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Volume 18 No. 8
Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure
Backroads Spring Break 2012 Let the Fun Begin
A Righteous Ride to PA Grand Canyon The Shores of Gitche Gumee Shira’s Ice Cream Ride …and all our great monthly columns
W H A T ’ S
I N S I D E FEAT URES
MON THLY COLUMN S FREE WHEELIN’.................................................................................4
BACKROADS’ SPRING BREAK 2012..........................................27
RIGHTEOUS RIDE TO PA’S GRAND CANYON ........................37
ON THE MARK ..................................................................................8
AMERICADE 30TH ANNIVERSARY WRAP UP ......................40
POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE .................................................9 THE SHORES OF GITCHE GUMEE..............................................41 THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD ...................................................10 BACKLASH .......................................................................................12
SHORT JAUNT TO CALIFORNIA ................................................45
IN FINE SPIRITS: VIRGINIA DISTILLERIES ...............................60
GREAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN.........................................18
SHIRA’S SUMMERTIME ICE CREAM RUN..............................63
WE’RE OUTTA HERE .....................................................................20 BIG CITY GETAWAY .......................................................................22
PRODUCT REVIEW S SUZUKI V-STROM 1000 UPGRADES .......................................17
MYSTERIOUS AMERICA...............................................................25 WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE .......................................................34
SOL HYBRID 3 SURVIVAL KIT ....................................................48
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR ..............................................49
SENA BLUETOOTH HEASET AND INTERCOM.......................50
NOLAN’S B4 COMMUNICATION SYSTEM .............................59
Brian Rathjen • Shira Kamil ~ Publishers Contributors: Jeff Bahr, Mark Byers, Victor Cruz, Kenneth Dahse, Bill Heald, Larry King, Mike Stackhouse, Dr. Seymour O’Life
BACKROADS • POB 317, Branchville NJ 07826 Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure
Phone 973.948.4176 • Fax 973.948.0823 • email firstname.lastname@example.org • web www.backroadsusa.com
For Advertising Sales Information: 973-948-4176 BACKROADS (ISSN 1087-2088) is published monthly by BACKROADS™, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved. BACKROADS™ may not be reproduced in any manner without specific written consent from the publisher. BACKROADS™ welcomes and encourages submissions (text and photos) and suggestions. Include phone number with submissions. BACKROADS™ will only return material with enclosed sufficient postage. The written articles and opinions printed in BACKROADS™ are not necessarily those of the publisher and should not be considered an endorsement. The Rip & Rides® published are ridden on the sole responsibilty of the rider. BACKROADS™ is not responsible for the conditions of the public roadways traversed. Please respect the environment, read your owner’s manual and wear proper protective gear and helmet. Ride within your limits, not over them.
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
FREE WHEELIN’ BRIAN RATHJEN The AmericAde curse? I try not to be a superstitious man, but when bad things happen repeatedly around the same time of the year or in and around the same event a number of years I get to thinking that something might just not be kosher. That something is rotten in Denmark – or in this case the Americade Rally in Lake George, New York. Now before I go any further let me do a little disclaimer here, and publicly state that I love this rally and have had a great time every year I have been there and that is something like 22 years. Still, I am starting to worry that I may just be “cursed” if that is possible. Things have happened to our machines up there that never seem to happen anywhere else. I ride over 20,000 miles a year easy, but that one week, of the 52, that we are in Lake George well, it seems, anything can and will happen. I think it all started back when I was riding my Kawasaki Concours. We had rented a pontoon boat and had spent the afternoon cruising the beautiful lake and, when I returned, I was told that another rider’s bike had toppled into mine knocking it to the ground and busting the plastics tabs and mounts to the Connie’s ample fairing and cracking the fairing as well. Although it was a problem we got it all fixed with some well-placed plastic glue and even better the fellow who did the original toppling has become a great friend and Kenny is to this day. Lemonade out of lemons. But, this trend continued as the years went by. Some of you might remember that my “farkled” out BMW GS had a little wiring fire up at Americade and earned the name “Sparky” – that one was immortalized by moto-journalist Fred Rau in his book the Touring Bible and in MCN. This fire left me stranded for a few hours till I could rewire the burned spots and patch up the harness well enough to ride home. Just a few years later this same bike suffered catastrophic cam chain failure at Americade and died a smoky, loud and clattering death on Route 9. That same weekend, while riding two-up back home on Shira’s ever-dependable Honda 919, we lost the rear wheel bearing. Stuck on the side of the road we were eventually rescued by my friend Kenny – yes, that same Kenny that knocked over my Concours all those years back. Like I said lemonade. With a new R1200 GS under my butt I attended another Americade without incident. Curse? Ha! But, I laugh too soon. As we left for Americade last year we had a frame issue that had to be addressed. The problem got resolved but at this point I was really beginning to think that maybe there was some credence to this Americade curse. Let’s jump forward to this year’s Americade. Riding around the Adirondacks this year I was making a pass on some slower riders and I could feel the clutch slipping just a tad. Damn. Changing the clutch is a pricey endeavor with BMW R-bikes; so I thought to take it easy on the bike till Americade and a little ride we had planned for after the rally was done. At this point the bike had just turned 35,000 miles on the 36,000-mile warranty. Just a few days after the rally I could feel something happening in the rear and, killing the engine and rolling silently with the clutch in, it was very apparent that the rear drive bearings had failed – a warranty issue with 35,720 on the clock. I parked the bike and called Lester at Frank’s BMW in Essex Junction, Vermont. Lester didn’t know me from Adam, but he was familiar with Backroads and he was kind enough to drive 80 some miles in the dark to pick up the GS, and the 80 miles back as well. Looking on the internet I saw a number of postings saying that when other rear drives had failed many thought, at first, it was the clutch. Well, if the rear drive was my only issue and it was covered (barely) by warrant then hooray for me! The next day we arrived at Frank’s BMW only to find that they had already swapped the drive with an older one and asked if we could do a little Vermont touring for a few days and then return when the “new” rear drive came in and they would swap it once again and I would be good to go – under warranty. That sounded like a plan but first Lester was going to take the GS for a test ride to make sure all was well. When he returned he rode straight into his shop; never a good sign. Lester had good and bad news. The drive was fine, the clutch was toast. It was going to cost a bundle to replace the clutch, as it was not under my warranty. (Continued on Page 11)
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
W H ATC H AT H I N K I N ’ SHIRA KAMIL WhAT To do WiTh The kiddies It’s the middle of summer. The kids are done with school. Some may have the option of heading to camp, thus leaving the adults some ‘alone time’ and a chance to explore on the motorcycles. But not all parents are that lucky. When the kids are home, there is still a yearning to get out on the road on two-wheels. You’ve done all the theme and water parks to death and camping is so 10-minutes ago. What to do, what to do… BAseBAll – The All-AmericAn sporT Yes, we are going to start with a trip to Citifield, the home of our beloved Metropolitans. What could be better than a day at the ball field, complete with hot dogs, peanuts and, if you’re really lucky, a win by the Mets. Yes, this one may be a pricey one, but aren’t the kids worth it. In all honesty, heading to a minor league game is much more fun. The players have more heart and soul (they are looking for that major league contract), it’s a more relaxed atmosphere and you’ll get out of there with the shirt still on your back. There’s a bunch of minor league parks in our area depending on what direction you’d like to take. Keeping with the blue and orange theme, you can head to Brooklyn’s KeySpan Park and take in a Cyclone game then head over to the home of the real Cyclone for some roller coaster
thrills. More of a pinstripe person? (we won’t hold it against you) Then you’ll have to point the bike to Staten Island for the Staten Island Yankees at Richmond County Bank Park. Rather stay away from the heat of the city? How about a trip to New Jersey for the Trenton Thunder or Lakewood BlueClaws. Would you like a more educational baseball experience? There’s the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State University in Little Falls, NJ. Here you’ll learn all about one of the most beloved sports figures of all times, as well as the most quoted. Perhaps a little longer journey? Cooperstown’s National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will keep you and the kiddies busy for at least a day, but I’m sure a weekend would be more like it. Speaking of a nice overnight destination, there’s also the Little League Baseball Museum in Williamsport, PA. Now, THAT’S a great riding destination as well as a cool baseball experience. Okay, enough about baseball. iT’s hoT; cAn We go sWimming? Get the kids, and yourself, out of the house for exercise and some fresh air. Stop at your favorite deli, pack a lunch and some cold drinks, and take a ride to any number of state parks that have some great swimming spots. There’s New Jersey’s Wawayanda State Park, Lake Marcia at High Point State Park, Shepherd Lake at Ringwood State Park and Turtle Beach at Delaware Water Gap State Park, all with some nice hikes to a cool swimming hole. Heading to New York? These might require a little more effort to reach the ultimate goal of a cool dip, but they are all great destinations: Fahnestock State Park, Catskill Park and Mohonk Preserve. Maybe you’re planning on a return visit to one particular swimming hole? The Quarry Swim Club has been cooling folks off since 1928 in Hopewell, NJ. (Continued on Page 11)
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
ON THE MARK MARK BYERS The geAr I’m a gear dude. It doesn’t matter whether it’s shooting or cycling, I want the gear. An old girlfriend once called me “queer for the gear.” I have more motorcycle boots than I have dress shoes. I’ve learned, through painful experience, that failure to have the right gear or trying to use equipment in ways for which it was not designed is a bad idea. On the other hand, having the right gear is like having the right tool: it makes life so much easier. In motorcycling, the right gear can make the difference between comfort and agony. I remember a ride to Lake Placid wherein Betsy and I got caught in a summer storm. We soon learned that our ill-matched jacket and pants directed the rain right down the back of our butts and thence into our boots. Here’s a tip: Gore-tex keeps water in just as well as it keeps it out. Fortunately, the hotel in Plattsburg had a dryer. Since then, we’ve gotten jackets that keep our butts dry when the sky’s wet. The right gear is more than a comfort, however, it’s life. I’ve been fortunate to go without serious mishaps, but in the ones I’ve had, my gear has been my best friend. An entanglement with the rear quarter of a car back in ought-one left me with a bent subframe on the SV, but merely a bruised hip on my body. I got up and rode the bike home. I was riding offroad and caught a handlebar on a small pine while negotiating a tight trail. The resulting ejection from the bike tossed me flat on my back at the bottom of a ravine. The breath went out of me in a whoosh and I remember whacking the back of my helmet on the ground. I’ve always worn helmets, but I’d just started wearing a chest/back protector and I remember thinking how glad I was to have done so. It hasn’t always been so: in my youth, a pair of jeans, t-shirt, a helmet, and some garden gloves would suffice for a dual-sport outing. I was fortunate, however, in that my get-offs were low-speed affairs and, other than some
scratches and bruises, I came away from my youth largely unscathed. I had to start racing bicycles to do serious damage: I broke two bones in one crash, along with a helmet. In fact, I’ve broken three bicycle helmets in crashes and I can attest to their effectiveness in keeping your cranium coddled. Over the years, my experience has left me with the indelible perception that All The Gear, All The Time (ATGATT) is a great adage. I feel naked if I ride without all my security “blankies” around me: helmet, gloves, pants, boots, and jacket. True to form, I’ve got multiple examples of each depending upon the ride, offroad or on. Fate doesn’t take a vacation, so you never know when she’ll put you on the ground. One of my inspirations is the Brittany Morrow story previously published in Backroads and documented on her web site, www.rockthegear.org. I want to take every young man in a t-shirt and trainers with a tank-top-clad girlfriend in flip-flops on the back of his sportbike and have them read her story. If the part about skin grafts and “wound vacuums” and having road rash scrubbed under “conscious sedation” doesn’t impress, then Darwin deserves them. I’m serious about gear: yesterday, when I had to take an MSF Experienced Rider Course refresher to maintain my ability to ride on a military base, I wore boots, pants, an armored leather jacket, full gloves, and a full-face helmet. That’s not so unusual for such a course, right? Not until you consider that yesterday broke a DC record for heat and the air temp in the shade was 106 deg, with a range temp of 116 deg. It was so hot that one of the instructors, clad in jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt, said “You GOTTA be burning up in that.” It was an interesting statement from an instructor. I was not, however, burning up. In fact, I was better off than some of the students, one of whom we nearly lost to heat exhaustion. I was hydrating constantly with Gatorade and water I’d brought. I was also dressed in moisture-wicking undergarments and had one of those evaporative gel neck-coolers that I’d soak in the cooler between exercises. For the entirety of the course and for the two-hour ride home afterward, I wouldn’t call myself comfortable, but I was alert. Being queer for the gear has its advantages.
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
P O S TC A R D S FROM THE HEDGE BILL HEALD The ruBBer meeTs The mAchine Have you noticed how fast things are changing in terms of how we build stuff? I have found this trend inescapable. This altering of what were once traditional manufacturing methods encompasses just about every aspect of a product’s creation, too. I’m not just talking about how much our domestic production has been moved to places in the world where workers are paid much less compared to U.S. workers, either. In this case, I’m focusing more on how the relentless march of technology and automation is changing how just about everything we depend on is cobbled together. In some cases, formerly labor-intensive assembly and crafting jobs that were the work of experienced artisans are being taken over by increasingly sophisticated robots, much the same way this kind of obsolescence has been going on since man starting making things. There’s an old Woody Allen monologue where he talks about his father becoming technologically unemployed, as they replaced him with a gadget “about this big,” he says, showing a small device that would fit in your fingers, “that does everything my father does only it does it much better. The depressing thing is,” Woody concludes, “my mother ran out and bought one.” It’s an old joke (and a sad one) but it is as relevant as ever. I mention it because something I came across recently surprised me, in terms of yet another job formerly efficient when done by hand is apparently feeling the pressure of automation as well, after over a century of relying on skilled humans. First, though, some history. Back in the 90’s I toured Dunlop’s tire factory in Buffalo, New York, which was a fascinating experience especially since I got to focus on the motorcycle side of this substantial operation. I was introduced to the entire process, from when the rubber arrives from forests in places like South America (occasionally bringing very bizarre spider with them, or so a worker told me) to the packing of a broad variety of finished, freshly-cooked tires for shipment. I followed much of the process of a number of motorcycle tires (in one case it was a tire that “sported” a compound ideal for the AMA’s H-D Sportster racing series), and got to watch as technicians during a critical stage of assembly hand-build tires. This was a complex process, as each tire has a number of belts and core elements that have to be laid down perfectly in the right order with great precision. Watching the talented Dunlop worker build a tire gave me a whole new appreciation for the time and care involved, with what is such a critical component to both our enjoyment and the safety of our rides. It came to my attention shortly after that trip that overall, the vast majority of tires (from little economy car hoops to tractor-trailer tires) are made largely by hand as well. Wild, eh? It helps show why a high-quality tire, from the meticulous assembly to the advanced high-tech materials used, is an expensive thing to manufacture. So imagine my surprise, then, when I was recently talking with an auto tire vendor for a Scandinavian concern and he told me the company’s new Russian tire plant was the most automated in the world, largely changing the way that tires are made (and the size of the workforce that makes it happen). He mentioned the factory was run by an amazingly small number of employees considering the volume of tires they produce. I’ve always felt that as complex as auto and truck tires are in this day and age, motorcycle tires are still far more complicated because of their very nature. Their construction has to allow for all the crazy things our tires have to do every time we roll out of the driveway, like
lean over, steer, experience a tremendous amount of engine torque on a really small contact patch, and provide substantial adhesion over that contact patch over a broad range of temperatures and conditions. The resulting precision required in assembling a tire that can handle all this has meant humans have and accuracy has apparently been prohibitive and ultimately less than satisfactory. At this point I should clear up an important point: a lot of tire production IS highly automated, at least it was when I was watching the process take place. But the real nuts and bolts of putting the glorious hoop together has been performed by people with the help of a machine that helps facilitate the process. Given what’s happening in tire production (the Russian facility I mentioned is no doubt the way things are going), will we see motorcycle tire production lose some human influence as well? If so, what does this mean? Obviously more jobs will be lost; this time in a satellite portion of the motorcycle industry. Or, will the production techniques involving carbonbased life forms will continue into the foreseeable future due to the specialized nature of motorcycle tires? Will more automation change pricing at all at the consumer end? Will more robots mean a different type of construction technique, and ultimately a tire that feels or performs differently? I am investigating as we speak, looking into Dunlop circa 2012 as I’ve seen what they were all about a few years ago. They still state, “To this day, [Dunlop] is the only manufacturer to build motorcycle tires in the USA.” Hopefully this still involves a lot of our Buffalo buddies, who have been building so many superb tires for so many rides for so long. I’ll share what I discover next month.
