Hal Mette and Doug Chasick will be driving 1,500+ miles in 36 hours to Canada in order to raise money for the Road Warrior Foundation. Donations for this great cause can be made at... https://www.crowdrise.com/2015RoadWarriorRide/fundraiser/
Once there they will ride back to Florida with the Road Warriors to show their support. This blog will contain daily updates and pictures for their trip.
JUN 2: Bun Burner 1500 Day One- The day started off with a glitch. Doug's gas cap would not come off in order to get the starting fuel. A couple panic calls to his Dealer GM resulted in a repair before they opened but still we got on the road at 9am instead of 7am as planned. The day was cloudy and temperature perfect for Spyder ryding. We blasted away the miles with no stop from Florida to Charlotte NC for anything but gas. We were so excited that we couldn't think about eating. Due to the delay we hit Charlotte at rush hour so decided to try Floyds Home cooking for supper to let the traffic clear up. Floyds was a treat of southern home cooking. While we ate it started raining and that hung with us for the rest of the day. As we got into the mountains in Northern NC and later Virginia the travel became tougher and tougher. The number of trucks traveling at night was ridiculous and each time they passed us we were deluged. Finally in Virginia about 80 miles short of our goal for the day we stopped at midnight because the weather was exhausting. The good news was that my new First Gear all weather outfit was comfortable and kept me completely dry.
JUN 3: Bun Burner 1500 Day Two - We were on the road by 5:30am even though it was so foggy that it almost felt like rain. Fortunately as daylight appeared, the fog lifted and the day became perfect for riding. It was so sunny that as we approached New York and Canada I thought we were back in Florida. Enroute today we actually visited four states in just over an hour. The interstate route to the north using I77 , I81, and I87 has scenery to rival any backroads in America so we made serious speed but enjoyed our viewing as well. No question without good weather we would not have been successful. Of course we had Spyder admirers at every stop along the way but much to our surprise we only saw one Spyder during the whole trip. We arrived at the hotel in just under 35 hours having traveled 1610 miles. It should have only been 1567 but my Garmin gps went nuts once we entered Canada and kept trying to send me in the wrong direction. Unfortunately the first time I followed garmin instead of my recollection of the map. Our other little added adventure was that we arrived at the hotel only to find out that Road Warrior had changed to hotel to another one 40 miles away. We got another ride in 45 degree temps that we weren't exactly prepared for. At any rate we arrived in Sherbrooke and the Road Warriors and several out of state Spyder owners were already partying. Fortunately for us they were tired also because we were really ready for a good nights sleep. My ride partner, Doug Chasick also qualified for the Saddlesore 1000 enroute to our finishing the Bun Burner 1500. He was a great ryde partner. We achieved our goal and frankly we were surprised that we were not sore or overly tired.
JUN 4: BRP Factory Tour - Got an early start today.. Breakfast with the Road Warriors and then an 8am ride from Sherbrooke to Valcourt with the Road Warrior. First thing we did was visit the dealership across the street from the factory. The Road Warriors were outfitted with jackets, hats, shirts, comm gear, rain gear, etc - the full deal. It was like watching kids in a candy store. We then followed them to the test/training area for their day of orientation and practice ryding. About 7 of us split off to go to BRP for a factory tour of the Spyder line. The plant manager conducted the tour himself. He told us that only 5% of the visitors to the plant actually get to see the Spyder area and only that is a recent event so we were quite privileged. BRP is extremely guarded with technology that is part of the Spyder line - technology that surpasses the entire industry. Every person into the plant has to be passkeyed in and out. I felt a little like I was accessing a military base rather than a manufacturing plant. We saw the Design center from the outside but no access. The plant manager said even he isn't allowed into that area where they are planning everything for 2016 to five years out for new Spyder product. They produce 13.5 Spyders every hour and the amount of automation and control function is exceeded only by the quality control.. They are down right fanatical about sending out a top quality product to the field. I am more certain than every now that most of the problems that owners experience are generated by poor dealer assembly and not by the manufacturing plant. A sizeable number of employees own and ryde Spyders so they have a vested interest in producing a product that can be safe and that can make them proud. I could see pride in the eyes and movements of the folks on the various parts of the assembly line. BRP took wonderful care of us and we all walked away feeling impressed and amazed. Plus if I had not felt secure riding the Spyder long distance before, I certainly do now.. The Road Warriors are all checked out now after a practice ryde this afternoon and the group is ready to Ryde in the morning.
JUN 5: Road Warrior 2015 Ryde Day One - Valcourt to Concord, MA
The route will tour many of the best riding roads in NE, skirting the VT border down into NH. Route includes the Mt. Washington auto road (weather permitting) and the stunning Kancamagus Hwy.
