Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 2 PM Welcome to Virginia


I stopped for a bit of lunch and grabbed my mandatory food porn shot.
Mmm very tasty
Lunch On The Road

I looked up and wow I can’t remember the last one of these I've seen.

Down Rt 15 I went, crossed into Virginia and worked my way down into the Shenendoah Valley. The farms and rolling hills were beautiful
Shenendoah Valley Farm

I went down some roads off the beaten track and wound up on this beauty of a bridge.
Surprise Bridge

Then there it was the entrance to Skyline Drive.
Shenendoah Park

Wow! This is how I spent the rest of my day.
Skyway View

Skyway View

Skyway Road

Skyway Road


I finished the Skyline Drive at dusk. I was hungry and tired. The roads were twisty and the views were breathtaking. Another motel in Waynesboro and some guy food that wasn’t worthy of pics, a good nights sleep dreaming of the possibilities of day 3

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Johnson City Ride Day 2

Day 2: Gettysburg

The sun! Yeah the sun!
Off to Gettysburg proper. I only had a half a day. To maximize my time I dropped by the visitor’s bureau where I found a helpful woman who instructed me on where to spend my time most efficiently.Gettysburg Visitors Center

Cool train station across the street
Gettysburg Train Statio

Off to the new museum first
Gettysburg Museum

I watched a great presentation on the battle and then it was upstairs to a 360 degree cyclorama painting of the battle. They do a real nice job of telling the story.
Gettysburg Cyclorama

I walked through the museum that is laid out chronologically then it was off with my map and new knowledge to ride around the battlefield on my bike.

A view from Little Round top
View from Little Round Top

There are monuments everywhere!
Gettysburg Monument

I really enjoyed my visit there. It was pretty emotional. I wish I had more time but it was noon and the road was calling.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Johnson City Ride Day 1

I had a plan, kind of. I wanted to stop in Gettysburg, check that out and I needed to be in Gray TN on Friday at 4-5ish. I wanted to leave predawn at 4 ish so I could get into Gettysburg early afternoon and play tourist. Then ride some more. I had a mind that I wanted to ride the mountains as much as I could manage. That was it. That was the plan.

Day 1

Well the improvisation started early. I woke up to a hard rain and a forecast of snow at higher elevations. Predawn was out, I’m sleeping in. When I finally hit the road there was cold drizzle that dwindled to a raw overcast. The conditions were a little bleak but my spirits were high. I’m on vacation with many miles of new roads to ride, people to meet and places to see.

I ran into some snow on my approach to Bennington VT. The road was clear and the snow accumulated on non asphalt surfaces. My electric clothing was on and I was quite comfortable. I decided to stop for a photo op near Woodford VT.

I rode through VT and upstate NY down Rt88 to 81 into Pennsylvania All slab all the way to Gettysburg for about 500 miles. It stopped raining and the sun broke out late in the day. It was uneventful. I found a fleabag motel to shack up and a local bar with the World Series on. I had a couple of cold ones, some buffalo wings, watched the game then called it a night.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm off tomorrow on my solo trip. I'm going to try to make Gettysburg for my first overnight.
I'm going to leave real early. Probably around 5AM. Maybe earlier if I can pull it off. Hopefully that will get me in around 3ish. The weather is looking a bit sketchy but I have my Electrics and my desire for the open road. I'm packed and ready to go.

Here is a map of my first day. It comes in around 500 miles.
After that who knows? I know I'll be doing skyline Drive and probably DC on the way back. There is going to be quite a bit of improvising in between :) I'll post a report when I get back. Until then Speed safe!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Foliage in New Hampshire

Here are some pictures from Sunday's ride up Route 31 in NH. The foliage is real good this year.A little waving going on up ahead

We find some dirt in Pillsbury State Park

We stopped at Mount Sunapee and rode the ski lift to the top. It was a little hazy but otherwise absolutely beautiful

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Party At Poland Springs

Last spring I was at our HOG Road Captain's meeting to fill out the summer riding schedule. One of the other road captains asked if anyone was interested in going to Poland Springs Resort and Inn for a fall event. He mentioned it was pretty cheap. All told it would cost us about $100.00 each for two nights 4 Meals and entertainment each night. It sounded like a bargain to me.

Out front there is this cute gazebo on the edge of the golf course with peak foliage close at hand. Little did I know that this place is a classic style inn (Dirty Dancing like) and filled to capacity with some fairly old guests. In the end it didn't really matter as we just partied by ourselves. It certainly is not a place I would go for a romantic get away but as a group we made our own fun. There were a few complaints from the elderly guests around us about noise but the staff was pretty understanding and accomodating.

You didn't want to miss meals. If you did you went hungry as there was no other food available on the premises besides popcorn. I rode in late Friday and went hungry. I had to have beer and popcorn for dinner.The inn was actually ok if you don't mind bringing your own towels and soap. Apparently old people don't need these things (who knew?) but I had heard this was the case so I was prepared unlike some others that had to go foraging.

The weather was a ok with sunny mornings and cool overcast afternoons - Camden Maine There was a good turnout. I didn't count but I'd say there were over 50 of us there.

