StromTrooper banner

Virginia to the Cabot Trail

3549 Views 22 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Dirt_Dad
We finally took the trip we've talked about for nearly two years. There were many challenges thrown in along the way, but after 3,900 miles I can say my wife and I both are amazed at what we saw and very happy we took on this challenge.

Our route (at least most of it):

Our bikes ready for the trip (yes, the Strom stayed home):

Day 1 - Virginia to Port Jervis, NY
The only memorable part of this ride through the Poconos was the traffic and high hotel prices. I'm sure there must be something good about the Poconos, but we didn't find it.

Day 2 - Port Jervis to Lake Placid, NY
We absolutely love riding through the Adirondack Mountains. The mountains, the scenery, the forest smells and just the feeling of being there is special.

This was our second trip to the Lake Placid area. I kicked myself for not doing the bobsled last time. Could not make the same mistake this time.

It was a blast. There is something about being low to the ground that makes speed feel so much better. It's really something to be looking down the track, see the corner up ahead and think we're going to hit that how fast? It is a somewhat jarring ride, definitely not smooth, but very fun.

As part of our Lake Placid Olympic Passport we also were able to ride the gondola to the top of Whiteface Mountain and ride to the top of the mountain on Veteran's Highway.

The gate house on Veteran's Highway discouraged us from going to the top due to low clouds and zero visibility. Since we didn't expect to be back we went up anyway. It was the right thing to do.

As we stayed up there the clouds began to lift to give us a peek at the spectacular landscape below.

Day 3 - Lake Placid to Smuggler's Notch Vermont
Took the ferry from New York to Vermont. It was a short ride day due to all the time spent at Lake Placid. Another perfect weather ride day.

Day 4 - Smuggler's Notch to Gorham, NH

Through the notch.

On to New Hampshire. One of my favorite states to ride.

And up my one of my favorite roads in the country.

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

· Until we meet again
5,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)

This day marked the first of our challenges. We learned late in the day there had been an earthquake close to home. I found a 4 hour old text on my phone from a concerned college student who woke up to the quake, found her phone not working and was a little anxious to reach one of her parents. We called her, she was feeling better but told us she may get evacuated from an approaching hurricane...Irene. We gave her some instructions for evacuation.
The challenge was mainly for my wife who wants to be there when anything is happening to my daughter. I managed to talk her down.

Day 5 - Gorham, NH to Mount Desert Island (MDI), ME
Just as BlackLab (Barry) had warned us, the roads running East to West in Maine are full of traffic and lots of over sized loads. The good roads run North to South. After droning along behind a new wind turbine being carried down the road I just couldn't take it any longer and we started going north/south zigzags to make it to meet Barry at his work.

I'm sure no one will be surprised to learn Barry is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He went out of his way to give us the full tour of the Hinckley yacht manufacturing facility as well as their new top of the line 55' yacht.

I'm not a boat guy and had never heard of Hinckley before. It was great to see how they build them from start to finish. A lot of very skilled people putting together a jaw-dropping craft. Very impressive.

After the factory tour he took us on incredible tour of MDI. He showed us things we never would have found on our own.

Afterwards Barry showed us to the wonderful accommodations he was able to arrange for our stay. The evening ended with meeting Reuben and me trying to bribe my way onto his good side.

Barry took far more pictures of this visit and I hope he'll be posting some here.

· Until we meet again
5,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Day 5 - Mount Desert Island (MDI), ME to Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia
Realizing we had a hurricane chasing us we decided it would be best to get to Nova Scotia as quickly as possible. This meant a day long slog on the interstate through very strong crosswinds most of the day. I was impressed with how well the Tenere held the road in these type of winds.

During a break we heard from our daughter she was evacuating out of her college along the Virginia coast and heading for home. Again, hard on my wife not to call off the trip and head home to be with her. But she kept a stiff upper lip and realized Dirt Daughter would be fine.

