Sunday, July 31, 2011

Is Two Too Many and Other To's

Today I mounted up the StreetPilot 2720 and the Nuvi 855 to see if they would fit. They mounted up like a charm, wiring them into the accessory plug was a snap and we were ready to rock n' roll. Now all we had to do was test them on the road.

Fiddled abit to position the GPS so that I could see the tach, the info panel and the neutral light. The test ride would be the NER breakfast club in Littleton at Tres Amici. As soon as we were on the road, I realized the right turn signal indicator was NOT visible. Thats not good, because I don't always remember to flick em off now. No visibility is not going to improve this situation. Why they don't put self cancelling turn signals on all bikes is beyond me.

Other than the turn signal, there are real advantages to having 2 GPS. You can have one zoomed in and one zoomed out. Great info to have while traveling. One to do adhoc routing without disturbing the other GPS. What if we went this way or that way. I just might travel this way for now on.

We arrived at the NER Breakfast Club hosted by Rich aka PuckerNoMore at around 8:30a.

The JJFlash crew, well 2/3 of them. Jack has already parked his GW.

These 2 characters are Magilla and Giff. Magilla is the one with the hi vis jacket. He has established the standard for Hi Vis. He has the jacket that brightens the already bright Fusion Blue Gold Wing and to top it off he has a safety Hi Vis yellow Arai helmet. You would think just his size would be enough (he makes a wing look small)but you can't possibly miss him on the road. We rode up with Giff he has a really nice ST1100 with 96K on it.

The above is Rich (PuckerNoMore) our host. He has finally found at PT that has relieved him of some debilating pain for the last 9 years. It says it's like winning the lottery. Puck picked up the tab for all of us, 11 of us, and asked that we donate what we would have paid for breakfast to either the NER or the Wounded Warriors Project.

We disbanded, Giff our travel to partner, was off to other roads, and we needed to head back to get the bike ready to ship to Salt Lake City. It was a near perfect day out. Blue blue skies, and the temps were in the 70's low 80's. I am suppose to deliver the bike with no gas to the shippers, however they accept very little gas, so I had to run the tank down. I dropped of MeAsWe and headed for the Rhode Island tag.

Rustic Drive-In used to be a Triple X rated drive-in. According to MeAsWe the sign is a phallic symbol, but to me it looks like Googie to me, but what do I know.

In our tag games, you must travel to the current tag location, but it is ok to post a file photo for the new tag. I figured it would be easier to just pick up another spot right now, run some more gas out of the tank, so off to Twin Rivers Casino just down the road.

I figured the door handles are distinctive enough to figure out where this place is, but if someone asks for a clue I will tell them to combine Dan Fogelburg and Joan Rivers to arrive at the name. Dan Fogelburg album Twin Brothers of Different Mothers is the first part. If that doesn't work then I will post up this picture as another clue.

If that doesn't work I will make them read this blog.

After grabbing Twin Rivers, headed towards home, but decided I needed to run some more gas out and went to Walmart to see if they had long sleeve wicking shirts. Nope. Finally got home, but had to stop at the gas station to put a gallon in the tank so I could get to the shipper in the morning

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Go West Old Man - Another Prep Stage

This morning I played around in MapSource getting the routes finalized for the trip. I need to post the maps when they are complete. I was having a frustrating time getting the data out of MapSource to the spreadsheet application I wrote to tell us if the stuff that I bit off can be chewed, in other words will the VC's be open when we will actually arrive.

About 1pm I had the following choices, take a nap (it was beautiful out, blue skies), watch a Netflix movie (it was beautiful day out, blue skies) or take a jaunt down to Roger Williams National Memorial VC and pick up some of these

After picking up our new books, we headed for a bit to eat. MeAsWe was starved. Arrived at this place that was a previous tag

Only to find out they were closed

With the stomach set on some dogs, we back tracked to

All done in the cage today and did not feel a bit guilty about it. Got home and took that nap that I was thinking about earlier

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Connie Goes Sailing

Last night the Concours was sold to a really nice guy from the Marblehead area. His main hobby is sailing and sails like we ride all over the place. I drew similarities between our quest for roads and locations with leaving a harbor and sailing off to a new destination for no other reason than being able to do so.

After he left, I had an empty feeling as the cash laid on the table. I have been to every state east of the Mississippi on that bike and a few just west of the river. That bike earned me 2 National Park certificates with the IBA and traveled 49,700 miles without a hint of hiccup.

