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gaz Ma our le T cyc tor Mo

DECEMBER

2011

Volume 17 No. 12

ine

Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure

Holiday Gift Ideas Memphis in May Colors in the Catskills 4 Backroads Hot Dog Run


W H A T ’ S

I N S I D E FEAT URES

MON THLY COLUMN S FREE WHEELIN’.................................................................................4

BACKROADS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE..........................................31

WHATCHATHINKIN’..........................................................................6

MEMPHIS IN MAY..........................................................................46

POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE .................................................8

BACKROADS HOT DOG RUN RECAP .......................................50

ON THE MARK ..................................................................................9

COLORS IN THE CATSKILLS 4 RECAP .....................................53

GREAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN ........................................10 MYSTERIOUS AMERICA...............................................................12 THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD....................................................14 BACKLASH .......................................................................................16 INDUSTRY INFOBITES ...................................................................17

M OTORCYCL E REVIEWS MOTO GUZZI NORGE GT 8V.......................................................36

PRODUCT REVIEW S HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS....................................................................40 FLASH2PASS AUTO GARAGE DOOR OPENER......................55

BIG CITY GETAWAY........................................................................19 WE’RE OUTTA HERE......................................................................21 WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE .......................................................26 UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR ..............................................38 MOTORCYCLE MARKETPLACE...................................................43 Brian Rathjen • Shira Kamil ~ Publishers Contributors: Mark Byers, Victor Cruz, Michael Friedle, Bill Heald, John Hund, Tony Lisanti, Michael Moyer, Kyle O’Brien, Dr. Seymour O’Life • Cover Photo: Ultan Guilfoyle

BACKROADS • POB 317, Branchville NJ 07826 Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure Phone 973.948.4176 • Fax 973.948.0823 • email editor@backroadsusa.com • web www.backroadsusa.com

For Advertising Sales Information: 973-948-4176 BACKROADS (ISSN 1087-2088) is published monthly by BACKROADS™, Inc. 2011. 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.


DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

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FREE WHEELIN’ BRIAN RATHJEN

Fancy colors and other rants From the Industry We get a few motorcycle industry related publications here at Backroads Central; most of which you, if you are not a dealer or some part of this wonderful business, might never see. These publications are a great way for guys like me to keep up on things I might not else be privy to. In a recent issue of Power Sports Business I read an article on a new tire built by the Shinko Tire Company and distributed by Western Powersports called the “Smoke Bomb.” These tires, that are a normal black in color, actually smoke in any one of three shades - Cherry (red), Apple (green) or Blueberry (purple). They have a video where they show three machines lighting them up at the same time: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zdnMKmJsOY. Usually I don’t pay much attention to this sort of stunting, but if you are going to smoke a rear tire to the rim you might as well be artistic about it. I did find the comments from Terry Baisley, WPS vicepresident of sales, to be amusing. “You figure every kid on a sport bike out there with his flip-flops, his sunglasses – who should be wearing a helmet – is worried about doing a smoky burnout to attract the beautiful young lady sitting on the corner with her friends. This will just enhance their game.” I particularly loved the wearing a helmet part. At $250 a pop, this sort of burn out thing can get pricey, but for special

occasions like an open houses I can see this being some seriously smoky fun. Maybe they can add free baseball hats and flip flops with each tire purchased. Another thing that has passed through my computer is this trademark war over popular rallies. It seems I cannot write the S-Word with out a ® after it. The same might happen for the D-Word and maybe even the L-Word and that is the oldest word we have in rallies. Pop-up corporations have jumped on the trademark bandwagon and are now charging for anything that might have the S-Word on it, in it or about it. Makes you want to ride your bike down to Zuccotti Park and sit in the filth protesting said pop-up corporations and anything and everything that might stop you from buying a Sturg…whoops the S-Word tee shirt. Not to sound too protesty, but this sort of greed and manipulation is simply bad for all involved – well, except for the pop-up corporations. What we need are a few rallies each year where the folks putting them on don’t charge anything and just want riders to have a great time. Simply bringing riders together for a few days of riding, exploration and miles of smiles. Wait… that would be us here at Backroads. Spring Break Rally coming up this May! Wooohoo! Lately I have been taking it on the chin for some comments on a segment of our riding population. But right when I thought I was running out of fodder for this month’s rant I got a fax from sources unknown. It was a copy of Motorcycle Dealer News dated October, 1965. The headline? Exhaust Noise: Public Enemy Number One! With an exclamation point. It was a reprint from a bulletin sent to all eastern BSA dealers by BSA International. Wow, talk about a blast from that past that was meant to last. Heck, I could have written this today. I have been called a snob, jerk and clueless simply because I have said it might be a good idea to wear proper gear, ride sober and keep your machine quiet. (Continued on Page 15)


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

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DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

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

‘tIs the season Ho, Ho, Ho, and a bottle of rum, Santa’s run off to the Caribbean. He thinks about boat drinks and fun in the sun. Ho, Ho, Ho, and a bottle of rum. Jimmy Buffett Yes, kiddies, it’s that time of year for shorter days, colder nights and, for many, fewer riding days. With this reality setting in, I turn my thoughts to planning future rides which helps to make the winter month’s pass more quickly and spending more time with friends and family. During our busy riding months, Brian and I need to be on the road a lot. As soon as the icebergs and glaciers have disappeared from Backroads Central, we become hunter-gatherers to feed you, our valued readers. We travel near and far, for days and weeks on end, leaving our home and furry creatures behind so we can share these fun and interesting places with you. Selfless, aren’t we? We often hear, ‘Gee, you have the best job, don’t you.’ Sometimes. Truth be told, after several weeks on the road, there is absolutely nothing better than kicking off your riding boots, cracking open an ice cold beer and sitting in your backyard with nothing do to and nowhere to go. Quite satisfying, really. On the other end of the spectrum, sitting at the computer and putting the words together about the latest find is just as satisfying, especially when we hear how much you’ve enjoyed said find. We’ve had some great ones this year; eateries like Cha Cha Hut in Andes, NY (soon to be Arkville), day rides like Green Animals Topiary in Rhode Island, weekend destinations like Hotel de Glace in Quebec and, not to be forgotten or overlooked, our wacky submissions from the good Dr. O’Life like Joe’s Bar in Ligonier, PA. Our family and non-riding friends are always trying to make plans with us during our ‘on’ season, which tends to get very sticky. For the past 17 years

that we’ve been putting out this fine and informative piece of literature, and I use that term very loosely, it seems that they still don’t get it. While we can certainly get our riding assignments done during the week, there are just not enough weekends in a month to fit in all the rest of the stuff we need or want to do. No matter how many times I tell my parents that we’re heading here, there or the other place, they still ask, ‘Are you going by motorcycle?’ Picture me on the other end of the phone, rolling my eyes and smacking my head, giving the same answer over and over, ‘It’s what we do.’ And let’s not even get into the issue of not being around for Jewish holidays. Why can’t they be on the same date every year, like other celebrations? Just because the Jews wandered around the desert for 40 years, that doesn’t mean their holidays have to wander as well. I have a giant Post-it note on my computer with the 2012 dates to avoid complications next year. And to my dear non-riding friends; don’t think because we may not see you from April until November we don’t care for you. Believe me, I’d love to join you on those wine tasting weekends or some of those great music performances you attend. Truth is, even though the leaves are in full bloom and the heat of the sun is beating down upon us, we are like the squirrels in late autumn, searching for those elusive nuts to hide away for the harsh winter months. And now that time is at our doorsteps. Although as I write this on the 8th day of November, the temperatures are tickling the 70s and I’m rushing to finish to go for a short lunch ride before chaining myself back to the computer, I know the warm sunshine will be short-lived. But, on the bright side of that, I also know that for the next few months I can reacquaint myself with family and friends who I’ve neglected. And that makes the winter go so much faster, spending time with those we care most about. I wish you all a most joyous Christmas, the happiest of Hannukahs and a healthy and fun-filled New Year. Here’s to long rides to new and exciting places, a dry, warm winter and happiness.

174 Route 17N Sloatsburg, NY

Owner: Cal Mancuso Service Manager: Frank Caramico Formerly of New York Harley-Davidson

845-712-5406

Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-6:30pm

• SPECIALIZING IN HIGH PERFORMANCE HARLEY-DAVIDSON • SERVICING ALL AMERICAN V-TWINS • SERVICE • REPAIR • FABRICATION • COMPLETE BIKE BUILDS • LARGEST SELECTION OF PARTS, ACCESSORIES, LEATHER AND CLOTHING

www.CycleCityNY.com


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

ROLLIN’ FAST

Page 7

Cycle Sports

104 Main Street, Lebanon, New Jersey • 908-236-9000

• www.rollinfast.com

ROLLIN’ FAST Cycle Sports 104 Main Street Lebanon, New Jersey

908-236-9000 www.rollinfast.com


DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

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

Jeeves, BuIld me a motorBIke History often repeats itself, or that may just be historians. And no, I’m not just referring to the fact that for the second time in a couple of months we had a major storm in the Northeast that basically trashed the electrical grid. Sheesh. My kingdom for a financial interest in a tree trimming concern! Anyhow, I have come to the realization that, occasionally, even non-historians repeat themselves and I not only realize I’m introducing a topic I’ve talked about before, I’m delighted to do so. The reason is I’m starting to think a particular dream of mine may be getting closer to some sort of reality, for no good reason other than I think the technology is heading in the right direction. So what the heck am I going on about? I have this idea that one day soon, one of the larger manufacturers may just launch a program where you can literally take some fundamental components and have them build a motorcycle to your personal specifications. I don’t just mean things like colors and accessories, either, but details including the basic architecture of your new ride. My desire is based on the fact that these days motorcycles could be built on the Britten model, which is what I call the design of legendary race bike created by the late great John Britten. This potent machine was constructed around the engine itself, which functioned as not just a stressed member of the frame but more accurately superseding the frame as the foundation the suspension components were anchored to. We’ve seen other bikes that use a similar “minimalist” philosophy, such as BMW’s Boxer Twins and Yamaha’s amazing but ill-fated hubsteering GTS1000. With the engine as the bedrock you just attach the suspension sub-structures and save weight, materials, and in the case of what I’m after, create a template for a broad variety of motorcycles.

When you start with a foundation consisting of, say, an 800cc engine that produces a bit more than 100 horsepower, you can tune this engine via fuel injection mapping and exhaust plumbing to have the power profile of a sport bike, touring bike, adventure bike; whatever you want. One of the reasons I’m advancing this one-mill-to-rule-them-all scheme is based on how commonplace rider-selectable electronic adjustability is becoming on so many injection systems (i.e. Sport, Rain, Power, Touring, etc. settings). Next, bolt on the front and rear suspension sub-structures and these could not only incorporate the suspension rates you want, but the steering geometry that suits the response you need for the kind of riding you’ll be doing. Choices don’t need to be infinite here (which would really be a problem for the manufacturers), but just having a selection that suits a few different applications would be perfectly workable. Transmissions? A cassette-style that could be inserted with ratios best suited to the style of riding might be the best way to go here, although this adaptability might not be all that critical when you think about it. After all, our 800cc mill would be our base engine because of its versatility, meaning its broad spread of power would suit many scenarios and make exact transmission ratios less critical. As for final drive, this could also be a one-type-fits all situation that could be selected on the basis of cost and production ease as much as anything else. Let’s face it: shafts, chains and belts all function really well with little maintenance and while long-haul types would prefer a shaftie I’d wager it’s not a deal-breaker for most riders. Now the real fun starts, for with the basic fundamentals in place you can customize the related components for the mount’s mission in life. Things like fuel tank size, handlebar type and placement, foot peg position and saddle type could all be part of configuration packages or sold separately, however I’m sure manufacturers would want some say here to make sure they can test all the available options thoroughly to insure adequate functionality, performance, and most of all safety. But part of the beauty of my scheme is based on the fact that so many of the parts would work for a broad variety of motorcycle types, and notice I haven’t mentioned options at all when it comes to (Continued on Page 15)


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

ON THE MARK MARK BYERS

numerology Sometimes, I get to thinkin’ and that’s a dangerous thing for any man, much less one with a motorcycle. One day I was riding on a pretty boring road and decided, for lack of anything else, to look at my tachometer. It was reading somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,500 RPM, well short of the place where the little red mark means bad stuff can happen. It struck me, however, that 3,500 is a fair number of times to go around in a minute. Eighty or a hundred RPM is a pretty fair pedal cadence on a bicycle and anything over 140 or so leaves me gasping, so 3,500 is a pretty dizzying number. I don’t think Dorothy’s house went around 58.3 times a second in the tornado. When I got home I dragged out the engineering calculator I’ve had since I was a little geek. I forgot what most of the buttons do, but the hieroglyphics that describe multiply and divide were recognizable, so I went to town. That bike has 67,000 miles on it and if I assumed an average of 40 MPH, it took about 1,675 hours to get there. If I averaged 3,500 RPM over that time, the crank turned over 5.862 million times. Holy crap! If it weren’t for good oil, precision machining, and quality metals, those parts would be chafed like my grandma’s thighs. Since I had a full-blast moto geekathon going, I started moving my arms in and out like a boxer engine, earning a “WHAT are you DOING?” from my wife. “I’m pistons,” I said “and I’m thinking about the four-stroke cycle.” She rolled her eyes and went back to grading papers. I came to the conclusion that the valves opened and closed 2.931 million times each if my arms were correct. Since I’m not Kevin Cameron, I wasn’t sure about calculating camshaft speeds and so forth, despite rotating my fingers while doing my piston arm gyrations. At that point, my wife was quite sure I’d gone the rest of the way insane.

Page 9 Back to something simpler: 67,000 miles is a little over 4.245 billion inches and, coupled with a front-tire circumference of roughly 72.26 inches for a revolution, the wheel went around a few more than 58.748 million times! I left out a bunch of assumptions about tire type, profile, wear, inflation, zero slippage, and compression due to weight because there’s only so far I will go for recreational mathematics. Suffice it to say that the number of times each little front wheel roller bearing went around is a number to which most mathematicians refer only by its technical name, “butt-load.” Once again, I marvel at modern metallurgy. Electronic fuel injection isn’t bad, either. If the intake stroke is every other rotation, that little gizmo is barfing a tiny amount of fuel at the rate of 29.2 times a second at 3,500 RPM. Over 67,000 miles, that’s more than 175.9 million little eruptions on average (about the same as 13% of the Chinese getting lucky on a Saturday night). Not to be left out, the electronic ignition is pulsing at the same rate, with a voltage across the spark plug gap that references put at somewhere between 12,000 and 35,000 volts. If it’s hard to imagine that number, just remember that it’s enough to elicit a torrent of profanity from someone trying to help you check for spark as you troubleshoot a balky engine. Speaking of fuel, if I assume a modest 40 MPG average over those 67 kilomiles, I’ve gone through 1,675 gallons of high octane in that time. At around 6 lb per gallon, that’s 10,050 lb of gas, or roughly 15 times the weight of bike and rider, depending upon how many chili dogs I had that day. A cup of vaporized gasoline is reported to have the explosive power of 5 lb of dynamite, so a full tank is like having 480 lb of explosive power between my knees. That 1,675 gallons I’ve burned over time is equivalent to the explosive power of 134,000 lb (67 tons) of dynamite. I’m glad those fuel injectors mete out the gas a little, teeny bit at a time and that the cylinders contain the explosions so well. Any way you calculate it, being able to detonate liquid dynamite with tens of thousands of volts of electricity in a controlled fashion 30 times a second over nearly 60 million wheel revolutions and almost 6 million crank rotations is a motorcycling miracle. I don’t know how many smiles per gallon I get, but it’s a butt-load.

