Sunday, August 14, 2011

BigTrip2011–Day8–Raingear to the Rescue

August 5, 2011, I opened my eyes to the sounds of birds and the neighbors kids playing outside.  The previous day’s rain and humidity were gone, and in their place was a bright blue sky with little wispy clouds. The air was crisp 52F which was much colder than I expected. Wearing a full mesh riding suit, even with the little windproof liner was not nearly warm enough. I pulled over and put on my fleece and my other shirt. I made it another five miles. It was cold. At 55mph, the wind turned that 52F morning into a ~35F morning. My hands enjoyed the heated grips, but the rest of me was chilled. I wished I had my heated vest.


My SV650 is the naked variety, so it does not have any wind protection at all. I love the naked setup.  I’ve tried many windshields, but they all make too much noise. I love the quiet rush of wind that a naked bike provides.

I put on the last pair of gear I had left – my bright, yellow, one-piece rainsuit. I felt ridiculous riding along in the bright sun without a rain cloud in sight wearing my rain gear, but I was warm. By noon, the sun had finally done it’s job and the temps had climbed into the 70s and my rain gear was back in my tank bag.

raingear in the sun

My route was to be along the coast of Maine on US1 riding towards my overnight stay in Manchester, NH.


I had hoped to see the rugged Maine coastline I had seen in photographs. What I didn’t realize was how jagged the coast was with tiny slivers of land piercing into the Atlantic like daggers. The road connected the hilt of those knives, and the trees covered most of the views.

typical maine coast on us1

Occasionally, I’d get a glimpse of the water while crossing a bridge.

atlantic from a bridge

The other thing I didn’t anticipate on the coast road was the numerous small towns. They were all very cute, charming, and touristy. That last bit caused an incredible amount of traffic. Which was mostly ok, as it gave me plenty of time to admire the scenery. One small town in particular was quite bad. The traffic was backed up for nearly five miles going south and double that on the north-bound side. As I crept along, was passed by a snail cruising past on the shoulder. Once I got to the small town, I saw the source of the problem. Two traffic cops stopping traffic to let the pedestrians cross as soon as one showed up which was five times a minute rather than letting a couple of them gather. What was the crowd for? Lobster of course. The signs advertised “lobsters boiled alive” which had the lines down the street and around the corner. This is Maine after all.

traffic jam on us1

Further down the road, I found this beautiful bridge. It is on the exit of Verona Island crossing the Penobscot River on US1/ME3.


The bridge was put into service in 2006 when the bridge to the right was retired.

beautiful bridge

I stopped again to admire another bit of the coast. Before heading into NH. The beachgoers looked at me like I was an alien walking around wearing my riding gear on the beach. I was quite comfortable and the high riding boots meant I didn’t get sand in my shoes. My helmet and gloves were back on the bike.


I arrived later afternoon at Chris Harris’s BMW shop – Affordable Beemer Services. Chris is an independent BMW mechanic and loves old military vehicles. When I entered his shop, I found him working on his 1980s Dnepr. It is very similar to a Ural. He painted his panzer grey to give it that more authentic look. He loves taking it off-road which shows with the generous coating of mud.


He was one of the first to graciously offer me space for the night. His backyard was a great place to setup my tent. It was conveniently located next to the firepit.


We started drinking mimosas shortly after I arrived. Chris has quite a stock pile of raw ingredients for his favorite drink. We didn’t stop enjoying the tasty citrus drink until the wee hours of the morning when we finally ran out of wood for the campfire.  I had a great time swapping stories with Chris and his wife around the fire. Thanks for a great time Chris!


Around 260 miles of riding today.

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  1. You are certainly not the only one using rain gear for warmth, I have also done it on several occasions and used it as a wind breaker. Now that you mentioned lobster, I have a craving to have one. Which I could co there and grab a fresh one...

  2. SonjaM: I'm sure I am not the only one, but I still felt silly doing it.

    according to google, you're only 5500km from Bar Harbor, ME. ;)

  3. Hey, Chris. That's only a stone throw away if you are a certain comic book hero that is...

  4. Dear Mr. Luhman:

    What a delightfully written post! I especially liked the dagger reference to the shoreline of Maine. Your choice of words was not only accurate but colorful. Only the touristy places in Maine have lines for lobster. The best places to eat this New England delicacy are the lobster pounds, where the boats come in. They give you a lobster, a potatoe and an ear of corn for about $14. The shell cracker they issue is a rock, taken from the water's edge.

    Nex time you hit Maine, go into Port Clyde and take the ferry to Moneghan Island. The island is ten miles off shore, is an artist's community, and allows no vehicles. The big hotel on the island serces the bes clam chowder in the world. If should be at $15 a bowl.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  5. SonjaM: LOL. Make sure to stop in MN on your way out east! ;)

    Dear Jack: Mr. huh? so formal now. Thanks, that is high praise coming from a yarn spinner like you. I think it might be a while before I make it back out to maine. I need to see some proper mountains first!