Oswego, NY

Who needs planes?

 8 Days

 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.

My 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.

Day 01
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 for Tracey.

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 hand.

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 at all.

Tracey found the shirt she was looking for and then we had a great dinner at TGI Friday’s (ribs & chicken).

Day 02
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 XM 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 road.

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, MD.


Day 03
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 The Office, 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


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