If you could have one bike, this is the one bike to have.

R1200GS - $14,990

MONTGOMERYVILLE CYCLE CENTER 2901 Bethlehem Pike, Hatfield, PA

215-712-7433 • www.MontgomeryvilleCC.com

4th r e b em c e D on Day. . s r a u e ar B Join ings l v a o S P for d B ig n a d Foo 2pm o Free t 10am


DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

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G REAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN

tasty places to take your bike

1776 log house 520 east maIn street, WythevIlle, va 24382 • 276-228-4139 Sometimes we just stumble upon some of the coolest places. We are always on the lookout for interesting eateries and on a recent soirée through Virginia we came across the 1776 Log House in the middle of Wytheville. Now it is not just the history of the original building that intrigued us but what they offer these days. Picture a place that is part restaurant, part bar, part animal menagerie, part gardens, part crafts and variety store. No, this is not a Cracker Barrel – it is something much, much better. The original Log House does date back to 1776, built during the beginning of the Revolutionary War, it was to be a simple tenant house. By the time the Civil War came around the place was owned by Joseph Chadwell who, with a freed slave named Benjamin Steptoe, went off to fight the north. Chadwell was killed and his body returned to Wytheville for proper burial. The descendents of Steptoe still reside in the town. Wytheville today is a fairly busy place and you might ride by the Log House as it is in the middle of the strip-malled, fast foot restaurant-saturated town. That would be a shame as the Log House is quite extraordinary. Pulling up into the gravel parking lot on the side of the building you immediately know this place is far larger than you would think. Even before entering for lunch we did a quick walk around the property, making a note to visit the crafts store before continuing with our journey that day.

138 Orange Ave (Rt. 202) Suffern, NY 10901

845-357-1190 www.locomotionpowersports.com


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

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Caged doves and a bunch of rabbits greeted us among the tight brick walkways and beautiful flowers and shrubs still standing proud in mid-October. The statues and art were a wonder to look at as well. Inside the Log House the look is just as pretty and eclectic. Period furniture, with wonderful sunlight pouring through the wide windows; the restaurant had a very comfortable feel to it. There are multiple dining rooms with a plethora of ambiance. The art and memorabilia on the wall was interesting too, especially the story of “Neck Tie Tyler – the blind tie salesman.” Although we are sure their dinner is as scrumptious as their lunch was, we’ll stick with our mid-day repast. The Log House offers a large and wide-ranging menu for lunch. Starting with their appetizers like the Grape Cheese Cluster, which is a mixture of cheeses covered with grapes and assorted crackers. They also offer Egg Rolls and Sauce, Corn fritters with Honey and Stuffed Jalepeno Peppers with Cheddar. Along with some soups they have a wide sandwich selection with 16 different offering including the Big Farmer’s Delight which is smoked ham and turkey served with 1,000 island dressing and Monterey Jack and Colby cheese melted on top. Their Reuben looked good, as did all their burgers. Shira had the Sunshine Sandwich, which is a Log Home specialty. Their own toasted honey wheat roll spread with blue cheese and then layered with either ham or turkey and melted provolone and finished with tender spears of asparagus. She said it was more than yummy. Other House Specials include Baked Rolled Stuffed Chicken Breast, Chicken Marengo, a boneless chicken breast smothered in a sauce of toma-

toes, mushrooms and green olives. This was reputed to be a favorite of Thomas Jefferson. By the way, this dish reminds me that you will find just a touch of American history in the Log Home as the owners James and Pat Green are just slightly into American’s past. Other specials include the Log House Pork Tenderloin and the Virginian Smithfield Ham – one of Virginia’s culinary prides. After our meal we walked around the craft store and were a bit upset that we were on motorcycles and we didn’t have the Suburbinator outside, as we would have spent much and needed the truck to carry it all home. As we said when we started this - sometimes we just stumble upon some of the coolest places; but now you have the low down on one of the neatest restaurant we have written about in a long time – The Log Home of Wytheville, Virginia.

MIDNIGHT MADNESS DEC. 10th 9PM TO MIDNIGHT

210 Route 10 West East Hanover, NJ

Go See the Pros that Know How to Ride!

www.HanoverPowersports.com 973-428-1735

*Finance offer subject to credit approval, applies to purchases of new Yamaha Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters & Generators made on a Yamaha Installment Financing loan account from 10/1/11-12/31/11. Minimum contract length is 24 months and maximum length is 36 months. Minimum amount financed is $5,000. Fixed APR of 3.99% or 12.99% will be assigned based on credit approval criteria. Monthly payments per $1,000 financed based on 36 month term are $29.52 at 3.99% and $33.69 at 12.99%. Offer good only in the U.S., excluding the state of Hawaii. 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. ATVs with engine sizes over 90cc are recommended for use only by riders age 16 years and older. Yamaha recommends that all ATV riders take an approved training course. For safety and training information, see your dealer or call the ATV Safety Institute at 1-800-887- 2887. ATVs can be hazardous to operate. For your safety: Always avoid paved surfaces. Never ride on public roads. Always wear a helmet, eye protection and protective clothing; never carry passengers; never engage in stunt riding; riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix; avoid excessive speed; and be particularly careful on difficult terrain. Professional riders depicted on closed courses. ©2011 Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. All rights reserved. • yamaha-motor.com

The later it gets, the lower the prices. Come in for your best deals of the season.

Go See the Pros that Know How to Ride!

210 Route 10 West East Hanover, NJ www.HanoverPowersports.com

973-428-1735

SEE DEALER FOR DETAILS honda.com CRF/Fs ARE DESIGNED EXCLUSIVELY FOR OFF-ROAD USE. PARENTS NEED TO CONSIDER A RIDER’S AGE, SIZE, ABILITY AND MATURITY BEFORE ALLOWING THEM TO RIDE. BE A RESPONSIBLE RIDER. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET, EYE PROTECTION AND PROTECTIVE CLOTHING, AND PLEASE RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT. OBEY THE LAW AND READ YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL THOROUGHLY. *1.99% Fixed APR financing available for customers who qualify for super preferred credit tier for up to 36 months through Honda Financial Services. Payment example: 36 monthly payments of $28.64 for each $1,000 financed. Offer good on all new and unregistered CRF/F models. Not all buyers may qualify. Higher rates apply for buyers with lower credit ratings. Offer ends 12/31/11. **$300 Bonus Bucks valid on 2009 & prior CRF150/230F models, $200 on 2012 CRF50/70/80/100F models and $300 on 2011 & prior CRF50/70/80/100F models. Bonus Bucks redeemable only for purchases at dealer on purchase date. No cash value. Non-transferable. Redemption value is not to exceed $300. Offer ends 12/31/11. Check with participating Honda Dealers for complete details. CRF® is a trademark of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. ©2011 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (11/11) 12-1116


DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

Page 12

Morton’s BMW Motorcycles Presents Dr. Seymour O’Life’s M YST ER IOU S AM ER IC A the hudson rIver natIonal deFense reserve Fleet Tony Lisanti The “Mothball Fleet”. Mention that term to a Rockland County resident over the age of 40 and you get an “oh yeah, I remember that”, type of response. Most folks, myself included, draw from a distant memory some grey outline of a cargo ship or two being pulled down the Hudson River in the early 1970s. If you mention National Defense Reserve Fleet, only those that are real historians or whose personal lives were directly affected by the fleet will remember. Admittedly I was very young, just 6 or 7 years old, but the image of the cargo ship being pulled down the river by a tug boat is burned firmly into my memory. A very routine ride through Rockland County up Route 9W takes you north through Haverstraw and winds through Tompkins Cove before climbing up towards Bear Mountain. The low portion of the road that parallels train tracks is only a few feet above river level at high tide. As you pass Entergy’s Indian Point generating plant on the opposite banks of the Hudson you pass a large stone with a plaque surrounded by two large anchors. The inscription on the plaque reads “This plaque commemorates the Hudson River National Defense Reserve Fleet moored at this point in the river from April 1946 to April 1971. At peak of activity 189 WWII cargo and passenger ships were anchored here. These ships, after heroic WWII service were retained here for possible further need. During the years of grain surplus they acted as floating silos. Many were called upon again to carry food, fuel and other essential supplies to aid our overseas friends and to support our armed forces abroad. They served their country well. Erected by U.S. Department of Commerce Maritime Administration. July 1971.” Having passed this monument countless times I began to think about the distant memory of the ghost ships being moored here. The vague images of the ships prompted me to do some exploring. After visiting the monument I made a short ride to the Rockland Historical Society in New City. While chatting with one of the volunteers for a while one of her colleagues produced a copy of a small booklet entitled “South of the Mountain”, a Historical Society of Rockland Publication from the spring of 1972. On the cover was a photo of the ghost fleet moored in the Hudson. Inside the booklet were two journal pages of the booklet written by a Scott Webber. His words are below: “The Hudson River National Defense Fleet established by an act of Congress in 1946, was first located off Tarrytown, one of eight anchorages in the United States to provide a sizable group of merchant ships to support the military effort at the outset of any war. When foreign nations at the outbreak of World War I had diverted their ships for wartime service, the small American Merchant Marine fleet was unable to transport even 10 per cent of normal foreign exports. Docks in major ports were stocked high with products

of American farms and factories for which no ships were available. When foreign vessels were again available, their rates were ruinous. On April 30, 1946, the Hudson River fleet was moved further north to Jones Point (at one time known as Caldwell’s Landing) at the foot of Dunderberg Mountain. Here the anchorage remained until the last two ships were towed away on July 8, 1971, to be sold for scrap to Spain. These, both World War II Liberty ships, were the Edwin M. Stanton and the Earl A. Bloomquist.” The fleet was at its peak with 189 ships in July of 1965. Anchored in ten rows, it extended from the fleet office at the Jones Point dock several miles to the south — to the Lovett Orange and Rockland Power Plant and the Boulderberg House at Tomkins Cove. Several viewing points were established along Route 9W for the hundreds of motorists who stopped daily to look at the ships. During the Korean War, a total of 130 ships were taken from the Hudson River fleet leaving only 39 ships. During the Suez crisis in 1956, 35 ships were put back into service when British and French ships were diverted from trade routes to supply their nations’ armed forces. The Vietnam War required more than 40 ships. When the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1953 needed storage space for large volumes of government-owned wheat, it turned to the Hudson River Reserve fleet. During the following ten years more than 53,563,948 bushels of wheat were loaded into 231 ships. Approximately 255,000 bushels of wheat were stored in each ship with the number of ships carrying wheat at any given time ranging from 70 to 90. The last ship was unloaded in 1963. Ships that had stored wheat rose about twelve feet higher above the water surface and exposed a bright orange band of rust. A ventilation system had been installed in the ships, making it possible to maintain the quality of the wheat for long periods of storage. This saved the U.S. government some five million dollars on commercial storage estimates. None of the grain, sold to foreign countries in the 1960’s, was found to be spoiled when unloaded. The fleet was subject to litigation filed in federal court by Mrs. Theresa Scozzafava, owner of Barney’s Restaurant at Jones Point for many years. She claimed the ships were anchored on what she called her “front lawn” because she owned up to 250 feet out into the river. She also claimed the ships obstructed her view of the river itself. Her attorney was Abraham Kopald of Kopald and Haft, Highland Falls. In her action against the U.S. Maritime Commission, which operated the fleet, Mrs. Scozzafava asked $10.00 in rental fees for using her lawn. The case was discontinued because she did not have sufficient funds but the fleet was actually moved a short distance further south. Mrs. Scozzafava died Au-


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011 gust 11, 1971, at the age of 87 years. The ships were kept in condition on a year-round basis by a crew of 86 men under the supervision of Charles R. Gindroz of Pearl River, fleet superintendent and one-time chief engineer on the George Washington, the ship which years before had carried President Woodrow Wilson to France and in 1950 burned at Baltimore. The reserve fleet ships, valued at over $255 million, had their machinery turned over periodically and their internal surfaces sprayed with a coat of preservative oil on a regular basis. Electrical equipment, such as generators and motor wiring, were cleaned and coated with a fungus-retarding varnish. All loose scale and rust were waterblasted off decks, hulls and superstructures. Then the entire outside of the ships was sprayed with a gray-tinted preservative oil. This was done at least once a year on each ship. The underwater portion of the hull was protected by means of an electric current, a method known as cathodic protection, in which the hull is made passive, preventing corrosion from taking place. In the mid-1960’s, the U.S. government was spending $735,280 each year for the preservation and maintenance of the Hudson River fleet. This included salaries of workers, who lived locally, and around-the-clock patrol of the fleet to guard against unauthorized persons entering the ships. The patrol was done by tug boats which also used to ferry workers to and from the ships each day. Other reserve fleets were anchored at Astoria, Oregon; Olympia, Washington; Suisan Bay, California; Mobile, Alabama; Beaumont, Texas; Wilmington, North Carolina; and James River, Virginia. Ships not sold for scrap from the Hudson River fleet were transferred to the James River fleet.

Page 13 While the Hudson River site was closed April 30, 1971 as far as the Maritime Commission was concerned, Mr. Gindroz and Douglas Warn, tug boat captain, remained at the site until July 8, 1971 as caretakers of the last two ships that had been sold for scrap in Spain. Their salaries during this time were paid by the ships’ owners, not the federal government. Mr. Gindroz retired to his home in Pearl River. Mr. Warn is a Fort Lee, N. J., resident. The fact that this fleet remained in the Hudson for so many years was a testament to the political climate at the time. During the transition to the Cold War, nations needed to move men and material to wage war. Many ships in the fleet were manufactured during WWII and some ships were actually built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Not all the ships were cargo vessels. Some were converted ocean liners such as the Washington that was a troop carrier during WWII and mentioned in Mr. Webber’s account. My memory of the Mothball Fleet consists of images of the ghostly shapes moored in the Hudson. They become clearer when you consider that millions of men were transported to Europe for the Normandy Invasion from Camp Shanks located just a few miles south in Orangeburg, NY. The troops were marched or trucked to the Piermont pier, loaded on ships and sent off the war. Many, of course never returned. The memorial on 9W commemorates the fleet and it’s use but the symbol goes much deeper. Just goes to show how a routine ride in your own backyard can really make you think and change perception. Refs: [1] [back] Adapted from an article in “South of the Mountains”, the journal of the Rockland County Historical Society, Vol 16, No. 2, April-June 1972, by Scott Webber” Photos courtesy of Westchester County Archives.


DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

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TH OUGHTS FROM THE ROAD the long dIstance motorcycle rIder Whether it’s the rumbling heartbeat of a Harley Davidson that stirs the soul, or the quiet smooth hum of a European bike that calms it, riding the highways offers an almost sure adventure every time out but is not necessarily for the faint of heart. This describes me and many others like me who call themselves “Long Distance Motorcycle Riders”. Bike selection was my most important decision when considering my future as a long distance motorcycle rider. I selected my bike based on an emotional connection that I felt when I first saw it. The style and color of the bike, the chrome and sleek detail of the body along with the way the bike stands as it waits for a rider, this is what lured me. When I sat on the bike for the first time and felt the way it conformed to my body and then as I first started it and heard the sound of the engine, this is when the real connection took place. It was then that I knew that this was the bike for me. I think of my bike somewhat as an extension of my personality and a small look into the peace of my soul. When I am riding I can feel its pulse and we are one. I feel my bike requires the need for my friendship and I accept it without hesitation knowing that we are mates during the long hours when rider and bike roll to the curves of the road.

John Hund While riding, I find I have nothing but time. Some of this time I use to think about practical things like the condition of my bike, whether it is running right, whether the tires are good, whether it needs gas or oil or whether anything is going wrong. When I get enough assurance that all those practical thoughts have been addressed, I slip into what I call my “Void Thinking” time. It’s when my mind slows down, and relaxes into a state that almost feels like a trance. As a biker, that’s when I’m really at peace. These are the times when I can really notice and appreciate my surroundings. This is when I expect to see and smell or even feel what’s around me. This is when something cool is about to happen. I believe that being in this state of mind is when I really can focus on the wonders of my surroundings. This is when I am able to see what I normally would not be able to see. I am like a kid when it comes to the anticipation of what I might experience next. Relaxing my mind enables me to reach this state of consciousness where I am ready for the unexpected. I always expect something incredible to happen but I never know exactly what or when, but what I do know is that I always want more. There are endless stories a biker can tell of their experiences on the road. I can tell you that I have been on a road in the middle of a state and could see a storm in the distance so large that it appeared to encompass the entire

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southern border and I appeared to be heading directly into it. The rain was so visible in the distance as it hammered the ground while accompanied by lighting and thunder so viscous that it would certainly make a rider think about continuing in that direction. I have seen entire crops devastated by hail storms that came through so quickly it was a shame to see the whole year of the farmer’s work gone in a brief moment of time. The animal kingdom has played her part in my sightings as well. I have witnessed the brief thrill of seeing a most magnificent bald eagle as it dove into a river to get a meal, reminding me how lucky I was to have been selected a witness to her wonders. There are so many types of wildlife that I have come across and can only capture the picture in my head as they only happen for a brief moment. I have experienced the extreme weather variances between riding over mountain passes where the temperatures drop so low that I can’t put enough clothes on to keep warm, to the heat of the long desert road in the middle of summer where I can’t do enough to keep the heat from beating on my body and to every other type of weather condition in between. I will also share that to smell the pine scent and the freshness of the mountain air while riding through the forests or the mustiness of the morning dew off the hayfields from the vast farmlands are smells that have stayed with me and are very distinct while riding a bike. These experiences are only a few of what lures the long distance rider into wanting more. Not everyone is able to handle the adversities that often confront riders. Strong winds are almost always a part of a long ride at some point and some are so strong it takes all my strength and concentration to keep the bike on the road. Rain, hale, cold, hot, rough roads and even roads that are so covered with Mormon Crickets, (as they were in Idaho during a migration), that they have signs warning drivers of the slippery roads ahead. These things and more like them are all part of adversities that might be encountered on a ride. The passionate rider will be mentally ready to overcome the elements and what started out as anxiety soon becomes experience and the experience then becomes the thrill and the thrill is why I ride. I like to say that it is the adversities that make the best conversations at the end of the day when the stories are told over a cold beer and a hot meal. I don’t think it really matters where and when I ride, nature will always be willing to offer her wonders and I will always be willing to experience them. I am finding out that the more I ride and the more places I explore, the more variety of experiences I will get to witness. To me it is never about getting to the final destination as much as it is about what happens along the way. My advice is to stay off the interstates and stick to the highways. This will offer a greater chance of experiencing something incredible and different. I guess everyone has reasons for riding. For me it’s a state of mind. Riding is an addiction and I need the fix to feed the addiction. Each rider, in their own state of mind, may see the same thing on the same road at the same time but it will affect them in a different way and what they remember about it will most likely be totally different from what someone else remembers. Being able to enjoy the experience and compare it with the others, tells me that we are all different in what we want and need out of life and our ride. My time on my bike becomes meaningful in that it confirms what I have always felt about my life. I believe that we can exist in our everyday lives but we can really live when we are riding.

ings, etc. would be just a check box away, and the when your bike is shipped how cool would it be to go pick it up at the dealer, with every detail executed just like you want it? I want to make it clear at this point that my X-Bike (or Jeevesmobile) is not meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution in the least. I just think the basic engine/chassis/drivetrain designs are becoming so versatile that we could use them as our starting point for whatever we want, and lower production cost while getting a bike tailored to our needs and desires.

Free Wheelin’

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To quote this bulletin, “Fostering and selling open mufflers, ‘megaphone’ and other noise making devices will eventually hurt your business.” Duh… It follows with “Think it over and join the crusade of the American Motorcycle Association for full muffler equipment at all times.” Too bad the AMA, although “officially” saying it was against loud pies, kept fairly quiet on that for a long time along with their vague stand on freedom of choice when it comes to wearing helmets for fear of losing a few riding groups. The Loud Pipes Risk Rights sticker campaign was back in 1999. Hopefully the new regime has a clearer head on the noise issue and will make their own racket about it. With that said I say join the AMA today!

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brakes or basic instrumentation. Why? Because I believe great brakes and concise, clear instruments and controls work on everything. Wheel and tire sizes are also become more standardized, with the biggest difference being construction (especially in terms of load capacity) and tread design as variables. Finally, factory installed goodies from heated grips to cruise control, racks, fair-

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BACKLASH

Letters to the Editor

Fall Fiesta 2011 Hi Brian and Shira, I hope that you are both doing well! I really enjoyed the Fall Fiesta ride. Beforehand I was a little hesitant about joining the ride, since I did not know anyone, but was very glad I did. I met a lot of really nice people and had a great time. The scenery was fantastic and the ambience of the places we stayed (especially the Gray Ghost Inn) really added to the whole experience. Thanks very much for organizing the ride. It was a pleasure meeting you. I look forward to a future ride with you. Cheers, Darcy Brian, It was great seeing you, Shira and friends in Sturbridge. We took the fast way home but still had a good ride. One exception was that at ~75 mph on Route 88 my Zumo 550 fell out of the Garmin mount, hit my knee and disappeared into the median strip. I quickly stopped on the left berm, walked back and found it lying face up in the grass and water filled ditch between N and S lanes of 88. It was bruised on all four corners but after cleaning out the grass and debris and drying it off, all functions worked normally. Since we had recently stopped for gas and food I assume that I had covered the GPS with my helmet and loosened the clamp that holds the GPS in the mount

when I removed the helmet. I now tighten the tiny screw that locks the clamp in place. Best regards Ron & Terry Minor Hi Shira & Brian, Just a note to thank you for bringing folks by on Saturday, Oct. 1. You helped make a usually slow weekend quite busy and successful. Looking forward to seeing you again. We’ll definitely stay in touch about the new location. Thanks again, Frank - Cha Cha Hut BBQ Hi Shira and Brian, I just wanted to thank you for the extra magazines now I can show all my friends how cool Backroads is. I can’t believe I won the hot dog run. I had a lot of fun and can’t wait for next year. Hope to ride with you soon. Courtney Mosca

High Alps Tour Dear Backroads, Just got my November issue yesterday. Really nice article on our Alpine tour. I read it aloud to Gail after dinner and it was like reliving the trip. Great stuff. We are looking forward to more memorable Backroads trips. Hoping all is well with you. Graham

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Dear Shira and Brian, I just received the copies you sent me for your beautiful article about the Backroads High Alpine tour. I think this is one of the best touring articles I have read for a long, long time and thank you for this detailed report about the trip. I think this will inspire many other riders to take a tour in the Alps. I especially liked the feedback section at the end of the article with letters from the tour participants – this is a great addition! So, we probably should talk about another tour somewhere on this planet and am sure it would be a great success too! All the best, Karin Gritsch - Edelweiss Bike Travel

Here Comes the ACE Brian, Just to provide a little history about how the idea of opening an Ace Cafe in the U.S. came about... I learned about the Ace from a friend that had visited the London location. After doing some research about the business, I began a dialogue with Mark Wilsmore, the gentleman that “re-opened” the Ace ten years ago. We spent many hours talking about his vision plus trips back and forth between London and the U.S. Mark had been getting requests from his American customers/visitors for ten years to open an Ace in the states and was eager to do so with the right group. Last September we put an agreement together to open an Ace Cafe here in the states. Our intention is to be as true to the original spirit and essence of the Ace Cafe as we can be. The original Ace can never be duplicated but we feel that the same passion for “petrol and speed” (as Mark Wilsmore puts it) exists here in the U.S. We are sensitive to the perception of being seen as a “chain” restaurant. We don’t have intentions of opening an Ace on every corner like an Applebee’s. We plan to create a destination location that will be motorcycle and car (Continued on Page 18)


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

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INDUSTRY INFOBITES

News from the Inside

PROGRESSIVE® INTERNATIONAL MOTORCYCLE SHOWS® ROLLS INTO JACOB J. JAVITS CONVENTION CENTER JANUARY 20-22 The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows cruises into the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center with the hottest new two-wheeled rides. This motorcycle extravaganza is the place to see the newest model sportbikes, dirt bikes, cruisers, scooters, customs, ATVs, aftermarket parts and accessories and more all under one roof. New model lineups and representatives from several manufacturers including BRP, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Star, Triumph, Yamaha, Beta, Darwin Motorcycles, KTM, MV Agusta, Norton and more will be on site to answer questions and provide information on the latest motorcycles, products and education. From new riders and hard core enthusiasts to women riders and motorcycle fans who aspire to ride, the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows is the place for people who love motorcycles to immerse themselves in bike culture, talk to experts, learn new riding techniques and more. In addition to hundreds of the latest bikes, the show will pack in high-energy entertainment including a thrilling motorcycle trials stunt show from The Smage Bros; an exotics pavilion featuring rare, high-end motorcycles; eye-popping customs at the world’s largest custom bike competition; digital graffiti walls to design a custom Kawasaki bike; a Women Ride Center featuring apparel, gear and bikes for women; and more. Hours for the show are: Friday, January 20, 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday, January 21, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday, January 22, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street, New York. Advance tickets are available at www.motorcycleshows.com. Save an extra $2 when you purchase your ticket online by using the promo code SAVES2.

HOUSTON, WE DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM ANYMORE . . . You can’t make this stuff up. Rickey D. Holtsclaw, a Houston, Texas police officer for almost thirty-two years, was recently forced to retire because of his insistence on enforcing ordinances restricting obnoxious motorcycle noise. Officer Holtsclaw faced pressure within the Houston police depart-

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ment and from pro-noise motorcyclists to stop enforcing the law. Officer Holtsclaw received little or no support from elected officials in Houston. Holtsclaw decided to start issuing tickets to what he perceived as “loud motorcycles”. After a few months of writing tickets he caught the attention of his commanding Patrol Sergeant who ordered him to cease issuing those kinds of tickets. He explained that the law is so vague that it is unenforceable. However, Holtsclaw broke orders and continued on his mission to silence Houston. According to Holtsclaw it was the upper levels of the Houston Police Department, Mayor Annise Parker, Houston’s City Council, and Houston’s Legal Department that forced him into retirement. Enjoy your freedom while it lasts Houston, because you know for every one like this guy there is another around the corner just waiting. The MRF does not advocate the breaking of any law. They do, however, oppose blatant motorcyclist discrimination like this.

LENO’S PRE-RIDE JOKE TURNS PROPHETIC Jay Leno makes his living making others laugh. But, at the end of the 2011 Love Ride nobody was laughing, least of all Jay Leno. A male motorcyclist and his female passenger died after hitting a big-rig truck on the northbound Golden State Freeway at Branford Street near Pacoima. The two, believed to be in their 40s, were pronounced dead at the scene. Prior to the start, Leno, who was acting as the Grand Marshall of the parade, made a tongue in cheek reference to the event’s impressive safety record. “Every year, [the organizer] says, ‘Drive safe.” “I’m gonna say, ‘Don’t drive safe.’ I wanna see somebody go down. So it’ll be fun. I want it to be in front or behind me and see a whole row of bikes go down. Get drunk, fall off the road. We’ve all become too damn polite…we haven’t had one incident.” According to a report in the Los Angeles Daily News, Leno helped an unnamed motorcyclist who wrecked and accompanied him to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. The hospital did not release the name of the injured motorcyclist or his condition. * UPDATED According to Mo-

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Page 18 torcycleusa.com, the injured man was Tom Kershaw, an associate of Leno, and was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Founded in 1984 by Oliver Shokouh, owner of Glendale Harley-Davidson, the Love Ride benefits Autism Speaks, a New York-based autism research and advocacy group. Jay Leno nor his publicist, Dick Guttman was immediately available for comment and the comedian has not issued a statement regarding his pre-ride joke or the accident.

MYTHBUSTERS? NOT REALLY. . . Recently the Discovery Channel’s popular program MythBusters tried to determine if a motorcycle is “better” for the environment than a car. If you are not familiar with the program, it’s a cable reality show that takes on different challenges each week, such as “Can an airplane made of duct tape fly?” or “Will a bullet explode an RPG if they hit each other mid air?” and so on. The hosts ran a number of somewhat scientific tests on a few motorcycles to measure single vehicle emissions. The show determined that, “At best, it’s a wash; motorcycles are just as bad for the environment as cars. At worst, they are far worse.” When tested side by side, a motorcycle will give off more of some gasses in the exhaust than a car of the same year. But that’s to be expected. As engines get smaller, it becomes more and more difficult to use a catalytic convertor to catch all the gasses. So it becomes an engineering and usability

issue to catch all of the gasses a car can. However, when it comes to CO2 emissions, motorcycles emit a fraction of what cars are accountable for. It should be noted that CO2 emission levels are largely what drive climate change legislation. Another factor that the MythBusters failed to account for was the population size. Motorcycles make up less than three percent of the vehicles on the road today. Such a small percentage of all total vehicles cannot be singled out as the lone problem. That’s not to mention all of the other factors that make motorcycles more environmentally sound, such as smaller battery, longer life of vehicle, less raw materials to construct, less oil needed, and of course, less fuel to operate. Also keep in mind how motorcycles reduce congestion and do not contribute to gridlock. Add all those factors up and motorcycles are far better for the environment than any car. So for those of you out there who want to “go green,” the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) suggests that you simply ride your motorcycle.

