Motorcycle Trip to Maine | Four Corners Park and the Solar System
Howdy, everyone. So I'm out here today getting ready for another trip. If you remember, I was planning on going up to Newfoundland and Labrador this year, but things came up, and I decided to forgo that trip for this year. So I want to do some smaller trips, and I'm trying to do at least one a month. Last month I went out to Ohio and rode the 99 great trip, nine day trip.
So now I'm taking a five day trip and I'm going to go up through New Hampshire, into Maine, Vermont, and then, of course, back in to Massachusetts. I've done similar trips many times, but this is going to be in a reverse direction. But I normally would go and I'm going to see a few things that I have not seen before.
Couple of fun things I hope, up in Maine. We'll see how it all goes. Now, one thing I decided to do before I left for this trip is that I changed the engine oil and the final drive oil as well. And I did that because I'm right at the 10,000 mile mark right now.
I'm going to go over that by the time I get done on this trip. And then the bike will be due to go into the dealer and they'll put it on the computer and all of that stuff. So got fresh oil, fresh final drive fluid. my tires look pretty good.
I probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of 4000 miles on these. These are the Michelin Anarchy adventures. And so far they're doing really good. I'm pretty impressed with them. Unless something happens in the next few thousand miles, I'll probably be getting another set. pretty much packed now.
So I am getting all of my route files together. Now, on this trip, if you have been following in the news, you know that up here in the Northeast, we've been having quite a bit of rain. And Vermont in particular has had a lot of flooding. So on my way back through Vermont, I'm going to have to keep up on the road conditions. Some of the roads that I have on my original route are going through some of that flooded area. So, again, I'm going to have to keep an eye on that.
And I have an alternate more direct route which could involve getting on five, Vermont five or even on 91. If I have to, I'll do what I have to do. The next morning. Well, it was time to head out, but I thought I would stop for some breakfast on the way out of town.
But before I did all that, I needed to check my tire pressure. Good morning. So I'm up here about heading out on the trip, decided to stop and have myself a little breakfast on the way out of town, so. Well, I'll have that and then get on the road. Headed to Norway, Maine today. After having that great breakfast.
Well, I jumped on 495 for a few minutes before getting off and hitting those great backroads. I All right. I just got on for 95, and I forgot to put an SD card in my camera, so I got to pull over here with the SD card and got it formatted. Let's get back on the road.
So as I mentioned, my ride up Interstate 495 was short lived. I quickly exited and rode through northern Massachusetts and into southern New Hampshire. So I made it to about 110 miles or so, I am somewhere near Concord, New Hampshire, working my way around Concord, headed towards Ossipee next, and then eventually up into Maine.
Having a great day so far, really nice to see the sunshine for a while. We haven't had that for quite a bit around here, so really nice day. And indeed, it was a great day to be riding as I made my way along tree lined streets and small communities. So stop for another break just outside of Ossipee New Hampshire. I got about 60 miles or so to go to get to the hotel in Norway for tonight, so I'll get in, see if I can check in, then go grab myself an early dinner.
And wouldn't you know it that even up in Maine they need their prime deliveries? All right. I made it here to Norway, Maine. And there happens to be a little taco shop just down the street from the motel.
So I am walking over here to see what they have to offer. Could be an interesting night tonight because there is a rally in town The CVMA The Combat Vets Motorcycle Association is having their regional rally in Oxford. So we got some people staying in the hotel. So we'll see how much they want to party tonight. Not this guy, though. Even though the folks I was staying with were very quiet.
If they did want to hang out by the firepit for a late night. The Norway Inn where I was staying, had a really nice set up just to do that. The rooms at the Norway Inn were well-appointed, clean, and they gave me a comfortable place to sit and catch up on a little bit of reading.
Morning coffee time. Day two of this trip up into Maine. And it's a beautiful morning so far. So looks like it's going to be a great day of riding as I'm heading up towards Madawaska to the Four Corners park. I just got to meet one of the guys from the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association.
Really nice guy. He's working gate duty. He says at the rally. Gets to meet a lot of cool people.
So it was a really quiet night last night. Had a great night's sleep. So I'm just going to get up, get back to you in a few minutes and get on the road.
I right, all packed up to drop my kid off, hit the road. After making my way out of Norway, I immediately got on to some really nice Maine backroads. The only problem was that I also found a couple of closed roads, so I had to do some calculations on the fly, figure out where I was and how I could get back on track, which again took me on to a lot of really great little Maine backroads. The problem again was that it also took me way off of my intended route.
While these were great little roads to ride, every time I thought I was on the right track, it seemed like I would run into another closed road. Well, with a little perseverance and following this local in the truck, I finally made my way through the maze of small back roads and found myself near Interstate 95. So at this point I figured, what the hell, Let's just get on and get where we need to go.
So I just got off about 175 mile ride up I-95 because I had to get around those closed roads kind of made it impossible to do my original ride that I had planned. So I got on the interstate and I got up here. Actually, it was a great day of riding today.
