Monday, July 7, 2014

Erie Canal, Great Family Vacation Place

Erie Canal, Family Vacation, New York State
Update 2014

Four Hundred Mile Bike Trail
The Erie Canal offers one of the great family vacation places in the Northeast because it is not only a wealth of recreational opportunities but was once crucial to the building of the United States and therefore is full of history.

  • Family Biking
Find 400 miles of trails beside the canal which stretch between Niagara Falls and Albany New York.

  • Off-Road Bike Trails
Some of the bike and walking trails on the Erie Canal are paved trails built on the old service roads and rail beds beside the canal.  Trails run for 20  to 100 miles along the route of the canal, in all, 400 miles of trail.  Some trails are stone dust, others are paved, and others are gravel or a combination that runs along the canal and then loops through the downtown center of a canal-side village. 

  • On-Road Bike Lane
At times the trail runs on a wide path set aside along the highways that parallels the canal.  This network of bike and walking trails connects Albany, New York to Tonawanda near Buffalo, New York, a distance of 400 miles or so.

  • Erie Canalway Trail
Most of the bike and walking trails along the canal are part of the Erie Canalway Trail, an off-road trail that follows the Erie Canal for much of its length.  Other sections of trail are on a wide path along the paved highway, Route 31 in the west section of the Erie Canal and Routes 5s and 5 in the east section.

  • New York State Bicycle Route 5
These highway trails are part of New York State Bicycle Route 5, and as such they offer a wide bike path on one side of the highway.  The highway trails follow the Erie Canal for its length and offer hiking and biking

  • Western End of the Erie Canal
On the western section of the Erie Canal, towns like Fairport  offer rest for the bike rider and vacationer with a quaint village center, restaurants, and shopping.  There is much history in the old canal towns such as Palmyra, Lockport and Rochester.

  • Eastern End of the Canal
On the Eastern end of the Canal remnants of the 1825 Erie Canal, the first of three versions, offers historic sites and old towpaths where mules once pulled the boats.  The original canal on the eastern end was incorporated into the Mohawk River and the old canal bed was abandoned to become history parks while the mule haul roads became railroad lines that were later turned into bike trails. 

  • Safe Biking
The great feature of the Erie Canal Bikeway is that much of the trail system is off-road and therefore safe for family biking.  The trails are not entirely contiguous, however, but each section is long enough for a good day of biking.

Boats lock through the canal on the way between Lake Erie and the Hudson River

  • Attractions For Family Vacation
Another great feature of the Erie Canal area is the diversity of attractions.  Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame is within reach, Finger Lakes wine country, Canal History museums, and Rochester Eastman House Museum  (Kodak), and Niagara Falls among others.
  • 400 Mile Bike Ride
Take an extreme family vacation and join the 500 riders who make the annual 400-mile group trip each July to promote awareness of this resource.  This is a recreational ride, not a race.
Erie Canal Bike Trail, Summer 8-day Tour Buffalo to Albany  July
check the latest schedule  

2014 Dates, July 13 to July 20

Related Link, Erie Canal History

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sturgis Bike Week Rally Dates

Sturgis Rally takes place the first full week
 of August
USA Vacation West, 
Sturgis Bike Week,
 Rally Dates 

South Dakota, USA Travel
Update June 3, 2014

  • Rally Dates 2014
Sturgis is a must event for those that love motorcycles.  Each year during the first full week in August, about 500,000 riders cruise into the Black Hill of South Dakota to camp out, congregate, watch races and concerts, and to swap stories and motorcycle parts.
The event starts about a week ahead of the actual dates, with organized rides through the Black Hills to Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, Devils Tower, and the Badlands.  Concerts and organized rides start on the weekend just before the rally and then the rally itself begins on Monday with races, concerts,  and motorcycle related exhibitions.

