Wednesday, 30 November 2011

October 19th, 2009

Woke up this morning feeling all warm and fuzzy.  After yesterday’s snow dump on us, it feels so good getting out of it in retrospect.  What time is it?  Crap.  Kamala is gonna be here any minute.  Time to get ready.  It’ll take us 2 seconds because we don’t have to gear up.  Going in Kamala’s van today!  After our last attempt in Boston on our motorbikes, I feel much relieved that we can soak it all in without having to worry about jumping over cars in one-way traffic.  Said our goodbyes to the pups Hanna and Muttley and off we went.

First stop: Thoreau House Replica near Walden Pond

"The shot heard 'round the world" The 1836 monument at North Bridge in Concord commemorating the beginning of the American Revolution in 1775

The Minute Man Statue

Another view of the bridge from the north side

Statue of John Parker at Lexington Common

Posing with John

It felt neat to be in the area where it all started and what sparked the American Revolution.  It's weird, but it doesn't feel all that too long ago and to see how people lived compared to how we live I wonder what the world is gonna be like when we're 70 years old.  If wasn’t for DirtGrlll and Kamala, experiencing this would never had happened.  Stomachs are growlin.  Time to pick up DirtGrlll and get some chow…chowder that is.

The prestigious MIT off in the distance in the hustle & bustle of Boston...

...skyline view...

...CHOWDER!  Here at a place called No Name Restaurant literally right next to the pier where the fish is hauled in.

Seafood chowder...

...fisherman by the pier... on the plate!

After lunch, DirtGrlll went back to work and the three of us continued onwards toward the Freedom Trail.

Boston City Hall

John Hancock's grave with a group of US coast guards led by a re-enactor...

...and whaddaya know!  A re-enactor!

Oh yes...what Samuel Adams is famous for...

Facing the opposition

This is what you see on the sidewalks periodically on the Freedom Trail

I feel...I don't know...what do you call it...


Live entertainment along the way
What goodies can we find in here?

Some historic facts passed along

The USS Constitution

This is how they would sleep aboard the Constitution

We wrapped the day over a nice spaghetti dinner and shot the breeze over what was to come next…Gloucester.  Time to capture The Perfect Storm moment.  I felt bad that DirtGrll had to work the next day and couldn’t join us…

To Boston by van!

Saw what we needed to see.

Made it out alive.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

October 18th, 2009

After the trebuchet we stopped over at a petrol station to fuel up.  Said our goodbyes to RockyNH and were on our way.  Auburn, MA was our destination and DirtGrlll was our host.  Rain kept falling harder and harder to the point where Amanda couldn’t bear it any longer.  We stopped every 20 minutes at a Dunkin Donuts to warm ourselves up.  Our hands and feet were numb from the cold once again and then all of a sudden…


Bah!  At this point I’m thinking “bring it on!”  It didn’t matter to me, it could’ve rained fireballs because in the end it’s all part of the adventure.  We got to DirtGrlll, but nobody was home. She had warned me about two labs roaming around in the house and that they were super friendly.  Got to the door and boom!  They were all over the window barking like crazy.  At this point I didn’t care if I got bitten.  We were so cold it wouldn’t hurt anyway.  Right at that moment DirtGrll and Kamala showed up.  We made our introductions, watched the Pats game, had some pizza, and called it a night.  Kamala offered to take us into Boston the next morning…only this time in his van.  We couldn’t refuse another opportunity to hit up Boston…and lap up some of that chowder! 

A boston cream donut in Boston

Snow falling from sky.

Hands and feet soaked to the bone.

Blame global warming.

Monday, 28 November 2011

October 17th-18th, 2009

Rest day.  Needed some time to shake off defeat.  Hung out with RockyNH and family, checked out the pumpkin fair, and finished the day with a wonderful steak dinner. 

That's a whole lot of pumpkin pie!

The next day we had planned to catch the Pats game, but that idea was scratched when RockyNH offered to take us to see the Yankee Siege trebuchet in Greenfield.  How often do you see pumpkins being tossed 100 yards at a castle?  Football can wait.  The plan was to meet up with the Rolling Thunder crew at Parker’s Maple Barn to have breakfast and then head out to Greenfield.  The Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club…Amanda and I have never hung out with members of a motorcycle club before so this shall be an interesting first experience.  We rode out to Parker’s early in the morning and it started to spit a little, add a little cold to the mix and you got a long day ahead. 

At the footsteps of Parker's Maple Barn

Amanda and I had to share this meal.  Sooooo good.

On our way to the gift shop

Shall we palaver?

Amanda expressing herself without speaking

An interesting iron steed

Hanging out with the Rolling Thunder crew was a wonderful experience.  They were very friendly and down to earth.  Watching them all come together was like watching a family reunion at Thanksgiving.  I also liked the leather jackets and vests they were all wearing with different kinds of patches sewn into them.  Maybe someday Amanda and I will start our own club…

By the time we finished breakfast the weather had gotten worse.  Strapped on the rain gear and off we went.  The trebuchet was quite grand to see in the flesh.  Unfortunately the weather had scared off all the operators so we didn’t get to witness pumpkins chucked into the air. 

