Category Archives: Vacation

Sturgis Bike Week – 75th Anniversary

Sturgis, SD  (August 2015) –  WOW!!!! What a motorcycle event with over 750,000 other bikers, just like us!!!

Devil's Tower - Wyoming

Devil’s Tower – Wyoming with our friends Jodi and Chris.

Tami and I were extremely fortunate to attend this years 75th Anniversary of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in S. Dakota.  Stay with me for additional details a bit later, but in summary, the guys trailered the bikes and the girls flew into Rapid City, SD. We all stayed at the Buffalo Chip Campground and saw almost all the popular tourist attractions in the area.

Chris and I started out on a Wednesday afternoon for the 2000 mile excursion across the country to SD.  We’ve both dreamed of this day to come for the past 10-months and finally it was here.   There was a ton of planning along the way in making sure we had a safe and enjoyable trip.  I took two weeks off from work, the first time I’ve done that in over 20-years.   I remember the last time I did and it was a refreshing experience to have two consecutive weeks in a row off. HIGHLY recommend it!

Personally I love to travel. Take your pick train, plane, or auto for me.  Well this road trip was in a 2015 Chevy HD 3500 diesel with 20ft enclosed trailer for the bikes and luggage.   Just a mammoth of a rig that Chris borrowed from a friend. I’m not a Chevy guy, but this truck was impressive to drive.  We took turns driving in 3-hour shifts which was about the time we needed fuel or a bio-break anyways.

Chris and I did make a stop at the Harley Museum in Milwaukee.   What a great place to see the history of the company and the 400+ bikes from all the different years there.   Great stop!

The rented trailer at the Buffalo Chip was just the right size for 2 couples.   This one company that we rented from, had just under 500 campers rented, just at the Chip.   We estimated that the company grossed $1 million just in rented campers at the Chip.   The numbers got staggering as you looked around the campground and all you saw where campers everywhere.  Okay, time for a beer. haha!!

***Collages ***

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During the week we rode to the Badlands, Spearfish Canyon, Devils Tower, Deadwood, Mt Rushmore, Needles Highway, and more.   Putting on over a 1,000 miles on the bikes in a week.  The weather was 95% sunny and nice temps the whole week camping.   A few huge rain showers ( I mean raining buckets) at night.  We did catch a bit of hail/rain while in Wyoming but we out ran that that system in the opposite direction.   By the time we stopped for a beer at the Stonehouse Saloon, we where dry again.   Tami and I loved to hangout on the balcony of The Knuckle Saloon in downtown Sturgis to people/bike watch.

Stay Classy SturgisThe sights at Sturgis are nothing like the oldest motorcycle rally in Laconia, NH.   People dressed in crazy outfit, driving unique scoots, and a sea of denim jeans.  Then again, I’ve never seen so many bikers in one spot.   Streets are packed with people, bikes, tattoos, and body paint.   Even Tami got her chest painted and drove her motorcycle around town and back to the Chip getting a bunch of men and woman jumping in front of her to take her picture.  She even jumped on stage to do some dancing with a band that was playing at The Beaver Bar.

Almost every night we laid up the bikes so we could consume moonshine and beers at the camper.   We’d always head to the main stage at the Chip to see the multiple bands playing.  The Chip is known to have the best bands in Sturgis and this year’s 75th wasn’t any different.   All four of us even managed to zip-line across the crowd during a performance.

collage 2We’re glad we got to Full Throttle Saloon before it burnt to the ground.   I really liked the place with all the unique “props” throughout the establishment and having the option to drive your bike into the in-field.  Was a very cool place to hangout at.

Doing a comparison from Laconia to Sturgis…..   In Laconia the last weekend of the rally is when the crowds surge to the event… In Sturgis, it the first weekend…   just a weird and not what I was expecting when half the campground left on a Sat.  haha… anyways, Chris and I left on a Sat afternoon after dropping the girls off at the airport and we drove 36-hours straight to get home.

Our first time being at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the 75th anniversary was not disappointing.   For now we say “see you later”  as we’ll be back for more fun in the future.   (JM)

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New York City and a Gamble

New York, NY (December 2013) – Travelling to New York City was a last-minute decision for us.  During the holidays its always great to get to the city and see all the stores decorated and the lights at night.  The city offers all types of people going in all different directions to get where they’re going. This entails, walking, biking, running, taxi, or petal buggies.

This trip was first on a few items on the bucket list:

  1. Tami as never been to the city (NYC)
  2. Both never have been up the Empire State Building
  3. 1st time taking a trip in the van
  4. …and lastly we’ve never slept overnight in it.

We started at the Empire State Building because we parallel parked 2 blocks away.  Boy, did we get lucky on the parking….  I knew that most parking garages wouldn’t take the high-roof conversion van, so I had to find a outside parking (almost impossible in

Clockwise: Tami and the naked chief, Radio City at night, Mr. "I Need Money for Weed", and Tami and I on top of the Empire State Building.