  • 2014 Dates
The rally takes place on the first full week in August.  This year, 2014, the dates for events and rides are Friday, August 1st to Sunday, August 10th. 
(Event scheduled, August 3rd, Sunday to August 10th, Sunday)
See Rally Musical Performance Schedule below

  • Rides
Badlands Loop Road offers 40 miles of 
scenic road
Sturgis rides begin well before the event.  The week leading to the scheduled events sees riders cruising to Devils Tower in Wyoming, (link)  Deadwood and Rushmore in the Black Hills, Spearfish Canyon, and the scenic loop road through Badlands NP. 
Sturgis is located on Interstate I-90 and centrally located for good rides. 

  • Devils Tower Ride
Ride west to Wyoming and the Devils Tower . This is a 160 mile round trip from Sturgis via the State roads: South Dakota Route 34, Wyoming Route 24.  Hike around the base of the 1267 foot tower of volcanic rock.  The tower rises 5,112 feet above sea level and is the first National Monument, designated as such by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906.  Hulett is a recommended stop on this ride.

  • Badlands Loop Road
Take the Scenic Byway, South Dakota Route 240,  for sightseeing and animal viewing in Badlands National Park (link) where overlooks and pull out viewpoints give great sightseeing in an eroded landscape.
  • DeadwoodDeadwood is a famous old mining boomtown that today offers shopping, sightseeing, and gambling casinos.  Spearfish Canyon can be part of that ride
  • Mount Rushmore
Sturgis offers a ride throughout the Black Hills to the town of Keystone and Mount Rushmore.  

  • Camping Spearfish Canyon
Spearfish Canyon is close to Sturgis and offers Waterfalls, Sightseeing, Camping, hiking and trout fishing.  Spearfish camping (link) in three locations is 46 miles west of Rapid City and 65 miles from Mount Rushmore.  The Canyon is about ten miles from Lead/ Deadwood.

Badlands Nation Park is home to herds of buffalo

Camping is available in Badlands National Park for riders that make this a two day ride.

Rally Performances at the Buffalo Chip

Saturday August 2
The Cult, Queensryche

Sunday August 3
Collective Soul, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sweet Cyanide

Monday August 4
Zac Brown Band, John Mayal

Tuesday August 5
Motley Crue , Alice Cooper

Wednesday August 6
Florida Georgia Line,  ZZ Top

Thursday August 7
 Pop Evil, Wild Blue Country Band, and Train.

Friday August 8
Pretty Restless, Cheap Trick, A Course Of Action

Saturday August 9
Sevendust, Buckcherry

Related Links: Spearfish Camping
            Shop  Hotels Near Badlands

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Boston July 4, Esplanade Concert,

Boston Esplanade Concert, July 4
Update May 2014                                                                                                            
The concert stage is beneath the domed 
shell seen here on the left.

The Boston Esplanade Concert with the Boston Pops Orchestra and the 4th of July Fireworks takes place each year on the banks of the Charles River.
Music starts at 7:30 pm and the fireworks display starts at 9:30 pm.  Boston Photos

  • Schedule, Gates Open

The entrance to the concert stage or shell opens at 9:00 am.  Visitors can set blankets on the grass and make a day of picnicking.

  • Boston Pops Orchestra
In the evening, starting at 7:30, Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra as they perform for an hour or so and accompany the featured performers.
In 2011, singer Toby Keith was the featured performer.   The featured performers in 2012 were  Singer Jennifer Hudson and Actor and Musician Michael Chiklis
The 2013 guest performers were Grammy award winner Susan Tedeschi, singer/songwriter Howie Day, and Ayla Brown and Ellis Hall.

Concert Performers , 2014, 
The Beach Boys,   
Megan Hilty
  • Free Concert,  Boston
 This event is free of charge each year; there is no entrance fee, no tickets are needed.

  • Concert Highlight

The highlight of the festival is always the combining of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture played by the Boston Pops Orchestra with the fireworks launched from barges on the Charles River.
Army units fire howitzers lined along the banks of the river as part of this performance to make it a powerful visual and auditory event.

