Motorcycle Trip to Newport, Rhode Island aka Our Trip With Skip

Alpine Overlook

Rhode Island is in many ways like Delaware since both states are so small. For example the one Moto-Maps route that is in Delaware is halfway in Maryland. The two Rhode Island Moto-Maps routes that are in Rhode Island are half in Connecticut. What is my point? My point is that even though this post is about our “Rhode Island Trip” we rode our bikes in five states: Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island.

We had a fantastic trip and I wish I could cover every detail for you but I am going to attempt to summarize this trip.

Saturday June 14th – Day 1

Diana and I met up with our good friend Skip from our HOG chapter at 7:00am at Mike’s Famous Harley Davidson in New Castle, Delaware at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. We crossed the bridge over to New Jersey and traveled up the New Jersey Turnpike. Traffic wasn’t too bad that early on a Saturday. We got off of the Turnpike in Fort Lee, NJ and jumped onto the Palisades Parkway which was very nice but then we jumped off onto Route 9W North which was just OK. We took some pictures at the Alpine Lookout on the Palisades just before hopping onto 9W. We followed 9W to the Route 287 East across the Tappen Zee Bridge which crossed the Hudson River. From there we caught the Hutchinson River Parkway which was great! Those Connecticut and New York drivers drive very fast on the parkway! You have two lanes with occasional on and off ramps on the right hand side. Beatiful trees and landscaping like most parkways. Very nice! At the state line the Hutch becomes the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut. We pulled into a service area for a pit stop and parked where a motorcycle ride was gathering for a charity ride. We talked with some of the New Yorkers, love the accent! Merging back onto the parkway with the cars travelling at 70+ mph was a little challenging. At the end of the Merritt Parkway we had to get back on the Interstate and took 95 North into Rhode Island. Eventually we got off and took Route 1 to Route 138 into Middletown, RI where we ate at Flo’s Clam Shack. This place is great, you have to go there. The fried clams are awesome! The chowda was great! After dinner Skip gave us a tour of the famous Newport, RI mansions. Then we got ice cream at the Newport Creamery. Yummy! It was getting dark and it was going to rain so we put on our raingear, said goodbye to Skip and headed to West Greenwich where we found a Super 8 Motel that charged less than $100 for a nights stay. It was not easy to find a Motel for less than $90 near Newport. Skip visited overnight with his Mom in Newport. The ride from Newport to West Greenwich was a little scarey. It was dark, it was raining and the New England backroads are anything but flat and straight. On top of that they are lined with Pine Tree’s that drop pine needles all over the road and I didn’t want to find out if they get slippery in the rain. I did however like that the tree’s acted like a giant umbrella in some area’s. I missed one of my turns so I jumped on the Interstate for a short ride to the next exit where the motel was. Even though riding in the dark pouring rain with speeding cars and trucks on Route 95 is a little scarey in the end it worked out well. We got to the Motel a little wet. After unpacking I checked my phone and found that Joker had left me a message. Unfortunately he would not be able to meet up with us while we were in his neck of the woods but he wished us a good trip. Sunday was Fathers Day so I was not surprised that we couldn’t work it in.

Tappen Zee Crossing

Sunday June 15th – Day 2

Diana and I woke up at 8:00am and although the weather forecast called for rain all morning into early afternoon it didn’t look bad out. I wiped down the bike from the evening rain, packed everything up and we ate breakfast in the Motel Lobby which wasn’t too bad for a cheap Motel. By 9:00am we were ready to roll out, and guess what! The rain came down! We called Skip and told hime we would wait an hour and then leave. An hour later it was raining pretty bad but Diana and I unpacked the rain gear, put it on and said “Screw It, Let’s Ride!” It was raining pretty heavy and those same roads were still pretty scary to me in the rain. I didn’t have the comfort of anyone else riding with us this time. The rain was distracting and I made a wrong turn somewhere and headed north instead of south. We were a half hour late meeting up with Skip in Newport. It was still raining but much lighter now. We visited with Skip’s cousins for lunch while we waited the rain out. Diana accidentally dropped her camera and that was the end of picture taking for this trip, at least for Diana. Skip still had his camera intact. By the time we were done with lunch and our visit the roads dried up and all was good. We hit the raod at about 2:00pm. We took 3 of the back roads outlined by Moto-Maps Rhode Island & Connecticut. We took Routes 101, 169 and 197 which were all awesome. Now we were having a good time! We stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts and peeled off our raingear. I mapped the rest of the ride across the northern edge of Connecticut using a AAA map by connecting the different scenic routes marked on the map. These roads kicked ass! We can’t wait to go back. Great woodsy roads and little traffic. Up and down hills with lots of sweeping turns. Great little New England towns. Heading West we took the following roads halfway across the state: 197 to 171 to 190. We connected up with Route 20 at Bradley Airport. At Route 219 we started dipping south. Somewhere along the way in the late afternoon the sun started to break out. Off came the rain gear and out came the sun glasses. Yippee! Route 219 connected with 318 which connected with Route 44 which took us the rest of the way into New York and to our Motel in Pleasant Valley a few miles East of Poughkeepsie. Route 44 was incredible riding! By the time we got to our Motel our wet jeans and boots had dried out. We stayed at a cheap Mom & Pop that Diana found on the Internet called the Pleasant Valley Motel that was perfect for our needs but definately not a four star for you high brows out there. After unpacking we ate at a nearby greek restaurant that served Sam Adams. We would rather have Yuengling, but Sam is always a good choice.