Hangin in the lobby waiting for dinner We certainly brought our own fun with us. There were moments I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. Many an adult beverage was drunk and someone brought cherries soaked in 151 rum. It wasn't pretty but it was damn funny. There was some pretty good riding with peak foliage about a week away. All in all a very good weekend.

The ride home

Saturday, September 20, 2008

To Be or Not To Be...."Harley"?

Last Wednesday after the HOG business meeting a bunch of us were at the bar socializing. I'm no purist. I allow myself from time to time 1 or 2 beers when I have the bike. I didn't feel much like drinking at this time especially since I had a tail light out on the bike and it was after dark. Too many reasons this night not to. I grabbed a soda and wound up in an interesting conversation. A friend of mine is fresh back from the Harley 105th anniversary and grand opening of the new museum which by all accounts was a great time. This friend was awed. I'm really glad my friend had such a great time. Everyone should get so much out of an experience. Farther on the conversation evolved into something else. I was accused of not being "Harley". What the hell is that? I probably have given this way more thought over the last few days than it deserves. Is it true am I not "Harley"? What is that anyways? Obviously I'm looking for a diversion from weightier thoughts like how am I supposed to retire if my 401K keeps taking the pounding it has this week. Oh well back to more frivolous contemplations... I guess my friend is Harley. She collects the latest in Harley wear, She has mucho bling on her bike and loves Rallies. She does feel that if you don't ride a Harley than you don't ride shit. I guess by her standards I'm not "Harley" and I'm ok with that. I ride. That's what I do. I just like to do it on a Harley.

If you like bikes, all kinds of bikes and have not checked out Jay Leno's garage. You absolutely have to!
I'm with Jay, this is my favorite bike of all time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do You Know Who I Know?

Is this cool or what? My girlfriend is the cover story for American Motorcyclist Magazine for October.
You can read about it on her Blog. Yeah I know no mention of me but she really couldn't have done it without me. Someone had to water the plants and eat the food in the fridge before it went bad!

I'm proud of you babe! You are sure doing right by Lisa.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Riding, Weather, and Managing Risk.

Just turn on the TV and it’s unavoidable. The weather dominates. The remnants Of Hanna has departed New England leaving over 6” of rain locally in 12 hours. Ike is ravaging the Turks and Caicos poised to run at Cuba and then enter the Gulf. It’s bad news all around. The Keys are evacuating. Mother Nature wins every time.

Riding in bad weather has it's rewards... Cmon it's a lighthouse in the fog! If you are home this shot is unavailable to you... Channell light, Lubec Maine

I’ve been reading about many instances where weather has effected riding this weekend. My local HOG chapter changed the logistics of a ride to accommodate the departing storm. I read on a forum about a guy who is thinking about changing marquee because his BMW gave him a false sense of security and he wound up in a serious butt pucker situation. With all this going on I have spent some time considering how my decision process works with managing risks with the weather on my bike.

Wind presents it's own obstacles

I’m a Rounder and damn proud of it. I live in New Hampshire where it isn’t always easy to be a Rounder. I get asked often why I would subject myself and my bike to those conditions. I always answer the same
“Because not riding is unacceptable”
Do I think riding in shitty weather is a whole lotta fun? It can be and sometimes not so much. If my head is into it, I’m having a blast. Be it summer and 80F or winter and 10F. If my head is right, the weather cooperates, I have the right gear, it’s all good.

Riding in winter presents it's own beauty and satisfaction

My decision to go, not go.
In my opinion there are three components to the decision. The weather, the bike (gear) and me. It’s not two out of three. It has to be unanimous. It’s all three or nothing. I think this came out of SCUBA for me. If everything is not there and working perfectly, the dive is called off. We had a rule in the group I dove with. Anyone can call a dive off for any reason and no-one will ever ask why. It’s off for whatever reason period. No questions are asked, no embarrassment. You are not diving and no-one else needs to recover your body. That’s a welcome situation all around. The same goes for riding. If all three aren’t working, there should be no riding. To be honest I have pushed it on an occasion or two but that was because two out of three were so strong for me that it allowed me to be ok with a marginal situation on one. I’m talking marginal here. That happens, you live (or don’t ) with the decision.

Nothing beats a great weather day in the fall

The weather
This one is easy. Mother nature always wins. I mean always! She may let you off the hook but it is on her whim, not yours. Be aware of her mood. Check the weather but don’t totally trust it. If you suspect she is having PMS, stay home. Her power is much greater than you or your puny motorcycle. With a flick of her finger, you’re gone. Wait her out because she’s fickle, she’ll change.
The bike (gear)
Many things are manageable with the right equipment. Good exposure protection, well maintained bike, emergency gear, tools. Have the right gear and bike for the riding you are going to do. Know your bike’s limitations. I shouldn’t take my Harley dual sporting and you shouldn’t take your BMW and park it in front of the 81 clubhouse. It’s not safe. Don’t do it. Personally I don’t like setting out in the rain. I never have, that is not about gear though, that is about…

The mountains have their own weather. This pic was taken from MT Washington. Some of the most hostile and unpredictable weather in the world.