We attempted to find a room in Amherst, NS. That didn't go well, so we figured we would just ride out on Route 6 until we found some motel. Let me tell you, it's a long, long way before you find any motels on Route 6. It was nearly dark when we finally found The Train Statioin Inn at Tatamagouche. This is a gem of a find. Some tenacious guy who really loved trains setup his own train station with boxcars, lots of cabooses, some dining cars and a station building. Turned the whole thing into a restaurant and Inn business. A really neat idea and very well done. We ate in the dining car and stayed in caboose #6.

Somewhere between Amherst and Tatamagouche my GPS was telling me a I had a call from our daughter. When I heard, "dad, can you talk?" I knew to pull over. She preceded to tell me about the fender bender she just caused 5 miles from home on the way back from college. Fortunately the entire thing was very minor and the woman she bumped was pleasant and easy on her. After a few more phone calls all was straightened out and even my wife was dealing with it just fine.

Day 6 - Tatamagouche - The Cabot Trail - Antigonish, NS
I had hoped to meet another Trooper (Fryman) in Nova Scotia and personally hand over the Speedohealer he had purchased from my defarkled Vee. This was looking less and less likely as I was getting paranoid about doing the Cabot Trail and getting back to the predicted west side of Hurricane Irene. So Fryman gave me his address so I could send the package while in Canada. Of course the one post office I found had computer problems and refused to take my package.

It's a long ride fron Tatamagouche to the Cabot Trail. I don't think I really appreciated just how large Nova Scotia is. It looks so small when compared to the rest of North America, but it's not small.

We stopped for lunch near the causeway for the Cape. I decided to check my email and found an urgent message from my Visa card provider. Seems someone had stolen my number and gone on a buying spree. Obviously this resulted in the need to kill my Visa card and left me with only an AmEx and good old American cash. They offered to overnight me a new card, but since we never knew where we were going to be, that was not possible. This adventure just keeps growing in ways I could have never imagined.

Cape Brenton - WOW. I believe this road needs to be done in both directions to experience all it has to offer. We did East to West, which looking back was probably not the best direction we could have selected. Regardless of direction, this road has spectacular scenery and was worth the effort to get there.

The Cabot Trail is worth the effort. Pictures are nice, but you must experience this place in person. Over the top gorgeous. The grass is greener, the sky is more blue and the landscapes are astounding. You should see it, too.

This huge ride day ended well after dark with the Spyder running on fumes, on a rainy, two-lane busy road with my visibility severely hampered by the eye wear I had on. My wife heard many bad words come across the bluetooth headset as I was even being passed by tractor trailers. Let's just say I made some bad choices at the end of the day...they would not be my last bad decisions.

· Until we meet again
5,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Day 7 - Antigonish, NS - Waterville, ME
This is the day we start the sprint for the west side of the storm. The forecast for Nova Scotia actually isn't looking too bad, but there is still one or two models that show it going east and hitting NS. But all of the models are showing if we can get to New York we'll be in out of the path completely. I've heard from Fryman and he thinks NS is the place to be. But at this point I have tunnel vision, get out of all possible paths of the storm.

One last check of email before hitting the road early this morning. Now there's an urgent alert from my AmEx card of suspicious charges. Oh come on, I can't lose both my credit cards on this trip. Nope this one is legitimate.

This was another perfect weather day. So far on the trip we've had less than 4 hours of rain.

Day 8 - Waterville, ME - Hurricane Irene
As expected the day begins with rain and is expected to rain all day long. These are the outer bands of Irene and contain no wind of note. Feeling good and so proud of myself for spending the money on getting the FirstGear rain gloves. They are comfy and seem too nice to be rain gear. About two hours later I realize why these expensive gloves were available on clearance. They have each gained about 2lbs of water weight and making a fist creates a waterfall over my fingers. The wife is having the same results.

