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F E AT U R E S
M O N T H LY C O L U M N S WHATCHATHINKIN’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
SMOKING THROUGH NORTH VIETNAM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 DALE’S CHILLY CHILI RUN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
FREE WHEELIN’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
THE BEST OF BACKROADS 2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
RIP & RIDE ROUTES FOR BEST OF BACKROADS . . . . . . . . . . 40
ON THE MARK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
CHASING A SUNNY DAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
WE’RE OUTTA HERE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
ROLLING THROUGH VERMONT RALLY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
MYSTERIOUS AMERICA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
CORNERSPIN TRACK SCHOOL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 MERRITT PARKWAY BRIDGES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
BIG CITY GETAWAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 GREAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
MOTORCYCLE REVIEWS DUCATI STREETFIGHTER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
BACKLASH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 INDUSTRY INFOBITES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
PRODUCT REVIEWS ACHIEVABLE DREAM DVD SET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 MOTORCYCLE MARKETPLACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 KISAN SIGNALMINDER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Brian Rathjen • Shira Kamil ~ Publishers Contributors Richard Baker, Mark Byers, Bill Heald, Tony Lisanti, David McCormick, Dr. Seymour O’Life Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure
BACKROADS • POB 317, Branchville NJ 07826 Phone 973.948.4176 • Fax 973.948.0823 • email firstname.lastname@example.org • web www.backroadsusa.com For Advertising Sales Information: 973-948-4176
BACKROADS (ISSN 1087-2088) is published monthly by BACKROADS™, Inc. 2010. 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.
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Gold Certified Professional rider depicted on a closed course. ATVs with engine sizes of 90cc or greater are recommended for use only by riders ages 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. ©2009 Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. Cypress, CA 90630.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
W H ATC H AT H I N K I N ’ SHIRA KAMIL
As you all have read and seen, I like to travel. Who doesn’t, really. Oh, I’m perfectly content when I’m home - doing those ‘at home’ chores that are never-ending and there certainly is enough to be done with the magazine business to keep me busy 25 hours a day. But the juices definitely start to flow when there are upcoming trips, whether they are in the early planning or final packing stages. Did this affection for the open road come from the sky? Hell, no. I was lucky enough to have grown up in an adventurous family. Both my parents were in the teaching profession, and we all know what that means - summer’s off. From the time I was old enough to remember, we would head off for weeks at a time. One particular trip was to Colorado, where my father was taking some summer classes. I don’t remember the exact particulars, but I do remember traveling in a VERY large station wagon with another toddler about my age. Since we were peanuts, roughly age 3, we didn’t require a real seat and were stuck in the space between the middle row and the rear seats, which still faced rear in those days. The adults aptly dubbed it the creepy seat. Making the trek cross these United States, of course we had to make stops and at one such stop laundry was on call. My sister - middle child - was under the weather and my brother - oldest child - was tagged to watch me youngest child. Being the oldest child, and presumably the wisest, he was given the task with minimal direction, “Don’t let your sister in the pool.” Easy enough.
Well, having just started his teen years, this was less than exciting and he turned his attentions to better things, leaving me by the pool. Yup, you guessed it, in I went. I must have blocked this from my memory, or the time spent underwater killed those brain cells needed to remember, but I’m told I was pulled out and I guess I survived, as I’m here today. It did take me a very long time to learn how to swim, though. As we grew older, we would migrate to the wonderful Finger Lakes region of NY, Ithaca, to be specific. This was a wonderful time of my life and I still look forward to heading to the BMW Finger Lakes Rally every year. Other summer treks included a month in southern Spain, a rented flat in Paris, and some time spent in London. When I was old enough to travel on my own, I spent a summer in Israel learning about my heritage. This travel lust didn’t start with my folks, as my grandparents were movers and doers as well. Once the nest was empty, my mom and dad headed for points far and wide. All continents were visited, numerous countries explored and many adventures had. Viet Nam, Nepal, Machu Pichu and Antarctica were just a few of their ever-growing passport stamps. And to this day they have not stopped. I aspire to follow in their footsteps but on two wheels. So you can see that the travel bug in me has very deep roots. Once I started riding, the sky was the limit. Brian and I would take off in different directions whenever we could. With the inseption of Backroads, even more doors were opened to us and, well, you’ve read the rest. A few years ago we bought one of those huge framed maps of the world for us and my folks. It came with map pins to document our travels. There are red ones for the places we’ve been, green ones for places we’d like to go and a yellow one for our favorite place. We have a fairly good number, but my folks’ has hardly an empty space. It’s a huge world and Brian and I are going to see it, one pin at a time.
