A Relaxing Day in Maine

Since we entered Maine at night I couldn’t get a picture of the sign, so we took one the next morning…..here it it:

It was really great to see friends that we haven’t seen in a couple of years.  Since Jenn and I have the same name, things sometime get confusing.  To help alleviate this confusion, Kirk started calling her 2 N Jenn and me 1 N Jen (since I only have 1 N in my name and she has 2, he thinks he is so clever) I think their daughter thinks Kirk is Santa..ha ha (little kids seem to love him for some reason)

We took a day off of riding to explore a little bit of York, Maine and nearby Portsmouth, NH with our friends Chris and Jennifer. (Plus, we have to fix the tail lights on the bike)  We went to brunch at a very good little restaurant on the ocean called the Sun and Surf.  Kirk had his first “lobster roll”, which he loved, and we enjoyed looking out at the beautiful view.

Then we explored the stores in downtown York and Portsmouth.

On the way home we stopped at this little hut just over a little bridge and the boys ordered fresh lobster for dinner.  At this place, called Off the Boat Lobsters, you can pick out fresh lobster, put in your order, then they cook it and you come pick it up freshly cooked at the time you set.

We had surf and turf for dinner, which was amazing.

Then we took a walk to the beach and enjoyed the views as the sun went down and the moon showed up.

We headed back to their house and ended a wonderful day sitting on the back porch visiting and having a good time. The boys had cigars and locally distilled Wiggly Bridge vodka.

Unfortunately, Kirk does have to work some to pay for our travels, so we have to leave the bike and fly back to wherever his current job site is.  With this in mind, we packed our bike bag with things that we will leave with the bag and have duplicates in a suitcase in his work truck at the job location.  This makes flying back and forth much easier.  We bought some collapsible back packs to use to transport some stuff back and forth.  They actually are really nice, big and sturdy. I totally recommend them. We have to take back and forth Kirk’s CPAP machine, the computer, a few clothing items and things like that. We don’t fly with anything that would cause us to have to check a bag which makes things easier.

After a delicious breakfast of homemade cinnamon roll french toast (I had to try and make wp-1469573992208.jpgit after eating it in Wisconsin), we headed to the airport in Boston.We made it to the airport with a few hours to spare, only to find out that our flight was being delayed because of weather.  We bought passes to the Delta Sky Club for the day because we had no idea how long we would be stuck there and it is a much more comfortable place to hang out when in the airport.  Turns out that what a good decision because we were there all day and by the time our flight left Boston, we would miss the last connecting flight out of Detroit.  We ended up spending the night in Detroit. So one more night was added to our trip in the form of a shuttle ride from the airport to a hotel and back.

We made it out the next afternoon with no problems and we were in Kalamazoo (yes it’s a real place) by dinner time.

And the adventure continues……..We are gearing up now to fly back to pick up the bike and continue the journey on Thursday.


Let’s take a “little” detour…NOT!

The day started out well enough.  Just an ordinary day on the road.  HA!  Again I say HA!  We left our hotel around 9:30 am, which is pretty good for us.  The new bag was super easy to attach to the sissy bar, saving so much time.  We went a little out of our way so that we could ride along the coast of Lake Ontario.  We have now been to all 5 Great Lakes.

Ok, so back to the ordinary day on the road….We went by Lake Ontario and then headed back along the route the GPS had set for us.  We put in the map to avoid highways, but it was a really bad path.  I was having to constantly be navigator because it seemed that every few miles I was having to watch for another turn. NO FUN. We stopped for gas and decided to look at the paper map (see Tip #6) to find a better route.  While looking at it, we realized that we were right there by the Adirondack mountains, SO, and here is where it all went wrong, we decided that we would plot a route that took us just out of the way through the Adirondacks.  Just a little detour, nothing big.  HA!  That little detour added 100  miles to our journey.  100 miles isn’t too much in a car, but it is a long time on a bike through mountains. As pretty as it was, it was eating up our day and we needed to get to Maine.  We stopped for lunch.  Kirk had to borrow my reading glasses to see the menu…..I shouldn’t laugh, after all, they are mine so I do need them myself, but it was funny.  After our bellies were full we got back on the road.

