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AUGUST

2014

Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure Volume 20 No. 8

Loopin’ the Cats An Any Sunday Saunter Coal Country Riding a Piece of Americana

Cannon Ball Baker Run Centennial Ride Across America Monthly Columns • Product Reviews Ice Cream and more


W H A T ’ S

I N S I D E

MON T HLY COLUM N S

28 Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure

FREE WHEELIN’ ...............................................................4 WHATCHATHINKIN’........................................................5 POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE................................6 ON THE MARK.................................................................7 BACKLASH........................................................................8

Publishers

Brian Rathjen • Shira Kamil

Contributors

Jack Broomall, Mark Byers, Ron Davis, Bill Heald, Dr. Seymour O’Life

THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD..................................10 INDUSTRY INFOBITES .................................................12

Editorial Office BACKROADS, POB 317 Branchville NJ 07826

MYSTERIOUS AMERICA .............................................15 BIG CITY GETAWAY ......................................................17 WE’RE OUTTA HERE....................................................19 GREAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN.......................22 SHIRA’S ICE CREAM RUN..........................................24 WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE......................................26 UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR.............................36

37

MOTORCYCLE MARKETPLACE.................................53

FEAT URES LOOPIN’ THE CATS ......................................................28 COAL COUNTRY...........................................................37 CANNON BALL BAKER CENTENNIAL RIDE .........46

PROD UCT REVIEWS FIELDSHEER ADVENTURE SUIT ..............................33 MACNA GEO JACKE AND BEDOINE PANTS .......34 PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTS.............................................44

46

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973.948.4176

fax

973.948.0823

email

editor@backroadsusa.com

online

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BACKROADS (ISSN 1087-2088) is published monthly by BACKROADS™, Inc. 2014. 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 2014 • BACKROADS

Page 4

FREE WHEELIN’ BRIAN RATHJEN

The TexT Why texters are the most dangerous threat to today’s riders I like to call it like I see it - almost always a young girl. Sure, young men, old men and grandmas text too, but most of the time it is some female child – who just began to drive – texting her BFF “OMG I just hit a guy on a motorcycle. I hope he is OK - LOL!” The stats for young people, who have grown up with these devices are staggering. According to national surveys 15-to-19-year-olds make up the largest proportion of distracted drivers and texting while driving kills 11 teens each day. Teen drivers are 4x more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near-crashes when talking or texting on a cell phone and 46% of drivers under 18 admit to texting while driving. In these days of so many distractions for automobile drivers it is the advent of this texting-mania that is smashing, crashing, dismembering and killing us riders. Like many things that hurt other folk this basically comes down to rudeness and far too much self-importance. Most of the trivial bull on Facebook and Twitter are exactly the same. Do I need to know you are going to Arbys or that you just read this Free Wheelin’ piece and think that Brian is an ass? Please … keep it to yourself or write an actual letter (email is okay) and send it to us. I’ll even print it. Back on the topic of driving and texting or just chatting on the cell phone while in active traffic I have made it a point, while on my motorcycle, of telling drivers at the stoplight to hang up the phone. Should I mind my own business? Probably, but when the choice is say something or have the driver nail me or another rider - whether it be some

Gothy teenage girl or some monstrous guy in an F-350 - I’ll be the boorish motorcycle dude who will actually speak up to these self-absorbed boobs. I am not scared, nor shy, and they need the obvious pointed out. If you constantly text, talk or multi-task while driving on public roads you will, eventually, have some sort of incident. According to research at any given time during daylight hours, 660,000 drivers in the United States use cell phones. Whether it’s texting, taking a phonecall, or sending emails, cell phone use is associated with higher rates of dangerous or fatal car crashes. Accidents involving drivers using their cell phones are avoidable but many people put everyone’s safety at risk by ignoring laws against distracted driving. This issue has been growing and expanding, as has the local governments response to it. In September of last year Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, of New York, increased state’s efforts to reduce distracted driving by unveiling special “Texting Zones” along the New York State Thruway and State Highways that will give motorists a pull-off area to park and use their mobile devices. In a brilliant move they didn’t build special pullouts but rather used existing Park-n-Ride facilities, rest stops, and parking areas along the Thruway and Highways for dual-function as Texting Zones, and signage has be placed along the highways to inform drivers where the Zones are located. A total of 298 signs will be located along major highways across the state, notifying motorists to 91 Texting Zone locations. I spotted one late in March along I-84 – the first one for me - as I haven’t been on New York’s highways since last season. Perhaps local towns and counties around the country should follow New York’s lead on this and make more pull outs and texting spots available for driver (and riders for that matter- we’re self-absorbed too) In addition, the Governor announced a 365% increase in tickets issued in summer 2013 compared to summer 2012 for distracted driving, a result of an extensive enforcement crackdown by the State Police. This summer, State (Continued on Page 9)


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

W H ATC H AT H I N K I N ’ SHIRA KAMIL

Don’T be a LuDDiTe I’m sure by now everyone in the entire universe has seen, heard, read or personally experienced the introduction of Harley-Davidson’s Project LiveWire. Even those not remotely interested in anything motorcycle have been exposed to this phenom. Mainstream Media has taken to this like ducks to water, with everyone from Forbes to Time to local news stations jumping on the bandwagon to laud their praises for Harley-Davidson’s step towards the green side. All this greenery is a good thing. Electric motorcycles have been around for a bit now, with Zero and Brammo leading the charge (pun intended). Great strides have been made in distance, speed and design. The Zeros have been embraced by many law enforcement agencies and military worldwide due to their environmental acceptability, stealth and ease of use. Now that Harley-Davidson has entered the playing field, this brings a whole new clout to the table. With the inclusion of such a major manufacturer with so much history (and deep pockets), it will only bring greater advances to the development to the electric genre. I’m sure that other manufacturers won’t be far behind and we’ll be seeing more and more of these quiet runners on the road. I like the look of the LiveWire, although I’m not quite sure of the sound. You have to admit that the sound of a Harley-Davidson is truly iconic. Hell, they went so far as to trademark it. What will the faithful do about this while rumbling along on their electric ride? I’m sure the aftermarket folks will figure something out. Reading all the postings when the LiveWire was first announced, I couldn’t help but think back so many years ago to the purchase of our first digital camera. Brian, in his previous life, had been a commercial photographer and I had spent many, many hours in the dark room at Cooper Union, snorting all those glorious fumes. Loading sheet film was a true joy, and dropping off those canisters of film from the latest adventures, having to wait days to see what would really develop, was standard. I remember Brian saying that he would never give

up his film, but agreed to buy a little ‘point and shoot’ just for product stuff around the office. As time went by, he used that little point and shoot more and more as it was easy to pull out while riding for that great road shot. He eventually bought a Nikon digital SLR to bring on our longer trips. His beloved Minolta began to gather dust on the shelf, and the trips to the local photo store were few and far between. Today, I use my iPhone as a camera and Brian is on his umpeenth Nikon CoolPix. While Kodak is still making film, it has drastically cut back its production. We have an array of cameras on a shelf, ranging from the

Page 5 Rolliflex I got from my father to the first Canon PureShot we bought. I’m sure that you could still find a film camera somewhere, but why? The quality of digital is amazing, and getting better everyday. Sure, I’ll always fondly remember the smell of Dektol used to develop my black and white prints and the anticipation looking into the tray to see what was going to pop out, but there’s something to be said for instant gratification. The development of digital relates directly to that of the electric motorcycle. I don’t think they will wipe out our gaspowered friends in our lifetime, but like all technology, great advancements with regards to environment are sure to bring them to the forefront. On our last sojourn, we rode past a very large installation of wind turbines in Pennsylvania. More and more solar panel arrays can be seen popping up in fields and on power lines. I’m no tree-hugger, but I know that you shouldn’t shit where you eat, and trying to keep this planet clean can only be a good thing. And if someone wants to give me a Tesla S I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at it. Keep an open mind, try new things and don’t be a luddite.


AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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P O S TC A R D S FROM THE HEDGE BILL HEALD

Summer: unDer ConSTruCTion I hate it when this happens. You rise early on a beautiful summer’s morning, and jump on the bike while most of the bugs are still asleep (OK, maybe not most. Many). The temperature hasn’t climbed to the unpleasant level yet, and you motor out into the warm, damp air which reminds you it’s summer and gives the morning light a special, unique hue. You’re already in a fine mood as these are really great riding conditions, and you decide to head to one of your favorite bits of curvy blacktop to let your machine stretch its legs a bit. Right on the highway, and then you go about 200 yards and…crap. There’s a sign at the entrance of this favorite road and it states: CAUTION: LOOSE GRAVEL. SPEED LIMIT 25 MPH. Oh, maaaaaannnn. This is one of those yin/yang things about the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer. It is not only a great time to ride and do just about any kind of outdoor activity, it’s also a good time for those that take care of our infrastructure to engage in road repair. Look, I’m a reasonable guy (most of the time). I understand the need for road maintenance and I really appreciate it when the job is done. But why does it have to be

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this road, on this day, and why is it that they have cunningly devised a way to make a formerly excellent road a real pain for what amounts to a couple of weeks? This is a very questionable type of road repair where they go the fast (?) and cheap route of dumping a load of hot tar on the road, and then just dumping gravel on top of that and then do a quick pass with a steamroller. By the way: somebody somewhere races steamrollers, right? I figure there must be a racing league somewhere. Anyhow, the practice of dumping gravel like this on a favorite road means what was all smooth and sticky is now loose and squirrely, especially going into Turns Three and Four under full steam. Now you just have to lower your speed to a crawl and concentrate on not screwing any pooches by dumping the bike, instead of enjoying the miracle that is the capabilities of modern motorcycle Sport-Touring tire. Man, this is depressing. The worst part of this stems from the fact that on a lot of these secondary (or even tertiary) roads they don’t get around to firing up the ancient street sweeper my town owns and getting rid of the excess gravel until it’s nearly time to start sanding/salting this road to combat the first winter storm. More Despair.

Such episodes are just a reminder of the amazing universe of summer road construction projects you have to be prepared for, especially on a long trip in unfamiliar territory. Some wretched practices are quite universal, like scoring the road with some medieval contraptions that create deep grooves that always seem to be the right size to make your front tire wriggle around. You can divine a lot about a state’s attitude towards motorcycles by what kind of warning they give you prior to running into a lengthy stretch of the annoying surface. Sometimes they will at least put up a graphic and a “Motorcycles use caution” disclaimer that is always welcome. It’s always best to give folks some warning. Other motorcyclists also have a role to play here, because I know especially with beginners (often riding bikes with fairly narrow tires) the first trip down such a road can be unnerving in the least, so it’s best to explain to them that a bit of front end wandering is natural and don’t wear yourself out by gripping the bars so tightly you develop arm pump. This can happen when a rider tries to literally muscle the machine into normal behavior, and thus “make it stop.” Then there are the inevitable delays that come with construction and, sadly, the inevitable stoppage due to (Continued on Page 9)


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

ON THE MARK MARK BYERS

WreSTLing The gianT PyThon It started with a winding road. The road vexed drivers and truckers because it connected places they needed to go with some regularity and, to put it mildly, it was a bitch to drive. Built more for ease of construction than driving, it twisted and stumbled like the drunken surveyor who laid it out. For years it sat there, an impediment to commerce. Over time, however, crazy people started coming – crazy people on motorcycles. They liked this abomination of tarmac for precisely the reasons normal people hated it: the writhing of the pavement gave them a venue on which they could take their machines and come damn close to killing themselves, satisfying their thirst for the hormonal secretions that ooze forth as a consequence. There were even some people in little foreign cars who did the same. Some of the crazy people stopped and bought gas and fizzy pop and ate fatty foods. Some stayed in the local motels so they could scare themselves on successive days. Not all of the people were up to the challenge, and the local towing business started making serious coin collecting mangled machines, parts of which were hung on a tree by the general store. Because the riders needed something to call the road when they talked smack, they called it “The Tail of the Dragon” or “The Dragon.” No one knows the tipping point, but the name stuck and local merchants printed T-shirts and stickers and other paraphernalia with the name. It became fashionable to have a little dragon decal on one’s machine, a badge of honor for those who “Tamed the Dragon.” Word of mouth, publications, and

Page 7 the internet made it famous. More people flocked to the site…and there was much rejoicing in the Chamber of Commerce. Apparently, other Chamber of Commerce people in remote places with equally wretched roads took note. “That old road over the mountain is a real piece of crap,” they’d say, “let’s name it and get US some of that crazy motorcycle money.” And so it went. I know, because I spent Memorial Day weekend riding “The Back of the Dragon,” whose claim to fame is that it’s almost three times LONGER than the “Tail of the Dragon.” Now I’ve been there, done that, and yes…got the Tshirt. As they say in the Shamwow! commercials, but wait, there’s MORE! Nearby named routes include the “Turkey Strut, Possum Run, Horn of the Cow, Wooly Mammoth” and, not to be outdone in the dragon-parts-fest… “The Claw of the Dragon.” I kid you not and I’ve got a big, glossy, full-color brochure/map to prove it, dutifully stamped with the logos of the Chambers of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureaus! Regrettably, I did not make it to Tennessee to ride “The Snake;” however, it made me think about names I could give other roads I like to ride. We came across the mountain on VA 80 through Hayter’s Gap and it was twisty and narrow, with no guardrails and steep dropoffs, so I dubbed it “The Crack of the Dragon” because one lapse of concentration, and you’re in deep shit. To keep from overdoing the dragon-part thing, however, I branched out. Route 12 in WV outside Lost River State Park becomes such a mess of bad or nonexistent pavement, switchbacks, and dark, “please gawd don’t let me meet someone coming the other way” narrowness, that I elected to call it “The Colon of the Monkey.” Now the boys in the general store can talk about “Spanking the Monkey.” I’m sure the Chamber of Commerce is rushing to print those stickers, T-shirts, and brochures right now. At a BMWRA rally, they tried to hang the moniker “The WV Dragon” on (Continued on Page 9)


