Monday, February 20, 2012

Hashing it out at Louis

I am gonna kill myself with this camera and the DVR and the ability to record shows. Today's menu being President's Day is Louis Family Restaurant at 286 Brook Street in Providence, RI. Of course we did run around Providence picking up NRHP's with the new D5100.

Like yesterday, there was a spot right in front of Louis, also requiring a parallel park. No crowds outside, but inside when we walked in, there was only one place for 2 people to sit and the rest were taken. This is always a good sign.

Is this a start, done or work in progress.

I vaguely remember a vision like this back in the 60's

We are right in the midst of Brown University and RISD.

Inside the place is covered with things to look at and read. Catch the "Guy was Here" in the middle left. Right below the clock.

The menu. Being a sucker for omelets and hash, how could I pass up the Drunk Johnny. For bread I selected their homemade sourdough.

MeAsWe asked our waitress about the pancakes, who rattled off something about strawberries, blueberries and bananas. MeAsWe said yes. The waitress said no no not all in the same, MeAsWe said but could I and she said why not.

Now was it worthwhile? Let's just say I am glad this place is only about 20 minutes away, this could be a very frequented place for us. My omelet is right up there with one of the best I ever had. All the ingredients came thru, the hash, the onions, the cheese and the eggs. MeAsWe was just as pleased with her meal. The cost, under $21, the value, priceless. Thank God I gotta go back to work tomorrow, I found a couple more places to go.

The Triple D link

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nosing around Narragansett

On Saturday we went to Crazy Burgers in Narragansett which I wrote about separately. Not to waste the trip and a chance to use the new Nikon, I loaded up the GPS with a bunch of National Register of Historical Places to visit. This is to get MeAsWe in shape chasing stuff on the FJR. That’s not physical shape, but getting used to the stopping, u-turns where u-turns shouldn't be done, the scanning the addresses for the right location and stuff like that. After lunch we grabbed some places.

The Towers - this is what is left of the Casino built in the mid 19th century. It was a resort for social elite before burning down in 1900.

Many of these locations are private property, which I try to respect, however I will peep thru the bushes and trees to snap off a picture. This is Druidsdream. Neat name eh

Headed back towards the Ocean. There are signs everywhere that the homes were huge and opulent. My guess this was the gatehouse to an ocean view mansion. Looks like you could drive right thru the place.

Dunmere is on Ocean Road. Neat gates and an unusual style for the area.

Headed for Point Judith Lighthouse. You can't get a really good photo of the lighthouse, I wish they would move that trailer.

The sun heading for the other side of the Earth. I think I heard "I will be back tomorrow".

Our final stop was at the Old Narragansett Cemetery. Here I experimented with various camera settings. The most surprising was the camera flash ability. It literally lit up the yard.

This was the tombstone for a 7 week old boy who died in 1775.

Snapping the pictures of these places is just the beginning. When I get home I post these up on under the NRHP category. Posting to WM requires a short and long description, requiring me to look up information and particularly the history on this category. It is a great way to spend the day outside, visit places you would ordinarily drive by and learn about the past.

Going Crazy in Narragansett

After watching Triple D's, craving a hamburger and a new camera to test out, what better place to start the journey than Crazy Burger. So we head out right around 11am. As I walk outside I felt like we should be on the FJR, but MeAsWe is fighting something and really this is a day for the stomach and artistry.

We arrive at 144 Boon St and as luck would have it there was a parking spot directly across the street. I managed to parallel park like a pro. Good thing because there was a crowd outside. This is February and there is a line outside of this place?? Maybe they are outside because it is a really nice winter day. We have not totally forgotten how brutal Feb days can be in New England, so we as group, tend to take advantage of those really nice days.

Out of the car and into the restaurant and I quickly realize those people, who we would become, were outside because there was no room inside. To my surprise the wait is only going to be 30 minutes. Good thing because MeAsWe is starving and we skipped a few places to come here first.

So with nothing to do I started snapping some pictures.

Sky, my son, tells me this means this area belongs to a gang. In Narragansett ??, must be a pretty well to do gang considering the area.