Backlash

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friendly with related small and large events taking place every day. We will promote local clubs and get-togethers, bring in authorities on subjects related to bikes and cars. We will provide a venue for like-minded enthusiasts. Our food will be terrific and reasonably priced, we want folks to frequent the Ace and not just come in on a special occasion (like most themed restaurants). I hope this gives you some feel for what we are trying to accomplish here in the U.S. I invite you to visit us once we get opened (the coffee is on me!). Feel free to call me at anytime as well with any questions. Thanks for your interest. Mark McKee - Ace Café

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Dear Editor, I finished reading Mark Byers’s article “Celluloid Cycles”. Mark, thanks for not going into every motorcycle movie ever produced. I’m pretty much in agreement with everything you said especially the opening line of “We want a great motorcycling movie. We NEED one.” I might modify it from movie to TV show. What we’re missing is a show about a motorcyclist. What I don’t want is a show about a chef running around the country looking for food, or a movie about a bunch of 50 something guys riding cross country. How about a TV show about a rider who formerly worked on Wall Street and left for any number of reasons perhaps burn out or stress? I’m surprised no one has tried to reprise the show “Then Came Bronson” starring Michael Parks. Come on TBS, Spike TV, ABC/CBS/NBC. The timing for a show like this is perfect! The financial world is in turmoil. “Occupy Wall Street” protest going on. We’re 10 years past 911. Wall Street is prime as a catalyst for stories with recent issues of drama, loss, stupidity, greed and death and the world’s attention has been focused on those small bumpy roads in lower Manhattan for some time now. Motorcycle shows like Tuetule’s family feud, and Cafe Racer still in production have completely missed the mark (Mark sorry about the pun). Choppers and cafe racers have their place in the world of motorcycling, but they’re not mainstream. By design choppers and cafe racers are not suppose to be mainstream. Cross country riding isn’t exactly mainstream either but is certainly closer to main street. So come on you broadcasters. “We want a great motorcycling movie. We NEED one.” I’d settle for a TV show of responsible motorcyclist. Charlie Green But there was one short shining moment with our friend Neale Bayley www.trippinontwowheelstv.com/


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

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BIG CIT Y G ETAWAY FIrst rIde • dale’s chIlly chIlI run Words: Brian Rathjen • images: Joan Papuzynski When the ball drops in Times Square each December 31 most of us are eagerly looking forward to that first ride of the year. For some in the northeast that may still be a few months away. But, up where we call home, in northwest New Jersey there has been an annual tradition that gets the year off right. It’s called the Dale’s Chilly Chili Run and it’s put on for the last 37 years by our local Blue Knights IX chapter. Now there are a number of Blue Knight chapters around the United States, but New Jersey Blue Knights IX raises more money for charitable causes than any other AMA club in the nation. For their untiring efforts in helping their community, they were presented with the Backroads’ Lifetime Achievement in Motorcycling Excellence award at this year’s Make-A-Wish ride in October, yet another wonderful event they host. The week leading up to New Years 2011 saw a monster of a storm come up the coast, burying it under several feet of snow. Fortunately for northwest New Jersey we only got a dusting of about 8 inches and by the eve of 2011 the roads were mostly clear and predicted temperatures were to reach near 50. 50!? How could one stay away from this gift of the Weather Gods! By the time I arrived at the Odgensburg Firehouse the lot was already full and more machines came piling in behind me. Although not their biggest turn out, the Blue Knights brought in nearly 250 bikes, plus a number of folks

daytrip ideas to get out of the daily grind that drove there cars and trucks over to start the New Year off by doing something for somebody else; that somebody else being the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, in nearby Newton, New Jersey. This event also gives many local riders a chance just to kick tires, talk bikes and simply catch up. I know I ran into friends and acquaintances as soon as I took of my Nolan helmet. The police escorted ride was to start at precisely 11am and at said time 210 machines began the slow roll out of the snow-rimmed parking lot.

Now, I know many of you might be saying, “Hey, Brian… I thought you weren’t into big escorted ride?” You’re right. I’m not. But, every now and again, especially when it comes to Blue Knights IX, I will just shut up and ride. Besides I whimpered my way into the front of the pack reminding some how I once, years back, rode my BMW R1150GS over the rear of a crashed Harley on this same ride – with Shira on the back! Up front worked for me. Many times these affairs can be a bit humdrum, but this route, created by Keith Hyche and Nick Irons (both Backroads rally alumni by the way), really

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Page 20 came through and with the first sun of the new year shining down and the feel of my bike beneath me I was having a good time. Exactly one hour and twelve minutes later we all rolled back to the Odgensburg Firehouse for the first meal of the season, Hot Dogs and Chili. So much for about 300 folks resolutions, I tell ya! Rides like this, especially at odd times of the year, are an excellent way to keep on the road when you might normally be looking for something stupid on television – like football or the Twilight Zone marathon. Big City Getaway has always been about getting out and riding someplace interesting. This day it was simply getting out to ride that was interesting. It did help that everyone there was in excellent, if maybe a bit tired, spirits; but with the great weather, good times and worthy charity it was all worth it. What did you do on New Years Day? The Blue Knights IX raised $5,900.00 for the Hospice that morning. Why not join them this New Year’s Day for a great annual tradition and a wonderful way to start the year; helping those who cannot help themselves or are less fortunate. It makes a heart feel good. Last year’s route was exceptional and if you live in this part of New Jersey or are just passing through dial in the Rip & Ride, graciously brought to us by the Blue Knights and enjoy. It covers a seriously good part of Sussex County and highlights some of the better pieces of pavement to be found in our home region; and you get to do it without all that Law Enforcement around. Join the Blue Knights and hundreds of other New Year’s Day do-gooders this year at the Ogdensburg Firehouse. Ride leaves at 11AM sharp. Return to the Firehouse for hot dogs, chili, 50/50, bike raffle drawing and some good old-fashion tire-kicking. Plenty of time to watch football when you get home.

DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

Rip & Ride® A WARM TOUR OF SUSSEX COUNTY FROM A COOL DAY COURTESY NJ BLUE KNIGHTS IX

STARTING FROM OGDENSBURG FIREHOUSE RIGHT FROM FIREHOUSE LEFT AT EDISON AVE/RD LEFT AT GLEN RD. LEFT AT HOLLAND MOUNTAIN RD. RIGHT AT RTE. 23 SOUTH BEAR RIGHT TO CR 515 – CROSS RTE. 23 STRAIGHT CR 515 RTE. 94 LEFT AT CR 644 VERNON CROSSING RD. LEFT AT STOP CR 517 SOUTH RIGHT AT CR 517 SOUTH STRAIGHT AT RTE. 94 SOUTH LEFT AT NORTH CHURCH RD. RIGHT AT CR 631 BEAR RIGHT TO CORK HILL ROAD – BEFORE FALLS LEFT AT PASSAIC ST. LEFT AT MAIN STREET NOW KEEP ON EXPLORING THERE ARE MILES OF GREAT SUSSEX COUNTY ROADS TO BE RIDDEN THIS DAY.

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BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

Page 21

Bergen County Harley-Davidson Presents

W E’R E OUTTA HERE

a weekend destination keeping you on the backroads

the caBoose motel 60483 rte. 415, avoca, ny 14809 607-566-2216 • WWW.caBoosemotel.net America has a love affair with trains. For years they were the main source of commerce and public transportation around the entire nation. These days America has mostly gone to other forms of getting around, thankfully motorcycles being a big one for many of us; but still seeing a good size train rumble by is always fun. And, for some strange reason, the final car, the caboose, is always a favorite. There are conflicting versions of how the caboose got its name and where the word was first used. One popular story points to a Dutch derivation of the word “kabuis,” meaning a little room or hut. The English word “caboose” was first used as a nautical term for a ship’s galley. However it got its moniker these little homes on rails are always a crowd pleaser. Along Route 415, in the western part of New York’s Finger Lakes, you will find the tiny burg of Avoca. At one time this road was a main road through the region but times and bigger roads have ended its heyday. Back in 1986 the owner of a small motel decided he needed something different to attract customers and the idea for the Caboose Motel was born. He purchased five 1916 N5 cabooses at an auction and had them brought north to Wayland, New York where they were carried by truck to Avoca. Then began the long and difficult process renovating these cabooses into modern motel rooms, for they were at least seventy years old, and they had been working units on America’s railway system. They were very careful to preserve the architecture, but also made an effort to provide all of the modern comforts of a conventional motel room.

Rip & Ride® • THE CABOOSE MOTEL 60483 RTE. 415, AVOCA, NY 14809 607-566-2216 * WWW.CABOOSEMOTEL.NET

START WITH A BITE AT CEDAR RAPIDS ON RTE. 97 CONTINUE ON RTE. 97 BEAR LEFT ONTO RTE. 52 INTO NARROWSBURG FIRST RIGHT OVER BRIDGE ONTO RIVER ROAD STAY ALONG THIS ROAD TOWARDS DAMASCUS LEFT AT RTE. 371 RIGHT AT RTE. 171 CROSS BRIDGE IN SUSQUEHANA RIGHT AT RTE. 92 THIS ROAD BECOMES RTE. 79 IN NEW YORK STAY ON RTE. 79 THROUGH ITHACA STRAIGHT AT RTE. 414 SENECA LAKE RIGHT AT RTE. 14 LEFT AT RTE. 28 BEAR LEFT AT RTE. 23 MUD LAKE RD. LEFT AT RTE. 24 RIGHT AT RTE. 16 RIGHT AT RTE. 415 TO BATH CONTINUE 7 MILES OUT OF TOWN TO CABOOSE MOTEL


DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

Page 22

The cabooses arrived in rough condition. There was a buildup of seventy years of dirt, smoke, and grease that had accumulated on the interior of the cabooses. In order to even begin the real work of restoration, all of the grime had to be removed. There was no easy solution to cleaning up the cabooses - it required simple elbow grease and a lot of effort. Today all the cabooses are equipped with a shower, bathroom, seating, cable TV, telephone, two upper berths (original sleepers), one single and one double bed for lower berths. Four of the cabooses will sleep five people and one will sleep six. There are even logbooks in each caboose that can be written in by travelers. What we really got a kick out of were the volume-controlled speakers that emulate train sounds for a little ambiance. Yep, turn that on and make believe you are on your way to the Big Rock Candy Mountain. Each unit has controls for its own A/C and heat and we found the caboose to be more than comfortable and a real blast to stay in. The Caboose Motel has a number of conventional rooms as well and a large picnic area with gas grills and they happily encourage riding groups to make this a home base for some serious exploring of the Finger Lakes regions as well as Pennsylvania right to the south. The Caboose cost us around $90 for the night, a fair price in our books and the entire night was an experience we’ll remember for a long time. So, if you and your riding buddies are looking for something interesting and a bit different spin on up to Avoca, New York and take over the Caboose Motel. We promise you it will be something you and your friends will remember for along time.

Looking for a quick getaway? Perhaps a new place for a bite to eat? Why not check our Moto-Inn Listing for some great motorcycle-friendly suggestions. www.backroadsusa.com/moto-innlistings.html


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DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

Page 26

Welcome to the Jungle - The Art of Learning to Ride Skillfully A column dedicated to your riding survival hoW to get out oF a sPeedIng tIcket Victor Cruz There’s nothing I hate more than seeing flashing blue lights in my rearview. The sight of your own criminal alert makes you want to hit yourself for not springing $700 for that jammer, or fantasize about giving chase; that is, if you could magically launch yourself into jet speed on demand. Has anyone ever escaped the flashing lights? Well, actually, one time I did. I had the benefit of distance and the cover-up of a hill behind me to hide the sudden right turn taken into a side street. It was foolish and I won’t try that again. Since that happened in a car, it doesn’t count for our purposes here. One time on a Ducati, very much aware of my speed, I entered an interstate and faced a cluster of cars. Not wanting to be caged in, I bolted out of harm’s way. The bike hit 90 mph when I dialed it back down to normal. Unfortunately a cruiser was behind me. I should’ve explained what I was trying to do; that I accelerated only long enough to escape an entrapment of cars. That’s a good reason; it has a high believability factor. That’s what I should’ve said. But I said nothing, especially not after seeing two 6’3” officers step out with hands on the butt of their holsters. Two officers, no matter their size, getting out of the cruiser will severely undermine your chance of ticket avoidance. It will always be that way. One officer, you got a chance. Two buds, forget about it. Two buds equal four cheeks of hardness. One will never back down for fear of showing weakness to his sidekick. I didn’t even attempt it. In this case, I ended up paying a lawyer $500 to make the ticket “disappear.” Yes, there are dime-store attorneys out there who will gladly part with your money for this valuable, antiinsurance jacking service. A friend of mine, an Iron Butt member who rode the last 11,000 mile event in 11 days, never pays ticket fines. He just pays

lawyers who traffic in traffic violations. Every time you get pulled over you learn a valuable lesson. After narrowly avoiding as many as seven (7) speeding tickets over the last 10 years in the states of CA, MA, ME, MI, NH and OH, I realized that maybe there’s something useful to share with fellow motorcyclists. There is a way, and it’s all about honey and honesty. Looking back, I see evidence of five strategic ways to attempt dodging the paper bullet. 1) smile. Until the cows come home. Literally. The tiny town of Dover (pop. 4k) is only 12 miles from Boston but you can ride past horse farms and cows grazing. It was in front of that herd when I got pulled over. It was a beautiful day. I was feeling elated, and I showed it by first saying, “Hard to believe you can see cows so close to Boston!” I was feeling good, this particular road was a favorite among bikers. I unloaded the full roar of these feelings on the officer. I pretended like nothing was out of the ordinary. “You realize this is a 25 mph zone,” he said. “Yes officer,” I admitted, still smiling. “What a beautiful neighborhood this is, isn’t it?,” I added, defusing the tension while scanning the $3.79 million property. He didn’t even ask for license & registration, typically the very first thing they say. “Slow down, I don’t want to see you get hurt.” 2) license & reg at the ready. In a car, keep your hands on the wheel when the cop approaches. On a bike, take off your helmet, but stay on your bike. Police are nervous critters when they leave the assumed protection of their cruisers. Get the first words in: “Good day, Officer. What a great day, isn’t it? I need to remove my seat to get my registration.” With this line, you are asking the officer for permission to get off the bike. You are also – and this is big — saving him the trouble of his asking you for these papers. You show the officer respect, that you know the drill, which generates respect in

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BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

