Thursday, April 30, 2009

Running Parallel at 45 Degrees to the Equator - Gettin There

As indicated in the last post, MeAsWe and I headed to Vermont to reap some Treasure Hunt points and to enjoy the first really good weather of the riding season. Friday was just as promised, in the 80's and 90's all day. We started out of Uxbridge around 8am with hopes of hitting Wilkins HD before closing to capture the HD Stamp for the Ride New England Tour. Based on the GPS we would make Wilkins in Barre well before it's closing time of 3pm.

I will never understand if you are a motorcycle dealer, how you close during prime selling season early on Saturday and not open on Sunday. After all we have become a nation of work work work, and the only time we have allowed ourselves anytime to do things is the weekends. Anyway, I digress.

Targets for the weekend are the 45th parallel markers in Vermont and New Hampshire, a special place that a concert took place, Lake Champlain for the Northwest Corner of the Four Corner Bonus, Arod Yrod Lrod place and the various tanks, cannons, truss bridges, soldiers and of course any TANKS we may come across. MeAsWe is armed with the Nikon locked and loaded, in her seat, like a tail gunner in a B29.

We will also use this run as practise on how we will equip ourselves for the 17 day journey that starts May 9th. (any thing to justify a ride works). So our strategy is in place, now for the tactical execution of the strategy.

We stopped many times during this 3 day trek, captured a ton of points, rode in the rain, tested the effectiveness of our mesh outfits, tested the new Frog Toggs and got a glimpse of the country side in VT and NH before the trees could hide many of its jewels behind the cover of green.

Some highlights were capturing a real horse and carriage in action versus the cutouts that everyone else is offering up for the treasure hunt.

A working water wheel

Some animals of the region.

A place to have a piece of pie at. We didn't we just got the shot.

I rely on the trusty ole GPS and most of the time it is spot on, but I am convinced that the folks in Kansas (Garmin), like to fuck with you every now and then. We are riding along to make it to Wilkins HD, all indications is that we have plenty of time. We are diligently following that British voice making the rights and left. We are directed to this road which turns to dirt. Now this is not uncommon in Vermont and many of these dirt roads are far better than the roads we have in MA, but as you guess not this time. This road wasn't all that bad, except in spots the spring water had found it's way to the surface of the road, which turns the dirt and stone dust like substance into slime. Now slime has a reason it is called because it is slimy. A little slip here, a little slide there, front tire bogs down and then the rear tire kicks a bit, so on and so forth. Not bad but enough to make you tighten that spot on the rear of your body. Of course we are going up hill, which means we have to go down hill, making all the slime a little more sensitive. GPS yells out make a Left on blah blah. I take one look at this road and it looks Hannibal used this road to cross over the Pyrenees in Spain. There is no way I am gonna take this road. Choice turn around or go forward and hopefully the GPS finally finds another way. After 45 minutes on this sludge and slime we finally find ourselves back on the tarmac. Before we started on this little side venture, we had plenty of time to make it Wilkins, now it required throttling up and putting some miles on very quickly. We made it to Wilkins with about 15 minutes to spare.

With Wilkins done there was one place that we had to get, The Vermont Tag. Of course there is always diversions along the way. I just don't think you see the same things on the road in a cage as you do on a bike. Perhaps if you have a convertible, it might replace, but your every day car, I don't believe so. I don't know what this is but I assume the mail goes someplace .

There is nothing special about the Vermont Tag by itself. Someone took a picture from their bike, you have to go to it, take a picture and you get to decide where to send everybody else. Simple for most, except for us. If we get the Vermont tag, we will own 3 tags. If you own a pair of tags you get 5000 points. Well three tags has 3 combinations of pairs, making 15,000 points. Quite a few points for a single location and we are just minutes from it. Pull out the war book. Dang I forgot to write the address down. I have a vague recollection of 293, maybe Main St and it was some insurance company headquarters in Montpelier. A quick call to MeAsWe's son, let him google it and we are on our way. Well it was not quite the bada boom hit, but we eventually got it. Anyways with 3 Tags and the fourth being only one state away, would make 6 combos of 2's or 30,000 points and Maine is only right around the corner and we have 2 days left.

