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[ST] Four Corners Report, Part 3

July 23rd's post:

Greetings from the road!

It's been a few days since my brief stop in DC on my way north from
Key West. Thursday was a 585 mile effort that got me to Peterborough,
NH. I knew this stretch could be really difficult with all the traffic
in the DC/Baltimore/Philly/New Jersey/New York/Hartford megalopolis.
On the advice of some friends, I skipped I-95 and took the long way
around. I went north from home to I-81, connecting to I-84 and
crossing over into NY. From there I took the Taconic Parkway north to
I-90, picked up I-91 in Springfield, MA and rode it up into NH.
Mission accomplished as traffic was not an issue at all the entire

This was such a different ride from the ride to Florida. Going to Key
West, the road was flat and straight with nothing much going on but
droning along with traffic. The geography changed on the way north
with many more hills and mountains. The road was going up and down and
all around while winding it's way through the mountains. More fun and
engaging than the first part of the week, that's for sure. Thankfully,
the weather cooperated and I had a beautiful day to make the trip. I
wouldn't have wanted to make this run in the rain.

I got a slightly later start than usual on Friday and headed for
Portland, ME to get back on I-95 after a day away from it. the weather
was quite cloudy when I started, but I saw some patches of blue sky.
The clouds looked like they wanted to rain, but they couldn't make up
their mind if they were going to or not. A riding buddy of mine once
said that "if you can ride, you ride" so, taking the advice, I figured
I'd ride until the weather made me stop or I got to Madawaska. After
300 miles of I-95, I turned north on Route1, knowing I still had about
90 miles to go. The visibility was good, and I could see the storm
clouds moving my way. I had been getting spit on all afternoon, but it
was nothing substantial. It looked like that was about to change
unless I could get a good run and get past the storm before we ran
into each other. I didn't make it. The rain started getting more
persistent and just as I was deciding I should put my rain gear on, I
ran into a downpour. I was lucky to find some cover almost
immediately. There was an abandoned gas station that still had the
canopy up where the pumps had been.  A father and son who were out
riding were already there, so the three of us sat out the deluge and
talked bikes, trips, and roads for about 30 minutes until the rain let
up. We said our good-byes, wished each other a safe trip, and headed
off. I still had about an hour to go and it was starting to get late.
I hadn't been on the road for 10 minutes when it started to rain
again. Lucky for me it was nothing too bad and I kept riding.

I finally arrived in Madawaska at about 6:30, having ridden 500 miles
(Google maps had told me it would be 435 miles). There's really only
one motel in town, the Gateway Motel, so I got a room. Even though I
was tired, I figured it would be easier to take care of gathering my
corner verification items right away rather than waiting until the
morning. After I good night's sleep, I would leave Maine and begin my
trek west having visited 2 corners with 2 to go. It seemed like
everyone in town knows about the Four Corners ride because they all
asked me about it. When I was taking the picture of my motorcycle in
front of the post office, a couple walking by asked if I wanted a
picture with me on the bike. I got a certificate acknowledging that
I'd been there and signed by the mayor when I got my gas receipt at
the Citgo station. Something tells me this will prove to be the
friendliest of the four corners.

Nothing much has happened since I left Madawaska. I did spend much of
the day on Saturday in Quebec. I always knew my students and their
parents have a hard time getting along in an English speaking country
when they don't really speak the language themselves. Today, I got to
live it and get a glimpse of what it must be like for them. With
everyone speaking French except for me, I certainly felt like I was
standing out. Trying to read the signs and billboards was laughable. I
had no idea what was going on most of the time, and not for lack of
trying. anyway, I've got a new appreciation for what my students are
going through. I hope it makes me a little bit better in the

Saturday was 560 miles to Pembroke, Ontario, in and out of the rain
most of the day. Again, nothing substantial, but still a bit
aggravating. Today, I returned to the US at Sault Ste Marie in
Michigan's upper peninsula. the only excitement today is that I almost
ran out of gas. I totally misjudged the situation and the reserve
light came on with me having absolutely no idea where the nearest gas
station was. I really wanted to avoid being stuck on the side of the
road. Rather than possibly running out, I stopped at a rest area that
appeared right after the light came on. There was an elderly man
there, feeding the birds and watching the traffic go by. I asked him
if he was familiar with the area. "I should be. I've lived here most
of my life" he said. Just the person I needed. He steered me straight
and got me to a station with very little additional drama.

The other surprise about this part of the ride is how busy the road is
and how populated the area is. When you look at Route 17 between
Ottawa and Sault Ste Marie, it looks very remote. I was expecting to
spend lots of time alone on this stretch. I was never alone the entire
day. There were lots of trucks and lots of vacation traffic. Nothing
real heavy, but much more than I was expecting.

Tonight, I'm in Newberry, MI and am getting ready for a couple of big
mileage days to get across the country. I have an appointment on
Friday in Portland, OR to get the motorcycle serviced. I may have to
push this to Saturday, but it can't go any later than that. It's
possible, but will require a big push. Don't worry, I'll keep you
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