Got a little captain in you?

Monday June 16th – Day 3

We woke up to a cloudy drizzle and dawned our rain gear again. Diana was getting a little mad about the weather, not to mention her camera was busted and she was bored. We pulled out of Pleasant Valley and a few miles down the road we were out of the rain. We stopped for a quick breakfast at another Dunkin’ Donuts and stripped the rain jackets off. We crossed the Mid Hudson Bridge and connected up with 9W South. This part of the ride sucked. We rode through impovished towns and hit alot of stiop and go traffic as well as construction. Finally 9W became scenic as we arrived near Bear Mountain State Park. We exited 9W into Bear Mountain State Park and traveled through the park. We the park onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway which was very nice, except the pavement was kinda beat up. The parkway took us into New Jersey. We stopped at State Line Lookout in Alpine overlooking the cliffs that run along the New Jersey side of the Hudson River for some photo ops. There was a restaurant and since it was noon we decided to give it a try. Wow, I was amazed at the burgers. They cooked us some great 1/2 pound cheeseburgers from fresh meat. The restarant was built in 1937 out of native stone and chestnut wood. It was designed to look like a mini ski chalet. I highly reccomend you work this scenic rest stop into a ride if you can. From there it was a short ride to Fort Lee where we managed to jump on the Garden State Parkway rather than the New Jersey Turnpike. It eventually dumped us onto the Turnpike halfway down New Jersey.  It was starting to get hot out there at this point even though we knew a thunderstorm was in the forecast. We stopped at a service area and stripped off off as much geart as we could to cool down for the final leg home. At the next exit we jumped off the Turnpike onto 295 South to escape the tractor trailers that rule Route 95. After riding all day we approached the state border of Delaware around 3:30pm to find out that Delaware was closed! Traffic was at a standstill and I was sweating in the heat. We followed some other trucks and emergency vehicles down the shoulder to the next exit and pulled into the Flying J truck stop to ask the truckers what was going on.  An old coot of a trucker told us the Delaware Memorial Bridge was closed because they had a jumper! The authorities were trying to talk him down. We rested for awhile and discussed strategy. The thunderstorm clouds were rolling in. We decided to follow our nose north on some local roads until we caught the Commodore Barry Bridge which was the next closest passage across the Delaware River. Twenty minutes later we were at the Commodore Barry and it was backed up like mad. We decided to head up further to Camden, NJ and catch the Walt Whitman Bridge. We crossed the Walt to Philly and cruised down 95 into Delaware and got home at 6:30pm. The ominous thunderstorm looked like it was going to break any minute, but it never did.  

Trip with Skip

All in all we had a fantastic trip. We averaged 300 miles per day for a grand total of 925 miles. I will always remember that Sunday started out pouring rain just like Joker said it would, but later on it cleared up and we did some of the best riding we have experienced so far. The lesson: a rainy start can still turn into a great ride!

I enjoyed riding a long trip with just two bikes. It allowed for last minute directional changes, lane changes and side of the road conversations that we couldn’t or wouldn’t do with four or more bikes. Travelling with a like minded friend with similar likes and dislikes made this trip a huge success. I can’t wait to take another two bike trip with Skip and I also look forward to sharing some of these new roads with my HOG chapter on a group ride.

Click here to see pictures

16 Responses to “Motorcycle Trip to Newport, Rhode Island aka Our Trip With Skip”

  1. When we got home we went out and bought a new camera at Best Buy for Diana. Then the old camera started working perfectly once the new one was unpacked and charged up.

  2. Lol, go figure. Well, you both have a camera now. Thanks for the trip.

    Pine needles, definately not your friend, especially when it’s wet.

    Yup, there’s a little Captain in everyone. Love that pict

    Looks like you guys are putting some serious distance on those machines. Riding is truly awesome. Thanks again.

