Riding east on Trans-Canada 17 along the north shore of Lake Huron-
I had kind of hoped to reach Algonquin Provincial Park today but realize there's no way I'll get there before dark...
It was a pleasant evening, temp in the 60's and I didn't want to stop...
So I just kept going!
It was shortly after I took this pic that the OPP pulled me over to warn me of the dangers of riding a motorcycle through these parts after dark. They said most of what they do after dark is deal with animal collisions and that they didn't want me to end up another statistic. Such genuinely nice guys! I would never expect this from cops in the US...
So, as much as wanted to just keep going, I decided to take their advice and pulled into a Tim Horton's in the little village of Burk's Falls which was quite close to Algonquin Provincial Park.
Tim Horton's is a uniquely Canadian chain of 24 hour coffee shops. Perfect place for insomniacs and long distance drivers / riders who need to get off the road for a bit.
The Tim Horton's in Burk's Falls was pleasant enough- clean, friendly staff, free WiFi, and around 4am they started baking new pastries and I got to enjoy a warm apple fritter right out of the vat! The sky started to get light off in the east sometime around 5 am, but there was thick fog... I waited a while longer until the fog started to thin then hit the road, conscious of the danger posed by moose and deer.
Only another ~60 miles to Algonquin Provincial Park-
Cool and foggy in the early am!
Highway 60 runs right through Algonquin Provincial Park-
I took it nice and slow and did spot one female moose on the ride into the park, but she disappeared into the dense trees before I could take a picture.
Approaching the west gate-
Of course no one is around at such an early hour.
I am in need of some sleep so decide to start checking out some campsites. Found a good map of the park online-
Gotta keep the speed down and eyes open!
Riding to Canisbay Lake-
Again, no one around, not even a bear
Rode through the campground and felt like I could probably do better, so back out on highway 60 and further east to Mew Lake.
Welcome to Mew Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada!
Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario is Canada's oldest provincial park, and a real gem! I imagine it must get quite busy over the summer holidays, but I have the good fortune of passing through before the kids get out of school so it's very quiet. This is my kind of camping!!
I grabbed spot 112 on Mew Lake and had the whole peninsula to myself!
It had been a LONG night and I needed a nap! Mother Nature helped put me to sleep with a nice rain shower-
I awoke several hours later, I think it was early afternoon, and decided to walk to the general store down the road at the nearby Lake of Two Rivers Campground in search of beer and food A nice little hike on an old railroad grade that's been turned into a bike trail-
At the general store I was disappointed to discover they don't sell beer, but they did have quite a good selection of ice cream which almost made up for it Moose Tracks + Salty Caramel Truffle = heaven in a cone!!
I also grabbed some baked beans and sausages for dinner
I guess later in the summer they rent canoes at many of the lakes here. It sure would have been nice to go for a paddle, but unfortunately too early in the season...
Lots of geese with their goslings-
Just my luck they chose to grade the campground road the day I was there. I didn't look forward to riding through this soft dirt on the heavy Land Yacht...
Loonies and Toonies- gotta love Canada, eh? :mrgreen:
Got back to camp in time to collect wood for a fire and enjoy a lovely sunset-
As the shadows grew longer the lake became glassy and serene-
A new sticker for the Land Yacht (Algonquin Provincial Park)
Baked beans cooked in the can over the fire and those sausages roasted on a stick and served with mustard were shockingly good! Too bad no beer to wash it all down, but at least I had my emergency flask of Jim Beam which certainly hit the spot! Showered and fed the cold eventually prompted me to retreat to the tent where I quickly passed out and enjoyed a very sound sleep!
Skipping ahead a few day- I crossed back into the US at the "1000 Islands" crossing from Ontario to Upstate New York, camped at the very nice Wellesley State Park Campground with a site right on the St Lawrence River. Next day rode down to the Adirondacks where I camped at a nice spot on Pecoso(sp?) lake and ran in to a trio of ADV riders who were riding from Georgia to Alaska!
Next day made it to New York City and a happy reunion with my boy
Frozen Yogurt, Fire Trucks and Water Balloons- Life's a Beach on the Massachusetts Coast!
Another perfect hot sunny day! We started out hitting Philips Beach in Swampscott, then drove over to "Witch City" Salem for frozen yogurt and a visit to the Fire Station before returning home for a water balloon battle and cook out! The pictures are completely mixed up and out of order. I will sort them out later...
New London, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts via the scenic route :mrgreen:
It's only about 130 miles from New London, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts via the interstate highway but I prefer smaller more scenic roads and my friend John recommended the 169 to Worchester. From there it was a mix on highways to get us to Boston.
