Sunday, December 30, 2012

Taking 5 for BBQ

One final year end wrap up item. Smoke Chasing 2012 just announced the results for all of us fools running around the country taking pictures of BBQ joints. Over the last 2 years there have 500+ entrants to this Grand Tour. This year there were 50 riders that completed the minimum joint runs. Out of the 50 only 7 of us completed the Dave Morrow 15 /15/ 15 challenge. This challenge was traveling to 15 states in 15 days to 15 joints. Kansas was a mandatory state in this challenge.

We scored the 5th highest points in this tour. Click HERE to see the joints we visited.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The People Downstairs

We recently moved out of a 3rd floor apartment into a small house. Of course my son, Sky,came with us and even brought his girlfriend with him. While we were living at the 3 decker, the people on the second floor would send their 10 year daughter upstairs to tell (not ask btw) us to turn down the TV. Me being kinda of heard of hearing tends to listen to the TV a tad louder than most folks. Matter of fact they once called the Uxbridge Police to pay us a visit to turn the TV down.

We were watching a movie last night, The Strat Pack. MeAsWe said my phone was ringing. Who the heck is calling at 10pm. Get up, get the phone and see Sky called us. I called him back and he says can we turn the TV  down, he is trying to get some sleep.

My son has turned into the people downstairs. We just might have to move again.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sweet 16

One of the New England Rider forums poster asked the question, "What constitutes a ride ? Does riding to Dunkin Donuts 6 miles away really a ride ? "

I don't know the answer to the question, however I did make a reference to going out simply to grab a TAG, which is not a whole lot different than riding to DD. For most, riding to DD makes more sense than going to get a sign with a 16 on it. For me the Sweet 16 is much better than an over rated DD coffee.

Paper, Rags and Swag

Some tidying up for the season.

Tour of Honor Certificate

10th place for me and 11th for MeAsWe in GLMC Grand Tour. There were a total of 118 participants. This thing is getting more and more competitive each year.

Some swag from the GLMC Tour

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Taggin Along in Rhody

Haven't been out in awhile. Thought about changing the oil for the winter setup, but was too lazy to do that. All the tours have ended and I am really not one to ride around solo aimlessly, so today will be about getting tags. MA tag is up in Gloucester, CT tag is down around New London, neither is that far away but I am getting a late start and just feel like stretching the legs abit.

I lined up the 1,2,3 tag which is a progressive numbering one. The last number was 13 so 14 is up on deck. You have to find the number 14 someplace. The Rhode Island tag is the Providence Zen Center which is not in Providence. Theme tag is finding a BBQ Joint. This shouldn't be a problem since I have almost every BBQ place catalogued from Smoke Chasing. The last one is the Last letter is the first Letter tag. The letter T is in the spotlight.

Loaded up the GPS with some potential spots. Also bringing along my Etrex to capture my walking track. I found a piece of software, GeoSetter, which marks the GPS coordinates into the photo EXIF data by comparing the time data from the photo and and GPS tracks. This is actually a pretty neat piece of software. Best of all it is free. Once you have it in the EXIF data you when you view the data in something like IrfanView, you have the option of seeing it in Google Maps or see it via a GeoHack link which presents a ton of optional mapping locations.

Picked up the T for the Last Letter First Letter someplace in Pawtucket. Actually I know exactly where it is via the Geo Tracker (N41 52.380 W71 24.411)

Next shot was right down the street from the Toys for Tots. I figured I would get a 15 in case I got bruced on the 14 tag.

Next stop I never used in the tagging games, It was my intention to send folks here, but I used a different shot. Still was a nice spot for the day. I drover right up on the sidewalk for this shot.  There were a couple of bus drivers exchanging buses at this location. My guess it was a shift change or something, They never even blinked an eye.

These were taken Slater's Mill is a National Historic Landmark in Pawtucket, RI. The mill in the first picture is Wilkinson Mill built in 1810 next to Slater's Mill. Slater's Mill can be seen to the right, it is yellow with the cupola.

The church in the background is the Temple of Restoration. The dam is located on the Blackstone River. Right across the street from Slater's Mill you can get some INK (National Park Stamp) in the visitor center.

Right around the corner is McCoy Stadium, which is a go to Tag. McCoy is the minor league stadium for the Red Sox's. Life for the stadium began in 1938 and was completed in 1942. I have been to a few games here and it is a pleasure coming here versus Fenway. Fenway may have the nostalgia, history and the Pros's built you have to put up with the traffic, crowds, parking and expense. Box seats at McCoy are $12.

This is the tag photo at McCoy. The new theme tag is a Memorial to a person in Sports. The statue is of Ben Mondor the owner of the Pawtucker Red Sox.  

Making good time I headed for Boneyard Barbecue in Attleboro, MA. I have been here before but did not eat here. I would grab the Theme Tag picture and have some chili. Perfect day for Chili since the temps has not gotten above 48.