Page 8

AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

BACKLASH Dirigo Brian, I enjoyed your May “Dirigo” article this morning. Really good points to share with new-bee leaders, but this role isn’t for everyone. I find myself in the front probably 90% off the time and actually prefer it on long trips. OK, call me a control freak-but my companions seem to cherish the ride. I would love to add a couple things to the list, one being hand signals. Ex: We will have moments where I miss a turn and instead of everyone following me into a U-turn, I will signal the correct turn that I just rode by it. The group will make the turn and wait for me to safely return to my post. Also, I started a new technique when either entering a super slow speed zone or needing to shed speed fast due to construction or the like. I will tap my back brake twice which does a great job of alerting the rider or 2 behind me that we are about to slow way down. Also, this allows me to keep both hands on the bike. Oh, and “Live free or Die” man! Kimberly Harvey Good day Mr. Editor, Nice job responding to the Cuba-hating, Che-phobic. I know they were a gang of ruthless murderers and commie shitbags. Doesn’t mean Cuba might not be a beautiful land. We used to get this crazy ranting dude calling us each year about our selling The Motorcycle Diaries in our catalog. We told him we didn’t approve of their actions, we’re just selling a book about what happened. I am so tired of people who want to be angry and offended. I am thinking about printing a bumper sticker which reads: “Grow a spine. Get over it.” Be well! Jeff Adams Brian, I had mentioned that when looking for the Spring Fling info I came across the a Backroads issue and a story about a West Coast ride you did. You mentioned a road by name that was not to be missed. I said I would email you

Letters to the Editor and ask you for it. Anyway I found it, it was in the April 2014 issue and it was the “Going Down the Coast” article. The road you mentioned is the “Skaggs Springs Road”. I looked the whole article over and jotted down a lot of the roads (and the Army Base/Hotel at Big Sur) you had down. I will be in the Oakland/SF area for a lot of the Summer and hope to hit some of those areas (I rode a bike out to CA last Summer and left it out there because we go back and forth some). Anyway, thanks for the article and I will check them all out! Scott Backroads, Well, thanks a bunch,folks. My wife, grabbing the latest Backroads, has become insufferable! You’d think she made the cover of Vogue. In her defense, she appears to be enjoying herself. Much as we did when we met with the “Northeast contigent” down here in our little corner of the universe. Nice visiting and riding with you. Marion is not the same in your absence.......Too quiet? Regards, and ya’ll come back now, Doc and Debbie

Keep it Quiet Out There! Hi Backroads, I’m just getting around to catching up on some issues and just read Mark’s article in the May issue titled “Throttle and the Damage Done”. As with Mark, this is a sore subject with me. I just want to suggest that you tell Mark that he’s wasting his breath. The people with loud pipes will always have loud pipes. As for “Loud Pipes Save Lives”? These people know it’s bullshit; they just need an excuse. It’s simple, Loud Pipes are about “Being Cool”, “Being Tough” and thinking they increase the size of a particular body part. I’ve got a guy down the street from me who is a perfect example and pretty much have to live with it. Anyway, I agree whole heartedly and am planning a letter on “Motorcy-


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

Page 9

clist’s Entitlement” to send to the AMA. Loud pipes will definitely be a part of it. There are a lot of riders out there that are giving real Motorcyclists a bad name and frankly, we can’t afford it. Well, that is my 2 cents! Thinking of checking out the “Summer Squeeze” so maybe I”ll see you up there. Enjoy the ride! Tom Lombardini

The AltRide Hey Brian and Shira. I had a hell of a good time at Conserve the Ride. It was especially cool to meet the two of you there, and spend some time talking about riding and its affect on us. The weekend was terrific. Went with an old friend and made lots of new ones. Rode to the limit of my limited abilities, which was, at the same time, terrifying and incredibly satisfying. I was the one wearing pajamas and borrowed sandals because I packed like a moron. I plan to do it again next year, for sure, and hope you will too! Aaron Houston free WheeLin’

(Continued from page 4)

Police issued 21,580 tickets, surpassing last summer’s total of 5,208 tickets. I never thought I would be rooting for the revenuers. If all it does is make a driver looking to reply to a text, phone call or voice message wait a few minutes and a few more miles to do it safely then the signs are worth the price. As time goes on, and it becomes truly socially unacceptable to drive with a phone in your hand, as well as monetarily foolish it will be all the better. PoSTCarDS from The heDge

(Continued from Page 6)

accidents that cause long non-moving lines of traffic during the summer when so many people take to the road. Some of these delays can get ridiculous, which is why you never, ever, ever travel any distance without bringing along some water to keep you hydrated. I’m a big fan of Sigg bottles and I always have at least one in a saddlebag, backpack, tank bag, whatever even if I’m just going on a trip to the store. Which brings me, oddly enough, to another type of summer road improvement that can again make your motorcycle misbehave. I remember the first time I ever encountered a den of the creatures called Tar Snakes (and I’m talking about strips of tar poured into cracks in the road in an effort to seal them) I was out west, on a Yamaha Royal Star Touring bike and the temperature was quite torrid. For whatever reason, at this point in my life I had only really experienced fairly wimpy Tar Snakes; the kind that would almost best be considered Tar Garter Snakes, or even Tar Earthworms. But in a sun-toasted parking lot somewhere in Southern Arizona, I came face-to-face with a really nasty Tar Snake that was really more of a Tar Black Mamba or even a Taraconda. The Royal Star did very unusual things when turning on these foul strips of goo, that once hot enough had a very gooey consistency. They never managed to pluck the Star from the heavens, so to speak, but it felt really creepy riding on them and I keep a wary eye out for them during the summer (especially in parking lots). Of course, one of the miracles of our modern age is the various apps, websites and software that can deliver real-time info on road construction projects that can at least give you a heads-up of what to expect. Of course, you can’t get information on everything, and often detours are not readily available. Just remember with the joys of summer riding there are certain seasonal disorders that can cause you a mess of trouble if you aren’t focused. It’s like a dose of sunshine: yeah, it makes you feel awesome but it has the ability to bite you if you aren’t ready for its dark side. on The mark

(Continued from Page 7)

Route 72 just South of Canaan Valley, but I guess the Chamber didn’t take up the cause. Personally, I think it should be called “The Spine of the Porcupine” because the surface is rough in places and will hurt you…and I like rhyming double-entendres. Plus, you could say you were “Riding the ‘Pine” and it wouldn’t mean you were a third-string ballplayer. Tucker County Chamber of Commerce, are you listening? I want the royalties. There are millions of road-naming possibilities out there in the animal-parts kingdom. Inspired by “The Wooly Mammoth,” I’m looking for a great road to call “The Ass of the Mastodon.” Now, if you’ll excuse me, the Dr. Pepper I drank as I composed this piece requires that I go “Wrestle the Giant Python.”

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AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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TH OUGHTS FROM THE ROAD

Ron Davis

hoW To reaD a moTorCyCLe magazine Read at your own peril. Okay, I know this is a motorcycle magazine. I know you are reading it. Obviously, you know how to read a motorcycle magazine. But, if you are one of those who (like me) is truly obsessed with reading everything and anything connected with motorcycles (especially in the winter months), you have probably begun to suspect that there may be certain hazards, certain pitfalls, associated with your habit. So with apologies to the publishers of all those magazines to which I’m hopelessly addicted, let my scribblings be a warning of what you, the pitiful slave of all things bike, can expect: The bLank Look. You’ve seen it. At parties. Around the watercooler, the bar, or just about anywhere you talk to people not of our persuasion. Their eyes narrow, possibly dart back and forth as if looking for an escape route. Hard as it may be to believe, some people just aren’t interested in a comparison between the dyno ratings for the 2003 vs. 2008 Hayabusa. In fact, you may have to explain what a “Hayabusa” is, and unless you mention the connection to Ben Roethlisberger, their sudden need to call the babysitter might lead you to suspect they don’t really care what it is. Who can begin to explain the lack of enthusiasm for a spirited debate on the true origin of BMW’s roundel or the initial shear rate of Castrol vs. Mobil

1? Being unable to resist injecting motorcycling analogies into conversations isn’t going to help: “Oh yeah, the adjustment to the prime rate, well, that’s just like the time I tried to remap my Multistrada after sliding on that Akropovic, kept getting that surge around 2,000 rpm’s…” (Listeners begin giving each other knowing glances of desperation.) And of course there’s no better way to wind up talking to the tropical fish at a party than to fall into one of your tirades about distracted drivers: “That jerk never even looked, except at his cell phone!” (Listeners offer a quick prayer that their cell doesn’t choose this moment to ring.) over/unDerSTaTemenT. I don’t want to say that magazines aren’t always truthful, but any seasoned reader would probably agree that just about any article should be approached covering the front brake lever of skepticism. For instance, when reading a review of a new bike in a mag that accepts advertising, it might be wise to remember who’s paying to keep the lights on, the word processors booted up, and that article in your hands. Also, when a writer is testing a bike (already feeling generous for having the whole day to tool up and down Highway 1) his opinions may be, let’s say, shaded. A line like “the ergos weren’t quite right for my height” may be translated as “The first of my 12 chiropractor appointments began shortly after my run to San Simeon.” Or: “Some riders may have an issue with the heat issues emanating from the left manifold.” Translation: “Aerostich voided my warranty, stating their suits should not be worn while welding.” Also, In a bike review, cliches like “a rocket on steroids” sound much The limited production Raider SCL is loaded with premium cruiser features. Crafted better to readers (and marquees) than lines like “capable for riders who value exclusivity, only 500 of these exceptional machines will be built. of getting you a speeding ticket in any state in the The Raider SCL features newly developed, aggressive, robust, dark Matte Iron paint accented with a Matte Raven union.” (Incidentally, any prospective writer for motocolor including unique pin striping on the front/rear fenders and headlight. A new blacked-out theme embodies magazines should know “on steroids” can be attached the Raider SCL with black components throughout: oxidized titanium coated fork tubes, push-rod tubes, forks, to just about any noun for an always startling effect. For exhaust, air cleaner box, wheels, meter panel, switch gear, and master cylinders, just to name a few. The 2014 instance, “A tankbag—On Steroids!” or “a keychain— Raider SCL simply stands out from the crowd. Get yours today at: ON STEROIDS!”) aDS.Those girls/guys in the ads for leathers, helmets, and pipes? No, sadly, they aren’t included in the purchase price, and, no, you won’t even see them at the dealership, nor will you begin to even faintly resemble 67 North Broadway • Route 107 • Hicksville, NY them if you buy the product they’re hawking. Which of course raises the question of the need for the mysterious, oft-advertised pheromones, and, is there any relationship between them and pervasive ads for radar detectors and that stuff that makes your license plate hard to photograph? I have to admit I’m a gadget junkie of the highest order, but do I really need chartreuse flames for my fuel tank? Well, probably. A multi-tool/flashlight that translates my voice into Portuguese? Why not? Color-coor-

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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

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dinated reservoir caps? Of course! Can I possibly continue to make my seven mile commute to work on County Trunk B without hearing a bluetooth update on my tire pressures every seven seconds? No, obviously I can’t. beComing a one PerCenT-er. Be aware that, of all the information you absorb from reading bike magazines, ninety-nine percent may turn out to be totally useless. Forever. So, let’s say after all these years, you finally discovered the definitive last word on the bore/stroke ratio of that 1975 Honda CB200 you used to own? Not only that, but you breathessly read how both plugs fired on every upstroke. How could you have not known that before? The fact that possibly none of this information may come up in Trivia Pursuit or even Jeopardy may leave you asking, “Who’s writing those questions, anyway?” LeST We forgeT. And, of all the countless bits of useless information you absorb, rest assured 98% has a respectable chance of being forgotten. And of that remaining two percent, let’s face it, if memory retention studies are any indication, at least 75 percent will be remembered incorrectly. Ever pick up a two year old copy of your favorite bike mag? (Don’t stop to wonder why you’re saving them.) Did you read that travel piece about Nova Scotia before? The pages are crinkled, the type’s a little smudged, hmmm, didn’t you resolve to ride to Halifax once? How could you forget first reading about the switch from female-slider front ends to male-sliders and the subsequent rise in the natural flexural frequency of clavicle wear? The WiShing/buying ConTinuum. Not only will you spend much of your time reading information you’ll never use, probably forget, or remember incorrectly, but many of the bikes you intently read about have about as much chance of sitting on a cycle stand in your garage as Tiger Woods practicing chipping on your front lawn. Don’t get me wrong, I never miss a story about any stunning one-off prototype meticulously-hand built by little old men in Milan or a fire-breathing board tracker from the deep south hand-hammered out of an International Harvester combine, but in my heart I know I’ll have to be satisfied with just one bike that starts every time, runs as long as I ask it to, and leaves me just enough in my checkbook to make the house payment and take my wife to dinner. So, do I regret my obsession for motorcycles and, consequently, motorcy-

cle magazines? Hardly. In fact, it’s no accident that the end of each month finds me hovering around the mailbox, waiting for the next new issue. But notwithstanding my wife’s referring to my bike as “your girlfriend” and her puzzling suggestion to “get a life,” I must admit it’s a curious and remotely dangerous compulsion. You have been warned.

