North East Road Trip
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Apr 10, 2013 1:07 PM Last Post By: carracar
Apr 6, 2013 8:47 PM
North East Road TripHi all,
Looking for some pointers and hopefully local knowledge to help me plan a roadtrip holiday across the north/ north east of the US.
I am a British biker, late 20s, and am planning a 3 week roadtrip starting in Chicago, taking in the great lakes. following the border up into Maine and then finally the coast back down to New York. I have found a suitable hire company and have broken the trip down into 12 main riding days keeping the distance traveled down to a comfortable distance for each leg. This should leave me plenty of free days to explore (though I intend to spend about half of that in Maine) and I have a pretty good idea of things to do once I'm at my stops but am looking for some pointers for things to see and do along the way in order to break up the ride and prevent it just being A to B to C etc; anything from a 10 minute stop to admire a striking view or a short detour to check out an interesting town/ landmark, the idea is to be flexible.
My route will take me from: Chicago, IL - Sturgis, MI - Detroit, MI - Cleveland, OH - Buffalo, NY - Syracuse, NY - Saratoga Springs, NY - Berlin, NH - Greenville, ME - Ellsworth, ME - Portland, ME - Cape Cod, MA - New York City
(Most places I have chosen to visit, though some eg. Sturgis or Berlin are just to break up a long leg and will be not much more than an overnight stop.)
The plan is to avoid using the interstates altogether and try and take in all aspects from the big cities to small towns, bustling atmosphere to tranquil beauty spots, museums to bars (maybe a few more bars than museums ;) and of course some awesome riding along the way.
Due to the expense of flights, motorbike hire and all of the other bits and bobs that come along with that I won't have a vast budget for accommodation, food & drink and activities (approx $2,500-$3,000) so will be looking at motels or other reasonably priced places to stay and can rule out a private yacht, but that's not to say I'll be skint either.
As I have mentioned I already have some things I want to do/ see, for example the rock 'n' roll hall of fame in Cleveland, Niagra Falls near Buffalo, some adventurous training style activities up on Moosehead lake and some fishing down on the coast of Maine, not to mention checking out a bit of the various local nightlife. Having said that this is my first time in this part of the world so any suggestions or personal recommendations would be appreciated.
Finally if all goes well I will be doing this trip at the end of the summer so Aug/ Sep in order to get the nice weather before it gets cold but hopefully miss the main summer rush and school holidays.
All comments and ideas welcomed :)
Apr 6, 2013 8:57 PM
1Just to add, having looked at some other posts re. recommendations it may help if I let you know that I am a pretty active person who prefers getting out and walking, cycling, climbing across a landscape rater than looking at one hung on a wall, not that I am completely un-cultured just as long as a (slightly biased) balance is struck.
I also like to chill out in equal measures listening to rock music drinking beer in bars and wild camping with me & myself for company in the middle of nowhere. Basically a little bit of everything but more of some than others.
Hope this helps.
Apr 7, 2013 7:51 AM
2You understand that Sturgis MI. has little to do with it's namesake in South Dakota... You might enjoy the ride through Amish farmlands along Highway 20 before jumping on the 12 up to Detroit. Where a visit to Greenfield Village is a "must see". A ride through Canada to Buffalo NY. might be the nicer ride...As you will have had enough exposure to the US industrial "rust belt" in Detroit... Ride East again, on the 20 to the Finger Lakes region then up to Syracuse...From there your stated desire to ride to Maine along the St. Lawrence (border to Maine) with Saratoga Springs your next destination becomes confusing !!! carracar
Apr 7, 2013 12:10 PM
Thanks for the nod towards amish country and the finger lakes, I'll definitly play with my route to include these.
Sturgis, MI was simply a convenient halfway town as I didn't want to do over 300 miles in one day, and Saratoga Springs and Berlin are again simply on the way to Moosehead river in Maine. If anyone can suggest a different route taking 3 days and no more than 250 miles per day from Syracuse up to Greenville, ME then I will gladly listen.