We needed to get back to civilization and were tired and still about 200 miles from Maine, so we took the fastest route to a highway and decided to take the interstate the rest of the way through New York.  We hate taking the interstate but we had already wasted enough time. We rode through Vermont.

Most of the little towns we went into had really neat looking houses and buildings…Then there was this one.  I think that if I were ever to make a horror movie, it would have to include this place. 0716161857.jpg

We got through Vermont and into New Hampshire.  I was able to get a few pictures before the sun went down.  I am hoping that we can get back there to explore those states some more.  I tried to get a picture of the “Welcome to New Hampshire” sign, but it came out blurry. Sorry.

We made it to Concord, NH and stopped for gas.  We were about 60 miles away finally…Yay!  Kirk went to get back on the highway, and didn’t look at the signs (again) and we ended up going the wrong way and having to turn around in a little town called Bow. As we turned onto the onramp, blue lights began flashing behind us.  Kirk was super confused.  He kept saying, I didn’t do anything wrong and I kept saying, well pull over. We stopped. The cop came up and told us that all of the tail lights on the motorcycle were out. Sure enough, the running lights and brake light didn’t work.  The flashers and turn signals did though. He was very nice, but still ran Kirk’s drivers license and asked us a ton of questions about where we were going and why were were riding the motorcycle across country and was a little bit weary of Kirk at first I think (I mean, who wouldn’t be, he does look a little intimidating especially in his leathers).  He let us go, but was concerned with our safety since you couldn’t see us at all from behind, so he suggested that we ride with the flashers on the rest of the way.  This was very annoying but we needed to be safe.

We finally made it to York, Maine and found our friends house.  We were exhausted but so very glad to see Chris and Jenn, and to get a glass of wine before we headed to bed to get some rest before we started a new day.

Everyone Loves a Parade!

We made plans to head to York, Maine to visit some friends (and to see Maine).  We looked at the map and decided that our first night would be in Erie, PA, then Syracuse, NY, (by way of Niagara Falls) and then to York. We drove from Michigan through Indiana and Ohio to Pennsylvania.

I started looking at places to stay and things to see in Erie and realized that there was a bike rally there this weekend. Roar on the Shore.  I looked at the events and it looked like a lot of fun.  I wish we could have stayed for the entire weekend, but it was probably a good thing we didn’t. One of the events was a kickoff parade that anyone could ride in for a donation. The plan was to leave Kalamazoo in time to be a part of the parade. Well, by now, if you have been reading the blogs, you know that we never leave on time. We ended up leaving about noon and rushing (only stopping for gas) to get there before 6pm when the parade started. We made it, only to find out that we needed cash for the donation. We quickly rode across the street to the gas station, got the cash from the ATM, paid the fee, got our flag and got in line with several hundred motorcycles in order to be in the parade. It was pretty amazing.  People were lined up all along the route, waving, cheering and wanting hand slaps. There was even an old guy on a scooter. (that was pretty funny)  Apparently, people on this ride throw candy to the kids along the route.  Had I known this, I would have bought some candy at the gas station to throw. Still, it was so much fun. We were at the tail end of the parade. There were only three bikes behind us and the trail car, but it was still great fun.


I have to say that I have never seen a city so excited to have a bike week. They were very friendly and accommodating to all bikers. I recommend going to this event if you have the chance.  They close off an area downtown to cars and you can park your bike in the street and walk around with a beer in your hand. It was really pretty cool.

When the parade was done, we went to our amazing hotel on Lake Erie and met up with Kirk’s brother, Keith (He had been working a couple hours away in Cleveland). We checked in and headed down to the bar for a drink and to figure out where we were going for dinner. As we walked up to the bar to sit down at the only 3 seats available. Kirk looked at the guy beside him and realized it is someone from some TV show….he says to the guy…”Aren’t you that guy from that show?”….He said “Yes,” but I still had no clue who he was.  Turns out it was Paul Teutul Jr. from the show American Chopper and Paul Jr Designs.