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
TH OUGHTS FROM THE ROAD noT my FAulT A few falls ago, I was headed home after a nice ride when I decided to take a short cut. It was a nice back way home and there was seldom any traffic. I ended up on a long straight where I could see what looked like a car across the road in the distance. As I got closer and could see smoke coming from the front of the car and then noticed the front end was damaged. As I slowed, I could see a gentleman slumped over the steering wheel and could see a damaged car behind it. I’d come onto a head on collision. As I dismounted to see if I could help, there was a guy on the side of the road checking a girl in what was left of a Honda Civic. Boom boxes were blaring from the dead car loud enough to make any attempt to hear if things were shorting out impossible, I did hear the crying girl in the driver’s seat say she was pregnant. The old fellow she hit, was still slumped behind the wheel but starting to come to. After things were stabilized, the cell phones started to come out. I heard the young lady telling someone on the other end, “The car is a wreck and “It Wasn’t My Fault”. The gentleman on the side of the road was telling the onlookers the Civic “must have been going like hell” and that it was “a good thing I stepped out of the way when I did”. The old guy in the Ford was being loaded on the gurney but aside from being dazed, seemed ok. The police were taking statements as I directed traffic and through the statements, I read between the lines and figured out how things came undone. Gentleman “A” as we’ll call him, had been working on his lot and his car was parked on the shoulder. It was in the road a little but there is usually little traffic there so he probably didn’t feel it needed to be further off the road. The older gent in the Ford (Gentleman “B”) was on his way home as he’s
Mike Stackhouse probably done a million times before. The young girl in the Civic (“C”) was making a quick trip into town. As everyone approached, “A”, instead of waiting for “B” to pass, opened his car door to get in. This caused “B” to swerve into the other lane, as he’s probably done a million times on that road, at which point he hit “C”. At no time did I hear anyone take any blame for the crash. “A” was pretty cocky and laying it all on “C” because “she must have been going too fast and not paying attention”. (She was the youngest person involved) My take? “A” should have waited for the car to pass to open the door. (Maybe even park his car totally off the road) “B” should have been slowing down and looking ahead to make sure the road was clear before taking to the other lane. “C” should have been able to see the situation unfolding (it was on a straight after all) and backed down. I’m guessing between the booming and possibly a cell phone (it was retrieved off the floor) there was some distracted driving going on. The only good thing was, it was a Civic and not a motorcyclist. What does this have to do with motorcycles Mike? Simply that the “Not My Fault” line has echoed through the years when I worked at motorcycle shops. Of all the wrecks I’ve heard the stories from, if you read between the lines, it WAs someone’s fault. However, it’s usually not the one being blamed. (This is painfully true with incidents I’ve been involved in…) Does Crap Occur? Once in a while it does. Otherwise, usually it’s a matter of poor decision-making. Working in shops, I heard all the lines about the drivers being blind, deaf and dumb as well as “the truck just pulled out in front of me!” However, continued listening usually pointed out some flaws in the rider’s judgment or skill level. Either they were going too fast, not paying attention or any num-
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
ber of other things that can make the difference between riding away and being hauled away. When I was a department manager at a ski area, I attended quite a few safety seminars. Worker Comp injuries were on the rise and we were told to document “close calls”. What that meant was, if someone almost got cut, if someone almost fell, if someone almost had something dropped on them, log it and report it. From there, not only was there discussion about what might have happened, but how to make things safer in the workplace as well. If you’ve ever had a close call on a motorcycle, you can bet your last dollar you should be sitting down and doing the same. Step back out of the moment, once you’ve calmed down, and REALLY look at what you were doing leading up to the incident. Did you see it coming? Did you react correctly? What could you have done differently? Continue questioning yourself until you’ve broken down every little piece. If you do not analyze a close call, the next time the same thing happens, you may not be so lucky. I recall, when I first started riding, I thought everyone in a car was out to kill me. They were ALL a##holes. It wasn’t that I came up on their blind side. It wasn’t because I was going a little too fast. It wasn’t because I wasn’t competent braking hard. It, in other words, wasn’t MY fault. I was lucky. The early tangles I had allowed me to walk away and contemplate that, hmmm, maybe I was at fault a bit. As my lessons continued, a funny thing happened. I had fewer and fewer close calls. Did the drivers get better and see me all the time? Ah, that would be a no. What happened was, I got better at seeing THE SITUATION before it unfolded. Where I once had a close call every time I rode, I now see something only rarely. One can go through life blaming someone else and always wondering why bad things happen to him or her. Or, one can accept that things happen and take measures to make sure when things DO happen, it affects them as little as possible. Could it be someone else’s fault? Sure. But I wouldn’t bet MY life on it. WhATchAThinkin’
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But, Lester had a thought – I could trade in my 2009 GS and for a bit more of a bundle I could ride away with a brand new 2012 R1200GS Rallye Edition. Double Over Head Cams, 110 horses, Magma Red frame – Alpine white with red and blues rally livery! Very snazzy. I was parked in Nobrainerville. Deal done and a nice ride home with a new steed. Curse indeed. If I was cursed then how come it all ended up so well? Only time will tell. The day after we returned I heard Shira laughing as she was opening that day’s mail. My new registration had just come in for the 2009 GS – all $70 dollars worth, just hours after I had been to motor vehicles to register the new Rally Edition GS. Damn…. Curses!
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Here you have to buy a season pass, but you can get an 8-visit one for $116 for adults and $92 for the kids (612), which might just fit the bill. everyThing’s coming up roses Perhaps you have some potential horticulturalist in your midst. There are a number of great gardens, botanical and otherwise, in our general vicinity. The Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum in Rocky Hill, CT contains one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America. August 18 will be the 46th anniversary of the discovery of the tracks at Dinosaur State Park with all kinds of fun activities. The Arboretum has over 250 varieties, most of which represent what was around during the days of the dinosaurs. The New York Botanical Garden, in ‘Da Bronx’ will keep the leaf-peepers and flower-fanciers occupied for a full day. If not, you can always head over to the Bronx Zoo, which will certainly take up the rest of the day. If you’d like to take more of a road trip for your greenery, point your wheels toward Maryland, Monkton to be specific, and the Ladew Topiary Gardens. Said to be the largest topiary gardens in the US, Harvey Ladew, a self-taught gardener, created 15 thematic ‘garden rooms’ on 22 acres of his 250-acre Maryland property including over 100 topiaries. I’m sure the kids will be amazed at what someone can do with a scissor and some hedges. This should keep you on the road with the kids for the rest of the summer. Hopefully they’ll have enjoyed the time spent on the bike as much as the places you’ve taken them and that this will develop their love for travel and motorcycles. minor league Ball parks • www.milb.com state parks • www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests Quarry swim club, hopewell, nJ 609-466-0810 • www.quarryswimclub.com
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Letters to the Editor
AMA Thoughts Brian, In reference to your Free Wheelin’ article about AMA events, I am with you on your opinion. Perhaps Mr. Dingman is too busy counting (and spending) the incredible bonus that he was awarded, to be bothered with something as trivial as listening to his members. Since I live five minutes from AMA headquarters I get lots of feedback from both members and employees. From what I hear things are not good there. Mr. Dingman fired a lot of longtime, good people. And many of my friends are voting with their wallets, meaning dropping memberships. It’s a very sad time indeed for an organization that we, as motorcyclist, should support, and likewise they should be able to provide a return on our membership. In that regard I would question the compensation to Mr. Dingman of $200,000.00 a year, plus his bonus of $50,000.00. You need to ask yourself if the man is doing enough for you as a member, to be worth a quarter mil. a year. As a Life Member (52 years) I haven’t paid dues for many years, but would be glad to if they had something to offer. Have you looked at their magazine lately ? Each issue gets smaller, it contains NOTHING. Enough of my venting. I’m going to nominate Backroads for a Pulitzer,
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Mail: BACKROADS PO Box 317 Branchville NJ 07826
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Got something to say? We’d love to hear it. Letters may be edited, never censored, to fit.
that’s how good you guys are! Keep up the good work, and give my best to Shira. A Long-Time AMA Member and Avid Backroads Reader
Just hopped off the old GS after a trip to Ithaca. Had a second to get this blurb off to you. Yeah, the new GS is Sweet, no doubt :) Finally got to read the June issue, as things are busy. You’ve got a gripe with the AMA. I’m thinking Vintage Days might have slipped your mind. Old bikes, granted, but all the racing and flea market you can handle and some pretty good seminars, too. No extra $ to get into the pits, either! That’s my favorite part as I can wander in the pits as much as I want. Too cool. Now for my gripe with the AMA. I think it stinks that they dumped the Field Rep program and now put in no appearances at the IMS or Americade, for example. Yeah, some old sour puss was manning a Dist. 3 tent at Americade. I said hi to him and he managed to grunt a little. Fantastic representation, no? Reminds me of our esteemed government. Give them $ and they assure us that they are working for the common good CYCLE MOTION of us all. is now a The Best of Luck to you and the Members of the Can-Am Dealer Backroads Family! Sindee Brian and Shira, Tomorrow I’m going to go eat at Cook’s Corner and I’m bringing my July issue of Backroads with me. You write great. Jay Rubin Roads Scholar
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Oh irony.... On my way to work today, in the traffic moving rather well, I was in the left lane. About two car lengths in front to my right (middle lane) I saw a cargo van with a nice sticker on the back. I rode in that position maybe for 10 minutes. When the car in front of me moved forward I did as well. I was going to wave or nod my head to the driver because of the sticker....But when I was by his rear wheel, without the turn signal the van just moved into my lane - INTO ME ! Luckily the driver heard my horn and jumped back to the middle lane.... I moved forward to see the driver and shook my head and gestured in disbelieve. I could see him mouth “I’m so sorry”...or at least that’s what I imagined. I kept going but couldn’t stop thinking about the sticker on the back of that van.... “START SEEING MOTORCYCLES” ........ Cheers, Peter
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
A comment from the Backroads Website… Hi Brian, I read your entry about the trip you and Shira took to Vermont. The loss of our fellow riders is soberly and duly noted. It was well written in a style that put me closer your miracle and made me think about all of mine. Reviewing my providence is not always a comfortable thing to do, but I should gratefully do so more often to sharpen my skills and focus. That providence in those uncontrolled moments reveals more about how I see the world around me and less about how they see me. When I am on a bike, I believe I am invisible to most. I am still learning that I am invincible to none. Thank you for sharing more of the latter with me. Ride safe, Bikermike Shira & Brian, I hope all is well. Wish I knew when you were romping in my backyard. I enjoyed your article as it touched on several things from my past life in NY. I resided in the town of Carmel (actually hamlet of Mahopac) for 20+ years. (I happen to be working on a historical ride based in that area) Rte. 301 was part of my “gotta get a quick ride in” loop. Been to the Monastery too. My wife’s family is from Yorktown Heights and still goes to the old Yorktown Church. Steve Smith
Feedback on ‘Gone to Oregon’ Glenn writes, ‘From Hood River east to the Dalles along the gorge . . . and take the Historic Columbia River Highway (Federal Rt. 30, AKA The Lincoln Highway, that spans our nation from Astoria on the Oregon coast to Atlantic City).’ In reading this article it reads like Glenn is saying the Lincoln Highway runs from Atlantic City to Astoria, which I believe is incorrect. I believe according to all I’ve seen in print that this national highway runs from Times Square in NYC to San Francisco, CA. Maybe Glenn’s Route 30, which portions might contain the Lincoln Highway, does run from New Jersey west-
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ward to Oregon. This I am not sure about. Just my thought from upstate NY. Larry Walley Albany, NY Larry, We believe you are right on this. Great story though.
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INDUS TRY INFOBITES DUAL SPORT ADVENTURES BROUGHT TO YOU BY GSMMOTORENT In their fourth year of operation, GSMmotoRent, based in Townsend, TN, was established to provide dual sport motorcycle rentals to the adventure seeking rider. Along with their fleet of bikes including, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, BMW and Triumph, ranging in size from 200cc to 1200cc, there is something for everyone. They also have extensive knowledge of the local areas they serve to provide a memorable dual sport adventure. With many self guided routes and maps to choose from, there is always somewhere new to explore, and if you don’t want to go it alone, guides are also available. Due to the winter weather in the Smoky Mountains and the many road closures, they migrate to Terlingua, TX, just outside Big Bend National Park for the winter months and set up shop there. Open Mid-March through Mid-November in Townsend, TN, just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this location offers easy access
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
News from the Inside to several forest service and fire roads, also being close to the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway, Blue Ridge Parkway and many other popular roads for motorcycle enthusiasts. West Texas was chosen for their winter location because of the excellent weather, variety of terrain.... including easy to expert, and the colorful history of the Big Bend area......making this a great place to ride dual sport bikes. Available January through mid March. As a family run business, owners Dan and Debbie Dickie, both avid riders, want to make it easy for the rider that wants to give dual sport riding a try, as well as provide more technical routes and equipment for the more experienced off road rider. They’ll prove you can have twice as much fun on a dual sport. For more information and to see some videos of the area’s riding, check out their website, www.gsmmotorent.com., or give them a call at 865-4486090.
AMA’S “MY HALL OF FAME PROJECT” The American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame has introduced a new way for individuals and companies to help promote and protect motorcycling’s heritage: My Hall of Fame. “The idea is simple,” said AMA Director of Operations and Hall of Famer Jack Penton. “For a small donation, your photo can hang on the wall of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame museum entrance foyer during the campaign year. The image you put in that space can be a photo of you, your family, your friends, your bike, your company logo — anything appropriate for public display. “The Penton family has already jumped on board with our support, and I’m looking forward to seeing others back the Hall of Fame’s mission in this very visible way,” Penton added. A 3-inch-square photo will be placed on the wall for a $20 donation, while an $80 donation includes a 6-inch-square photo and a $180 donation secures
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
a 9-inch-square photo. All donors participating in the My Hall of Fame program receive an official certificate noting that their picture is on display. All proceeds support the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. To hang with the legends and support the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, just visit MotorcycleMuseum.org > Get Involved > My Hall of Fame.
A GREENER WAY TO LEARN TO RIDE Zero Motorcycles, the global leader in the electric motorcycle industry, today announced the company’s popular urban motorcycle, the Zero XU, meets the strict criteria of the MSF and is currently being utilized in the organization’s motorcycle training programs. Zero becomes the first electric motorcycle manufacturer in the United States to provide consumers with a new and unique learning experience at MSF courses. By eliminating shifting, heat, exhaust, clutches and noise, riders find themselves immersed in the single task of improving their actual riding skills. “The Zero XU successfully completed a pilot program on two training courses in Washington state and Florida. Students and instructors alike found the motorcycle to be highly responsive and handle nicely,” said Mark Cummings, fleet manager – North America, Zero Motorcycles. “The XU allows students to enhance their skills and concentrate on the fundamentals of riding, while still experiencing the look and feel of a traditional motorcycle. Course operators also love that there is very little upkeep in terms of maintenance and, of course, no fuel to add or other fluids that can run the risk of spillage.”
The Zero XU reduces the total cost of ownership for any school by eliminating all routine powertrain maintenance and the need for refueling. The motorcycle can be plugged into any standard outlet and, if needed, can be ‘quick’ charged with an optional accessory. The Zero XU power pack is quickly swappable, can be easily removed for off-site charging and the cost of recharging is often around one penny per mile. With a majority of training sessions being held in small closed-course areas, the absence of exhaust and noise eliminates several training concerns and opens up new training venue possibilities. “What a fantastic training tool! The Zero XU blends a lightweight motorcycle feel and posture with an electric motor to ‘twist-n-go.’ The suspension, gearing, braking and overall performance would be very favorable as a training cycle. These bikes should prove to be an ideal bridge of motorcycling, environmentally friendly green vehicles and the social scooter scene. What a fantastic ride,” said Kyle McCarty, RiderCoach, trainer/chief instructor, Motorcycle Safety Technical Specialist, Department of Licensing in Olympia, Wash. (Continued on next page)
Slow-smoked chicken, Dry Rub Spareribs, Pulled Pork or Beef Brisket and four of our sides.*
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
MOTO RENTALS IN VERMONT NOW AVAILABLE MotoVermont offers late model Touring, Sport and Dual- purpose motorcycles for rent to travelers and locals alike. Expert route guidance, outlined maps, GPS guided tours, helmets and all the gear one would need for their motorcycle adventure is also available. MotoVermont is the creation of avid motorcyclist and general Vermont enthusiast, Eric Milano. Milano’s many miles exploring Vermont, the Adirondacks, New England and beyond atop his motorbike have given him a vast knowledge of the best motorcycling roads in our region. Milano came up with the concept of MotoVermont soon after his son was born in 2008 in an attempt to quench his insatiable appetite for motorcycle travel while also being home most nights with his family. MotoVermont is the only full-service motorcycle rental outfit in New England. For more info please contact: Eric Milano @ MotoVermont, 1891 Williston Rd Suite #5, South Burlington, VT. 05403 • 802-860-6686 • motovermont.com
2013 VERY BORING RALLY 3 Mark your calendar, tie a string around your finger and start planning a ride to scenic Northern Minnesota. The Very Boring Rally 3 will be August 23-25, 2013, at Aerostich World Headquarters and the nearby Spirit Mountain Resort in Duluth, Minnesota. Attend the 30th anniversary celebration revelry and join with the usual assortment of happy-campers, malcontents, curmudgeons and dorks. Good-times, both planned and impromptu, will be had by all who attend...with a few top-secret surprises in the works, too! There will be on-site camping, celebrated national entertainment, great food (BBQ dinner), an on-site National Championship Observed Trials, guided area riding tours, games, and lots of prizes and awards - for motorcycle poetry readings, the oldest/youngest/farthest distance riders, and much more. Even an award for the sorriest bike ridden to the party, and one for the most worn-out Aerostich suit. Come celebrate 30 years of Aerostich nonsense and Riderwearhouse
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catalog mischief. Advance ticket sales, camping and hotel reservation information, and much more info is online at www.boringrally.com.
