And it is Still Day One on another Travels with Harley


Jim and I have so many great memories that it is hard to put everything into a single blog, so you may be hearing me wax on lyrically about our Travels with Harley New England Trailblazer Tour for the next few weeks.


Last week I left you with our police escort out of Brattleboro, Vermont and our ride along with Matt from Harley Davidson, but I forgot to mention the Fly Fishing Museum. We all really wanted to see it, but unfortunately, it was closed for the day.


The American Museum of Fly Fishing, or the AMFF, has been around since 1968 and was started by a bunch of enthusiastic and passionate anglers who wanted to keep the history of fly-fishing alive and well. Originally created as an institution in order to preserve and interpret all the great treasures of fly-fishing, today it houses one of the largest collections of angling relating items on the planet, literally in the thousands.


Other points of interest on our first day included the Hildene House, or the Abraham Lincoln Family home. One of the guys that we ride with, Jodi is a huge Lincoln fan, so he was pretty excited about that, and the Warren Covered Bridge, which was also a scheduled event. There wasn’t a meal planned, but one of the locals recommended the Dormy Grill at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester. I had to catch up on some work, yes I know it never stops, so Jim and I skipped the Hildene tour, and opted to meet Matt from Harley Davidson, Jodi, Matt, and Steve later on.


You know how much I love my food, so I was excited about this stop in our Travels with Harley road trip. The view from the patio of the Dormy Grill overlooked the 1st fairway and the 9th green. The menu was simple, mostly sandwiches, but the food was pretty good. Some of the menu selections included a classic Caesar salad and clam chowder as an appetizer and of course, there was a lobster roll on the menu, we were in Vermont after all.


As we rode out of town with Matt, who was riding a 2015 glistening silver Street Glide I noticed that his jacket was actually glowing. I had never really seen the effect of the reflective aspects of the riding clothes before and was awestruck. The sight was incredible. Another rider, Lisa from Georgia was wearing a very stylish Harley Jacket, and of course, I told Jim that I would really love to have that jacket. It was waterproof and had a liner for warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I love my leathers, but not so much my rain gear. If I had the jacket, I wouldn’t have to carry both for the whole Travels with Harley trip.


Wow, I can’t believe it’s already that time and I’m not even on day two yet! Rest assured I have much more to share on our Travels with Harley New England Trailblazer tour.

Travels with Harley in Brattleboro Vermont


Last week I left you in Brattleboro, Vermont, but didn’t get too far. It was a long ride and both Jim and I were exhausted after yet another Travels with Harley, but I still have so much more to share.


Brattleboro, Vermont was our first official stop on the New England Trailblazer Tour. It’s a pretty cool little town with a rich history. In 1724, Fort Dummer was the first English settlement in Vermont and was built to protect the settlers from the Abenaki tribe that used the local woods and rivers for food and transportation. The fort was used to defend against French and Native attacks until 1728 when it became a trading post. Today the fort is submerged by the Connecticut River.

trailblazer groupon road

Fast forward to our trip, we hooked up with the same group that we always do on our Travels with Harley, at least for the last couple of years anyway. We met with Matt, Steve and his wife Jodi. Jodi was riding a yellow Harley Davidson Sportster and always looks like she has so much fun!


That first night we had a blast, as usual. The Holiday Inn Express had a big tent set up in the back and dinner was catered. If you follow my blog, you know I am pretty particular about my food, and the flank steak with chimichurri and assorted salads certainly didn’t disappoint.


The next morning we had a group photo under a huge flag that the local firefighters had hoisted between two fire truck ladders.


After the photo, we were given a police escort as we rode out of town. We also had the opportunity to sign up to ride with one of the Harley Davidson representatives. If your name is drawn, you get to ride with the rep for the day. Matt had his name drawn and we were really lucky to get Matt from Harley Davidson. This was his first national tour ride, although he had done quite a few state rallies.


I still have lots to share as far as our Travels with Harley New England Trail Blazer ride goes, but that will have to wait until next week.

Travels with Harley Hits the Road Again


Sometimes even the best-laid plans don’t always work out, and that is exactly what happened before our latest Travels with Harley.

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Jim and I had been planning our September New England Trailblazer Tour for quite some time, and although we were supposed to leave on Friday morning, didn’t hit the road until 5:00 PM because I had to train a new storeowner for the Farmington store. Needless to say, we only made it to Effingham, Illinois because of the huge storms that were rolling in.


We got up early Saturday morning, but it was gloomy and drizzly all day. So much so that we had to keep stopping to add layers because it was so darn cold. Unfortunately, we only made it to Erie, PA that night and needed to be in Brattleboro, VT by 4:00 PM on Sunday. I was a bit worried, especially since the forecast wasn’t in our favor, for riding anyway.


It seemed like it took us forever to get through New York on Sunday. We were only able to go between 55 and 65 on the New York State Thruway, which put us into Brattleboro at 5:00 PM, an hour later than we had planned. Luckily, we had called the hotel at 3:00 and were told that we could pick up our rider’s packets when we arrived followed by dinner at 6:00.