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AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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IND USTRY INFOBITES RACERS TO CHASE RECORDS AT BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS AMA LAND SPEED GRAND CHAMPIONSHIPS SET FOR AUG. 23-28 The world’s fastest motorcyclists will compete for their place in history this Aug. 23-28 as they race for national and world records at the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials. Over a typical running of the six-day event, the American Motorcyclist Association clocks numerous provisional record-setting runs in classes featuring everything from 50cc mini-bikes to 3,000cc purpose-built top-speed machines. “The Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials, also known as the AMA Land Speed Grand Championships, is one of the most unique competition events that we sanction,” said AMA Track Racing Manager Ken Saillant. “Landspeed racing, and this event in particular, attracts an incredible diversity of motorcycles and racers. Every year the competition gets even more fierce, and we expect 2014 to be one of the most challenging ever.” A number of highprofile attempts are expected this year. One is the Castrol Rocket, a 1,000cc motorcycle with an eye on the outright land-speed record. Backed by Castrol and Triumph, the Hot Rod Conspiracy/Carpenter Racing Castrol Rocket will be ridden by former Daytona 200 winner Jason DiSalvo. DiSalvo will be chasing the current record of 376.363 mph set by rider Rocky Robinson and builder Mike Akatiff in 2010.

While BMW has spent 90 years producing one of the best motorcycles in the world, we’ve spent 15 years providing you with the latest and best in BMW products, like the new R nine T.

News from the Inside “The outright land-speed record is one of motorcycle competition’s great triumphs,” Saillant said. “It is an enormous undertaking to compete for titles that push the frontiers of human achievement, and the investment, practice and teamwork that goes into just a few seconds of time at speed on the track is both mind-boggling and awe-inspiring.” Entry information, a detailed schedule, rules, classes and existing records are available at www.bonnevillespeedtrials.com.

BMW MOTORRAD R 1200 RT WOES BMW Motorrad USA is notifying all owners of the current R 1200 RT, model year 2014, fitted with the Dynamic ESA option that there is a potential defect in the rear spring strut. At the present time it cannot be ruled out that the piston rod of the rear spring strut in connection with the Dynamic ESA option could potentially fail. For this reason, customers are not to ride their motorcycle until further notice. This is a precautionary measure which BMW Motorrad is taking in the interests of customer safety based on a supplier report. To date, there have been no injuries related to this issue. Approximately 804 vehicles are affected by this advisory in the US. A technical campaign is in preparation to replace the part in question, but this will take some time. At this moment BW is offering new RT owners the following: 1. Wait for a repair, and receive $2,500 for the downtime until then. 2. Receive a loaner BMW from their dealership, and receive $1,000 that is good towards BMW products or finance payments for the RT. 3.Sell the motorcycle back to BMW, at the original purchase price, and receive $1,000 that is good towards another BMW motorcycle. We hope BMW is able to get repairs and modifications done as soon as possible.

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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014 or Abu Dhabi, but this month it’s the turn of Avon and Somerset Constabulary in the picturesque south of England. Rather than conspicuous consumption though, the force has taken a different approach: minimalism. In fact, its new Ariel Atom is about as minimalist as cars come. Fast, too - the Atom’s Honda engine has been tuned to produce 350 horsepower, up from 245 hp—enough to dash to 62 mph in a Veyron-baiting 2.6 seconds. It also gets the British police’s familiar “Battenberg” livery with intersecting reflective squares, a blue light bar and fully functioning sirens. It won’t, however, be used for catching society’s shadier characters, as Auto Express points out. Instead, it’s being used to promote motorcycle safety. Ariel has a two-wheeler on the way soon, and company boss Simon Saunders wants to raise awareness on road safety for motorcyclists. There is a time and a place [for going fast]” explains Saunders, adding that the Atom, while fast, is at its best on the track, and not on the road. The same applies to motorcycles, and Ariel wants its customers to be safe and responsible. “There’s always one certain loser in a motorcycle collision and that’s the motorcyclist” he adds. We need one of these for Backroads!

HARLEY-DAVIDSON REVEALS ELECTRIC PROJECT LIVEWIRE Innovation, meet heritage. Harley-Davidson recently revealed Project LiveWire — the first Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle. While not for sale, Project LiveWire is specifically designed for the purpose of getting insight into rider expectations of an electric Harley-Davidson

Page 13 motorcycle. “America at its best has always been about reinvention,” said Matt Levatich, President and Chief Operating Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “And, like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way. Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history.” Spurred by this heritage, the Project LiveWire Experience invites customers to test ride, provide feedback and learn more about the story of the motorcycle. Even those who don’t yet ride will have the opportunity to feel the power of Project LiveWire through Jumpstart – a simulated riding experience. A 2014 U.S. tour – kicking off with a journey down Route 66 – will visit more than 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships now through the end of the year. In 2015, the Project LiveWire Experience will continue in the U.S. and expand into Canada and Europe. “This builds on many recent reinvention successes for Harley-Davidson.” said Levatich. “In just the last few years, we’ve broadened our reach to serve an increasingly diverse society, as well as reinvented our approach to product development and manufacturing. This has resulted in cutting-edge products like the recently launched Project Rushmore touring bikes, Harley-Davidson Street 500 and 750 models and this reveal of Project LiveWire.” Longer term plans for retail availability of Project LiveWire will be influenced by feedback from riders along the Project


AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

Page 14 Livewire Experience tour. Riders can learn more about Project LiveWire, as well as specific dates and locations for Project LiveWire Experience stops at projectlivewire.com

WALBERG AMENDMENT PASSES On June 9th the United States House of Representatives agreed on the Walberg Amendment to the 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill by voice vote on the House floor, reports the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. The Amendment offered by Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) along with Mr. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Mr. Ribble (R-WI), eliminates a provision in the 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations act that would have allowed the Secretary of Transportation to discuss motorcycle safety initiatives with state legislators. In 1998 Congress passed a law that made it illegal for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to lobby state legislatures. Prior to 1998, according to the Government Accountability Office, NHTSA had spent tens of thousands of dollars traveling to states whenever a state debated changing their own state helmet law. Seeing this as a waste of taxpayer money, the congress prohibited anyone from NHTSA to lobby states uninvited. Mr. Walberg had this to say “This money should go to fund eliminating distracted driving, motorcycle rider education, and motorist-motorcycle awareness campaigns.” “Put simply this is a states rights issue”, said Jeff Hennie Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the Motorcycle Rider Foundation. He added “With such limited, precious funds they need to be used in areas of safety that are proven, not for bureaucratic waste.” The amendment was opposed on the floor by Ed Pastor (D-AZ).

HARLEY’S FINANCIAL SERVICES ORDERED TO GIVE REFUNDS Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Inc. (HDFS) has agreed to pay $228,000 to more than 600 Massachusetts consumers in order to resolve concerns that it failed to pay proper refunds under the terms of its motorcycle finance agreements, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced [Friday].

“We are pleased that this finance company stepped forward to reimburse Massachusetts customers and promptly adopted changes to its procedures,” AG Coakley said. “We are continuing to review the practices of other motor vehicle finance companies operating in the Commonwealth to ensure compliance with contractual obligations.” According to the assurance of discontinuance, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, HDFS allegedly did not always provide correct refunds of finance contract enrollment fees. Borrowers typically pay these optional enrollment fees in exchange for additional special loan terms. When borrowers pay their loans off early, they are often entitled to obtain pro-rated refunds of these fees. The refunds are customarily remitted to borrowers through the auto dealership that helped arrange their loan. In some cases, when a dealership has gone out of business, borrowers can encounter difficulties obtaining these refunds. Under the terms of the settlement, HDFS will reimburse $228,000 to more than 600 Massachusetts borrowers. Notices and payments will be mailed to eligible borrowers in early July. HDFS will also pay $25,000 to the Commonwealth for the cost of the investigation. As part of this agreement, HDFS also agreed to follow policies and procedures that ensure that Massachusetts borrowers can obtain complete and timely refunds in the future. Consumers who have questions about the settlement should call the Attorney General’s Insurance & Financial Services Division at 1-888-830-6277.

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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

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Morton’s BMW Motorcycles Presents Dr. Seymour O’Life’s M YST ER IOU S AM ER IC A The CuLPer ring The revoLuTionary SPieS ThaT TurneD The War Each day hundreds of travelers and commuters ferry across Long Island Sound to and from Connecticut. On the New York side the ferry docks in the little town of Port Jefferson, and just to the west you will find the even smaller town of Setauket. Avoiding all things New York City in our ride over we cut across the backroads of Connecticut and crossed over the Sound – like Caleb Brewster and his men – landing in the town of Port Jefferson, just a few miles east of the spies with whom we were sent to rendezvous. Long Island is far different than it was back in the days of the Revolutionary War, but some things in this small region have remained untouched by the Americanization that has blighted much of this once pristine island. Still, if it wasn’t for books like Washington’s Secret Six and the AMC show Turn, many of us would not even be aware of this town’s pivotal involvement in defeating the British Army – then the most powerful force on the planet.

This story has its beginning in September of 1776 when General Washington looked for a volunteer to go to Brooklyn and Long Island to gather information on the British and then report on anything and everything he could gather. A young man, Nathan Hale – only 21 years old – stepped forward and in just two weeks he was captured and then hung without trial or ceremony in Manhattan at what is now the area of 64th street and 3rd Avenue. Washington was crushed by this death and it would be some time before Washington would go about getting back into the espionage business. Enter Benjamin Tallmadge, a young cavalry officer from Setauket, who had enlisted in the Continental Army when the war began. He soon became a favored officer in Washington’s eyes and in November 1778 when it came time to, once again, gather information on British troops, ships and plans, Washington appointed Tallmadge, now a Major, to head up the Continental Army’s secret service. He was charged with establishing a permanent spy network that would operate behind enemy lines on Long Island.

Looking for absolute secrecy and security for all involved Major Tallmadge recruited only those whom he could absolutely trust, beginning with his childhood friend, a Long Island cabbage farmer named Abraham Woodhull and Caleb Brewster, whose main task during the Revolution was commanding a fleet of whaleboats against British and Tory shipping on Long Island Sound. Brewster, one of the most daring of the group, was also the only member whom the British had definitely identified as a spy. Tallmadge went by the code name John Bolton, while Woodhull went by the name of Samuel Culper. Woodhull began running what would come to be known as the Culper Ring operations on Long Island, personally travelling back and forth to New York collecting information and observing naval maneuvers there. He would evaluate reports and determine what information would be taken to Washington. He did this at incredible personal risk, as getting caught would soon bring a noose to his neck and great pain for his prominent family in Setauket – some of whom were still loyal to the crown. The gathered dispatches would then be given to Brew-


Page 16 ster, who would carry them across the Sound to the shores of Connecticut where they would eventually be brought to General Washington wherever he was at the time. As I said, Woodhull lived in constant anxiety of being discovered, and by the summer of 1779 he had recruited another man, the wellconnected New York merchant Robert Townsend, to serve as the ring’s primary source in the city. Townsend wrote his reports as “Samuel Culper, Jr.” and Woodhull went by “Samuel Culper, Sr.”

Despite some strained relations within the group and constant pressure from Washington to send more information, the Culper Spy Ring achieved more than any other American or British intelligence network during the war. The information collected and passed on by the ring from 1778 to war’s end in 1783 concerned key British troop movements, fortifications and plans in New York and the surrounding region. Perhaps the group’s greatest achievement came in 1780, when it uncovered British plans to ambush the newly

AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS arrived French army in Rhode Island. Personally I think their greatest coup was uncovering information involving the treasonous correspondence between General Benedict Arnold and Major John Andre, chief intelligence officer under General Henry Clinton, commander of the British forces in New York, who were conspiring to give the British control over the army fort at West Point. Major Andre was captured and hung as a spy in October 1780 – but more on that next month in our final installment on this long story of the spies

that saved the revolution and our fledgling nation, as the story of Major Andre is truly worth telling. While I am on the subject let me encourage you to watch and catch up with “Turn” on AMC. They have done an excellent job with this hidden part of Mysterious America and it is well worth watching. O’Life out!


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

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BIG CIT Y G ETAWAY

daytrip ideas to get out of the daily grind

The eLePhanT hoTeL When The CirCuS reaLLy Came To ToWn In the northwest part of Westchester County, NY you will find the sleepy town of Somers, part of 83,000 acres given to Stephanus Van Cortland of New York City in 1697 by King William III of England. Previously the land had been occupied by Kitchawanks, part of the Mohegan tribe, who used the area primarily for hunting and fishing and established a few scattered villages within the town boundaries. The Native Americans called the land Amapaugh, meaning “fresh water fish”. European settlers named the newly formed town Stephentown in 1788, But, that was changed in 1808 when it was changed to Somers, as a tribute to a young naval officer from New Jersey who lost his life in the war with Tripoli. (New Jersey? Go figure.) But, this story really isn’t about the town itself as it is one particular person and his pet… elephant. Hachaliah Bailey, a Somers farmer and cattle merchant, acquired an Indian elephant, which he began exhibiting locally, then further afield. Hachaliah’s success in showing “Old Bet”, as she was known, attracted numerous partners and competitors from local families, who joined in the business of importing and exhibiting exotic animals. The Crane brothers, Gerard and Thaddeus had to be part of the pachyderm craze and purchased one third of a female elephant from Marcus

Carmel for $3,000. Bailey originally bought the elephant, from a sea captain named John Sloat, to use as a beast of burden – tilling and farming in mind, but he quickly learned that most folks had only heard of such an animal and few had ever had the chance to actually see one in the flesh. Old Bet, as she was called, went on tour. Van Cortland, Carmel, Sloat… do any of these names remind you of any local towns today? They should. The New York map is full of such names. Old Bet was moved from town to town at night, as Hachaliah claimed she would terrify horses as she passed by. We think he just didn’t want to give free viewing of the rare beast. Bailey’s and old Bet’s success led to other locals bringing their animals on tour. Soon other animals like lions and rhinos were imported and the animal menagerie shows became a big business. Around the same time, in the Philadelphia area, local performance acts were growing in popularity and soon these two forms of entertainment merged to become the first American circuses. The majority of early 19th century circus and menagerie proprietors came from Somers and neighboring towns in northern Westchester and Putnam counties. This resulted in Somers’ claim as “Cradle of the American Circus”. To answer the obvious question Hachaliah Bailey was not of Barnum &

Restored to its glory years during the roaring 20’s, the General Francis Marion Hotel is steeped in history and elegance with all the modern amenities. Award-winning Executive Chef Marcus A. Blackstone creates innovative international cuisine served in the Black Rooster Restaurant Located just 1.8 miles from Route 16 - the Back of the Dragon. 260 curve, 32-mile, 3 mountain roller coaster of a ride. Incredible vistas, panoramic views and enough roads to ride for days!