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
FREE WHEELIN’ Brian Rathjen
THE ARGUMENT FOR THE AMA
Last month I made the argument that we should embrace Global Warming and enjoy the warmth rather than fight it. As expected I got a bit of flack for going against this new religious dogma. But, if I can’t stand the heat I better get away from the fire - Sorry, that was a pun intended. While I am still in point making mode I’d like to talk a bit about why, if you are a rider, it would be a good thing to join and support the AMA - the American Motorcyclist Association. The AMA has been around for a long time and it wasn’t all too long ago that we had written about how they had strayed from the mission; and that charge was to protect our rights to ride and to promote motorcycling in the United States. Shira was so angered by the way things were she dropped her membership. But, in the last few years a new sheriff has ridden into the town of Pickerington, Ohio and his name is Rob Dingman. When Mr. Dingman took the reins he quickly became aware that the AMA was in trouble. There were too many irons in the fire and the AMA had drifted away from its original goals. Now after a number of years at the helm we have seen nothing but good things happening in Ohio and the AMA has become, once again, an organization whose members can be proud. Each month members receive the American Motorcyclist, the AMA’s magazine. A few years back, in a move that surprised many, two of the American Motorcyclist’s staffers we fired. These guys had been there for decades. Rob Dingman saw this as part of the problem and in one afternoon did away with the “old boy” feel of the AMA. Other long-time staffers were let go as well.
The AMA was getting a new look - a healthier look. The new editor of the magazine, Grant Parsons, stepped up to the plate and the entire appearance and feel of the American Motorcyclist changed for the better. These days the magazine is about us - the American motorcyclists and riders. Instead of trying to compete with other magazines (us included) the new American Motorcyclist is focusing more on what the AMA is doing for us and the AMA members themselves have become the main feature of the publication. It echoes the new paradigm of the American Motorcyclist Association itself. I, for one, think the re-born American Motorcyclist Association is a very, very good thing. This new standard was no more apparent than when the AMA announced its Motorcyclists of the Year Award for 2009. The first award, in 2008, went to their Board Chairman Stan Simpson, but this year, continuing with their member-centric theme, the AMA announced that the Kids of the United States were all the Motorcyclist of the Year. Phenomenal! With the lead ban stopping the sales of smaller machines to children and crushing an already hurting industry, the AMA fought tooth and nail, as did others, to lift the ban when it came to smaller machines aimed at the youth market. A stay of enforcement was received, but only time will tell if it will be a permanent thing. The Kids. If this sport and lifestyle is to survive we need the kids more than they need us. What they do need from us is encouragement to get out and see just how great riding is. Families that ride together are having way more fun than their neighbors; but we know this already, don’t we? (Continued on Page 13, bottom)
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE THE ART OF CUSTOM COMBUSTION BILL HEALD
It was not long ago when I was much younger (OK, it was last July), that I wrote about the coming revolution involving electric motors and motorcycles. Since then I’ve ridden a Zero S electric (and a review is coming, I swear), and have been further fascinated by the technology. I am very confident that lots of electric motorcycles and scooters will be on the road soon, but just in case you think I’m a total e-convert I still really appreciate a tasty, well-prepared internal combustion engine, thank you very much. In fact, as I stare out the window at the frozen tundra I have been contemplating the sound of Herbie the fearless VW Beetle in the original Love Bug film. There’s a scene in this classic Disney flick where Michelle Lee gives Herbie’s little Boxer Four a tune-up, and the thing purrs like a kitten when she’s done like only an old VW engine can. Aesthetically it’s hard to beat a smoothly running engine, and I’m glad internal combustion is going to be with us for a good long time even though I am quite down with the new hotness of the e-motor. Given this fact that the fuel-burning engine is going to endure for a while at least, I got to thinking about my favorite piston-powered friends. I pondered all the motorcycles I’ve had in my life, and tried to remember every aspect of the engines-how they sounded, felt, even smelled. That last characteristic may seem a bit odd, but think about it for a second. I have a new bike that has a very different smell than, say, my old VFR but I’ll talk more about that later. I don’t want to alter the chronology of this tale just yet. My first motorcycle engine was my college housemate’s 2-stroke Suzuki Single, and it was a true smoking fiend yet quite bulletproof (and wonderfully torquey and loaded with personality). It was also the only street bike I ever regularly rode that had a kick-starter, which I loved. Despite its relatively primitive architecture, the little Single was acceptably smooth and
