Monday, 19 May 2008

End of the Blog

Here we all are sitting in the BA lounge at Boston airport...its 5:30 and we have 4 hours to kill before our flight.

its been a great tour - the sights in New England have been superb, and its great that our annual tour has grown to add Tim and Paul.

Al our host was superb and today himand his wife Barbara made us breakfast and lent us a car to do a bit of shopping. We said our goodbyes abiout 11 and rode the 160 miles to Boston, to check in the bikes and then Greg the manager at Eaglerider gave us a lift to the airport in his van which is the home of 2 german shepherds Sammy and Jack who came too.

All in all I have ridden 3700 miles and visited 13 states of America - its the longest i have ever been away and cant wait to get back - but its been a superb trip, with some great memories and friends.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Littleton to Manchester

This will be very brief as i am using the hotel owners laptop in Manchester.

Another great day, heading off in glorious sunshine to Mount washington, where we saw this ancient cog railroad to take you to the top, and then had a fantastic ride down the mountain and into Conway.

From there we travelled through New Hampshire to Lebanon before coming into Vermont. About 30 miles out we stopped and said goodbye to Guy and Roger and continued the last bit in the rain to the motel where we are now.

Tonight its a taxi to town for our last night in the USA - then home on the 9:30 flight to LHR - really looking forwards to getting home now.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Lake Placid to Littleton

Tim on Bike

...a super day to head upsate New York....loads of lakes and motels - a superb chasm cant remember its name but it begins with A...

Ausable...just googled it

we get to the Canadian border and turn right into Vermont and the land flattens out into dairy farming territory - after 160 miles we gte to Newport by a lake and have a lunch at a cafe which takes forever - Al says they must be Canadians....i have a Philly Cheeses steak...and its great.

After lunch another 100 miles to Littleton in New Hampshire - we stop off at a HD store for T Shirts - but i restrain myself - and just buy some new gloves to replace the one I let blow away from inside my jacket.

In the hotel now and getting ready for night at the 99 Bar and restaurant opposite.

Paul on Bike

lake Placid

We had a really nice night out - we went to the local steak house and had a nice bit of beef and red wine. Had a great chat abbout the world and bikes - the resort is a really nice place and has that european ski resort feel.

Then over for a vermont special at Ben and Jerrys..i ordered the cheapest thing i could see which was a waffle cone at $1.69...well its like a traffic cone - upside down with three scoops of ice cream and cost $6.19 - How?

After that back to the bar to talk about everything from cornering to skiing ... then bed a mere three hours later - job well done..

This morning its beautiful and you can see by the pic why it is called lake Placid - today its a 300 mile trip through New York State up to the Canadian border which we follow through Vermont and then into New Hampshire where we are staying tonight.

Friday, 16 May 2008

The Magnificent Seven

OK here i am at lake Placid Crowne Plaza - very nice.

We set off this morning at 9;30 my new group of seven including myself....they are the three Americans from Vermont, and my three friends from Tunbridge Wells who i have know for some six years - we met through school where we all have a child of the same age. This resulted in a club called the First Friday Chaper as we all meet for a beer on the first Friday of each month - we also have an annual ski trip - and now an annual bike trip (well for me and Iain its our fourth).

Anyway te americans are from left to right:

Roger, who is a mortgage broker and rides a nice dyna wide glide, he has been friends with Al since junior school.

Al - worked with iain's dad in the 60's and has been friends since - he is our host, and has a 95 Road King.

Guy - owns two restaurants in manchester Vermont and is a mad Harley man doing 100'000's miles on his Harley - he is the tour guide, and rides a fully customised softail.

The TW group are as follows fro Left to right:

Iain ; is a lawyer who does real estate finance so we have some work stuff in common although not much as neither of us works that much - but at least he has a job - he has a Ducati at home - but really wants a Harley but cant swallow his pride and get one.

Me: enough about me.