The Yankee Siege

Yeeesh!  I wouldn't want to get in the way of that thing!

Riding to breakfast.

Pancakes the size of your face.

Broken belt buckle.


Sunday, 27 November 2011

October 16th, 2009

Big day today; can’t waste any of it sleeping.  Gotta stay sharp.  Riding into our first mega city sprawl will require the spidey senses working on all six.  People have advised us that riding into Boston was not an easy task if you’re not familiar with the area.   Time to find out.  Riding light today.  Yessssssss.  It’s like hiking without having to lug the rucksack on your back.  Camera is all we need for this day trip.  Here we go.

Getting the steeds primed and ready to go

Nashua to Boston.  No interstates.  All back roads.  Let the gps do all the work while we soak up the scenery.  Stopped by at REI to pick up another Thermarest for the lady friend.  Did some wheeling and dealing and managed to snag one for an unbelievable price.  Didn’t have anything to carry it with on the bike so I sat on it while riding.  Added an extra 5 inches of seat height…now I know how Amanda feels; tip toeing at every stop light. 

Thermarest!  Thanks for the tip Canuman.  A little too excited are we?  For the price we got it for, you'd be too!

Back on the road again.  Sprawl is starting to reach out.  Stop lights at every intersection.  Cars are getting a little faster and more aggressive.  You ready?  Take a deep breath.  Here we go…..left, right, can’t turn that way!, one way streets, streets are getting narrower, bastard cut me off!, dodgy area!, gps taking me in circles, make a left here, $7 toll for each bike!, underground tunnel, where are we?, we gotta turn around, this place looks familiar, watch out for that truck!, that guy’s gonna open his door, why are we back at the $7 toll again? DING DING DING!  Time to throw in the towel.  We’ve been riding around in circles for two hours now trying to find the Freedon Trail.  Better cash out now before the house takes it all.  With our tails between our legs, we rode back to RockyNH’s. 

Stopped to take a few pics.  This may be the only opportunity we have...

...sorry, no clam chowder by the sea shore :(

Famished!  8 piece fried chicken from Shaw's will do the trick

The car exhaust fumes.

Fried chicken on a park bench.

Boston out we go!


Saturday, 26 November 2011

October 15th, 2009 pt.2

Rode into Nashua with little to no problems.  Riding with heated gloves makes all the difference in the world.  We stopped by at the Nashua public library and contacted RockyNH.  It was about 17:00 I think and our stomachs were growling like angry dogs.  RockyNH met us at the library on his BMW GS650.  Nice ride.  What I found neat was how he utilized those John Deere manual canisters on his ride.  They were mounted neatly on the back of his matching black panniers with ADV decals strategically affixed so they reflected when following from behind.  Great way to store tools and extra fuel.  We had chow at Denny’s, met up with RockyNH’s wife and shot the breeze over a decent meal.  Opted for the all day breakfast to get the most bang out of our buck.  Had grits for the first time…can’t say that it was an amazing experience.  I only ordered them because I was curious of what grits are when I heard about them for the first time from the movie “My Cousin Vinny”.  Have to give grits a second chance when I head further south.  When we finished our meal and were getting ready to leave, I was down on one knee getting my gear on when a fellow rider from a Christian motorcycle club brought us into a huddle right then and there and prayed for us.  I felt like a knight in shinning armor getting ready for battle.  It felt cool.  I think we’ll take everything we can to help us get through this trip including prayers.  We rode to RockNH’s home and met the rest of the family:  Herbie, Snuggles, and the wild one—Jingles.  After RockyNH showed us around his pad, we called it a night.  We need all the rest we can get because tomorrow… we’re riding into Boston!

Casa RockyNH

The ocean breeze air.

Calm chowder by the sea shore.

Boston here we come!

Friday, 25 November 2011

October 15th, 2009

Last night we met Fire Escape and family.  Right from the get-go we pushed Amanda’s bike into the garage, jacked it up, and started working on replacing the chain.  What a learning experience.  Can’t say that I’ve done it before, I have the Clymer manual with me and what would’ve probably turn out to be a two-hour-plus job for me to do became much less with the help of Fire Escape.  He had all the goodies to do all kinds of work on a bike. 

A little bit of maintenance in the stable
Had no luck finding oil.  Fire Escape suggested we head out to Freedom Cycles early in the morning in Concord to pick some up.  We called it a day and had some grub at the local pizzeria.  Shot the breeze for a bit and headed back home.  For desert we had some delicious home-made brownies Fire Escape’s wife had made for us.  The camper we stayed in was super warm and comfortable.  It made me want to trash the idea of ever purchasing a house and just live on the road like a nomad full-time.  I guess living on the road is starting to make me go bonkers. 