I did have one scary moment before the sail. I decided to take the Connie out just to make sure every thing was working. As I headed into the center of town, it started to sputter. As I passed thru the center, it sputtered some more and then died. I said to myself, Damn why today. Thoughts of getting it back home, putting some Seafoam into the tank and trying to clear the ever so present problem raced thru my mind. I looked at the speedo and the Trip 1 Odometer (It has 2) was telling me there was only 146 miles since the last fill up. Not trusting what I was seeing, I popped the gas cap and it looked awful empty in there. Switched the petcock to Reserve, fired up the engine, released the clutch and the Connie took off like it just got a new lease on life. Blew thru the center clocking 5000 RPM and rose to 6000 RPM. Smooth as silk. Anxiety abates. Pull into the gas station for some more fuel.

I will miss the Connie. Every day it sat next to the FJR, saying Ride Me Ride Me. At least now it will have its desire fulfilled.

Somewhere over the rainbow Way up high
Somewhere over the rainbow Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream Really do come true
Somewhere over the rainbow Bluebirds fly
Why then, oh why can't I?

The Connie is the Bluebird

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Go West Part Deux - Planning Stage

This morning I finished the routing for our trip out west. We will be riding 16 days and cover right around 4300 miles. We have done more miles in the same amount of days, but I did promise we would be in before dark. We will let the forest rats own the night. Our trip will cover UT, ID, WY, MT, WA, OR, CA, and NV.

Our planned National Parks parks will be:
Golden Spike
City of Rocks
Craters of the Moon
Nez Perce
Grand Tetons
Fort Vancouver
Mount Ranier
Whitman Mission
Crater Lake
Lassen Volcanic
Lava Beds
Great Basin
Timpanogos Caves

These will cover Washington and California for our Silver National Park Tour certificate from the IBA. Next spring we will head south for Florida and pick up Maine during the summer or even this fall to cover the four corner states. READ HERE

We will also pick up one barbecue joint in each state for Smoke Chasing 2011 so that we end up BBQ Pit Masters (1 joint, 15 states). We are at the Smoker level (3 joints, 5 states) right now.

I haven't counted the number of towns that will be covered for An Affair with Water, but as a guess it is probably over 40. We are not going to go way out of our way for the Water Towns, but when close we will go seeking the Post Office. Some of the towns that come to mind are; Great Falls, Idaho Falls, Columbia Falls, Salt Lake City, Bear River City......

We are also grabbing a bunch of National Historic Landmarks. On the agenda is Bonneville Dam, Experimental Breeder Reactor 1, Two Medicine Chalet, Temple Square, Timberline Lodge, and many many more....

We will attempt to see the infamous Shoe Tree and the new sprouting one in Nevada along the Loneliest Road (US 50). This 70' cottonwood tree was adorned with 1000's of shoes in the middle of Nevada. It was cut down by some vandals in 2010. I hear there is another one sprouting from the shoes that lie on the ground next to the original one.

We will cover the Northwest Passage, Volcanic Legacy, Historic Columbia River Highway, Chinook Scenic Byway and White Pass Scenic Highway all of which are America's Byways. Last year we covered Beartooth Highway, Chief Joseph, Flaming Gorge and Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway. CHECK THEM OUT

This weekend will be the final preparation of the FJR before shipping. This time we will pack as much on the bike as possible. Less we have to carry thru the airports. I might even wash the FJR before it leaves, well at least the windshield and Laminar Lip. We deliver the bike to Allied Van Lines in Franklin, MA on Aug 1.

On Aug 11th we board our plane to Salt Lake City to begin this journey. We will ride right past the spot where we were taken out last year. Maybe we will stop in the Antler Bar and buy a round for some of the folks. They sure deserved it in the help they provided during the night we will never forget. It was the 175# buck last thought. I am hoping we get to ride the whole Going to the Sun road this year. I heya thars snow in dem hills. Ranier and Mount St Helen may have snow as well. Tulelake was a Japanese intermnet camp during WWII and probably the worst of them to boot. This was a black spot on our history in the US. We might even watch Old Faithful again. There is so much to see, that one trip just doesn't cut it, but ya gotta start somewhere. Better to have done, than dreaming about doing it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Connie does the Dalton

The other day I received an email questioning whether the Connie I have is still available. My simple replay was Yes, what would you like to know. I also left the person my phone number and told them to call me.

I get another email from that person, asking "is 11pm to late to call". I read that email about 11:30pm and told the person I would be up until at least 12am.

Sit back down to watch TV and the phone rings. I pick up the phone and hear the other person say "is this Bill". A conversation ensues about the Connie and motorcycling in general. It was like I had known Gordon all my life, but we had not spoken to one another in a decade or so.

Then Gordon says "Would you ride the Connie to Alaska". Within a split second I said "No".