He apparently was the Grand Marshall of the parade. I saw his name when I looked up the information about the parade but didn’t recognize who he was. He was staying at the same hotel as us, the Sheraton Erie Bayfront. (This was a very, very nice hotel.  I recommend it for sure.)  Paul Jr was very kind and took a picture with Kirk and talked with us about bikes and this blog (even though he probably thought we were crazy people).

We intended to do a covered bridge run on Friday morning, but decided that we had too many miles to cover to add another 100 just for fun, so we spent the morning looking at the vendors and having a good time. We needed to buy a new luggage bag for the bike because our old one had a big hole in it, so we concentrated on finding one.  We found a really nice one that even had backpack straps. (YAY).

We left Erie about 5pm on Friday and headed  into New York and to Niagara Falls. We stopped there briefly around 7pm just to check it out and take pictures. It was beautiful. Good thing it doesn’t get dark until 9:30 this time of the year.


Then it was back on the road.  We wanted to make it to York on Saturday so we rode just past Rochester before we stopped for the night in Webster, NY.

A Week in St. Joe’s

The first two days we were here I didn’t leave the room.  My back was hurting so badly that I could barely move.  I took lots of ibuprofen and naproxen and stayed in bed most of the time.  Once it started feeling a little bit better I went down to the lobby and relaxed there for a bit.  By the fourth day I was feeling much better and Kirk and I decided to go down to the hotel restaurant, Bistro On The Boulevard,  to eat dinner.  Let me tell you, that restaurant is amazing.  We loved every bite.  So much so that we ended up eating there 3 nights in an row just to be able to try new things on the menu.

The desserts were amazing as well.  We loved them so much that we would eat a dessert at the restaurant after dinner, then go up to the room and order dessert again from room service (and we always had the same thing, over and over).  I know, we don’t need that much dessert, but it was so so delicious.  Kirk would have the caramel brownie and I would get this thing called a yellow submarine.  His was a chocolate brownie, with chocolate sauce drizzle, a scoop of caramel ice cream, crumbled peanut brittle and caramel corn.  Mine was a bit different.  It was a half circle, with a banana bread bottom, a mashed banana filling, surrounded by a coconut marshmallowy type stuff and then covered in white chocolate, with a piece of sugar glass and meringue shapes.  Sounds weird, but it was awesome!!

Saint Joseph is a quaint little beach town.  For my friends that have never been to a great lake (like myself, until now), the beach is comparable to an ocean beach.  There is beautiful sand, volleyball, shops, kayaking and much more.  You can’t see across the lake so it feels like an ocean without the big waves.  I am told that when there is a storm coming that it makes big waves, occasionally large enough to surf.  Unlike an ocean beach, there are also shade trees, which is nice.  In St. Joseph, at Silver Beach park, there is a nice splash pad for the kids to play in and an indoor carousel, the Silver Beach Carousel.

There are several wineries in the area. Who knew? There are several wine tasting rooms in downtown St. Joe, walking distance from the beach, along with lots of little stores and restaurants.  Right next to our hotel is a children’s museum.  We didn’t go but it seemed like a busy place full of energy we would like to take our grandson, Leon, to some day.

We did take a ride along the coast a little bit and then spent an afternoon doing some wine tasting at the wineries in the area.  The wine was ok, not as good as Napa or Temecula, but not bad. I found some I liked enough to buy, of course. I did get pictures of some really pretty old houses, as well as the local hang out on a hot day, the Dairy Korner.  That place gets super crowded in the late afternoon/early evening.

All in all it was a very good and relaxing week in St. Joseph.

Lest We Forget

While I was wandering the lobby of the Boulevard Inn and Bistro in St. Joseph on Thursday, I came across a brochure talking about a Veteran’s remembrance event that was happening over the weekend called Lest We Forget.  They were doing war re-enactments including beach landings.  I thought it might be very cool to check out.  Over dinner, we realized that there was a ride scheduled to escort the Michigan Vietnam Memorial Wall through the city to the event site.  Very excited, we decided to make plans join the ride.


