Saturday, July 16, 2011

7.13.11 Day 21 Number two!

7.13.11 Day 21 Number two!

It’s the 13th and Im actually writing this post on the same day for the first time this trip. Ive realized how difficult it is to keep this blog updated while on the road. Ive been days behind every time. Im sitting in a hotel room right now with my tent and everything else all set up to dry since I got soaked last night. Fun stuff.

I had set my alarm for 6am but since I hardly got any sleep, I didn’t crawl out until 7. The guy next to me was still snoring away so I didn’t even bother trying to be quiet. Everything is still soaked and dirty so I didn’t put too much care into packing, I just threw it into their respective bags and hit the road. I might get a hotel tonight. If its nice and warm out, everything should dry out fairly quickly so I can have a dry slumber.

All packed up, I plugged Fort Kent into the GPS so I could take a picture of the end/beginning of the US1 sign like I had in Key West. There was no time difference between the interstate and backroads so I chose the back road route. I could have followed US1 all the way up to Fort Kent but it was a few extra hours so I decided to ride inland today. I knew I would be missing some nice views along the coast, but I was looking for some mountains and twisty roads today.

Route 11 going up to Fort Kent

It turns out inland Maine is just as nice as coastal Maine. The rolling hills and forests were awesome. Some of it looked pristine and untouched. The contrast between the bright green evergreen trees and the dark blue sky with white puffy clouds was so vivid even past the darkness of my sunglasses. Halfway up Maine, the sky turned dark and ominous. Great, not again. I stopped a few hours past Bangor and hung out at a gas station for a bit to rest and catch up on emails again. We are planning some things for Buffalo that should be pretty exciting. I kept watching the dark clouds to see what they would do and after half an hour, they all seemed to disappear so I hit the road again. Now I was getting into some really desolate areas. There were times where I didn’t see any other vehicles for half an hour at a time and when I did, it was a logging truck chocked full of lumber. They all haul ass on these backroads and it was pretty intense to come around a corner with a massive logging truck coming at me full steam halfway in my lane. When they pass, they move so much air around I get pushed to the side of the road into the really rough pavement. In fact, for half the ride up, the pavement was so bad I rode it motocross style, up on the pegs and no weight on the front to let the forks absorb all the bumps and dips. My legs will be sore tomorrow.

Near Fort Kent

I make pretty good time riding up since there is hardly anyone on the road. I’m doing 80-85 the whole way. I only saw one other motorcycle the whole way up and he was going the opposite direction. We both wave at each other furiously as though we havn’t seen any sign of life in weeks. I laugh inside my helmet as Im sure he did too. Further and further up north, I notice the logging trucks coming my way are throwing off all kinds of dirt, limbs and other crap out of the back. Hmmm, I didn’t notice this earlier, I must be getting close to their loading zone. Sure enough, a little while later, I see several massive lumber yards and these huge machines loading up the trucks with massive timbers. It was cool to see, but the roads were littered with limbs and other random bits that I had to constantly dodge. It was all kinds of sketch.

Hahaha, awesome.

Lumber yard.

5,000 Beautiful miles on this trip alone. I love you Jess.
I know your just a machine to some, but your my life, my home and my dearest companion. I will always cherish every moment we spend together.

Fifty miles to Fort Kent, I see the first gas station in over 100 miles. Got filled up and take a long rest. That last stint was exhausting. A guy pulls up in a RV and is stunned by my Georgia plates. We chat for a while and he heads out. The accent in this area is odd. It must be the French influence since we are so close to Canada. Ready to ride again, I push for the last stint into Fort Kent. Once in town, I was sorely disappointed to see that the start of US1 was under construction so there were no signs marking the start or the end so I went past the end/beginning, turned around and took a pic of the first sign for US1 I saw and also the border crossing bridge. I guess that’s good enough. On to Madawaska.

We don't see these in Atlanta.

Don't see these either.