I then realized Gordon was not being literal, but asking the question in a figurative/rheotorical manner. Almost immediately after I belted out No, Gordon says I am not asking if YOU would ride to Alaska, I wanted to know if someone could ride to Alaska.

Well as it turns out Gordon was going to drive one of his vehicles from Alaska to the east coast to visit with his kids, fly to Boston, and ride the Connie all over the east coast while he was visiting, then truck it back home to Alaska. As life is, something got in the way at this time and the Connie will be staying in MA for a while longer.

I still feel like I found a friend in Gordon and if we ever make it to Alaska, I just might have to look him up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Surfing Water at the Joisey Showa

We spent the last 3 days running New Jersey for An Affair with Water, capturing something like 60 or so towns for this contest. Weather was perfect and even more perfect along the coast. We also picked up a BBQ place to lock up New Jersey as a state. What I found on this trip, mainly below Toms River, the Post Offices were either non-existent, MapSource had it all wrong, the PO moved, or I did something wrong when entering the Waypoints. We only missed one location Oceanville in our quest thou. I have spent quite a few weeks in my youth on the boardwalk at Seaside Heights, where Jersey Shore is shot. Matter of fact my sister offered to take me to the exact location, but the show is pure crap and not that important to me, so we passed. The next PO was far more exciting to us, but I did manage to get a picture of the water tower. Almost like the shot of Pizzaland on the Sopranos.

All pictures are expandable by clicking and resizing

First day was getting to the Toms River where my sister lives. New Jersey is the most over built, over retailed, no zoning laws state I have ever seen. A lot of the stores are closed, especially car dealerships. Northern Jersey is very country, New England like, with huge homes. Drop to Bloomfield to Sea Bright is where the old cities are. A lot of rundown places. Asbury Park is a scary place.

The Merritt Parkway is an historic byway. Each overpass has a unique character.

Crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge. This bridge is designated to be replaced because the traffic has far exceeded its designed capacity

Jersey is known as a extremely liberal state, but even this is kinda of over the top. What ya figure transgender somethings ?? (click the picture to enlarge)

We stopped into Bergen County HarleyDavidson / BMW. I don't think I have ever seen the two most exclusive brands as far as dealerships go, crammed into the same building. As I was purchasing my tall shot glass, I did notice the new 1600 GTL stuffed between a Road Glide and Ultra Glide. One of the things that makes Harley so successful is the gathering they have at the dealerships. Announce free music, hot dogs and hamburgers, drinks and they will come and they did come.

Jersey has some great neon. I could spend days gathering these up. Worked for the water thing too.

You can always tell when you are getting towards the ocean and the shore in Jersey. Other than the names changing so do the colors toward the pastels.

Shoring up New Jersey as a BBQ state

A couple more Water Places and we find ourselves at our dinner destination for the evening. Hows this for having a back alley in your yard, plus there is nothing to mow.

Day 2

South Jersey for riding is really boring. The roads are straight; I can’t imagine anyone learns to ride a bike properly in Southern Jersey, but the ride along the Atlantic Ocean makes up for it. Seaside Heights is kind of a trashy town; Ocean City, Sea Isle City and Stone Harbor are clean, classy and family oriented. As you get closer to Cape May you find yourself on a lot of bridges to cross over the coves, bays and salt marshes.

The boardwalk at Seaside Heights. This is taken about 8am and surprisedly the people were not all over the place.

A semi famous water tank.

Where they make those huge yachts.

Moving down the coast line.

Ocean City

Sea Isle City

A glimpse of the Atlantic.

We made it to Green Creek, which is just outside Cape May. It was about 4pm and we decided to call it a day and blow off the 4 remaining towns (watch we will come in second by a margin of 4) and take the Garden State Parkway back to Toms Rivers to have dinner with my sister. My turn to take her out to eat.

Before heading home, some ice cream is in order.

I let this guy handle the cigar thou.

Day 3 was heading back to Massachusetts. We passed thru Lakehurst and tried to see the hangar where the Hindenburg blew up, but they were not offering tours today. We meandered up thru the central part of Jersey and crossed the Hudson River via the Bear Mountain Bridge. As you cross the bridge you must go right or left. Right is US 202 and you end up winding down the mountain on a road very similar (in my opinion) to Hawks Nest. As the pilot you must keep your eyes forward, no matter how tempting it is to look at the scenery. We grabbed our last 4 or so towns and slabbed it home on 84. Of course a stop a Reins Deli in Vernon was a nice break. Hot pastrami extra lean 1st cut Reuben. A sandwich doesn’t get better than that.

McGuire - Fort Dix - Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst

Made our way up to Bear Mountain and crossed the Hudson there. The bridge had the distinction of being the longest suspension bridge in the world for a brief 19 months.