I have to say, it was a very unique and humbling experience.  I am so happy that we decided to join up.  Along the route there were people on the side of the road watching, waving flags, and some even saluting .  We had a police escort and cars pulled over and waited for us all to pass.  At least one person pulled over,0624161423c-1.jpg got out of his car and saluted the entire procession.  Then when we reached the airport where it was all being set up, we turned into the entrance that was lined with flags, each one dedicated to a veteran who did not make it home.  The feeling of it all is something that just can’t be explained.  Many of the riders were Marine Veterans and their stories were so interesting to listen to.  Once we arrived and the Wall was delivered, we looked around at the different exhibits.  Some were just starting to be set up but there was still lots to look at.


I was very excited because I was able to take a ride in a Vietnam Huey medevac helicopter (with the doors open).  It was by far one of the most exciting and amazing things I have ever done.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  One of the coolest things about the ride were the people that I was on the ride with.  They were some of the guys that were on the ride escorting the wall and they were Marine Vietnam Veterans.  One of the guys was really affected by the ride.  He hadn’t been in one since the war and it made him very emotional, he even teared up a bit.  I wouldn’t trade the experience I had for anything.


One of the things that I have noticed since we arrived in the state of South Dakota and then forward on this journey is that these states have a definite respect and appreciation for veterans, more so than I have ever seen in the southwest states.  It is very obvious and apparent where ever you look.  I appreciate that coming from a military family and being married to a veteran of my own.

If you get a chance to go to one of the Lest We Forget events, I encourage you to do so.

The Final Day (Thank Goodness)

It’s the last day.  One last push to get where we are going.  My body is sore and tired. I am ready to sleep in for a few days and not have to ride for 10 hours or more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love riding but after this many days straight of riding all day, I am ready for a little break.  Kirk woke up at sunrise to take a picture from the balcony (then he went back to sleep for a few hours).  I slept in and just took regular pictures from the balcony.

Cloudy Sunrise.

Then we got loaded up and ready to head out.  We stopped by the front desk to talk to the manager.  She graciously refunded our money for the night we didn’t stay. We weren’t really hungry so we decided to stop and eat later.  We got on the road and headed over the Mackinaw bridge.  It was pretty neat.  Everyone kept telling us that it was a good ride over the bridge, but it was very windy so we were bundled up and prepared.  We went across and I didn’t find it too windy, it was windy, but not awful.  Riding on I-40 in Arizona from Winslow to Flagstaff, now that is windy.   After crossing the bridge, we began to look for a place to eat.  We followed the coast of Lake Michigan and found this little place, the Levering Cafe, with a big patriotic chicken on the roof. The food was pretty good.wp-1468081318541.jpg

As we traveled down the coast of Lake Michigan, we saw some interesting sites and went through some cute little towns.

We needed some water and a little break so we stopped at a really neat ice cream shop in a little coastal town. House of Flavors in Ludington, MI.  The story of this ice cream shop/company is very interesting.  They even attempted to break the world record for the longest ice cream sundae.  The ice cream was terrific and the servings were huge.


We went through Traverse City, which is known for its cherries.  I wanted to stop at a little fruit stand and get some but Kirk was sure there would be more on the other side of the city.  He was wrong, so I never got the cherries.  It’s a cute little town though.  I would like to go back and spend some time there.

We made it to St. Joseph and found our hotel.  The Boulevard Inn and Bistro.  It is a nice hotel with a very unique vibe.  The lobby is very relaxing and the rooms are all suites.  We had a full size refrigerator, but only a microwave. Wish we would have had a stove top or something.  Anyway, we got settled in our room and went out to find some supplies and dinner.  We ended up getting take out from this little Mediterranean restaurant, Beachside Deli.  The food was very good.  I really liked the hummus.  Once we picked up the food, we headed back to the hotel to settle in for the week. Kirk, took a picture of the sunset over the lake before we went to bed.  We started the day with a sunrise over Lake Huron and ended the day with a sunset over Lake Michigan. Not a bad day.


The Last Days

We can see the end!  It has been a long 7 days.  Wanting to get through Duluth early because of the annual Grandma’s Marathon, we decided to eat breakfast once we passed the city.  We actually got on the road at a decent time for once and headed through Duluth and over Lake Superior’s Saint Louis Bay into Wisconsin. I wanted to get a picture of the sign coming into Wisconsin and missed it…. so we went back over the bridge into Duluth in order to turn around and drive past it again.  By doing that, we went back into Minnesota. Since I didn’t get a picture of a welcome to Minnesota sign going into the state the day before, I took one here on the opposite side of the state.