We wrap up the day with dinner and a sunset. What a great day it was

Treasure Hunt goes Taggin

OSJ has added a new bonus to the treasure hunt. Capture any 2 Tags and possess both of at the same time you will earn 5,000 points.

Of course, with this added incentive and the MA and RI tags only a measley 150 mile trip from Home, MeAsWe and I set out to get our first set. As soon as I got home from work (around 6pm), we suited up and headed out in the balmy 50 degree weather for this place arriving around 7:15pm.
With the first tag under our belt, it was off to Bristol, RI for the matching tag. We arrived around 9pm. With the sun asleep for the day, we had to use the spot light we carry for just such occassions. It semi worked throwing enough light to enable some additional photo enhancement to show the tag.

With both tags bagged we headed home to post up the pics. I tried posting up from my new notebook on site, but apparently the dang thing has lost its drivers for the mouse touch pad and I didn't have a USB mouse with me. Arriving home around 11pm we posted up and grabbed the 5,000 points for the dual tags.

It was right around 11:30, it dawned on me where we were going to ride for the weekend. Having a day off from work coming to me, this made a nice 3 day weekend to put some serious miles on. We were headed for Vermont to grab the Tag there and some other treasure hunt places. I figured if we grabbed Vermont, that would give us 3 combinations of 2 tag sets or 15,000 points. Of course, once we were in Vermont, New Hampshire tag was just down the road a piece giving us 4 tags or 6 matchng 2 Tag sets for a total of 30,000 and then Maine was only up the pike a bit. With 5 tags you get 10 2 tag sets, for 50,000 points. Now I already had CT tag bagged before this started so someone would have to chase this one down, so we could lock up all 6 that would be 15 combinations or 75,000 points. Not too shabby eh and quite doable too. Stay tuned for an update .

Sunday, April 19, 2009

You meet the friendliest people on a Honda

or on any motorcycle for that matter.

As MeAsWe and Me finished the photo snap of the Connecticut tag

we decided a piece of pie (ala mode of course) and coffee would be a good end of the day treat and good nourishment for beginning the ride home.

As soon as we sat down the couple at the next booth started up a conversation with us and about our motorcycle and riding. Our brief remarks back about our riding developed into a full kitchen table conversation with people it felt like we had known for years, but had fallen out of contact with. The couple, Barbara and Bill, were about our age, maybe a wee bit older. Barbara was from Florida and moved up north when she was a teenager. Bill, I believe lived up here for all his life and met Barbara soon after she moved up here. They were from Bronx and they come to this area of Connecticut to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

It dawned on me and I made a comment to MeAsWe, that this occurs all the time. Now I am a friendly person and so is MeAsWe, but there is just something about us coming into a restaurant, or other public place that people just seem to strike up a conversation with us. My guess it is the motorcycle and the riding clothes and helmets we wear. To those people it seems we represent a sense of freedom, adventure, discovery and bravery that makes them want to be part of our journey's, so they strike up a conversation.

After about 45 minutes, Barbara and Bill, got up and left the restaurant and MeAsWe and Me were left with some new found friends. I am sure if we find ourselves in the Bronx, we just might run into them again.

To Tank or Not to Tank

that is the question that was put forth at the OSJ Treasure Hunt. Some people feel the real definition of tank for purposes of this rally are only the military type with moving treads and cannons, while some of us think outside the tank and defined tanks as more general.

a. A large, often metallic container for holding or storing liquids or gases.
b. The amount that this container can hold: buy a tank of gas.
2. A usually artificial pool, pond, reservoir, or cistern, especially one used to hold water for drinking or for irrigation.
3. An enclosed, heavily armored combat vehicle that is armed with cannon and machine guns and moves on continuous tracks.
4. A tank top.
5. Slang A jail or jail cell.