Lake Portage

Madawaska is only 19 miles from Fort Kent so I make it there quickly. I hadn’t done much research about the area but I knew it was the most northeastern town so I figured I would just take a picture of the welcome sign and call it a day. With that taken care of, I stopped at a Gulf gas station to fill up. Everything around here is old as hell so I couldn’t use a card at the pump. I did notice that there were two prices, one for US dollars and one for Canadia. Edmunston is just across the river so I guess that explains it. I punch in hotels into the Gps since its kind of chilly and there was no way the gear would dry outside in this weather. In fact, I had to use the heated grips for the first time this trip. I would have gotten out the rain jacket for an extra layer but it was wet from using it last night. There were a lot of hotels in the area, but all on the Canada side. I found 3 on the US side and only one had a room vacant. Just one room in this whole town. It was $60 but cheaper than other rooms that were full anyways. Oh well, I need it tonight. Second time this trip I’ve had to get a room, I guess that’s not too bad.

Canadian eh? How many looneys and tooneys is that?

Just past the gas station I see my friend Tim Horton’s again so I pull in for some dinner. I ordered the turkey bacon sandwich, with a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup. I skipped the ice cap this time since I was chilly. There was a shady looking old dude sitting near me kind of giving me the evil eye a bit so I tried to ignore him. Then, in a strange Frenchish accent, he asked if I was doing the Four Corners. I said, “Yeah! How did you know?” Then I realized that there probably wasn’t much other reason for a bike all loaded down with gear to be in Madawaska. He tells me the monument for the Four Corners is just next door. There’s a monument??? Next Door??? How did I miss that? Am I really that tired? Damn, I need to stop riding for the day.

The old man introduced himself as Roger Chamberlain and told me he was part of the 4 corners committee and volunteered a lot of time at the park. He offered to walk over with me and show me around. I told him he didn’t really have to do so, I could ride over myself and snap a few pics and be on the way and that he should stay here and finish his coffee. He insisted and told me that he could give me a tour and history of the park and organization. Okay, that’s cool. I wasn’t sure what to think at this point, this seems a bit sketch. Something in my head kept shouting, “Run for your life!!!” The park is literally next door to the Tim Hortons and I look over and there are other people there. Cool, at least there are witnesses to my eventual murder, haha. We talk for a bit in the parking lot of Timmy Hos and other people who knew Roger walked up and chatted for a bit. Okay, Im feeling better about this now. I ride the bike next door so it could be in the shot and he walked over.

Roger showed me around the small park and went over some details and gave the background on how the park came about and the people who started it. Then he told me that there were several people buried in the park, one in the large monument and a couple underneath the paved stones that were dedicated to the people who did the 4 corners ride. All of them seemed to be either Harleys or Goldwings. Maybe one day Ill have my own stone saying Honda CBR1000RR. He tells me he doesn’t know of anyone who has even attempted this ride on a sport bike. Cool, I might be the first then. The park is actually really really cool and I enjoyed my time there. We snapped some pictures and I gave Roger my card and he promised to donate. He said he was going to donate some exorbitant amount of money and I refused thinking it wasn’t going to happen anyways. He also said he personally knows the people who organized the building of the park and he would tell them about me. We chatted for a bit longer and I thanked him for the tour and the history lesson. It was awesome to get a personal tour and history of the park, I bet not many people get that chance. Roger turned out to be an extremely nice and cool guy, I guess I need to rethink my idea of shady because I was way off base here. I had one of the other visitors take a picture of me and Roger by the monument then I thanked him again and went on my way.

Corner Number Two!!!

So far, 18 states, two corners, 5,000 miles and countless incredible memories.

Me and Roger Chamberlain at the 4 Corners Monument in Madawaska, Maine.

The hotel I reserved was only 10 minutes down the road. Got in my room and started to unpack my wet belongings. I set up the tent in the room and laid out everything that was wet. The tent seems so much bigger when its set up in a hotel room. Also the poles seemed ridiculously long, I couldn’t put it all together without it hitting all corners of the room it seemed like. Once everything was laid out, I started working on the blog. Then I realized it was getting dark so I went out to lube and adjust the chain on the bike and give it a good once over. it’s the first time Ive had to adjust the chain so Im happy about that. The tires looked in better condition than I thought it would be at this point considering the rapid wear I saw earlier in the trip. The front brakes have about had it though. I ll need to install my spare set in Toronto and order some more. The extra weight is really wearing them out.

I went back to the room to finish updating the blog and breaking down the tent. It only took a few hour to dry with the heat cranked up in the room. All the clothes I washed in the sink were good too so I packed everything up so I could head out early tomorrow. The plan is to camp in the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

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