Monday, May 17, 2010

2010 Laconia Prayer Ride

Admittedly, I was not well prepared for this trip. On Friday, the day before the ride, I installed a windshield on my bike. It was on my bike when I bought it, but I had taken it off because I hated how it looked. But, with a lot of highway riding ahead of me, it would be nice to have a windshield, I reasoned. Fortunately, I was smart enough to take a test ride with the windshield on Friday night, rather than waiting until the day of my trip to New Hampshire. The low windshield took the strain off my upper body alright, but caused so much turbulence on my helmet and goggles that I felt like a bobble-head, so I removed the shield.

Anna wanted to come on this trip, but, as of 9:00 Friday night, was unable to confirm a babysitter, despite trying for several days. Since this was a long trip, there was uncertainty as to when we would return to Rhode Island, so we decided she would sit this one out.

Saturday morning, I was off to a late start. I was slightly panicked as I rode alone to our first rendezvous point at the Lincoln Mall McDonald's, but I arrived in time. A group comprised of 10 members of our Romans 8 Riders chapter, plus some members of the Kingdom Kruzers chapter, rode up Route 146 north into Massachusetts, then on to Interstates 290, then 495, then 93 into New Hampshire, to our next rendezvous point at the Tilt'n Diner, in Tilton, N.H.

The weather was fairly warm and partly-to-mostly sunny, but windy, and after getting pelted with sand, I resolved to make a larger windshield my next upgrade. More so than wind, though, pollen was my nemesis. I forgot to take an antihistamine, so my nose and eyes constantly watered, and, every time we stopped, I had sneezing fits. Sue Caron even noticed that one of my eyelids was swollen.

Tilt'n Diner was where members of several chapters of the Christian Motorcyclists Association converged for lunch before riding to Laconia. I sat at the counter of the 1950s-style diner next to Ed Kershaw, who recommended the turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce. After finishing the sandwich, Ed told our waitress it was excellent. "It's just like Thanksgiving," he remarked.

"Without having to deal with the in-laws," I quipped, eliciting a laugh from Ed.

Tilt'n Diner sits at a busy intersection just off the highway, but police blocked traffic as our group of about 50 motorcycles left the diner. Police also stopped traffic at several intersections, making for a smooth ride to Laconia, where we parked at a Methodist church, just a short walk to Winnipesaukee Pier, where we formed two circles and prayed for God to prepare the hearts of CMA members and bikers who would be attending Laconia Bike Week next month. "Our best testimony as Christians is our witness what Jesus has done in our lives," one female CMA member said. After a briefing back at the church, the CMA chapters split up for their respective rides home.

Romans 8 Riders vice president Roland Caron wanted to see his son, Jeff, who was at a truck show at Hampton Beach, N.H., so we agreed to take a side trip there, instead of riding straight back to Rhode Island. We rode east on some scenic roads, and some congested roads. While we were stopped underneath an overpass, I couldn't resist revving my bike to hear the roar of the open pipes echoing. Manny's wife, Denise, turned around and smiled, and Bob Levesque said, "That sounds like Pastor Joe's pipes," referring to Joe's old Sportster, the Red Baron, which was prematurely retired after it was rear-ended by a car (Joe was okay). We also rode through some rotaries en route to Hampton Beach, an oceanfront resort town, where we had to stop and turn around a couple times before we found the location of the truck show, at a beach front state park.

After Roland's son met us in the parking lot, we rested in the beach pavilion and quenched our thirst with some sodas. No Romans 8 Riders road trip would be complete without a stop for lunch or dinner (today we had both), so our next major decision was where we would eat dinner. At first, the group decided on a seafood restaurant in Hampton Beach, but when we found it, it was apparently out of business. We then decided to get on the highway and stop at an Applebee's restaurant in Seabrook, N.H.

By the time we finished dinner, it was dusk. We decided to return on Interstate 95, but our group got separated in traffic on Route 128 before we were due to split off. Fortunately, the people in the group that was behind - Cameron, me, Bob Levesque and Ed - were riding into Rhode Island together anyway. After having had dinner and some coffee, I felt slightly refreshed, but my fatigue quickly caught up with me on the highway. My helmet felt heavy on my head, and the ride home seemed like it was taking forever. But once we reached the East Street exit in Dedham, Mass. (where my uncle lives), I knew where I was and had a reference point, which gave me a psychological boost. We caught a brief rain shower after exiting onto Interstate 95 in Norwood, Mass., but it passed quickly. The four of us rode to Interstate 295 south, where there was less traffic, and then Bob and Ed exited onto Route 14. Cam and I continued riding on 295 and then 95 south, exiting onto Route 138 in Richmond.

I arrived home after 10:30 p.m., having logged a total of 426 miles that day - my personal record to date. Plus, I get to add a new state to the small, but growing list of states I've ridden in (see the map at the bottom of my blog).


  1. Sounds like you had a great day with the brothers, and a good ride.
    I like the map gadget. Before long you'll be riding out to CA. It's fun to follow along with your growth as a rider. Keep it up.

    How do I get a map on my blog?

  2. Yes, it was a good day altogether. Thank you for following my blog! As for how to get that states map on your blog, if you scroll down to the bottom of my blog, there is a hyperlink that reads, "Create your own visited map of the United States". Just click on that and it should prompt you through the process.

  3. Now you need to find a tunnel and rev that engine.