East Coast Tour 2005
Riding Free and Living Large

This journal is about my most extensive and detailed tour to date of the Northeast corner of North America.  A ride that first took me through the hills of West Virginia, where I leaned and twisted for 200 miles, before breaking out across southern Pennsylvania toward the coast.  I spent time in coastal Rhode Island and Massachusetts, then moved north through Maine and across the border into Canada to my ultimate destination-Prince Edward Island.

After a couple of days in Prince Edward it was time to head back south to the VVV rally.  Several members of the ST community were gathering in Killington for a few days of riding in the Green Mountains.  Many of my good friends were in attendance and I wanted to spend time riding and socializing.  I had a great time in Vermont.

I left Vermont for DC to visit family, then headed home via East Tennessee and Gatlinburg.  The same ride as always when I leave Northern Virginia, too good to pass up.
For a long time I wanted to ride the East Coast in the same manner as the West Coast, mixing sport riding with back roads, and small towns.  Soon after returning from California, I had my atlas out looking at various options and strategies.  After checking several scenarios I concluded I was going to HAVE to spend more time than I liked on expressways, just no way to get around it.

A veteran of 4 previous Northeast tours, I knew what to expect.  Because I avoided the Northeast Corridor like the plague (I-95 from DC to Boston) my resume was void of any coastal riding in the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  I wanted to change that.  Prior routes were a more westerly crossing, one year I even dropped in by Canada.  Not a bad tactic, but if I wanted to get to the coast, I'd have to tackle the Corridor.

Northern Maine was another area I needed to visit, and I was able to this tour, riding north up the coast from Bar Harbor, and crossing the border at Calais.

The details of how I accomplished that are in the pages that follow.  In between the quiet coastal jaunts, small New England towns, twisty mountain roads, and farmland vistas, I battled traffic snarling wrecks on I-95, trashy expressways, turnpikes, frazzled commuters, toll booths, and radar traps.  The price of living on the East Coast.  Of course, riding through West Virginia to get there was a pleasure.

I had a unusually good ride through Tennessee on the way home, and found a few new roads entirely at random, that turned out worthy for the Hall of Fame.

Don't be mislead, I got in some great leaning on this tour, and loved my time in New England and Prince Edward Island, but getting in, and out of the Corridor, was taxing to say the least.

The weather was nothing short of a miracle for this tour.  A high pressure system was locked over the Eastern seaboard for 9 days, driving temps 20 degrees above normal.  Temps should be high 60s in New England this time of year, but I enjoyed mid 80s with blue skies everyday but one, that was of no consequence, occurring on a short riding day in Vermont.  

The trip covered 16 days and 5,031 miles.
This tour marked the first time I was riding something other than a Honda on a long ride.  The RT performed flawlessly, its long list of touring amenities are too long to post here, and the way this baby handles twisty roads is almost unbelievable.  The RT is a lot of fun to ride. 
The bike garnered attention everywhere we went.  People stopped to look and hunted me down to pay a compliment about my motorcycle.  Many times passing motorists gave me the thumbs up.  In front of cafes, motels, and shopping center lots, I constantly heard the axim "nice bike."  It came from men, women, kids, riders and non riders, everywhere accolades were heaped on it.  I NEVER got one on the 1100, only a few on the 1300, but this was something else.  I don't know if it was the red color, styling, the BMW roundel, or how I contrasted in my blue riding gear with the red bike, but I received many, many nice remarks.  A whole new experience for me.

I was impressed with the all around comfort of the BMW, the way it handles challenging roads, but gives up nothing on long freeway drones.

The bike averaged about 55 mpg, fully loaded at 80 mph.  I'll add more details about this on the motorcycle page at the completion of this journal.

Now it's time for a magical ride in America's oldest and most complex region.  From the hills of West Virginia, to the coastal shores of Prince Edward Island.  We will pass through the large historical cities of Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington DC, and visit hundreds of cozy villages New England is famous for. I walked along the shorelines of Prince Edward, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts and soaked in their harbor views.  Five thousand miles is not a lot miles in 2 weeks, but I never judge the success of a tour on how many miles I ride.  No, success is rated on the number of roads, people, and places I see and visit, and on this tour I covered that criteria very well.

Hope you enjoy the ride.

Confederation Bridge, Prince Edward Islalnd