CHAMPION INVESTMENTS, INC. ASSUMES OPERATION OF LEHMAN TRIKES, USA Champion Trikes, via its sister company Champion Investments, Inc., a South Dakota Corporation, announced the resumption of Lehman Trikes, USA operations. Lehman Trikes USA, considered one of the trike industry’s foremost leaders and well known for its high quality and reliable products, had suspended its operations in early March of this year, while in search of a qualified investor. Craig L. Arrojo, CEO, of Champion Investments Inc. and Champion Trikes stated, “We are extremely proud and excited to announce the acquisition of Lehman Trikes into the Champion family of motorcycle related companies. They are an exceptional organization, firmly grounded in high quality products and exceptional customer service.”
NO MOTORCYCLE LICENSE? NO PROBLEM! EagleRider, the world’s largest motorcycle rental and tour company has recently unveiled its Pillion Rides & Day Tours program today for travelers and adventure enthusiasts who want to experience riding a motorcycle without the requirement of a license. With packages starting at $359 per person, riders will be teamed up with a certified EagleRider Tour Guide to roar down the open road to breathtaking destinations along the Florida Coast for an adventure of a lifetime. The Pillion (Passenger) Rides & Day Tours are offered in half-day or fullday escapes which include a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Certified Motorcycle Driver, Motorcycle Driver’s EagleRider Serviced Rental Bike, Fuel and Oil, Rental Helmet and Jacket, Rider Orientation & Motorcycle Familiarization, Discounted Activities during Tour, Lunch, and an EagleRider Souvenir T-shirt and Photo. Riders may choose from Harley Davidson, BMW, Honda or Triumph models. All EagleRider bikes are meticulously inspected and serviced for the safety of all riders. For more information, visit www.EagleRider.com, or call within the USA, (888) 557-3541.
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
PROJECT BIKE • SUZUKI V-STROM 1000 UPGRADE One of the most popular machines with the ADV and ADV wannabe crowd is Suzuki’s V-Strom 1000. This machine is an all-around winner combining a great riding position, superb comfort and a smooth and powerful engine. It has it all… well almost. This is where the crew at Givi USA and Tour & Ride come in. Taking a bike like the V-Strom and making it more of a long distance tourer is relatively easy with just a few accessories from Givi and Tour & Ride. First thing we wanted to address was the heavy buffeting that the stock windscreen allows.
GIVI’S AIRFLOW WINDSCREEN We ordered Givi Airflow screen which is a specific sliding wind-screen for Suzuki DL650/DL1000 V-Strom (2004 to 2009), its clear polycarbonate is totally transparent and has little distortion and it comes with an easy to use mounting kit. The Airflow is a two-part shield that allows the top screen to be slid up or down depending upon conditions. On the VStrom it can be raised to a maximum height 65 cm with 12 cm of extension and has a width of 44 cm. That is a substantial amount of extra protection from the elements and is extremely easy to use with a flick of two pressure locks the top screen can be raised or lowered. Installation was fairly easy and once installed the Suzuki was a far better beast on day trips and long distance touring. The Airflow windshield sells for $250 and can be found at www.giviusa.com.
KAPPA GARDA LUGGAGE: The second thing we needed to address was some serious luggage. Tour & Ride has just released their new Kappa Garda Bags designed for adventure-touring machines. Available in two versions, side bags and top case, with a capacities 33 LT for the side cases and 46 LT for the top case the new Kappa Garda bags are the best solution for the bikes looking for tough, durable and waterproof luggage.
They look great too! The Garda bags come in a flat black with silver center panel. Although created for adventure machines these bags are attractive enough for many other machines too. They use standard Givi mounts, so if you already have Givi bags you can switch in minutes. List price for the side cases is $279 each (you need two) and $299 for the top case. The Kappa Garda luggage is available exclusively from Tour and Ride Inc and can be purchased from their website www.tourandride.com.
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
O’Toole’s Harley-Davidson Presents
G REAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN
tasty places to take your bike
rosemAry’s TexAs TAco 2588 ROUTE 22, PATTERSON NY 845-878-9665 • N41°28.990’ W073° 34.526 Oh boy, do we have something a bit special and way different on this month’s stop on the Great All American Diner Run! You know how we always say there is a formula for a great GAADR? Good roads, fine location, fun food… well, this time let’s follow our own Doctor Seymour O’Life as he brings us to a New York state eatery that looks like it dropped out of Mysterious America. One of my favorite routes is 22 that heads up north not far from the border with Connecticut. Along the way you will run through the small town of Patterson. It is here that you will find the funky and fantabulous Rosemary’s Texas Taco. When I first ran into this place I thought maybe it was some sort of antique or auction place, but then I spotted the sign for Rosemary’s Texas Taco on the right as I shot by. I like Texas, and I love Tex-Mex foods so I made a quick u-turn and headed back to Rosemary’s. Pulling into the lot I was quick to notice the wavy color flooring that the bike was rolling over with its ochre, blues and greens. Scattered about the garden entrance were all sorts of things. Old push cars, children’s motorcycle, trains and tricycles. A lone mannequin sat in something that might have wanted to be a submarine at one point. Bold colors and odd objects ran the modest outdoor seating area and the steps leading to the restaurant promised even more strangeness inside. I am Doctor Seymour O’Life purveyor of the odd, strange and peculiar. I have eaten in many an unusual place around this planet, but Rosemary’s even had my jaw hitting the floor. If the outside garden promised - the inside delivered. The first thing I spotted was a “No Pictures” sign. Well, that is always promising in itself.
The second thing I spied was, well, the layout of Rosemary’s itself. It was like Backroads’ own Monkey With A Gun Bar had been bombarded by Gamma Radiation and had gone all Hulky! It is wild. So much …STUFF! Posters, jets, starships, models, toys, paintings, Elvis bust, game trophies, gold lame curtains and Chico the Parrot – this one’s alive and very talkative. Hint - do not say hello as Chico will not surrender on this and will drive you batty. He also bites. There must be at least 10,000 things, gadgets, statues, gizmos, doo-dads and whatchamacailits hanging, standing and embodying Rosemary’s Texas Taco all squeezed into a tiny warren of rooms that couldn’t possibly hold everything that you are seeing. It’s like the Tardis of taco joints. But, wait… there’s more! There is the grand lady herself, Rosemary Jamison. Rosemary has her roots in, as you might have guessed, Texas. She moseyed on up to the Big Apple back in 1968 and opened up a pushcart taco stand. She then immigrated to Brooklyn where she ran her own restaurant and then soon found her home outside Patterson, New York and she has stayed and flourished. Rosemary is a feisty gal, with an adorable Texas accent that hasn’t left even with all the years up here with them Yankees. Not many women you meet these days sport such an eclectic look with purple hair, wild blue and purple eye shadow, and tight Danskin outfit. She looks part punk rocker, part circus star and a little super hero thrown in to boot. She also is as sweet as they come and loves to tell you about Texas Taco and how she came to be a fixture in this part of New York State. Her menu is simple - tacos, crisp or soft, filled with beans or beef, cheese, onions, lettuce and hot sauce. Burritos, also with beans or beef. A crispy corn tortilla tostada. She also serves up chili Texas-style and a Fiesta Pup; which is her version of a hot dog with the works. Her prices are fair and the food good, but what you will remember the most is the décor, which will bring you up or make you wonder – but, you will be moved. It is impossible not to be. I think Rosemary’s Texas Taco is the most unique eatery that Backroads
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
has ever visited and I hope you follow my wake and take it all in as well. There are few individualistic places like Rosemary’s Texas Taco anymore in this country and I say viva Texas and viva Rosemary! O’Life out!
Rip & Ride on page 52
you can download the 115-mile one-way route here: www.sendspace.com/file/icsdwr When downloading from Sendspace, click on the BLUE DOWNLOAD BOX ONLY. GPS and printed routes may vary slightly.
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Bergen County Harley-Davidson Presents
WE’RE OUT TA HERE
a weekend destination keeping you on the backroads
AndreA hoTel 89 ATlAnTic Ave, WesTerly, ri 02891 888-318-5707 • WWW.AndreAhoTel.com In September of the year 1938 everything changed for New England, and especially Rhode Island. The New England Hurricane of 1938 was the first major hurricane to strike New England since 1869. The storm formed near the coast of Africa in September of the 1938 Atlantic hurricane season, becoming a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale before making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Long Island on September 21. The hurricane was estimated to have killed between 682 and 800 people, damaged or destroyed over 57,000 homes, and caused property losses estimated at $306 million ($41.1 billion in 2012 dollars). Even as late as 1951, damaged trees and buildings were still seen in the affected areas. To date it remains the most powerful, costliest and deadliest hurricane in recent New England history, eclipsed in landfall intensity perhaps only by the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635. Thankfully some good things survived, if just barely. We were up in Rhode Island visiting our friends at Twisted Throttle, a must see destination all by itself, and that evening we were meandering down along the coast, looking for something special when we ran into the Andrea. It took all of about 2 seconds to decide we had found a place for the night… maybe a few days, as we love the ocean. Who doesn’t? The Andrea has a great feel to it with its wide Oceanside patio, ample bar and clean and comfortable rooms. Many people ask, “How old is the Andrea?” This is a question we may never know the answer to since there are no town records that exist. We think that the building was probably built between 1870 and 1902. We do know that a local family purchased the property in the early 1900’s to operate a bed and breakfast called the Andrea Tea Room. During that time, the seaside communities of Pleasant View, (now Misquamicut), Watch Hill and Weekapaug flourished as tourists from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York came to enjoy the lazy days of summer. The 1938 hurricane passed directly over Misquamicut. All that remained of the 400 buildings along the Misquamicut coastline were the battered remnants of the Pleasant View Hotel, the Andrea Tea Room, the Wigwam and the Atlantic Beach Casino. The rebuild of the region was massive. In 1946, the Andrea Tea Room was sold to Ralph Colucci Sr. The Colucci family, now in their third generation of management, has been welcoming visitors to Misquamicut Beach for over 50 years.
Rip & Ride® ANDREA HOTEL 89 ATLANTIC AVE, WESTERLY, RI 02891 888-318-5707 • WWW.ANDREAHOTEL.COM
FROM MYSTIC CT PICK UP ROUTE 1 RIGHT AT RTE. 1A BECOMES SHORE ROAD RIGHT AT CRANDALL AVE. LEFT AT ATLANTIC AVE. ANDREA HOTEL ON LEFT
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
You will find a bust of Ralph at the front desk. Taking a room at the Andrea gives you parking and access to the beach, so get there early and make a day of it, or better yet, take a few days and explore Rhode island. In addition to having the beach right at your doorstep the area itself is fun to explore with its “cottages, mansions and wonderful scenery. In the nearby town of Westerly, where 100 souls were lost the night of the hurricane, you will find a little bit of ‘Mysterious America’ at the oldest flying horse carousel in America, made in 1876. The twenty horses are not attached
to the floor but instead are suspended from a center frame, swinging out or flying when in motion. About every other horse is hand carved wood and is embellished with real tails and manes, leather saddles and agate eyes. This is the only flying horse carousel surviving in the country. Back at the Andrea be sure to enjoy dinner. We always expect good, but at the Andrea we got superb. We both started with Andrea’s ‘award-winning clam chowder’ and to follow Shira chose the Mussels Zuppa, which was on the spicy side but delicious and I indulged in the Shrimp and Lobster, which was done to perfection. Both our meals were way beyond what we expected and their chefs deserve a round of applause. In addition, their wine list was decent as were the prices. Rates vary depending on season. As you would guess, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, they get the typical beach prices but come before or after and you can grab a room starting at $100/night. The Andrea has weekly specials and if you are looking for a great beach getaway you can find it along the Rhode Island coast at the Andrea and while there be sure to stop by Twisted Throttle in nearby Exeter.
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
BIG CIT Y G ETAWAY
daytrip ideas to get out of the daily grind
sTockTon FArmer’s mArkeT 19 Bridge sTreeT , sTockTon nJ 609-610-3532 • sTockTonFArmmArkeT.com During the dark days of winter many of us long for those great weekend rides, running along curvaceous roads, along deep forests, fast rivers and bountiful farms. One thing that we have always enjoyed is to stop by local farmer’s stands and markets that are so abundant in the region. Picking up dinner to be cooked later that night always make the ride and, especially the end of the day, that much more special, don’t you think? The western edge of our state of New Jersey is simply the ideal place to find all of these things. Here where the Delaware flows towards the Atlantic tucked in between the rolling highlands and the city of Philadelphia you will find plenty on both sides of the river. While whiling away a warm Sunday this spring we found ourselves down along the Jersey side of the river, exploring some of the little backroads that feed down to the river. . Lambertville, Frenchtown and the small town of Stockton all were visited, but it was in Stockton that we found a delicious little farmer’s market and dinner for later that night. We’re always fond of simply bumping into things so we were tickled when we stopped in Stockton for a cup of coffee and walked into the Farmer’s Market there. Sure, they had the coffee, but it would take us about a half an hour to finally get to it. The Stockton Market is certainly not the largest we have seen – hard to compete with Lancaster, Pennsylvania – but they had a wellrounded and diverse number of tables with all
sorts of things delicious. We found some delectable fresh bread from Bobolink Dairy, who used to be in our neck of the woods but moved to Milford, NJ a couple of years ago. There was a wonderful assortment of fresh mushrooms from Mushrooms Etc. There are also some things you wouldn’t find elsewhere like the bottle of unfiltered olive oil from Tunisia sold by Mediterranean Delicacies - so good – and the wide selections of local artisanal cheeses that seem to be at every turn. Fresh vegetables abounded and the arugula and basil had a mar-
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Located in Stecoah, NC • 828-479-3864 • www.ironhorseNC.com
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
velous aroma wafting up to us. One table that caught our eye was Sweet Fusion. Here was a blending of numerous cultures and two personalities. This is the dream-child of Chef Roman David Chrucky and Chef Helen Huang, two seasoned veteran New York and San Francisco pastry & savory chefs looking to break notions and create something fantastic and new to the savory & sweet world. Their pot pies looked incredible - beef with red wine, thyme and blue cheese, lime chicken with Black Forest ham, roasted red pepper and sharp cheddar cheese, braised pork with apple bacon & cheddar, and lobster bisque pie for starters. Yummy!
If you are a lover of teas then the table from Urbane Teas will rock your worlds, they had a huge selection of teas I had never heard of from the far reaches of the planet. There was some great and very fresh looking seafood to be found as well as many tables full of interesting arts, crafts and trinkets for sale as well. We finally got our coffee - remember our coffee - and went in a hard search for that night’s repast. Decisions, decisions… We finally settled on some thick pork chops, some fresh vegetables and some pastries for later that night watching SPEED. The chops came frozen and by the time we got home they had thawed
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Page 24 enough for the grill. By later that evening with the sun setting over the Kittatinny peaks we were sitting down to a fine and delicious home cooked meal. The day was a success. The ride superb, the roads phenomenal, the discoveries interesting and the Stockton Farmers Market was icing on the cake and made a great end of the day meal possible. The market is open year round on Friday from 3-7, Saturday from 9-4, and Sunday from 10-4. We did say we explored some new roads so follow along and we’ll give you a ride worth taking; but what you do with what you bring home from the Stockton Farmers Market is all up to you. Bon Appétit.