Rated as one of the Top Motorcycling Destinations in the Nation ‘The accommodations, the ambiance, the staff and, best of all, the roads are phenomenal. The General Francis Marion cannot be beat’ Backroads Magazine - May 2014 Whether you’re traveling alone, with a small group or a whole riding club, the General Francis Marion has a variety of rooms perfect for any event. Luxury is an extension of our Southern hospitality. Contact us concerning reservations today.

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Page 18 Bailey fame, but not far from it as it was his nephew Frederic Augusta Bailey who adopted a teen named James McGuinness. James took his adoptive family’s surname of Bailey and, by the time he was 25, he was manager of the Cooper and Bailey circus. He then met with P.T. Barnum and together they established Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. But, that is another circus tale. Unfortunately Old Bet, the elephant that started this all, was shot and killed while touring in Maine so Bailey bought two others to replace her, Little Bet and Columbus. The “murder” of the elephant made headlines around the nation. After a show Augusta, Bailey and Old Bet essentially walked down Route 4 to southern portions of the state. As we said Bailey would move Old Bet from town to town at night so that no one could see her without first paying the viewing fee. Old Bet and Bailey came to Alfred and stayed at one of the local taverns. It was when they were leaving town, going down Route 4 toward South Sanford, that Old Bet was shot and killed by Daniel Davis, whose family owned and operated a local sawmill. Davis was “hiding in the bushes” and when Old Bet went by that evening, he rose up and he shot her twice in the head. The elephant took several steps and then fell down dead never to be seen again. Davis was arrested for the killing, but after spending three days in jail he was released and then disappeared. When he was arrested, Davis made some reference to the hard life farmers lived and that it was basically steal-

AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS ing from their families to charge the 25-cent viewing fee to see Old Bet. Legend has it that Old Bet is buried on the Elephant Hotel’s property. Bailey also was an amateur architect and set about building a 3-story brick building called the Elephant Hotel, which opened in 1825, and soon after the granite shaft and statue of an elephant was erected in front, in honor of Hachaliah’s elephants. The building functioned as an inn, a tearoom, a private residence, and a meeting place. In 1835 the Zoological Institute was incorporated at the Elephant Hotel and the Farmers and Drovers Bank, the second bank chartered in Westchester, opened here in 1839. A wooden structure extending out to the side contained a general store, ballroom and post office at various times, and increased the Hotel’s capacity to accommodate guests traveling on local stagecoach lines. The Elephant Hotel was purchased by the Town of Somers in 1927 and presently houses the Town Offices and the Somers Historical Society and museum. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 7, 1974 as Somers Town House and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2005 as Elephant Hotel. On the third floor of the building you will find the Museum of the Early American Circus. It is a small collection but an important one if you are a fan of the Big Top today. The galleries and library are open to the public on Thursdays from 2pm - 4pm, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and during special events and holiday celebrations in the Town of Somers Business Historic Preservation District or by appointment. Rip & Ride Page 52


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

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Bergen County Harley-Davidson Presents

WE’RE OUT TA HERE four STaTe meanDer ParT one Do you think that We’re Outta Here is always about one place, inn or town? Heck no. Sometimes we like to think the ride itself is worthy of the column, such as this month’s Four State Meander. We were once asked how far into a state and how many miles you need to ride before you can say you have ridden in any of the 50 stars on the flag. Our answer is – If you would go to their State Prison if you screwed up, then you have ridden in the state. Seriously, here in the northeast our states tend to be far smaller and packed in tighter than out west. Heck, you could spend days riding across Texas, Alaska or up through California, but can tackle a number of state borders in half that time here in northeast.

My buddy Fred likes to make fun of our smaller states in this region, but I remind him that so much great history has happened here and he wouldn’t have his precious California or Arizona if not for the founding 13 colonies. Let’s take a ride and see some of the cooler things to be seen along the backroads on what we call the Four State Meander. We’re going to start this ramble not far from our haunts in western New Jersey. A great breakfast can always be found at Thisilldous in Belvidere, New Jersey. After chowing down on Mike’s scrumptious vittles, we will ride over the ‘Free Bridge’ and head north along the Delaware River. Cutting west just a bit, along some great sweeping farm roads we will make a stop at a very unique park, just outside Bangor, PA – Columcille. Here huge standing stones will amaze you and a stroll through the park is well worth the effort. From here we will keep heading north, along the roller coaster called River Road, up along the first ridges of the Poconos and along Twin Lakes Road and then a bit further north on some tinier backroads. Eventually we will be crossing the Delaware once again, only this time on the Roebling Aqueduct Bridge – originally completed in 1849 - the oldest existing wire suspension bridge in the United States. The Roebling Bridge marks the convergence of the two rivers. It symbolizes the coming of the industrial age. At the time John Roebling was faced with the problem of reconciling the competing interests of lumbermen floating timber down the Delaware and boatmen hauling coal along the Delaware and Hudson Canal. Both sides needed to be appeased.

a weekend destination keeping you on the backroads His viaduct is a perfect balance of mass, volume, and seeming weightlessness. Once it allowed water to flow through the air, and canal boats to sail above water. Now, nearly two centuries later, rafts of lumber no longer travel the Delaware and the canal has long ceased to serve as a conduit for goods. However, the Roebling Aqueduct Bridge still stands and we will use it to cross the Delaware River. It also serves as a reminder of a time when timber harvesting gave way to coal mining, and building with stone. It gave way to building with iron and steel. Twenty years after this bridge was built Roebling built another one; this time in Brooklyn, which we would be happy to sell to you. Now in New York State we’ll head right and south on Route 97 to Barryville, NY. Barryville was named for William T. Barry, postmaster general under President Andrew Jackson. The community grew up around the D&H Canal, which opened in 1828 and operated until 1898. These day’s you can find The Carriage House Restaurant on the New York side of the new bridge. The Carriage House is popular with riders and on a nice summer’s day you will always find some motorcycles parked outside. From here we’ll head south of Route 97 and through the Hawks Nest. This small piece of road, if you have never been there, is a real delight to ride and stopping at one of the pullouts is well worth the effort for the magnificent three-state view high above the Delaware River. Moving on we’ll ride up Route 42 for a bit and then cut across what will become the Peenpack Trail, which will bring us to Huguenot. This small hamlet is named after the many Hugenots that settled the region after fleeing religious persecution in France. Continuing north, now on Route 209, you will see the beginnings of the Shawangunk Mountains, more commonly called ‘The Gunks’ on your right. For kicks we’ll cross them two or three times, first along Guymard Turnpike and then we will scoot further north and cross back west on Route 52. High atop this road make use of the pullouts on the left. On a nice day


Page 20

there is a great chance you will see a number of hang gliders taking advantage of the thermals that rule these peaks. Riding down into Ellenville we’ll head north, once again on Route 209, only to bear right and east on Routes 44/55 for one final and most stunning pass of them all across The Gunks. Along the top of the ridge make it a point to stop a few times along the way. There is a reason that these peaks and Minnewaska State Park are listed by The Nature Conservancy as one of the “75 Last Great Places on Earth.” The Shawangunk Ridge is a phenomenal destination by itself and is well worth exploring on its own. Depending on time you might want to overnight in this area. If so check out the Minnewaska Lodge at the bottom of the eastern side. We featured

AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

this place years back and have nothing but good things since. From the peaks we will run across the valley and cross the Hudson River. In the mid-19th century many artists flocked to this region, including the famed Thomas Cole, creating an art movement that has come to be known as the Hudson River School. Riding through this region and around the Hudson you can see why. We could cross the river here, but there are a few neat roads on the western side of the Hudson that we want to see. The first of these will bring us by the Mohonk Mountain House. Founded by Albert Smiley in 1869, Mohonk Mountain House is a Victorian castle resort surrounded by thousands of acres of unspoiled natural beauty. You can also overnight here but we are talking crazy money. If you’re


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

Page 21 crazy and have money have at it and take some pictures for us. Along this way our journey will take us through Rosendale, the hippest little town you have never heard of. Rosendale is surrounded by many lovely features like the Rondout Creek and the Wallkill River, one of the few rivers in the country that flows north rather than south. Its headwaters are found not far from Backroads Central, so we have a particular love of this waterway. The town is known for being the home of Rosendale Cement which provided cement to many famous locations, including the Brooklyn Bridge (reference back to Roebling) and the Statue of Liberty. Here you will also find the 1850 House Inn & Tavern. We stayed here for Shira’s birthday last year and had a superb time. In our next installment of the Four State Meander, we’ll cross the river to see what the Eastern side of the Hudson has to offer then head north to the Nutmeg state. Thisilldous, 320 Front St, Belvidere, NJ 908-475-2274 • www.thisilldous.com The Carriage House, 3351 NY 97, Barryville, NY 845-557-0400 • www.thecarriagehouseny.com Restaurant/lodging on the Delaware River. Rooms on the Ridge in the Hickory Haven Lodge and Room at the River. All with private baths. Starting at $70/night Minnewaska Lodge, 3116 Route 44/55, Gardiner, NY • 845-255-1110 • www.minnewaskalodge.com • Starting at $185/nght incl. continental breakfast. 1850 House Inn & Tavern, 435 Main St, Rosendale, NY • 845-658-7800 • www.the1850house.com Tavern and lodging, starting at $189/night including full breakfast. Dining options within walking distance.


AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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G REAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN

tasty places to take your bike

WaCo Diner 47 WaTer STreeT, eaSTPorT, maine 207-853-9226 • home.myfairPoinT.neT/TSmihaLiS/inDex.hTmL We have always said that to find a spot on the Great All American Diner Run you need a number of things. Some have that superb location. Others have a great staff. A few make it on the quality of their eats alone. Still occasionally a restaurant may have a history on their side. This month we offer you a place that has it all. The WaCo Diner in Eastport, Maine. The oldest diner in Maine and the easternmost diner in the United States! We found this place almost by accident when touring the Downeast coastal backroads of “The Pine Tree State.”

We were heading to the easternmost point in the lower 48 and spotted the easternmost town (compared to Lubec’s municipality) in the nation. Handily called Eastport. The native Passamaquoddy Tribe has called this area home for at least 10,000 years. The first known European contact was the St. Croix colony founded by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1604. Near present-day Calais, the Saint Croix Island Acadia settlement predates the first successful English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, by three years. Today it is the quintessential New England fishing village. Water Street has a number of interesting shops and is a cheery place just to browse through. It would be hard to tell that the town was crushed by “The Ground Hog Day Gale” of 1976. In the center of town you will see a giant Fisherman, right next to our stop on this GAADR – WaCo Diner.

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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

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WaCo stands for Washington County and we were more than pleased to take a table right off the pier on a sunny summer day overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay. Although they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner here at the WaCo, we had come for the first meal of the day. I ordered the Atlantic Scramble which came with a bagel, large dollops of cream cheese, lox, Vidalia onion slices, lettuce, tomato and scrambled eggs with cheese. I love lox, but there was almost too much for even me to finish. Almost. Shira went for the Country Scramble that she enjoyed immensely. Other offerings include the Boat Load: 4 eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and home fries. The Yankee: 3 eggs, baked beans and your choice of meat and the WaCo sandwich – the classic breakfast sandwich. As with any self-respecting New England restaurant located on a wharf you will find plenty of seafood and their chowders, clam and fish, have garnered plenty of respect in this part of Maine. If you like your seafood fried you can have haddock, native scallops, shrimp or a scrumptious calamari – they even do combos of these if you are having a hard time choosing. Looking for just a wrap or sandwich? The WaCo offers a great fajita chicken wrap, turkey club, tuna and chicken salads as well as the classic BLT and grilled cheeses.

Something they offer that is a little different is their fried haddock or Cajun haddock wrap. These are rolled up in a spinach wrap with tarter sauce, tomato, lettuce and a good portion of cheddar cheese. Very nice. On the salad side you will find Caesars, Chef and a smoked salmon salad which comes on a bed of romaine lettuce with cream cheese, diced tomato and red onion finished with capers and served with a grilled bagel – how New York in New England is that? The WaCo offers plenty of good ol’ American burger classics, cheese, blue, onion burgers topped with their own homemade onion rings, a Black Jack burger which is Cajun spiced and topped with pepper jack cheese – just a bit on the warm side we think. They also offer fish and chicken burgers. “WaCo Delight is filling as well – a cup of their famed fish chowda’ served with a diner seafood roll and coleslaw. Whatever you order at the WaCo Diner you’re sure to be a happy camper when you’re done.

