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+ Week Baltimore to Maine (aka the R6 neck-pinch)

gpounce

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After two years in shutdown I was ready for a long MC trip- I spent the time getting the R6 into suitable form. In past years I was making long trips on my Bandit- but wrecked it in 2018, so this is my 1st trip on the R6. I'll include pics of the bike soon, but wanted to try posting pics exracted from the on-bike footage. I figure I'll do a post on each day with selected pics, with additional detail if folks are interested. I'm not interested in attractions or stops so I will write from a riding perspective- mental and physical conditions and so on.

Day 1, heading from Baltimore to Williamsport PA;


Heading north towards Gettysburg- a great day to ride- a bit warm but lots of air.

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Heading north thru Carlisle PA. Rides up from MD into this area, through Smith Mountain are great day trips, but this is my 1st time north thru town.

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Enroute to Newport PA. The open farmland provides opportunities to be a bit naughty, but mind visibility through the curves.

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It looks like the old towpath along the west side of the Juniata river is ridable for a substantial part of its length, houses and picnic spots scattered along it now. My gps showed these routes along the river so I dived into them for a portion, looks a great way go most of the length of the river from Duncannon to Newport.

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Still heading north along Mountain Rd. This was a simple and very pretty northern route from Newport up towards Mifflinburg, the locals know how to drive these roads- takes some work to stay ahead of them :)


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And the home-stretch, taking the state park roads north of Mifflinburg and thru Washington PA. Very glad my GPS had these forest tracks, so navigation was straightforward. Although gravel it seems to be frequently maintained, no potholes to dodge. Some of the roads have gates, so those shown on maps might not all be available- one of my roads was closed off, but working around it wasn't a problem. It'd be easy to get lost without a gps and map, going in circles or coming out a different exit than expected. There is some basic signage for road names but no directions in or out.

I passed a few overlooks as below. Rt 554 from Washington into Williamsport is a real treat; google street view doesn't show the gorgeous parts.


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End of day 1, at the RIdgemont motel. I love the old-fashioned roadside motels rather than the corporates, this one didn't disappoint. Rooms on the back side of the building are quieter and overlook part of the valley. The R6 neck pinch was just starting at this point, but the bike performed very well- the suspension is worth a lot of the work necessary to tour on the bike.

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View from the rear of the motel;

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Pending a full-dress pic, this is the state of the bike;

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I substituted a 40L drybag for the tailbag shown here. It tends to obscure the mirrors a bit but offers plenty of space for the usual junk a 10 day trip needs...
 
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klaviator

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When I think touring bike I don't think R6 but then many riders tour on "unsuitable" bikes. What kind of riding did you buy the R6 for?
 

gpounce

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After I wrecked the Bandit I was looking around, a friend had upgraded to a modern GSXR and basically gave the R6 to me to get it out of his garage. I wasn't looking for a bike like that but you ride what you got so I've made the best I can of it. It does have a fancied up suspension and jetted carb (done when it was new, as a club racer)- so it performs really well. Basically one has to be ready to adapt to it- the R6 makes no concessions lol
 

gpounce

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(repost of day2, accidentally deleted the post sheesh)


Day2 - another magnificent clear day, departed 8:30 and headed north on 87, along the Loyalsock creek. This part of the ride was frequently heavily wooded, with occasional fields and views along the valleys- very pretty, and not much traffic.

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Once out of the hilly country, the terrain opened to the north-central NY farmland, here on 26 around Rome;

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Here, a left turn onto the home stretch to Watertown. This is the intersection of 26 and 120 near Collinsville- I've been looking at this house in google street view for a year or so. I wonder what its story is- I love old houses and particularly the cupola on this one

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And more farmland, some fast riding out here with the straighter roads and great visibility;

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And finally made it to the motel. I've stayed at too many of these over the years, but this one was conveniently located for the next day and after a long day on the road, a bed is always welcome. It was a fine place to stay and a very welcome breakfast the next morning.

