scale, because 50 lbs is a lot when your talking about a 600 lb total weight.  I noticed the difference on the 1300 on the west coast trip.  

Everywhere I went I was hearing the Maine accent, and trying to figure out what was being said.  I had to ask folks to repeat themselves a few times.

I have the worse luck ever when it comes to delivery trucks.  They find me every time.  As soon as I get on the road one pulls out from a store and locks me down.  They just seem to know when I'm on the approach, and get poised and ready for the pull out as soon as they see my headlight.

My final goal for the day is the Bar Harbor KOA.  Camped there before, kind of expensive but cheaper than area motels.
I passed several old cemeteries, with weathered old tombstones, and white crosses.  Many plots had the Stars and Stripes on them.  

































                                             These "chaps" had an excellent view


Ellsworth was the same old bottleneck it has always been.  I stayed on 3, went across the causeway and headed for Bar Harbor.  I was going to skip the ride through the park, been there, done that, and left the shirt for Uncle Phil, he likes to collect them.  That joker doesn't much go anywhere he doesn't get one.
I made it to the campground after a 370 mile day.

A BIG RV came in while I was checking in.  I asked the owner what size gas tank he had.  "125 gallons."  He couldn't remember when was the last time he filled it up.

A nice lady with a bun hair do took my fees.  I talked her into a site near the water.  I went out and rode the RT to site number 2, I didn't bother to put my gloves back on.  A dual sport bike was parked under a cover in site number 4.  I waved at the rider sitting at the table.

My stakes were in the ground in 30 minutes so I changed into running stuff and went for a 6 mile run along a country lane near the campground.  The route came to a busy highway and I went right, up a series of steep hills.  It was good running, and the longest I'd ever run while on a road trip.  I never thought I'd be able to blend my running with long riding, but I find I can do it quite well with just a little planning.

I had to use the "seed" function on the GPS watch on the way back to find the turn off road.  Back at the tent I went for a shower, and made a few notes laying on my pad inside the tent.  I had the flap open so I could see the water.  It was nice.






























                                                   "I had the flap open so I could see the water. "


I took a shower and got back on the RT for a ride into Bar Harbor for something to eat.  Bar Harbor is a neat place, full of bed and breakfasts, and restaurants, along with the normal stuff you find at a city near a National Park. 

 
The streets were still crowded in the post Labor Day week, I was surprised.  After checking the town out, I went back to the place I always go to when in town.  The Route 66.  Good food with a nice Long Riding decor.  The walls have pictures and memorabilia from all over the country.  Old car tags from all 50 states hang from the ceiling.  Places like Yellowstone, Big Sur, Montana, Key West were all represented in story and photos.  All kinds of old signs from the Mother Road could be seen.

Because I only eat a few ounces of dark meat a week, I decided to splurge and eat a small strip and baked potato.  
A young blond waitress took my order, and asked where I was from.  

"Alabama baby"

She looked at my helmet and coat, "you rode a motorcycle here?"

"Yeah, on my way to Prince Edward."

"Oman that sounds awesome.  Where else have you been?"

"Baby, see the places and pictures on these walls?"  She looked around.  "Yesssssss."  "I can honestly say I've been to every one of them, on my motorcycles."

"I want to do that soooooo bad, but I need the money I make here for school."

I jokingly said, " Tell ya what sweetie, have your stuff packed and at the KOA in the morning, and I'll take ya to Prince Edward and drop ya off on the way back."

"Really?"  Sensing the joke might back fire I had to back up.  As they say on the ST BBS I was called.   "Well not really, I can't do that, but that shouldn't stop ya if wanna go to Prince Edward."

Weeks of denial made the small strip taste like mana from Heaven.  I called home and reported in.  "Anything goin on?"  " Not really baby, just the same old stuff."  

When I finished eating I jotted down a few things I needed at Wal Mart, a store was just across the bridge on the way into Ellsworth.  I figured now was as good as time as any to take care of business.  I left Rachel a 4 dollar tip to put in her cookie jar for the day she could go cross country.

It was a dark ride back into Ellsworth.  Oncoming traffic flashed at me thinking I was on bright, but it was just the excellent lighting on the BMW.  Like I said, they didn't leave out much when they drew the RT up.

At Wal Mart I picked up a loaf of bread, some Twizzlers, socks,  batteries, and looked for a DVD but found nothing worth spending any money on.  

It was late when I arrived back at my tent.  I crawled in the sleeping bag to stay warm in the what I thought was cool Maine air.  The rider nearby had his radio on and I could hear it.  It was annoying but he thankfully turned it off in about 15 minutes and off to sleep I went.


next: across New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island
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