​​​BamaRider






Day 9
September 12th, 2005
Motel 6
Augusta, Maine


Andy and I were both up and ready this morning.  I saw him loading his bike, while checking out.  I brought my gear outside and started lashing my bags down when the Gold Wing rider from the day before emerged from the motel.
I followed him to his bike and asked where he was off to this fine day.  "Nova Scotia."  He advised me he takes one long tour a year, and has covered most of the country the last few years.  He also told me he was heart transplant patient.






























I met this Long Rider in Augusta, Maine.  A heart transplant
patient.  Somebody left him a wonderful gift, and he's making
sure it doesn't go to waste.  Ride long brother.

"Are you nervous about being so far away from your doctors?"

"Not really, I have all kinds of bracelets to advise my condition.  And communication being what it is in this country, they are easy to find.  But I've been given a second chance, and I'm not going to waste one day, no, I'm not going to waste ONE hour.  I'm gonna do what I love as much as I can.'

"Attaboy! I'm right there with ya, have a good ride bro!"

Andy's GPS equipped 1300 took the lead and I followed him to a nearby Denny's for a bite to eat.  I normally like to put down a couple hours in the saddle before something to eat, but our ride is not a long one today, and I was in good company.

At breakfast I had the a short stack of pancakes.  I saw a young man at the bar wearing a Augusta Fire Department T shirt.

I called out to him, "just get off work this morning?"

"yeah"

"Good shift?"

"pretty much, nothing out of the ordinary."

"how many years ya got in?"

"About 18 months."  Man, I can't even recall being a rookie.

I left him this though-"It's a great job, has its ups and downs, but so many extra benefits, and perks."
Andy has the same number of years as I when I hung it up.  He told me in Toronto he has to do 30 to max out his monthly benefit.

"Dang bro ya been there 26, you can do the last 4 standing on your head."

After breakfast we bolted over to a nearby bank ATM for some walking around money.  It was sometime after 8am when we got on the road proper.  Like I said, less than 300 to do today, so we were not in a hurry.  My kind of ride. 



























 
                    Andy has a "unique" stance when he uses the ATM

We left Augusta riding west on U.S. 202 to Lewiston.  It was thick in cars and delivery trucks on morning rounds.  We managed a few breakaways but not many.

The weather was cool and sunny, I put a sweatshirt under the Roadcrafter, and zipped the vents.  Andy teased me about it.  "Dang brother I'm burning up and you put a sweatshirt on?"  "Look here brother, I'm NOT Canadian, ain't never seen anything like y'all when it comes to cold, y'all walk around in shorts on 50 degree days, and burn up if it goes to 80."
The traffic had a bad effect on us so we took a early break at a Citgo con store.  We pulled to the side and I went in for a Mountain Dew.  I made a couple of quick phone calls back home, and generally hung out.  I looked over Andy's 1300 and it made me wish I had mine.  I love the RT, but I started thinking about the linear power and smooth motor of the 1300, and how quickly it goes to 100 mph.  It has a decided edge over the RT in that department.   I love my Honda, and I missed it.  I rubbed my hand over Andy's bike, and twisted the grips.  He keeps the bike in pristine condition, and has it fixed up just like he wants. 

Traffic was snarled all the way to Lewiston, where went SR 11 to 26 to Norway.  South from Norway we took SR 117.  Traffic began to thin and the riding was better.  We rolled past a few lakes and over several small bridges.  Seeking out the back roads of Maine, we went to U.S. 302 into Conway, where we made a vist to the folks at Whitehourse Press.



























After clearing the population centers, we passed this
ski mountain somewhere in Maine.  It was good riding.


We pulled to the parking lot and found 2 friendly dogs that seemed to have the run of the place.  Whitehorse is a great place for a couple of Long Riders to spend a little time.  I browsed the rows of books, and other gear.  They stock most any item a long rider might need.
 
I picked up a few books about 70's Asian bikes.  The CB 750 K1, the Suzuki GS 750 triple, and the Kawasaki 900 Z1.  They were mostly for my brother who enjoys riding and restoring these classics.  We are currently looking for good samples of a K1 and Z1.

I owned a Z1 and recall how it astonished everyone at how easily it dominated the CB 750.  At the time nobody thought a bike could man handle the K1 in such fashion.  I had the books shipped home and to my brothers.