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When I started the trip I had concerns about fatigue on the R6, it is a more difficult bike to tour on than the Bandit. I put zero degree bars on the R6, and its seat is better than what I had on the Bandit, so 6hr days are possible. I found that stopping even for a few minutes every couple hours, in addition to stopping for gas was a big help. Definitely noticing the pinched nerve in the neck and fatigue in the throttle hand, but everything else is holding together.
 
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gpounce

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Day 3 was going to be a long one- 230miles as per google maps, ended up about 7hrs on the road.


Starting from Cape Vincent on 12, over the water some islands are US some are Canada. This route follows the border, and into Vermont.

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A ways east the road emptied out, great visiblity there so I got my ton and then some for a while. The R6 gets low 40's mpg at reasonable speeds, but substantially less when one leans into it :1drink

Be careful in the towns, ie Ogdensburg and east- particularly those with border crossings, lurking popo. Akweasne is a casino town with a border crossing nearby, I saw a pair of state highway police circulating back and forth. I got followed for a while though I was being a good boy. I pulled over for a bit because my helmet was sawing off my left ear- fixed that and saw him later getting ready to turn around so maybe he wasn't interested, just circulating.

As sometimes happens, in this portion of the ride I passed through a cold front; weather was quite warm mid-80's, sweaty, and over the course of a mile or so the temperature dropped into very comfortable 70's- most welcome. Transitions like that, the momentary whiff of flowers, newly mown fields- pine trees; those moments make a ride for me.


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Much later, having passed thru Champlain into Vermont, I picked up a bug on the camera. The collection of VT 207, 120, 118, 105 along the border is an amazing ride- not crazy fast but lots of curves, elevation changes and wide-open sight lines.

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And eventually, arriving in Newport- I really liked the town.

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Very grateful to pull into my motel. I walked to the Subway around the corner and spent the balance of the day resting.


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I loved the Vermont ride- many gas stations offer ethanol-free gas at the pump, I found that to be the case for a few stations in NH also.
 
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gpounce

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Day 4 - made all the amateur mistakes; didn't check and clean the camera lens or plug it in so missed a bunch of footage after the battery ran out... sigh. OTOH it was a great ride, up 114 to Norton and East to Canaan. Being from Maryland its fascinating seeing the border so close- the checkpoint visible there on the lower left. 114 a fast road, but go easy the Border Patrol lurks, I passed one among the houses at Lac Wallace- Canada there on the other side of the lake.

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Here just before the NH state border, I stopped for some more of that lovely ethanol-free gas. In MD I have to buy cans of the VP Fuel- right here at the pump in Vermont!

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From there, along 26 thru Dixville Notch then south on 16 along the Androscoggin- one of my favorite stretches of road up here. The R6 passes like a demon, and is comfortable in the corners at speed even if the pavement is bumpy. Watch out between Berlin and Milan on 16 even though the road beckons, the staties like to hang out in the turnarounds, but I reeled it in for that stretch and saw one as expected.

The moose warning signs are for real up here, in a ride several years ago I came upon several of them meandering around on the road- they are huge up out of the water and famously grumpy so I waited a while until they moved into the trees. A deer I wouldn't mind going past on idle but not a moose.

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Alas, missing the footage thru Maine to the coast- the sun came out and I got a couple turns wrong so put together a new route on the fly and came upon some gorgeous stretches of road in and out of the woods and a nice stretch of brand new twisty pavement around Livermore. As is so often the case, the ad-hoc Plan B is sometimes more interesting than the Plan A.

Eventually I ended up in Wiscasset on Rt 1, staying at the Pioneer Motel. Its another of the neat old roadside motels, some years ago they earned my undying loyalty by finding a work laptop that I accidentally left behind and shipping it back.

