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Taking 104 is a little better. Anything south of the thruway will be way slower but there are some real nice roads down there. Depends on what your time frame is.
 

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Consider Route 4 West from Portsmouth, NH towards Concorde. Pick up Route 9, follow through NH and Vermont (in Concorde, you will only be a few miles from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, depending on schedule, you may be able to take in some motorcycle activities there) to Route 7 in New York.

Follow 7 towards Troy - consult a map for youre preferred route to Route 20 leading out of Albany. (Short side trip to Saratoga to the auto museum in the state park??)

Take Rout 20 west past Syracuse (north edge of Finger Lakes Wine Country) and pick an interesting looking route north to Rochester. Quite interesting route, fairly straight with many very nice small communities along the way. Downside is some areas between Albany and Utica could have heavy truck traffic going to and from a couple of I90 interchanges. Interesting nearby side trips include Cooperstown and Watkins Glen (track of course plus Interational Motorsports Library)

Alternate: consult some history sites and follow the Erie Canal
 

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5s follows along the thruway but slower and you can go through the little towns on the way.
 

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Hug the shore.

I circled Lake Ontario in 2010. There are pleasant shoreline roads that take you to Rochester and show you fine scenery.

This summer the Northeastern States and some of Eastern Canada will be commemorating the War of 1812. Much of that war happened on the Great Lakes, so you may get some bonus activities to watch or share en route.

It's a nice ride.
 
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