  3. Greats picts also!

  4. Great pics!

    This post brought back some nice memories for me…I’m originally a Mass-hole, like Joker. Next time I’m in the area, I’m going to try Flo’s Clam Shack. I’ve heard it’s great.

    The Tappan Zee bridge is my least favorite bridge in the world…glad you made it ok!

    Looks like it was a great ride…sorry you couldn’t meet up with Joker while you were in the area. I hope we can meet him next trip out.

  5. I only hate the Tappen Zee because I once had a car break down while crossing the bridge. The clutch went out. It was a big ordeal. Had to be pushed across the bridge. They have a special towing company under contract that they call which is very expensive. Then I had to have them tow the car to a dealer. Then I had to pay a dealer to fix the car. I had to rent a car to drive back and forth from out of town. It was a distaster.

  6. Glad you made it thru your ride and back home safely. I may have been able to hook up w/you if it wasn’t Father’s Day!

    You and the rain have gotten well acquainted this season! Did I mention I HATE riding in the rain? I’d rather ride in 30 degree weather as long as it’s dry out. I have two road trips coming up this season and I’m sure I’m guaranteed to get rained on for at least part of both of them. I’ll be heading up to the Pine Tree State with my BVH friends for the annual BVH Maine Moose Pagan Festival. We camp out on a farm, pull a permit for a bonfire where you can see the flames for miles, and then proceed to get roaring drunk and set off about 500 bucks worth of fireworks. It seems to relax us.

    In August I’m off to Milwaukee for the 105th. There are sure to be stories and photos a-plenty. I need to get me a full-face, as much as I hate them. Wearing a half-shell in the rain bites the big one.

  7. Shoot!

    I live and work in Westchester County, NY.

    If you had told me you were coming I’d have showed you some fantastic riding up around here. The Bear Mountain Parkway is a twisty rider’s dream, and the Taconic is a much better north/south route than 9W any day.

    Sounds like you had a great time regardless! Now I’ve gotta go and try out Flo’s

    –Rob

  8. Rob, I’m coming back as soon as I can!

  9. greetings and salutations
    while I thought the highlight of this trip would be my home state of Rhode Island, I have to tip my helmet to the beautiful state of Conneticuit, the roads were green, flowing, almost barren of traffic and for the most part well maintained(my ass and shocks thank you very much Governer what ever your name is) the time spent on the second day even with an auspicious start was damn incredible. Oh and for me the best part, no helmet laws….WHOOOOHOOOOO….

    the whole trip was very enjoyable and well planned, thanks to my good friend Jay and his lovely wife Diana, you could not expect any thing less from them, and they are great fun to ride and wind down with at the end of the day…..

    I cant wait for the sequel…I can only hope its everything this trip was…lets do it in the fall and see all those great roads in the change of the season…..count me in

    ride safe, ride often, and let those who ride decide!!

    your brother from another mother
    Skip

  10. It was certainly a great weekend. It still baffles my mind that we rode through 5 states in one day…before dinner even!!! Great roads, great company. The best part for me was getting the personal inside scoop on all of the sights around Newport. The worst part was “breaking” my camera when I dropped it on the garage floor, then watching all of the gorgeous scenery go by while I scowled at not being able to photograph it.
    .
    After detailed inspection and trying to upload the pictures I had off the memory card, I think the only thing that was wrong with the camera was that it sucked those rechargeable batteries Skip gave me dry in record time! But hey, I got a really cool new camera out of it. 🙂

  11. Skip,

    The Gov. of CT is a very nice lady named Jodi Rell. I don’t think she rides, but she has extremely supportive of bikers regardless.

    CT has some lovely roads (the Merritt Parkway is a fave of mine) , but don’t fool yourself, CT has some clunkers too (Rte. 7 in Wilton has been dubbed “the Kidney-Buster” by my HOG Chapter).

    😉

  12. Oh and by the way people, plans are being discussed to…

    demolish the Tappan Zee Bridge to make way for another.

    YAY…everybody I know in this area hates that damned thing.

  13. A quck demise to the Tappan Zee Bridge would totally make my day, and I don’t even live in the area anymore! Thanks for the info, Doorman! Woo-hooo!!!

  14. What is it that you guys hate so much about the Tappan Zee?

  15. The TZ is a poorly planned, pothole-laced piece of dung that would’ve been engineered better by a room full of 5 year-olds with access to an erector set.

    It’s original construction was a giant multi-million dollar boondoggle, to the point that it had to be built twice. It’s been under constant repair almost since it was “completed”. The roadbed has never been right, and don’t even get me started on the experimental movable barrier system they installed.

    I was sailing under it once when a piece of the thing fell off and damn near hit and swamped my boat.

    Good riddance to bad engineering.

  16. I guess you really don’t like that bridge!

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