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AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

broWn Dog iCe Cream 203 maSon ave, CaPe CharLeS, va • 757-695-3868 We had just finished a long, hot day at VIR. After a much needed shower, dinner and drink (not necessarily in that order) it was time to relax and prepare for day two. Flipping through the channels we stopped on a show about ice cream. Figuring I might get some suggestions for some tremendous ice cream stops, I was pretty impressed with one fact that was mentioned, and here it is: In the 1920s, two things that appear entirely unrelated on the surface intersected in a rather curious way. The economy of Ecuador was seriously depressed and in need of a massive infusion of capital. At the same time in America, the Eskimo Pie was invented; an ice cream treat covered in chocolate. The Eskimo Pie and derivative treats proved to be incredibly popular with Americans, and by 1922 they were consuming a million Eskimo Pies a day. The surge in demand for chocolate driven by the Eskimo Pie craze pushed up global cocoa prices around 50% and Ecuador, the world’s largest cocoa exporter at the time, received a huge influx of money that lifted the entire country out of a depression. Pretty interesting, right? So, not only can ice cream be uplifting to one’s spirit, mood and palate, it can bring a whole country out of a depression. More reasons to eat ice cream every day. On this same trip, in the quaint harbor town of Cape Charles, VA, we found a reputable homemade ice cream shoppe that begged to be visited. brown dog ice cream has been hand crafting their dairy deliciousness since 2012. Seems the owner, Miriam Elton, originally wanted to open a bakery in her home but due to state health regulations prohibiting commercial food being prepared in a residence with a dog, this was not to happen. Foster, the brown dog and family member, was the impetus to open the ice cream shoppe. Made in small batches, each day they offer up a limited variety, usually only 6-8 flavors. On the day we stopped in, their chalkboard listed Vanilla Bean, Brown Dog Milk Chocolate, Ahoy Matey Rum Raisin (over 21 please), Strawberry, Roxie-


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

Page 25 Scotch, Eastern Shore Coastal Roasted Coffee, Malted Milk Ball and Bliss Point (white chocolate, lime, coconut and brownie ice cream). As the Tall Ships and their festival was happening, I didn’t want to hold up the line by tasting each before deciding, so I went by my tastebuds calling and opted for Roxie-Scotch (butterscotch) and Coffee. Stepping outside, we listened to the talented young man serenading the passers-by and dove into our cups. Rich and creamy, the butterscotch was a bit underwhelming in

flavor but the coffee certainly made up for that. Bursting with caffeine, I was glad it was the middle of the afternoon for fear I’d be up all night. Two large scoops were more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Meandering down the main drag, we window-shopped, set a spell on the conveniently located park benches, and wandered into the local hardware store. It’s amazing how these places have such a tremendous variety of everyday items. I never walk out of a place like that without finding something I ‘must’ have. If you find yourself in the southern end of the Eastern shore of Virginia, perhaps on your way to or from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and are looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, point your two wheels in the direction of 203 Mason Avenue, Cape Charles and brown dog ice cream. They are there to serve you from late April until late Autumn, noon to 8pm every day but Tuesday. Should you need to call ahead, you can reach them at 757-695-3868. If you happen to find yourself overnighting, do yourself a favor and head to Sting-Rays Restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. More on this in a future Great All-American Diner Run but put it on your to-do list while on the Eastern shore of Virginia. Gas station food at its finest.


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Welcome to the Jungle - The Art of Learning to Ride Skillfully A column dedicated to your riding survival

The Next Step Brian Rathjen I recently had a talk with a friend of mine who jokingly showed me a picture of himself tooling down a roadway in Florida wearing shorts, a tee shirt and flip flops. He was laughing about this, as he never really rides attired so lightly, but was only out for a short run. As I Spock-eyed him he admitted it wasn’t as much fun as it used to be and, looking back - when we first met – he considered himself a ‘biker’ and now, after a few years of Backroads’ Rallies, considers himself more a ‘motorcyclist.’ We hope our rallies and this magazine does this well and often. As riders we may perceive ourselves in one way or the other – but, I wouldn’t say riders in shorts and flip-flops are bikers. I wouldn’t want to hurt my biker friend’s feelings. Most ‘bikers’ know the value of leather and boots – folks on motorcycles with flip-flops are just people that happen to own a bike - probably along Reg Pridmore CLASS

RIDE LIKE A PRO NJ Jerry ‘Motorman’ Palladino’s Training Classes Being Held in New Jersey ‘NEVER FEAR making a U-turn or dropping your 800lb. motorcycle again’ • Male-Female-Big-Small: It doesn’t matter • You can learn the 3 simple techniques that motor cops have been using for years • Our instructors - all active or retired motor officers - will show you how to use the motor cop riding techniques to better control and handle your motorcycle

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with a number of other toys. Towards the end of this conversation he asked Shira and me about the CLASS Motorcycle School we had just taken. He said he was thinking about attending this year and wanted to know if we really got something out of the two-day school? Maybe many of you are thinking it might be time to push your envelope and to attend a more advanced riding school this season. If you want our opinion it is an emphatic YES! Like Nike says Just Do It! Whether it be Reg Pridmore’s CLASS, this October, in Virginia or Tony’s Track Days, held specifically for non-sportbikes and run by Ken Condon (safety maven for Motorcycle Consumer News) at Thompson Motor Speedway Road Course in Connecticut or any of the other advanced riding schools you will not only get smoother and more confident but become a better rider all around – on the track and especially on the road. Although great refreshers I am not talking about the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’ Skills Practice Course – formerly called the Experienced Rider Ride Like a Pro


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

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Lee Parks Total Control

Course – but something a bit more intensive. Let’s face it – not everybody hides dreams of being the next Valentino Rossi and the idea of “track time” can be intimidating to some riders. Lee Parks’ Total Control School and the Ride Like a Pro school offer an excellent way to learn to handle your machine in the turns and in slow speed situa-

tions - in the relative safety of a wide-open parking lot. Here you will learn body positioning, eye positioning and riding finesse in a comfortable and controlled manner. A lot or riders can ride fast, not so many can ride slow. It all comes together on the road. I am writing this to passionately tell you that you really have nothing to fear and everything to gain from an advanced riding school. You have control of the throttle and, even though many use these schools for seriously fast track time, you just need to do your laps at your own pace. Classroom time is usually devoted to another step in the learning process of better riding. As Reg Pridmore put it to me one time – it is like climbing a ladder. In the beginning of the school you might feel that you are on the bottom rungs of the riding ladder and that so many are way above you. But, if you come with a willingness to learn and really listen in the classroom and apply what the instructors are showing you when riding on the track you will steadily climb that riding skill ladder and I promise you that you will ride away from any good riding school a far better rider than when you rode in. No matter what advanced riding instruction you get, you will benefit from it.

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AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

THE / N I C P

• A N AN Y

SU

NDAY S A U words and images: Brian Rathjen

S AT

• R E LO T O N

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On any Sunday stretching up, reaching high Leaving my Monday world behind I fire my rockets and explode in the sky Kick up my heels until I find, I’m flyin’ Bruce Brown – Theme from On Any Sunday Sometimes when we are out on the road we can be gone for weeks at a time. It doesn’t take my brain long to mash up the days and sometimes the only way I know it is not a weekday is because American Dad isn’t on the Cartoon Network at ten o’clock. Who doesn’t love Roger? Another thing I have found is that, regardless of the time on the road, we always know when it is Sunday. That’s easy for on that morning the church

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parking lots are full of well dressed faithful and the roads are empty except for a steady stream of motorcycles, and their well-dressed (we hope) riders, on the better roads. Before any religiously minded folk get their knickers in a twist know I have never professed to understand of God, but I do hope God understands me. I am kinda’ counting on that. I think the universe wants me right where I am on any Sunday. Riding. We do a lot of riding during the week, but do try to take advantage of a bright Summery Sunday when we can. Right at the beginning of this summer we made a few calls to friends and had a small group meet up at High Point State Park for a 9 am take off time; riding north along the Delaware River and then into the Catskills for lunch before - another trip south and back home. Surprisingly we had the roads around Port Jervis and north to the Hawks Nest all to ourselves. If any road in the New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania area gets lots of motorcycle press it is the Hawks Nest. So many of you know of this piece of pavement and have ridden it numerous times, but it did have humble beginnings as it once was a single-track dirt road that hugged the cliffs before being widened and finally paved in the early 30’s of last century. It was rededicated on September 21, 2002, as part of the ‘Upper Delaware Scenic Byway.’ It certainly has some great views and was even more popular when the café was still serving up food. The café burned down some dozen years back, and rumors have abounded of a return, but we have seen nothing as of…. Heading north along some of the smaller roads we crossed the Rio Dam Project. Many riders are not even aware of this dam on the Mongaup River, but “Power releases” occur frequently on the Rio Reach during the warmer months. One rule of

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thumb that is frequently cited is that if the temps are over 100 degrees in New York City, the Mongaup will release at 870 cfs (cubic feet per second), if there is enough water in the system. Water from the reservoir is supplied to the existing Rio powerhouse by means of a 7,000 foot long steel penstock, 11 feet in diameter. The powerhouse contains two vertical Francis type turbines, each with a generating capacity of 5000 kilowatts to be put directly into the grid.

Who knew? While Mom and Pop have been driving up Route 42, with the kids in the minivan, knowledgeable riders have been crossing this dam. Our route brought us up and around Monticello and then near Bethel and the Woodstock site. The museum is well worth seeing, but we passed on that this day. By this time it was mid-morning and I knew my belly wasn’t the only one growling. Our little Sunday saunter got us above Route 17 (someday to be I-86) and along Barkaboom Rd. (awesomeness) to Route 30 around the Pepacton Reservoir. Cutting up to Route 23 we motored into Windham, New York and to the Catskill Mountain Country Store.

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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014 This place could be any one of our monthly columns. It’s restaurant can easily fit in with the best of the Great All American Diner Runs, the hidden Looking Zoo (Follow the signs) could make it a Big City Getaway. Add in the mysterious animal they call “Wicked” and you have Seymour O’Life along for the ride.

The store itself is amazing, especially if you are a kid at heart, think like a kid, have been accused of being kid-like or just don’t give a crap what others think when you act kiddish. Toys, puppets, gadgets, costumes, Nerf compound bows (I really wanted this); they even had the Magic Robot (From the 50’s…no? Well, I remember this)! The food was awesome with breakfast being served all day. Yes, those pancakes - with raisins, walnuts and whipped cream were decadent but the eggs and bacon brought it all home. The Smoken Fish wrap which had locally smoked trout, diced cucumbers and tomatoes, organic red leaf, with a touch of homemade dill mayo was yummy as was the South Windham - green jalapenos, caramelized onion, and sharp cheddar. Personally I stay away from jalapenos these days, but Kenny is both a brave soul and excellent rider.

Page 31 Shira went for the fish, but in an omelet with the Tell Tale – the smoked trout with sour cream, and chives. That was just the food on our table.

On my way back and forth from the store, (being repeatedly shot down by Shira on every toy, gadget or goodnessy and fun thing I brought up. No astronaut costume for me this year, duh!) I spied everyone else’s plate. It all looked very tasty, so we don’t think you can go wrong here at the Catskill Mountain Store with whatever you order. Our ride back south toward New Jersey took a more easterly turn, with a romp over Platte Cove Road, with its stupendous mountains and valley view. This very narrow two-lane road climbs nearly 1,200 vertical feet in just a

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Page 32 mile and half. This valley and cut through are one of only two that run naturally through the Catskill Escarpment, sometimes referred to locally as just “The Escarpment” or the “Great Wall of Manitou.” Geologists call it the Catskill Front as it rises suddenly to about 3,000 feet with virtually no foothills. First seen by Henry Hudson and the crew of the Half Moon from the river that would take his name it was not touched by Europeans for nearly a century after.

Following the smallest roads we could - Goat Hill Road is very small, tight and windy – we headed towards the Paulinskill River and began following it upstream, or south (remember this is one of the few rivers that flow north) along the east side of the Shawangunk Mountains and towards the Pine Island region of New York. A few short backroads later and we rolled into the Garden state, just south of where we began earlier that day – High Point State Park. Yep, no day beats Sunday… any Sunday. Here’s are two GPS downloads for the 250-mile roundtrip ride from High Point State Park to the Catskill Mountain Country Store and the return. www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/7nv2pw • To Catskill Mountain Store www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/qk7c5b • Return from Catskill Mountain Store


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

PRODUCT REVIEW

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FIELDSHEER ADVENTURE JACKET AND PANTS Michael Vaughan Ever have one of those days when you wished that the weather was bad? No I haven’t either, until now. Fieldsheer has just introduced a new line of jackets and pants as technologically developed as any new superbike, and I’ve been hoping for some low temps and a bit of rain to try the new Adventure Jacket and Pant. Unfortunately, my wish hasn’t come true. That said, when fall and winter come, I’ll be more than prepared. Normally a jacket or pants consist of an outer shell, intended to keep you relatively dry and protected from the impact and insides of bugs and other nasty stuff hurtling through the air. In the unfortunate case of an accident, you are protected to a degree from the ravages of road rash through the magic of heavy denier nylon and CE panels or similar stuff, in all the places that are likely to touchdown. There are usually enough vents and exhausts built-in to make the jacket relatively comfortable over a wide range of temperatures, and a liner that consists of some breathable material, and some fluffy stuff to provide warmth. The Adventure Jacket ups the ante with an outer shell and two separate liners. The outer shell consists of a Fieldsheer exclusive, abrasion resistant 500 denier MAXTENA-PRO nylon fabric, impregnated with reflective Phoslite® lenses in panels along the front and rear. The jacket has six closeable vents in the front, and an exhaust vent across the shoulders in back. There are four two-stage straps with snaps on the arms to keep your sleeves from flapping in the breeze, and a belt for a similar adjustment at the waist. There are two large utility pockets on the outside, and three on the inside, one for a cellphone, another for a pen, and a third utility pocket. Just outside the front zipper on the left breast is another deep utility pocket accessible without having to open the jacket.