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really grew on me at the time. Shoot, it was the bike I learned to ride on, and will always occupy a special, smoke-filled nook in my heart. Next was the first bike I ever personally owned, a Honda CM450C that doubled the number of cylinders the Suzuki had as it had a very plucky Vertical Twin. This machine had a deliberate, almost Herbie-style class in its idle, and yet could be positively raucous when you twisted it on. Later in life, I would be the co-owner of a Kawasaki Vertical Twin called the Ninja 500 (or EX500 to you veterans) and it’s a remarkable thing how different these two engines, though both parallel Twins of very similar displacement, really are. The Kawi is more sporty and buzzier (but in a very tolerable way, I assure you) and far more Inline Four-ish than the CM was in terms of engine feel. This is a beautiful thing in that the whole character, mood and heart of a motorcycle can be very different even when using the same basic engine design. Allow me to jump ahead here, just so I can advance this notion a step further. If you ride the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird, you will be conducting the same basic engine format as my old Honda CM and the half-liter Ninja only with nearly four times the displacement this time around. Even more interesting is the fact that this particular Vertical is meticulously engineered to be a big cruiser, with a power delivery, feel and personality that is amazingly different from the old Honda and especially the Ninja. There is all kinds of engineering magic that goes on in the engine cases with things like crankshaft orientation, firing order, counterbalancers, etc. that totally transforms the big engine into something vastly different despite the overwhelming similarities with the other engines. In fact, if you rode this big brawler blindfolded (something, incidentally, I would advise against as you might cross the street, run over a fire hydrant and ultimately impact a tree) you might think it’s a big U.S. V-Twin you’re astride instead of a British icon that was always considered much sportier in nature. Amazing, no? Try that with an electric motor. Back to my motoring past, this engine engineering customization phenomenon was again evident when I purchase my first V-Four in ‘84, which I’ll recount next month as I have to stoke the wood stove now. Winter. Sheesh.
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BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
I shouldn’t gripe because most of the parts on today’s motorcycles are designed to a fairly high degree of R so you don’t need to have very good M, but there are still quite a few tasks that are right bastards to do because the Design for Maintainability just isn’t there. Parts are hidden behind vast amounts of plastic. There are fasteners that require special tools because companies want you to consume their services rather than doing it yourself. And, like the guy with the ejection seat, there are designers who just don’t get it. Unfortunately, I happen to own a couple examples of the R begetting a low value of M. But hey, at least I never have to replace the oil in the final drive. Riiiiiiiiight.
ON THE MARK MARK BYERS
In aviation, we have a discipline called Reliability and Maintainability, or R&M. The concept is simple: reliability is how long a part will last before it fails and maintainability is how long it takes to change it. The only way to accept a part with low reliability is if it is easy to change. On the other hand, if a part lasts thousands of hours, you accept difficulty changing it because you have to do it so infrequently. Reliability is measured by “mean time between failures” and maintainability in terms of “mean time to repair.” You don’t have to be the class savant to see where this goes: R&M is just as applicable to motorcycles. In days of yore, motorcycles weren’t very reliable, but they were such stone-simple devices that they were easily repaired with simple tools and materials under just about any conditions. Early motorcycles had low reliability, but very good maintainability. In the notso-distant past, you could field-strip a Bing carb with no tools whilst laying on your back in a central-American gully. Contrast that with today’s twowheeled, technological wonders wherein they do not break very often, but when they do, you’d better have a big shop full of specialty tools and a buttload of computer software. Modern mounts have high reliability, but relatively low maintainability. Of course, that’s by design, as dealers don’t make big money selling parts to shade-tree mechanics. You can break R&M down to the component level. There are items on a motorcycle that require replacement frequently enough to be considered “consumables.” Incandescent lights last a fairly short time comB L S REA pared to a Light-Emitting Diode (LED). One would A RL S D O think, therefore, that a part with that low reliability LINE oday and see what’s here for the Y R L seaso OLL would have a correspondingly good maintainability. in t p o n t ! S Unfortunately, for two in my garage, that’s not the case. One machine requires removal of the front fairing to replace the turn signal bulbs, a “fiddly” job that We have a great requires long-handled, ball-headed Allen wrenches, Ask Our near-perfect alignment of the fairing, and a fair amount selection of Sales Team of R-rated utterances to replace the fasteners. MotorClothes® About Another machine consumes low-beam headlights. and Accessories DEMO RIDES One blew on the way to the dealer’s open house last fall (I knew because there was an LCD incessantly reminding