From Conway we took the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountains to Lincoln.  I was last on this highway in 2003 with Chris Knight.  This time I was riding the opposing direction.  

The highway is good. and we waved at several groups of east bound riders, mostly on cruisers and a few touring bikes.  The road has long sweepers but noting I'd call intense.  I followed the same lines as Andy, and had a good time.  We stopped for a few pictures along the river.  The scene reminded of some of the places I've visited in the Rocky Mountains
























.

                                       Along the Kancamagus Highway


In many places the road was rough, and several times we encountered long patches of construction.  

A scenic overlook near the mountain peaks served as our photo op station.  I took several snapshots to document my time here.  I noticed a young forest service employee working out of the back of his SUV. 





























                       The White Mountains of New Hampshire


 I walked over for a chat-

"Whats goin on?'

"Nothing just taking zip codes down of the folks that stop here.  What's yours?"

"36067.  So that's it?  Only thing ya gotta do all day?"

"Man I went to school 4 years to learn how to do this.  I put in to go out west, but not anything back yet."

"Its the government, always move slow.  My son works for Progressive Insurance. He told me whenever they deal with a government agency at ANY level, they build in lag time.  He said he has never called a government agency and received a quick answer, they always have to get back to you.  Sending paperwork for them to review is hopeless.  Your memo to go out west is hid on some guys desk."

"Yeah I know."

"At least your office has a nice view."

Here is a guy, that joined the forest service to rescue folks out of the Grand Canyon, or find lost hikers in Yellowstone, instead he's collecting zip codes.  Have to start somewhere.  Like the fire service, you don't get placed on elite teams your rookie year.

























                             Andy with our Forest Service friend.


We came down out of the mountains to Lincoln and stopped at a small sub shop for a sandwich.  
After lunch we went to SR 118 south to Warren.  It was more good riding on a scenic and curvy road.  We took 2 slow moving SUVs like they were aspirins.

SR 25 and 25A were next.  I recall the routes from a 2001 trip I made with Uncle Phil.  Back then we traveled 25 across the state to Maine.  It was cold and cloudy that day, with 15 degree temps on top of Mount Washington.  We had to skip the mountains and stay further south on that ride. 

SR 10 runs parallel to I-91, we followed it into the college town of Dartmouth.  Again, a place from another trip.  Chris K and I came through here in 2003.  It was mid October and college kids were wearing sweaters and coats to class.  Today they are in shorts and T shirts.  The whole city looks trendy and pricey if you ask me.  

In Lebanon we took refuge in a shiny con store.  We topped off the gas tanks and I went inside for something to eat.  I came back outside and Andy said-

"Look at that joker."  He pointed to a old man in a nearby car sitting on the passenger side.  His head was back and his mouth open.  After 26 years in the fire department and 10 of thousands of EMS calls, I know what the death face looks like, and this guy had one.   He was either in a comma or checked out.

'I dunno bro, but he don't look good"  I said softly.  About that time the driver returned.  The man was ok.


























                        We thought this joker had checked out on us


U.S. 4 carried us into Vermont, a easy ride to Killington.  Traffic was not as bad as we feared it would be, but it was bad enough.  The ski mountains of Killington are vast and complex.  

In Killington we fumbled around for the motel, but eventually got it sorted out, and found it half way up the ski mountain.  It was good to see 6-7 STs in the parking lot, I knew we were in the right place, "The Inn of 6 Mountains." 
We rode a pleasant 241 miles today.
 
Uncle Phil was there to meet us, as was Dan Baynes and a few others.  After introductions I slipped away for a 3 mile run up, then down the mountain.  I was reluctant to run for that long uphill, because it stretches the tendons in my lower legs, but I had no choice.  I finished without any problems.

My room mate at the Inn was my good friend, John Cooper.  One of my favorite people, and it was good to see him again.  We hung around the lobby waiting for the rest of riders to arrive.

Supper was a short walk to a nearby restaurant where I had the chicken parm.  For some reason I was awarded number 11 in the group.  The last guy on almost everything.  Our waitress was a young girl named Caroline.  When I asked how a girl from Vermont got a southern name she said,  "I don't know, but a rare name up here."  "Well yeah, but that's a good thing."

Back at the Inn we went to bed early, looking forward to a great ride the next day.


Next-VVV tour starts.  Green Mountain riding.
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