People kept showing up here every minute, non-stop. MeAsWe decided to make good use of the time and look over the menu.

Across the street is the old Narragansett RR station. This guys was cooking some chicken and it really smelled good.

Our name was called right around the 30 mark. Having perused the menu ahead of time we completed our order straight away. MeAsWe decided on breakfast and ordered the chocolate chip pancakes with bananas. She also order some mocha mocha blocha capa-coffee thing which was brought quickly.

This place was bustling with activity. It was a killer to watch every ones food come out of the kitchen.

After a few false starts, which our waitress teased us with, our food finally arrived. I ordered the Whassupy Burger under the Mad-Max Burger category. With my meal I got one side and took the cole slaw. The Whassupy is ground up beef (what makes it a hamburger) with horseradish, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. On the side comes wasabi-chipotle mayonnaise. I skipped the ketchup.

So how was it, lets just say I understand why there was a crowd outside. I just can't imagine what this place is like in July and August. This just might make a good RTE location, but it gotta be off-season. A LINK to the Triple D's review

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Ride 2012

Today I was up bright and early to get the FJR over to Performance Cycle. It was due in the shop for the spider ground recall. If Performance discovers that the spider junction had a meltdown, they are required to take possession of the bike to replace the entire wiring harness. Mid February seemed like the appropiate time to have this checked out. Not quite riding season, so having the bike tied up a couple of weeks would not be a big deal.

Next thing to deal with is will the bike start. I did not put the battery on a tender this winter. There are different schools of thoughts on placing batteries on tenders. I went with the lazy method this year. So I wasn't caught by the short hairs, Friday night I went over to where the bike was stored, put the key in the ignition and watched the dash light up and listened to that familar whirl, the fuel pump energyzing. Pressed the starter button, 2 1/2 turns and the FJR is purring away. For this year, those that say new batteries don't need tendering for the few months they are stored were correct.

Organizationally getting ready to ride, especially the first few times, can be a bit challenging. Getting the riding pants on, then getting the jacket and the liner out of the closet. Placing the helmet and riding gloves on the table so I don't go down 3 flights of stairs, just to go back up because I forgot the helmet. Wallet and phone in the pants pocket, keys in the jacket pocket and put my glasses on. Walk out the door and hesitate briefly to see if I remember something I forgot. This generally doesn't work, but I still do it.

Next challenge is getting the FJR off the center stand. The FJR is just a bit taller than I am, so doing this for the first time in a couple of months can be a bit intimidating. Nothing would suck more than dropping if off the center stand and having the weight get a head of my strength and having the FJR tossing itself to the ground. I mounted the bike, got comfortable in the saddle and threw my stomach and hips forward to rock it off the stand. Plunk, my feet (or should I say my toes and balls of my feet)are firmly planted, the FJR is vertical.

I had MeAsWe help push me out of the garage, like I always do when having to back up some distance. Why get all out of breath, toes slipping out, when a small push works so effectively. This operation goes smoothly, especially cocking the handlebars to one side to turn the bike around to face the street.

Being the first ride of the season, usually has me readjusting to riding. Clutching isn't always that smooth, feet placement and stopping needs to become habit again, and just plain ole riding. Today was alot different than prior years. It was as if I had been riding thru out the winter. Everything just seemed to flow.

Next problem to knock off is to head for Giff's to check the air pressure in the tires. They have been sitting for 3 month now. I checked the rear and it read 29#'s. I didn't bother checking the front. Pulled into Bill's and he and his son, John, were polishing parts for the 80's Goldwing he is working on. Bill checked the front pressure, 39.5#'s, perfect. Some air in the rear brings it up just over 40 and we are good to go.

All done at Bill's, I finally headed out for Performance. It is brisk this morning, probably somewhere in the mid 40's. Performance is probably 15 miles away, not far, but enough to set in a chill to the core. Keeping my speeds down so I didn't start the season with a performance cerificate (speeding ticket) made the cripsness a non-issue. As I progressed to RT 140 and then turning onto RT 20, I was able to open up the FJR a bit. Not a hint of coldness, not even around the neck or fingertips. Onto RT 9, and I probably hit 70 or so, still no hint of the coolness. The ride ended all too soon, the entrance to Performance came much to quick. A right turn and parked the bike right in front of the service bay.

