Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 4 - Toms River, NJ to Franconia Notch, NH

Day 4 dawned bright and shiny. The rain storms that ripped through the area last night had cleaned everything up and left huge puddles to play in. In addition to becoming a source of the oppressive humidity! Uncovering the bikes we could see the seats and saddlebags dotted with water. Indicating how strong the winds were last night, flinging rain under the covers,

Today was going to be the most difficult day of the journey so far. We needed to get up to New Hampshire. It was doable, but ambitious. My major oversight was New York City. I was taking us from New Jersey to New Hampshire in a day. A Monday...through rush hour traffic...near New York City.

View Larger Map
Jack had some alternate suggestions that Oilburner and I researched on the maps last night. And my secret source in Maine also had some ideas. Since the George Washington Bridge is going through some major construction, traffic was going to be bad. Both sources recommended the Tappan Zee Bridge north of the city. This route appealed to me since that is probably the closest I will ever get to taking my bike to the city. (At least until Jack leads a tour to Boulevard East.). However, the sedate tollway up to Albany, NY won out. Our logic was hoping there would be fewer cars and fewer police to impede a speedy jaunt. We experienced empty roads with the New York state tollways five years ago. Just hoping for the same.

On a side note, I will be forced to go back to this area some time. The Village of Sleep Hollow is near the Tappan Zee on the east shore. Sleepy Hollow! Gotta go! Washington Irving is interred there. I need to go exploring. Maybe sit on some inn balcony at midnight, sipping something warm, watching for any nocturnal happenings.

Overall the day was long and completely in eventful. Sweet. We did leave "later" to hopefully miss the large portion of traffic. We went out of our way to scoot west around New York City. New York was where we first encountered frost heaves. Wow! Those are nasty. I do not recommend hitting one of those while performing a shoulder check. Talk about vertigo. Since I forgot to look up Orange County Choppers we discovered 3 miles too late that we had missed it. Those 3 miles equate to 30 miles on the tollway because we would have to ride to the next exit to get off and turn around. Our pocketbook didn't want to face the tolls.

As I said, nothing happened. We rode...

We ate...

We fueled. Someone adorned my bike with flowers...

We rode some more...

I routed us through the Green Mountains of Vermont. Beautiful, but not nearly as isolated as you might think while riding along. We were enjoying the beautiful trees, river, and flowers without seeing a single settlement. Looking at google maps later revealed a fairly large city right on the other side of the ridge.

We eventually arrived at our destination after 430 miles (690 km). It was a small inn at Franconia Notch of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. (See map above.) So many places were booked up and I found this place advertising on Airbnb.

The inn was wonderful! It was a grand place, beautifully appointed and has a built in, award winning dining room. (Good thing since there is only a stable and air strip within walking distance.) This was something I didn't know about beforehand. We were exhausted. We were hungry. We were not getting on the bikes again in search of food.

The roasted garlic olive oil was fabulous!

Warning! Blatant food porn.

We can't decide on which soup was better. The waiter warned us they were both good. And they were. Oilburner had the minestrone. I had the New England Clam Chowder!!

We both opted for the Filet. Enough said.

The pool closed at nine. The mosquitos were out in abundance, and being the little blood sucks that they are. I didn't want to sit in the lounge since it was just us. So off to bed for us since we had big plans for the next day.

(Hey!! We rode through four states in one day! New Jersey - New York - Vermont - New Hampshire. What is it with all these "new"??)


  1. Nice food photos and I don't think I could've dealt with the traffic anywhere near New York City.

    I have never tried Airbnb before. It looks like you found a real gem of a place. I just noticed that you are using Blogsy. I have some minor issues with the html generated when embedding photos but it's pretty easy to clean up.

    1. The food at the inn was wonderfully delicious.mmwas it because we were so hungry or was it plain good? I think a bit of both.

      Yeah, I've got to agree about New York City. The idea just scares me. New Jersey was interesting enough. And this coming from someone that rides in Atlanta traffic! Go figure.

      Airbnb is really good. The place we stayed in Portland, ME was through Airbnb. Loved it. Neat way to meet locals and get a good scoop on the city.

      What types of problems are you having posting pics? I haven't had real problems with them. But the google maps didn't work. And I'm noticing some spelling errors in the translation...

    2. I generally post small thumbnails with text next to the picture and sometimes the html generated by Blogsy is missing parts of the formatting. Embedding a Google map may work if you switch to HTML mode before pasting in the embed code. I haven't tried it yet...

  2. Lori:

    You look so relaxed, must be on vacation. Good that you had a good meal. Food looks delicious. After a long day of riding, somewhere close for a meal is the best. I could almost taste your food from here. the dining room looked very upscale but what ! you had the place to yourselves !

    I just can't fathom travelling through so many states. If you headed west from Vancouver you would be hard pressed to get out of BC in one day. We don't have super highways out here

    I really enjoy your writings

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. Yep. Relaxed and enjoying it. The stop was a nice breather. Just rode through small showers and drying out. I wish I were back on vacation...

      So many states in the NE are close together and smaller. So it can be easy to travel through so many. Or just hit the corners. ;)

      The dining room was empty because we were almost the last diners at 8 pm. The kitchen was about to close.

    2. Wait a sec!! Heading 'west from Vancouver' certainly would leave you within the state for a mighty long time...unless you took a boat. Bikes don't do well under water... ;)

  3. Great pics Lori, it looks like a fun day with a lot of miles covered.

    I see the 'Original Pancake House' in one of the photos. We have them here too. I think only one should be called 'original'. All others should be called 'subsequent'. That is our joke around here.

    1. Thanks Brandy. It was long and very boring...but thankfully fun and calm. Getting into the zone.

      'Original Pancake House' is all over. I think we have a couple here in GA. I love your 'subsequent' name change. We have the same joke about the Baptist churches here. They are all 'First Baptist'. We have wondered where all of the 'Second Baptist' are.

  4. Good to see that flower power is back!

  5. I, too, wanted to comment about the flower. I thought it was sweet. Big plans? Secret sources? You do know how to build suspense.

    And, does it really get any better than: We rode, we ate, nothing happened, and we arrived safe?

    1. Keith, truer words were never spoken. Ride, eat, nothing happened can be so blissful.

      Back to suspense...wait until day 10. I have a couple of images just for you. ;)

  6. You absolutely have to go to Sleepy Hollow and to the authentic cemetery. What a wonderful trip you are having!

    1. Have you been there? Details!! NYC just scares me. But this one might have to go on the trip planner for next year.

      The worst thing about going new places is that you don't know where to go until you've gone there. We now have a different perspective and have so many more places to visit than we were aware of! :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. 4 states in a day - that's what I love about the USA. It takes three days just to get out of Ontario from where I live (unless you go to the US then you can pass through three states within hours - love it, feels like you're really getting somewhere.)

    1. Hi Karen, when I learned of where you!! I was completely jealous that you had made the trek to OR and I hadn't. But I couldn't have survived the scorching heat and thunderstorms through central US. I'm glad you didn't hit anything severe in your travels.

      Yes, you are correct, the provinces are large and without "highways" can take a long time to traverse. But they are gorgeous!

      We longed to get into Canada on this trip, Nova Scotia or PEI. Even considered going into Ontario and rounding the lake, coming back through Niagra to see Horseshoe Falls. Plans change. Besides...if that had happened I would have kicked myself that I was passing through your hometown while you were away. :)

      We did consider going east to collect Connecticut and Massachusetts on the same day. Then it would have been 6. But I wasn't pushing it!

      Thanks for reading and the comment!