Woke up this morning to the sound of idling motorcycles.  Went outside to see what’s going on and there she was…the Triumph Scrambler!  Fire Escape granted me the privilege of taking her out for a spin.  What a treat!  I always had a soft spot for Triumphs and only dreamed of ever owning one, let alone ride one.  In the spirit of Brando and McQueen, I straddled her as cool as I can be and felt like a movie star.  I have ridden two bikes in my lifetime:  a GZ250 and the KLR.  Words can’t even describe the difference in speed and handling of the Scrambler compared to what I’ve ridden.  We rode out to Freedom Cycles, Fire Escape on his Harley with Amanda riding pillion, me on the Scrambler solo.  First thing I immediately noticed was riding without handguards and my fingers paid the price, but I was having so much fun my brain didn’t even register what cold was.  I lied.  My fingers froze to death.  We picked up the oil, rode back to the garage and finished the job. 

The Scrambler and the Harley

Trying to look cool beside the Scrambler

Parked in front of Freedom Cycles

Fire Escape had an engagement he had to tend to so we said our goodbyes.  He also played a HUGE part in helping us acquire heated gloves!  The only thing we need were wires to connect them to the battery.  Had lunch with Fire Escape’s wife and it was there for the first time we heard the infamous Bostonian accent.  I sense we’re making some progress southwards.  Stopped by at a motorcycle shop to pick up some SAE wires for the heated gloves.  Worked like a charm.  Best thing since sliced bread.  To those who own heated gloves...try and recall the first time you tried these bad boys on?  Words can’t even describe the feeling.  With one pair, Amanda and I take turns when the weather gets chilly.  With warm toasty fingers, we proceeded onwards to Nashua, NH to meet up with RockyNH.

Installing the SAE wiring to the battery

Anxious to see how these gloves work

Forgot to mention Fire Escape is a snowbird.  He invited us to meet up with him in Florida sometime in December.  Is that awesome or what? 

Cold, angry rider.

Heated gloves are invented.

Warm, happy rider.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

October 14th, 2009

Woke up early in the morning to get a little riding under our belts.  Didn’t want to make the same mistake twice by riding out too late in the day and end up riding at night.  NikonVT recommended a Kawasaki dealership in Laconia to see if they carried a replacement chain for Amanda’s motorbike and that’s where we were off to first.  5 minutes into it and my fingers were numb.  Bright sunny morning, but it was freezing cold.  Got to the dealership and wanted $160 for an OEM Kawasaki chain.  A little too pricey for my blood.  It was a good thing they didn’t have any in stock because I probably would’ve taken the bait.  We pressed onwards.  We were heading towards our next destination at Epsom, NH where Fire Escape offered us a place to shack.  Both NikonVT and Fire Escape recommended a nice scenic route the night before, but we just couldn’t do it.  It was too cold.  Ha!  We called ourselves rough riders?  NikonVT highly recommended heated gloves and swears by them, but it just wasn’t in the budget.  Being as it may, we might have to reconsider.  So instead of the scenic route we shot straight down route 106 towards Loudon and stopped over at the NH Speedway, picked up a chain for $60 at Rhoads Motorsports, and rode on. 

Let's see if we can sneak in and take a closer look...

...getting warmer...

...front row seats!


Something interesting in Fire Escape’s response to my thread for tent space came to mind. “Not much room in the house, we are pack rats, been here a long time…got a camper in the yard…”  Ever heard of a show called “Hoarders” on A&E?  That’s what immediately popped into mind the whole ride down towards Epsom.  What a treat!  We don’t have to worry about having nothing to talk about now that we know there’s plenty of conversation pieces to choose from.  We arrived in Epsom in the afternoon and started looking for Fire Escape’s abode.  I think the description he told us to look out for was “the ratty lookin green garage…”  For me, when someone tells me that I automatically picture the worst of the worst.  That way there will be no surprises and anything better is a bonus.   In this case…it was far from the worst.  It was first class. 

Ratty lookin?  Could've fooled me.  Natasha guarding the homestead.

The camper we stayed in.

Interesting POV
When we arrived at Fire Escape’s home we were warned that there will be a dog outside and that she’s very friendly.  So there she was leashed and lying by the driveway.  A beautiful white husky.  Big.  I approached with caution to see if there was anybody home, but the dog started barking.  I wasn’t gonna take any chances.  Fire Escape told us he might be out and about and to make ourselves feel at home so we left our stuff in the camper and wrote a note telling him we went out to look for oil at Wally World.  We rode into Concord, NH to look for a library to zero in on the local store and catch up with family members via email.  After a couple of hours of trying to catch up with the ride report, we called it a day and headed back to base camp to meet up with Fire Escape. 

Concord Public Library

Cold air seeps through gloves.

Fingers start to hurt like hell.

Heated gloves to spare?