Listen to music all the way. Stopping for a nice coffee break and then we're going to ride through the solar system. So what am I talking about, riding through the solar system? Well, the University of Maine at Presque Isle has set up a scale model of our solar system. This is a 1 to 93 million scale model, and it runs through about 40 miles, at least the part that I was writing from Houlton, Maine, up to the town of Presque Isle.
I would be starting at the distal end of our solar system and I would do my best to try to find Pluto. I rode to two different locations that Google says it should be found at and it wasn't there. Later, I found that it's inside some visitor center in the town of Houlton. But for the life of me, I couldn't find the visitor center either.
I saw the sign that said it was at that exit, but never saw another sign saying, This is where the visitor center is located. Oh, well, Pluto's been downgraded from planet status anyway. here's Neptune.
Somehow I missed Pluto, though. Not sure how that happened. Although he was probably pretty tiny. All right, here's Uranus or Uranus, whichever one you like. And of course, there is Saturn, which is, I don't know, several times bigger than Neptune and Uranus. Those are about the size of a basketball.
And this is getting up there. right now we're at Jupiter and I don't know, it's probably, say, six feet across, something like that. Saturn was about maybe four feet across. So now we're at Mars. It's up there.
You can see it. So Jupiter, of course, was about six feet across. And this is all scale. So Mars is maybe three inches across. So we made it to the earth. There it is.
There's the moon way out there. One mile to the sun. Well, now that us.
All right, So I'm pulled over here along side of the road in Presque Isle. I'm not sure how you pronounce this, but I went on the University of Maine campus here, and that's where my understanding is. The Sun model was supposed to be I can't find it.
I also asked students there, they said they'd never seen it, so I have no idea where it is. So we're just going to head to the Hotel I have another 60 miles to go. So even though I couldn't find the sign, I continued on. And when I got to the hotel, I looked it up and I found out that there is an arch that is built inside one of the buildings there that represents the diameter of the sun. Because if they made a model the size of the sun, it would be something like 500 feet across.
But it still makes me laugh that none of the students that I asked had ever seen it or knew where it was. All right, So I made it to Madagwaska I'm here at the Gateway Motel. Good thing my wife isn't with me tonight. I told her she wouldn't want to stay here. She definitely wouldn't take her socks off on this rug. But it's fine.
I've got the air conditioner going. If we let it cool this place down a bit, I'm going to go up up the road and see if I can find something to eat. Big Rick's down the street. All right.
I'm back from dinner. I ran up to Big, Rick’s and excellent food there. I had a Greek salad with chicken, Really good. So definitely if you ever up this way, although most of you never will be, it's definitely a good place to go.
So I got home cleaned up, detangle the beard, and now we're going to sit here and wait. Hopefully these clouds will go away and we'll be able to see an aurora tonight. That's what we're being told somewhere between 10:00 and 2:00 tonight. So we've got an aurora coming in. So I hope so.
But I've never seen one in person. I think that'd be really cool. So it's Friday morning now and I'm going to walk down here and see if I can get some coffee.
Unfortunately, there was no Aurora last night. Sure, we had one, but it was just that there was cloud cover here all night. So I set my alarm to get up at 1:00 in the morning, went outside, and then nothing but blackness. So it would have been cool to see one. But it's not to be this time. And unfortunately, no coffee here either.
A couple of pots out there, but nobody around says their business hours are 9 a.m. so that's pretty crazy for a motel not to have any coffee out in the morning. It's not like it's super early. It's only 7:00, so I guess I have to go find some.
since there's no coffee down here. The only thing to do really, is get going early. So go drop off the key right now, and then we'll head down to see if there's a little restaurant down here and grab some coffee and breakfast. found a great little place for breakfast. Chez Helen here in Madawaska.
So I got my coffee, and now I'm happy. So after having that great breakfast at Chez Helen's, now I am here at Four Corners Park, the northernmost town in the United States, or at least in the continental United States. So I made it to at least one. Now I got to do the other three. For motorcyclists.
The cities that make up the true four corners of the United States are San Isidro, California. Blaine, Washington, Madawaska, Maine, and Key West, Florida. And to truly do a Four Corners ride, you need to visit all of those locations within 21 days or less. This challenge is sanctioned by the Southern California Motorcycle Association, and the history goes back to 1976 when a gentleman named Joe Usatin and his nephew headed out on the first official for Corner's Ride and did it in 21 days. The history of the Four Corners park in Madawaska dates back to the year 2000, when a man named Joe Lachance and his wife Diane, completed the Four Corners tour. After that, they felt that they needed something to commemorate this event up in Madawaska, which is a town of about 3500 people.
They thought that some kind of monument and a park would help attract tourists into the area. After overcoming several hurdles, they broke ground for the park in 2008. And let me tell you, they have done a great job. The park is beautiful. It's a great place for motorcyclists to come, as well as townspeople to come and just relax and hang out. After spending some time at the park, I jumped back on Route one and started heading south a couple of days later.
Well, that's when things would get well, rather adventurous. But that's the story for next time.