me of it), so I pulled up to the service guys to ask Mon to Fri: 9 to 6 • Sat: 9 to 5 • Sun 10 to 4 if they had one. “Sure” said one, but to my surprise, he said to another “I bet you can’t change it in less than 25 SCHOCH HARLEY-DAVIDSON/BUELL minutes.” I was taken aback, but I shouldn’t have been: Rt. 33 (Snydersville Exit) • 4300 Manor Drive • Stroudsburg, PA 18360 extracting the old one isn’t hard - if you’re doublewww.harleyclothes.com jointed and have small hands. Getting the new bulb into the holder, replacing the connector, and getting the rubber cover reinstalled was more of a challenge. The Cycle Motion is your provider of end result was a 22-minute contortionist act on the part motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, snowmobiles, of the technician. At least he won the bet and I didn’t and utility vehicles by Kawasaki, Suzuki, have to do it. Polaris, and Yamaha. With a large parts Just about every machine has parts with poor reliadepartment, qualified service technicians and bility, bad maintainability, or both. Motorcycles are a full shop full of parts and accessories, we're particularly vexing because manufacturers try to put here to meet all your power sport needs. many parts into very small spaces for low drag and mass centralization. It makes service a real challenge. I believe part of the problem results from ComputerAided-Design (CAD), wherein parts can be designed based on three-dimensional models, allowing designers to pack the parts electronically without regard for maintainability. In the days of paper drawings, greater 1269 DOLSONTOWN RD • MIDDLETOWN NY 10940 tolerances were allowed because you didn’t have all 845-343-2552 • WWW.CYCLEMOTIONINC.COM the other designer’s models to which you could compare. CAD is still not foolproof, however: I once had a For every rider - on or off road, designer swear that it was impossible for the control whether they like doing it in the dirt, stick to contact the ejection seat. It took hearing the carving the twisties, “clunk” as the two parts hit to convince the guy his or cruising the backroads, computer models were NKR (Not Kwite Rite). we have their weapon of choice.
EY AND UE L
FEBRUARY 2010 â€˘ BACKROADS
The legendary mighty Minsk motorcycle is 125cc of pure 2-cycle muscle, a snarling beast ready to rip apart the toughest mountain roads while spreading a cloud of oil smoke that no mosquito can survive, a soviet area secret weapon known by few Americans. I had always wanted to romp through the hills on this machine and a chance finally opened for me in Vietnam. A trip through the north of Vietnam seemed just the ticket to make new friends and I could think of no better way to get around than on a Minsk. The best way to meet people anywhere is on a bike and the Minsk was sure to offer many opportunities. Hoa, the receptionist at the Prince Hotel, suggested several rental companies. Cuong Motorbike Adventure in Hanoi probably rents more Minsks than anyone else in the country. He completely reworks all returned bikes - and most of them need it - to keep them in good shape for future customers. Before you drive away he fills the tool kit with extra brake, clutch, and throttle cables, an assortment of tools, a reserve electrical unit, and several spark plugs. Because contradicting rumors persist about the reliability of the Minsk, my son Rick decided to rent a Honda in case we got into trouble and needed a way to seek help. Motorcycle repair shops just do not appear everywhere in Vietnam. The Minsk is popular for that very reason. It might be prone to break-downs but no bike is more basic or easier to fix. And cheap? A mechanic will re-build the engine for about $60 and you can buy a rebuilt Minsk, new tires and all, for $350. Driving through Hanoi is rather similar to entering a demolition derby. Bikes emerge from everywhere and from every direction. Half the population in town own a motorbike and they all seem to be on the streets at the same time. There are highway rules and
Smoking Through North Vie tnam words and images: Ri chard Baker
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
I took a chance and veered to the right and entered the start of some beautiful country, flat land covered with various crops, dancing chickens, and grazing cows. Few water buffalo habitat this part of the country. The cows are raised for beef. Water buffalo abound in the Villages in the mountains where they are used for work and play. The country is more severe and the buffalo are a tougher animal than cows. They are also tough to eat, not just because of their rubbery meat but
laws in the country but none are observed or enforced. They have them, but nobody cares. It is every person for himself. The only difference between a red light and a green light is the color. Because the people are used to driving this way, accidents are surprisingly few. No insurance is available or required. Offended parties suffering bumped fenders work problems out on the spot. Horns constantly blared as we drove from town, bikes, busses, trucks, and cars darting every which way. Cuong was happy to lead the
way out of Hanoi since road signs are practically non-existent. Rick took the lead but was soon lost in traffic. He missed a basic rule when traveling in groups: stay with the person “behind” you. I was not sure where he went when I came to a Y in the road. We were going to spend the night in Ban Lac, a Thai village outside Mai Chau. No signs led to Mai Chau nor did any indicate highway 6, the route we were using for most of the trip.
