Category: Harley


laconiaLaconia:  I’ve heard your pipes, I’ve seen your tats, boobs and bellies.  Your piercings and your paint jobs.   May I be excused from Sturgis and Daytona, please?

Seriously though, when we first got to Weir’s Beach, my thought was, this is it?   This is all Laconia and presumably Sturgis and Daytona are about?   White tents with cheap crap?  People jam packed into narrow lanes between vendors and bikes, looking at, being looked at?  See my colors? See my pins? See my scars?  I’m sorry.  I’d really rather be riding.

That was my trip to Laconia.  Now about the rest of the weekend.

We rode up on Friday and about 40 miles outside of town my bike went dark in the middle lane of bumper to bumper traffic on the tollway.  I pushed it across two lanes to the side of the road when an ANG halfback stopped to let me through and conveniently blocked the other lane.  It was an electrical issue that I was sure of, and I hoped if I let it cool off, it would fire up.  Sadly, no.

There I sit leaning on my bike, waiting.  A bus full of little kids goes by, and they all turn down their windows and yell, “Hi! Biker Lady!!”  Ok, that was pretty cool. Then a small car with what is clearly a grandma, a mom, and a little girl goes by, and the little girl calls out, “Hi!”  The grandma says something to the little girl and she turns back and says, “Are you ok?!?”  Yep, I’m fine, and tell your grandma she’s pretty cool too.  Then another car goes by and the little girl leans out the window and says, “Hi, BlackJayne!!” and I wave.  Then the car is in the breakdown lane in front of me and I walk up to the window to say, “Hey, no, it’s all good…” when I look in the window I realize it’s my neighbor. “Hey, how’s it going? Wanna take me into town to buy a battery for my bike?”

How undignified can it get?

The battery seems to fix things, my riding partner shows up after a long complicated set of maneuvers to get back on the tollway below me and headed in the right direction. We get up to Laconia about 5 hours later than we were shooting for.  Go to the bar, grab some food, hit the rack.

Saturday, we checked the bike, seemed to be fine. Start up, run, no funkiness.  For logistical reasons, we take the other bike to Weir’s Beach.  We get a good parking spot, we have a chance to enjoy the scenery.  Five thousand bikes parked on the road, in the boardwalk, at the various lots (some lots up to 5 miles away) at any given time. Another couple thousand give or take, on their way in or on their way out.

Yippee.  Can I go home now?

Sunday we ride the Kancamagus (Cank-uh-MAY-gus) over to North Conway and plan to ride the Daniel Webster Highway back around.  We ride the Kank.  (A really nice ride if you’re ever in the area; car or bike, Winnebago, bicycle you name it. Nice ride.)  Get to North Conway stop for a drink and a stretch. The bike won’t start. Not only dead, but D-E-D dead. Can’t find a new battery. Get a trickle charger from the Harley dealership a mile up the road.

Ok, this part sounds much funnier than it was. We sat in Dunkin’ Donuts for an hour and a half and played cribbage while we charged the battery.  Oh, yeah, living the dream there.

Get the battery back in the bike. She fires right up. We get out on the street and I hear “Puh. Puh, puh-puh. Gasp….” Awesome.  I push it into the Circle K parking lot.  We talk about our options, don’t really like any of them.  Cram all our shit into the other bike, go in and ask the manager politely, “Please do not tow my bike, I promise I will be back for it in the morning.”

We ride back to the hotel, which is about 40 miles away, back over the Kancamagus.  It rains. Hard. The road is still windy-twisty and beautiful. And wet. An hour and a half later, we’re showered, and in the bar again, looking forlornly at the menu which is not in the restaurant where we had planned to eat.

Our best alternative is to rent a truck. We have no vehicle to pull a trailer.  There is no service dealer anywhere within 100 miles, and truly? I want my guy to work on my bike, so I know what my problem is.  Not what some guy with HD plastered on his shirt wants to tell me.  I call work, “Sorry can’t be there tomorrow, I’m busy.”