The food

My company during lunch

Up to this point I had not seen any 14's and was beginning to worry I would not come across one before I got home. I figured I could always get a house with a 14 on it, but that seemed a bit cheesy. Before reaching nirvana I grabbed this along the way just in case.

It must have been Karma, because not too far away was American Legion Post 14.
What I posted for the tag for fun. The 14 really showed up on this one thou.

My last stop was the Providence Zen Center in Cumberland, RI for the Rhode Island Tag. The Providence Zen Center is a Buddhist Monastery and Retreat Center.

Of course I had to post this with some interpretative stream of conscious and a reference back to the 60's.


It's about 3pm and I decide to call MeAsWe. No answer, so I called Sky, my son. I get him to log onto GLMC for their tag. I forgot to look this up before I left, It was a full size lighthouse. No problem for us New Englanders, however given the time of day, temps now in the low 40's I simply wasn't gonna chase one down. Looking at my notes, I was confused at what was the Theme Tag. Sky looked it up and said it was a town bordering another state. OSJ had bruced me on the BBQ joint. In Rhode Island heading for home this would not be a problem.
Crossed into Mass, do a Uey and grabbed the last photo of the day.
Not alot of miles, just under 64 miles, but it felt good to get out and chase some stuff

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Motorcycle Calendar for 2012

My previous post for a calendar was for Scenic shots taken during 2012. In the past I have usually only made one calendar, essentially combining the scenic and pictures with motorcycles. This year I decided to create two calendars. MeAsWe is a calendar user and relies on keeping track of various dates with our calendars. Me, I create them purely to see what a collection of blowup pictures would look like and Cafe Press offers a reasonably priced solution with their over sized calendars (11X17). None of the photos were specific to a month and placement was essentially in the order they were on my computer, thus I never intended the picture to relate to the season or month.

Please click the photos to enlarge

The Cover
This ends up as the least looked at picture of the group. Once you hang the calendar up this gets turned over and the monthly ones are displayed. I essentially copy various sections out our our photos thru out the year and pasted them into a new canvas. The collage has a little bit of everything from the weird stuff we saw, the historical places, memorials for the Tour of Honor, BBQ joints for Smoke Chasing, towns for the USA Tour, and National Parks we visited.

This was shot in Jamestown, RI. The bridge in the background is the Clairborne Pell Bridge the drops you into the Newport RI. This was one of the first good riding days of 2012, March 18th. I remember I was in a private driveway / parking lot for condos overlooking Narragansett Bay. I had to be quite a sight since I was laying on the ground to take the pictures. Some folks did pull in, gave me a strange look, but never asked if everything was ok. Here you have an old guy, lying on the ground, squirming around. I could have been having a heart attack for cripes sake.

A targeted town for the GLMC USA Tour in South Carolina. This was a major branch off of our overall route. We picked up the Sheldon Old Church ruins, which was historical and neat. In Autryville which was another USA capture, there was some neat painted signs on the side of buildings that looked like they were from the 50's. 
An update on this photo. Cafe Press will not permit me to use this photo, since they feel it is violating Coca Cola's trademark. 

This was our turn around point in Fort Scott, KS. To complete one of the side dishes for Smoke Chasing 2012, you had to include the state of Kansas. The BBQ here was top notch and I would not hestitate coming back here for lunch again. 
Taken just outside of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. I am not sure this picture is going to turn out great in full size. We just liked it because of the dichotomy between the carriage and the FJR. It was a quick shot, since the carriage was moving. Right after this shot, we were almost taken out by a car who thought they were the only ones on the roads and was using up the whole road. It was quite the pucker moment.
This is the original bridge the crossed the New River at Canyon Rim in West Virginia. The trip down into the gorge is about 8 miles and well worth the trip. I don't have a clue how the trucks made it across the river with the twisty roads.

This is the fountain and entrance to Weston State Hospital, also known as the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. It is the largest hand cut stone building in the US and second only to the Kremlin in Russia. The hospital has been designated a National Historic Landmark and located in Weston, WV.
Taken in Hampton, NH on RT 1A. We had just finished breakfast.
Taken in Bucksport, ME on the Penobscot River. If you would turn yourself to the left you would have a great view of Fort Knox and the Penobscot Bridge.

We got up at 4:30am to catch the sunrise at Searsport, ME. My first attempt at a sunrise.
I call this Tina and a FJR. Out chasing USA towns, BBQ Joints and came across this waterfall in Fitchburg, MA
This was taken at my friends shop in Whitinsville, MA. I usually go here on Saturday mornings to talk cycles, politics, books and getting older. A kewl place to hang out. 
Taken at Stoggy Hollow General Store in Woodstock, CT.  It was a great ride for 75% of day. The last 25% poured buckets and the temps dropped quickly. 
This is in Skipwith, VA. I planned this top for the USA Tour. On MapSource this looked like a small diversion, you know an on and off the road. While we were not in a hurry, this proved to be more than a small on and off trip. Nice country thou. This is the replacement for the Salemburg Grill above.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Silver in the Road

I have been haunting MeAsWe for the last 3 weeks or so, asking if she went to the Post Office. Constantly asking "Did they come yet". Even wrote to Ira. The day after Ira got back to me there was an envelope at that post office. One problem, it was addressed to MeAsWe. I threw at her (well that might be an overstatement) and said here's yours, maybe mine will be here tomorrow. She cut the envelope open and the IBA had included both our certificates. I went from disappointment to grinning from ear to ear.