As we started to unload the Road King after a tiring Travels with Harley ride, one of the first people that we ran into was a New York City fireman who we had met on the Hellbender Tour in Arkansas last year. He and his riding group had all been staying at the same bed and breakfast that we had in Mountain View, AR. The Inn at Mountain View is right on the town square and has this amazing wraparound porch where the boys say on the porch smoking cigars and listening to the local musicians playing in the town square.


Anyway, this time around Chris, the fireman, introduced us to his wife, who rode her own bike and proceeded to give me a hard time, once again, for not having my own ride.


It was about that time that I was rushing around and heard someone say, “Are you the one riding that?” or something like that. I wasn’t sure what he was saying and should have asked him to repeat what he said instead of just saying, “No.” A couple of days later at the Sugarloaf Mountain Resort I found out that he had asked me if I was the one from, “Travels with Harley,” which I thought was pretty cool.

Lots happened between then and now, but it’s getting late and it was a long trip so I will continue with the rest of our Travels with Harley New England Trailblazer Tour next week.

Four Fall Trips Highly Recommended by Travels with Harley


Fall is the perfect time for a ride and Jim and I have had our fair share of Travels with Harley during autumn. There is nothing better than jumping on the Road King and seeing the leaves change to beautiful hues of gold, burnt umber, orange, red, and vibrant yellow. I was doing some research and discovered some great Travels with Harley rides during the fall.

Grafton, IL

According to USA Today, fall is one of the best times for a Travels with Harley and recommends these great trips on the back of a two-wheeled vehicle.

Lenox, Massachusetts to Stowe, Vermont starts in the Berkshires before taking the riders through some of the most spectacular colors in the US. What is really great about this trip is that the road takes you through the woods on State Highway 100 on to the Green Mountains, which are located in Vermont.


Most people don’t consider a ride from Miami Beach to Key West if they want to see the colors of Autumn, but truth be told, it is beautiful as the route takes you through two of America’s most intriguing cities. When you ride on the Seven Mile Bridge near Marathon, Florida, it is almost like you are riding on top of the water. You may not see the changing of the leaves, but the gorgeous Caribbean blue sea is well worth the trip.


Jim and I have traveled through the Ozarks before, but the trip from Hot Springs to Eureka Springs Arkansas is diverse and pretty amazing. The thermal baths at the hot springs topped off by the mountain roads on scenic Highway 7 is something that should not be missed. The great little towns along the way have some incredible restaurants, diners, and dives and should be on your bucket list.


Door County in Wisconsin has incredible views. With 300 miles of shoreline bordered by Green Bay to the west and Lake Michigan to the east, you will find century old lighthouses, five state parks and amazing apple and cherry orchards. The awesome roadside fruit stands are brimming with fall produce not to mention the brilliant colors of fall from the sumac, oak, birch and maple trees.

Another Travels with Harley Labor Day Adventure


Jim and I usually try to schedule a Travels with Harley the last weekend of summer, and this Labor Day wasn’t any different.


If you have read my previous blogs on Travels with Harley, you will remember that Jim and I are members of the Bourbeuse Valley Harley Owners Group. In fact, we were stoked that we were asked to carry the flag in the 110th Harley Anniversary parade.


Anyway, our chapter always has an end of month ride, and this year it happened to fall on Saturday the 30th of August and coincided with Labor Day. There was also another ride scheduled for the next day. Jim and I have been so busy lately with our stores, that we really needed to get away for some much needed rest and relaxation, and of course, another Travels with Harley.


When we arrived at 11:00 AM in Washington, MO, we were met by fourteen other riders who obviously needed as much R & R as we did.


We pretty much left on schedule. During the ride, we crossed the Missouri River on Highway 47. Known as the Mississippi River Bridge it was built in 1932 with a main span of 474.6 feet. The total length of the bridge is 2,561.3 feet with a deck width of 6.7 meters, or 22 feet.


Once we crossed the bridge, we headed off on highway 94, or the Lewis and Clark trail towards St. Charles. I had been on the ride before, but never grow tired of it. I don’t think Jim does either. There are some great little restaurants in the area, but we continued on the Super Bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Alton, Illinois.


The weather held up during our ride as we followed the River Road on to Grafton. We were having fun, but accidents do happen as we just happened to pass a boat that was on fire.

HawgPit Grafton, IL

Once we stopped in Grafton, we were pretty hungry and made our way to the scheduled stop for a bite at the Hawg Pit. This is famous among riders and is definitely a place that we will feature in an up and coming Travels with Harley episode. In fact, the 5th annual poker run takes place this coming Saturday the 6th.


Voted the best BBQ Hot Wings Biker Bar, the Hawg Pit has some of the best BBQ that I have ever had, and believe me, I’ve indulged in quite a few over the years. Oh and just as an aside, Grafton is where the bald eagles nest during the winter at the Pere Marquette State Park.


After our meal, we headed into Hardin Ill, which is located between the Illinois and the Mississippi Rivers. We waited for the lift bridge so that a little tugboat could pass under before heading to the Golden Eagle Ferry in order to cross the mighty Mississippi before heading back to St. Charles.

Mike Maniaci and his daughter Demi


It really was a great ride full of great people and a great time! Can’t wait to do it again!