- 0900- Depart BRP Factory (134 Miles)
- 1200- Lunch/Gas stop planned Gorham. NH.
- 1330-Depart Gorham, NH (153 Miles)
- 1700- Arrive Concord, NH
This was day one of the official Road Warrior 2015 Ryde & Day four for the Bun Burner boys. We rode 285 miles today bringing our cumulative total to 2016. We rode from Sherbooke Quebec to Concord NH Hampshire with a pizza stop in Gorham NH. The ski areas in Vermont and the White Mountains in New Hampshire were absolutely stunning. This area would be great for a Spyder event. I think we got some great pictures. The send off in Sherbooke was quite a crowd including some senior executives from BRP/Spyder. The people from Valcourt showed up to wish us bon voyage and give us a great send off. The Road Warriors must have really paid attention to their training because they road in tight formation through challenging mountains roads. Even though they were all newbies with only an hour or two of Spyder ryding time, they rode better than most group ryders I know that have been ryding for a year or more. Lamount was riding the only F3 in the group and you could tell that all our RT s were holding him back. He really wanted to break out but was polite and stayed with the pack. We picked up extra riders for short stints along the way but there are just 5 of us the are really riding the distance. Before entering Concord NH for our evening rest (although the Road Warriors don't seem to sleep much) we stopped at the American Legion post in Penacock NH for a welcome party. The folks they were wonderful and fed us until we popped. They really appreciate the service of these young men and woman and made it quite apparent. Well I better get some rest if I am going to keep up with these fellows tomorrow.
JUN 6: Road Warrior 2015 Ryde Day Two - Concord, MA to Bear Mountain, NY
The route will traverse NH, VT and NY through the Green Mountain National Forest bypassing the NY state capital to follow the Hudson River down to Bear Mountain near West Point.
- 0800- Depart Concord, NH (111 Miles)
- 1100- Lunch/Gas stop planned Bennington, VT
- 1230-Depart Bennington (147 Miles)
- 1600- Arrive Bear Mountain, NY
Today was Day two for Road Warrior 2015 Ryde, Day Five for the Bun Burner boys.. 255 miles ridden today, 2279 cumulative for the trip. We rode from Concord, NH to Bear Mountain NY. We traveled back roads and mountain highways that would compete favorably with North Carolina & Tenn motorcycle ryding haunts. Seriously the scenery up here is breathtaking! Travel took us through New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and finally into New York. We had a snack stop mid morning at a famous Maple Sugar place, then stopped for lunch at Limerock Raceways in Limerock, Connecticut. There we saw drivers training at a racing school where they intentionally spin out on wet tracks, etc to test their driving skills and to prepare for competition. The track is owned by Spectra Oils who treated us to lunch. After lunch, more mountain ryding and then a long path right along the Hudson River coming into Bear Mountain NY after crossing a magnificent old bridge. Some Spyder owners dropped out during the day and others added on, so our core group of 16 bikes was usually about 25 or more. As we rolled into the Bear Mountain Inn we were greeted by a full Scottish band with bagpipes and kilts. The turnout to greet and thank the veterans was the largest yet. Northeastern University provided gifts and a Large BBQ, plus adequate beverage for the Ryders. It is wonderful to see that the sacrifices of these veteran are genuinely appreciated by folks at each stop. Tomorrow on to Pennsylvania.
June 7: Road Warrior 2015 Ryde Day Three -Bear Mountain, NY to Hershey, PA
The route will depar the West Point area to the Northwest for Monticello NY, then dropping down into the Delaware State Forest enroute to the Poconos Mountains. Finally finishing up at the chocolate capital of the world, Hershey PA.
- 0900- Depart Bear Mountain(109 Miles)
- 1115- Lunch/Gas stop planned East Stroudsburg, PA.
- 1300-Depart East Stroudsburg, PA (126 Miles)
- 1600- Arrive Troegs Brewery, 200 East Hershey Park Dr, Hershey PA
Last night the Road Warriors were partying hardy when a Black Bear ambled out of the woods looking for a beer. I thought the Road Warriors would be frightened but as it turned out the bear was scared and exited quickly. We rode just over 250 miles today, and the Bun Burner boys are 2510 for their total trip. The Road Warriors started today with a ride to the top of Bear Mountain. That was an exciting little trail because we shared it with bicyclist who were in remarkable shape. At the top of the mountain we could see Manhattan for the scenic viewing area, After that we launched to try to catch up for a late start. We were blazing along and the Road Warriors were becoming more comfortable with their Spyders with every passing mile. (I have heard at least three of them now say they plan to buy Spyders when this is over). By the time we reached Pennsylvania our caravan had increased to nearly 50 Spyders. We had never thought of Pennsylvania as a "motorcycle road riding state" but we were pleasantly surprised. If you ever get a chance ride highway 209 through the Delaware Water Shed down towards Harrisburg, PA. We found the ryde exciting or perhaps even exhilarating. The VFW in W Mechanicsburg PA had the largest crowd yet for our welcome. They welcomed us while a local reporter interviewed each of the Road Warriors and got their reactions to the trip. Hopefully this publicity will make it possible for even more young men and women to make the trip next year. The VFW hall was impressive to say the least, only exceeded by the hospitality of its members. We have enjoyed three days of flawless weather without any rain, but they may be coming to an end. Tomorrow we will have the rain gear handy.