Some action shots along US 202 after crossing the Hudson.

Final destination of the day before slabbing it home

Estimated miles for the 3 days, right around 1,000 miles. Perfect scrubbing in for the new Shinkos. They are already for the trip west

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Breaking Water on the Maine Line

Maine seems so far away, but in reality it is no further than New Hampshire. With that in mind I told MeAsWe we were getting up early to head for Maine for some water. Of course she asked how early is early, I said 5:30. She said are you serious, to which I said very softly, No. I still woke her up at 6, so we could be out and about by 8 thou.

We are in search for water, which Maine has a bunch, but this was to be a day trip. Of course we will ride thru New Hampshire and might as well grab some New Hampshire State Markers. When all said and done the list of 9 out of the way towns, grows to 20+ places to stop. 20 waypoint stops is a very full day, and not always doable.

I am getting very used to the Nuvi, however it does has it limitations in waypoints and routes. The 2720 Street Pilot will be the GPS of choice for our western trip, I will still probably pack the 855 as a back up. By 7am the Nuvi is all loaded with the trip and waypoints. Sure hope I remember how the SP works. It will come back fast.

A quick shot up 495 to Exit 34 has us headed north to New Hampshire for our first stop. As we are gliding up 495, I begin to think of all the things we have to do before 8/1, the day the bike gets shipped to Salt Lake City. New tires, oil change, check the brakes, and maybe wash the bike. Then there is finalizing the routes and daily plans, to make sure we can accomplish what I got marked for the day. Then there is the trip to Joisey to grab some more water. This kind of thinking makes the first 50 or so miles just zoom by. Oh the sky is as blue as blue gets, the temps are near perfect, the humidity is almost non existent, it is a PERFECT day for a ride.

My new knees have fully acclimated themselves to riding again. No longer is it painful to drop a leg down when having to stop at a light or sign. No longer do I have the fear my leg may not plant itself on the ground and be out of sync with stops. I can drop and drag the leg for stretching them out or stand up on the pegs to really flex the muscle. I am sure MeAsWe prefers the dropping of the leg. I can imagine what her visuals are when standing on the pegs.

First stop (as a side note, while writing this I realized we really missed our first stop...go figa) This is New Hampshire oldest meeting house in original condition, built in 1760. It will be a good tag some day.

Last time I tried to grab this place there was construction going on.

Now it is off to the Maine purpose of the trip Water towns. Springvale, ME Post Office was going to be a difficult to show the name, so we grabbed this right across the street. We also snapped off a shot of the Post Office for Waymarking (now that I look at the PO, there is no problem with reading the sign)(at that particular moment there was some logic to my decision)

Our most northern and inland spot was North Waterboro, ME. I found this amusing and snapped off a shot. Modern day Lil Rascal club house ?? Potential tag, if so location is N43 31.933 W70 43.113. (if google does it part, the clue will be Hog Pen, The Future is Not Today)

From here we head toward the shore line in Maine for Pond Cove IGA. But first we stopped by a new shiny diner. Not quite like the old ones I am so fond of but it does have a neat neon sign outside. Back in the Nomad days I got hooked on neon signs, I don't stop for every neon, but do stop for quite a few. There is something about neon that makes me smile.

Pond Cover IGA turned out to be a bust. The only sign was not attached to the building and it has to be ON THE BUILDING to count. Oh well.

As we move closer to the ocean the views become more scenic.

In Ocean Park we were suppose to grab the PO (PO almost always have the name on them, except for the new ones they are building, becoming very generic and sanitized ) Ice Cream Parlors work too, as long as the name of the town is on a building.

There are 2 key words in An Affair with Water that are hard to find, Hydro and Pool. Maine has a Pool.

There is something so serenic and scenic about the ocean.

Of course that serenic ocean attracts traffic and people that can make you scream, but today I actually enjoyed watching the folks scurry all over York Beach. We must look like ants to someone out in space.

As we roamed along RT 1 and 1A, seeing the people enjoying the cool waters of the ocean, I expected to see some scantily clad young women. I found out why there were none. We were in the area where I would be allowed to go. (as I write this we will be heading off to the Joisey showa, I am sure there will be some scantily clad women)

York Harbor I thought was going to be a washout. I had 2 motels to find and hoped the name was on the building. I didn't find a Post Office for York Harbor. MeAsWe said we passed a PO going to this place.

Another shot of the ocean

With Maine done, we are headed to Hampton Falls and Seabrook, I caught this out of the corner of my eye and promptly made a U Turn. This will lock in the State of Maine for Smoke Chasing 2011.

Last stop of the day and we are headed out of New Hampshire into Mass on 495 and home.

The trip