Rip & Ride® • STOCKTON FARMER’S MARKET 19 BRIDGE STREET , STOCKTON NJ 609-610-3532 • STOCKTONFARMMARKET.COM
THIS RIDE STARTS IN HOPE, NJ • EXIT 12 OFF I-80 CR 519 SOUTH PAST RED WOLFE INN LEFT AT RIDGE ROAD LEFT AT FIDDLERS ELBOW STRAIGHT AT CR 647 BEAR RIGHT AT BICKEL ROAD RIGHT AT HALFWAY HOUSE ROAD RIGHT AT RTE. 57 LEFT AT ASBURY BROADWAY ROAD RIGHT AT IRON BRIDGE ROAD LEFT AT MINE ROAD RIGHT AT CR 635 STRAIGHT AT CR 625 RIGHT AT CR 513 RIGHT AT CR 519 LEFT AT RUMMEL ROAD LEFT AT CR 614 RIGHT AT CR 519
you can download the 95-mile one-way route here: www.sendspace.com/file/t19xu7 When downloading from Sendspace, click on the BLUE DOWNLOAD BOX ONLY. GPS and printed routes may vary slightly.
IMMEDIATE LEFT AT CHURCH ROAD RIGHT AT CR 627 LEFT AT RIVER ROAD NORTH ON RIVER ROAD HARD RIGHT UP PINCHERS POINT ROAD RIGHT AT MOUNTAIN ROAD RIGHT AT MT. JOY RD. LEFT AT ALFALFA HILL RD. LEFT AT CHURCH RD. RIGHT AT CRABAPPLE HILL RD. LEFT AT CR 627 LEFT AT BRIDGE ST. RIGHT AT CR 519 SOUTH LEFT AT CR 513 RIGHT AT PITTSTOWN RD. CR 615 LEFT ON CR 12 IMMEDIATE RIGHT ON WHISKEY LN. LEFT LOCKTOWN RD. IMMEDIATE RIGHT AT FERRY RD. RIGHT AT CR 523 TO STOCKTON LEFT ON RTE. 29 RIGHT ONTO BRIDGE ST AND FARMER’S MARKET ON RIGHT
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
Morton’s BMW Motorcycles Presents Dr. Seymour O’Life’s M YST ER IOU S AM ER IC A BuchAnAn’s pyrAmid oFF highWAy 16, cove gAp, pennsylvAniA These days a lot is being made up about the president of these United States, who he is, and what he is made of. I often wonder if, in the past, politics were just as brutal and as fast as they are in these iPad, cell phone, internet, 24 hour news channel days. These days Obama has been called the first “gay” president for coming out (sorry) for gay marriage; a good call, in my opinion, but maybe four years too late.
But he was not the first gay-friendly president. Nope that might fall to the bachelor president James Buchanan – America’s 15th president. President James Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791 near the village of Cove Gap. He was born in a log cabin on property owned by his father. The complex was known as Stony Batter, named for the family home in Donegal, Ireland. At the time of Buchanan’s birth the Cove Gap area was on the edge of the American frontier. Today it is a quite isolated area, but when President Buchanan was born it was a center of frontier commerce. Buchanan (often called Buck-anan by his contemporaries) was a popular and experienced state politician and a successful attorney before his presidency. He represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives and later the Senate, and served as Minister to Russia under President Andrew Jackson. He was also Secretary of State under President James K. Polk. After he turned down an offer for an appointment to the Supreme Court, President Franklin Pierce appointed him Minister to the United Kingdom, in which capacity he helped draft the controversial Ostend Manifesto. Buchanan was nominated in the 1856 election. Throughout most of Franklin Pierce’s term he was stationed in London as a Minister to the Court of St. James’s and therefore was not caught up in the crossfire of sectional politics that dominated the country. Buchanan was viewed by many as a compromise between the two sides of the slavery question. His subsequent election victory took place in a three-man race with John C. Frémont and Millard Fillmore. As President, he was often called a “doughface”, a Northerner with Southern sympathies, who battled with Stephen A. Douglas for the control of the Democratic Party. Buchanan’s efforts to maintain peace between the North and the South alienated both sides, and the Southern states declared their secession in the prologue to the American Civil War. Buchanan was the last president born in the 18th century. As the only “bachelor president”, many historians have speculated about
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Page 26 the 15th president’s sexual orientation. This speculation doesn’t just stem from the fact that Buchanan never married, but rather from his close friend-
ship with Alabama Senator (and later Vice-President) Rufus King and the openly affectionate correspondence that the two men carried on. Buchanan was openly teased both in and out of earshot about his relationship with King, and he made some very curious statements about that relationship. Coincidentally, King was the only bachelor Vice-President. While in Washington, Buchanan’s “room mate” was Senator Rufus King. The two men were virtually inseparable and were rumored to be lovers While in office his niece, for whom he was guardian, Harriet Lane Johnston served as his First Lady. After his death she led the effort to create a memorial to her uncle. She made several efforts to purchase his birthplace, Stony Batter, but was ultimately unsuccessful. Upon her death, in 1895, the responsibility for building the monument was transferred to a lawyer from Baltimore, Lawrason Riggs and a banker from Washington, D.C., E. Francis Riggs. After years of trying to purchase Stony Batter, the Riggs’ were finally successful in 1907. The monument in the shape of a pyramid was built of native stone. Wyatt and Nolting, an architectural firm from Baltimore, designed the memorial. The pyramid is 38 feet square and 31 feet high. It is made of 50 short tons of American Gray Granite and 250 tons of mortar and native stones. Construction of the pyramid began in October 1907 with a work force of 20 men. They built a small railroad to haul the heavy materials from the mountainside to the construction site. The work force grew to 35 men and the monument was completed by late winter with a surrounding iron railing. The Pennsylvania General Assembly of 1911 accepted the monument from the trust of Harriet Lane Johnston and Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park was formally established.
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These days the Buchanan’s Pyramid sits amongst some of the most peaceful woods in Pennsylvania and is an excellent stop while riding this Mysterious America. O’Life Out!
you can download the 90-mile one-way route here: www.sendspace.com/file/26ep24 When downloading from Sendspace, click on the BLUE DOWNLOAD BOX ONLY.
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
Spring Break 2012 And it appears to be a long time, Yes, a long, long, long, long time before the dawn
with both. But, this one we were really looking forward to. It was probably the last three months of forced semi-retirement weighing in on our, or at least my, mind. So, we were packed and ready to go two days previous and up at dawn that day readying and going over the bikes one final time before blasting off. The official start of the rally would be that Thursday in Luray, Virginia at the historic Mimsylm Inn, but Shira and I had decided a few months back that, if I rode down to the rally, we’d break it up over two days; as we were not sure how well my leg and ankle would be in late May. It proved to be amusing. We chose the town of Shippensburg, in Pennsylvania, as our first overnight and then made mention of it to some of the folks we knew would be riding down to Luray. We quickly had a small army converging on the college town that Wednesday. The rains that had hung around till early that morning cleared out beautifully and we met a few friends at the Columbia, New Jersey Truck Stop and then vectored off into the Keystone state along some familiar roads we are, well familiar with. Heading up and around Jim Thorpe and then down through the burning town of Centralia we scooted. Turns out this is the fiftieth anniversary of the fires smoldering under Centralia. Outside of the town of Shamokin we picked up Route 125, which is a “smoking” road indeed, with a superb combination
David Crosby Did you ever get a song in your head for no real reason and then it hits you just maybe why this particular tuneage has crept into your mind? I was really looking forward to this, in a big way. The days before we were to leave on this year’s Backroads’ Spring Break Rally saw the northeast get pummeled by storms, as if on schedule for a Backroads rally, but it looked as if Lady Luck might go our way this time and we’d get some clearing by that Wednesday. We have been holding Backroads events for nearly 15 years and we have gotten somewhat use to them, both storms and rallies, and all that goes on
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Page 28 of elevation changes and curves. The four of us eventually met up with the Susquehanna River and we headed south to Millersburg for lunch and then continued on those pristine farm roads west of the river into Shippensburg. By nightfall the outdoor patio was packed with riders all getting a full day’s start on the Spring Break Rally as we dined al fresco under a clear and warm sky. The following day I had laid out a route that would bring us west and south towards Virginia. The maven of mysterious, O’Life, had requested I stop by a little place called Cove Gap. It was here that our 15th president James Buchanan was born. Today you will not find his cabin
Our last stretch to Luray was the best of the day and who rode along this route and did not love Zepp Road? We stopped for the appropriate photo at Back Road and then continued on through the Shenandoah Valley along Camp Roosevelt Road, which runs through the George Washington Forest right into the town of Luray. Approaching the long drive that runs up to the Mimslyn with its huge porch and stately columns I could see a number of motorcycles had already arrived and we rolled in just about the time the “Great One” Mark Byers and his lovely wife Betsy (she of greatest hugs) arrived. By that evening the Inn was full, as were a few other hotels nearby. This might have been our biggest rally to date, with riders coming from Tennessee and our fiends Bruce and Gail riding down from the 51st state of Canada.
but a large pyramid built by his niece after his death; certainly a bit of Mysterious America to be found in Cove Gap. Following south we ran into a detour and rerouted along a tiny piece of pavement called Hollow Road. Hollow Road was anything but as it was full of two-wheeled soul for sure. Soon we blazed through Maryland and into West “By God” Virginia, where we stopped for a barbeque lunch at a little place I know called the Earth Dog Café, where everything is soooo good, made from scratch and you would expect Guy Fieri to be loitering about.
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012 At many of these functions a bit of Tomfoolery occurs. Usually innocent, childish and benign, it is all part of the fun. But… really, guys? This time I was the victim as I came to my bike finding my Backroads stickers, that adorn my saddlebags, covered over by stickers that claimed Backroads was the “Proud Sponsor of the New York Yankees.” Yeah, like that’ll ever happen in this lifetime. Let’s Go Mets! Stickers removed and tossed. Children, what to do with them? Shira and I had set up a number of routes and suggestions for folks to ride and that next day we chose to do a little lunch route with a touch of moonshine added in for flavor. Along for our ride were our friends Mikey B., columnist Jeff Kurtzman and Mike “It’s all Good” Mosca. Shira had planned this route and, as usual, she had us getting a little gravel with our travels, as she has a thing for tiny little cow paths and trails. Our stop at the Stillhouse Distillery at Belmont Farms was more than interesting and quite entertaining. It had been featured on the History Channel doing a show on moonshine. Chuck Miller, the owner, gave us an informative and very funny tour.
I’ll never look at “shine” the same way again. No, we did not taste – the aroma was enough! We scooted back towards the mountains and stopped to have lunch at a very Rider-Friendly place called the Griffin Tavern in Flint Hill, Virginia. We liked this place too; so much so that they are new members of the Backroads Moto-Inn Program. Cresting the mountains that make up Skyline Drive and Thornton Gap along Route 211 is always a treat, especially when we had little traffic to negotiate and all was so right with the world. While we were out gallivanting to the east, the rest of our rally-goers were dispersed around all points on the map, with many making a run into West Virginia and the famed Seneca Rocks region; a place Backroads has visited many times. Others seemed to find a little water
Page 29 crossing for entertainment and it seems our youngest member, Eric Barasch, was finding some interesting signage. This evening we had planned a buffet barbeque for those who wanted to mingle and we had well over 100 riders join us for that.
After dinner Shira and I thanked all who came and then announced where and when our next rally, the Fall Fiesta, would be held. I heard later on that we sold out our first block of rooms at The Arts Hotel, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in less than an hour after the announcement. We’re beginning to think the folks that come on our Backroads Rallies are enjoying them.
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS Later that evening we were entertained with a tickling of the ivory by our resident pianist extraordinaire Glenn Baldwin and harp player Roy Kosefsky. Sorry they shut you down, boys, they don’t know what they were missing. The spectacular weather continued on Saturday, a trend that has been happening lately on our rallies and one we truly appreciate. Once again riders took off to various places, museums, restaurants or just out on the hundreds of miles of great backroads riding this part of the United States has to offer. Shira and I ended up on our own this day and rode north along the Skyline Drive, which was surprisingly empty for a Saturday morning. Along the way we ran into Walt and Rob, from Tennessee, who had come from the opposite direction running across a large bear along the way. You never know what you will see crossing the roads here in Virginia. In Front Royal we gassed up and then headed west, scooting along any road that caught our fancy, and finding that required gravel road in the process. We even found an old fighter jet sitting alongside the road. We vectored south back through the Washington forest and then headed to New Market, Virginia and the famed Southern Kitchen for a lunch of fried chicken livers and bird. We ran into Gina and Kate, who had the same culinary idea. It doesn’t get much more southern that this place. Returning back to the Mimslym a bit early I squeezed in a massage (a little present to myself) and Shira found her book and chair by the pool. Others got back early as well and went spelunking at Luray Caverns. Following a Backroads’ tradition many of us took in the Preakness Race at the bar and what a race it was - with Kentucky Derby winner “I’ll Have Another” winning the 137th Preakness Stakes literally by a nose! This was our last night together as a
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
group and the festivities went on for a great while with everything being almost perfect except that the wait staff was a bit overwhelmed and what should have been a great Last Supper, turned into a great wait instead for many. Good thing Mark and Betsy brought in that large supply of Route 11 Potato Chips for everybody. We apologize for that. But, hey it least the sun shined for the entire event. Sunday morning found many up and gone early, with the responsibilities of “real life” beckoning so many homeward way too soon. Hugs and handshakes and promises of getting together soon were made and we hope that all happens. What we did know for sure was the 14th annual Backroads Spring Break went off virtually without a hitch. The weather, which has often been our nemesis, was totally on our side and neither Shira nor I can remember such perfect riding weather at any of our more than thirty past events or rallies. We would like to thank everyone that attended and we hope that you kids will return in the Fall for the Fiesta in Lancaster. If you have never attended one of our Backroads Rallies, well…. consider this your invitation. There is a reason so many come back again and again. Isn’t it about time you found out why?
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Vehicles shown with optional accessories. Avoid operating Polaris RANGERs on paved surfaces or public roads. Riders and passengers should always wear helmets, eye protection, protective clothing, and seat belts. Always use cab nets. Drivers of RANGER vehicles must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license. Warning: ATVs can be hazardous to operate. For your safety: Avoid operating Polaris ATVs on paved surfaces or public roads. Riders and passengers should wear helmets, eye protection, protective clothing and seat belts. Polaris adult ATV models are for riders aged 16 and older. Be sure to take a safety training course. For safety training information in the U.S., call the SVIA at (800) 887-2887, see your dealer, or call Polaris at (800) 342-3764. In Canada, see your local dealer. ©2011 Polaris Industries Inc.
ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET, EYE PROTECTION AND PROTECTIVE CLOTHING. NEVER RIDE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS OR ALCOHOL, AND NEVER USE THE STREET AS A RACETRACK. OBEY THE LAW, AND READ YOUR OWNER'S MANUAL THOROUGHLY. For riding training information or to locate a rider-training course near you, call the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at 1-800-446-9227. CBR ® is a trademark of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (02/12)
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Visit our showroom located in Central New Jersey Just 10 minutes from Staten Island, 30 minutes from New York and 1 hour from Pennsylvania SEA-DOO.com ©2011 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. ™, ® and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates. Products are distributed in the U.S.A. by BRP US Inc. Features may vary by model. 1Based on warranty registration compiled by InfoLink. 2Based on internal testing of ECO mode at wide-open throttle against regular touring mode. Fuel consumption varies by model and engine package. BRP reserves the right, at any time, to discontinue or change specifications, prices, designs, features, models or equipment without incurring any obligation. Always ride responsibly and safely. Follow all instructional and safety materials. BRP recommends a minimum operator age of 16 years old. Always observe applicable laws and regulations. Respect the rights of shoreline residents, and keep a safe distance from other recreationists. Always wear appropriate protective clothing, including a Coast Guard-approved PFD that is suitable for PWC use. Always remember that riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix. 2106975
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Welcome to the Jungle - The Art of Learning to Ride Skillfully A column dedicated to your riding survival
Cover Up and Stay Cool and Safe Once the warmer weather started to roll around we couldn’t help but notice that the same thing began to happen that happens each and every summer. The riders that we would pass on the road began to shed their winter skins, in this case leather and cordura, and started riding around with little or no real protection from all the nasty things out and about in the real world that are just waiting to give them grief. When we head out to or drop by any biker-friendly sort of bike gathering there are hundreds of riders celebrating their rugged individualism by wear the same sorry excuse for riding gear. Typically you’ll see jeans, boots, tee shirts and vests…ohh, and ½ helmets with the extra layer of protective stickers on them. Unlike what some of these stickers say – W.R.D.G.A.F. – “we really do give a frack” – that is why we write these articles to you kids each month and slowly some of you are getting it and have invested in better riding gear. Let’s talk first about the number #1 complaint and the supposed reason (at least in some minds) as to why some riders wear what typically gets worn during the warmer season.
