Yep, taking the new CTX 700D to Los Angles for AdobeMAX. I suspect this trip will be a bit different than the loop ride from Indianapolis to Houston via Maine. The primary difference will be proper luggage. Her she is all set up for touring with saddlebags and a huge Shad top case.
Steve convinced me to leave a bit earlier than originally planned so I could swing a bit further north going through Monument Valley and stopping at the Grand Canyon. I must say I was a bit surprised at how pricy hotels less than 55 miles from the Grand Canyon turned out to be as well as how many were full mid-week with school in session.
I’ll still have to haul ass a bit the first two days of the trip so I will have time for a leisurely ride through Monument Valley to allow for lots of photo stops and getting to my hotel in Grand Canyon Village in time to explore a bit before calling it a night. I’m hoping for some good sunset photos to post so stay tuned.
On my previous trip I had wanted to see the Biltmore Estate but time did not permit so I made sure to stop on this trip.
Riding across the front entrance road I have to admit to being disappointed since so many folks I know have raved about the gardens while this was just bland. Going inside I was in many ways even more disappointed, perhaps because I had visited Hearst Castle so recently that the Biltmore suffered in comparison.
There were some lovely vistas from the loggia. I found some of the below stairs areas more interesting than the upstairs in terms of furnishings and how the below stairs lived.
Sure could tell the temperature difference after coming down off the Blue Ridge so I was grateful for an ice cream and iced tea in the converted stables before going on through the colonnade to the actual gardens.
This was more like what I had been expecting.
Maybe it was the time of year but even here I was disappointed expecting something truly spectacular.
Maybe the folks I know who raved about how great the gardens were simply raised my expectations too high. Leaving the Biltmore I met up with a friend, Driller from ADVRider and Modern Vespa. He and his wife kindly offered me lodging for the night after a barbeque dinner. Thanks David, hopefully I can return the hospitality when you are next in Colorado.
I’ve been through Gettysburg before and remembered having a lovely lunch so though I’d have breakfast there this trip. Found a lovely French café. Good food, friendly service and a great coffee. What more could you want to start your day.
Did a bit of strolling around and seriously considered going in and buying one of these cigar box guitars but really had no way to strap it on where I could be certain it wouldn’t get damaged by rain if nothing else on the trip home.
Pretty soon it was off to the back roads.
Then heading up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Where I met up with a father and son pair that had ridden up from the Iowa Illinois border.
The dad said they decided to make the trip together since it might be his last long touring ride on the bike he’d owned for over 20 years. Said he didn’t know how much touring he had left in him but he seemed in fine shape to me. He sure had a lot of questions about the DCT on my Honda CTX.
It was definitely more comfortable temperatures for riding once I reached the ridge and I settled in to enjoy the views.
Don’t ask me where exactly these photos were taken other than when I met up with the two gentlemen at the north end visitor’s center. Enjoying the ride and the area was more important than marking exactly where I was.
One tip for you, there is no gas on the Blue Ridge Parkway itself but if you stop at the visitor’s center they have a slip of paper they can give you that has the closest gas at each parkway exit and which direction to turn to get to it. This last piece of info is priceless as I discovered on my first Blue Ridge Parkway trip in 2012. I exited to get gas and the sign said gas each direction. I elected to turn south since that was the way I was going. Yes, there was gas 27 miles off the parkway in that direction while it was only half a mile the other way. I was really starting to sweat a little by the time I reached that station. Fortunately, it was downhill all the way.
People always talk about the traffic in New York City but compared to Houston or Los Angles it is nothing. I thought about detouring through Manhattan but decided to pass in favor of getting a skyline photo from across the river.
Of course I couldn’t leave without a photo of Lady Liberty even if I was unable to get to where I could get her face. If I’d had lockable luggage or was stopping for the night so I could take my bags into a hotel room I’d have taken the ferry over since she’s just been reopened.
I couldn’t have asked for better than the blue skies and not too hot temps as I headed south seeing why New Jersey is called the “garden state” once you get away from the urban areas closer to the coast.
When I was in Maine, New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts it was easy to see why this part of the country is called New England. So many places I could have just as easily been in parts of the UK judging by the architecture. As I moved through to Pennsylvania the colonial heritage was easy to see as well.
And to continue my theme after stopping for the night it was time to visit a local pub.
One nice thing about this trip is so many of the places I stopped had good places to eat with views close to where I would stop for the night.
I debated for a fair bit about how far to go into Maine. While I’d have liked to have gone to the northeastern most point of the US I was already pushing it for this trip so I settled on Portsmouth, NH for the night with an excursion to Maine in the morning.
I managed to arrive and get checked in just in time for a colorful sunset. Walking around what I took to be the oldest part of town I saw one of the few scoots I’d seen since leaving Amerivespa. Now that I was off the bike for the evening a visit to the Portsmouth Brewing Company seemed to be the place to eat.
Excellent adult beverage and a good meal to go with it. Picked up one of the few souvenirI bought on this trip – one of their caps. Then it was time to call it a night since next stop was visiting a friend in Connecticut for a few days off the bike and wait out some forecast rain.
Found a lovely café for breakfast with one excellent latte to start the day.
Then it was time to venture across the river. Pity the lobster pier wasn’t open yet.
Then there was the lovely views across the water.
Then I did make it over to one of the shops where I picked up a lovely sundress at an outdoor shop.
I couldn’t help but stop for a photo when I say this old Getty station since my husband started his career.
Then of course who could resist a half buried submarine?