Apr 7, 2013 12:57 PM
4A couple of FYIs:
You say you are on a budget. Saratoga Springs is probably one of the priciest locations in that general area. Hence, look broadly when trying to find a place to stay.
You say you want to visit Niagara Falls. Be aware that the best views are from the Canadian side. As a UK citizen, you won't have any problems crossing the border...assuming your record is clean and you meet all the requirements, etc, etc. While I wouldn't say that going from Detroit to Buffalo via Canada is necessarily more interesting than sticking to the US, it does make more sense if aiming to hit-up the Canadian side of the falls. You could even use the time you might have spent visiting Cleveland to visit Toronto.
As carracar points out the ride from Chicago to Buffalo (in the US) will have you traversing much of the "rust belt,' kind of like the industrial cities of Britain. On the other hand, the Finger Lakes and Adirondacks of New York State, the Green Mountains of Vermont, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and coastal Maine are all very beautiful. So, just a heads-up that you may consider how you trade-off the gritty urban areas of the first half of your trip with the prettier areas of the second half of your trip.
Have a great ride!
Apr 7, 2013 1:13 PM
5The Stugis rally (big) is early aug. I don't don't know the exact date.
If you are going through Buffalo you should see the falls. Some people here consider it nothing more than a pee stop, I consider it 2-day location. The best views are from the from the Rainbow Bridge and from the Canadian side. Taking the “cave of the winds tour,” or its Canadian equivalent are well worth it. I don’t get the same impression of the boat tour, but it’s pretty popular.
Here, near NY, early to mid august is fluke (and blue claw crab) season, next comes bluefish season then by mid-Sept striped bass starts (yummy). I guess you’d have to back all that up by 2-4 weeks or so if you are fishing off New England. Crabs are super-easy to catch. Bluefish are a night thing, but well worth it when they are striking. Bass are the yummiest. Size limits in NY are pretty extreme so New England is probably a better for fishing. Then again how many fish do you want to carry on a motorcycle?
If you are in to US history be sure to hit Boston (Freedom Trail, free) and Plymouth ($35 visit to Plimouth Colony) on the way down the coast.
From there you can head a little south and then take a ferry to Long Island, (which has a LOT of biker history but nothing to show it today), or west to the Catskills and Hudson Valley which has some nice hiking.
Apr 7, 2013 4:42 PM
6OK then ... From Syracuse, up to Watertown NY, & the 3 to Lake Placid. Then the 86/9N to Keesville and the ferry over to Burilington VT. Get on the 2 there and stay on it to Skowhegen ME. Yer choice, from there ... In New Hampshire you might want to drop down the 16 a bit and motor to the top of Mt. Washington. This last fall... We drove most of the route in Vermont/New Hampshire/Maine that you contemplate (save the loop up to the Moosehead)in a small camper... We Really enjoyed the slow, New England back roads...So,keep it between the hedges & enjoy...carracar
Apr 8, 2013 5:17 AM
Frankly, I see no reason to stop in Sturgis, MI. It's about 280 miles from Chicago to Detroit.
Even if you wanted to stop, I'd still choose something else. South Bend at least has Notre Dame to look at.
Apr 8, 2013 6:10 AM
Apr 9, 2013 2:28 AM
Apr 10, 2013 12:14 PM
Many thanks for all the input, my route has now altered noticeably!
First after Chicago will probably be a short stop in South Bend (short hops at first as I will be getting accustomed to a new bike). Sturgis, MI has now been exchanged for Angola, IN (again no other reason than convenience) in order to say hello to the Amish. Cleveland has been left in (really want to go) but instead of just following the lake shore I will venture out and explore a little of Pennsylvania on my way to Buffalo. From there a detour to the finger lakes has been included on the way to Syracuse. Saratoga Springs, NY has been substituted for Burlington, VT so that I can enjoy the ride through the Adriondacks and then the next day the top of the Green Mountains, VT followed by the White mountains, NH. The rest stays much the same except a definite date with some bass in Maine and then possibly again in cape cod! (Irony?)
Cheers again for the suggestions, and feel free to post more if anything springs to mind!
Apr 10, 2013 1:07 PM
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