The day of our departure the mighty Land Yacht was sitting at 99,999 miles on the odometer!
Stuck for want of a tire, MotorcycleSuperstore and UPS messed up... :wtf:
I've used MotorcycleSuperstore.com to save big money on tires during our previous cross country tours and ordered new tires for the K1200LT from them once again a couple weeks ago as the rear tire is shot and I guesstimate the front is only good for another couple thousand miles.
My son helped me wash the bike in anticipation of new rubber
The tires shipped last Monday and Motorcycle Superstore estimated a Wednesday delivery to my friends house in New London, CT. They didn't show on Wednesday, again no show on Thursday and when I checked the UPS tracking again on Friday it became obvious there was a problem-
Well this sucks... I was unable to reach a human being at UPS until late Friday at which point they explained that one of the tires was missing... Neither UPS now MotorcycleSuperstore could tell me which tire... If it's the front it's not so urgent, but if it's the rear I would need to try and source a new rear tire somewhere locally as it's getting dangerously worn. Of course as luck would have it, the porky BMW K1200LT takes a special reinforced rear tire due to its weight (some 850 pounds curb weight!)
I called half a dozen dealers in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts On Saturday looking for a new rear tire and no one had one in stock... Hmmmm :/
Adding to my annoyance was the fact that neither UPS nor MotorcycleSuperstore could figure out WHICH tire was missing and they wouldn't take any action until they "investigated" the missing item...
C'mon guys! We're on the road, far from home, camping in my friend's back yard and the clock is ticking... In my mind I thought it would not be unreasonable for them to send two new tires right away to minimize the delay, but that would mean returning a tire. My friend graciously offered to take care of that, but MotorcycleSuperstore wouldn't ship replacement tires unless I paid for them, in effect buying two sets of tires because my first order was incomplete...
My friend in CT was going out of town for the weekend so we needed to move on. To make a long story short, we made it 150 miles to Boston on the dodgy rear tire, parked up the bike and enjoyed a fantastic weekend.
Yesterday evening, (Monday), UPS finally delivered the partial order, and fortunately it's the rear tire! I really don't want to carry my son down to New London on the shagged tire and have managed to arrange babysitting for him tomorrow so will whack down to CT solo on Wednesday morning and finally get the new tire mounted!
We are quite fortunate that we don't have a fixed itinerary and have wonderful friends who have put us up while we're stuck waiting for new tires!! With any luck we'll be back on the road by Wednesday afternoon or Thursday... 4th of July is on Friday, wonder where we'll celebrate Independence Day?
Did Motorcycle Superstore deliver? No! How would you rate this transaction?
So, I received an email from ResellerRatings.com asking me to rate my recent experience with MotorcycleSuperstore.com.
If you read my previous post you'll know that I ordered two tires from MotorcycleSuperstore.com and they were supposed to have been delivered last Wednesday, June 25th. Somewhere along the way a tire was somehow "lost" and finally yesterday, Monday, June 30th one tire was delivered.
I've wasted a fair bit of time chasing this up with UPS and MotorcycleSuperstore.com and have asked MotorcycleSuperstore to refund the missing tire. Oddly enough they told me today that they can't (won't) refund the missing tire until UPS finishes their investigation.
A sincere apology and prompt refund would, in my humble opinion, just about set things right. But this strange refusal to refund an item that hasn't been delivered is pissing me off... I've explained to the staff at MotorcycleSuperstore.com that I am away from home touring with my son and that this screw up is wasting a lot of our time. I'm in Boston now and will have to arrange a babysitter for my son so that I can race down to New London, CT and collect the rear tire that finally showed up yesterday. You might think MotorcycleSuperstore.com would offer something to compensate for the missing goods but so far nothing...
I've been using MotorcycleSuperstore for years and in the past I have been very happy with their service but I'm tempted to rate them "Very Dissatisfied" for this purchase.
Riding to Acadia National Park, Maine, with a hurricane on our tail!
On July 3rd Hurricane Arthur was heading up the east coast but no one was sure which way it would go. Turns out it was headed straight for Acadia National Park! That night we got a motel room in Portland, Maine due to nasty weather preceding the hurricane.
On July 4th we started the day with some "Red, White and Blue" pancakes
It certainly looked like we would get wet on Independence Day! Getting a motel room the night before was a wise decision; it rained buckets!!
We made good time up the coast, staying mostly on smaller roads and made a pits top in the small beach town of Lincolnville to stretch our legs and grab a snack-
75 more mile to Acadia National Park and fortunately we have managed to stay ahead of the bad weather!