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your favor. Immediately hand over both license & registration. Don’t be a wiseass by feigning disbelief: “Why you stopping me for!?!” This is the fool’s way, and this will definitely get you wallpapered. Be Courteous, Respectful, Kind. Think about it. Most people treat cops like evil incarnate. Most people get defensive, immediately setting up a combative, adversarial relationship that will guarantee you a fat ticket. Police deal with deadbeats, losers, misfits, wife-beaters, felons and Rambo riff-raff all day long. Take the 360-degree opposite approach. Formally address the man or woman with “Yes, Officer” every time you speak. See a name tag? Use it. 3) don’t deny. Accept it. Take your lumps. The police are always right. To street fight them is a losing battle. Don’t even attempt it. They got you on radar. Don’t pick an argument. (Save it for the judge.) Admit your wrongdoing. Police will respect your honesty; in fact, they will be shocked by it; this never happens on a daily basis. Police respect a person’s willingness to accept responsibility. These are law & order guys, after all. Cool off, swim with the current. 4) admit. I once got off by actually admitting that I had a drink. “Yes Officer, one beer about two hours ago.” Police will admire your honesty. This question is always asked, “Were you aware of your speed?” Say: “Yes. My trusty GPS gives me an exact reading.” And then explain what happened. You accelerated to get around a left-turning car. It was temporary. You felt you were being tailgated, that it scared you to death, that you had to quickly add a cushion of space between your bike and the front hood of a senior citizen. Note the use of “safety first” tactics. If the above fails, you can just pay the fine or appear in court. Fight the power. Your ticket should have a court date on it. You don’t need a lawyer for a speeding ticket violation. You’ll have more time to explain yourself in front of the judge. Dress to impress. No T-shirt of fanged dragons on fire. No skull & crossbones leather vest. Leave your hick pride at home. Show respect. Police are incentivized to appear in court; they get a bonus for doing so. But if Officer Krupke fails to show up on your assigned court date, you’re typically left off the hook. If it’s your first offense, and you address the judge with “Yes, Your Honor,” you got better than a 75% chance of getting off. Being a police officer is the fourth most deadliest job in America. The first three are fishermen, firefighters and airline pilots. People shoot at you. Junkies with HIV want to infect you. People hate you on sight. Put yourself in their boots. “What a great day!” I said to the young officer. “Not so great,” was his reply, since he was ready to slap me with a stiff penalty. You must do everything you can to lighten the mood, to dampen the officer’s natural adrenalin response with the aim of

slowing down his heart rate, and yours. Using the most powerful weapon I had, namely human kindness, by the end of our ‘meeting’ he was telling me about this great road to take. He volunteered that he was getting off at 3:00 and planning a ride of his own. Cops have some level of sympathy for fellow motorcyclists. We kind of dress like them. (Especially 50+ year-old riders in ATGATT.) My ex-wife could cry hysterically on cue. That was her pass to ticket avoidance. For guys, this is much harder to pull off because by nature we have less prolactin to roll crocodile tears. No mercy is shown for loud angry uncooperative lying offensive jerks: any one of these defensive traits will surely nail you, plus additional fines heaped on for badly worn tires, loud pipes or broken tail-light. Better to show off your pearly whites, and you’ll be thanking him for the light warning he gives you. Thank you, Officer, thank you.

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BMW GEAR. WITHOUT IT, YOU MIGHT AS WELL BE NAKED.

BMW Riders Gear is available at these BMW Motorcycle dealers in our area Connecticut

New Jersey

Gengras BMW Motorcycles 221 Governor St, East Hartford, CT 866-318-8862 • gengrasbmw.com

Bergen County BMW Motorcycles 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ 201-843-6930 bergenbmwmotorcycles.com

Max BMW Motorcycles 465 Federal Rd, Brookfield, CT 203-740-1270 maxbmwmotorcycles.com

Maryland Battley Cycles 7830 Airpark Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 301-948-4581 • battley.com Bob’s BMW 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD 800-269-2627 • bobsbmw.com

Massachusetts BMW of Cambridge 1098 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 781-648-1300 bmwofcambridge.com Wagner BMW Motorcycles of Worcester 700 Plantation St, Worcester, MA 508-854-1377 • wagnermotorsport.com

New Hampshire

Cross Country BMW 875 Middlesex Ave, Metuchen, NJ 732-635-0094 • ccbmw.com

New York BMW of Manhattan 555 W 57th St, New York, NY 212-373-7863 • bmwcyclesnyc.com Country Rode Motowerks 286 Macedon Center Rd, Fairport, NY 585-421-0480 • countryrode.com Gold Coast Motorsports 2070 Jericho Tpke, New Hyde Park, NY 516-352-7474 goldcoast-motorsports.com Max BMW Motorcycles 845 Hoosick Rd, Brunswick, NY 518-279-3040 maxbmwmotorcycles.com

Kissell MotorSports, Inc. 101 Hawbaker Ind. Dr, State College, PA 814-861-7890 kissellmotorsports.com Montgomeryville Cycle Center 2901 Bethlehem Pike, Hatfield, PA 215-712-7433 montgomeryvillecc.com Two Jacks Cycle & Powersports 1019 N Washington St, Wilkes Barre, PA 570-824-2453 • twojacks.com Velocity Cycles 6653 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg, PA 717-766-2523 • velocitycycle.net

Vermont Frank’s Motorcycle Sales & Service 120 Center Rd/Route 15, Essex, VT 802-878-3930 franksmotorcyclesales.com

Virginia Morton’s BMW Motorcycles 5099A Jefferson Davis Hwy Fredericksburg, VA 540-891-9844 • mortonsbmw.com

Pennsylvania

Max BMW Motorcycles 209 Lafayette Rd, North Hampton, NH 603-964-2877 maxbmwmotorcycles.com

European Motorcycles of Pittsburgh 10269 Perry Hwy, Wexford, PA 724-934-4269 • bmwpgh.com

Second Wind BMW 25 Craftsman Ln, Merrimack, NH 603-598-2697 • secondwindbmw.com

Hermy’s BMW Route 61, Port Clinton, PA 610-562-7303 • hermys.com

Go to www.bmwmotorcycles.com for more on BMW Riders Gear and our dealer network


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

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Brian’s Little Christmas List

it’s…

Things I would love to have on the road….

Backroads’ Holiday Gift Guide

…again

Well, if Santa actually thought I was a good kid I might get some of these goodies.

POV from V.I.O. This has to be the best HD video camera on the market these days. One look at this camera and you know it is a serious piece of equipment. Not only can you hard wire it to your bike’s electrical system but it also comes with the most complete mounting hardware we have ever seen. Once set up it can run a constant loop of video – say every 30 seconds; so if you run into some beautiful roadway you can start your recording from the previous 30 seconds. This would also come in handy for the occasional Big Red Eye or UFO sightings. If Santa stuck this in my stocking I would have the


Page 32 POV permanently mounted to my GS in no time. I feel he will come through and we’ll have a total review of this camera in a few months. $599.95 from www.vio-pov.com.

PlugBug from Twelve South These days more Americans have iPhones and iPads than have US Passports. With so many of these electronic gadgets from the late Mr. Jobs traveling around these days it would go without saying that you will find many of them on the road with us while touring or even simple day trips. I know when I am on the road I have both my Apple laptop and my iPhone. Till now I needed a charge for each if I wanted to power them up at the hotel room, but with the release of the PlugBug from Twelve South that has changed. This one accessory lets you charge two devices at once. PlugBug is made exclusively for all MacBook Power Adapters, including current and previous models. Just snap PlugBug onto your MacBook Power Adapter and you now have the first ever device that lets you charge your MacBook + iPad or iPhone simultaneously, from one wall outlet. The beautifully designed, bright red PlugBug packs a powerful 10 watts, providing the fastest charge possible to iPad and iPhone. Knowing iPad requires twice the power of a typical USB charger, the 10 watt PlugBug becomes a must-have Mac accessory.

DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS You can finally purge that tangled mess of chargers in your computer bag. Even better, as long as you have PlugBug in your bag, you never have to worry about forgetting a charger again. And, powering up with PlugBug beats using a $2,500 MacBook Pro as an iPhone charger. Like the tee-shirt says ‘Life is good’ The PlugBug has now become a staple in my Bag of Tricks while on the road. The PlugBug sells for $34.99 and you can buy it at www.twelvesouth.com.

Shorai Battery When was the last time you held your battery? Friggin’ heavy isn’t it? Well heavy lead-filled batteries are a thing of the past with these new offerings from Shorai. Available for just about any machine these batteries are

nearly 75% lighter than old-style batteries and pack a big wallop of juice as well. Log onto www.shoraipower.com for model applications and pricing.


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

Page 33

Bill’s Brilliant Buys for Christmas Otterbox Defender

Shira’s Smashing Surprises for Christmas Stop N Go Pilot Kit

Most of us have our phones with us all the time now, and it seems the smarter your phone the less it tolerates abuse in the field. Otterbox makes a family of brilliant, tough cases designed for a variety of mobile devices, and their Defender for the iPhone ($49.95) that I use slides easily into any of my riding jackets yet offers generous protection and full functionality. www.otterbox.com

AeroLightweight Portable Bag Leave it to the wizards at Aerostich to come up with a brilliant reusable shopping bag tailored for motorcycle use. The LP Bag can be worn as a backpack as well as put in a saddlebag, and stows easily in a very small space. $25, www.aerostich.com

Keyport This cool little box both spares your thighs from key stabbing when you’re walking while also sparing your bike from dangling key scratches. You can have up to 6 key sliders installed (or 5 and a cool LED light, like me). Prices start at $79. www.mykeyport.com

We’re Not Just a Shop, We’re a Destination The Metropolitan Area’s European Riding Center Headquarters for Moto Guzzi Triumph Vespa

We stock new and pre-owned vehicles

Make us your one-stop shop for all your Holiday Needs

BRANCHVILLE MOTORS Conveniently located across from the Branchville train station on the Danbury line of Metro North

63 Ethan Allen Hwy Ridgefied, CT

203.544.7901 www.Branchville.com Tues-Fri: 9am-6pm • Sat: 9am-4pm

Carrying only the best in motorcycling gear and apparel for scooterists. Visit our Ebay store for our clearance and closeout items.

Here’s a little tale of woe. While super-slabbing it back home from our last jaunt to North Carolina, I suddenly felt that all was not right with the force. In plain terms, I had a flat tire. Sitting on the side of I-81 with tractor-trailers whizzing past is not the best or safest place to fix a tire. But when you have the Stop N Go Pilot Kit, it makes it that much better. It only took 20 minutes from the point of pulling out the kit to getting back on the road. Included is the award winning Pocket Tire Plugger with its (15) mushroom shaped rubber plugs and the very compact Mini-Air Compressor. This all fits into a durable zippered canvas case that measure only 7” x 4” x 3” and weighs only 1.7 lbs. The mushroom plugs measure 5/16” diameter shaft x 3/4” in length. They work on all tubeless tires while the Mini-Air Compressors are intended for use on motorcycles, scooters, mowers, small tractors, golf cars, and ATV’s. Some other features include: 12 Volt Compressor unit with built in Gauge & LED Light, 66” Power Cord that fits Battery Tender connectors, 12” alligator extension clips & 36” extenstion lighter adapter, 4” tire valve hose with sports


Page 34 needle & inflatable adapter. All this piece of mind for just $64.95. In addition to this great kit, you can download a mobile instructional video, as well as a 10% coupon from the website – stopngo.com

OSI Compact Motorcycle Cover We like to keep a low profile. When on the road, we sometimes have to stop in some shady places. Unfortunately, this shade is not the type to protect your motorcycle from the elements. Thus the need for a cloaking device. Our weapon of choice is the OSI Compact Cover. This cover offers most of the features of the OSI Regular Cover with half the storage area needed and half the weight. The half and full dress sizes have a soft tricot windshield protector sewn into it. It’s water resistant and breathable, fade resistant and comes with an integrated drawstring bag. Perfect for travel and makes a thoughtful present which says, ‘Hey, I care about your bike.’ You can order this great cover from Nick Plenzick Enterprises starting at $49.99 • www.nickplenzickenterprises.com

DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

PulseTech Xtreme Charge™ Battery Charger Being of the ‘it’s below 40, I’m not riding’ mindset, I need to have a battery charger that will keep my bike ready to go for those random 60 degree winter days. We’ve used the PulseTech Xtreme Charger for a little while and find it to work beautifully. It’s a Five-Stage Maintenance Charger to be used for evaluation and testing. A unique test feature evaluates the battery thoroughly during the initial connection to determine the appropriate charge rate based on its size and condition. It tests the battery continually for as long as it is connected to the charger to maintain the optimal bulk or float charge rate. This test step incorporates a “Bad Battery” indication if it determines the battery is faulty and cannot be re-charged. It’s designed to be a maintenance charger for any type of 12-V lead-acid battery. By imposing only the appropriate amount charge rate, the battery is maintained safely at its proper operating voltage indefinitely. Conversely, if the charger is connected to a discharged battery, its bulk charge capability (2.5 A actual/5 A effective) will re-charge the battery rapidly and safely so it can be put back into service quickly. MSRP: $99.95 at pulsetech.net

Backroads Magazine Subscription What kind of publisher would I be if I didn’t mention the ultimate stocking stuffer – a subscription to Backroads. For a measly $40 you can give a year’s worth of riding and reading pleasure. Your friends and family will rejoice in receiving this fine, shiny, large-format magazine each and every month, concealed in its protective envelope from prying postal eyes. We’ll even send you a festive gift note to wrap up with the magazine for immediate gratification. Order yours at www.backroadsusa.com or call 973-948-4176; operators are standing by.


DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

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FIRST RIDE

THE TRANSCONTINENTAL GUZZI • NORGE GT 8V Bill Heald

This is a great age to live in if you’re a traveling motorcyclist. Think about all the machines you can choose from: full-boat dressers, adventure tourers, standards you can easily slap superb aftermarket bags on (hard of soft), cruising tourers, convertible tourers and what I would probably say is my favorite: the sport tourer. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not a category here that I don’t appreciate. In fact, there’s at least one bike in each genre I would gladly ride coast-to-coast as I really think touring mounts of every stripe are enjoying a period of unrivaled excellence. But to me the sport tourers are the most fun, and don’t compromise touring functionality in the least while they deliver performance that nearly rivals the sport bikes of just a few years ago. The Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V is a fine example of the big-bike branch of the Sport Touring family, for it’s a bit less sporty than some of the competition (like the Concours or VFR w/optional bags) but absolutely more of a canyon carver than some of the bigger baggers. At 570 lbs dry, it’s certainly not a major porker and yet it offers all the critical attributes for a true longhaul mile-muncher. At 58.85 inches the wheelbase allows for sufficient room for two while staying tight enough to aid handling in the tighter stuff, and overall seems perfect for this application. The riding position feels a bit odd at first as there’s a sporting bend to the footpegs while the bars are comfort-

ably high and wide. But once I got used to the ergonomics over time the position worked really well (for my 5’8” frame at least), and I found it quite suitable for hustling the big Goose around on challenging roads as well as kicking back while steady-state droning on the highway. The seat height is 31.9 inches, which you might think would feel tall for those short of inseam. Yet the bike it still easy to straddle at stoplights, thanks to a narrow profile (a long-time Guzzi attribute, as the transverse mounting of the 90-degree V-Twin keeps the cylinders out in the breeze and out of the way). A lower gel seat (29.9”) is available as an accessory.