Alot of riders will tell you the piece of paper means nothing, but for me it does. Call me shallow, self indulgent or plastic, these certificates just do something for me. As of 2010 some 33,000+ riders have completed the SaddleSore 1000. As of 2010, only 84 riders has completed the National Park Tour Silver certificate. In 2011, 7 more folks earned the Silver and as of 11/01/12 only 1 other person, other that us, earned a Silver.

This is my 3rd National Park Tour. MeAsWe has completed 2 Tours. We both started one other tour which was cut short.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Scenic Calendar for 2013

The following are the photos we used to create our Scenic calendar for 2012. Each one has a story. Please click the photos to see a larger version.

The Cover
Taken on H St NW in Washington DC. We were chasing down Capital Q BBQ joint for 2012 Smoke Chasing Tour.  The colors on the entranceway is quite visually stimulating to me. I debated a long time with myself to remove the guy crossing the street, but decided he was part of the scene and had to stay.

Ocean Rd in Narragansett RI heading for Port Judith Lighthouse. I had just gotten my Nikon and decided to head for Crazy Burger that was on Diners, Dives and Drive-In, capture some historic places while we were there and just have a drive around on a sunny February day. Helps relieve PMS (parked motorcycle syndrome) and cabin fever, the drive that is.

This is right in my back yard in Uxbridge, MA. Part of the Blackstone Canal at Rice City Pond. Out playing around with the Nikon and experimenting with HDR photos. Taken in September 2012.

Paterson Great Falls in New Jersey. This is our newest National Park. We stopped here to grab INK for our IBA National Park Tour. This is a great place to visit. I did have a small argument with the volunteer guide about whether Paterson, NJ or Uxbridge, MA was the center of the Industrial Revolution in the US. I think both towns can probably claim the title.

Congaree National Park in South Carolina. Part of your National Park Tour. Congaree is the the largest tract of  old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins just outside Sheldon, South Carolina. This was a targeted stop while we wandered thru the south. The Church was built between 1745 and 1753. It was burned down during the Revolutionary War to be rebuilt and then burned down again by William Tecumseh Sherman in 1865. Shermy had a thing about matches, the earth and buildings.

Kingsley Plantation in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville, FL. This is looking out over the Fort George River. Another stop on our National Park Tour and captured the Silver Certificate for the IBA. This plantation was very much different than most of the plantations in the south. Many of the slaves gained their freedom thru working the farm. Each slave was given a task to do for the day. When they finished their work they were free to do as they wanted.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, MA. This was simply a filler trip for the National Park Tour. We have been here multiple and times and it is always a fun visit. The ship is the Friendship of Salem, built as a replica of 1797 East Indiaman. The ship was built in 2000.

Bucksport, Maine overlooking the Penebscot River. Taken in the morning in August as we headed out to capture a bunch of BBQ joints and Maine Tour of Honor sites. If you can imagine turning to the right you will see Fort Knox National Historic Landmark and the Penebscot bridge.

Taken on West Hartford Ave in Uxbridge, MA right around Bagma's Dairy Farm. I specifically headed to this area to try to capture a HDR sunset. Taken right around 7pm in early September.

Taken at Rice City Pond in Uxbridge. The fuzzyiness in the background is actually steam rising from the Blackstone River / Rice City Pond. I created bracketed photos with one photo as if I had taken 5 photos using the autobracketing feature of the camera. While this may look like a HDR photo in is in fact a LDR photo using a fusion process.

I pass this place everyday on my way to work. It is the driveway for a residence. There is just something very peaceful about the road. I don't know if it is the gentle bends in the road, the color of the gravel on the road and / or the color, lighting of the plants and trees. This photo was taken in mid September around 4:45pm.

This was taken on the way to work on Rt 16 in Mendon, MA by Alicante's Mediterranean Grille. By purchasing the Nikon, I forced my self to get out of using it simply as a very expensive point and shot camera. From my reading, looking at other photos, my drive to work has been filled with looking at the lighting on trees, shadows on the buildings and reflections on lake. It sure makes the drive to work more fun. This was a hand held auto bracketed sequence of 3 shots.
These photos have been incorporated into a 17X11 calendar, which you can order at Cafe Press. If you would like to order one, drop me an email at with 2012 Scenic Calendar in the subject line and I will provide you a link. I don't make a dime off these calendars (I am sure Cafe Press does). My payment comes from knowing some people enjoyed the photos enough to have them hanging someplace. For now I will keep my day job.