Here in the northeast the heat and humidity can quickly take a toll on anyone not prepared for it. Hyperthermia is a killer and basically it is when the body’s temperature elevates highly due to failed thermoregulation. Hyperthermia occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. When the elevated body temperatures are sufficiently high, hyperthermia is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment to prevent disability or death. When you choose to ride with just a tee shirt and vest on you risk far more than just the loss of your skin if you encounter a gravity storm or Toyota driven by some texting 18 year old. Just riding around like that during a hot summer day will cause all sorts of mayhem with your body.
Let’s look at some of the ways and reasons riding with just the “tee shirt and black leather vest look” will screw you up. The most obvious is sunburn. I remember seeing one guy in the southern Californian desert refuse to ride before he put on protection. No, not a jacket – sunscreen! Well, he had that half right. Riding around for hours at a time you could easily end up with some serious sunburn and all that goes with it, for the immediate and long-term future. Did somebody say melanoma, carcinoma, not to mention those unsightly age spots? Another danger in riding without proper gear is dehydration. You might think you are looking and riding cooler this way, but the truth is your body’s precious moisture is quickly being wicked away. According to the experts at Arthur Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology it states that “the total amount of water in a man of average weight 70 kilograms (150 pounds) is approximately 40 liters (10.5 gallons), averaging 57 percent of his total body weight.”
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
Page 35 facturers offer much the same. With gear like this you get a ton of air moving around you while riding, yet your precious water is not wicked away by wind and sun. Take a walk around the apparel section of any good dealership or shop and you certainly will find something that fits your style and taste. The venting with modern helmet technology is light years beyond what it once was, but we can go into helmets another time. The bottom line here is that riding around the jungle with hardly anything on is plenty foolish. Don’t fall into riding with less than good gear, even if you look like the odd one in the group. You are doing the right thing for yourself and family and eventually you might find others in your group wearing better and smarter gear too.
Hydrate or Die
That means that we are more than half water and when that % starts to drop we become effected in a big way. In the heat the more water we lose the hotter we become, and the hotter we become the more water we lose. It is a no-win situation, especially if you are on two wheels. Simply by wearing a light and vented jacket and gloves you can save yourself all sorts of grief, not to mention having a more pleasurable ride that day. There are a number of manufacturers that offer superb vented gear. Let’s take a look at some offered by Olympia. Yes, they do advertise with us but we have been using their gear long before that. Their gear works, is very comfortable and stylish to boot! These folks have all sorts of mesh and vented gear and all with the benefits of protective armor at body strike points. You can see what we are talking about at olympiamotosports.com. Other manu-
By now we all must know that hydration is key. Riding during the hot summer months puts an incredible drain on your body and replenishing precious fluids is the only way to keep your body in balance and your mind sharp. Sport drinks and bottled vitamin waters all can help, but the truth is nothing replaces good old H2O – water. For years now we at Backroads have been riding with hydration packs on our backs or tucked away in the tank bags. There are distinct advantages of carrying water with you; here are a few: convenience: No slowing down or stopping to reach for a bottle. Simply reach up, grasp the tube, slide it into your mouth and bite down on the valve and take a sip of cooling water. Hydration is a speedy, almost effortless task—just grab, gulp and go. Although, we do recommend on hot days you first blow the warmer water from the tube back into the reservoir and then take a sip of the far cooler water from the bladder. efficiency and performance: Since water intake is simpler with a hydration pack, you tend to drink more often, and a well-hydrated rider is a far sharper rider.
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
has a great hi-viz lime pack with a unique cooling fabric to keep both you and the water cool during the day’s ride. Expect a review on that in an upcoming issue. The ability to reach up and grab the tube and take a long cooling sip of water while riding in the heat beats stopping and reaching for a water bottle any day. And, the truth is, if you are using an old fashion bottle of water, you will more than likely wait till you or your groups stops for gas or to rest to take a drink
cool factor: You can mock your bottle-slurping companions for being the antiquated, time-squandering knuckle-draggers that they are. Just be prepared for some squirtage when you do. Although CamelBaks hydration packs are becoming so well known that almost all such packs are generally called CamelBaks, like most brands of tissues are commonly called Kleenex, there are a wide variety of styles and products to be found. Almost all work in the same way, utilizing a flexible bladder, of one or a few liters (quarts) capacity, with a means (usually a screwtop) of filling and then reliably sealing it, a light hose to convey the beverage to the user’s mouth, and a bite valve for starting and stopping the flow through the hose with minimum effort. The advantages of wearing and using a hydration system, especially in the summer, are obvious, and some newer models are becoming motorcycle specific, with reflective piping, large carrying capacity and light armor, such as Klim’s Fuel Pak and CamelBak’s “The Don” which can carry a full face helmet off the bike. We also have found a European company called Gulpz that
than if you have a sip ready and waiting at all times. Just this alone will encourage you to take in more water than you might normally drink during a hot day’s ride. This is a very good thing. You will never drink too much and your mind will be clearer and sharper, your reaction time far greater and the possibility of hyperthermia or heat stroke greatly diminished. As we said there are a number of hydration systems available today and with a little searching at some local shops, sporting stores or the internet you will find the one that is perfect for you. Cool? You bet!
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
o t n o e y d i n a R C s u d o n e a t r h G ig a’s R i A n a v l y s n Pen
Some riders may be tempted to blast their way out and back in a two day weekend ride, but I prefer a more leisurely pace and made it a two night, three day tour. Longer is even better, but a three day trip from Jersey is minimum in my book. That allows plenty of time to explore side roads and stop at any interesting sites I see along the way and in “Canyon Country” as well. I began my Canyon trip in Ringwood sailing north on Greenwood Lake Turnpike which hugs the shoreline of the shimmering blue waters of the Wanaque and Monksville Reservoirs. I rode across its massive dam and then returned taking in the lush forest and lake views that surrounded me. There is a parking lot and a walkway as well. From the dam, I rolled north to Greenwood Lake and then onto Warwick, New York riding the heaving and serpentine
Kenneth W. Dahse Although some might say that Pennsylvania referring to its Pine Creek Gorge as the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania” is hyperbole; nevertheless, this impressive area is truly grand. Surrounded by 165,000 acres of the Tioga State Forest, this forty-seven mile gorge has a maximum depth of 1450 feet at its southern end. At Colton Point and Leonard Harrison State Parks the depth is more than 800 feet. In 1968 the National Park Service proclaimed a 12-mile section as a Natural National Landmark. These two state parks offer a great motorcycling destination with spectacular, scenic overlooks and a fantastic round trip ride rumbling along country roads, over mountains, through farmland, and small towns.
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Route 1A/1 toward Port Jervis. Rolling righteously through the expansive and aromatic black dirt farmland of Pine Island is a sensory delight of tangy fresh air, flowers, and onions. I love the smell of onions percolating in mother earth; it reminds me of being a teenager and savoring the sizzling sausage sandwiches sold on the Seaside Park boardwalk. Just before reaching Port Jervis, I heard the siren’s call from super slab Route 84 beckoning me to give my Kawasaki Nomad freedom to release a mighty roar of raw power. And thus I did, blasting along this beautiful high-
way to Scranton; I connected with Route 81 North to Clarks Summit. From there, I cruised country Route 6 west towards the cascading “Canyon Lands.” Route 6 is mostly two lanes as it serpentines its way west through the northern hinterlands of Pennsylvania. Paralleling the Susquehanna River for miles, it passes through one small town with 19th century architecture after another. Climbing out of the village of Wyalusing, I stopped at the Wyalusing Rocks overlook. At 500 feet above the river with a panoramic vista, the overlook was used for hundreds of years by American Indians as a signaling point. Dismounting my Nomad, I stood on the cliffs surveying the river valley, farms, and mountains that spread out before my eyes like a vast rolling inland sea. I felt like a Greek God gazing down from Mount Olympus upon all the land that was mine. A short hop down the road is the Marie Antoinette Lookout. From here you can observe the site where French refugees built a colony in the 1700s. After I finished savoring the views, I continued west with the warm Pennsylvania air caressing my face and whispering sweet sonnets in my ears. Stopping briefly in Luther Mills, I asked a local farmer for directions to Knapp’s Covered Bridge. “Son, just follow the signs,” he said, pointing to one that clearly indicated the turnoff. I thanked him but felt like a total unobservant ass. Riding the rounded highlands of Pennsylvania on a packed dirt road through farmland made me feel like a lone horseman in the 19th century. Parking at the bridge, I listened silently to the singing stream and smelled the superfluously scented farm air. Returning to Route 6, I continued ever westward towards “Canyon Country” passing through Mansfield and onto Wellsboro, gateway to the Canyon.
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Sections of this picturesque town look more New England than central Pennsylvania, and that’s because it was originally settled by New Englanders who recreated their architectural style here. I had a humongous and delicious piece of juicy, homemade blueberry pie at the Wellsboro Diner, a railroad car style diner that dominated the landscape until
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
the 1950s. From the late ‘50s on these diners started to perish en mass under the onslaught of the fast-food mania that swept across America like a plague of locust. After finishing my pie, I headed for the Coach Stop Inn in Ansonia: my home for the next two nights. The original inn was built in 1832 and has seen service as an inn, tavern, post office, store and haven for runaway slaves. Beside the rooms in the historic inn, there are recently built motel units as well. Although my motel room was decent; the bar, restaurant, and pool are currently closed. Because of that, I would suggest alternative accommodations. The next morning, the inn and its environs were shrouded in a ghostly mist as blinding as a Cape Cod fog rolling in off the ocean. This delayed my explorations a few hours. But, once the sun devoured the mist and a blue sky glided across the horizon, I fired up my Nomad and headed for Leonard Harrison State Park. The roads leading to both parks are lined with farms and forests. Pine Creek created this impressive gorge by carving its way through the Allegheny Plateau for thousands of years. Pine Creek Canyon is no match for the real Grand Canyon, but it is an impressive sight and definitely deserves its moniker as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Rumbling into Leonard Harrison State Park on the east rim, I noticed it had a Visiting Center, modern camping facilities, picnicking, and a gift shop. Colton Point State Park is more rustic but both state parks offer short trails leading to several impressive overlooks. I explored some of the trails in each park. Breathing in the rich pine scented oxygen fired power into my legs and psychic energy into my brain, making the views even more incredible. The American Indians named the canyon Teeahdotton, or River of Pines. Mother Nature’s handiwork could clearly be seen and heard as the sounds of the rapids of Pine Creek crawled up the lush green of the canyon walls. Outfitters rent boats for river trips through the canyon and bikes (pedal power) to ride the path that parallels the river. I spent a good part of the day enjoying the beautiful and peaceful bounty of both parks. When I felt hunger gnawing at my belly, I decided to explore some of the countryside by meandering through the surrounding farmland back to Wellsboro for a late luncht. Over lunch, I perused my map spotting a town named Germania. The route looked interesting, so I decided to visit. Named for its German immigrants, this jewel of western Pennsylvania consisted of a few houses, a general store, a church, and a dilapidated bar/inn that looked like something out of old Deadwood. Fatigue and fleeing daylight didn’t allow me time to explore all the great roads around Germania or through
Tioga State Forest. Unfortunately, that would have to wait until my next trip. Instead, I cruised cautiously (the ever present deer) back to the inn for a good night’s rest. In the morning, I plotted out my return route deciding to bypass most of Route 6 and instead, swoop like a soaring hawk deeper into the PA hinterlands. Mounting my Nomad, I headed east into the fierce fiery rays of the rising sun taking Route 6 to Wellsboro and then Route 287 South to 414 East. A motorcycling Nirvana of virtually empty roads, lush farmland and forest, and quaint country towns greeted me mile after mile on my return trip. Continuing east to Route 154 South, I connected with Route 87 East. World’s End State Park is nearby which offers an impressive view of the Loyalsock Creek Gorge. Reconnecting with Route 6 near Tunkannock, I was in the last stage of my return journey. And what a superb journey it had been. I had motorcycled on great roads, seen miles and miles of luscious countryside and gazed upon one of the premiere natural wonders in the east. My trip to Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon Country was definitely one righteous ride that I couldn’t wait to do again. Resources: www.visittiogapa.com coach stop inn • 4655 rte. 6, Wellsboro, pA 570-724-5361 • www.thecoachstopinn.com sherwood motel • 2 main st, Wellsboro, pA • 570-724-3424 www.sherwoodmotel.org (Backroads moto-inn member)
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
AMERICADE 2012 WRAP-UP AMERICADE MOTORCYCLISTS INUNDATE LAKE GEORGE, NY, FOR THE 30TH TIME The week-long (June 4-9) 30th celebration of the Americade motorcycle rally brought tens of thousands of motorcyclists to the upstate NY village of Lake George. Lake George, known to tourists for its Adirondack beauty and pristine lake, attracted motorcyclists who wanted to attend the multi-brand motorcycle rally known for its wide array of activities for motorcyclists, both on and off the bikes, as well as explore the region’s many winding roads. Lake George Mayor Bob Blais commented, “Each year our community eagerly awaits the arrival of thousands of motorcyclists ready to experience our hospitality and beautiful surroundings.” Local hotels, campgrounds, and restaurants welcomed motorcyclists to their community. Michael Spillman of the Lake George’s Holiday Inn Resort says, “ Americade is always our favorite week of the year. The people who come are always great; we’re so pleased to welcome them each year.” Americade 30 appears to have attracted more major motorcycle manufacturers than any other U.S. event in 2012. “Americade attendees typically own more bikes and are invested in motorcycling more than the average rider, and we’re fortunate to have very strong support from the motorcycle industry,” said Americade’s GM, Christian Dutcher. Represented this year were Honda, Harley-Davidson, BMW, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Victory, Star, Ducati, Motus, Kymco, Spyder, Motor Trike, Thoroughbred, Roadsmith Trikes, Indian, Hannigan and Lehman Trikes.
Bill Savino, American Honda’s Motorcycle Press Manager, remarked on the busy week, “We always have a tremendous turnout for demo rides at Americade—it’s one of the best rallies to attend, and most importantly, the attendance seems to be as strong as ever. A diverse group of riders got to try out a full complement of our Honda bikes—everything from the CBR250R to the newest Gold Wing. We have been with Americade since the beginning and have seen the rally grow and change from a touring rally to a rally that embraces all styles of riding.” One indoor and one outdoor tradeshow, known collectively as Tour Expo, attracted 250 vendors who in turn attracted many thousands of enthusiastic shoppers. All signs indicate that the economy continues to improve with most vendors reporting high sales volume compared to other rallies. Kelly Appleton of GearUp Helmets credited Americade’s multi-brand appeal—”from a vendor perspective, we can tell you that Americade is one of the top motorcycle rallies in the US and THE TOP of all touring rallies in US. Unlike most rallies that are cruiser oriented, Americade is a rally attended by cruiser, tour bike, trike, sport bike, and adventure bike riders. Americade is a true rally experience for all who attend. When our customers ask what’s the best rally we go to, we always say Americade and tell them that if we weren’t vendors, it would be the rally we would attend as riders every year.” Americade incorporates the region’s beauty and energy into over 70 activities during the event with guided and unguided “MiniTours,” boat cruises, zip-lining through the treetops, and white-water rafting. Many of Americade’s attendees who were exposed to the Adirondacks for the first time through Americade, have returned with their families throughout the year to enjoy the area. The benefit to the area extends to many local charities, as well. This year’s rally wrapped up with a drawing benefitting the Lake George Rotary Club. The winner was an Americade regular, L J Bolling of Philadelphia, PA, who bought multiple tickets to increase his odds. He was delighted to get a phone call giving him the enviable choice of a Honda Gold Wing, a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide OR $20,000 in CASH! Event Founder Bill Dutcher commented, “With thirty years of history now behind us, the future of Americade looks very strong, and that bodes well for all — rallygoers and the Lake George region. In this part of the world, motorcyclists are appreciated for all they bring— enthusiasm, families, friendship, and yes, their business.” Americade is always held the first full week in June. For 2013, the dates are June 4-8. For details, go to www.americade.com
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ake Superior is the largest and deepest of the great lakes. Lake Superior also offers the rider some of the best scenery and two lane roads in North America. The deep blue water and ragged shoreline will live in the memory of any rider who rides the Lake Superior Circle Tour. Riding from our homes in Ohio the Mackinac Bridge comes into view and everyone in the group knows the ride is really just beginning. After crossing the bridge we turn off the interstate on Highway 123, the highway to paradise – Paradise, Michigan that is. Paradise sits on the shore of White Fish Bay. Paradise is not much of a town with 4 or 5 motels and the Yukon Inn.