The engine on the GT is of course classic Guzzi in basic architecture, armed with some of the latest technology that make it both traditional in feel and sound and yet quite contemporary in performance and ridability. Air-cooled yet quick to warm up thanks to the latest in Weber Marelli fuel injection, the 1200cc mill’s throttle response is crisp and the feel of the bike is soulful without ever becoming annoying. I mentioned aircooled, but there is such a large oil radiator (with cooling fan) that at first blush you might think liquid coolant


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

Page 37

is involved. Power is good (a claimed 102 horsepower with that brace of 4 valve heads) with a shudder of vibration when lugged but otherwise a smooth, flat torque curve. There’s plenty of relaxed top end cruising reserve thanks to the top cog’s high ratio (70 MPH comes at around 4,000 RPM). Speaking of the transmission, it is a 6-speed and action seemed a bit rubbery at first but came around nicely as more miles accumulated on our tester. As is long-time (and I mean a very long time) Guzzi practice, there’s shaft drive and the new Norge has their compact reactive cardan shaft drive system that consists of a double cardan joint and floating bevel in order to counteract the problematic torque effects that shaft drives of the past generated. It works well, but to be honest the real highlight of the GT’s chassis is the suspension, specifically a rear shock that is a real cream puff over the rough stuff while still keeping the bike sharp during aggressive cornering. This monoshock is preload and rebound adjustable (the former with a really easy to use dial), and it really is one of the best-sorted setups I’ve experienced in a long while. The 45mm conventional front forks are also quite dialed-in and offer easy adjustable preload. Finally, the Brembo brakes are also excellent yet unlike Guzzis of old are not linked. They do come standard with cancelable ABS, which is always a lovely thing to have no matter what the road conditions. The new one-piece fairing offers good weather protection, and the electric windscreen is a nice convenience but is distorted to look through in the top position. The buttons that actuate the electric motor are a bit odd as well, with the up button on one bar and the down on the other. You must have very, very long thumbs to make this convenient. On the plus side, do you like heated grips? I love the suckers myself. The GT has them, and they have two settings you toggle through on the trip computer interface. Another great touring feature is the pair of standard saddlebags that once mastered are easy

to use and remove, and capacious enough for a full-face helmet (and seem to seal out the elements well). They remind me of the bags on the now defunct Aprilia Futura, and as Aprilia is in the same Piaggio family as Moto Guzzi maybe there is a common ancestry here. Other tour-friendly items include redesigned side and center stands (both excellent) and a new integrated passenger grab rail that is solid and ergonomically comfortable to use (especially when deploying the centerstand). A 12-volt accessory socket resides under the seat for your e-vest pleasure, and if you’re interested in mounting a Tom Tom Rider Navigation system there is a kit available to make this a perfect fit. This would be a fine thing to have, as the 6-gallon fuel capacity combined with the 42 MPG I observed during testing gives you excellent range. I mentioned the smooth suspension but I should add that the standard saddle is also very comfortable so it’s easy to envision many long, pleasant, pain-free miles on the road. But then, that’s what a sport touring bike is designed to deliver, with the added feature of great handling and braking when you want to wick it up on twisticular stretches of pavement. The Norge GT 8V is a fine competitor in this category, and has the kind of soulful Moto Guzzi feel and sound that is unique in motorcycling. Prices start at $15,990.

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DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

Page 38

UPCOM IN G EVENTS CAL ENDAR

What’s Happening

E V E RY M O N T H - W E AT H E R P E R M I T T I N G

POLAR BEAR SCHEDULE 2011-12

Every Sunday • Eastern Suffolk ABATE Breakfast Run. Crossroads Diner - Calverton NY. 10:30am. Eat and Ride After • 631-369-2221

To check on Polar Bear cancellations & updates call A.M.A. Dis. #2 Ph. # 908-722-0128. Sign-in is from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm unless otherwise posted. Check the New Member page for general information about the Polar Bear Grand Tour • www.polarbeargrandtour.com/rides • These directions are for point-of-reference only.

First Sunday of the month • Layton Meet at the Layton Deli, corner of Dingmans/Bevans Rd, CR 560, Layton, NJ. Meet around 8am – breakfast available. Join others for a ride or head out on your own Every Tuesday • The Ear - Spring St, NYC. Come meet some fellow riders and do some benchracing or whatever. 8pm-ish Third Tuesday • 7:30pm ABATE of the Garden State, North Jersey chapter. Black River Barn, 1178 Rt. 10 West, Randolph, NJ. 7:30pm. New members and all mc brands welcome. Help fight for rights as a motorcyclist in NJ! Alex Martinez 973-390-1918

DECEMBER 17 • Bob’s BMW Holiday Cheer Day. Annual food & linen drive to celebrate the season with delicious food and good cheer. End of year savings • 10720 Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD • 301-497-8949 • www.bobs.bmw.com

November 27, 2011 • HILLBILLY HALL, 203 Hopewell-Wertsville Rd, Hopewell, NJ 08525 Ph# 609-466-9856 • hillbillyhall.com From Somerville take Rt #206 South to Rt #518; Go right on Rt. 518 to Hopewell (approx 9 miles); Go to second traffic light, make right on Greenwood Ave, go 2.1 miles; on right. December 4, 2011 • MONTGOMERYVILLE CYCLE, 2901 Bethlehem Pike Hatfield, PA 19440 Ph 215-712-7433 • www.montgomeryvillecc.com Take Rt #202 into PA. to Rt #309. Make right on Rt #309. Go approx. 5 miles and bear right at fork. December 11, 2011 • THE CABIN, 984 Route #33 Howell, NJ 07731 Ph.# 732 4623090 • www.thecabinrestaurant.net

JANUARY 2012

On Rt. 33 Howell Twsp. Approx. 5 miles west of Rt. #34 (east of Freehold, NJ). CHRISTMAS PARTY. BRING A TOY FOR THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL (do NOT wrap present).

6-8 • North American International Motorcycle Supershow, International Centre, Toronto, Canada • supershowevents.com • 888-661-7469

December 18, 2011 • SCHOCH'S HARLEY DAVIDSON, Rte. 33 Snydersville, PA 18360 Ph# 570-992-7500 • schochharleydavidson.com

13-15 • Progressive International Motorcycle Show. Washington DC • www.motorcycleshows.com

Take Rt #22 through Easton to Rt #33 North to Snydersville exit, at stop turn left, go over Rt #33 Schoch's Harley on right.

20-22 • The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center • www.motorcycleshows.com • Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street, New York • Friday, January 20, 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday, January 21, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday, January 22, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. • Save an extra $2 when you purchase your ticket online by using the promo code SAVES2.

January 8, 2012 • De THOMASI’s EAST 5 POINTS INN, 580 Tuckahoe Rd, Vineland, NJ 08360 Ph.# 856-691-6080 • www.fivepointsinn.com

FEBRUARY 2012 24-26 • The Montreal Motorcycle Show, Montreal Convention Centre, Montreal, Canada. www.salonmotomontreal.com

MAY 2012 17-20 • Backroads’ Spring Break XIV. Join us for our fourteenth Spring Break as we head south to Luray, Virginia. We’ll stay at the historic Mimslyn Inn (540-743-5105 • www.mimslyninn.com • mention Backroads Group for discount) which has 80 years in hospitality and is home to some of the best riding in the area. For additional overflow lodging please call the Best Western at 540-743-6511.

Take Rt. 206 South to the end. Continue straight to Rt. 54 South to the end (12 miles); make left on Rt. 40. Go 0.1 mile. Make right on Rt. 557. Go 2.5 miles to DeThomasi’s. January 15, 2012 • WEARHOUSE GRILL, 161 Rte. 181, Lake Hopatcong, NJ Ph #973663-2222. Route I-80 West from intersection of 287, to Route 15 North; go about 3 miles and watch carefully for sign for Route 181 North — it comes up fast on the right; you will cross Rte 15; take first right; Wearhouse Grill is about 1.5 miles on the left, immediately after the big blue Yamaha sign. No Web site. January 22, 2012 • SIR JOHN’S, 230 Washington Place, North Brunswick TWP, NJ. 08902 Ph # 732 297-3803 • sirjohnsinc.com From Rt 1, take Rte 130 South to the 82 mile-marker, get in left lane; make left at light at the Getty Station (Washington Place); go two blocks to Sir John’s on right. Folks traveling Rte.130 North go past the 81 mile-marker; make a right at the traffic light at the Getty Station.

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BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

Page 39

UPCOM IN G EVENTS CAL ENDAR January 29, 2012 • THE EXCHANGE, 160 E. Main St., Rockaway, NJ 07866 Ph # 973627-8488 • www.exchangefood.com In Denville on Rte. 46 West, go under Route 80; go 1/2 mile to light; go right on East Main St., Rockaway; go 1/2 mile; the Exchange is on the right. February 5, 2012 • THE FRANKLIN HOUSE TAVERN, 101 Market Street, Schaefferstown, PA 17088 Ph. # 717 949-2122 • franklinhousetavern.com Take Rte. 897 (also Rte 419) to Schaefferstown. It will be on your right at 897 and Market Street. February 12, 2012 • PIC-A-LILLI INN 866 Route 206 Shamong NJ Ph. # 609 268-2066 • picalilli.com From the north take Rte 206 South, pass Rte. 70 go 9 miles Pic-A-Lilli Inn on left. From the south @ Rte. 30 & 206 go north on Rte. 206 for 8.5 miles Pic-A-Lilli on left.

What’s Happening PA. Rte 95 South take exit 44 (stay left) left at light on Rte. 413 - 2nd light make left on S. Flowers Mill Rd. PA Route 95 North Exit 44 stay to left - left at 1st light on S. Flowers Mill Rd. April 1, 2012 • CHEEBURGER CHEEBURGER, 100 Reaville Ave. Flemington NJ 08822 Phone # 908-782-9000 • www.cheeburger.com From the south take Rte 202 north. Make right at the last light before the circle. Cheeburger Cheeburger will be on your left. From the North take Rte 202 through Flemington. At the first light after Northlandz (Grate American Railway), take the jug handle across Rte 202 onto Case Blvd. Stay on Case Blvd. It becomes Reaville Ave. Cheeburger Cheeburger will be on your Right. April 15, 2012 • CAPE MAY V.F.W. post #386, N .J. 419 Congress St., Cape May, N .J. 08204 Ph# 609-884-7961.

CLASS Motorcycle School 2012 date

February 19, 2012 • HOOTERS, 25 Rte 23 South, Wayne, NJ 07470 Ph# 973-837-1876. At intersection of Rte 46 & Rte 23 take Rte 23 South (approx. 0.2 mile) just past the mall; Hooters is on the right. www.hootersnj.com February 26, 2012 • BAHRS LANDING, 2 Bay Ave., Highlands, NJ 07732 PH# 732-8721245. From East take Rte 36 West over Highland bridge; immediately over bridge make very sharp right turn down hill into parking lot. From West take Rte 36 East toward Highland bridge; Just before bridge, make right turn then a quick left turn down the hill to Bay Ave; make left turn under bridge into parking lot • www.bahrs.com

Mar

30 Fri

Streets of Willow

$195

A&B

season opener

April

19 Thu

Streets of Willow

$225

A&B

both days: $450

April

20 Fri

Streets of Willow

$250

A&B

May

1 Tues

Infineon Raceway

$345

A&B

May

10 Thu

Streets of Willow

D-Day! Two-day CLASS • 12 rider limit, $1299

Just 2 groups

May

11 Fri

Streets of Willow

June

30 Sat

Gingerman

$275

A&B

July

4 Wed

Virginia Int'l VIR

$345

A&B

Take G.S.P. to exit 131 (not 131A) to Rte 27; turn left on Rte 27 North; go 2.6 miles, take left onto Rte 35 (AKA St Georges Ave); go 0.3 mile; Firehouse Restaurant is on the right.

July

5 Thu

Virginia Int'l VIR

$345

A&B

Aug

20 Mon

Oregon Raceway

$295

A&B

March 11, 2012 • LONG VALLEY PUB & BREWERY, 1 Fairmount Rd., Long Valley, NJ 07853 • 908-876-1122 • www.brewpubnj.com • www.restaurantvillageatlongvalley.com

Aug

21 Tue

Oregon Raceway

$275

A&B

Sept

3 Mon

Streets of Willow

$250

A&B

Labor Day

Sept

4 Tue

Streets of Willow

$225

A&B

both days: $450

Sept

27 Thu

Streets of Willow

D-Day! Two-day CLASS • 12 rider limit, $1299

March 4, 2012 • FIREHOUSE EATERY, 455 Saint Georges Ave. Rahway, NJ 07065 Ph# 732 382-9500 • www.firehouseeatery.com

From Rte 206 in Chester, take Rte 24 West (Rte 513); go 4.5 miles to Long Valley; Make left at light at Rte 517; immediately on right, first parking lot is the Long Valley Pub. March 18, 2012 • THE CHATTERBOX, #1 Rte 15 South, Augusta, NJ 07822 Ph#973300-2300 • www.chatterboxdrivein.com From South, take Rte 206 North to Rte 15, Ross Corner; The Chatter Box immediately on right at the intersection; enter from driveway about 300 feet before the intersection. From the North take Rte 565 to intersection with Rte 15, Ross Corner; go straight; driveway into the Chatterbox is on the left. March 25, 2012 • BRIAN’S HARLEY-DAVIDSON, 600 S. Flowers Mill Rd., Langhorne PA Ph# 215 752-9400 • www.brianshd.com

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www.renj.com MSF & NJ Approved DMV Road Test Waived* (Certain Restriction Apply) *Rider Education of New Jersey, Inc. has been approved by the Motor Vehicle Commission to offer the New Jersey Motorcycle Safety Education Course.