  • Boston Transportation
Boston Public Garden Swan Boats are located about 
a block from the location of the Boston  Esplinade Concert
The best option for reaching this event is public transportation, Boston's subway system.  Charles Street Station on the Red Line is the closest stop to the Riverwalk and concert stage shell.
The Green Line subway offers a station close to the Boston Public Garden where a pedestrian only bridge leads over the roadway to the Charles River.  Boston Flights

This is a very popular and crowded event; it is best to start early and make a day of it.
     Boston Hotels

  • Boston 4th of July Fireworks

The fireworks start at 9:30 pm and can be seen from anywhere along the Charles River including the Cambridge side of the river.   Speakers broadcast throughout the area but to see the performers, it is best to set up early in the shell area.  Once the concert starts, it is very difficult to walk along the crowded Charles River area..
Alcohol is not permitted at this event and security will check coolers on entrance.  No camping, cooking, or barbecue grilles are permitted. 

  • Charles River Concert By Boat
 Boats are allowed to enter the Charles River at the locks and to tie up or anchor near the shell.  Drinking alcohol is prohibited on the waterway.  The locks crowd up by mid day or early afternoon so it is best for boaters to make an early start.     Boston Area Camping

  • More Information
More information Boston Esplanade Concert, Boston Pops, 4th of July Fireworks.  See info about coolers, backpacks, mixed drinks  Etc,  security will be tight

Related links

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cape Cod Vacation Biking, Bicycle Vacation on Cape Cod, Bike Trails, Rail Trails.

Cape Cod Vacation Biking, Bicycle Vacation on Cape Cod, Bike Trails, Rail Trails.
Update 2013
  • Family Biking Vacation
Biking Cape Cod Canal
Fishing on the Cape Cod Canal
Take a family bicycle vacation on Cape Cod and enjoy off-road biking on paved bike trails through pine forests and Cape Cod dunes.  Bike rentals, museums, lobster restaurants, lodging, and warm water beaches are a short bike trip away from the Rail Trails and Dunes Trails.

  • Bike Rentals and Repair
Cape Cod offers bike rentals on the Rail Trail including bike repair Shops that are located along the paved Rail Trail.
The Mid May to Mid September bike rental rates are around $20-$25 per day

  • Bike to Warm Water Beaches
From the Cape Cod Rail Trail you can reach three warm water beaches in sheltered Cape Cod Bay: Skaket Beach, Rock Harbor Beach, and First Encounter Beach.  (Cape Cod Map)  
Leave the Rail Trail and follow Skaket Beach Road to the small sand beach in the town of Orleans.  Nearby find Rock Harbor Beach.  Further south and east on the rail trail follow Samoset Road to First Encounter Beach, a mile long sand spit and marsh where the Pilgrims first met the Native Americans.
  • Bike the Cape Cod Dunes
The Provincelands trail is a paved trail through the dunes and scrub pine forest at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown.  Connect to the Beech Forest trail and Herring Cove Beach.   (A cold water beach)

The lower and outer parts of Cape Cod are a protected preserve and have largely returned to the natural state.   Touring by bicycle is a great way to see the villages and beaches, the scrub pine forests, and dunes.  The bike traveler will also find many modern conveniences including bike rental shops, ice cream stands, and museums.
Bike Trail Beside the Cape Cod Canal
Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail 
  • Cape Cod Rail Trail 
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a former railroad bed now turned bicycle path.  The trail runs for 25 miles from Eastham to Wellfleet.  Sections of trail go on road briefly in Orleans.  Otherwise the Cape Cod Rail Trail is a largely off-road trail that travels through Brewster's Nickerson State Park and then through Orleans at Rock Harbor and on to Eastham and Wellfleet.
  • Free Bike Trail Parking
Many of the trails have Free Bike Trail Parking
Park for free at the Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham where the Nauset Trail winds through a scrub pine forest to the cold water beach on the Atlantic Ocean side, Coast Guard Beach.    Further east and then north, the Provencelands Trail is a paved bike trail that winds through Beech forest and high dunes at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown.  Park free at the Beech Forsest Trail and Provincelands Trail.  Together the Provincelands Trail and the Rail Trail contain over fifty miles of off-road bicycle and walking trails.
Many of these trails are wheel chair accessible trails
      Cape Cod family vacation biking is a great way to see Cape Cod.