I always go upstairs to see what Performance has on the floor. The had 1 FJR, which I believe was there last season.

Then there was this gorgeous green ZX-14.

Performance had the bike for a couple of hours and we headed back over to pick it up around 2pm. Harness work is all done, no spider meltdowns. MeAsWe is not feeling too good and is headed back home to rest. I decided to take the long way home and spend a couple of hours just riding around, grabbed a chili at Wendy's and stopped in to visit some friends before heading back home.

All in all, this is the best start of the season ride I have ever had. With the angels looking over us, hopefully this is an incident free season. I am passionate about riding again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tis the Season for Planning and Reflection

The new riding season is fast approaching. Actually it is here, it has been an unusually mild winter for us Noreasters, but for me winter is a time for rest and rejuvenation of wanting to get back on the FJR.

The payments have been made and anxiously waiting for 2 rally towels for the GLMC USA Tour and Smoke Chasing 2012 Grand Tour.

The USA tour this year is capturing the town name on some object (building, park bench, water tower) other than a post office or town limit signs for towns that begin with U S or A. Here is a map of potential locations to grab for our trip to Florida.

Gotta be careful when ordering from the menu, one just might order more than they can chew, so I have heard

The Smoke Chasing Tour benefits Eddie's Road , a charitable organization centering on stopping the cycle of child abuse. This year tour will have a winner versus last year.. All of us will have to watch our waistlines even more, since they added joints with Smoke in their name.

We are heading for Florida this May to nail the IBA Silver Certificate National Park Tour. This will be my third tour and have been saying my last NP tour. This does not mean I will stop visiting National Parks, just means the FJR doesn’t have to be how we arrive at the visitor center. While I was at the NPS Motorcycle Touring forum, one of the posters said they were doing the IBA Lighthouse Tour. And I thought I was running out of places to go. Maybe this won't be the last NPT.

In the lower 48 states, I have only 5 states that I need to visit on a bike, North and South Dakota, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

Thinking back, the first Park Tour was easy to plan. I had a MapSource waypoint file with all the visitor center and affiliate sites east of the Mississippi. I simply had to create a route between each point and push the results to the GPS. The next one got a little more complicated, because I decided to throw in National Historic Landmarks into the mix. When planning these trips, it is easy to simply connect the dots with a line, but when it comes to execution, Time and Distance (mainly time) act as constraints. No point showing up at Flight 93 Visitor Center at 9:43pm, it is probably closed. Also traveling extensively at night has become a risky situation we are no longer willing to take. Our little mishap in Clyde Park, Montana has made us more aware of the risks.

Our trip in the spring will encompass the NP Visitor Centers and the Landmarks, but I have thrown in the USA Tour and Smoke Chasing 2012 GT waypoints into the pot. Sure has complicated the planning and has increased the miles from around 3,000 miles to 4,200 miles. Kind of like our national debt it just keeps going up. Still in the "connect the dots" phase. I develped a nifty spreadsheet that allows me to plan on arrival times, gas stops, and visit times. A write up of this is HERE.

We have 9 states from the west, so we need an additional 16 states to finish up our NP tour. That will be a shoe in. In addition, Smoke Chasing has a side menu (extra points) called the 15/15/15, which is 15 joints in 15 states in 15 days. We will be shooting for this. West Virginia has limited BBQ places to select from, so does Delaware on the path we are taking. States will be MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, DE, MD, WDC, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, TN, WV and PA. That is 17 states, and 2 of those have a problem. We just may find ourselves heading for Mississippi and Kentucky for BBQ places. If this is the case I just might have to call into work and say I will be a little late returning back from vacation. Of course if we hit the lottery, we just might make it to those 5 states that I have not done.

Every winter I ponder if I just finished my last riding season. One of these years will be the last one, but everytime I start planning an extended route, the aniticpation and excitement that riding brings comes rushing back in. I guess this year is not the last one.