Sept

28 Fri

Streets of Willow

Oct

tba

Infineon Raceway

$345

A&B

Oct

15 Mon

Willow Springs

$250

A&B

Big Track

Oct

25 Thu

Streets of Willow

$225

A&B

Force 5 FREE!+

Oct

26 Fri

Streets of Willow

$250

A&B

both days: $450

Nov

9 Fri

Streets of Willow

$225

A&B

Returning this year: $195


Page 40

DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

MORE GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS AND PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTS “BIG BOY” WHEEL JOCKEY® – CRUISER WHEEL CHORES MADE EASY Wheel Jockey, www.wheeljockey.com, releases their new “Big Boy” Wheel Jockey motorcycle tool that offers cruiser and touring riders help with the bothersome task of rotating motorcycle wheels for cleaning, tire and drive belt/chain maintenance and checking tire pressure. Once a motorcycle is easily “walked” onto the Wheel Jockey, wheels turn on heavy-duty ball bearing rollers and provide access to the entire tire, wheel or final drive mechanism. Big Boy is designed specifically for use on bigger bikes — bikes up to 950 lbs — yet is small enough to stow easily in most saddlebags. Says industry veteran and owner Bill Kniegge, “The real challenge designing the Big Boy Wheel Jockey was creating a tool that worked on heavier cruiser and touring bikes, easy enough for one person to use alone, and even small enough to take on the road with you.” Made in USA, of high quality components, the Big Boy Wheel Jockey® weighs less than 3 lbs and measures 8”x 5”x 1.5”. Manufacturer’s retail price is $89.00 plus shipping. The Big Boy Wheel Jockey® is the latest product offered by Wheel Jockey, who originally created the innovative Jockey “Sport” (model 0055) for owners of sport bikes, standards and middleweight Cruisers up to 650 lbs.

MOTORCYCLE CHUMS BOOKS Lured by the call of the road and spurred on by a youthful sense of wonderment and exploration, this is a classic series about four friends who set out on motorcycles to explore America. Written nearly 100 years ago, long before iPods, television and video games, these endearing stories of friendship and discovery are a portal into the days when imagination reigned supreme, fueling a curiosity to discover new things and a thirst for adventure. Join the journey of Jack, Freckles, Budge and Alec as they explore the Carolina border country, ride the back roads of New England, seek indigenous adventure on the Santa Fe Trail and lend a hand in the recently established Yellowstone Park to discover all the wonders, excitement and challenges waiting around the next bend. A magical and inspirational read for curious young minds, or just the young at heart, filled with life lessons just as applicable today. Each sell for $17 or you can get the entire set for $90 from www.aerostich.com

CRUZTOOLS COMBO WRENCH HANDLES AXLES AND PLUG SOCKETS TWO VERSIONS, EACH WITH THREE SIZES Axle nuts for dirt bikes can be as large as 32mm, typically with different front and rear sizes. Trailside flat repair and chain tension adjustment are common needs, so offroad riders are faced with carrying two large and heavy wrenches. Another potential problem is a fouled spark plug. While manufacturers may provide a special spark plug socket with the bike, they don’t include the wrench required for use. As a result, a third size becomes necessary. In an effort to merge these requirements into a single compact tool, CruzTOOLS developed two new Combo Axle Wrenches. Both contain a 14mm box wrench for OEM spark plug sockets and 22mm box wrench for front axle nuts. To handle rear axles, one version contains a 27mm wrench while the other provides 32mm. Between these two variations, most Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki models are addressed, plus many Kawasakis. Measuring about eight inches (205mm) long and weighing just over five ounces (145 grams), the Combo Wrenches will easily fit into a fanny pack, backpack, or fender bag. Suggested retail is $14.95 for either version; part numbers are AW142227 (14mm x 22mm x 27mm) and AW142232 (14mm x 22mm x 32mm). For more information, please contact at their web site at www.cruztools.com.


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

THE MAN WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING BY MELISSA HOLBROOK PIERSON Reviewed by Shira Kamil this is the press release that came with the book: A marvelously engaging writer, Pierson chronicles the superhuman travels of John Ryan, long-distance motorcyclist extraordinaire and part of an elite group of riders who persist through every discomfort to break a record: they sleep on the roadside; eat and drink on the bike; go long hours without rest; and power through rain, heat, and blizzards. They cross forty-eight contiguous states in fewer than ten days, ride around the Great Lakes in under fifty hours, or ride 1,000 miles in a day. Though the book is part chronicle of these riders and part memoir – as Pierson heals from her divorce by rediscovering her love of bikes – her elegant prose explores those among us who push themselves to extremes to feel alive, and raises the deeper issue of how we choose to live our lives. here’s what I have to say: I don’t get it; never did and never will. I know now, after reading Melissa’s varying descriptions of the trials and tribulations of the long-distance riders, this is a very dedicated and quirky lot. For those wondering what the whole Iron Butt Association is about, or perhaps curious as to what it would take to become a card-carrying member, the insights disclosed in The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing (from this point on to be called TMWWSaN) will point you in the right direction. From the moment I read The Perfect Vehicle, I was captured by Melissa’s writing style and the way she was able to capture a situation with such aesthetic prose. Knowing John Ryan, at least on the surface as it appears he is a multi-layered person to say the least, the anecdotes and tales of his most incredible ventures were even more tangible. When I first heard of his accom-

Page 41 plishment, traveling from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Key West, Florida in 86 hours, it did not astound me. He had said he was going to do this, and I had no doubt that he would. TMWWSaN brought out ‘the rest of the story’ as Paul Harvey would have said, and scratched a little deeper into a layer or two of the man who is larger than life. I highly recommend reading this book, whether you are a long-distance rider, would like to be a long-distance rider, or just need to better comprehend the thought patterns of the long-distance rider. There’s nothing more I can say about this book, as I still don’t get it. To order TMWWSaN please visit Whitehorsepress.com or Amazon.com

SHAD SH50 TOP CASE Looking for a well-designed, stylish top case for your ride? Take a look at the Shad SH50. This large top case comes with 50liter capacity with a hermetic locking system, backrest and optional brake light. It is large enough to easily hold 2 full face helmets and can be color matched for many ma-

chines. We recently installed the Shad SH50 on a Yamaha FJR1300. Installation went easy enough, although we thought the directions could have been a bit more detailed, but two brilliant minds prevailed – eventually. Once properly attached the SH50 looked like a piece of stock equipment and the lines of the case flowed well with the Yamaha. The backrest made our designated pillion rider very comfortable and the additional stowage space makes the FJ, an already great sport-tourer, even better. To see this case, which lists for $389 plus $45 for the Yamaha bracket, and

MAKES A GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT AND STOCKING STUFFER Get BACKROADS delivered to your home EVERY MONTH! Just fill out the simple form and mail it along with your check or credit card info (gotta pay the Postman): BACKROADS • POB 317 • BRANCHVILLE NJ 07826 First Class Postage $40/12 issues • Comes safely in an envelope NAME ____________________________________________________ ADDRESS __________________________________________________

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DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

Page 42 other fine Shad www.shad.es.

products

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onto

AQUAPAC LAUGHS AT MOISTURE For many out there, riding in the rain just isn’t on their itinerary. Others don their protective riding gear, seal up the tiny passages raindrops always find, shrug their shoulders and head out on their adventures. For those rugged individuals, Aquapac has some great products to protect your valuable iPhone, iPod and digital camera. In the offchance that you jettison yourself into the drink, they will keep your electronics floating, safe and dry, as long as you don’t go past 15 feet. submersible iPhone case Being the skeptic I am, after the Halloween snowstorm I placed my precious iPhone in the Submersible case, sealed it up and sat it under the melting snow from above. True to advertisement, nary a drop passed through the very flexible plastic casing. I was able to use the phone normally, with all touchscreen features fully accessible, including the all-important Angry Birds. Phone call and camera quality was not compromised at all. The seams are high-frequency welded to form a super-strong bond and the Aquaclip®, which is a patented, ultra-secure, rustproof, injection-moulded plastic seal) opens and closes with a simple twist of two levers, with everything staying in one piece even when open. MSRP: $30 stormproof iPhone case For those hydrophobes, Aquapac makes a case which is not submersible but will still keep your iStuff safe from moisture. Manufactured from TPUcoated Ripstop Nylon, it features welded seams and a classic 3-roll seal with micro-buckle for complete waterproofing to IPX6 (fire-hose proof!). You can use touchscreens through the case, and hear perfectly. The patentpending window design allows full use of camera phones. It comes supplied

ATTENTION ALL RIDERS

Looking for a great rider-friendly place to lay your head after a perfect day’s ride? Perhaps an eatery that truly appreciates your two-wheeled business?

Have we got some suggestions for you. Go directly to www.backroadsusa.com and check out the new Moto-Inn Program. Listed by state, all the members actively seek motorcyclists as customers and warmly welcome you. Remember to look for the Moto-Inn logo at these fine establishments and tell them you saw them in BACKROADS.

with an adjustable lanyard, and a unique lashtab for use with a belt or carabiner. MSRP: $22.50 submersible camera case with hard lens Feel the need to stick your head underwater to photograph the fishies? Here’s the case for you. I tried it out with my Nikon Coolpix S630 and it worked just perfectly with no distortion or blurriness. It features a tough acrylic lens for top-quality photos and extra protection. Note: the lens is permanently attached, do not attempt to remove! You can operate all controls easily through the supple TPU material, which also protects from dust, dirt and sand. Like most of their cases it’ll float if you drop it in the drink and is submersible to 15 feet. The seams are high-frequency welded to form a super-strong bond. The Aquaclip® (a patented, ultra-secure, rustproof, injection-moulded plastic seal) opens and closes with a simple twist of two levers, and everything stays in one piece even when open. Supplied with 3 x 2g desiccant sachets to absorb condensation in humid climates. MSRP: $55 Need a stocking stuffer? Horizons Unlimited has some excellent travel DVDs that will pique your adventurous side. Starting at $24.99. www.HorizonsUnlimited.com/store


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

Page 43

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Page 46

ROAD TRIP

MEMPHIS IN MAY; A HUNK, A HUNK OF BURNING’ LOVE Michael Moyer • Owner/Chef Thisilldous Eatery

Take a mountain of charcoal, tons of pork, chicken, beef and the scent of smoldering wood wafting through the air, inject a dash of competitive spirit, one hundred thousand dollars’ worth, blend in two wheels rolling, Graceland, Sun Studio, Beale Street, a whole lot of Blues and Country Music and you’ve created a recipe for a journey across Tennessee. Memphis, Tennessee in May is the home of the World Championship BBQ Contest and is truly a hunk, a hunk of burning love. 2011 was a particular challenging year because the normal location for this competition, Tommy Lee Park, situated along the banks of the Mississippi River was flooded. The competition was relocated to the Memphis Liberty Bowl Arena. This year’s theme, “Come Hell or High Water,” was proof that the show must go on and nothing could derail this tradition. Hundreds of competitors plus thousands of visitors make this event the granddaddy of the BBQ world, and for the past 34 years this is a must see, must do, must eat until it ouches event. The four years of planning, preparation, and schedule arranging in an effort to attend this event was difficult, but time well spent. Trying to combine three of my favorite things, motorcycling, barbecue, and lots of music into one road trip, as well as, finding others who enjoy these things and could take advantage of our narrow window of opportunity certainly took some doing. As the competition’s theme states, “Come Hell or High Water,” we were going to make it work. In the end, Jack Squire, Peter Glerum, Michael Larney and I set out for Memphis in May, and what would be one of the best road trips we’ve ever taken. Our adventure in open road freedom would take us to Nashville, Memphis, Shiloh Battle Field, and the Natchez-Trace Parkway. As a full-time chef and restaurant owner, time is always a concern, but we did manage to find the time to squeeze in some backroad travel along with our arduous journey along routes I-78, I-81 and I40. Leaving New Jersey at 5:30 am on Monday May 9th we landed in Memphis on Wednesday May 11th at 5:00 pm. We did take one unplanned side trip to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, Museum and Moto-Cross Track located at exit 143 off of I-40 in Hurricane Mills Tennessee. Actually Loretta Lynn’s Ranch is about half way between Nashville and Memphis and is worth the stop, besides she is the Coal Miner’s Daughter and an iconic Country Music legend. Once in Memphis, well actually, West Memphis, which is across the Mississippi in Arkansas, we checked into our hotel, the West Memphis Holiday Inn, and set out to find directions for the relocated World Championship Barbecue Cook-Off. As luck would have it, stay-


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011 ing in our hotel was a team competing in the cook-off. Little did we know, this team, from the Shed Barbecue in Oceanport, Mississippi, was one of the top contenders for the world-championship crown. The whole Shed Barbecue team, led by Brad Orrison, took us under their wing, inviting us behind the scenes as they prepared the foods for each of the different categories. Brad, by the way, is a young, surfer-looking dude who was recently featured on the Food Network Channel show “Smoke Masters”. We also met up with another team from Buffalo, New York, Too Sauced to Pork, led by CBO, Chief Barbecue Officer, Neil Gallagher who also invited us behind the scenes. One thing I noticed about barbecue and competition is that competitors love to talk shop and pass along their recipes. The Shed Barbecue team came in sixth place in the whole hog competition, and now at Thisilldous Eatery, we are experimenting with some new rubs for our pulled pork courtesy of Neal Gallagher, from Too Sauced to Pork team. While in Memphis, we decided to visit as many attractions as possible. We went to Blues City Tours and let them show us around; otherwise we would never have been able to see all that we saw, in a city we really knew nothing about, on our bikes. We spent a whole day, 7 hours, visiting all of the highly regarded attractions such as the legendary Beale Street; Sun Studio; Gibson Guitar; St. Jude Children’s Hospital; The Peabody Hotel, just in time for the parade of the ducks; the Lorraine Hotel, site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination; and of course Graceland, home of the King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley. Memphis is home to some of the finest barbecue and catfish in the world and we indulged heavily on both. Leaving Memphis wasn’t easy. The people, the food, and the atmosphere would be hard to match. Our return travels took us on Route 64 towards the Natchez-Trace Parkway. We made a stop at Shiloh Battle Field on the Tennessee River, one of the costliest battles of the Civil War, and before we left the Shiloh area and got on the Natchez-Trace, we had lunch at the remote Catfish Hotel. Talk about back roads and what you come across! The Catfish Hotel, one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in the US, is tucked along a winding, mostly dirt back road, nestled along the banks of the Tennessee River would have never been sought out except that it was highly recommended by a friend we met in Memphis. The family first settles on this piece of land back in 1825 and the restaurant has been serving for over 70 years. His recommendation

Page 47

Opposite: Shed Barbeque team prepping their sacrificial pig and night life on Beale Strees. Above: Piked Pig, some smokin’ ribs and Mike at the Blues City Cafe.

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Page 48

was spot on, as it was probably the best Catfish I ever ate. We rode Route 64, amongst cloudy gray skies, through little towns on our way to Shiloh. From Shiloh National Military Park to the Natchez-Trace Parkway we encountered a light drizzle en route to our final destination for the night, Nashville, home of Country Music. The Natchez-Trace Parkway has a story of its own and was useful in commerce during the development of our country. In 1995 the National Scenic Byways Program recognized the parkway’s historical significance and scenic qualities, designating it an All American Road. Although we ran only a small portion of the parkway in Tennessee from mile post 370 to Nashville milepost 440 it was a comfortable, unhurried route to Music City despite the rain.

