So this weekend was my first long trip, about 200 miles there, 250 miles back (yes, we took the long way back) on the motorcycle. My dad rode his 198something (1986?) Honda Shadow 1100cc up to my place, then we took the bikes and went to lunch. After a tasty meal, we were on our way – up along the coast for the ride there, I figured Boston at 2pm on a Friday afternoon wouldn’t be that busy. So we took I93 though Boston instead of the longer I95/Rte 128 around.
As soon as we were within sight of the Boston skyline, the traffic slowed down. I had to keep my hand over the clutch and front brake levers the entire time. While we never did stop going through Boston, we were going so slow that I wish we had stopped – it would’ve given my hands a break. The weather was sunny and warm. High 80s / low 90s and crawling along with traffic through Boston in full gear I started to envy the four wheelers with their windows closed and air conditioning blasting cold air at them.
But as soon as we passed though the tunnel and emerged by the Garden, the pace started to pick back up, and we zipped along again. Until we were a few miles from the Massachusetts / New Hampshire border. Signs stated there was an accident in New Hampshire between exits 1 & 2. Traffic was crawling along, and then stopped. It didn’t stop for long, as we’d start to go for a couple car lengths and then stop again. My dad pulled up beside me, his leather coat was fully unzipped and we started chatting. We’d split the lanes if it stopped for longer, but as it was, the four wheelers continued to weave between lanes – thinking they were picking up distance when in reality all they were doing was giving up one slow lane for another slow lane. No one was moving anywhere quick.
Eventually we got to exit 1, and just like that, traffic started to move again. No accident spotted, nothing. But we were glad just to be moving again – let the natural air conditioning do its thing to keep us cool. Surprisingly my hands and tookus did not hurt yet and I still was comfortable on the bike. We passed through the I93 toll both with no problems. We had our ezpasses attached to the front of the bike in these handy mesh holders: a lot cheaper then all the other fancy holders for the ezpass, and a lot easier to attach to the bike. And you could basically put it wherever you could fit it on the bike, unlike the other holders I saw which only would affix to the handlebars. If you look at the picture below, you’ll be able to see the holder in the center of the handlebars.
We stopped for gas where I93 meets I89, after a drink and a bathroom break we were back on our way. Once we got off I89 in Vermont we hit some off again on again rain. And then the rain stayed on. We pulled over after what my Dad thought was too long – but we were almost there! – and put on our rain gear. When I packed my rucksack, I had wrapped everything up in plastic bags of some sort (store bags, garbage bags and ziplock bags) just in case we hit rain. In my jacket I kept my phone and wallet, each in a zip lock bag. Plus I had my riding boots on, which are waterproof. So other then my pants and shirt getting a bit wet, I was doing fine in the rain.
The ride up the dirt road that the house is on was fun. . .The dirt and loose gravel wasn’t that bad, but the wash-boarding that went on around this one 90° corner almost took me and the bike out – I had to give it throttle get up around the corner, but at the same time not give it too much as the bike was bouncing up and down like a kid on a trampoline. At the house there was no pavement, so I took out a piece of metal I keep for such occasions and put it under my kickstand, we had made it!
The ride home was a lot better – less traffic, no accidents / construction work / traffic jams, and sunny the entire way. It was cool for the first hour or so, then it started to get hot. As long as we kept going though, it wasn’t that bad. We went the long way home, heading down I89 to I91 and then jumping off onto Massachusetts route 2 to I495. When we got onto Route 2, I started looking for gas stations as I was at 120 miles and I needed fuel – and to fill the gas tank on the bike. We found a gas station and filled the bikes up and then pulled to the side. We grabbed what my Dad claims is essential pit stop food: snickers. We got some soda and a snickers and took a break in the shade. This place appeared to be the place for bikers to stop on their traveling of route 2: in the shade with us were a group of 5 sport bike riders, and off to the other side were 3 Harleys and more bikes kept pulling in and gassing up as we sat there.
Soon enough we were back on our way, and at the I495 / I95 interchange my Dad pulled in to the right hand lane and we waved good-bye as he headed south while I continued east. It was a fun trip, and the new seat I had gotten for my bike definitely made it possible. I got a Mustang seat on word of mouth from other motorcyclists, and they were right. Sure I needed to get up and stretch every so often – but I also needed to get gas every 120 miles. The stretching was needed prolly due more to the configuration of the bike more then anything. I have no forward highway pegs so my legs are in the same position for a while. Unlike in a car where you can shift around if you need. I can move and change my position slightly, but the stretching is needed.
Though the one thing I knew beforehand: without curves and hills, highways are boring as shit. The straight and flat quickly become monotonous, and I would begin to daydream. But I had to keep focused on the road and what I was doing. Taking the “back roads”, like a little two lane road with minimal stop lights (none would be perfect), with a speed limit of 50 – 60, with curves and some inclines, would make the ride even more enjoyable. Luckily in Vermont and New Hampshire there were some good hills and curves, but not as many as I’d like.
But would I go for another long ride on the motorcycle? Sure!