Our group of 4 rolled into town at about 7 PM and checked in to Curley’s Motel. Curley’s is a great mom and pop motel with the front facing Highway 123 and the back on the shore of White Fish Bay. After we checked in we headed to a Paradise landmark, the Yukon Inn bar and restaurant. The beer is cold and the sandwich menu has something for everyone. I decided on the Yukon burger, a meal in itself. The next day we would be off to White Fish Point and the Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum. After visiting the museum we would reverse course to Highway 123 and start west. As I fell asleep the Gordon Lightfoot song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” kept going through my mind.
The Shores of Gitche Gumee Lake Superior Circle Tour Larry King
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Our first stop would be at Sable Falls. It was just a short walk to the falls where there are steps leading to the bottom of the Right: Author at High Falls, Qahquamenon Falls, Gooseberry Falls, falls. After a few pictures it was on to the Miners Castle, and the Makinac Bridge. Log Slide. The Log Slide is a steep sandy cliff dropping 500 feet to the lake. The Log After a good night’s sleep and Slide was used in the 1800’s by loggers to get their logs to the water and float breakfast at the Yukon Inn we were off them to the lumber mill. A few miles down the road is the Miners Castle turn to Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum at White Fish Point just 11 miles north. off. Miners Castle is a rock formation along the shore with an emerald green The lighthouse and coast guard station are all part of the museum. The mubay surrounding it on 3 sides. You can also get a good view of Grand Island seum contains many artifacts from shipwrecks of days past. After a couple from the overlook. After leaving Miners Castle we had planned on riding to of hours at the museum we headed south to Highway 123 again and headed Copper Harbor for the night, but the skies were getting darker with lighting west to Tahquamenon Falls State Park. There are a number of waterfalls in the distance. By the time we got to Marquette it was time to stop and wait along the route around Lake Superior with Tahquamenon Falls being the out the storm. Not a problem, I thought, since thunderstorms blow through largest in Michigan. After we all took time to view the falls we headed west quickly. On this day I guess the thunder gods were angry. After 3 hours the to Highway 28 and then north on Highway 77 to the little lakeshore town of sky finally cleared, but we had to go to plan B since 2 in the group had to be Grand Maris on the shore of Lake Superior. After a short break we would home on schedule. Copper Harbor would have to wait for another day. We ride Highway H-58 along Lake Superior through Picture Rocks National spent the night in Ironwood at Davey’s Motel. The owner is a rider and the Lake Shore. What a great two-lane road offering lots of sweepers and great price was right. scenery. Above: Outside the Yukon Inn, Paradise, MI and a diving suit in the exhibit at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
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BACKROADS â€˘ AUGUST 2012
The next morning the skies were clear and we all looked forward to a great day of riding. After a great breakfast at Mikes Restaurant we headed west on Highway 28 across northern Wisconsin to Duluth, MN where we would turn north on Highway 61 along the western shore of Lake Superior offering our group lots of scenery along the way. Just a few miles north of Duluth is Gooseberry Falls State Park. After walking to both the upper and lower falls it was a short ride to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. If you ride the circle tour there are a number of lighthouses and waterfalls along the way, but if you plan to stop at all of them plan on extra days. We continued north to Grand Maris (not to be confused with Grand Maris, MI) and had lunch. When we got to Grand Maris there was
Page 43 a street carnival going on with most streets blocked off so we decided to gas up and head for Thunder Bay, ON. We crossed the border without any problems and headed for Thunder Bay. I wanted to visit Fort William Historical Park and Kakabeka Falls. Oh did I say there are lots of waterfalls along the circle tour. Approaching Thunder Bay the skies darkened with the wind picking up. It was not long until the rain was coming down horizontal so we had to hunker down at a local gas station. By the time the storms moved on it was getting late so it was on to Nipigon on Trans-Canada Highway 17. Nipigon is a small town with a few mom and pop motels and truck stop. Our motel was nothing to write home about, but it was clean and within walking distance of the truck stop for dinner. From Nipigon we planned to ride to Sault St Marie and then on to St Ignace, MI providing the weather cooperated. The next morning the sun was shining with clear skies. After an early breakfast we were back on Trans-Canada Highway 17.
Trans-Canada Highway 17 is one great road with rolling hills, sweeping turns and some really great views of the lake. If I had to choose only one part of this ride this would be it. We found very little traffic with passing lanes every few miles just in case you get stuck behind a heavy truck and a number of pull offs with views of the lake and yes there are waterfalls as well. I just sat back on my Ultra Classic and took in the view mile after mile. It just does not get any better than this. We stopped just outside Terrace Bay at Aguasabon Gorge and Falls since it was next to the highway. Since it was August there was not much water running over the falls, but the gorge leading to the lake was impressive to say the least. The plan was to have lunch in Marathon, but everyone was enjoying the ride so much all voted to press on to Wawa. As we approached Wawa a large statue of a snow goose came into view on the left. The locals call this statue the Wawa mascot. There is a nice visitor’s center next to the statue offering the opportunity to check out what local attractions are available. One mile from the visitor’s centers is the turn off to High Falls of the Magpie River. It is one and a half miles to the falls via a dirt road. The road was in good shape, but could be a problem if wet. At this point we all agreed we would make no more stops until we crossed into the USA. The ride from Wawa to Sault St Marie was every bit as impressive as the
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS ride from Nipigon. Just a damn good road. Arriving in Sault St Marie we made our way to the international bridge where we found traffic backed up almost the length of the bridge. I guess we were back in the real world. We sat on the bridge for about an hour just inching along every few minutes. We would shut the bikes off until traffic moved. Once we were on the down side of the bridge we would just coast as traffic moved. The one good thing about being stopped on the bridge was the view of the Soo Locks and the ships passing through the locks. We finally cleared customs and headed for St Ignace for the night. We pulled into the Sunset Motel for the night. The owners Jim and Annette Durm greeted us as we arrived. I have stayed here in the past and knew Jim and Annette catered to riders not to mention the rooms although small are nice. Next door is Timmy Lees Pub, which I highly recommend. I always have the perch dinner, but they do have a full menu to choose from if perch is not your thing. After a good dinner it was off to bed and the ride home the next morning. We did the circle tour in 4 days, but I would recommend an extra day or two for those who want to stop at all the waterfalls and lighthouses. If you have never taken the boat trip to Mackinaw Island you may want to add it to your itinerary. Lake Superior offers some of the best scenery anywhere with smooth well-maintained two lane roads and little traffic. Enjoy the ride. Resources: www.lakesuperiorcircletour.info www.gowaterfalling.com www.lighthousefriends.com curley’s paradise motel, paradise, mi • 906 492-3445 davey’s motel, ironwood, mi • www.daveysmotel.com sunset motel, st ignace, mi • 906 643-8377
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A SHORT CALIFORNIA JAUNT Victor Cruz
Cuyamaca larkspur, Tecate cypress, spreading navarretia, thorn-mint, button-celery, chuparosa, ocotillo. It would take a lot of study for a non-local to name these San Diego county plants on sight. As riders, we all love nature, yet knowing what is what increases the appreciation ten-fold, I trust. Pictures and words are a poor substitute for the real thing. How to capture the scale of California’s largest state park, the Anza-Borrego, in a tiny camera eye? How to describe the grandeur, the solitude, the vastness, the dry heat, the scrub cacti, the tight sweepers and elbow jarring twists? In June the temps in Julian when the sun goes down is in the cool 50s. During the day, 70s. Elevation changes can fluctuate the temps by 30 degrees. Clear blue cloudless desert sky every day. An arid climate that receives six to eight inches of rain annually. It is perfect motorcycle country if you avoid Anza-Borrego, which you must not. I found myself on business in San Diego and I figured why not rent a bike and head for the eastern mountains. Don Picker has a few new R1200Rs to rent via California Motorcycle Rental. He stores them not far from the airport, within walking distance of Good Nite Inn ($70) on Greenwood street. I had a smooth and flawless rental exchange with this company and they even offered to take me to the airport. I had read Clement Salvadori’s chapter on the roads in eastern San Diego county in his book Motorcycle Journeys Through California now in its second
edition. He recommends making the small town of Julian, only 60 miles east of San Diego, home base from which to make day loops. The town is called Apple Pie City by locals and is especially busy with tourists during October apple picking season. It’s hard to imagine quaint Julian could ever be busy. There is one intersection with stop signs and no traffic light. Easily the best place to sleep and eat richly is at Orchard Hill Inn ($200). In October 2003, a lost hunter in the Cleveland National Forest near Ramona shot off a flare gun that caused a week-long cedar fire that burned 272,000 acres and devoured 1400 homes, taking 11 lives. Strangely, it was the same number killed in the 1956 wildfire that struck the same area. You can still see its effects today but what is amazing is how resilient nature can be when called to action. Charred and bone white skeletal trees still exist, but the greenery is reclaiming the land. People too are resourceful and most everybody stayed on to rebuild their homes. You can see why. San Diego county is a stunning place with lakes, canyons, rolling hills of blond valley needlegrass and a spectacular nearby desert. Warm weather 10 months of the year. Dusting of snow during winter. And best of all, technical riding roads. I have ridden in the Pyrenees of Spain and France, the Swiss Alps and Tuscany. Eastern San Diego ranks up there with the world’s most celebrated riding. You see things here found nowhere else. Desert mountain roads that climb through a sleeve of boulders then fall away to reveal a frying pan of flatness the size of one million foot-
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Page 46 ball fields layered in stone and life-threatening heat. A kind of heat that makes an hour ride feel like you’ve done four. I’m referring specifically to S2, a stretch of road from Julian to Ocotillo that is 60 miles long and about as wide. Like a fool, I did S2 on the first day of summer. The bike’s clock read 12:00. There was no shadow cast about me. The sun was inches from my helmet. It was 110 degrees F and this is when you start thinking about gas consumption, tire pressure and water supply. I could hear my wife yelling “It’s so hot! It’s so hot!” through my ear plugs, although my wife was 3,000 miles away in Boston. To lift your visor up gave your face a blast of furnace heat. It was actually cooler to keep the visor down and your clothes on. I took off one glove to better operate the camera. It stayed off for about a mile. The heat was too intense for skin. About every mile or so there is an emer-
gency telephone, but no gas or services. Aqua Caliente (“hot water”) is in the middle of it. I rode by a community center with a basketball court, a small building and a parking lot. Nobody there. That was it for Aqua Caliente. You are tempted to ride faster than 70 but something tells you to stay cautious. Yesterday the R1200R refused to start until it cooled off. So there was no stopping here. Sweeney Pass comes up, as do other sudden bends. Park signs pop up infrequently. Canyon Sin Nombre (“without name”) was a marker. It didn’t make any sense, but man has shown a need to fill the void with something other than himself. So he names a small area and erects a signpost. About two cars passed by including the law. For once I was happy to see them. After an hour you really start wanting to escape the heat. There’s no telling if highway 94 held more of the same in store from Jacumba, where you are brushing
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
the Mexican border, all the way to Jamul. And, judging by the landscape, it looked all desert all the time. S2 terminates at I-8 and fortunately, starts to rise and immediately cool off. You get off at In Ko Pah Road on Old Highway 80 to visit the old stone tower erected there and you pay $2.50 to view the Salton Sea way off in the incomprehensible distance. My only worry was running out of gas. The BMW R1200 rental came without its onboard computer option, so it had no active fuel gauge. It was difficult to tell just how much drinking was going on, given the conditions: extreme dry heat, mountain climbing, braking for bunny rabbits, and the absence of shady resting places. I was imagining that my gas was being swallowed whole even while the bike was standing parked still. You would ride 70 on wide open sweepers then come up suddenly against a yellow sign warning of a 20 mph curve. East of Julian, Mount Palomar has a 280degree diminishing radius among other like-minded curvatures. West on Lyons Valley the road decides to narrow down unexpectedly into a grove of trees. Gas stations are few and far between. The ones you do find are non-brands, the ones that don’t insert plastic at the pump and have names like “La Chica Gasolina.”
Highway 94 is the southernmost roadway in America. A forgiving place with plenty of cypress trees and a welcome break from S2. Heading east and before you get to Dulzura, where you can indulge in a $1.25 grilled steak taco with guacamole, your body will need hydration and the inviting shade at the Potrero Store is the only choice but do not stop here to eat because the dogs are too well fed. After Potrero the solitude and calm of 94 ends, giving way to noisy 16-wheelers pulling empty
Page 47 trailers into Mexico and downshifting on grades cut into coves on the mountain sides. The contrast is stunning. Needing gas I got off track on Otay Lakes Road to Chula Vista and hit into another stark contrast when the pristine, though bald, hill country runs into a Disney-like planned community where the regulated retail stores resemble the houses and lamp posts mimic mail box posts. After the open treeless landscape, to ride into the city of Chula Vista is to feel your heart sink. It’s a relief to get out, and for the boys on sport bikes dying to ride away fast as possible, a fatal mistake. I came across a bike accident scene after EMS had arrived. The R1200R is the perfect gentleman’s motorcycle. Perfect ergos that leave your hands on the bars with no need for a rest. A relaxed sit-up position. Well positioned levers allow you to cover the brake. The bars are wide like a GS but set in much closer, relaxing your shoulders. Light weight makes handling easy. It takes a lot of extreme leaning to drag the foot pegs. A lowered exhaust allows for full size hardcases and the stock seat is plenty of comfy for allday riding. With country this pretty you find yourself doing a lot of stopping and starting for picture-taking. Evidently the R1200R wasn’t happy about that. It complained by refusing to start until the starter had time to cool off. Of course I didn’t know what was happening. I was stranded miles from any town with no cell reception. I tried push starting it by rolling down a long hill, almost dropping the bike when it skidded to fishtail. Nice locals gave me water and a phone to use. We talked about the big fire that had destroyed their home and melted their house trailer flat. After 30 minutes rest the bike started up
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Page 48 fine. I believe this is something engineered by BMW to protect the bike against yourself. (Ironically, the stall happened on Engineers Road.) Same story happened with my trying to start a R12 GS in near-freezing temps. With the oil viscosity so thin, the twin refuses to start. Press the button and no attempt is made to turn it over. My dealer told me that the bike was protecting itself from burning out its starter. For cold weather operation, they advise changing to a lighter weight oil. When Don Picker of California Motorcycle Rental had my bike inspected afterwards they found absolutely nothing wrong with the starter.
Don travels extensively and has gone 24 times to Europe, logging 82,000 miles there. He once owned 30 BMWs for rental in six cities nationwide. As of this writing he had whittled his fleet to eight bikes in one city. Fortunately, plans are underway to offer a lot more bike rentals when the local San Diego BMW dealer receives its permit to open up a new expanded facility. When that happens, you’ll have no excuse to take you and your buddies on an adventure to this beautiful part of the country. www.calif-motorcyclerental.com/
SOL HYBRID 3 SURVIVAL KIT FROM AEROSTICH The chance of an unexpected cut, scrape or burn is directly proportionate to how prepared one is to deal with it. Or being somewhere very remote with an irreparable machine, possibly hurting, out of cell phone range...and more than a day from anyone on foot. This kit is compact enough to store in any tank bag, saddlebag or even under your seat, and always with you to combat the unexpected with an essential collection of 73 indispensable first aid and survival solutions. More than just first aid, this 3-in-1 kit provides medical supplies for dressing wounds, stabilizing fractures, and treating illnesses; survival tools to signal rescuers, navigate, illuminate your surroundings,
start fires, and stay warm; and gear repair items (beyond duct tape) to jerry rig just about anything back together. The ultra light clamshell-style nylon organizer bag zips open to reveal two zippered compartments with clear vinyl lawindows, beled for fast easy access to exactly what you need, and features a small detachable pouch that fits neatly in a pocket, perfect for carrying basic items for short trips away from your bike or gear. A practical, durable and lightweight way to have human repair and survival gear handy and usable on every ride and in any situation. 7”x6”x2.5”, 1lb 4.6oz. #2069 $60.00 from aerostich.com
ALL MAKES ALL MODELS ALL MACHINES WELCOME
Sponsored by 8419 State Route 54, Hammondsport, NY 607-569-2160 • www.glenncurtissmuseum.org
Saturday, August 4, 2012 9 am ~ 5 pm 8th Annual Bike Show One-day gathering of motorcyclists, motorcycle enthusiasts, and motorcycle vendors. Route maps available for various ride routes around Keuka Lake.
This year featuring
Enjoy an evening of tire-kicking, great food and eye candy at the area’s premier Bike Night. Limited Edition Special Tee awarded to winning bike.
