Join Date: May 2010
Location: Gansevoort NY--just north of Saratoga Springs
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
NY-VT-NH last week
I had several days to ride, a rarity, so I put together a nice trip to visit several old friends, ride Mt. Washington, and find Heady Topper. One of my goals was to avoid any interstates, so I had great fun putting routes together on Google maps; I was successful in never hitting an interstate.
Sunday: Left the house at around 1 and headed east from home in northern Saratoga County. Great backroads through Washington County and then north into Vermont on Route 22A. Picked up 17 to head to my friend's house in Waitsfield, VT. As soon as I left 22A, the day changed. It was a humid 88 degree day, but with a little elevation it cooled off nicely. 17 was an incredible road. It climbed into the Green Mountains and twisted unbelievably. I passed a Can-Am and cruiser, they waved me by, but other than that I just enjoyed the turns without pushing it. I got to my friend's house and asked him about the road. I said it should have a name. He said, "It does--it's the App Gap."
Monday: There was no Heady Topper to be had in Waitsfield, but I had checked the Alchemist website and knew it would be delivered to a Mobil Mart in Montpelier on Mondays and it was directly on Route 2, my path, serendipity! Not so much; I got there before delivery and had to settle for gas. It would not be my only disappointment of the day.
Beautiful ride through Vermont and New Hampshire on Route 2. St. Johnsbury has decided to rip up every square inch of blacktop in town, but it still wasn't bad.
Got to Mt. Washington just in front of three bikes with Quebec plates and headed up in front of them. Great ride with knuckle-whitening drops and narrow passes. Get to the top and see the parking lots are packed gravel; no problem. Pull into the first parking lot and see a spot immediately on the left, perfect. Light brake, slight turn of the handlebars--why is my front wheel sliding away from me? To make it worse, as the bike went down, my right hand stayed on the throttle and revved to about 10,000 RPM's, so anyone who wasn't looking before sure was now. At least my Givi bags kept the wheel off the ground so I didn't break twenty windshields with flying rocks. Nobody came to help so I did the backward bike lift pretty successfully until the gravel gave way again and I had to really work to save it. If anyone comes across a left testicle on Mt. Washington, it's mine. Check the bike: it won't start but I expected that, the Givi took all the impact and suffered no real damage, the Barkbusters kept my levers and bars in good shape--all was well.
After twenty minutes walking around the summit, I went back to the bike and was thrilled when it started. I don't know what I would have done. Where the Hell is the nearest tow truck?
I once again put a cool route together through Laconia but was really concerned I had a hernia and was hurting, so did not hit the Kancamangus Highway. Got to my friend's house in Concord and self-medicated with plenty of Smuttynose IPA. Heady Topper probably would have helped more.
Tuesday: I got up and wasn't hurting too bad. Came home through Brattleboro and Bennington and was home before noon, even after stopping at the Bennington Battlefield, one of my favorite spots to stop on a ride, I was home before my wife and son, so that was perfect.
Bike and Equipment:
I did 535 miles on the trip and kept track of gas mileage through three partial fill-ups: 54.6, 55.9 and 58+. I know I wasn't riding too hard but was thrilled with this.
Last year I bought a Vario Touring X from forum member Paretlane and this ride gave me a chance to really appreciate it. I'm 5'10 and always felt like someone was trying to pull me off the bike by my helmet above 75 mph, but with the X-Screen in its highest setting, I was comfortable and stable all three days. The weather was hot and humid, so I had the visor partially or fully open most of the time. I was wearing ear plugs and that made a huge difference.
I installed Speedy's peg lowering kit before the trip. That and an Airhawk changed my geometry enough that I had little to no knee pain. I have a very arthritic knee and was quite concerned about it, but there was no issue.
I already addressed the hardbags and Barkbusters.
Thanks for bearing with me on the long post. I wanted to include pictures, but my computer and Photobucket won't talk to each other right now.
Vermont and New Hampshire are gorgeous. The ride had great valley riding with tremendous mountain views, and then wonderful routes up into and through the mountains. I'm still a little bitter about the Heady Topper!