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because they are not eaten until they practically die of old age. Highway 6 forms the first part of what is known as the Dien Bien Phu loupe, an odd designation since few people, except historians, travel to Dien Bien Phu, site of the Viet Minh victory over the French in 1954. Most tourists continue to the resort hill town of Sapa before looping back to Hanoi. (Continued on Page 48)
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
Bergen County Harley-Davidson Presents
WE’RE OUTTA HERE
a weekend destination keeping you on the backroads
Looking for something a little different? Perhaps an escape from the hands of Father Freeze? Well this month’s We’re Outta Here is just that and maybe a bit more. If you are ever riding way down south - along the Gulf of Mexico - you have to spend some time here. We did and we loved it. So make time, make plans and make your way to the Gulf -cause we’re outta here!
Owner Bill is a most gracious host and showed us where we could park the bikes out of the elements and then proceeded to give us a quick run down on the island. There was plenty to see. We made note of some of the must-dos and then went off exploring on one of bikes, a Triumph Tiger, to see what we could see. Unfortunately some serious storms had battered Dauphin Island over the previous days, so we had a few puddles to cross, but the tour of Fort Gaines - made famous by Admiral Farragut’s quote of “Damn The Torpedoes” -
A while back Shira and I were doing a little exploring along the roads that run along the Gulf of Mexico, from New Orleans to Apalachicola, Florida. Looking at a map of the region I came across a small island, just south of Mobile, Alabama, right along the southern end of Mobile Bay. Standing guard between the bay and the Gulf of Mexico is Dauphin Island. A true barrier island, it is some 27 miles long and has everything an island lover could ask for. Sand dunes, lighthouses, tidal flats, two fresh water lakes, an old fort and new Estuarium along with a few places to stay, some serious seafood and barbeque places and miles of the whitest beaches you will find in these United States. Following along on a Google search while making plans for the ride I came across the Willow Tree Cottage. It looked good on the screen, but was simply fantastic in person. Basically a large loft apartment, its large wooden deck overlooks Aloe Bay and making yourself comfortable with a cold drink or glass of wine for sunset is hard to beat.
was a great step back into the Civil War and a tour of the prehistoric Indian Oyster Mounds held some beauty that one has to just sit and watch as hundreds of different birds call this place home. In fact Dauphin Island calls itself the “Birdiest Island in the USA.” The mounds themselves are from thousands of years ago when native tribes would basically come to the island to gorge on the plentiful shellfish and then they simply made mounds, in a serpentine shape on the east end of he island. Today mighty oaks and Spanish moss make it a birder’s paradise. Riding around Dauphin Island you will find a number of small parks and the dunes and white beaches, that seem to stretch westward into infinity, are simply stunning.