It’s…Bike Night Every Thursday Night at the Chatterbox Drive-In
Ross’ Corners / 1 Route 15, Augusta, NJ • 973-300-2300
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
UPCOM IN G EVENTS CAL ENDAR E V E RY M O N T H - W E AT H E R P E R M I T T I N G Every Sunday • Eastern Suffolk ABATE Breakfast Run. Crossroads Diner - Calverton NY. 10:30am. Eat and Ride After • 631-369-2221 Every Sunday • Biker Breakfast at Tramontin Harley-Davidson, Exit 12 I-80, Hope, NJ (GPS: 485 Hope-Blairstown Rd, Rte. 521) 9-11am • www.tramontinhd.com First Sunday of the month • Layton Meet at the Layton Deli, corner of Dingmans/Bevans Rd, CR 560, Layton, NJ. Meet around 8am – breakfast available. Join others for a ride or head out on your own Every Tuesday • The Ear - Spring St, NYC. Come meet some fellow riders and do some benchracing or whatever. 8pm-ish Every Wednesday • Chelseas Restaurant/Pub, 1051 Rte. 22 East, Lebanon, NJ 6-9pm, weather permitting all summer • www.chelseasrestaurantpub.com Second Wednesday • Harley-Davidson of Long Branch Bike Night at McGillicuddy’s Tap House, 601 Main, Loch Arbour, NJ • 6-9pm. • www.hdlongbranch.com • Live music and prizes Every Thursday • Bike Night at the Chatterbox Drive-In, Rtes. 15/206, Augusta, NJ. Tire kicking, good food and friends • www.chatterboxdrivein.com Every Saturday • Stop by the dealership at 9am for coffee and bagels. Ride departs at 10am. Return to the dealership for FREE food and music. Proper attire MUST be worn! No shorts or sneakers. • Bergen Harley-Davidson/BMW Motorcycle, 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • 201-843-6930 • www.bergenbmwmotorcycles.com
What’s Happening 18 • Liberty Harley-Davidson Blood Drive. Noon-4pm. 12 W. Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ • 732-381-2400 • www.libertyharley.com 19 • Blue Knights NJVIII Law Ride benefti ride for MADD. TWO REGISTRATION SITE: Hibernia Diner, 9 Green Pond Rd, Rockaway, NJ and Autoland, 170 Route 22 East, Springfield, NJ. Sign in: 9am; Ride leaves 10:30. $10/bike. Escorted ride. 22 • Liberty Harley-Davidson Garage Party. 12 W. Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ • 732-3812400 • www.libertyharley.com 24 • Meet at the Ace - a Summer Shakedown 2012 Vintage Motorcycle and Scooter Festival. America’s Car Museum, Haub Family Show Field, 2702 East D Street, Tacoma, WA. Museum exhibits, concours awards, people’s choice awards, swap meet, motorcyclethemed movies, beer garden, food vendors, live music and much more. For full details please visit www.lemaymuseum.org or call 312-951-8981 25 • Liberty Harley-Davidson Service Seminar. 12 W. Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ • 732-3812400 • www.libertyharley.com 26-29 • BACKROADS SUMMER SQUEEZE Once again we will call the Gray Ghost in West Dover, VT home for three nights while riding the enticing Vermont, New Hampshire and Adirondack roads. Book today as rooms will go quickly. www.GrayGhostInn.com or call Carina at 800-745-3615.
28• FW Speer Yamaha Foggy Mountain Reliability Run. This is a Timed Road Run (not a race of speed or police-escorted, follow the leader ride). You MUST be able to read a route sheet (English only), keep time and operate your motorcycle ALL at the same time. Sign up: 9:30am FW Speer Yamaha, 7 Main Ave, Passaic, NJ. For more information please call the shop at 973-778-6256
1 • Liberty Harley-Davidson Dog Days of Summer Bike Night. 6-9pm. 12 W. Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ • 732-381-2400 • www.libertyharley.com
30-Sept. 3 • Killington Classic run by the folks from Americade. Killington, VT. 5 Fantastic Days of Fun! For full details please visit www.KillingtonClassic.com
4 • Glenn Curtiss Museum Motorcycle Days. 9-5. 18419 SR54, Hammondsport, NY• 607569-2160 • www.glenncurtissmuseum.org 9-12 • COG Dog Days Down & Dirty UnRally. Marlinton Motor Inn, Marlinton, WV. Escape the Dog Days of summer in the West Virginia Mountains. For complete details see website: www.cog-online.org or call Jason at 814-535-8669 11 • Bergen County H-D/BMW Sellers Assist Tent Event. See page 37 for full details. • 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • 201-843-6930 • bergenharleydavidson.com 10-12 • 35th Annual Daniel Boone Rally sponsored by Carolinas BMW MOA. Boone, NC campgrounds. $40 rally fee includes camping and donuts/coffee both days, BBQ Saturday, rally pin, 5 door prize tix and many extras • www.carolinasbmwmoa.org 15 • Liberty Harley-Davidson Dog Days of Summer Bike Night. 6-9pm. 12 W. Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ • 732-381-2400 • www.libertyharley.com 16 • Bergen County BMW Ride1Eat. BMW Riders Only Event. Meet at dealer 6:30pm; depart 7pm. • 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • 201-843-6930 • bergenbmwmotorcycles.com
SEPTEMBER 13-16 • 15th Catskill Mountain Thunder. Weekend filled with stunt shows, vendor expo, bike build off, bike show with cash prizes, pig roast, fireworks, free demo rides, live music throughout the weekend and so much more. For full details please visit the website: www.catskillmountainthunder.com or call 518-634-2541 • 348 Sunside Rd, East Durham, NY. 13-16 • Empire State Motomarathon. It’s about riding as many twisties as possible, over four full days. Routes are kept secret until the night before each event. Through a series of self-recorded checkpoints, riders verify completion at the end of each day’s ride. $50 registration. Sign in: Sept. 12 @ 8pm. Quality Inn, 849 Rte. 52, Fishkill, NY • 845-8979300. Get more info here: www.motomarathon.com 16 • Lost Wheels MC 37th Annual Poker Run. Sign in/Endsite: Canopus Lake Beach @ Fahnestock State Park, 1498 Rte. 301, Carmel, NY 9-11:30am. $25/non-AMA; $23/AMA; $10/under 15. Lost Wheels Poker Run promises to be the best ‘End-Of-Summer’ run in the Hudson Valley. Every year a different route that never disappoints. Music, vendors, 50/50, door prizes, ride-in bike show, games and awards. NEW this year - food by Adams Fairacre Farms. All Bikes Welcome! www.lostwheels.com •845-591-9374 16 • Dangerous Curvz Ride to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer. Start/End: Tramontin Harley-Davidson, Hope, NJ. Sign in: 9:30am • Ride: 11am. $20/rider; $15/passenger to benefit National Ovarian Cancer Coalition North Jersey Chapter. 60-mile group ride thru Warren/Sussex Ctys. All bikes welcome • www.dangerouscurvz.com 16 • Sussex County Fairgrounds Champion of the Grill Competition BBQ & Blues. Grilling competition, vendors, free Blues concert, Classic car and motorcycle show. FREE. Backroads magazine will be judging the motorcycle show. 973-579-1811 • www.sussexcountychamber.org 23 • Hudson Valley Harley Riders Charity Ride to Benefit Gabrielle DiCarlo. Sign in: The Dog House, 17N Middletown Rd, Nanuet, NY 9-11am. $25/rider;$15/pass. Pre-reg. $30/rider; $15/pass. day of event. AMA Discount. Includes coffee, donuts, bagels and $10 coupon for the Dog House anytime. DJ, door prizes, 50/50 and raffle at endsite. • www.hudsonvalleyharleyriders.com 27-30 • Backroads Fall Fiesta 2012 • Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This time we’ll be staying downtown at the Lancaster Arts Hotel, right in the center of great dining and cultural doings, but easy access to the beautiful country roads in that area. • www.lancasterartshotel.com • 866-720-2787 - ask for the Backroads Fall Fiesta group. 29 • 9am-4pm • Celebrate Oktoberfest at Bob’s BMW. This annual, family-fun event is a great way to spend the day. Ride to Bob’s early for fresh coffee and donuts and stay for an authentic German lunch! Kick tires with fellow enthusiasts and shop great specials. Details of the day are in the works. Check back for updates at bobsbmw.com
OCTOBER 21 • American Spirit MC 16th Annual Tombstone Tour to benefit the Hicksville Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Sign in: 9-10am, VFW, 320 South Broadway, Hicksville, NY. $20/rider; $10/pass. Food, music, prizes. • ww.americanspiritmcinc.com • 516644-1106 25-28 • COG Fall Foliage Rally, Matamoras, PA. A convenient base will be chosen. Sample rides and group dinner on Saturday evening. Rally fee required. Contace Dave at 484553-1665 fo details or visit www.cog-online.org.
NOVEMBER 3 • 6-10pm • Bob's BMW 30th Year Anniversary Celebration. Tickets will be available months in advance. Expect a private, catered evening among fellow friends with lots of surprises, amazing giveaways, first heard announcements from Bob, plus an official tribute to Bob’s BMW! Visit www.BobsBMW for details.
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
SENA SMH10 MOTORCYCLE BLUETOOTH HEADSET AND INTERCOM REDEFINING THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE COMMUNICATIONS Jeff Bahr If you haven’t used a wireless motorcycle communications system, or are tethered to an old tried-and-true wired unit that works well enough, but is a genuine hassle to hook into, you will undoubtedly be fascinated by the latest crop of bike-to-bike/bike-to-passenger intercoms currently taking our sport by storm. Bluetooth technology has turned these former upstarts into genuine contenders in the evercompetitive moto-com sphere, and the Sena SMH10 is at the very forefront of the movement. For a list price of $219 per unit (or $399 for a DualPack), riders can talk to other motorcyclists or a passenger, listen to MP3 music, place and answer phone calls, or monitor the audio from a radar detector. The best part? After the unit is installed, there are no wires to fool around with. And since the SMH10 is installed on a helmet, as opposed to being hard-wired to a motorcycle, it can be used with as many different machines as one owns rents or borrows. Let’s check it out.
Installation Installation of the SMH10 is straightforward in a full-face, open face or modular helmet and should take less than 30 minutes to accomplish. After attaching the mounting plate to the helmet’s shell, it’s a simple matter of sliding in the unit, tucking speaker wires into the headliner and positioning the speakers in each ear well (using supplied Velcro strips). The boom microphone simply bends under the helmet. All firmware updates are accomplished via a USB port. A wire is included for this purpose.
Controls Thankfully, there are only two controls on the SMH10; a small rubber-
covered switch located on the end of the unit and a large jog wheel/ push switch combo located at its center. This clever wheel is what sets the SMH10 apart from its competitors. I was able to operate the unit in every mode while wearing ridiculously bulky winter riding gloves. Nearly all of the SMH10’s functions are accessed via this jog wheel. The side switch is used predominantly to answer and terminate phone calls.
Pairing The SMH10 can be used wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled cell phones, GPS units, and music players. Non-Bluetooth devices plug into the unit via a miniature (3.5 mm) input jack. Pairing of my Android phone was accomplished in a matter of seconds by pressing the jog wheel and side switch simultaneously for two seconds (to turn the unit on) and then pressing the jog wheel for five seconds after that.
Microphone The SMH10 uses a directional boom microphone that extends from the unit itself. In practice, it’s unobtrusive and effective. I received positive audio reviews while using the telephone and intercom functions and the microphone picked up minimal wind noise from my HJC ISMAX modular helmet, even at speed.
Sound quality This is where the Sena really shines. While not quite audiophile quality, the speakers in the SMH10 deliver surprisingly clean sound. Music comes across free of the “tinny” quality often heard in similarly sized speakers, and voice transmission is well-defined. A heavier-than-usual magnet structure is likely responsible for this. Speaker placement is critical. The SMH10’s speakers deliver a more robust sound when installed farther away from the ear since the open air space acts as a baffle that effectively amplifies the sound.
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
Bike-to-Bike Speaking to other riders is the crux test for any motorcycle communicator, so I adjusted my expectations accordingly. At first I was disappointed by the lack of volume reaching my ears whenever my friend spoke to me, until I realized that the volume control on the SMH10 operates independently for each mode. After correcting my error, I found that not only was the volume sufficient at highway speeds (during voice communications) I actually had to turn it down. Range was an honest 1/3 mile (the manufacturer claims 900 meters or roughly 3/5-mile under optimum conditions), give or take. After that, the transmission would drop off entirely. If the user is listening to music when a message comes in, the sound is overridden by the transmission. The SMH10 can link a total of four riders at one time.
Rider-to-passenger I didn’t have an opportunity to test this function with a passenger, but in an impromptu helmet-to-helmet chat staged outdoors, voice transmission came through loud and clear – just as it had when talking bike-to-bike.
The Juice The SMH10 comes equipped with a DC cigarette lighter charger and an AC wall unit. The DC charger can be used to charge and operate the SMH10 simultaneously while riding. Battery life is surprisingly long. I operated the SMH10 (in the MP3
Page 51 music mode) without a hiccup for 7 hours while en route from New Jersey to Virginia. The manufacturer claims 12 hours, although this number will depend on which mode is being used since each places a different current demand on the battery. A full charge required roughly three hours.
I have ridden for a number of years without a communications system, even though I have used and enjoyed such components in the past. Chalk that up to the hassle of installing hard-wired units on my motorcycle. Since I currently own three machines, even the best tethered device would leave two motorcycles without communications, or gouge a deep hole in my wallet if I decided to equip all three for sound. For that reason, portable communication units that attach to the helmet (like the SMH10) can’t be beat. Overall MP3 volume will not approach rock concert levels (set at maximum volume at highway speeds, you can expect a sound level that’s listenable but not loud). Nevertheless, the SMH10 makes a worthy companion for the long haul, especially when your riding chum or pillion mate feels an overwhelming need to converse (“I’m hungry! Can we rest for awhile? Nature is calling!”). It is at this time that you will look toward the heavens and scratch your head in awe. Technology, lo and behold, can indeed be our servant. For me, the SMH10 is a fine un-tethered friend.
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Rip & Ride® • ROSEMARY’S TEXAS TACO 2588 ROUTE 22, PATTERSON NY • 845-878-9665 N41°28.990’ W073° 34.526 THERE MAY BE A SMALL STRETCH OF DIRT ON OLD ALBANY POST ROAD, BUT IT’S ALL GOOD.
START: O’TOOLE’S HARLEY-DAVDISON, 4 SULLIVAN ST, WURTSBORO, NY
LEFT OUT OF DRIVEWAY TO BLOOMINGBURG MOUNTAIN ROAD LEFT ONTO CR 62/WINTERTON RD RIGHT ONTO CR 18/NEW VERNON RD RIGHT ONTO SCHOOLHOUSE RD RIGHT ONTO HWY 211 LEFT ONTO PIERSON HILL RD RIGHT ONTO TALLY HO RD LEFT ONTO SHAWANGUNK RD LEFT ONTO CR 11/MOUNT HOPE RD IMMEDIATE RIGHT ONTO MURRAY RD RIGHT ONTO MANNING RD LEFT ONTO MT ORANGE RD STRAIGHT ONTO HUNTER PL LEFT ONTO CR 49 RIGHT ONTO MCBRIDE RD LEFT ONTO US 6 RIGHT ONTO CR 12 LEFT ONTO CR 37 RIGHT ONTO CR 42 RIGHT ONTO CR 6 LEFT ONTO MT EVE RD RIGHT ONTO LITTLE YORK RD BEAR LEFT ONTO CHARDAVOYNE RD LEFT ONTO CR 1; STRAIGHT ONTO CR 1A LEFT ONTO ROUTE 94 RIGHT ONTO ROUTE 17A TAKE CR 106/LAKE KANAWAUKE RD EAST THRU HARRIMAN SP ¾ AROUND CIRCLE ONTO SEVEN LAKES DRIVE
½ AROUND CIRCLE – CONTINUE ON SEVEN LAKES DRIVE LEFT ONTO ROUTE 202 RIGHT ONTO US 6 OVER BEAR MOUNTAIN BRIDGE LEFT ONTO ROUTE 9D RIGHT ONTO SNAKE HILL ROAD/CR 11 CROSS ROUTE 9 ONTO TRAVIS CORNERS ROAD RIGHT ONTO OLD ALBANY POST RD BEAR LEFT ONTO THUNDER ROAD STRAIGHT ONTO CANOPUS HILL ROAD STAY LEFT ON CANOPUS HILL ROAD BEAR LEFT ONTO DENNYTOWN ROAD THRU FAHNESTOCK SP RIGHT ONTO ROUTE 301 LEFT ONTO CR 42/FARMERS MILLS ROAD LEFT ONTO MILLER HILL ROAD RIGHT ONTO RUSHMORE ROAD BEAR RIGHT ONTO HOSNER MOUNTAIN ROAD LEFT ONTO CHERRY LANE RIGHT ONTO HWY 52 LEFT ONTO MOUNTAIN TOP ROAD RIGHT ONTO GRAPE HOLLOW ROAD RIGHT ONTO HWY 292 BEAR RIGHT ONTO SOUTH ROAD LEFT ONTO S WHITE ROCK ROAD RIGHT ONTO DENTON LAKE ROAD LEFT ONTO MOONEY HILL ROAD STRAIGHT ONTO HWY 292 RIGHT ONTO HWY 311 BEAR LEFT ONTO CR 64/CORNWALL HILL ROAD BEAR LEFT ONTO COUCH ROAD LEFT ONTO ROUTE 164 LEFT ONTO HWY 22 ROSEMARY’S TEXAS TACO SHOULD BE ON THE RIGHT SIDE
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
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Come Ride the Dragon Deals Gap Store • Motel Bar and Grill
Deals Gap 318 Curves in 11 Miles
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO DO? WANT TO JOIN ONE HELLUVA FUN CREW? CHECK OUT THE BACKROADS RALLIES ON PAGE 64.