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www.BMGTriumph.com The first liner, whose job it is to keep you warm, is made of a material called Exkin Air®, it’s water repellant, and in this application weighs only 70 grams. According to the manufacturer, its quick drying, maintains warmth even when wet, and has the same three inner pockets as the outer shell. The second liner is constructed with another exclusive material, Rain Guard Waterproof Technology® and a nano-porous material called Nanomax™, which, according to the good folks at Fieldsheer, is the latest in breathable membrane technology, capable of breathing at any temperature and humidity, as well as being able to retain its breathability under extreme water pressure and after frequent washings. The two liners attach to the shell with a zipper that goes from right to left over the shoulders of the outer shell. The innermost liner attaches to the first liner via two buttons on each sleeve, but unlike some competitive products, the buttons are large and identified by color so you never get one sleeve twisted inside the other. The method of sleeve attachment to the garment is also unique, the outer liner’s cuff zip into the cuffs of the

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shell, again avoiding potential twisting and liner ride-up. Another unique feature is that the Exkin Air liner overlaps the outer shell closer, creating a solid wind barrier behind the jacket’s zipper and closing flap. The pants are of similar construction, but the two inner liners are bonded permanently, but made of the same materials. The pants have three front pockets, two being in the conventional location and a third slash pocket just above the knee. There are two hip pockets as well. While I haven’t had the opportunity to try the jacket or pants in the kind of weather they’re designed for. the jacket ventilates well, and with the vents open was comfortable into the 70s. The pants, lacking the venting of the jacket, start to get a little warm at that point as there are no vents. Both the jacket and the pants come in a variety of sizes and lengths, so if you need a little longer sleeve, and a little shorter leg, it’s possible that one combination or another will be a darn near perfect fit. The jacket and pants come in four colors, Royal Blue and Silver, Hi-Viz Yellow and Black, Black and Gun Metal and Silver. Men’s sizes range from S to 4XL in Tall and Standard sizes. Women’s size start at XS to Plus XL in Standard to Plus sizes. MSRP is $439.99 Pants are available for both men and women, men’s sizes from S to 4XL in both Tall, Standard, and Short. Women’s sizes start at SX to Plus XL. Both genders available in Silver/Black, or Black/Black. MSRP $329.99.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

MACNA GEO2 JACKET AND BEDOINE PANTS The Macna GEO 2 motorcycle jacket is an all-season jacket that provides exceptional comfort and protection. Macna motorcycle jackets are known for their innovative features, attention to detail, excellent fit, superior comfort, stellar protection, and safety features that stand out from the crowd. The Geo 2 has many comfort features, including a detachable collar / front panel that reveals a large 3D mesh panel for ultimate ventilation. Not only is the GEO 2 motorcycle jacket comfortable, but it is also top-shelf in the protection department. Three different abrasion-resistant fabrics and strategically placed high-tech “Superfabric” and Powertector CE armor pro-


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vide the protection you need in all the right places. This stuff is good! A CE level 2 back protector upgrade is available to replace the standard back protector for even more protection. The GEO 2 motorcycle jacket is among the best jackets available for comfort in all conditions without sacrificing protection. The Macna Geo 2 motorcycle jacket features a cuff strap that slides the cuff together with a single action and there is pants connection zipper for a wind tight connection between jacket and pants to ensure a comfortable fit along the arms you will find arm adjustment straps keep the elbow protector in place and an integrated summer collar hidden underneath the waterproof collar. In the heat the Macna Geo2 Jacket utilizes 3D Mesh ventilation and airvents, reveal a mesh air intake Summer Comfort System with a detachable collar/front panel revealing a large 3D mesh panel for ultimate ventilation. Macna is big on “safety through conspicuity”, with “Side Eye” reflective material that is laminated for an integrated, smooth look and feel. The LED Light Ready feature is a built-in Velcro “patch” located between the shoulder blades to attach a Vision LED Light. Also available is a highviz Vision Vest system that integrates with any of the Macna jackets. For the most visibility at night, Macna offers the optional Night Eye reflective fabric on both the Geo2 jacket and Bedoine pants. The Night Eye fabric glows intensely as light bounces off the microscopic glass beads that are embedded in the fabric. These beads work as small mirrors, reflecting light directly back to the light source. In the wet the Geo 2 has a Raintex - waterproof and breathable membrane. Macna jackets are European sized, so consider ordering one size larger than normal. The Bedoine motorcycle pants feature detachable waterproof and thermal layers to keep you warm and dry with plenty of air vents and 3D mesh for

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those hot, dry days. Macna’s Bedoine men’s motorcycle pants feature an adjustable belt and suspenders to fit a wide variety of body shapes. The “Waist Lock” buckle system ensures that the pants fit securely with no risk of the mechanism being torn out, which can happen with traditional snaps.Not only are the Bedoine men’s motorcycle pants comfortable, but they are also topshelf in the protection department. Did you know that statistically, the legs are one of the most likely parts of the body to suffer injury in a crash? To address this concern, the Bedoine motorcycle pants feature two different abrasion-resistant fabrics and adjustable CE armor to provide the protection you need in all the right places. The Bedoine waterproof pants feature 3D Mesh ventilation and textile heatshield panels at the bottom of the leg prevent the fabric from melting when touching the exhaust or other heat sources. The Flexibelt 2.0 double layer waist adjustment solution has an outer part that slides freely over the inner part. The stretch inside follows the waist, the outer straps tie it all together and Quick Pocket knee protector pockets give the ability to position the protectors for a custom fit. It also uses the RaintexPlus waterproof and breathable membrane.. The combination of both Macna Geo2 Jacket and Bedoine Pants make for one serious riding suit combination that will give you many season of serious protection no matter what Mother Nature throws at you. The Macna Geo 2 sells for $415 and the Macna’s Bedoine men’s motorcycle pants list at $320, we think a fair price for such high quality gear. For more information contact Twisted Throttle • 401-284-4200 • www.twistedthrottle.com

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Cross Country Powersports 911 Middlesex Ave, Metuchen, NJ (732) 491-2900

www.CrossCountryPowersports.com Victory and Victory Motorcycles® are registered trademarks of Polaris Industries, Inc. Always wear a helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing and obey the speed limit. Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol. ©2013 Polaris Industries Inc.

©2014 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. TM,® and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates. Products are distributed in the U.S.A by BRP US Inc. always ride responsibly and safely. Follow all instructional and safety material. 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 fro other recreationists. Always wear appropriate protective clothing, including a Coast Guard-approved PFD that is suitable for PWC use. Not all riding conditions are appropriate for inexperienced or beginner riders. Always ride safely and responsibly. Remember that riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix.

Cross Country Powersports 911 Middlesex Ave, Metuchen, NJ (732) 491-2900

www.CrossCountryPowersport.com


AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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UPCOM IN G EVENTS CAL ENDAR EVERY MONTH - WEATHER PERMITTING Every Tuesday • The Ear - Spring St, NYC. Come meet some fellow riders and do some benchracing or whatever. 8pm-ish Every Tuesday • Bike Night @ Texas Smoke Barbecue, 400 Route 15 South, Jefferson, NJ. Dine indoors or out with dinner specials. Meet and kick some tires while enjoying some terrific barbeque • www.TexasSmokeBBQ.com • 862-209-4078 3rd Tuesday • Two Wheels Tuesdays Harley Davidson Long Branch @ MJ’s Restaurant • 3205 Route 66, Neptune, NJ • 6-9:30pm • Start May 20 through Sept. 16 4th Tuesday • Ladies Only Rides • Harley Davidson Long Branch, 671, Broadway, Long Branch, NJ • Meet at 6pm • Runs through Sept. 732-229-8518 2nd Wednesday • Restore the Shore Dinner Ride • Harley Davidson Long Branch, 671, Broadway, Long Branch, NJ • Meet at 6pm • Runs through Sept. 732-229-8518 4th Wednesday • Jersey Shore Ice Cream Run • Harley Davidson Long Branch, 671, Broadway, Long Branch, NJ • Meet at 6pm • Runs through Sept. 732-229-8518 Every Wednesday • Chelseas Restaurant/Pub, 1051 Rte. 22 East, Lebanon, NJ 6-9pm, weather permitting all summer • www.chelseasrestaurantpub.com

What’s Happening 10-13 • Westchester Beemers NY Trio Tour 2014. Sport-touring ‘scavenger hunt’ event. 3 consecutive daily rides begin and end at Hampton Inn, Elkins, WV base location. Daily rides average 8.5 hours covering 350 miles. Limited to 33 riders. $50 incl. Sat. evening closing dinner, rider card and prizes for top three finishers. Discounted lodging arrangements in place at base location (304-630-7500). For full details call or visit 914-3287909 • www.triotour.org 14 • Italian Motorcycle Owners Club 31st Annual Italian Motorcycle Meet - America’s Longest Running All Italian Bike Meet. Hamilton Rod & Gun Club, 24 Hamilton Rd, Sturbridge, MA. 10am-3pm. $10pp/$15 two-up. Incl. rally pin and door prize ticket. Refreshments and food available, Italian-only swap meet, vendors. Info: www.imocusa.com 14 • Ride for Kids/Baltimore-Washington DC. Join Bob’s in reaching our goal and benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Turf Valley Resort, Ellicott City, MD. For more info visit www.RideForKids.org 14 • Motorcyclepedia Museum Fall Swap Meet. $11 adults/$5 children/Under 3 free. 250 Lake St, Newburgh, NY • 845-569-9065 • www.motorcyclepediamuseum.org 20 • Bob’s BMW Oktoberfest Fall Open House and Swap Meet. Food, vendors, prizes, specials and Annual Swap Meet. Seel, trade and buy used aprts, apparel, accessories and more. 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD • 301-497-8949 • www.BobsBMW.com

Every Thursday • Bike Night at the Chatterbox Drive-In, Rtes. 15/206, Augusta, NJ. Tire kicking, good food and friends • www.chatterboxdrivein.com

Sept. 26-28 • Backroads Fall Fiesta • Shippensburg, PA

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, 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • 201843-6930 • www.bergenharley.com

16th Backroads Fall Fiesta. Shippen Place Hotel, Shippensburg, PA. Surrounded by some of the most scenic and twistalicious roads in Pennsylvania. We’ll have a group dinner Saturday night (pre-registration IS required for dinner) at the University Grille, at the hotel - $34/pp. Rooms start at $87/night. Call today and get yours. Please ask for Backroads Group when booking. www.shippenplace.com • 717-532-4141

AUGUST 2014 2-3 • Odd Ball Old Dob 10th Annual Bike Show and Ride, Curtiss Museum Classic Motorcycle Festival, hammondsport, NY • 607-569-2160 • www.oddballolddog.net

MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION

9 • Bob’s BMW meetup with BMWBMW special tech session. For more details visit www.BobsBMW.com. 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD • 301-497-8949 9 • Horseneck MC Riding Club Summer 2014 BBQ. Rain date 8/10. Livingston Masonic Lodge #11, 19 Burnett St, Livingston, NJ. Noon-4pm. New member drive. Horseneck MC is dedicated to safe riding, good times as well as community and charitable service. Mostly weekend morning rides and rides to special events. For more information please contact via email at horseneckrc@gmail.com 16 • Hudson Valley Motorcycles National Premiere of the Ducati 821. 10am-2pm. See the new beauty from Italy in person. Ossining, NY • 914-762-2772 • HVMotorcycles.com 17 • FW Speer Yamaha Foggy Mountain Reliability Run. Registration: $20. Sign in 8:3010am at dealership. Expert/Novice classes. 7 Main Ave, Passaic, NJ • 973-778-6256 • www.speeryamaha.com 17-20 • BACKROADS SUMMER SQUEEZE. We’ll be playing hooky during the week and heading back to West Dover, Vermont and the Gray Ghost Inn. Two days of great riding, hanging with friends old and new and more. We’ll have a group dinner Monday night and Movie Night Tuesday with ‘Why We Ride’ - we’ll supply the popcorn. Call Carina at 800-745-3615 to reserve your room today. Alternate lodging available at the Kitzhof Inn • 802-745-3615 www.Kitzhof.com and Big Bears Lodge • 802-464-5591 www.BigBeargLodge.com - both within walking distance of the Gray Ghost Inn. 23-24 • Bob’s BMW Hospitality Days at Summit Point Racetrack with Jeremy Cook. For full details please visit www.BobsBMW.com 28-31 • Killington Classic, Killington, VT. Great roads, good food and fun times • www.KillingtonClassic.com • 518-798-0858

SEPTEMBER 2014 5-7 • Women’s Sportbike Rally VIII - Deals Gap, NC • www.WomensSportbikeRally.com 7 • Lost Wheels MC Poker Run to benefit Montrose VA Hospital, Castle Point Food for Vets, Vassar Hospital Children's Ward, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. NEW SIGN IN: McDonald's, Route 9, Fishkill, NY (Dutchess Mall) 9-10:30am Registration • Run ends @ 3pm. $25/riders; $15/Passenger; $10 under 15. Endsite: Canopus Lake Beach, Fahestock St Park, 1498 Rte. 301, Carmel, NY. Great food, live music, games, vendors, door prizes and 50/50. Cash prize for best poker hand. Trophies for best rep club and bike show People's Choice and Best of Show • www.lostwheels.com • Pat: 845-800-0041

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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

Coal Country

words and images: Brian Rathjen

Page 37 In this new world of sustainable and renewable energy sources, many will say that coal is a fading relic from the past. There are a number of states along the Appalachia that might beg to differ with these naysayers. And, along this same part of the mountains of Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky you will find some of the most delightful roadways, interesting places and wonderful people. Welcome to Coal Country. We got an early start as we rode down south the week before attending Morton’s excellent Spring Fling, in Natural Bridge, Virginia on our way to our own Spring Break Rally - so our own Backroads adventure began in a most excellent region. Early on a Sunday morning we started out with the rising sun over our shoulders, as we headed to West By God Virginia. In typical fashion we tried to route along some of the tinier roads, and did a fair job of it, making a quick visit by the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. It helped to start this sort of journey with something crazy called Allegheny. This humongous place will be featured in Mysterious America and is


Page 38 truly worth visiting and taking the time for the tour. It is the second largest building of its kind (hand hewn blue stone), next to the Soviet Kremlin, and if you walked every corridor it would be a stroll of over 3 miles. It was a disturbingly interesting stop - even for Seymour. Monday morning rose with the same chilly temperatures that make for excellent riding – the last few days rarely broke the 60s. We had plans for lunch along a future stop on the Great All American Diner Run. Hillbilly Hot Dogs - found in the ‘little not really’ town of Lesage – which is about as west in West Virgininny as you can git. We had attempted to stop here a few times over the years – but had severely underestimated the winding mountain roads, miles and time at least twice. Another time a monsoon put us in a hotel with 150 miles to go.

AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS Today we would make it to the famed Hillbilly – home of the ‘Home Wrecker.’ So with an early start we vectored towards the Ohio River only to get snafu’ed right from the start trying to ride around the Asylum. With our bearings finally right we moved along at a brisk pace staying on mostly wide sweeping state roads. From the beginning we were dealing with the wild life. Lots of it. First some ducks crossed our path and I barely missed one who screamed AFLAC and gave me ‘the wing’ and then it moved on with squirrel, chipmunk, loose cow, rabbit, cat, various dogs and a number of suicidal birds adding to the menagerie. Other than the animal show all was peachy-keen in our world until I went for a shortcut that would shave nearly 30 miles off the mostly civilized route. Everything was fine…. till it wasn’t. The tight mountain road rose up and into the deep forest, with the occasional homestead poking around here and there. But the road went from rough for a few miles, to gravel for a few miles more and then cresting the top of the mountain it transformed to golf ball sized rocks - a half a foot deep in places. A mile or two of this with the GPS calling for another ten and we began to see the futility of this route. Like Paul Simon sang, “Slip sliding away!” Unlike some who do not know “it is okay to wave the flag and turn around on occasion….” We do and did. We eased the bikes back around and


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

went for Plan B which was a stunning and semi-well paved piece of pavement that brought us, eventually, to the Ohio River and, finally after so many tries, Hillbilly Hot Dogs. Pulling up to the lot we parked next to a Gold Wing with North Carolina plates. As I was parking my GS I spotted Shira giving a large man a larger hug. What the? It was our friend and Backroads alumni Tom Watson. Tom was heading to our Spring Break via a Pirates / Orioles game in Pittsburgh. He had seen Shira’s posts on the Backroads Facebook page (Like Us, dammit!) and had altered his journey to meet us in Lesage. Shira knew this but I was totally and very happily surprised. Tom is a great guy and his showing up made lunch at this Diner, Drive-In & Dives favorite even better. After a few delicious and odd dogs – sorry, nobody was willing to try the ‘Home Wrecker’ – Tom headed north to PA and we south along a few state parks and the border with the Blue Grass State of Kentucky.

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Evening found us pulling into Williamson, West Virginia – home of the famed feud between the Hatfields & McCoys, the Coal House (Yes, it is made out of pure coal) and the great Mountaineer Hotel. With 116 rooms this “Classical Revival” building was built back in 1925 and put on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on March 21, 1997. Each room is named after a famous guest who stayed there and, with our 24th anniversary the next day we went for the Paul Newman Room. Very nice and an absolute bargain. Ever in the search for fodder for Mysterious America we rolled back across the river into Kentucky and eventually down the sweeping Hal Rodgers Parkway through the Daniel Boone Forest. If all major roads ran as pretty as this we wouldn’t be called Backroads. Right outside the town of Manchester we found what we were searching for - the Red Bird Petroglyphs of Kentucky.


AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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This large 50-ton stone was once atop a cliff along the river and was known by local tribes before Europeans first came to this region. At least 8 Old World alphabets are engraved on it. These alphabets were extinct when Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492. On December 7, 1994, this mysterious stone fell from a sandstone cliff and rolled onto Highway 66 on Lower Red Bird. It was then moved to its present home here in Manchester. Is this an elaborate prank or a true piece of Mysterious America? We’ll let Seymour do a little digging on this rock. As open and pleasant as Hal Rodgers was we opted for the tinier roads that afternoon. Kentucky is a shining state for sportbike riders – you just need to search out the right pavement. At the previous week’s rally a friend had made the statement at dinner that coal was dead. You would be hard-pressed to say that here in this part of Kentucky. Coal is everywhere and a large part of the culture. Everywhere we went we spotted coal trains, mining operations and the like. Alternative energy might eventually be the future, but coal rules here. We did well that afternoon and by 3ish we cut through the little town of Lynch, and stopped at a coal mine tour called Portal 31. Taking off the helmets we thought it might be closed when a smiling woman came over and introduced herself as Sandy Hodges.

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She invited us inside one of the buildings and told us we had indeed missed the last tour, but were welcome to come back in the morning. A few years back we did a feature, written by gentleman motorcyclist Dr. John Petrocelli, on a most unusual inn just one town over in Benham – The School House Inn. A modern elementary school that was refurbished in the mid90’s; it now hosts thirty rooms and is a very, very cool place to stay. Unless your riding buddies stuff you in a locker. It was our anniversary and Shira wanted to stay and that sounded like the perfect plan. Sandy started to tell us that riders come through often and one particular rider she remembered was a dentist from Brooklyn. She went on saying he had returned once again and remembered her.


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

“Yes, Mr. Petrocelli was a very nice guy,” Sandy stated, “He even wrote a story on us for a motorcycle magazine.” Do tell? Shira was looking at me from behind her with her mouth wide-open. I raised my camera and asked if she would like to say hello to John. “Wait a second…I didn’t say his first name,” she said. We introduced ourselves and neither Sandy nor we could believe the coincidence and good fortune of meeting the same woman Dr. John had befriended years back. We told her we would see him in a few days at our Spring Break rally. She told us to say hello and then gave us directions to the School House Inn that

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was everything John had told us it would be and better than the Ritz for our anniversary. We splurged for the largest room – the honeymoon suite - for $90 and explored a bit of this very different inn. They had a wedding already set-up for the weekend in the old gymnasium. Dinner was found another town back in Cumberland and I promised Shira I would not drag her on another Spring Break Rally during our 25th; promising to take her to St. Somewhere. I don’t think she really cares. Like Fastball sang in the song The Way, “They wanted the highway They’re happier there today.” But on the highway things happen….. We all know the saying “Do as I say, but not as I do?” At Backroads we always preach to change tires early and often. But, the nearly 1,500 miles on our journey had toasted through my rear tire and the front was looking tired too. I could probably make it through the week; but not if I planned on riding during our own Spring Break. Rain would be iffy; and no one likes iffy.


AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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We scrapped our original route and whipped up Plan C to get to Salem, Virginia the next night and Frontline Eurosports. We called them and their service maven Andrew Ellis said they would make time for a tire swap first thing on Thursday morning. I didn’t want to impose but they said it would be a pleasure. We love shops like this! Dealers and shops that will take care of travelling riders from outside their region. Good karmas that is. That evening, after dinner, Shira did her magic…. With the Garmin (duh) and put together an interesting (ha) route back to Virginia. But, before we headed over the highest point in Kentucky – actually at the Virginia line – we rode back to Portal 31, as we promised Sandy, and took the short tour into the mine. We only walked in about 900 feet, but the mine actually runs over 13 miles and holds the record for one-day mining at nearly one million pounds of ore in a single day. Our tour guide, Brady, was extremely knowledgeable and this tour is surely something to do when riding in this part of the nation.

Like I said this is Coal Country. Back on the road we quickly climbed in altitude and crossed over into Virginia. Up until then we had decent riding with little, if any hold ups or traffic, but today we had the ire of the Road Gods in the form of numerous construction zones, a funeral procession and local law enforcement that rode along with us for at least 10 miles ….at a posted 35. Uggggg. Still, we crossed through some interesting towns including the hometown of Glenn Roberts – the creator of the NBA “Jump Shot” and Coalwood “The Home of the Rocket Boys” the town where Homer Hickman’s triology was set. You might remember the 1999 film called October Sky (which is an anagram for Rocket Boys). By evening we had covered nearly 300 backroads miles and rolled into a Holiday Inn not far from Frontline Eurosport. I planned to be there a half hour before they opened and was. The folks at Frontline couldn’t be nicer, as they took the GS in right away and quickly shod it with a new set of Metzler Tourance tires. It was our first time there and were impressed with the entire operation and with the genuine congeniality they showed us and how quick they got us in and out, considering we were not day to day customers, but just travelers passing through. Thanks so much Frontline.

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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014 By midmorning we were back on the road heading south and the 2014 Backroads Spring Break. Today’s route paralleled the Blue Ridge Parkway for a bit with a number of great sweeping mountain roads that allowed for the critical 50 or so miles to scrub in the new tires. After that the bike felt brand new. Nothing in the world like new rubber. We made an error in navigation and were slowing down, looking for a good spot to u-turn when Shira heard something incredibly loud and almost earth shattering. She stopped, looking for the combine or tractor that was about to run her over. I had seen them coming and as the first F-16, running a low altitude radar evasive run, screamed overhead, I pointed to the second; hot on the tail of the first. A few minutes later a third and fourth Fighting Falcon thundered by at the same height. Nice way to roll into Memorial Day weekend and our rally. We continued south at a brisk pace only getting stopped once, with everyone else, for a license check. Later that afternoon we rolled into Marion, and minutes later to the front of the General Marion Hotel. For us, and a few others the rally had already begun. The Spring Break was a great success, as you read about last month, but now it was time to think about heading north and home. Not wanting a very good thing to end I had plotted a GPS route some 270 miles north to Staunton. All backroads, no interstate; as the plan was to get in one last decent day of riding before pulling the trigger and getting home Moody Blues-style – Tuesday Afternoon. For a route tossed together in about 10 minutes it worked out swimmingly for our group of five bikes. We avoided any documentation and rode under blue skies; starting out in the mid-50’s and ending near 90! Thank the road gods for the camelbak and ice water. From Staunton we vectored up I-81 to the George Washington Hotel in

Page 43 Winchester. We had used this hotel a few years back for our Spring Break in 2010 and it put us about halfway between Marion and home. Showers and one last great meal on the road with friends on Winchester’s fabulous Pedestrian Mall was the perfect end for the day. The next morning we buckled up and made time north as home, after a few weeks on the road, sounded very, very nice. Two weeks exploring the backroads we had touched 8 states, ridden nearly 3,000 miles and saw, found and discovered so many great and interesting places. Now back home and at the desk the big question is …. Where to next? Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, 71 Asylum Dr, Weston, WV 304-269-5070 • www.trans-alleghenylunaticaslyum.com Hillbilly Hot Dogs, 6951 Ohio River Rd, Lesage, WV 304-762-2458 • www.hillbillyhotdogs.com Mountaineer Hotel, 31 East Second Ave, Williamson, WV 304-235-2222 • www.mountaineerhotel.com Portal 31 Coal Mine Tour, W Main St, Lynch, KY 606-848-1530 • www.portal31.org Benham School House Inn, 10 Central Ave, Benham, KY • 606-848-3000 Frontline Eurosports, 1003 Electric Rd, Salem, VA 855-444-2696 • www.frontlineeurosports.com

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AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTS

NELSON RIgg SPORT ADvENTuRE TANK BAg SLIM Middleweight dual sport riders rejoice! (are you listening KLR 650 and Suzuki DR riders?) Today dual sport riders have a new Sport Adventure Tank Bag to ride with them. Discerning dual sport riders wanted a bag that’s big on features yet takes up a minimal amount of space on their dual sport bikes tank and won’t get in their way when riding more aggressive terrain. Nelson Rigg offers the CL-1045 Sport Adventure Tank Bag Slim as a solution. Nelson Rigg’s 32 year of design expertise now presents the CL-1045 Sport Adventure Tank Bag Slim. This low profile expandable design is constructed of 1680 d ballistic nylon with high quality coil-over zippers and reflective piping. The bag maintains its shape even when empty and has a fully lined interior and additional zippered side pockets for easy access. The bags lid also contains a pocket for your personal electronics with a lens that allows you to operate your touch sensitive smart phone/GPS. Its slim design and length help keep it out of the rider’s way and clear of the handlebars during aggressive riding. The CL-1045 also boasts an expansion zipper allowing the bag to grow from its 14.6 liter capacity to over 21 liters when expanded. You’ll also find a pass thru port that allows you to connect cables to your personal electronics. Each bag includes a protective bottom material that prevents slipping or marking your tank. The CL-1045 can be easily mounted using the self- adjusting hooks (with soft ties) which, when attached to the 4 D-ring mounting points, allows for easy secure installation. The CL-1045 is the perfect traveling companion for middleweight dual sport rider. The CL-1045 dimensions; 12L x 7W x 9H Standard, 12L x 7W x 12H Expanded. Holds 12.39Liters Standard and 16.52 Liters expanded. All Nelson Rigg Luggage comes with a Lifetime “No Hassle” Warranty. Rain cover is included. MSRP $89.95 For more information please visit your local dealer or visit their website at www.nelsonrigg.com or info@nelsonrigg.com.