Touring across the US the last few years has restored my faith in the basic goodness of my fellow countrymen; this summer was no exception!
I've been a long time member of a motorcycle forum called AdvRider, aka Adventure Rider (Advrider.com) and it's got a section called "Tent Space" where members offer lodging and other assistance to riders on tour. This is the first year I've used that section of Advrider and I must say I've been so impressed with the amazing kindness and generosity of the members I've met via this feature.(http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=869519)
Thanks to Advrider I was able to find workspace in the Twin Cities to service the K1200LT (thanks again Boardrider!), a member in New York gave me the keys to his super-groovy apartment on Manhattan's East Side (thanks a million Eff!), and a kind member in New London, CT offered us not only tent space in his yard but also hooked us up with a friend who owns a tire changing machine and offered to mount the new tires on the Land Yacht and refused to accept any money for the job- can't thank you guys enough John and Jim!!
You may recall the "drama" we suffered while waiting for the new tires to arrive for the K1200LT. Have used Motorcycle Superstore many times before without incident, but this time things got a bit "complicated" when UPS managed to lose a tire...
"Fortunately" UPS lost the front tire, as the rear was the one I really needed and it would have caused a huge delay to find a replacement as no dealer in CT, RI or MA had one in stock (it's an unusual tire and I called every dealer in the three states!) It took a while, but finally the rear arrived in New London:
My son and I were staying with friends in Boston and I had to arrange a baby sitter for my boy so that I could whack down to New London and throw on the new tire. Knocking the rear wheel off a K1200LT is a quick and easy job-
Crossing the Trenton Bridge to Mount Desert Island, the 3rd largest island in New England (behind Martha's Vinyard and Long Island)-
Welcome to Acadia National Park!
It was July 4th and normally one would expect the campgrounds to be packed, but the approaching hurricane Arthur seems to have scared some folks away so we got lucky and found a great spot in the Seawall campground.
The friendly Ranger who checked us in at Seawall warned me about the approaching hurricane and was kind enough to direct us to a site that was on high ground and didn't have many big trees that could fall on us... After setting up camp the weather was still good so we hit Sawyers's Lobster Pound in nearby Southwest Harbor.
While waiting for our food Kristhawee got started on his Acadia National Park Junior Ranger book
Weathering Hurricane Arthur in Acadia National Park!
The timing of Hurricane Arthur's arrival was, all things considered, rather agreeable. Kristhawee and I had time to get dinner and get ready for bed before the rains and wind really picked up strength.*
We read a few chapters from the fantastic book by Jean George: "My Side of the Mountain" and fell asleep in our little tent, hoping we'd survive the storm.*
My son can sleep through the wildest of weather. Me, not so much. I spent a mostly sleepless night listening to the wind howl and the rain bucket down. At times it felt like the wind would flatten our little tent, but after every strong gust would nearly knock it over the Marmot would pop back up, and we survived the night dry and warm. I was quite surprised to find I could get a data connection in the Seawall campground. Checking the radar and current conditions in the early hours of July 5th-
The rain kept falling and the wind was still howling but we decided to suit up and see if we could catch a shuttle to Bar Harbor. Are you ready little guy?*
Wet wet wet, but my boy is still smiling so all is well!
Kristhawee and I bundled up in our warmest clothes and rain gear and walked to the Seawall Campground shuttle bus stop. There were some big trees down in the campground, including a giant old birch that had flattened a picnic table. It was lucky no one was camping in that site- a tree that size could certainly kill.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the shuttle buses were still running, albeit off schedule and having to take alternate routes on account of many roads being blocked by downed trees.
It took a long time to reach Bar Harbor, but it was rather exciting to be driven around Mount Desert Island during the tail end of a hurricane. It was very cold and windy and we took refuge in the Jesup Library, a beautiful old building, where we enjoyed some books and shelter from the storm.
It was getting close to lunch time so we wandered down the street to the Lazy Lobster Deli where Kristhawee ordered a pretty darn awesome flatbread pizza and I enjoyed a large bowl of clam chowder. Kristhawee didn't want to try the chowder but we have a rule he has to try everything and he loved it!
We wandered around Bar Harbor a little after lunch as the rain was letting up and the weather was improving but it was still very windy and cold. The bus ride back to Seawall campground was long and circuitous on account of more downed trees and blocked roads. My little guy passed out
Finally the rain stopped and the winds died down; it was actually a fairly pleasant evening. I bought some dry firewood and we enjoyed dinner by the fire and s'mores for dessert. Life is good!
Also picked up a tasty local beer from the Atlantic Brewing Company- I very much enjoyed sampling local micro brews during our tours. This local IPA was mighty fine!