It is important that my head be right for the day ahead. The fun factor goes way down fast if I’m tired, thirsty, hung-over, whatever. On a bad weather day, it is downright dangerous. I need to be focused and I need to be able to maintain it. There is no compromise on this. I can set out ok if I’m a bit off, but I can’t maintain. I need to be able to make good timely decisions. I need to trust my riding instincts. My senses will be impaired some. My thought processes cannot be. Gail and I ride together through many conditions. When the roads are good she even admits she doesn’t know how I stick with her through the hard twisties riding my heavy HD and her riding her powerful K-BMW. However Gail and I always have this weird situation develop when we ride and it starts to rain hard. I slow down and she maintains her speed better. I really don’t know what she would think as I slowed down and became more deliberate in my riding. Recently we had a frank conversation about it. This is what I think it is and she believes it to have some merit. I see well (20/15) she wears contacts and doesn’t see as well. Therefore I feel quite a bit more uncomfortable when my vision is impaired than she does. She is used to it and I’m not. She trusts her other senses more than I do therefore she feels less impaired. My bike is planted and I don’t feel that the bike can’t handle it. It’s about me and my ability to perceive where I am on the road. I feel handicapped so I slow down. I’m ok with it. The guy I mentiuoned earlier on the forum has an issue that’s for sure, but it’s not about his bike. It’s about his head and his decision making process. As Dirty Harry says “A man must know his limitations” changing his marquee will not fix that.

The thermomter read 118F here in the Badlands SD. Many chose to stay in Wall to wait for evening to continue on. It was the right decision for them at the time.

The wildcard; Group riding

What can I say about this? Ride your ride! Peer pressure is a powerful thing. It takes confidence to resist it. It takes frank conversations about “what if”. It takes strength to say no. Talk about it, the other’s you are riding with may feel the same apprehension. They are just waiting to feel validated. You must talk about it. If the decision is to go and you are not comfortable with it then don’t do it. Chances are your friends will come back and tell you that you were the smart one.

In my opinion most of life is about managing risk. . Don’t manage it properly and it could cost you everything. However a life without risk taking is boring. Manage it properly and you will feel empowered, strong, confident, and in control.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fall vacation ride 08, Wahoo!

Time to plan my vacation

My vacation time is approved for the end of October and I'm riding to Johnson City Tennessee. Gail is going down for an BMWMOA event and I decided I'm riding down to meet her. I've plotted my first potential route. It comes in at just under 1100 miles of what looks like great mountain riding. I can't wait! I'm sure I'll tweak the route a bunch before I go but you gotta start somewhere.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sometimes Darwin is just plain wrong.

Some idiots actually make it somehow. I have no idea how this guy made it to 51.

This happened near where I live on Saturday.

WMUR Article and video

"WILTON -- Carl Hannigan, 51, was riding eastbound on Route 101 in Wilton Saturday afternoon when he stood up on his seat, according to police, and witnesses watched with horror as Hannigan fell off.

Hannigan suffered serious head and leg injuries. He was flown via Life Flight to UMAss Hospital in Worcester Massachusetts. As of Monday morning, Hannigan was listed in stable condition.

Police are still investigating the incident."

I have a news flash for you Carl, You aren't Indian Larry and he died pulling this stunt.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wearable Motorcycle

How cool is this!

If they ever want to build it and need someone to test it. I'm their man!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Murky riding in Canada

This summer has been rainy in the Northeast. I mean every day it rains. I thought this weather belonged in the great northwet. It certainly was a factor in my ride to Canada. My Rounder friends Blueknight (Mike) and Knight's lady (Jane) invited us up to Bouctouche New Brunswick to their new home for a house warming. The trip would be three days for me as I was planning on riding up over two days returning in one. Friday started overcast with some small breaks in the clouds but at lunch the rain came. It rained here and there the entire trip up and back. It wasn't a washout, just an hour or two here and there. I had good rain gear so it was very manageable. The route took us up rt95 to Augusta where we headed inland to acquire Coastal Rt 1 to Lubec Maine where we overnighted. Traffic was light and the ride uneventful so by late afternoon we were at West Quoddy Light.
After the stop we were only a mile or so from Cohill's Inn. We checked in to a nice clean room and went downstairs to the pub for a cold adult beverage (or two, or three) and a decent meal.
Saturday morning dawned foggy and rainy. The trip would take us into Canada for a couple of ferry rides and onto our hosts for a great welcoming. The beer was cold, the wine flowed, the food was excellent. Their home is warm and inviting. It was over all to soon. Sunday was for slabbing. Leftlane (Tom) DPRyan (Dennis) and myself rode a quick pace all the way to Newport Maine where I left them for a nice visit to my Aunt whom I hadn't seen in a long time, too long. She owns a Hunt Preserve. What an operation, the deer are awesome. Unfortunatley I paid for it in bad weather. It pretty much rained on me the rest of the way home while my friends (who had continued on) stayed dry. Oh well.,I really did have a great visit and it was well worth it.