Staying here for two nights, then back on the road up to Jackman- forecast is for rain, but being Maine we'll see. :-)
 
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gpounce

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My wife and have been thinking that once our daughter gets out of high school we might try renting a house up here for a few months, we're still working for a while longer so would take advantage of remote work opportunities.... given that duration it'd be nice to haul up the bike too. I sure like the culture up here, so much more appealing than the suburban wastelands of the mid-Atlantic. I mean if I had a Reny's at home, I'd never set foot in a mall again.
 

klaviator

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My wife and have been thinking that once our daughter gets out of high school we might try renting a house up here for a few months, we're still working for a while longer so would take advantage of remote work opportunities.... given that duration it'd be nice to haul up the bike too. I sure like the culture up here, so much more appealing than the suburban wastelands of the mid-Atlantic. I mean if I had a Reny's at home, I'd never set foot in a mall again.
I lived in MD for three years then moved to Maine and lived there for four years. I really enjoyed those 4 years in Maine.
 

gpounce

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Back on the road tomorrow, will document the final leg of the trip over the next few days. Thanks all 👍 its been a good ride this year 🥳
 
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gpounce

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Ugh flat rear tire on 95 at Biddeford exit... tow on tbe way. pushed the bike around a bit, vavle stem ok, no obvious punctures... 🙄

Plans change...
 

gpounce

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Yeah... OTOH all fixed and snug in the most souless and expensive Microtel imaginable... but much to be grateful for- great shower, place to sleep- bike fixed (now rocking a Rosso 3 rear). Discovered its burning a bit of oil when I really lean into it... so got some fancy new oil also. Could have been loads worse... was a wicked puncture, one of those things I guess where the front kicks up a nail and it tumbles square into the rear. It went from "wtf" to "rear getting soft" to "f'ing [email protected]*( pull over now" in maybe 10 secs. I pulled over literally halfway up the I95 exit ramp I was on- it was grotesque but at least not stuck amid a pile of trucks at speed.

A highway assistance truck stopped and gave me a bit of air and I found the puncture. While I waited for the tow I put in a plug that I didn't trust further than getting the tire round enough to roll the bike and eventually off we went to Moto Milano in WIndham ME who had a tire and enough slack in the shop to fit me in- he stayed late to get my tire and oil done.. A great small shop in the area, I highly recommend. Nice dog as well :)

On the plus side, it ended well and some $$$ for sure, but its still rubber side down and in one piece.
 

MVI

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Ugh flat rear tire on 95 at Biddeford exit... tow on the way. pushed the bike around a bit, vavle stem ok, no obvious punctures... 🙄

Plans change...

What do you have for a Towing plan/service while on road trips ?
 
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gpounce

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AMA roadside, it was marginally better than calling around myself, they made some aspects of the job clumsy but helpful.


OTOH the R6 engine is on its way to toast.. burned a full oil fill in less than a tank of gas. Idles on 3 cyls, 4th goes in and out... top end power is off and fading. Have 2 long highway grinds to get home, so turning in the.bike and walking away- rental home. Its bittersweet, but I didnt like my chances with it so far from home. Its a great bike but really does hurt on long rides... so not willing to go to the mat to save it... gonna let this one go fellows.
 

MVI

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AMA roadside, it was marginally better than calling around myself, they made some aspects of the job clumsy but helpful.


OTOH the R6 engine is on its way to toast.. burned a full oil fill in less than a tank of gas. Idles on 3 cyls, 4th goes in and out... top end power is off and fading. Have 2 long highway grinds to get home, so turning in the.bike and walking away- rental home. Its bittersweet, but I didnt like my chances with it so far from home. Its a great bike but really does hurt on long rides... so not willing to go to the mat to save it... gonna let this one go fellows.

Time for a new ride....

BTW - I have the top ins plan from Hagerty on my old truck. The beauty of that plan is that if ANY of your registered vehicles goes on the fritz, flats, dead battery, etc, they send a flatbed for you, and it includes up to 150 mi IIRC> one call , and <60 min response time is the norm.

I upgraded to that policy in 2012 for our AK trip, and still carry the INS today. I am glad to hear the AMA roadside did work
 

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