We do lunch in Island Pond, VT. It takes about 5 minutes for us to get our gear off once in the restaurant. Both a little weary from so much rain, but only 3 more hours and we should be in NY. We can do this no matter how tedious it has become.

After lunch we found the wind had picked up...dramatically. We ride, but it's getting very hard to hold the road. Gust are pushing me towards the center line, time and time again. Trees are bending far beyond what would seem normal. There are little pieces of bark appearing in the road next to some of the trees. We keep going, but it's getting scary. Finally it's too much. I punch in nearest lodging into the GPS and we find the Jay Village Inn. Done. 5 minutes later we're there and they have one room left.

The Inn was great. They discounted a room for us, and had a great restaurant. After about 30 minutes my wife had all the gear wiped down and hanging to dry.

That's also about the time the first knock came on the door. We were told the headlights were shining bright on the Spyder. Odd, but thanks. I went down and had to start the machine again to get them to turn off. Very strange. 20 minutes later another knock...same thing. Once again, start the machine and get the lights to go off. Back inside. 20 minutes later my wife goes down to check, yep...they're on. I put on the rain soaked gear, grab my tool bag and take the Spyder apart enough to get to the battery. Pull the wire and head to the bar.

Day 9 - Jay, VT to Lake Saranac, NY
The next morning the sun is shining bright and the wind is mostly calm.

Put the wire back on the battery and the lights don't come on. Spyder starts just fine. But decide to go to the nearest dealer just to have it checked. That takes us near Montreal. After finding someone to interpret English to French for us the Spyder gets a clean bill of health. We were told to stop treating it like a SeaDo, and we chalk up the episode to the extreme conditions of the day before.

Since we are so close we decide to ride to downtown Montreal just to see it.

The Province of Quebec had significant flooding and we found several roads closed during our time there.

From Quebec we rode to Ontario, found a Canadian Post Office and mailed the package to Fryman. Then returned to the USA.

· What Kinda Bike Is That?
5,697 Posts
Outstanding Report, Jon!!! Reuben approves of it!!!

· What Kinda Bike Is That?
5,697 Posts
Finally some approval from Reuben. So...what pics came out from the hundred or so you shot?
They will be up later today.

(I could have sworn that I had already posted photos someplace of you two riding in the park...... But, I can't find them in my Photobucket, I guess that I didn't! Sucks getting old, Jon, doesn't it?)

· Until we meet again
5,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Day 10 - Lake Saranac, NY to Monticello, NY
The primary memory from this day will be the number of trees we saw that had fallen due to Irene. From the debris still remaining on both sides of the road it was clear that many had been large enough to completely block the road. It was also common to see them still hanging on power lines. And it was very important to not pull off the road without a careful scan due to power lines hanging down to just a foot or two off the ground. At times it was really shocking to see how many trees were down within a mile ride. I took some video riding through the area of just tree after tree. Sooner or later I'll go through and put together a video.

Upon leaving the Adirondacks gave us one more great sight.

Also unexpectedly ended up passing through here.

Lunch with Otto

Day 11 - Monticello, NY to Home
I had nearly forgotten that I wanted to ride through the Hawk's Nest while in NY, so the day started with going back to Port Jervis. Looks like a nice ride, but there was construction throughout the entire length of the Hawks Nest, and it was challenging to get the full appreciation of it.

One final quick stop at Hershey Park. That was the site of our first Anniversary, and seemed like an appropriate place to stop at on our 25th Anniversary.

Then home.

Depending on who you believe (GPS/Tenere/Spyder) we did 3,754 / 3,888 / 3913 miles on the trip. I'm going to call it 3,900. It was a great way for us to celebrate 25 years together. We (I) made some mistakes along the way, had more challenges than anticipated, but took it all in stride and ended up with new friends, great memories, and a pretty big accomplishment. Not sure how we're going to top this one, but we'll try.