THE WILLOW TREE COTTAGE & DAUPHIN ISLAND, ALABAMA A HIDEAWAY ON THE GULF COAST
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
Nightlife is minimal, although there are a few pubs to watch the sunset, and the local seafood shop called Skinners will boil up a take-out of fresh gulf shrimp that should not be
missed; with that and a bottle of something good you’ll have a better time watching the sunset from the porch at the Willow Tree Cottage. We had the good fortune of being locked onto the island for a second day, as a system of lightning storms surrounded Dauphin Island and the ferry across Mobile Bay was docked. The only other way on or off Dauphin is a long bridge and causeway, but the rains, lightning and thunder made that less and less appealing. We’d happily stay at the Willow Tree for a second night. Bill offered up some wonderful Turkish-style coffee and home baked bread and, after a very leisurely beginning to the day, we were off exploring some more of the local color and spending a few hours at The Estuarium - a sort of aquarium celebrating the diverse aquatic life found in the Mobile Estuary system which runs south from the bayous and swamps into Mobile Bay and finally the Gulf of Mexico. It was a perfect way to spend a few rainy hours and learn about such a wonderous place. By later that day we had found another bayside pub for sunset, just a few blocks walk from the cottage so we enjoyed a leisurely late afternoon with fully fueled machines waiting below, ready to board the Mobile Bay Ferry at first morning’s light. Dauphin Island was a wonderful surprise and a true gem of America’s Gulf Coast. If and when this part of the country is on your riding plan make it a point to visit this island and the Willow Tree Cottage. You will be as pleased and as happy as we were that you did. WILLOW TREE COTTAGE PO BOX 122, 1302 CHAUMONT AVENUE, DAUPHIN ISLAND, AL 36528 251-861-2642 • WWW.DAUPHINISLANDALABAMA.NET
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
Morton’s BMW Motorcycles
Seymour O’Life’s M Y S T E R I O U S A M E R I C A MANGALITSA - THE OTHER KIND OF WHITE MEAT MØSEFUND FARM
315 MATTISON RESERVOIR AVENUE, BRANCHVILLE, NJ 07826 201-289-0210 • WWW.MOSEFUND.COM
There have always been famous pigs. Porky comes to mind. Elmer from Green Acres was an enjoyable fella. Miss Piggy, Wilbur, Babe and, of course, the Three Little Pigs. All modern time favs.
But centuries ago there were other pigs that ranked high - very high indeed. In fact for this one breed of pigs only Royalty could enjoy their hammy goodness. The Mangalitsa. What’s so special about the Møsefund Mangalitsa? The taste, which comes from a very meticulous style of pasture-based farming. The Mangalitsa also costs more than your usual pig. These creatures require double everything as other pigs - more time to mature, more pasture to graze, and more feed to finish them. This is partly why the breed nearly died out, when farmers went to cheaper, leaner, and less flavorful varieties of pork. The Mangalitsa at the Møsefund Farm are free range, raised outside all year, with access to fresh water, feed and run-in shelters. They graze on chicory, clover, and varieties of local nuts, and are finished on a barley mixture for a minimum of 60 days. This diet gives their fat
an amazing quality and consistency - high in monsatuarated fat, but low in polyunsaturated fat. Eat this meat and you’ll discover why the breed is renown for its superior fat quality, incredible concentrated flavor, and marbleized meat. You will not only taste, but your mouth will feel the difference when you eat Mangalista.
More importantly you my be wondering why the esteemed Doctor Seymour O’Life would write about some crazy European pigs in NJ? Because they are there, my friends, because they are there. Mangalitsa were breed and developed during the Austro-Hungarian Empire for their exquisite flavor. Originally only the Hapsburg royal family was allowed to eat Mangalitsa. Peasants need not apply. These beasties have long curly hair from dark black to blonde, imagine a mad genetics cross between a sheep and a pig. Mangalitsa are descendents of wild boars and genetically related to the black-footed Iberian pigs of Spain. They sure may be the prettiest pigs you’ll ever meet, and by far the tastiest, too. Mangalitsa were bred especially for their delicious and clean-tasting lard. The meat is dark, deeply flavorful, marbled with fat and more akin to a fine cut of beef than “the other white meat” pork. And they are unique. The breed nearly died out during the Soviet era. Were it not for the preservation efforts of farmers in Eastern Europe who revived the breed from a surviving 200 pure breds to around 50,000 today, the world would have lost this delicious meat. Now I have spent a good deal of time in Spain and when you walk into a bistro and ask for ham the butcher will pull a shank off the hook, pop it into the brace and start slicing away.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
This meat is always a treat and one of the things I love about Europe. Here in the USA, the FDA will always say “No Way!” Hey the Federal government knows what’s best for you - have your H1N1 Flu shot yet? Me neither!
As we have often said the roads here are perfectly suited for enjoyable motorcycle riding and our little Rip & Ride Route will give you a great day’s ride and will bring you right to these furry little pigs.