As in any contest, there is an offense and a defense. Sometimes a strategic defense, leads to a great offense. Early on I tested the limits of Tanks by posting this photo of 2 bikes in a parking lot.

OSJ, the rally bastard, felt this was a little over the top for tanks, so he revised the rules for tanks, stating they must be bigger than your bike. I immediately followed with a post about my new bike I purchased.

A couple of us competitors, being the point whores that we are, have absolutely no social conscience about going to an oil company, posting up all the trucks and storage tanks in a yard. After all one good stop can yield you 5,000 points.

OSJ being the fair democratic fellow that he is, posted up a poll of whether or not, tanks should be limited to the military type tanks, or leave the rules as they are. There was an overwhelming vote of limiting the tanks to only military tanks. It was something like 28 to 8. By my math, that is 36 people voting and there are far less participants in the game than 36. Hmmm maybe there is alot of sandbaggers out there.

Of course, OSJ talked about taking away the points already gotten to implement the new rules, which I responded that this was like an Obamaism, where the Point Earners were bailing out the Point Whiners, but it is OSJ's Rally and he is the Rally Bastard, who makes all the rules, which of course are final.

Being the fair and decent individual I am, I proposed as a compromise to eliminating the Tanks and a fair bleed in of the new rules. Allow each contestant to post to the maximum amount of tanks by the highest Tank Posting Whore to date and not allow tanks after this maximum has been reached. After all it would not be fair to ME, if I lost all the points I have made on tanks.

This all came down Sunday morning. So with the impending rule change, MeAsWe and Me took off to get some more landmarks and tankless rally points. When we arrived back at home base, I looked up the status of the tank debate and found OSJ had issued his proclamation. The TARP bill for the rally.

Tanks are tanks...keep em coming, no changes in the rules

We had spent the whole day passing tank after tank. I would flail my hands everytime we passed a collection of tanks, as we road by on the bike, making a pointing gesture, "Look what we are missing"
We had been OSJ'd. He never was considering revising the rules, he just wanted to stir up a hornet nest and see who he could get a rise out of. I did take a special photo just for him, which I may have to use in the future.

Some Tanks are happy ones, some are blue. It's the way you ride the trail that counts, Here's a happy one for you. Happy tanks to you until we meet again. Happy tanks to you, keep smilin' until then. Who cares about the clouds when we're together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather. Happy tank to you 'till we meet again.

(I am sure you can think of the tune to sing the above to)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Bike from the Past - Honda CB750 Custom

Since this is my blog and I can do whatever I want with it, I have decided (because I can) to post some interesting photos [to me, that is] I gather during my rides. I came across this particular photo, while I was getting spark plugs for the Connie and taking some pictures for OSJ Treasure Hunt.

This is very nice 1980ish CB750 Custom. My very first bike was a CB900 Custom. What really struck me about this bike is the condition. It is immalculate and for sale. I never did call to see if it is still for sale.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

OSJ Meet and Greet

This past Saturday OSJ had his Meet and Greet. This is an informal way of the NER to get together at the beginning of the season. OSJ cooks breakfast for all us, well he does have some help, but for the most part it is his show. This year we had a 50/50 raffle for some fellow NERs that have had some unfortunate circumstances. The husband has undergone a bone marrow transplant to help fight the leukemia has. His wife during all of this found herself in the hospital having multiple heart bypass surgery. Lets hope for the best.

At the drawing, Teri pictured here, did the honors of drawing the winner. She drew this winner

Who just happens to be Dave, Teri's husband. Hmmmm. Oh Dave donated his share of the 50/50 back to the couple in need. What a great Dude, eh.

I found these magnetic stickers in kitchen where Jim held the event and being the point ho that I am I took them outside for a more proper presentation. Flags are worth 300 points soooooooooo.Yeah I dragged Nicole out too.