Summary of places:
Poconos - I'm sure there's something worthwhile there, but we didn't see it.
Catskills - Very nice if you get off the main roads like the many storm created detours forced us to do.
Adirondacks - Love them. Just feels good to be there.
Vermont - Those poor people got hammered by the storm. I've heard it said there are no bad roads in Vermont. I'm clearly doing something wrong because outside of Smuggler's Notch I've been very underwhelmed with Vermont roads. I'm going to assume I'm just doing a bad job of picking roads.
New Hampshire - still one of my favorite states to ride. Love the White Mountains.
Mount Desert Island - Wow. Beautiful place. Spectacular scenery, ranks very close to The Cabot Trail for places that must be seen.
Maine - I need to have more time to explore interesting places. Outside of MDI it was not all that impressive where we rode. But I feel like given the time it would have been better.
Nova Scotia - Really barely scratched the surface of the very large land mass. I don't feel qualified to comment.
Cape Brenton - The Cabot Trail - Spectacular - should be a goal in life to see this place. Ride it from West to East if that is your only direction for the ride. Do both directions if possible. The very last section (or the very first section) of the West side is nice, but nothing to feel bad about if you miss. Overall the road is truly a world class stunning drive.

Someday I may assemble all the video I shot from the bike. If I do I'll post it sooner or later.


· Premium Member
378 Posts
Great report Jon. :hurray: Glad to see that all the misfortunes didn't hamper the trip much. The trip out to the Cabot Trail is definitely on my bucket list, as is the required side trip to see Barry. :biggrinjester:

Thanks for taking the time to post.

· What Kinda Bike Is That?
5,697 Posts
(Part One)

Jon, I went through all of the photographs that I shot when both Dirt_Mom and you were visiting with me on Mount Desert Island, (MDI). I will post them below; a few being duplicates of what you shot.

By coincidence, the day that Jon and Sherry arrived at the Hinckley yard, the employees were celebrating the completion of one of our flagship 55', twin jet (water), yachts. Around lunch time, the company fed us with pizza, soda, and dessert to celebrate the day and the launching of a new boat.

The 55' is the largest boat that we currently build. The boat length/sizes start at 29' then go on from there: 37', 38', 40', 44', 48' and 55'. To give you an idea of what these boats cost, the "littlest" one starts at about $300,000, and the 55' costs about $3.4 million. Last year, we completed a 55' that cost over $4 million.

When forum member "footloose" made the trek to MDI for a visit, her timing was perfect, (total luck!). Every new boat goes through a thorough sea trial testing period before handing the helm over to an owner. The only way this can be done is to drive the boat for many hours out on the waters that surround our beautiful island. We were able to "hitch" a three hour ride on board a Hinckley 37'.

Here is footloose driving an $800,000 yacht. Although she is holding a traditional helm wheel with her left hand, she is actually driving and steering the boat with the JetStick that is in her right hand.

Sea water is "sucked up" through two large grates located on the bottom of the hull, near the transom. The the water is "spit out" the back, through two large nozzles; pushing the boat forward. To put the boat in reverse, two large "buckets" are dropped down over the nozzles, and water is directed out one of the two "horns" on each bucket. Whichever way the skipper has the JetStick oriented, that will tell the computer which horn of the buckets to shoot water out of. Each model jetboat that we build also has a bow thruster installed too. You can "spin" these boats 360° within their own length.

Here are what the buckets / horns look like, dropped down over the jet nozzles.

Here is a profile shot of the 55' just after it was hauled out of your building.

Here is a shot looking forward from the aft cockpit area and into the pilothouse.

On the port side of the pilothouse, there is seating and an entertainment center. The flatscreen TV that you see will "disappear"; moving downward into the cabinet beneath it.

Seating arrangement on the starboard side of the pilothouse.

Pilot and Copilot chairs at the helm station.

Instrument cluster / dash. This is what I build for all of our boats. I don't install the electronics, (I don't know much about them!), but I build the "piece of furniture" that the instruments get installed in. The wood you see throughout this boat is cherry.