Rip & Ride® • MØSEFUND FARM 315 MATTISON RESERVOIR AVENUE, BRANCHVILLE, NJ 07826 • 201-289-0210 •
CR 659 SPRING VALLEY ROAD
CR 521 CR 521
NORTH NORTH TO
MATTISON RESERVOIR AVENUE
DOWN A FEW MILES ON LEFT
SECOND MOSEFUND FARM THERE
By the time this gets to print C. J. Andersen, the owner and breeder of the Mangalitsas, should be already selling meat to various restaurants and I was told that if you call ahead they will gladly show you the pigs and you can bring home the bacon too. You’ll find the Møsefund Farm in the very shadow of the Appalachian Trail, at the bottom of Sunrise Mountain in Sussex County, New Jersey - not far from our home base at Backroads Central. (Continued from Page 4)
With the AMA naming our future as the Motorcyclist of the Year they have again showed us all that this is a new and better AMA and one that you should strongly consider joining. It’s easy to join; just visit the AMA at their website: www.ama-cycle.org. While there, see what they have to offer, as it is plenty. There is strength in numbers and if you do not think there are some in positions of power who would like us to disappear then think again. Join the American Motorcyclist Association today. If not for yourself then do it for the kids. FREE WHEELIN’
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FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
B I G C I T Y G E TA W AY
daytrip ideas to get out of the daily grind
HILLIER THAN THOU • A RIDE WITH ITS UPS AND DOWNS Many riders dream of that perfect ride and, if all goes as planned, they finally get out and really ride it. This particular ride didn’t start out as a dream but a nightmare. Literally. I was having this dream; Shira and I riding somewhere very rural, and most definitely in western New Jersey, and then, suddenly I came over a rise and it was like a roller coaster. Even in my sleep I could feel my stomach going and then the bike came around and off the road we went. Slamming onto the bed I instantly awoke. “Just a dream,” I thought. Sprocket T. Cat was watching me suspiciously. She meowed her displeasure at being disturbrd by my hallucination. Wow, that dream sucked. I went back to sleep. In the morning, with a cup of coffee in hand, I remembered the nightmare and it got me to thinking which roads, if any, were like that in New Jersey. Now up in Sussex County, to the north and east near Vernon is Breakneck Road. A very steep hill indeed, but I was looking more in the western edges of the state. Most motorcycle riders don’t dwell too much on steepness or length when it come to hills. Most times we turn the throttle and move along. Bicycle riders, on the other hand, do pay attention to such things and so I went surfing along some New Jersey bicycle sites till I found what I was looking for. Thus began this ride I am calling “Hillier Than Thou.” What I didn’t realize when I was putting this together was that it would end up being one of the most interesting, not only in hills, but history and scenery as well. Brian Rathjen
Rip & Ride® • HILLIER
I dare say this is one of the better routes we have done in a long time and you will find some crazy elevation changes along this ride, and be grateful you are twisting a throttle and not pedaling a bicycle. We’ll start this ride in Hope, New Jersey. You’ll find the Moravian Village just south of exit 12 off Interstate 80. How you get there is up to you. From Hope we’ll mosey south on 519; along the way, on the right, you’ll spot one of the largest trees in the Garden state, a giant sycamore that started its life when we were all still British subjects. Follow County Road 519 down past Route 46 and past the Red Wolfe Inn (greatest steaks in New Jersey), making a left on the uphill road called Ridge. Another left onto Fiddlers Elbow will begin the roller coaster ride. This runs into 647 and we’ll bear right onto Halfway House Road. Here we’ll cross, for the first time today, the Morris Canal which connected the Delaware and the Hudson for nearly a century; it closed in 1922. When you see the sign look to the right and you will get a good view of the old canal. Although a bit on the rough side Halfway House Road is a scenic joy, just keep your pace even with your line of sight. This road brings us back to civilization at Route 57, which we’ll take west, but just for a short hop before making a left towards Asbury - yes, there are two Asburys in New Jersey. This one has no Rock Star status, but is far prettier. This ride will be available for your Garmin GPS and right around here you will see that the route crosses paths on itself. Go straight. County Road 643 becomes Iron Bridge Road and making a right on County Road 635 will bring us under I-78 and further west towards the river. A few other ups and down along the steep hills of western New Jersey and we’ll ride through Alexandria and then down 513, which is a popular road all by itself with many riders.