June 8: Road Warrior 2015 Ryde Day Four - Hershey, PA to Roanoake, VA via Walter Reed
Today we will depart PA for Walter Reed Military Hospital in Bethesda, MD. Following our lunch event in Bethesda, we will be hitting the interstate in an effort to get us out to Roanoake so we can ride the Blueridge the following day!
- 0800- Depart Hershey, PA (246 Miles)
- 1030- Lunch event at Walter Reed Hospital
- 1300-Depart Bethesda, MD (153 Miles)
- 1500-Gas Stop in Harrisonburg, VA
- 1730- Arrive Roanoake, VA
Day four Road Warrior 2015/Day Seven Bun Burner boys. We rode 387 miles today with the Road Warriors and the Bun Burner boys are now at 2897 miles cumulative for this trip. We got out of Harrisburg with no rain in spite of a dreary forecast, and a similar bad forecast gave way to blazing sunshine at Walter Reed Hospital in the Washington DC area. Some of the Road Warriors have been to Walter Reed for from 5 months to 1.5 years but for those of us who had not seen it were surprised. It is more like a medical city than just a hospital. It seems to have everything you could imagine. We were treated to a great BBQ luncheon at the USO facility and then got back on the road at 1pm. It looked like we might have our fourth day in a row of beating the weather forecasts, but about 100 miles out of Roanoke we got hit with our first deluge and we put on rain gear and the Road Warriors got drenched several more times as we approached Roanoke. The bad weather clearly did not dispel the spirits of the local citizens. I believe we were greeted by nearly 100 people and lot of motorcycles upon our arrival. The mayor of the city even issued a proclamation & recognized the Road Warriors contributions and naming June 5 -12 - Road Warrior Foundation week in Roanoke, VA.. Pretty cool huh? Once again our reception and participation continues to grow. Other spyder and motorcycle owners have ridden into town to join us on The Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville tomorrow
June 9: Road Warrior 2015 Ryde Day Five - Roanoke, VA to Asheville, NC via the Blueridge Pkwy
The route will tour arguably the most beautiful riding road in North America, the Blueridge Parkway. We start out in Roanoke, VA and high tail down the parkway into Asheville, NC
- 0730- Depart Roanoke, VA (178 Miles)
- 1200- Lunch/Gas stop planned Blowing Rock, NC
- 1330-Depart Blowing Rock (93 Miles)
- 1600- Arrive Asheville, NC
Today the Road Warriors tackled one of the premier motorcycle rydes in the country - 290 miles from Roanoke VA to Asheville NC via the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our weather was perfect again and the curves and swerves too numerous to count, have our Road Warriors perfecting their driving skills. The scenery is beautiful along this route no matter what direction you look. Occasionally some of us might get nervous from the sharp drop offs along the side of the road, but we continue error free. Other Spyder owners joined the caravan in Roanoke and at various points along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The support for the group continues to be tremendous. We made the day for a little restaurant along the Parkway route when we dropped in for lunch. They did more business today than they probably do in a week. In spite of the size of our group they provided good service. The Spyders continue to perform very well in the face of day after day ryding. I averaged 44 mpg down the Blue Ridge Parkway today with the 2014 RTL, that now has over 34000 miles on it. The Bun Burner Boys are up to 3213 miles for our trip thus far.
June 10: Road Warrior 2015 Ryde Day Six - Asheville, NC to Savannah, GA
This day brings us a beautiful trip through North Carolina into South Carolina and the Sumter National Forest with a break in Columbia. Post lunch we will drive on south into Georgia stopping for the day in Savannah.
