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 Post subject: Trip Report: ME, NH, VT
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 6:46 am 
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Joined: Sep 9, 2004
Motorcycle: Suzuki Gsf1250
Rebel: 450
Country: Canada
State/Province: NB
City: Rusagonis
I was away on an annual trip through the northern parts of ME, NH, VT last week. It’s all about checking out new back roads and mountain passes, plus sitting outside the motel on a chair with a beer watching the traffic go by. Each year, it’s a different trip. This year, my brothers couldn’t join us, so it was a two man trip. I noted a number of things had changed over time:

This year, we pretty much abandoned any mile-bagging. Longest day was about 400 miles. Most days, we hit the road by 8 and were off by 3. We also dropped the speed to roughly 5 to 10 over the limit on dry roads (a rarity, as it turned out) and enjoyed the scenery way more. We had noticed last year that our bikes were running a little rough and getting slightly less mileage in the US, and figured out it was the ethanol in the gas. This year, we switched from regular to hi-test, and found that, for the additional cost, our mileage returned to normal and bikes seemed to run better. Can’t vouch for the science; just a perception. My buddy rides a Suzuki C50 Volusia 800; I ride a Suzuki GSF1250 Bandit. One’s a V twin cruiser; the other’s an inline 4 faired standard, and we got within two mpg of each other on each tank - 57 to 60 mp(Imp)g. I think that’s 46 to 48 mpg for you ‘merkins.

We found the people of New England to be, as always, very hospitable and friendly. We also noted a new pessimism, seemingly precipitated by a foundering US economy. Almost every conversation included a reference to loss of jobs, foreclosures, economic duress, stuff like that. And we noticed that there was an increase in the number of closed businesses, factories, mills, and such, plus more abandoned homes. In particular, the tourist-focused areas were clearly suffering. Sadly, we noticed that most of the motels that we frequent were just about empty whereas in other years, they were generally at least 1/2 full. Even more sadly, they seemed to be attempting to compensate for this by increasing rates by about $10 average. Probably not a good long-term strategy. In any case, I felt badly for these folks and their communities. To their credit, it did not seem to have dampened their overt and demonstrative nationalism, given the density of flags on display leading up to the big holiday weekend.

On the plus side, the lack of state budget seems to have decreased the amount of construction we encountered. On the minus side, as with my home province, the road infrastructure is suffering from a lack of attention. We were discussing riding lines through corners (delayed apex, etc), and decided that all that stuff is out the window now. The correct line through any corner is the one that doesn’t take you over a chuck hole or broken up asphalt or a herd of tar snakes. To be fair, we encountered some absolute gems of smooth, sweepy roads, especially in VT and NH.

We saw only two moose this trip, and both were several yards off the road; just where you want ‘em. Oh, and it rained at some point every day. Locals told us that, just like home, they’d had rain every day for 9 to 15 days. Rivers were roaring. Saw very few bikes. Understandable given the low temperatures and precipitation.

Bikes ran flawlessly, luggage stayed dry in spite of the weather, had some great meals and some fine local beers. Even after decades of travel in the US, we are still startled and overwhelmed by the generosity of portions that appeared on our plates. No close calls. Met some neat people. Tires hit the wearbars about 100 miles from home. Can’t beat it with a stick!

Brent

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