Paul: is a local TW guy and dabbles in property and runs a car bodyshop business - he will buy a harley aftre this trip - as i can tell he soooo wants one.

Tim: works at Credit Suisse and surprised us at Christmas by saying he would pass his test and come on this trip - he did and Paul lost £100. He has a sportster, but i bet will buy a bigger bike before year end.

Anyway we all set off today, through Vermont and into New York State (how many states is that for me this trip so far?) and its so picturesque - we are mainly in the Adirondak National park, which is full of rivers, and lakes and mountains - superb.

The roads are great with more hills and bends than the whole of Route 66, its a real joy. We are out for dinner tonight and then tomorrow we head upto Canada and follow the border along.

Off to the bar now.....

Goodbye, the flight and Boston to Manchester

For a country as modern as the USA its frustrating the when one of your friends gets a mobile signal and the others cant – more so when there is a WiFi network but you cant connect – oh well – i am typing this up in word on Friday morning in the Aspen Motel in Manchester Vermont.

I said a sad goodbye to everyone on Wednesday night at the farewell dinner at the Westin Hotel at LAX – i really hope to see many of them again – but time and distance etc.....Steve and Ian - i certainly will and look forwards to it.

My ticket out said a 10:45 departure and being me – i was there at 9:00, only to see the flight was now 10:05, so i got straight on to an ancient 757, to find that first class was like a wide economy seat – still only a 5 hour flight. This huge guy rightly told me i was in his seat, but said i could keep if if i let him read my V-Twin mag – seemed a fair deal. As we sat down half the people on the plane came on said hello to him. I asked him why and he said he was well known in the US....i said but not in England! He then pointed to the guy opposite and said he was with Pharrell Williams – had i heard of him? (vaguely i think he is in N*E*R*D) – anyway shut my eyes and listened to music the whole flight which arrived promptly at 6:15am.

Got a cab to the Hotel and met Iain, Paul and Tim for breakfast, who are mega excited but i am still a bit tired – so excited we get to Eaglerider HD at 8:15 – they dont open until 9:00, but who cares! We collect the bikes 3 Road Kings and a Fat Boy for Tim and start our ride to manchester about 165 miles away, the weather is cold overcast and the odd light shower, a real contrast to Santa Monica which was a 100 degrees F.

The scenery was beautiful, GREEN as you get, rivers everywhere and picture postcard villages and churches. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant by a river in Battleboro – and then onto manchester – this was the scariest ride of my life, i didnt realise how tired i was and could barely stay awake, and was so glad to finally arrive.

Our hosts Al and Roger were there to meet us and took the other three out for a ride in the evening while i had a sleep (i so needed it).

That evening we went over to Al's and had supper with Roger and Guy our road companions – they are all in their 60's and epitomise “Live to Ride”, a real contrast to their counterparts in Laughlin. A fantastic pasta meal - first non fried meal in two weeks – get the maps out, and it looks a brilliant trip up and along the Canadian border.

In bed at 9:30 and i am now ready and excited about the next three days – hope the WiFi works at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid!!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Victorville to Santa Monica

Well Ga sorted all the problems, with a drill and a bolt he fixed Helena's gear shift and he arranged for a bike for the French to be collected on the way so we all could ride up to Santa Monica Pier about 90 miles away.

Not much to say about the ride - LA Freeways are a nightmare, poor road surfaces, no lane discipline and fast riding - apart from the dust it was quite a buzz though.

it was a bit emotional as we got to Santa Monica as its been an epic journey and we have bonded as a group really well. Lunch was at Bubba Gumps Shrimp House, where i won a badge in the Forest Gump Trivia quiz....."which leg did Lieutenant Dann lose?......."You a'int got NO legs Lieutenant Dann" - being the correct answer.

Tonight is the farewell dinner at the Westin Hotel at LAX where I am now - it starts at 8:00, and i will slip off just after to check in for the flight to Boston.

Hopefully when i am there i can write a nice summary of the trip.