Guy Boutin's Motorcycle Touring and Travel Pages

dventures in Sport Touring with the Honda ST 1100, 1300 and the BMW 1200RT

Exploring North America...One Road at a Time

Home Up Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11



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                 Great Lakes, Trains, and Rain
Touring North America's Great Lake Region

The Great Lakes of North America are unique.  Ringed by the large cities of Detroit, Buffalo, Toronto,  Chicago and Milwaukee, they can be scenic, but home to lots of congestion.  After sampling the region in small doses, I figured it was time to break off a large chunk.

This trip took place in early August, but I was still locked in the Western touring mode of riding.  The first 2 days I really struggled at being patient.  Traffic patterns and landscape are entirely different than the west coast, and I had trouble adjusting.  I love back roads, but hate urban sprawl, and the east is slammed with the latter.  A 500 mile day of eastern back roads wears a Long Rider down. 

The ride took me north through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, before I turned east for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, landing in Sault St. Marie to meet fellow STers for the SSS rally.  The rally showcased the scenery around Lake Superior and northern Ontario.  I had a great time there with old and new friends.

The return trip south took me through New York, Pennsylvania, and DC.  I had a schedule to keep on this tour, with little margin for error.  I had to be in the Soo, Philly, and DC at certain times to meet obligations, because of those commitments, I found myself on interstates far too much.  I really hate those things.

Weather wise this was the most challenging trip of my career.  A stubborn low pressure was stalled in the Northeast spawning lots of thunderstorms and rain.  I was drenched on everyday but 2.  Some days I was hit 3-4 times.  A thick cloud cover also draped the area, I saw very little blue sky.

I can't say enough about the Aerostich Roadcrafter, on this trip it was the most valuable piece of equipment I had.  Without it I would have been in and out of rain suits all day.  Instead, I just closed the collar and pushed on.  The suit kept me dry in the toughest of storms.  I did have some leakage around the crotch but nothing serious, and that was only in the hardest of rains.

My last 2 days on the road were spent in east Tennessee.  I left I-81 near Johnson City, and meandered the mountains down to Gatlingburg.  It was fun.

I camped the first 2 nights, and after that I was in motels.  Its hard to get in a camping mood dodging rain, and the out of control sprawl of the northeast.

All in all it was not a bad trip, just not as much fun as past rides.  I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Day 1- Kentucky Bluegrass and Indiana corn.

Day 2- Illinois into Wisconsin.  Fun day.

Day 3- Tough riding in the U.P.

Day 4- Train ride to Agawa Canyon

Day 5- The SSS rally ride to Wawa

Day 6- South to Toronto

Day 7- Visiting the falls, riding upstate NY

Day 8- Family reunion

Day 9- Short ride to Washington DC

Day 10- Good ride to Gatlingburg

Day 11- Home from Tennessee.  Nice riding in the Smokies