Clockwise: Tami and the naked chief, Radio City at night, Mr. “I Need Money for Weed”, and Tami and I on top of the Empire State Building.

NYC) or a city street space. After fighting traffic around the ESB and seeing the “NO VAN” parking at 2 public parking garages, I turned up a street and BINGO, I found a metered space.

Now the funny part, we saw the waiting line for the Observation Deck that wrapped around the ESB. It reminded me of a long caterpillar of people on Black Friday at Walmart.  It was crazy!  We went to get a parking ticket from the sidewalk kiosk and the credit card reader wasn’t working, so we looked for as many quarters we could.  The meter read, $15 dollars for  hours.   WTF, we didn’t have anywhere close to $15 dollars in quarter.  We only had $5 dollars worth for 1 hour.   We decided to role the dice and see if we’d get a ticket.  We planned on paying at least $45 to park the van in the city anyways. Our gamble paid off, we didn’t get a ticket at all and we only paid for an hour. Feeling lucky!

Unknown to me how busy the ESB is around the holiday and New Years, I pre-purchased Express Passes for us to get to the front of the line.  It cost a few bucks more, but I assure you, its well worth the money.   We never experienced any of the long lines. Matter of fact, you’re treated special from the staff having this pass.  We got to the front of lines whether going up or coming down.  It saved hours of waiting around in lines and made the experience that much better.

We grabbed a taxi to Rockefeller Center and Time Square to see all the Vegas-type lights and the huge crowds roaming the streets.

We then jumped in the van and headed back north a few hours Foxwood Casino.  We read online that they’d allow us to stay overnight in the van in the RV parking area.  This was good place to hangup the keys, so we could have a drink together and no one had to drive.  We played some machines and had some beers while listening to a band.

It was a mild temperature day in NY at 50 degrees and the night temp was around 35 here.   We had a portable inside propane heater that needed more fresh air than we wanted to give it, so we layered on the blankets till the morning and started the van to pump some heat into it.

All in all, it was a great trip and we look forward to many more adventures in the van together!  🙂

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Maine’s Amazing OOB’s

2013 Summer Vacation ColiageOld Orchard Beach, ME (July 8th – 14th ) – Hours of planning for a week of vacation. The hours were mostly spent getting the RV ready for another 2-hour road journey to Maine.
Although this ride was going to be a bit more comforting… why, you ask? Because I had all new Bilstein shocks installed on the rig. Making the ride, turns and swaying much more tolerable.
Since Tami and I got away last weekend at Gunstock Mountain Campground in Gilford, NH a month prior, we found out that our hot water tank was shot too. Water just leaked out the back of the RV like the American-side of Niagara Falls. gushing big time…
Fast-forward, I ordered a new tank online and installed it with my Dad a few days before vacation (end of June). We connected the water line to shoreline water and bingo, I hear the tank filling (good sound) and I don’t see water dripping out the back…but,  I see water pouring out mid-ship. When I do an inspection of the bedroom, I find that the shower pipes have cracked spilling water all over the carpet.  Looks like this project will have to wait till after vacation.
During vacation, the weather on either side of the weekdays was sunny nice and warm. The weekday was cloudy and rainy almost every day. This created a challenge in keeping the boys tent dry and tended to be a bit chilly at night. You know that feeling of cold and wet. It’s not fun for anyone.

Tami’s Dad ended up in the hospital, so she went back home to attend to him for a couple of days. The boys and I caught the trolley that dropped us off downtown. We did some window shopping, ate some fried dough, walked on the pier, they went on the carnival rides, plus learned and briefly played a French Canadian game called Pétanque, also played mini golf, and ate some pizza.

All us boys had to use this in our shorts based on our bathing suits kept rubbing on our crouch

All us boys had to use this in our shorts based on our bathing suits kept rubbing on our crouch

We all had a day at Funtown / Splashtown in Saco on Thursday. The day started cloudy and it did rain for a bit but then the sun broke through and it was hot and humid for most of the day.

Jim took down 4 lobsters and a bowl of steamers during the week. Meanwhile, we cooked on the open fire a few nights with chicken that we had marinating for days. Have to say, there’s nothing like grilling on an open fire.

Marcus skinned his elbow from falling off his scooter barreling  down a steep hill at the campground with his buddy, Adrian.

When Marcus was at his Dad’s, Tami and I went out to “The Pier” for some nightlife and you can see Tami taking a injected shot from the Shot Girl.

In closing, we has a fun time together and look forward to the next camping adventure.  🙂

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South Carolina on 2 Wheels

Myrtle Beach, SC (August 2013) – Tami and I wanted for a few years now to take a long distance motorcycle ride together.   So, given the chance with short notice, we decided to go to a dream location of Tami’s, Myrtle Beach, SC and we had only 5-days.