Monday we get up, we ride the bike crammed full of ALL our stuff now that we’ve checked out, back across the Kancamagus.  Bright sunshine, twisty-windy, fresh air ..…small RV…..  young male moose, trotting across the road.… (Please god, please god, please god… do not let the RV hit the moose, it will mean bad things for all of us, and I have enough bad things going on right now, I’d like not to add a moose to my problems.)  I’m not sure how late it was before he saw the moose, but the moose definitely saw him and was happy to keep on moving before we all got there.

Pick up the truck, which is big enough for both bikes, so we put the one on, drive to get the other. Put the battery back in it (having trickle charged it over night) get it lined up to go up the ramp and in the truck. ….Last chance….  …breathe… fire it up and goose it just enough to keep the ka-pow from starting. Hit the ramp straight and enough speed to get it over the hump at the top. Screech to a stop narrowly avoiding the first bike. “Gasp, puh, puh-puh..” …sigh…  (I go back in the Circle K and tell the nice manager, “I have taken my bike, it has not been stolen, and thank you very much for your consideration of my plight.”)

We drive it all the way back to my guy.  He’s expecting me, having talked to me while I was sitting on the highway, and again as we came into the city. We take both bikes off the back, he keeps mine, the other heads to the U-haul place and I follow in the truck.   We drop the truck off, I pretend I wasn’t driving since I wasn’t on the list.  Something about tickets and suspended licenses and like that.  We again pack the last of our crap into the other bike, and ride back to the house.

I have never been so glad to go to work the day after a long weekend.

In the end, my guy replaced a fried voltage regulator and rewired some accessories that had been put on over the winter.  I really like my guy.

This is a trip I will probably remember for the rest of my life.  But not because I went to Laconia.

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There are no words to describe the beauty of Cape Breton, and I’m not even going to try.  A lot of our trip was done on motorcycle (obviously) which leaves little opportunity for taking pictures.  This, then, is the best of what we were able to get over the course of our five days.

Riding Harleys through this area was an amazing experience.  Everything is so quaint and rustic in the most positive sense of the words.  This is a place that is once removed from the urbanization and commercialization of so much of the rest of the world.  There is plenty of modern convenience (including espresso and awesome deli sandwiches.  Plus all that amazing seafood I ate (even the seafood that didn’t like me so much).  But the natural world is the main draw here, and that’s what most of these photos focus on.

I hope you like them.

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Morning Coffee…

I have the luxury of working on these as I go along for the next couple of days. This is good, because my short term memory has been taxed of late, keeping a running tally of all the things I want to tell you about.

I’ve been sitting on the deck for most of the day. After yesterday’s ride, I’ve had to stay in the shade, but I’ll get over it. (The sun doesn’t really like me that much, it’s a pretty much unrequited love on my part.) We’ve just finished hosing down the bikes, getting most of the road dirt and bugs off, and I am now enjoying an iced coffee, and writing a letter to my daughter.

The previous guests were kind enough to leave us half a watermelon, and some milk for cereal (but no cereal). There is always coffee available when we get here. Thank you, Jesus.

We’re ready to go into town and get some food for the next couple of days. The rule of packing for trip applies to grocery shopping. If you can’t get it on the bike, you can’t get it. (Which is why I am so thankful for the watermelon already being here.) I’m shooting for corn on the cob, baby red potatoes, maybe some squash or asparagus and steak on the grill for dinner. As far as my actually getting near the grill, those chances are equal to the ones for driving the rental car, slim to none.

I’ll be mailing postcards today, also, for those of you who know.

I had to change seats…

So, I’ve done nothing at all today, and I hope to do it again tomorrow. It would be a shame if the sun was out all day, and the breeze blew in from the ocean.

Speaking of the ocean, a recent request for some geography…The house is situated on a small bay. To the left is open ocean behind a pair of islands. Further to the left (out of the image) is a second bay. To the right, the bay narrows and there’s a sand beach about a mile from the house in that direction.

It’s shallow out to about 100 yards. (Shallow enough that at low tide you can walk out that far.) Then drops off precipitously. I’ve no idea how deep. The water is about 50 degrees year round, I don’t spend a lot of time in it. No tide pools but there is one enormous mussel bed, a lot of little tiny crabs and seaweed. Lots of seaweed.

If there’s anything else I can tell you…