- 0900- Depart Asheville, NC (163 Miles)
- 1230- Lunch/Gas stop planned Columbia, SC
- 1400-Depart Columbia (145 Miles)
- 1700- Arrive Savannah, GA
Another great day for the Road Warriors - 325 miles ( you will note the mileage per day has increased as the trip progresses) We left Asheville with clear skies and moderate temperatures once again defying the rain forecast from the day before. We shot down the interstate about 40 miles to clear the clog of small towns that exist just south of Asheville, then we cut into the back roads and enjoyed them all the way to Columbia. In Columbia we were once again greeted by a cheering crowd and a line of American flags. Columbia Powersports provided us and all our well wishers with lunch and the proceeded to surprise the Road Warriors with gifted Can Am shirts. Thank you Columbia Powersports for being a fine host. From there we headed due south, on back roads again. We stopped to put on our rain gear and like so often in the south - the shower only lasted three minutes and never came back. We got situated at the Historic Holiday Inn Riverfront in Savannah and shuttles headed the group out to Wild Wings Cafe in Pooler, Ga for the evening dining and festivities.. Another near flawless day. Bun Burner Boys are getting a little tired and are over 3500 miles now for the trip
June 11: Road Warrior 2015 Ryde Day Seven - Savannah, GA to Kissimmee, FL
The route will rip through the south from Savannah into the sunshine state! Check out JAX for lunch and terminate for the day in Kissimmee hitting two separate Can-Am dealers for a fantastic day.
- 0830- Depart Savannah, GA (174 Miles)
- 1200- Lunch event planned at Jacksonville Powersports
- 1400-Depart Jacksonville (174 Miles)
- 1730- Arrive Central Florida Powersports, Kissimmee, FL
Ride Ambassador: Spence Batey Spence@roadwarrior.org
Wow what a day - The Road Warriors blasted out of Savannah with a police escort so we made fantastic time. We took the scenic route i.e. highway 17 parallel to I95 but much prettier. When we approached the Florida State line we were picked up by the Florida Highway Patrol and Jacksonville Police and escorted right to the doorstep of Jacksonville Powersports. It is so nice to have those blue lights working for you rather than chasing you. The crowd at Jacksonville Powersports was Awesome. Folks were there from as far away from Orlando and Melbourne to join the Jacksonville Road Warrior Ryding Club members to support this event. Jacksonville Powersports put out a great spread for lunch (have you noticed that we ate well on this trip?) There were some door prizes for some to take home in addition to their full tummies. Also the World’s Largest Boombox, as Craig Anders deemed it was on hand to entertain us with great music. Once lunch settled the police put us back on the road again. Patrol officers escorted the group all the way to Central Florida Powersports in Kissimmee. Central Florida Powersports
had decorated their new service facility with an American Flag motif that probably took hours to prepare and they offered us the largest and most varied dining for supper of the entire trip. The welcoming crowd from multiple area ryding clubs and Central Florida employees greeted the ryders loudly as they arrived. It was a 358 miles day for the Road Warriors and the first Bun Burner boy dropped off to return home here after 3907 miles. The remaining Bun Burner will be back in the saddle tomorrow morning to escort the group to Key West. Saying good bye to this group of amazing people and now new friends was an emotional experience. I hope to see them all again in the coming days.
June 12: Road Warrior 2015 Ryde Day Eight - Kissimmee, FL to Key West FL
The final leg of our route will drive out of the Kissimmee area, hopefully with 100 riders in tow, and lead us down south past Lake Okeechobee into the Homestead area for lunch. We will then press on to the Keys for the best part of the day and be on the beach by sunset!
- 0800- Depart Kissimmee(231 Miles)
- 1200- Lunch/Gas stop Homestead, FL
- 1330-Depart Homestead (128 Miles)
- 1630- Arrive Key West, FL
The Road Warriors departed early from the magnificent Gaylord Palms Hotel in Kissimmee. The police escort made short work of traffic in getting them quickly underway. The morning was great but as the day progressed even the hardy Road Warriors seemed to feel the impact of the heat and humidity. A lunch stop at the American Legion Post in Homestead was a welcome break and the reception was warm and friendly as it has been from one end of this country to the other. Once underway again the Road Warriors were treated to the scenery of the Overseas Highway. They were also exposed to the delays of Florida Toll Roads and an open drawbridge (there must be some difficulties on any motorcycle trip). There was another stop for a photo op with the American Legion in Marathon. The group finally arrived in Beautiful Key West to a great hotel, interesting restaurants and watering holes. The hotel had special parking for the Road Warriors and again they received media coverage and another proclamation from the local mayor. What a trip! The only problem being this was the end — not really — it was the end of a motorcycle ryde but just the beginning of some friendships that should last a lifetime. By the way some of the Road Warriors didn’t want this to be the end of the ryde even so they are riding the Spyders back to Central Florida in the morning. Congratulations Road Warriors on a successful trip and an incredible journey!