Marathon Moose Hunt: How do you attract a moose? No, that’s not the opening line of a joke. I searched online and I found plenty of advice on how to repel a moose, (wolf urine seems to be the most popular), and what to do when a moose shows up (don’t mess with it!). I also found out that the male moose is attracted to the scent of female moose, but I couldn’t find female moose-scented cologne anywhere. The reason I ask is because I recently attended the first annual MotoMarathon New England, and most all the other participants boasted of seeing moose alongside the road; heck, some riders even stopped and took pictures of them. Yet, I observed none.
I guess I shouldn’t complain though. In doing my Bullwinkle biology research I learned that the mighty moose is a distant relative to the deer, albeit one on steroids. They’re described as normally calm, but when provoked they are a force to be reckoned with. What with razor sharp hooves, 70-pound antlers, and the ability to charge at up to 35 mph; a moose is a veritable freight train with antlers. Come to think of it, I’m not so sure I want to see one now.
So, while everyone else was chumming up to Rocket “Rockey” J. Squirrel’s best buddy, I was watching the map. When you participate in a MotoMarathon, your main objective is to keep an eye open for specific landmarks and monuments. It works like this; the four-day event started at Cliff’s Cycle Revolution, a BMW dealership in Brookfield, Connecticut. Owner Cliff La Motta not only hosted the beginning and end point of the event, he participated and rode every required mile. From there, everyone rode to Birch Bend MotoLodge in Shelburne, New Hampshire, on the first day to set up camp for the marathon. Days two, three, and four would have riders venturing to Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and upstate New York.
The MM organizers, Danny Monteiro and his wife, Kasia, planned routes covering nearly 400 miles per day, and not one mile of that was on major interstates. All the suggested route trips can easily be completed in an eight-hour day. The routes were kept secret until 8 o’clock the night prior to each ride day, when participants would meet and the checkpoints were announced. Technically, everyone had 24 hours to complete the route, but I doubt anyone would venture out into the moose-filled darkness to get a head start.
Riding in groups is okay, and the use of GPS is permitted. If, after studying the next day’s map, you find a different route that is all back roads and no expressways, and can still find and photograph yourself with the selected monuments, then that’s okay, too. In essence, the MotoMarathon is a giant landmark scavenger hunt, covering over 1,600 miles of fun-to-ride, twisty backroads in six states over a four-day period.
A couple dozen folks attended this year’s event and the motorcycling camaraderie came easy. I’m sure some great friendships were forged. These are nice folks, too; I heard several of them are quite benevolent and decided to leave some funds behind as “donations” to local municipalities in exchange for the right to exceed posted speed limits. How nice!
When all the roads had been ridden, and sights shot for posterity and proof of attendance, it was time to pack up and head home. On the way out of Vermont, I did encounter some local wildlife. Not quite as large as a moose, but probably as fierce. I almost had a bobcat pelt strapped to the hood of my Kawasaki Voyager for the ride home after one darted out in front of me by less than 20′. Thank goodness for K-ACT ABS brakes.
Now as for the elusive moose, my only explanation is that while I may not smell all that great all the time, I’m certain I don’t smell like wolf urine. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a wolf either. — By Steve Lita
As seen in September 2010 RoadBike magazine, Road Trip, Event: MotoMarathon New England
There are four annual MotoMarathon events nationwide and the final MotoMarathon for 2010 will be held on September 17-20 in Colorado. Visit the web site for details. www.MotoMarathon.com
Birch Bend MotoLodge
This year the MotoMarathon home base was the Birch Bend MotoLodge located just off US route 2 in Shelburne, New Hampshire. New owners Michael and Rebecca Farrell were wonderful hosts and kept repeating how happy they were to have the MotoMarathoners use the Birch Bend as a central gathering place. Being riders themselves, Mike and Becca are living out their dream of owning a biker-friendly lodge in the white mountains of New Hampshire, close to some of the finest riding roads in New England. They told me nothing would make them happier than to see the parking lot full of motorcycles every weekend. Judging by how well they treat riders, I don’t think they’re going to have a problem with that.
The Birch Bend offers single, double, and king rooms, all with satellite TV and refrigerators. The front office is a cozy lodge, and out back, there are the obligatory fire pit and picnic areas. This would be a great place for a club get-together. I can’t wait to go back for another visit.
Birch Bend MotoLodge
10 Village Rd.
Shelburne, NH 03581
GPS: N 44.403246, E -71.078736