In September of 2007 my wife Kerry and I started on an adventure that began with an attempted 1500 mile motorcycle ride in 24 hours and ended cruising the hills of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Western New York with friends of ours. In between we visited our son at the United States merchant Marine Academy on Long Island New York .
Prior to leaving our home in Stephenville Texas I mapped out every gas station that we would stop at on our iron Butt ride. In order to ride the 1500 miles, from Stephenville to Bethel Pennsylvania, in 24 hours we had to stay on a tight schedule. Unfortunately somewhere between Memphis and Nashville I started to smell rubber. We pulled into a rest area and as soon as the bike started to slow down it began to shimmy. Not a good thing, it was discovered that the back tire was going flat. A 1500 mile iron but was out of the question so we set our sights on Bristol Virginia, an 1100 mile day.
The next day we continued on to visit our son at the Academy on Long Island New York. Some 600 plus more miles. The United States merchant Marine Academy is the least known of the five US military academies. Cadets train to become deck officers and engineers on merchant ships. They repay their obligation to the United States through service in the merchant marine industry and as reserve officers in the Navy. The Academy is the only Academy where cadets have lost their lives in war. As a part of the training they spend 12 months on merchant ships, some supplying war efforts. During World War II a total of 142 midshipmen perished.
After visiting the Academy we rode to Albany New York and met Paul and Joyce who we would ride with to Old Orchard Beach Maine. I would have to say that our visit to Old Orchard Beach would have to be one of my highlights of the trip. It was the off-season and the little beach town was quiet, we damn near had it all to ourselves. The hotel we stayed at just seemed so typical of a vacation town where kids would flock to the beach. The rooms were small and junky and Paul said there wasn’t even glass in his bathroom window. That evening we walked the abandoned streets where we found a candy store that was still open. It was fun sampling the different types or candies and fudges, then we walked back to our hotel rooms and went to sleep on lumpy mattresses only to be wakened up by a train that could have been more than 100 feet behind the hotel.
The next day we rode U.S. 1 along the coast on our way to Bar Harbor. The scenery was beautiful. There were small hamlets and harbors with sailboats sitting on their moorings. Of course no trip along the coast of Maine would be complete without a stop at L.L. Bean, Some sort of Mecca of catalog shopping that women must visit once in their life time. My wife left the store reinvigorated and ready to take on the rest of the trip.
Bar Harbor sits on Mount Desert Island. It is a quaint little New England tourist trap and regular cruise ship stop. We spent a few days there exploring Acadia National Park, and Cadillac Mountain. We also took a ferry ride that also delivered mail to the islands in the area.
From Bar Harbor we rode thru Maine New Hampshire and Vermont, soaking in the scenery of farm houses and fall color. We also visited a maple syrup farm outside Montpelier Vermont. Then it was on to Lake George New York and some of the shittiest Mexican food anyone could ever be expected to eat.
We said good bye to Paul and Joyce in Albany, where they were going to stay for a few days visiting relatives, and continued our trip home to Texas. It was a great trip with good friends.