MuSTANg SADDLES TACKLES THE BMW R1200 gS “Although the Adventure Touring market is new to us, Mustang is the leader in all-day comfort,” explains Mustang Marketing Director, Marilyn Simmons. “Mustang has been focused on handcrafting the world’s most comfortable seats since 1980… which is just as long as BMW has been offering its GS range of adventure bikes.” The BMW GS series of dual purpose off-road/on-road BMW motorcycles was launched back in 1980 with the original R80G/S (in fact, GS refers to Gelände/Straße German for off-road/road). This new seat is much more than a simple cover or a pad added to the stock seat. “There are three reasons why Mustang seats make a difference: our baseplates, our foam and our cover,” she adds. “Our years of experience have taught us that without a proper base to build on, no amount of foam will make the seat as comfortable as it should be.” This “better by design” philosophy also included meticulously designing five new mounting brackets on Mustang’s CAD terminals. Then it was onto the padding. A proprietary formula for controlled density polyurethane foam is what gives Mustang seats their reputation for retaining


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTS their shape and providing support for years of use. “The exact shape, angle and density had to be dialed in specifically for the demands of the serious ADV-type rider,” Marilyn notes. “It has to be soft enough for comfort, but resilient enough to stand up to those thousand mile days.” Finally the cover: Mustang’s covers are made of the highest quality expanded vinyl available. They have the appearance of high-grade leather, but the durability and weather resistance that far exceeds cowhide and meets all OEM seat specs. Just like the GS itself, Mustang’s seats are over-engineered to handle whatever adventure you may encounter. All seams are sewn twice for extra strength and the bottom edge of the cover is hemmed and then riveted to the baseplate for a secure fit. Vertically challenged riders will also appreciate the fact that the Mustang seat sits 1.5 inches lower than stock. In addition to the fact that the driver seat can be set at two different heights, it is also just 14 inches wide, facilitating most riders’ ability to plant their feet while in the saddle. Options include a 9 inch wide passenger seat and a fully adjustable, easily removable built-in driver backrest. Applications for 2004-12 BMW R1200GS models (oil-cooled). Solo without driver backrest is $429. Solo with driver backrest is $629. Rear seat that fits with either is $299. To view and order yours visit mustangseats.com. Mustang also has factory tours available of their facility in Three Rivers, MA for groups of 4 to 24. Call for reservations : 800-243-1392

THE COMPLETE MOTORCYCLIST INSTRuCTIONAL DvD AND BOOKLET The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has partnered with Germany’s Institute for Motorcycle Safety, the German Road Safety Council, and Motorrad to produce one of the most comprehensive motorcycle safety educational packages available today. The instructional DVD, which comes with a 52-page full-color booklet, includes nearly two hours of motorcycle tips and riding techniques from the industry’s top safety experts. Available from the MSF Online Store, the material covers every aspect of motorcycling, from choosing a bike that’s right for the size, abilities and preferences of the intended rider, to full explanations of safety apparel and gear, to riding in harsh weather, group riding, riding with a passenger, and even customizing your bike for proper fit and function. “Anyone who rides or wants to ride should get their hands on this DVD/booklet combo,” said Dr. Ray Ochs, vice president, training systems for the MSF. “Subjects like threshold braking, steering techniques, riding in curves, limits of adhesion and more, are broken down, diagrammed, and presented in a way that is easy to understand. With an overall focus on safety, the instruction not only explains how, but why motorcycles respond in different ways to different rider inputs. Beginning and experienced riders alike will acquire a much greater understanding of, and hopefully an even greater love for, motorcycling.” “Over the years, the international partnerships we enjoy with our friends in Germany have resulted in several key initiatives for motorcyclists,” said MSF President and CEO Tim Buche. “We’re excited to team up once again to bring this expertly–crafted motorcycle safety material to the United States.” To order, visit the MSF Online Store, or call (949) 727-3227, ext. 3079.


AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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The Cannon Ball Baker Centennial Ride Across America Backroads Across the Continent

Jack Broomall In 1914, the U.S. motor vehicle population was approaching two million vehicles, including perhaps 150,000 motorcycles. As remains the case today, most of the motoring action was centered on the east and west coasts but forward thinkers like Indiana industrialist and entrepreneur Carl Fisher saw great promise, and potential fortune, in the concept of linking the east to the west with usable highways. Just one year earlier, in 1913, Fisher and his associates had cooked up the idea of the transcontinental Lincoln Highway, running from New York City to San Francisco. In the years immediately preceding, cars and trucks had successfully crossed the continent but such travel remained very much a great adventure. The distinction between “backroads” and “main roads” was fuzzy at best and, especially west of the Mississippi River, improved roads of any kind were in pretty short supply. Early in the 20th century a traveler could make the trip from New York City to California in just about a week by rail, but in the spring of 1914, the coast-to-coast record for motor vehicles stood at twenty days.

Enter one Erwin George Baker. Baker, a 32 year old Indiana native, was a former vaudeville performer and motorcycle racer of some repute. Venturing forth from San Diego on May 3, 1914 Baker found his way across the continent aboard a 7 horsepower, two-speed, Indian motorcycle in a record 11 ½ days. His arrival in New York City on the 14th of May not only established a new benchmark for cross country travel but also inspired a journalist to bestow him with a moniker that would last for a lifetime, “Cannon Ball”.

AMA Hall of Famer, Daytona 200 winner, writer and all-around student of motorcycling history, Californian Don Emde became fascinated by Cannon Ball’s 1914 ride after coming across a copy of Baker’s trip journal several years ago. So enthralled was Emde that he spent the next three years researching Baker’s exact transcontinental route. Not only did he do the research but he actually made a reconnaissance trip across the country in prepa-

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BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

Page 47 ration for his main act. On May 3rd of 2014, at 9:00am, exactly duplicating Baker’s departure a century earlier, Emde, in the company of some 26 invited riders left San Diego on the Cannon Ball Baker Centennial ride across America. Both Baker and Emde’s modern-day group spent the first couple of days of the trip making their way across the desert southwest. California Route 94, marked as a scenic highway on most road maps, provided a nice sequence of twisties and great views of the mountains looking southward across the Mexican border. A brief segment of Interstate 8 (It wasn’t there in 1914!) to Ocotillo was followed at a wanderers pace into the California desert near Brawley then into and through the Imperial Dunes National Recreational Park near Glamis – literally a hotbed of dual sport and ATV activity. An overnight at Yuma, Arizona, and for the Emde group the chance to explore Yuma’s fascinating Territorial Prison Museum, was followed by a second day of heat and sand across Arizona and into the Phoenix area. Day three for both the original ride and for the Centennial group covered what is likely the most unspoiled part of the entire transcontinental trek. Departing Phoenix, Baker followed what he described as “the Roosevelt Route.” In his words, “This route is similar to the picturesque Grand Canyon of Arizona.” In fact, much of the route, known as the Apache Trail, remains a prime venue for motorcyclists today. Upon departing Apache Junction, east of Phoenix, one can follow AZ Route 88 northeast toward Roosevelt Lake and Roosevelt Dam. Some thirty miles

Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge is the Smoky Mountains Premier ‘Motorcycle-only’ resort. Located in the heart of the Smoky Mountains and minutes from all the great motorcycling roads like ‘Tail of the Dragon’, Cherohalla Skyway, Blue Ridge Parkway and Moonshiner 28. Amenities include on-premise restaurant for breakfast and dinner with creekside dining, covered bike parking, nightly group campfire, laundry, gift shop and WiFi DSL HotSpot. We have a pavilion with multimedia entertainment, private function meeting room, RV sites as well as rustic luxury cabins cabin rooms, bunkhouse and tent camping. Perfect for singles, couples or group getaways.

Located in Stecoah, NC • 828-479-3864 • www.ironhorseNC.com


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AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

on a graded and well-traveled dirt road will yield some of the most spectacular mountain and lake vistas imaginable while passing through the Superstition Mountains. Later, back on pavement and rejoining U.S. Route 60 the 2014 group had the chance to enjoy the photofriendly Salt River Canyon via the same route traveled by Baker and which originated in the 1840s as a wagon trail. In the northeast corner of New Mexico, near Santa Fe, the Emde group joined one of America’s great routes of adventure and western expansion, the Santa Fe Trail. They, and Baker before them, followed the Santa Fe Trail for nearly 800 miles, through Kansas and all the way to the Missouri River. Like Baker, most motorcyclists seem anxious

to put the seemingly featureless midsection of America in their rear view mirrors. However, record setting aside, failing to explore the many undiscovered “gems” of the Great Plains, may constitute a major missed opportunity. A couple of interesting stops from this portion of the trip warrant mention, though there are many more. Dodge City, Kansas is awash with the feel of the old west. Whether you take time to visit the Boot Hill Museum, study the town’s history and some of its more notable personalities like lawman Wyatt Earp, or just absorb the old-time atmosphere of the town made famous by the TV series “Gunsmoke” Dodge City will wisk you back to an earlier time. Bring your boots and

FALL FIESTA 2014 September 25-28

Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure

A SHAMOKIN’ TIME IN SOUTHCENTRAL PA Join us for our 16th Backroads Fall Fiesta We’ll have our base camp at the historic Shippen Place Hotel in Shippensburg, PA Surrounded by some of the most scenic and twistalicious roads in Pennsylvania You can explore the beautiful Michaux State Forest, take a spin to Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum or check out Centralia, the town on fire. Group dinner Saturday night at the hotel’s University Grille - $37/per person. Please make your reservation with hotel.

Rooms start at $87.20/night Call today and get yours. Please ask for Backroads Group when booking.

www.shippenplace.com • 717-532-4141


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

Page 49

spurs. Dodge City also has a role in the history of motorcycling. When Cannon Baker passed this way in 1914 just about the biggest thing going on was preparation for the first edition of a motorcycle race that was destined to become a factory racing battleground until well after World War I, The Dodge City 300. A two-mile oval track was laid out just northeast of Dodge City with sanctioning by the FAM (Federation of American Motorcyclists) and the event drew the attention of all the major manufacturers of the time. A number of the Cannon Ball Centennial riders were able to visit the vestiges of the original track which still exist outside town, and this year Dodge City celebrates the centennial of that first event with a weeklong series of motorcycle events including races and concours. Tucked away in the tiny town of Marquette, Kansas is The Kansas Motorcycle Museum. Founded in 2003 as a tribute to local racing hero and five time national champion Stan “The Man” Engdahl, the storefront museum captures the story of Engdahl’s career with a display of some 600+ trophies garnered over a 40 year career. It also speaks to the history of motorcycling in the heartland with a stunning collection of Harley-Davidsons, Indians, and numerous other marques including some very rare examples such as a 1906 Thor and eye-popping classics from Henderson and Ace. All this, and more, can be found in the tiny (but meticulously maintained) storefront museum,

open daily, in Marquette, Kansas. Population 641. By the time Baker and the Centennial Ride group reached St. Louis and the Mississippi River, a whole different set of riding conditions began to prevail. For Baker the transition meant improved roads and for the Emde group it meant more congestion as each continued eastward on the Historic National Road, now labeled as U.S. 40 over most of its length. The National Road, first commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson in 1806, was the first federally funded roadway in the new nation and stretched westward from Cumberland, Maryland. When Baker passed this way in 1914, the improved National Road didn’t extend all the way to St. Louis but the trails on which it was based had been in use for many years. Erwin George “Cannon Ball” Baker was an Indianapolis native and, when not away on the various adventures of his lifetime, lived the greater part of his life there. He is, in fact interred at the Crown Hill Cemetery just north of the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he rode his motorcycle to victory in one of the earliest events on the new (and as yet unpaved) track in 1909 and later competed in the Indy 500, finishing eleventh in 1922. The Cannon Ball Centennial ride group visited his gravesite at Crown Hill on the morning of May 12, 2014 before completing that day’s ride in the Columbus, Ohio area. Edging ever nearer to the east coast and the finish line in Manhattan, Baker

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Page 50

AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS then continued across Ohio where the modern-day Cannonballers had the chance to visit sights like the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio and, further eastward, the childhood home of Mercury Astronaut and 1960s hero John Glenn. Baker and his contemporary counterparts continued via the National Road through the remainder of Ohio, the northern tip of West Virginia, and on into southwest Pennsylvania. Originally headed directly for Pittsburgh, Baker reported that he “figured that I would get into congested traffic in the Smoky City and lose a lot of time” so he, as well as his 2014 contemporaries, then jogged northward near Uniontown, leaving the National Road, in order to join the equally historic Lincoln Highway near Greensburg, Pa. It would be the Lincoln Highway that lead both Cannon Ball and his century younger adherents across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and on into New York City. On the final day of his 1914 ride, Baker arrived in Manhattan near midnight after a fairly adventurous evening trek through New Jersey that was fraught with repeated episodes of becoming lost. At the Hudson River, in Weehawken, he and his weary Indian rolled aboard a ferry and crossed to a Manhattan landing at West 42nd street, not far from today’s Lincoln Tunnel. The 2014


BACKROADS • AUGUST 2014

Page 51 Centennial Ride group, aboard their modern motorcycles, arrived in Manhattan, via the Holland Tunnel, at mid-day on May 14th. Each had crossed the country in 11 ½ days and at the finish every rider, then and now, found himself in lower Manhattan, about as distant as

one can be from the backroads of America. Today the highways of America are cluttered with over 250 million passenger vehicles and it’s possible to ride across the continent in just a couple of days utilizing the nearly 50,000 miles of Interstate highway system. Yet, as demonstrated once again by the participants of the Cannon Ball Baker Centennial Ride, it is still the backroads that provide the majority of highlights and discoveries of any extended road trip.

SUMMER SQUEEZE

AUGUST 17-20, 2014

WE FOUND A COUPLE OF FREE DAYS IN OUR SCHEDULE AND HOPE YOU CAN TOO.

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CARINA AND CREW AT THE GRAY GHOST INN ARE MARVELOUS HOSTS AND DO A THEY ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF SOME OF THE BEST RIDING IN THE COUNTRY AND AT THE END OF THE DAY THE HOT TUB, POOL AND FIRE PIT ARE WAITING FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT. COME JOIN US FOR A QUICK SUMMER RIDE IN VERMONT AND SOME TIME WITH FRIENDS OLD AND NEW. MOVIE NIGHT - ‘WHY WE RIDE’ - COMPLETE WITH POPCORN. GROUP DINNER ON MONDAY WITH JESSE’S EXCELLENT COOKING. GREAT JOB CATERING TO MOTORCYCLISTS.

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AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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AUGUST 2014 • BACKROADS

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Page 55

MOTORCYCLE MARKETPLACE Worth the ride from anywhere!

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Page 56

MOTORCYCLE MARKETPLACE

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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 THE OWNER’S MANUAL THOROUGHLY. For rider training information or to locate a rider training course near you, call the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at 800-446-9227. Valkyrie® and Gold Wing® are registered trademarks of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (07/13)

Dress properly for your ride with a helmet, eye protection, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves and boots. Do not drink and ride. It is illegal and dangerous. Yamaha and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation encourage you to ride safely and respect the environment. For further information regarding the MSF course, please call 1-800-446-9227. Professional rider depicted on a closed course. ©2013 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved. • YamahaMotorsports.com


August 2014