Motorcycle road trip to Quebec, Cape Breton and Northeast USA – part 4

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Day 10 – Machias, Maine – 470 miles / 756 km

Breakfast at the Inn was quiet because I was still the only guest there. There was more rain in the forecast and the day started out pretty gloomy. Fortunately, it stayed dry all day until later in the afternoon. Right before the border crossing back into the USA, the lead-grey sky opened up and dumped a good amount of water on the roads. The entire day was pretty uneventful but I was able to put many miles behind me. The day ended at the Bluebird Motel in the town of Machias. It was time to do a little bit of maintenance and put some fresh grease on the chain. There had been no mechanical problems or other issues so it was going very well so far.

Go to the beginning of this road trip: link

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Day 11 – Bar Harbor, Maine – 159 miles / 256 km

When approaching Acadia National Park, traffic got pretty busy but that was a nice change from the many quiet Canadian roads I had been on the days before. I found a room for the night at The Colony motel a few miles out of town. Most of the rooms are in separate cottages which was a nice change from the regular motel lodgings.

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It was nice to leave the two sidecases behind in the room so it would be a bit easier to navigate the curvy park roads. I had been up Cadillac Mountain before by car but it is an entire different experience on a motorcycle. Without having “the cage” around you, it is truly an amazing experience winding your way to the top. They say it is lonely at the top but this is not true for Cadillac Mountain.

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There are always many camera-toting tourists but it is a large area and the view is spectacular. Interesting fact is that in this location you are the first to see the sun rise in the USA because of its Northeastern location and high altitude. Dinner and an evening stroll in Bar Harbor completed another great day of riding and exploring. Motel near Bar Harbor.

Day 12 – Bretton Woods, New Hampshire 290 miles / 467 km

The morning ride took me to SE Harbor. The town was already getting busy but I was able to secure a table at a French-style café on the main street. The blueberry pancakes, sausage and strong coffee were all delicious so it was another lucky find. After riding through the park for a while, I headed for the main land again. It was not far to cross the next state line and it was a beautiful ride through the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

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Near the end of another wonderful day of riding, I came across signs for Bretton Woods. For some reason that I couldn’t figure out, this name sounded strangely familiar. Then I passed the Mount Washington Hotel and the sign on the side of the road explained many famous guests stayed here over the years. It is also known for the 44-nation Bretton Woods monetary conference where the World Bank and International Monetary Fund was born. That’s it! One of my Economics classes 20 years ago covered this event and that’s where I remembered the name from. I was tempted to walk into the majestic hotel and see if they would have any last-minute, motorbiker specials under $50 but I figured my chances would be pretty slim.

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Day 13 – Montreal, Quebec – 204 miles / 328 km

The state of Vermont was worthy of its name because of the many tree-covered mountains (Vert Monts is french for green mountains) The Canadian border was not too far away and the ride to Montreal was uneventful but quick. It was a bit of a challenge to navigate an unfamiliar city in 30C but I eventually found the hotel that was mentioned in my travel guide. Hotel de Paris was located in a stately old mansion in the Quartier Latin, right in the middle of everything. I asked the receptionist where to find a good place to park my bike and the kind man offered to make some room in the private hotel parking garage down the street. That was the perfect place for Strom to spend the night for about 5 dollars.

As luck would have it, there was huge street festival going on a few blocks from my hotel. Despite the crowded city streets, it was very relaxing to stroll around in the warm evening air filled with music. And when you think you’ve seen any kind of street performance, you come across the group Squid where one of the guys does a salto when playing the bagpipes. At the same time! I am usually too cheap to pay street performers but this skill was good for a couple of dollars. Bravo!

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Day 14 – Sturgeon Falls, Ontario – 393 miles / 632 km

The little café in the hotel served a simple but very tasty breakfast. Before heading out of the city, I rode to the old part of town and stopped at one of the local coffee places. It was nice to see the city come alive in the crisp morning air while sipping a cup of strong coffee. After doodling around for a while, it was already noon when I headed back out on the highway towards Ottowa. After passing through the city, I found myself on Highway 17 again and my tires were eating up the miles quickly. Quiet roads, rolling landscapes, sleepy towns. You guessed it, another nice day of riding.

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Day 15 – Kewadin, Michigan – 378 miles / 608 km

I was up early and ready to start the last leg of the trip. The final kilometers on Highway 17 went smooth passing through the familiar rocky landscape and scattered farms in the country side. The border crossing in Sault Ste Marie was quick and the ride back through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was familiar. When I crossed the Mackinaw Bridge again, it was hard to believe I only started here two weeks ago. It felt more like a month. A few miles before home, the odometer passed the 4500 mile mark. With a great sense of pride and complete satisfaction, I turned in the driveway and parked in the garage. What a ride.

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Final thoughts

I had never been on such a long motorcycle trip before and everything went as planned. The V-Strom held up great and only required little maintenance. I think I consumed half a rear tire during the trip but that is to be expected. It surprised me how comfortable this motorcycle is for the long haul and how much stuff you can pack in the cases. Not all parts of the trip were easy. Besides the rain in Gaspe, cold fog on Cape Breton and sweltering heat in Montreal, I was very lucky with the weather. However, occasionally having bad weather makes you appreciate the good days so much more.

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