We found a little diner type restaurant to stop and eat breakfast at, Julies’ Family Restaurant.  I ordered a southwest omelet.  It said that it came with salsa and sour cream.  The picture below shows what that was, a small squeeze packet of sour cream and packets of taco sauce and picante sauce.  Not exactly what I was thinking of.  While we were waiting I saw this incredible looking french toast. I had to have some, so we ordered an extra breakfast and shared it. They took big cinnamon rolls and sliced them and made french toast out of it.  It was amazing.

With full tummies, we got back on the road headed toward Saint Ignace, Michigan.  The ride was pretty uneventful and pleasant.  The countryside was beautiful. A nice thing about being in this part of the country is that all of the rest areas up this way are completely inside which is nice because we can get cooled off when we stop. When we got to Hurley, just before heading into Michigan, we stopped at one that had some mining exhibits to look at. Apparently there is iron in this area and it is known for mining.

We continued on into the upper peninsula of Michigan. We stopped for gas and that is when I realized that Kirk and I weren’t following the same route to St. Ignace.  I thought we were following the coast of Lake Superior, but he took a lower road so we ended up adding about an hour to our ride because it was out of our way a bit.  We met a lively old man at the gas station.  He had built a camper himself and lived in it.  He said that he put a keyboard in it so he could play his music and a picture of his family, and he had a jug of water as his water source.  It was very interesting.

I was frustrated because we were not on the right route, but there was no way to get back on the road I wanted to be on without going even further out of our way, so we continued on. After a bit, we made it to the north coast of Lake Michigan and traveled along it until we had to cut across to get to St. Ignace.

We went to get something to eat before the restaurants closed and then went to the hotel to check in.  I was having such a difficult time finding a hotel for last night, so I decided to go ahead and make a reservation for tonight. I didn’t want to run into the same problem.  We got to the Quality Inn Lakefront in St. Ignace and went to check in only to find that I had made the reservation for the night before in all the confusion.  I was so tired and upset that, as hard as I tried not to, I started crying.  I felt so stupid. The only rooms they had left were ones with Jacuzzi tubs in them but she gave us one for the same rate that I booked the room for the night before.  Then told us to check with the manager the next morning and she might be able to refund us the money for the night before.  I really felt bad, but Kirk gave me a big hug and kiss and said that it was ok, not to worry about it.  The room was older, but nice and had a balcony that overlooked Lake Huron.  Off to bed we went (after relaxing in the Jacuzzi).

Days 6 and 7 -No More North Dakota PLEASE!

Getting up and getting dressed, it was really nice to be able to put on jeans that didn’t have bug guts all over them. Yay laundry!  (You would be surprised how a little bug can feel like a rock when it hits you on the shin or the knee.)  We grabbed some free Comfort Inn breakfast, strapped on the bags and headed out.  On the way out, we rode through the historic area of town and got a few pictures.

Then we got back on the road and headed up 85 towards North Dakota. We were planning on spending the night in Jamestown, SD. I was excited to take this route and head into North Dakota because according to the HOG (Harley Owner’s Group) map, this is a scenic route.  Ok, this would be a scenic route if what you want to look at flat green grass and maybe a few hills. We stopped in a tiny town named Belfield to eat lunch at this nice little restaurant, Trapper’s Kettle Restaurant. It was full of hunting and trapping trophies. There were bear, moose, elk, caribou, deer, antelope, ram, beaver, various birds and more. There were traps and pelts on the walls, there were dozens of head mounts and even a few full size animal mounts enclosed in glass. The food was actually very good. Kirk had an elk burger and they had ice cream and gelato. YUM!  They had a little magazine type things on the table with all kinds of funny and interesting facts in it.

It was a nice break in the monotony of the trip.Then it we hit the highway to drive across North Dakota.  We normally try to avoid highways, but this time it just was the best way to go.