This is the owner's stateroom up in the bow section of the boat.

One of two "heads", (bathrooms with showers), on board.

Guest cabin.

Galley, (kitchen), area. The Corian countertops are all custom built in our shop.

Jon is a little bashful about mentioning this, but it has been a very good year for the "Dirt_Household". Along with purchasing a new Ténéré, a new Spyder, putting a daughter into her second year of college, Jon and Sherry had a little "extra" left over and decided to purchase a Hinckley 55'.

Here they are standing proudly in front of their new acquisition. Jon is beckoning all of you to come aboard for a ride.

Because the Dirt_People were only going to be staying on MDI for one night, I had to race them through a very fast tour of the Hinckley facility and also around Mount Desert Island. I DO hope they return in the near future so that we can spend more time together.

(Part Two Below)

· What Kinda Bike Is That?
5,697 Posts
(Part Two)

The next series of photographs is of our quick tour around the island. We could not afford to make many stops because we were racing the sun down to the horizon.

First, a fuel stop needed to be made.

We cruised down the eastern shore of Somes Sound; the only fjord in the lower 48 states.

Once we got into Acadia National Park, I could try to shoot better shots of the Dirt_People. Quite a bit of the park loop road is two lane, in a "one way" direction. This allowed me to easily jump back and forth between lanes without worrying about oncoming traffic.

A quick "photo op" at one of the Carriage Houses that mark the entrance to the carriage paths that weave their way through the park.

Here we are beginning our ascent of Cadillac Mountain.

The above shot was taken on the summit of Cadillac Mountain. It was fairly windy that day, and kind of cool; Sherry refused to take off her helmet so that she could stay warm!

Jon and Sherry, it was a privilege to become a part of the memories of your 25th wedding anniversary. An endearing memory that I brought away from the experience of spending time with you is, nearly everywhere we went, you two were holding hands, and were very "in touch" with each other. In this day, to say that you have been married 25 years has become a very rare thing. It is something that I will never be able to claim in my lifetime. So, it was a pure joy to see the both of you so close together and enjoying the time you were spending in each others presence.

Thank you for that memory.

Living Vicariously,


· Until we meet again
5,434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, Barry. It was a true pleasure hanging out with you. Your hosting skills are second to none, and I definitely appreciate you picking up the photo slack I had on MDI. Really enjoyed seeing those shots. I suspect we will be on your doorstep again some day in the future...and I'll be sure to bring another bone for Reuben. If you ever need a resting place in our area you are always welcome at the Dirt home.


· Registered
1,030 Posts
Dirt, don’t beat yourself up on any decision that you had to make at a moment’s notice. At least you made the decision and went through with it plus you both got out of the house and did something! Thanks for posting a very good ride report that looks like you all had a very interesting and adventurous trip to share memories on forever. :thumbup:

Me and the better half spent a few days hiking and camping around Cape Brenton about 9 years ago when we first started seeing each other. My idea of camping is a lot different than hers. Fishing Cove on the West side is pretty nice and quiet place. Its not motorcycle friendly for a Spyder though. :mrgreen:

· Registered
96 Posts
Great report. Glad you had fun on the Trail. I was up there last weekend too. We camped in Ingonish and rode the Trail all weekend. No matter how many times I'm up there, it never gets old.

· Registered
557 Posts
Good ride report and glad you guys ended up okay if waterlogged. Thanks for sharing. It was a pleasure to meet you this past weekend as well!

Black Lab, thanks for adding to the report :yesnod:.

· What Kinda Bike Is That?
5,697 Posts
Your wait is over.
I had to wait all day to see this! I started watching it at 4:40am this morning, and realized that I would be late for work!

The first thing I did when I got home was to watch your wonderful video!

Thank you again for allowing me to be a part of your anniversary memories.

Reuben thanks you too!

1 - 20 of 23 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.