This is Lunatic Tim and StDave Here's our host saying hi

Around 1pm most everyone had scooted off. Those of us that came on bikes this morning had a rainy ride home. To finish up the day, Alan, Jan, Nicole, Ken, Sandy, and MeAsWe and me stopped at this place.
Yeah yeah it's worth 1,000 points in the treasure hunt. As part of the days ride, MeAsWe got initiated riding in the rain. I heard this song about Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Helmet coming from the back. I have to say MeAsWe is a trooper and ready for our long distance ride coming up. Oh by the time we got home the temperature had drop into the 30's brrrrrrr.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chasin Overload P3 - The Treasure Hunt

Here we go again. OSJ has reactivated the OSJ Treasure Hunt. The concept is pretty easy. He provides a list of things to get, you get on your bike, ride there, take a picture of those things with you and/or your bike in the picture, post em up on the thread, and accumulate points. This hunt runs from April 1 (which he started early on March 24) and ends November 30, 2009. The one with the most points wins.

This years general category includes the following:
Cannon.....100 points
Animal statute.....300 points
Thru Truss bridge....500 points
parallel marker.....1000 points
Tank....100 points
Italian Motorcycle Dealership.....300 points
Reservoir (must have sign with name of the reservoir).....100 points
Statue of a soilder holding a weapon. Must have bike in the photo so I can tell from the scenery you are in a different place.....200 points
Town with same first or last name of US president*.....500 points
Water Wheel (double your points if water is running thru it).....500 points
American Flag, other than a traditional cloth flag.....300 points
Horse drawn carriage (double your points if a horse is hooked up).....300 points
city or town with any of the 4 compass points as part of the Official* name.....200 points
Follow the trail of the whispering giants.....500 points
Mural, must be on outside of building.....400 points
Transportation museum.....1000 points
You and bike on a Ferry.....1000 points
Find a NER calander and find those spots.....500 points

As you can see the items have different point values and you can get as many as you want.

Now you have to think a little of of the box on the items and test the Rally Bastard (OSJ) on the items. Within the first couple of days, Dave posted up a depot of around 50 gas tanks and the RB accepted this. So we are all off taking pictures of tanks. I posted up this picture of tanks on motorcycles.

The Rally Bastard decided this was abit over the top, and amended the rules on tanks. They have to be bigger than your bike, so I purchased a new bike specifically for the rally.

In addition to the general category there pictures of places to get and riddles to solve for some places. Some are easy and some not so easy. These are worth more than the items in the general category ranging from 1,500 to 10,000 points. I know most of them, but there is one picture of a building that is absolutely driving me nuts. Do you know where it is. Post up a note for me and help me out.

You can see the entire OSJ Treasure Hunt here.

This would easy if the list was fixed, but each month OSJ has a bonus item that is worth X amount of points. OSJ screws with your mind on these and posts clues in the form of poems. The April 2009 Bonus is as follows:


The rally has startedwith all its mightthe keyboards are a flutter
with clicking all night

The first month bonus will bring some down
for the challenge is harder
and might make you frown

So the first locationyour bikes must go
is near something so mystic
you cant see below

This city you must searchwas home to one that flew
and another gruesome deaththat left no clue

the address you searchwas famous for such
for flying they did
and destruction so much

We find them all overour country's great land
but they came from this place
at this mans hand

The house is simple
for here's its
this photo was taken
around 1862

now look real close
its what is missing is clue
to the place that you search
that will help you accrue

The point total is hidden
solve this riddle and ride
then post up your findings
you'll be filled with pride


So can you figure it out. I worked and worked and finally asked OSJ for some additional clues. Apparently I wasn't the only one that couldn't figure out where we were suppose to go. OSJ posted this as a follow up:


so some help is neededfor this riddle I spewsome ends are dead, or wrong
for this was tough I knew

first find the city you seekwill lead you to the cluefor here are two , that
I did not write to you

Just get a bob tailed bay
Two forty as his speed
Hitch him to an open sleigh
And crack! you'll take the lead


The blessings forthcomingwhen a semi insulator is found
to harness gravity, and prevent
airplanes from crashing to the ground

now either of the stanza
you read aboveshould help you find the city
and the solution thereof

Once the city is foundthe answer will seem so smugfor you will not believeit all came from a roll


With the additional clue MeAsWe and I figured out where we needed go and what to get. OSJ is one fricken warped dude.