All I can really say about the trip through North Dakota is…Can it please be over now?  It was by far the most boring ride of the entire trip.(Sorry to anyone who lives there.  I am sure that there are some interesting places there.)  It was just so long and boring that we decided to stop earlier in Bismark, ND.  We did pass through a few small towns with some interesting buildings and metal works.  These pictures pretty much sum up the day.


Oh and let us not forget this giant cow statue….WHY?  I don’t know.0616162006-1.jpg

And this lovely sign.  I guess people in North Dakota are so bored that they go around shooting holes in this particular sign….crazy!


The next day we got up with a renewed sense of adventure (and sore muscles) and hit the road.  We were excited because we would be leaving North Dakota today and getting into Minnesota.  The plan was to spend the night in Duluth.  Notice I say “the plan was” a lot.  Things didn’t go as planned at all the entire trip.  Well, maybe 2 of the 9 days, maybe.  (See Tip# 5)  Things were going well in the beginning, and we made it to Fargo, ND with no problems.  We found the Harley-Davidson store and bought Kirk a shirt because I don’t think we will ever be back to North Dakota.  It was lunch time so we pulled out google maps and found a little sports bar/restaurant to eat lunch at.  We headed over to the Silver Dollar, which also is called the flying pig for some reason.  Turns out, it is a very biker friendly bar, with weekly rides and other biker events.  The food was good, the service was good and the atmosphere was fun.

We entered Minnesota and I couldn’t find the sign to take a picture of so I didn’t get one, but we were there, finally, out of North Dakota.  Kirk decided to start counting lakes, backwards from 10,000.  It became ridiculous because he started counting every little pond and puddle, but it passed the time.  As we drove along, we went through a town called Akeley.  They apparently claim to be the birthplace of Paul Bunyan (among 6 other cities in the U.S.)0617161818_hdr-1.jpg

As we were riding, I could see the clouds forming in front of us and feel the air change.  There was rain somewhere I could feel it.  We stopped to get gas and we were still on track to make it to Duluth, so I sat down and tried to find a hotel for us.  There were no rooms under 300 dollars available, and even those were few.  I wasn’t about to pay 300 for Comfort Inn.  So we started back tracking our mapped out route to see where we could stay, all the while, the clouds were rolling in. We weren’t finding anything and were starting to panic a little bit.  We needed to get as far as possible so we didn’t end up having to ride 600 miles the next day because we had to get to Saint Ignace, Michigan in order to make it to Saint Joseph on Sunday. There were several little towns, but none had hotels or motels or Bed and Breakfasts or even Airbnb’s.  We were really stressing when we finally found this little motel on TripAdvisor in Floodwood, Minn. called the Stardust Motel. It didn’t have website, didn’t have rates listed, didn’t even say whether they had rooms.  We took a shot and called the phone number.  The lady answered and told me that she had one room with 2 queens,someone just called and cancelled.  I asked how much, afraid she would say an outrageous price because it is the only room within a hundred miles almost, and I’m sure that she could hear the desperation in my voice.  Thank goodness she said it was only 60 dollars. I told her that I would call her back because I had to show Kirk where it was on the map and run the mileage numbers, but as soon as I hung up I regretted it.  I was terrified that we wouldn’t have a place to stay the night.  I tried calling back and we ended up playing phone tag a little and then we connected long enough for her to tell me that there was a big storm there and it was messing with her cellphone signal and then the call was dropped.  I took a chance and texted her to say that we wanted the room if she still had it.  We had to get back on the bike and get started.  We couldn’t wait around any more or it would be so late when we got there. We put our rain gear on because the clouds looked really bad, crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t get into it, and got back on the road. I texted back and forth with the motel owner and she was so kind, and held the room for us with only my word that we were going to show up. We managed to stay behind one storm and in front of another and finally made it to the motel around 8:30pm.  We checked in, which consisted of me paying exactly 60 dollars and her telling me what room we were in and that the key was in the room.  It was a nice cozy room.  It was probably one of the cleanest hotel rooms I have ever stayed in. I was very happy about that because you never know what you are going to get when you are dealing with a small place like this.  I would totally stay there again.  We found a subway that was still open and got sandwiches for dinner, headed back to the room and settled in for the night exhausted once again.