I made sure that our oils where changes for the 2,000 mile trip and that our bikes where in good general working order to make the adventure.   We planned everything, well almost everything;  we’ll get into that in a bit.  From the packing standpoint, we agreed that I’d carrier most of the baggage, as I had the HD luggage that fit perfectly into my saddlebags (Thx Craigslist). and I’d strap the rest to the backseat of my ride.

We started out in the afternoon and wanted to get past NYC and into NJ for the night. It was a bit difficult when we started, it was raining and we thought that doing 55 – 65 mph on the highway would be fine with the yellow rain-suits from Walmart that Tami purchased that morning.  NOT THE CASE.  We looked like halloween zombies on motorcycles as the rain suits ripped to sheds.  We just faced the rain with clothes on our backs.  The rain finally stopped about 30-mins after this.  It was a bit tense in NYC as Rte 95 was under construction with deep groove roads, you know the grooves I’m talking about, the ones just before they lay new asphalt, the ones the huge machine that grinds the road.  Yes, grooves was one challenge, another was what seem to be speed bumps that we leaped over.  Not really speed bumps, but joins in the road that acted like jumps at 55+ mph.  To add to our wide eyed irises was that it was dark.  The sun was almost over the horizon, the street lights are on and car are whizzing by us like we’re standing still, crossing lanes like it was a NASCAR race.  We got into NJ and stopped for the evening as we where tired from driving 8+ hours.

We started the following day and we wanted to make it to MB in good time.   It didn’t rain a bit from NJ to SC or till we got 45 mins from our MB hotel.   Again, this was 10pm at night and its pitch black out on wet country-like roads that connected these small towns together.  Not the most fun in the rain, but we were excited to get to the beach, even if it was dark.   Let me remind you or explain to non-riders that when its wet / cold and your covering your nose and mouth from rain that feels like pins and needles hitting your face…… plus your body is warmer, it creates glass/goggles to fog up quickly.   Meaning, I can’t see squat in front of me….  Let me tell you, we slept good that night.

It rained the following day, so we checked out the beach on foot and we walked down the boulevard in/out of the shops.  Checked out the Landshark Bar (Jimmy Buffet owned) and had some lunch next to the huge ferris wheel and park.  If it was a warm sunny day, this would be the bar to be at….  right on the beach.  We jumped into a shop and Tami even tried on some SWEET footwear!!!

Finally, we had a great time on this trip and look forward to the next bike trip.

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Its VEGAS-Baby

Photo Feb 27, 10 28 18 PMLas Vegas, NV (Feburary 28th, 2013)  –  Winter in the Northeast was brutal this year.  All of us stick of wearing sweater, sweatshirts, jackets, gloves, boots and living by the therostat need to get away to a warmer climate.   After searching high and low for deals of flights or possible a long road trip in the car, stumbled across an Expedia deal we just couldn’t pass up from the wallets point of view.

The deal was to Las Vegas for 6-nights from Boston.  We extended it a bit and stayed in S. Boston the night before the flight to make it easier catching the flight the following morning and a great place to park the car for the trip for free.

The flight was eventless with spectatular views of the Grand Canynon and the Rockies…..

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There was so much to see that I thought I’d put a list together to make it easeier and quicker for you to read.

  • Went to Pawn Shop that’s on TV (History Channel)
  • Rode multiple roller coasters.  Circus, Circus – New York New York –
  • Tami and Lexi pulled their first slot machine.
  • Tami, Alexis and Marcus’s 1st time in Vegas
  • Ate at Dick’s Last Resort and the kids wore funny paper hats.
  • Everyone zip lined down Tremont Street
  • Had lunch at Margariteville
  • Ate at a Vegas Dinner Buffet at the Golden Nugget.
  • Swam in the glass-side and bottom pool.
  • Drank many Yards of Slushy drinks. haha
  • Lexi and Tami holding the statue’s rock-hard “package”, while Marcus and Jim take a right hook for a boxing statue.
  • Saw the Mirage “Fire” show and “The Pirate” play in front of Treasure Island
  • Finally, the boardwalk favorite of the jumping water show sync’d to music in front of the Venetian was great too.

I may have missed a few things that was fun of memorial, but I’ll spare you the time. Hey, take a look at these pics, there’s some funny ones!

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Jim, Tami, Marcus and Lexi in all the safety harnesses getting ready to go up the mountain.

Jim, Tami, Marcus, and Lexi all geared up to head up the mountain for a thrill.

 Gilford, NH (June 30th, 2012) –

What a thrill!!!  None of us had ever done this before.  At first it was very intimidating to on the top of the mountain and mostly well over the tree line to start the descend.

Gunstock Mountain is a 2,300 ft NH mountain and is located in in the hart of NH lakes region which houses the 4th longest zipline in the world and claims to be the longest zip line canopy tour in the continental United States!  The mountain has 5 seperate lines that gradually gets longer and faster as you gain experience with the equipment. Speaking of faster it gets up to 55 mph.

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