Happy Thanksgiving!

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Jim and I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Eat, drink, enjoy your friends and family, share stories, have some laughs, but most importantly, love one another.

Remember, nothing is promised.

Happy Thanksgiving. We will be back late next week with Jim continuing our Travels with Harley New England Trailblazer Tour.

Trust me, we still have quite a bit to share!

Another leg on our Trailblazer Tour

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After our trip to Bens Mill on our Trailblazer Tour, we really wanted to catch up with the rest of the group, so we took a shortcut. It took us most of the day, but we somehow managed to get ahead of the group by a few minutes.

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Sugarloaf is a beautiful vacation and ski resort and quite popular all over the world. Demea and I were glad that it was part of our Trailblazer Tour. We rode the ski lift to the top of the mountain where the organizers had a nice supper followed by an awesome fireworks show and drinks in the bar with Matt from Harley Davidson. Meeting Ed and discovering that our Travels with Harley blog and the Trailblazer Tour was the first thing that showed up on Google when you searched for the Trailblazer Tour was pretty awesome. Ed and Anna were the Tour Operators and are originally from England living in the US for about six years now.

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On our September 10 Trailblazer Tour, Demea and I got up a bit late, and because the rest of the group didn’t want to wait, took off without us. We rode for most of the day by ourselves where we enjoyed the beautiful countryside. It reminded me of where I grew up although a heck of a lot colder.

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We got to the dealership in Hermon Maine for our Trailblazer Tour, rode with Jolene’s group to Ellsworth, and caught up with Matt, Jodie and Steve at a place called
Jaspers for supper where they had some kinds of sea creatures on the menu. Demea had lobster Newburg, Jodi and Steve had a lobster roll, and Matt had the stuffed haddock. Of course, I had a steak.

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I’m backtracking a bit, but Demea wanted me to mention the truck stop in Hermon on our Trailblazer Tour. She did a Yelp search for a place called Dysart’s Restaurant & Truck stop that had great reviews, especially for their pie.

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After we sat down a guy from another table stopped by and told us about a lot of great areas to see. Demea ordered the French toast with the fresh Maine blueberry compote and a piece of blueberry pie with ice cream. She later said that it may have been a bit over the top, and should have just had the French toast. That’s one of the many things that I love about my wife, she usually bites off more than she can chew, and with that, I will do my best to finish our Trailblazer Tour next week.

The Trailblazer Tour and Bens Mill

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This Veterans Day I would like to take a moment to recognize the men and women who have fought for our country. Had it not been for you, we may not have the freedom that we so enjoy. When Demea and I hit the road on our Harley Davidson, we often meet brave veterans. Their stories, like the one about Bens Mill should never be forgotten.

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On the morning of September 9, we got up about 5:30, and although we really didn’t want to go to the Granite State dealership breakfast, we are glad that we did, as everyone was really nice. The local HOG chapter put on a free breakfast, restoring our faith in humanity, especially after what we had experienced at the hotel the day before. As we pulled up there was a big group cooking eggs and sausage patties on a huge Kenmore Grill. English muffins were added to make a great tasting breakfast sandwich along with orange juice and coffee.

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Demea saw Lisa’s jacket for sale at the Granite State dealership and she told her that she was going to copy her. What she really loves about this jacket, is that it is waterproof and has a nice liner. Demea is not a fan of her rain gear, mostly because the collar either strangles her or, if she leaves the collar unsnapped, smacks her constantly. This was her justification for buying a new one. If you follow our blog, you will remember that I knew we would somehow be going home with that jacket.

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After the breakfast, Demea and I headed up to Barnet VT to visit Bens Mill. A place that people all over the world should know about.

Ben’s Mill was built in the 1800s as a water powered wool dying mill before becoming something else and then transforming into what it is today, a woodworking/blacksmith shop. I remember seeing a film about Bens Mill when I was living in Tucson AZ. I also read about it in a Scott Landis book. The book was called the woodworking shop. I had always been curious about Bens Mill, but didn’t know if it was still there. My wife is a great researcher and found it on the web.

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A guy by the name of Hiram Allen and his wife Lois had bought Bens Mill have been working on it and trying to save it. Unfortunately, the Allen’s do not get much publicity on the internet. Demea had actually suggested that the two of them sell the DVD on Amazon as it may help them keep up the restoration process. Honestly, I didn’t want to leave. It made me cry because I couldn’t stay and work to help save it. Had it not been for the rest of the road trip I think I would have stayed for a few weeks.

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The thing that makes Bens Mill so great is that it just uses water to do the work. You use Bens Mill and just let it go on downstream so someone else can use it or just enjoy watching it go by. It makes me so sad that places like Bens Mill are forgotten, especially among the kids today. I certainly hope that the rest of Bens Mill will be restored.

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When Hiram Allen and his wife bought Bens Mill with the help of a nonprofit, they were able to restore most of it. The dam still needs to be restored though and they are still waiting on approval.

I was sad that we had to leave and wanted to take a video with me, but they weren’t selling them and the only thing I could find was a VHS on Amazon.

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Both Demea and I think that somebody should make another show or documentary about the history of Bens Mill and the story after the restorations. It seems like more and more of our heritage and history is being lost to time and decay. How many kids today don’t know what a water mill is? It is such a pure form of energy.

The Worst Leg of the Trailblazer Tour

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Honestly, it’s rare to see Demea get mad, but when she does, it can get ugly. I told you last week that Demea has booked and paid for our room three months prior to our Trailblazer Tour, so you can imagine how angry she was when she got the call saying that the Holiday Inn Express had given away our room.

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When we got to the hotel we were told that their sister property, the White River Inn had a room and it was right next door. We walked over and had to wait about thirty minutes. We paid for the room and were given an envelope with our key cards in it. The guy had written 229 on the envelope, which he said was on the third floor.

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Demea and I took our bags up to the elevator, walked all the way down the hall only to discover there was no room 229 on the third floor. After getting back in the elevator and going back to the lobby, the guy says, “Oh, it’s on the 4th floor.” I could see Demea wasn’t happy, but we were tired on this leg of the Trailblazer Tour and just wanted to put our bags in the room and have something to eat.

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After getting to room 229 more frustration as our key cards wouldn’t work. By this time, Demea was livid and went back to the lobby while I stayed with our bags. When she got back, we were both glad that the keys worked.

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We threw our bags on the bed only to look around in disgust. The room was really dirty. The toilet had toilet paper in it as if nobody bothered to flush. By this time, Demea is really upset. She tells me that she just wants to take a hot bath. I was almost scared to tell her that there was no tub in this room. On top of that, there was no hot water.

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Because Demea is an IHG member and booked three months in advance for our Trailblazer Tour, she was pretty pissed about us getting bounced. She went over the Holiday Inn Express asking for a confirmation email about the cancellation and requested a refund. She also wanted her reward points for the stay. The sister property was not IHG, so all she were bonus points.

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I think what was most frustrating for Demea was the fact that a businessman came in and checked in when she was getting her refund and was given a room right away even though he only had a reservation and had not paid for the room.

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The highlight for Demea on this leg of the Trailblazer Tour was that she got to see how cool Matt from Harley’s jacket was. Every time we traveled into the shadows, our headlight would light up the back of his jacket. From that moment, I knew that we would be getting a jacket for Demea before the end of the Trailblazer Tour.

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After ordering some chilidogs that were just okay, we both were beginning to feel pretty down about the whole northeast and the Trailblazer Tour in general, that is, until we went to Ben’s Mill.