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WASHINGTON CYCLE WORKS We cater to road racers and support all Track Day organizations Check us for Suspension Setups • One-piece Road Race suits in stock
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Junction of Rtes. 57/31 • Washington, NJ 07882
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
The Charlesworth Hotel is New Jersey’s REAL backroads’ hideaway Ro
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THE Place to go when you REALLY want to Disappear
Ye Olde Landmark Tavern 5 Spacious Rooms starting at $90.00 Tavern and Dining Room Menu
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Route 739 ~ just south of Milford Rd ~ Dingmans Ferry, PA
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The Runway Cafe
Travel along the scenic backroads of the Delaware river. Meet the Markopoulos family and taste chef George’s Greek American cooking.
at the Blairstown Airport
36 Lambert Road • Blairstown, NJ Tues. thru Sat. 11am-10pm Sunday: Breakfast 9am-Noon Lunch and Dinner served until 9pm
John, Christina, chef George and Eoanna welcome you and your friends.
The Riverton Hotel and Restaurant
At Belvidere-Riverton Free Bridge, Riverton, PA
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The Boat House Restaurant Join us for Brunch, Lunch or Dinner overlooking Swartswood Lake
OPEN FOR DINNER • THURSDAY - SATURDAY 5~9PM Daily specialty items including burgers, homemade soup & pastries
Best bar menu, lunch or dinner. Fresh poppers, perogies, calamari, clams and crispy wings with 8 different sauces.
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
AMERICANA SOFT SEATS Custom Gel Pad Installation On Any Motorcycle Seat
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CROSSROADS BED AND BREAKFAST Come stay and ride with us. Our location, at the intersection of Routes 7 and 17 in Central Vermont, is just minutes away from four of Vermont’s famous gaps, with direct access to the Adirondacks
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
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Touring North Central Virginia? Then ride on over to the NEW Comfort Inn & Suites in Orange
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
NOLAN’S NEW B4 COMMUNICATION • THE NEXT GENERATION IN BLUETOOTH As the new Nolan N-104 hits the shelves at dealerships around the country, Nolan introduces their new B4, a BlueTooth communication kit specific to the N-104. Nolan was the first helmet company to introduce BlueTooth communications systems and this last offering shows their dedication to good design, performance and great sound. While all the previous generations of Ncom were based on a headset and a separate BlueTooth module located on the left side of the helmet, the B4 comes as a single kit that fits perfectly into the N-104, which is designed to receive it without any modifications. The installation takes just a few minutes, thanks to the new configuration: the electronics and the slimmer battery fit like a cartridge behind the lower trim in the back of the helmet. The keypad mounts on the left side and is easy to operate with gloved fingers thanks to its raised rubber buttons.
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Features include rider to passenger communication via BlueTooth as well as bike to bike communication between two BlueTooth B4 systems up to a distance of a half-mile. A new function permits users to communicate with 4 additional riders equipped with their own B4, one at a time. Also along for the ride is FM Radio with RDS function (to stay tuned to the same radio station for the entire ride), with 6 pre-settings for your favorite radio stations. Other devices can be connected to the B4: Music players and other devices using a standard headphone jack can be connected via a wire and other BlueTooth enabled devices such as a cell-phone and a GPS can be paired through the BlueTooth connection. Firmware updates as well as presetting of the radio stations, volume controls, etc. can be done by connecting the B4 to a computer via the USB cable (included) with the Ncom Wizard program. The B4 is compatible with all previous generations of Ncom BlueTooth and lists for $369.95 For more information log onto www.nolan-usa.com
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
Page 60 “Your story had me a little confused. Maybe it was the bourbon.” Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca Judging by the bar tabs from the Backroads Spring Break, our readers appreciate top-shelf spirits as much as riding motorcycles on serpentine roads. Consequently, Luray, Virginia was a perfect launch pad from which to visit a couple microdistilleries, the higher-proof alternatives to the ever-increasing number of microbreweries. Taking craft-brewing to the next level, these master distillers are turning out some of the best-tasting spirits available today. At one time, tracking down one of them might have cost you a behind full of buckshot, but today it merely requires a ride down excellent Virginia roads (plus a little cash).
BELMONT FARM DISTILLERY Just outside the strategic Civil War town of Culpeper, Virginia is a 195-acre farm that supplies the grain for Master Distiller Chuck Miller’s “Stillhouse Moonshine,” a legal version of the product Chuck’s grandfather used to produce illicitly and deliver in his Hudson automobile. The 80 proof, clear, corn liquor is distilled in a 1933-vintage copper pot still using local limestone water that in Chuck’s words, “Is so pure, I wouldn’t drink it.” The jug alone is beautiful, with a raised howling wolf logo and, if you get the gift box, a proclamation that “Prohibition is Over.” That statement isn’t without real meaning, because while they sold to the Virginia state liquor stores for 22 years, Chuck says it took 18 years to get the permits to sell it di-
in F In
: s t i r i p S e
Virginia Distilleries Mark Byers
rectly from the farm. They claim to be the only legal producers of moonshine in the country. When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly Labrador and then by Chuck, clad in a flannel shirt and an enormous straw hat. He’s no stranger to visitors or media, as the distillery has been featured on the History, Discovery, and National Geographic Channels as well as other media outlets and Chuck has a well-developed patter designed to educate and entertain simultaneously. He’s quick to point out that Virginia author Patricia Cornwell visited in her helicopter and mentioned his brew in a couple of her books. The distillery tour was worth the time with Chuck himself as our guide. While moonshine is their signature product, they also make a bourbon-like whiskey named “Kopper Kettle.” Drawing on one of his grandfather’s recipes, Chuck takes the clear liquor and adds oak and apple wood chips, letting them hang in a cheesecloth
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012 bag until the brew takes on a distinctive color, flavor, and aroma. When he opened the container to let us smell it, Chuck mused, “I like my own cookin’!” The brown spirit is further aged two years in oak barrels before bottling in vintage machines, the filler from 1945 and the capper from 1933. Despite the rural location, vintage equipment, and homespun atmosphere, the web site for Stillhouse Moonshine lists celebrity chef Adam Perry Lang as “co-founder” (in 2010). The web presence and memorabilia suggest a level of sophistication in marketing that is beyond “good ole boy” norms and I suspect Mr. Lang had a part in helping to bring this microdistillery to prominence. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that distiller Chuck Miller was doing this a long time prior, is the real deal, and that his homespun charm is genuine and the operation he runs with his wife Jeannette and two helpers is truly an American original. I don’t begrudge him the success. With whiskey, the proof is in the drinking. Pesky regulations did not permit onsite tastings, so I had to wait until I got home to finish my “research.” I was not disappointed. The 80-proof Stillhouse Moonshine was very smooth for a clear brew and, although I personally might not drink it neat, you may. I think it definitely would make a great platform for a cocktail (the web site has
Page 61 some recipes). If you’re a little more adventurous, they offer a 100 proof brew called “Virginia Lightning” that Chuck says, “Is closer to what these Virginia boys like to drink.” The Kopper Kettle apple/oak whiskey, on the other hand, is excellent and kept me mellow throughout this article. I like the aroma as much as the taste. Belmont Farm Distillery is located at 13490 Cedar Run Road, Culpeper, Virginia and is open for tours 1 April through 20 December (except holidays) from 10AM to 5PM. The sign on Route 522 South of Culpeper is a little nondescript, so be alert. The driveway is hardpacked gravel, but was no problem for our motorcycles. Ride the web to www.virginiawhiskey.com or www.virginiamoonshine.com for more. On the way out, I asked Chuck if business was good. His reply was, “When times are good, people buy whiskey and when times are bad, people buy whiskey.” Well said.
COPPER FOX DISTILLERY Just over the mountain from Luray, at the foot of the outstanding, twisty Route 211 is Sperryville, Virginia, the home of Master Distiller Rick Wasmund’s Copper Fox Distillery. While Rick doesn’t have the family history of illegal distillation of his Virginia competitor, he definitely has a passion for the process and his own ideas about what makes a great single malt whiskey. Instead of corn, for example, Wasmund makes his brew from sixrow barley, organically grown on a farm near Reedville in the “Northern Neck” of Virginia. And taste the barley you can in his “Wasmund’s Rappahannock PotStilled Single Malt Whisky.” One sip and you confirm that Rick studied the distiller’s art during an internship at the Bowmore Distillery in Islay, Scotland, although his twist on the theme is that he smokes his malted barley with
AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
apple and cherry wood chips (allegedly held in his mother’s old cast iron skillet) rather than with peat. To me, the fruitwood smoke results in a sweeter, mellower taste than found in single-malt Scotch whiskies. He also uses wood chips in the barrels to further flavor the brew. Wasmund’s is definitely a family operation, from the toys scattered around the stillhouse outside the retail shop, to the resident dog and cat, to the fact that the tour was conducted by his mother, jokingly called “MOM” or “Master Of Malt.” We got to see the entire operation, from the freshly-spread barley on the malting floor (which we were encouraged to handle) to the drying kiln (where we were encouraged to grab a handful to eat). It was certainly
the most hands-on tour of a spirit-production facility I’ve ever had, including those I toured in Scotland. Wasmund also makes a Rye Whisky [whiskey and whisky are both correct – Wasmund uses the latter] and both barley and rye clear spirits (the unaged, colorless basis for the two whiskies they sell). The clear spirits allow them to do something extremely unique, which is to sell a home barreling kit that allows you to age and flavor your own single malt whiskey or rye to taste! They sell oak, pre-charred barrels in two- and three-liter sizes along with the clear spirits to fill them. Follow their instructions for seasoning the barrel (to reduce the loss to evaporation or the “angel’s share”) and in six months to as many years as you can stand to wait, you’ll have your own, custom-made whiskey.
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My friend Larry bought a two-liter barrel kit and by Christmas, should be able to tap the first dram of his “Segeleon’s Single Malt.” Rick was very willing to have a long conversation with us about how to get the cherry flavor accents Larry desired. He also made sure we knew where to purchase the clear spirits locally, because the barrels can be reused and it’s actually the second or third batch that is reportedly the best. Rick even suggested other flavoring ideas, like the addition of vanilla bean. I’m not a rye-drinker (yet), so I’ll leave that research to the reader, but the 96-proof Single-Malt Whisky is excellent. Like a good Scotch, a whiskey glass and just a wee bit of water will help release the esters for maximum enjoyment (but it’s just fine from a regular glass). Because of the barley drying/smoking process, there’s a definite smokiness to the taste. A cigar aficionado may find it a fine complement to the right smoke. Copper Fox Distillery is located at 9 River Lane, Sperryville, Virginia and is open Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 6PM, although tour times are limited except Friday and Saturday, when they happen on the hour. They’re down a side road with some other businesses, so don’t expect them to be right on the main drag. The road and parking lot are gravel, but no issue for motorcycles. They’re on the web at www.copperfox.biz and the phone is 540-987-8554.
BACKROADS • AUGUST 2012
manning’s Farm dairy and ice cream rr#1 manning road, dalton, pA 570-563-1702 • www.manningfarm.com Summertime and the living is easy. Great weather, perfect riding days and the obligatory ice cream stop. This month I’m sending you to a really special place. Not only will you have the BEST chocolate ice cream, you’ll have a great ride there and back. First, a little information. Manning’s is a working dairy farm. The Manning family takes very good care of the Holsteins who give up their milk for our creamy enjoyment. They do not receive any growth hormones. Instead, they are made as comfortable as possible, with mattresses to lay on, sprinklers and fans for hot weather and regular veterinary visits. From the start, they are fed a very healthy diet of special grains and grasses, 95% of which are grown on the farm, with soybeans being the number one ingredient. When you arrive at the farm store, you’ll see four large blue silos. These house the grains, corn and soy. They also make for a great photo op. All bottling and processing of the raw milk is done right here on the farm. Manning Farm Dairy is the only dairy in all of Lackawanna County to exclusively use its own milk in all of its dairy products. Also, they do it the old
Shira’s Summertime Ice Cream
Page 63 school way, vat pasteurization, allowing for the true taste of the milk to come through. While most large milk processors use the quick high temperature pasteurization, Mannings chooses to take the time to produce the best possible milk, thus the best possible ice cream. The cows are milked twice a day, with milk and ice cream delivered daily to their stores. Can’t get any fresher than that. From cow to cone, that’s the ticket. We’ll start this ride from Jumboland on Route 206 in Branchville, NJ. You can grab a bite to eat but don’t fill up as you’ll want to sample as many of the fifty flavors offered up when you get to Mannings. Get your dollar ready to cross the Dingman’s Ferry bridge, of the few privately owned bridges in the US. You’ll meander on some quiet Pennsylvania roadways, some in better shape than others, on your way to Lake Wallenpaupack. It’s a pretty lake, but summertime does bring a bit of congestion, so keep your cool and you’ll soon be on your way to more isolated tarmac. As a matter of fact, you might even find yourself on a little hardpacked dirt, being as this is the country and all. You see some large windmills in the distance
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AUGUST 2012 • BACKROADS
outside of Waymart, bringing power to the people. Very soon you’ll come upon more inhabited areas, as well as signs for I81. Right past this you’ll take a left turn onto Manning Road, bringing you to your little piece of ice cream heaven. The last bits of roadway are, IMHO, the best of the day, and you might just want to enjoy them a few times back and forth just for kicks. You’ll find Manning Farm Dairy on the left side, with their picnic tables across the street to enjoy your tasty treat. When we wandered in, we beat the crowd and had time to peruse the lengthy flavor list. There were some creative names such as Barnyard Gravy, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, which begged for description, and the old time favorites such as chocolate and vanilla and many in between. I settled for a tasting of the Charlie Brown – chocolate ice cream with brownies mixed in – and Pralines and Caramel – pretty self-explanatory. We settled onto our picnic bench to enjoy. Sitting next to us were some folks from Maryland and Virginia. We asked if they had been here before and they said yes. Their family was from these parts and they could not come visiting without a stop at Mannings for ice cream. Pretty high praise, I’d say. The Pralines and Caramel was as creamy as anything I’ve ever tasted, but the chocolate ice cream was The BesT ice creAm i’ve ever TAsTed. I guess the Manning family’s Cow to Cone idea is paying off. The smoothness and richness of the flavor was beyond and the fact that we were sitting across from the farm that gave it birth was a bonus. There is nothing better than some ice cream, a sunny day and fresh air before, or after, a great ride. Sure, you might get a wafting of ‘au de bovine’ but that’s all part of the experience.
Once you’ve had your fill of ice cream, you can make the return trip to Jumboland or figure out your own way home if you’d like more time to play in the country. Manning’s Farm Dairy is open all year, from 10am to 9pm (winter hours may vary-call ahead). Bring cash, as they don’t take any plastic. In addition to their original farm store, they have four others; Clark Summit, Dunmore and two near Scranton. You can find their locations and phone numbers on the Manning website: www.manningfarm.com. download 160-mile r/T gps file here: www.sendspace.com/file/i8f0h8 When downloading from SendSpace, click on BLUE DOWNLOAD BOX.
SUMMER 3 NIGHTS:
SUNDAY AUGUST 26 ~ WEDNESDAY AUGUST 29
290 Route 100, West Dover, VT 800-745-3615
You’ve asked for it and here it is… Backroads Fall Fiesta • September 27 - 30, 2012 Join Team Backroads as we head back to the Amish country and the spectacular Lancaster Arts Hotel. We’ll combine some of the prettiest roads in Pennsylvania with one of the most progressive cities in the United States. Lancaster offers historic sites and attractions as well as varied restaurants. Tour the Harley-Davidson factory on Friday and enjoy the Mayor’s Charity Ride Saturday, with a route especially created by Lancaster’s own Mayor, Rick Gray. This event will sell out quickly. As usual, we have a limited number of rooms available so BOOK TODAY.
www.lancasterartshotel.com • 866-720-2787 Please ask for the Backroads Fall Fiesta when booking. Standard rooms from $135 per night. There are many other lodging option in Lancaster if the Arts Hotel is full.