This the Treasure Hunt. MeAsWe and I are ready to consume many gallons of gas and absolutely destroy, trounce, pound to pulp, burn them into oblivion, reek a shock and awe campaign against all the riders against us. Oh oh this is suppose to be fun and I am sure we will all have a great time. Just think of the things we will see along the way.

Chasin Overload P2 - HD New England Tour

Every year, well at least the last 2, the New England Harley Davidison dealerships sponsor their NE Tour . Essentially you travel to 24 dealerships (in 2008 there were 26) , get a stamp on your tour card and when you are all done you mail the card in and you get a 20 gift certifcate to be used at a dealership of your choice. You are also entered into a drawing for a new HD drawn in January. In 2008 there were only around 90 of us riders that completed the card, so your odds are much better than say, winning 278,535,761 in a lottery. You can find more info on this tour here

Last year, I offered the NER group, dinner for anyone that completed the card first. I figured I would finish first, but alas I didn't and it was my pleasure to buy lunch for Ed at the drawing this past January. A bunch of us that completed the card, showed up at Sheldon's in Auburn MA for the drawing. None of us were selected, but it was a great day to make a winter day go by, visit with some great people, lunch at Wild Willy's Burgers and then some dessert in West Boylston someplace and go home and dream about spring. Here's some pics from the event

LunaticTim, STDave and PhatPat waiting for the drawing

OSJ saying HI

As usual I am getting off point. I will be chasin down these HD dealerships again this year. For me the farthest and the deal breaker for most is Plourdes HD in Caribou Maine. That is 500 miles from here, but it is a great ride. The furthest south is Bridgeport CT, however that is an afternoon ride for me. I have some other stuff to chase in the Caribou area, which is in the next post.

Last years card

Lunch is on me for the first to complete the card. You IN ??

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chasin Overload P1 - Tag Your It

This winter I have been chasin National Historic Places. Spring has arrived, well at least the weather is rideable and the roads are clear of ice. I have narrowed down the NRHP from 18,000 locations to concentrate on National Landmarks for now. With spring brings the 6 tags state game at the NER forum. There is also a version of Tag going on at the ADVrider forum too.

Tag is a pretty simple game. Someone posts up a picture with their bike in it, you ride to it, take a picture that resembles the tagger picture, post up your picture and you get to select the next tag location to send people off to. Well this game has gone high tech. Participants are using their blackberries, wireless laptops, etc etc to enable them to post up the picture on location. Makes it hard to become the tagger. The last tag I got was this neat place.

This was put up by EasyEd. It is the Jesuit Retreat Center in Weston, MA. Keep in mind all you have is a picture and whatever the tagger wants to give as clues. The clues were a reference to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the sports people Havlicek, Orr and Ortiz to go by. From this, you have to find the location. I headed out on a Saturday with my clues in hand which took me to Boston College. There is a church there called St Ignatius, BC is a Jesuit school (oh there are 10 Jesuit colleges in the US ), and the sports people certainly could live in Chestnut Hill. The other Jesuit school was Holy Cross in Worcester and I know those guys don't live there. I rode around BC for about and hour and half and came up tugged. Nada, I headed home.

I called EasyEd and got his wife Bikertrix on the phone who commenced to say " I know where it is and neener neener neener. I left a message with Trix to tell her to tell EE that he was an asshole. Of course this is all in with great humor. Coming up empty handed is all part of the game and adds to the fun. That evening EE put up an additional clue about the guys living in the richest town in MA and viola, of course Weston, it could be no other place. Google Weston and Jesuit and it leads you right to the Jesuit Retreat Center.

Sunday I captured the tag, and posted up mine which was this location. Do you know where it is ? Ken did.