Who needs planes?
3,156 miles (actual GPS mileage)
10 US States
1 Canadian Province
This is not really
much of a ride report, but more of a logging of our trip. Due to space
limitations, I left my DSLR cameras at home and only took my
point-and-shoot camera (Canon S3 IS) so there are not a lot of pictures.
fiancé, Tracey, was asked to travel to Oswego, New York for an assessment.
Rather than fly, we decided that I would take a week of vacation and we would
ride the bike up. She had to be in Oswego, for a meeting Sunday afternoon, so
making good time was important. Because of the time restraints, we took the
interstates most of the way. The entire trip up to Oswego was 1,390 miles.
Just before the trip I installed a
trailer hitch and
cooler rack on the Gold Wing. Installation was pretty straight
forward despite the terrible directions included with the hitch. I did
have to resort to the rubber hammer a few times, but I have come to
expect that from any motorcycle accessory.
Overall I am happy with the hitch and the extra space came in handy for
things like extra shoes and cold weather gear.
Vicksburg to Sevierville, TN
The plan for the first day was to ride straight up the interstate to
Sevierville, TN. We left Vicksburg Friday around 0700 with the hopes of covering
the majority of the miles to TN before the temperature peaked. The heat never
became an issue, though. The only time it seemed to get hot was when we stopped
at an outlet mall in Birmingham to eat lunch and search for a Ralph Lauren shirt
The first day was pretty uneventful until we reached the outskirts of Knoxville.
That was where we discovered that I-40 is closed in Knoxville. Yes, the entire
interstate highway (both lanes) is closed until June of 2009. Not a problem,
though, because I have ridden enough in Knoxville to know the back route to
Sevierville. What I was not counting on was an accident on the back road causing
us to sit in the sun for an hour waiting for them to clear the accident. This
was the worst kind of delay, in my opinion, for a motorcycle. We would sit for
10 minutes and then creep up 5 feet and sit for another 10 minutes. Since this
was TN, this was mostly up and down hills so I had to keep the brake on.
Eventually I started shutting the bike down due to the heat and a tired clutch
We finally made it to Sevierville and were able to get to the outlet mall.
Tracey wanted to hit the outlet mall because she did not find the shirt she was
looking for at the mall in Birmingham. Since she was willing to ride 570 miles
in one day, the least I could do was get her to the Ralph Lauren outlet store.
This was her longest one-day ride so far and she did really well. No complaining
Tracey found the shirt she was looking for and then we had a great dinner at TGI
Friday’s (ribs & chicken).
Sevierville to Hagerstown, MD
The second day was from Sevierville, TN to Hagerstown, MD. I planned for
each day to be slightly shorter than the previous, so the second day was
about 460 miles.
One of the best investments I ever made for traveling was the
Garmin 376C with the
WX Weather receiver. As we approached Mt. Crawford on I-80 I noticed
a very ugly storm system on the weather radar. The 376C then showed a
Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the county. So we pulled into a gas
station to don our rain gear. While there, a trucker asked me if I was
headed north. He told me that his buddy just called him and told him
that there was hail falling and very strong winds about 10 miles up the
road. Much of the traffic had already pulled off to the side of the
In the thousands of miles I ride each year, I have ridden through hail,
sleet, and snow but I would not put a passenger through this kind of
weather if it can be avoided. My job is to make the ride as enjoyable as
possible for her. So I started looking for an alternate route.
Backtracking around the storm would add about 2 hours to the trip. I
watched the storm system moving on the radar for a few minutes and
decided that we should wait it out at the gas station. I noticed that
there was a gap in the middle of the storm that, if we timed it just
right, would allow us to ride through and get on the northwest side of
the storm; which is what we did. We rode another 120 miles on to
Hagerstown to Oswego, NY
The weather on the third day was great. The skies were partly cloudy and
the temps were in the seventies. The final leg to Oswego was a short
trip of only 365 miles. The highlight of the trip was the ride through
Scranton, PA. We are both fans of
so it was cool to ride through the now infamous location. We were going
to stop and eat lunch at Alfredo’s Pizza but I wanted to get Tracey to
the hotel with enough time to rest before her meeting. We ended up
making it to Oswego, NY around 1:00 PM.
Loading the bike in
Hagerstown (yes, all of that stuff and more has to go on the bike)
Photos from Oswego