We rode into Music City early evening on Saturday May 14th. Basically, we pulled into the first hotel we came to, the Comfort Inn, in Downtown Nashville. As luck would have it, this hotel was perfectly situated for the next leg of our journey. We had a day and a half to discover Nashville and the weather was not looking too good. Again we did not have enough time to visit all of the landmark sites of Nashville on our own so we took a city tour offered by Nashville City Tours, besides it was raining, cool, and not a nice day to be on our cycles. Nashville, aside from being the Capital of Tennessee, and the second largest city in Tennessee, is located on the Cumberland River and is a thriving metropolis providing the perfect combination of the old and new south. Nashville’s streets are filled with budding singer, song-

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BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

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writers as are the Honky-Tonks and Cafés; all awaiting their chance to be the next mega star of Country Music. Our tour bus picked us up at our hotel and at the end of the tour dropped us back there too. Along the way we toured the Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ol’ Opry; the Country Music Hall of Fame; the state capital; the Parthenon; Music Row, home to most of the recording studios and record labels; the Grand Ol’ Opry; and the Opryland Hotel with a riverboat ride through the indoor, under glass Delta. Dinner that evening was at Demo’s Steak & Spaghetti House, a family tradition for four generations, featuring authentic family recipes and genuine family value, as well as a much needed break from our over indulgence on barbecue and catfish. After our delicious meal we walked around downtown Nashville stopping for ice cream, a quick dance at the Legends Honky-Tonk and grabbed a cab for a ride out to the Bluebird Café. The Bluebird Café is one of the world’s preeminent listening rooms. This unassuming, 100-seat venue offers upand-coming songwriters, performers, and those whose music is regularly on the charts the chance to play their songs acoustically before a live audience. Kathy Mattea, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, and Kenny Chesney all played there before they were discovered, as well as Taylor Swift. Many performers and musicians still come back as regular guests to perform. Although the small café was packed and we had to listen from outside, we watched the performers through the large windows as each one played three original songs. Our outside viewing room was perfect, and we were able to get acquainted with the performers before and after their show. On this particular Sunday evening I did not recognize any of the performers or songs, but who knows, maybe I‘ll hear some of those songs again on the radio. Monday morning arrived and our journey was coming to an end. The final leg of our adventure was the 823 miles back to New Jersey. The weather was horrible, rainy, cool, and out-right miserable. Unfortunately, my schedule did not allow for another layover so off we rode: I-40, I-81 and I-78, interstate, interstate, interstate. Monday we made it as far as Christiansburg, Virginia, and Tuesday we continued north to New Jersey. Although the rainy weather slowed us down, it didn’t dampen our spirits or ruin our trip. We met some wonderful people along the way plus listened to some super country music and blues, ate some of the best barbecue and catfish ever and enjoyed each other’s’ company for over a week on the road. You don’t get many opportunities to freely roam this country but when the opportunity arises, you can’t pass it up! Traveling through Memphis, Nashville and all the little towns along the Interstates gave us the opportunity to learn, experience, and create a little hunk a hunk of burning’ love for ourselves. Thank you, thank you very much!

For a listing of all the happenings for 2012 check memphisinmay.org


Page 50

DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

Backroads Hot Dog Run • Where dogs and trivia come together After more than a month postponing due to Hurricane Irene, we finally got our Backroads Hot Dog Run off on Saturday October 15th. The day was brisk, windy and bit fickle as nearly 20 bikes and hungry riders met at the Sprinkle Shack north of Sparta, New Jersey that morning. The rules were simple – eat as many hot dogs as you could and answer the hot dog trivia questions correctly to be in the running for the coveted Hot Dog Trophy. Each of our doggeries had been chosen specifically for this run and the Sprinkle Shack worked well as it was centrally located and has some seriously good dogs.

Competition was dog-gone hot from the beginning, with folks eating everything from the Naked Dog to the most dangerous offering on the menu, the Volcano Dog-relish, cheese and horseradish sauce (for breakfast, Bill, really?). Shira created her own Breakfast Dog topped with fried potatoes and an egg. Way to balance your meals, Shira. Folks were going for sheer numbers, but we were surprised by young Courtney Mosca who not only scoffed down a couple of dogs immediately,

but a couple of corn dogs, a heavy bit of frankfurter goodness there. Route sheets (and the optional GPS download), index cards and pencils were handed out and the first of the trivia questions was posed. Let the game begin! Things got off to a shaky start when the first wave of riders suited up and promptly headed in the wrong direction. Yep, this was going to be interesting. The only thing more interesting and amusing than riding with one Mosca brother is riding with both of them.

Our other group from Long island decided to ditch the Hot Dog Run and just go riding around the region – too bad as they missed a wonderful route. I guess that Volcano Dog wasn’t a good choice for starters, hey Bill? Seriously, if you are back in our neck of the woods again, please give it a go, it was a fun ride. That left us with a dozen or so machines heading up through Sussex

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Page 51 County, New Jersey and even past Backroads Central. We cut over towards Port Jervis, ignoring the Road Closed sign on County Route 521 and then down into Matamoras, Pennsylvania and the famous Cat’s Incredible Dogs. Here you will find so many “incredible” dogs that you are best to simply spin the

wheel and let Lady Luck choose a hot dog for you. One of the top dog choices this day was the Junkyard Dog, macaroni & cheese with shredded bacon. Again there were those who tempted fate and went for heat with the Devil Dog, a Sabrett topped with onion sauce, jalapeno peppers and Frank’s hot sauce. Keep an eye on the mileage to the next stop, folks, you’re gonna be sweating it. Moving south along the PA-side of the Delaware River we had miles of gentle curves as the topography matched the rivers flow with a wonderful snakiness. In Marshalls Creek we found Mosca & Company already at Dave’s and doing some canine damage. At this point most folks were sticking to the basics with the


DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

Page 52 classic Ripper, although there were a couple of holdouts who ordered Dave’s specialty, two dogs on a roll with potatoes, onions and peppers. It was obvious at this point, as one of our top contenders Mike Baisley had disappeared, that 16-year-old Courtney was going for the trophy, downing two more corn dogs. My stomach shuddered with both fear and admiration at this display of gastrophysics. Corn Dogs – yeech! The next stop on our list of five was probably the oddest hot doggerie in New Jersey – Charlie’s Pool Room in Alpha, NJ. Unlike the other places we had visited, which serve so many different types of franks, here at Charlie’s Pool Room they only come one way, the famed Mealie. Prepared the way Grandmother Fencz made them starting in 1925 when she decided the men playing pool needed something to eat, the Mealie consists of a dog, slow cooked in oil until thoroughly hot sitting on a steamed bun and topped with Mrs. Fencz’s special, sweet sour Hungarian onion sauce, chopped onions and precisely cut and placed strips of hot peppers. If this is too much for you, you can drop the onions and hot peppers and simply enjoy the perfectly cooked dog and the ohso-special secret sauce.

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John and Joe Fencz have kept the tradition going. The only changes they have made is switching from a kerosene to gas stove and upgrading from an 8” to a 12” frying pan. Even the fork used in cooking was Grandma Fencz’s. Since the dogs and buns are cooked to order, take a seat and read the informative literature surrounding you, as this is certainly not ‘fast food.’ Everyone who partook made the claim that it was the best dog of the day. Truly a place worth stopping, as well as a bit of Weird NJ and Mysterious America for you. By this time some folks were setting themselves up to concede defeat and were going to blow off our last stop of the day, Hot Dog Johnnies. So we asked the remaining trivia questions and watched as Courtney continued to embarrass full-grown men twice her size. Even though she doesn’t really like hot dogs, she managed one more FenczDog to keep up her game. At Hot Dog Johnnies her only competition was Andrea, who only needed one more dog for a tie, but could not muster up the room in the belly basically handing the coveted Backroads’ Hot Dog Trophy to Courtney. Congrats kid, job well done despite having a geographically challenged father and uncle. This year’s ride was run, but we thought maybe next year we’d do something a little bit healthier. Barbeque anyone? here are the trivia questions asked during our run. see how you would have done; you can email editor@backroadsusa.com your answers and we’ll send it back graded. Perfect scores get a golden hot dog. Be honest, no googling! What popular rock & roll band had a song about what we’re eating today? Where and when is the national hot dog eating championship held? Who is the reigning hot dog eating champion as of 2011? Bonus point for his nickname. In which city and country did the hot dog originate? What us city consumes the most hot dogs – new york, chicago, los angeles?


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

Colors in the Catskills 4 Words: Michael Friedle • images: Kyle O’Brien

Page 53 Once again, Mother Nature laughed at our, mere mortals, feeble efforts to plan outdoor activities according to our wishes. Of course Mother Nature had been giving us fair warning all spring and summer long with one of the wettest periods on record for the Northeast including Hurricane Irene that did more damage in the mountains of NY and VT than it did anywhere along the ocean coastlines! I arrived on site Thursday morning just before it started raining. Thursday night it cleared and there were stars in the sky as I went to bed. Yes! Friday morning I awoke to the sound of rain, wondering where the other side of the valley had gone as I could no longer see it. It rained on and off for Friday and some intrepid riders did brave the elements. A fair number even set up their tents in the camping area and settled in for the duration. Vendors set up and conducted business, albeit slow business, as the rain and riders came and went. Saturday started with rain in the morning, heavier than Friday, varying in intensity throughout the day, but never really going away. This did not halt the efforts of Ben and Max Stratton and their crew from the three MAX BMW shops from offering a full range of demo rides, with rides of about 40 minutes leaving on the hour from 9 am until 3 pm usually with 10 bikes and a lead and sweep rider to make sure everybody got there and back safely. For the adventurous there were off road rides of different skill levels offered at least three times during the day. These rides lasted approximately 90 minutes, some were longer. Local Catskill Mountains legend “Nick the Barber” also offered a truly challenging off road excursion all three days. Don’t even mistake these rides for a training session. You had better bring your A game skills and a suitable machine to these big boy rides. The sun did come out Sunday after 9 am and the bikes did start coming in. I noticed that the vast majority of bikes to arrive on Friday and Saturday were BMW motorcycles. This was not the case on Sunday as the lot was filled with more non-BMW marques than BMW motorcycles all day long. The last MAX BMW demo ride to leave pulled out at 3 pm (the first had left at 9 am), just as full as all the other demo rides had been on Saturday and Sunday on the full range of models BMW has to offer, not just the new 1600 GTL and GT models that would have been on the demo truck. Yes, there were fewer vendors this year than last that actually showed up on site, but more had signed up for this year than last year. No doubt the


DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

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weather played a large part in the reduced crowds and vendor count, but even those vendors who backed out have said they would like to be invited back for next year. And they will be, along with others. The vendors who did attend all had a good day, at least on Sunday, and thanked the riders who did come out in spite of the rain on Friday and Saturday. Most of the roads were in passable shape and the local waterfalls and streams were spectacular.

Bike Night thru Oct. 26 Wednesday 5-9pm Join us for a meal at The Riverview Restaurant at Rusty’s 105 Rusty’s Blvd, Honesdale, PA 18431 GPS: North 41.54590 • West 075.21750

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Not to be forgotten are the off road and dual sport rides led by TEAM MAX featuring some very talented leaders and brave participants. All made it back to base safely, although some came back wetter and muddier than others. No one came back cursing and all learned some real world off road riding lessons. Hope to see you all next year. Plans are already underway for the 5th edition of Colors in the Catskills to make the event bigger and better than ever. Prayers and offerings will be made to the Weather Channel and Mother Nature between now and next October on a regular basis. Thank you to the management and staff of Hunter Mountain, our fine vendors and the citizens of Greene County, NY who were so open and kind to us despite their own trials and hardships. A huge thank you to all who rode in under trying weather and road conditions to join us for any portion of the weekend. I greatly appreciate those of you who took the time to personally thank me and Josh, the vendors and MAX BMW. It meant a great deal to us. A big “Thank You” goes out to Backroads magazine riders and publishers Brian Rathjen and Shira Kamil for their continued support since the inception of this event. Find the Colors in the Catskills on Facebook to see what you missed. (Thanks Kyle and Caley.) See you on the road.


BACKROADS • DECEMBER 2011

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Holiday Gift Idea

FLASH2PASS AUTOMATIC GARAGE DOOR OPENER It was a dark and stormy night and after logging in a few hundred torrential miles I pulled up to the barn and hit the little garage door remote that I had velcroed to my brush guard; the soaking wet and now inoperable garage door remote. Nada. It was toast. It was no big deal, ‘ceptin’ getting off the bike, unplugging the Gerbings, removing the helmet, taking out the ear plugs and… well you get the picture. All that just to get off the bike and walk over to the key pad and start punching in the code to open the door as more cold water ran down the back of my neck. There has to be a better way. There is: the Flash2Pass Automatic Garage Door Opener. This technology and company have been around for a while, so they know exactly what they are doing. Installation is basically easy. I say basically as you have to do a bit of rewiring to your existing electric garage opener, but this was done with two wires and a screw driver in less than 5 minutes. The slightly more difficult task is wiring the transmitter module to your high beams. Wanting to get this done in a timely fashion I decided to put the Flash2Pass into Shira’s F650GS, as the two wires (one brown, one white with BMWs) were a bit easier to get at than my R1200GS. The kit comes with two small electrical tie-in plugs to make things easier, or 800.388.8310 • www.kitzhofinn.com you can simply attach the wire any way you feel confident. Don’t butter-finger the two connections or they will fall into the World of Lost The Kitzhof Inn is your Socks. All-Season Vermont With some bikes you can simply put the transmitter into the headlight shell while on others, like the GS, we tucked it away and secured it with a ziptie. Home Away from Home The idea here is that the Flash2Pass is activated by two clicks of the high beam. Motorcycle-Friendly Inn on Scenic Route 100 in Vermont Once installed the Flash2Pass worked exactly as promised and you can add transmitters for up to six machines to open your garage if you have a fleet. We have ordered some extras for our other motorcycles. Now as either of us approach the barn, regardless of the weather, two good clicks of the high beams and the door “magically” opens and we ride right in. No more getting “unwrapped” just to get your bike into its home. The Flash2Pass list for $79.95 and to find out more or to order your today log Group Packages include onto www.f2ptechnologies.com.

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DECEMBER 2011 • BACKROADS

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Where in the world will we take you next! Join the Backroads crew February 12-19, 2012 as we take on Colombia! 8 days/7 nights of pure adventure. Visit Motolombia website for full details.

Join us for our fourteenth Spring Break as we head south to Luray, Virginia. We’ll stay at the historic Mimslyn Inn which has 80 years in hospitality and home to some of the best riding in the area.

There are only a few suites still available at $199/night Please call 540-743-5105 and ask for the Backroads Group for special discount. Additional lodging available at Best Western, Luray, VA 540-743-6511

ALL ROADS LEAD TO BACKROADS SPRING BREAK XIV

MAY 17 - 20, 2012 MIMSLYN INN, LURAY, VIRGINA CALL TODAY: MIMSLYN INN, LURAY, VIRGINIA • 540-743-5105 • www.MimslynInn.com


December 2011  

Holiday Gift Guide and so much more

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