THOU • A RIDE WITH ITS UPS AND DOWNS
Download GPS route: www.sendspace.com/file/qx4nsr THIS RIDE STARTS IN HOPE, NJ - EXIT 12 OFF I-80 CR 519 SOUTH PAST RED WOLFE INN RIGHT AT RIDGE ROAD LEFT AT FIDDLERS ELBOW STRAIGHT AT CR 647 BEAR RIGHT AT BICKEL ROAD RIGHT AT HALFWAY HOUSE ROAD RIGHT AT RTE. 57 LEFT AT ASBURY BROADWAY ROAD RIGHT AT IRON BRIDGE ROAD LEFT AT MINE ROAD RIGHT AT CR 635 STRAIGHT AT CR 625 RIGHT AT CR 513 RIGHT AT CR 519 LEFT AT RUMMEL ROAD LEFT AT CR 614 RIGHT AT CR 519 IMMEDIATE LEFT AT CHURCH ROAD RIGHT AT CR 627 LEFT AT RIVER ROAD POSSIBLE LUNCH ACROSS BRIDGE AT RIEGELSVILLE INN? NORTH ON RIVER ROAD HARD RIGHT UP PINCHERS POINT ROAD
LEFT AT MOUNTAIN ROAD LEFT OVER CREEK ROAD STRAIGHT INTO RIVER ROAD RIGHT AT CR 635 LEFT AT MUNICIPAL DRIVE LEFT AT CR 639 STRAIGHT ONTO RTE 173 BEAR LEFT AT CR 632 LEFT AT BUTLER ROAD RIGHT AT MOUNTAIN VIEW ROAD BEAR LEFT ONTO BUTTERMILK BRIDGE ROAD RIGHT AT RTE. 57 LEFT AT CR 623 RIGHT AT CR 628 STRAIGHT AT CHERRY TREE BEND ROAD STRAIGHT AT CR 629 RIGHT AT HAZEN ROAD - PHEASANT FARM ON LEFT BEAR LEFT AND THEN RIGHT AT RTE. 57 LEFT AT STEPHENSBURG ROAD LEFT AT PLEASANT GROVE ROAD LEFT AT RTE. 24 STRAIGHT AT RTE. 182 - FRIED CHICKEN, ANYONE? LEFT AT RTE. 46 RIGHT AT CR 517 BACK TO I-80
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
Where 513 run into 519 we’ll head north along the same road we started this on, but only for a short while before we go in search of some more hills along Rummel Road. Our final approach to the Delaware happens on Church Road and then we’ll turn north along the river near Riegelsville on 627. If you are hungry we suggest crossing the river here and dining at the Riegelsville Inn, which we featured a few months back, or follow along like we did for a bite later on. Along the ride that day we spotted a lot of birds. Crows, hawks and a couple of eagle statues in front of somebody’s home that were very impressive. Little did we know that birds were going to become a theme for this jaunt before the day was done. We touch the shore of the Delaware for just a short few miles before we turn right up Pinchers Point Road. Now here things started getting a touch more technical, but nothing we couldn’t handle with a grin. This was a part of New Jersey that even we hadn’t ridden before and talking via radio Shira and I agreed that you guys and gals would love this ride. We doubled back west a bit on Creek Road and then headed east on 635 again. Back on County Road 519 the GPS asked me to do two things at the same time. If yours says go straight and then make a u-turn - don’t. Bear left on Municipal Drive and it’ll be all right. These GPSs are good, but only as good as the programmer; and I am not that good - yet. We’ll cross our route once again and the happily
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named Buttermilk Bridge Road will bring us back to Route 57 and then onto Brass Castle Road which heads back up towards the surrounding hills. Heading east on 628 we have to ride along some residential streets, but just for a short time before riding along some of the neatest roads of the day. We’ll make a right onto Hazen Road and past the Rockport Pheasant Farm. Now this is a Mysterious America waiting to happen. This is where all those pheasants you see running around the wildlife regions of the Garden State begin their lives. They hatch thousand of these birds each year to be released into the wild. Over 400 acres big, it dominates the land here and if you stop you’ll see plenty of pheasants running around the pens. But, this is state land and we got scolded for Shira walking in to take a picture. The guard was not amused; well not as amused as I was. Boy, middle children. The Rockport Pheasant Farm is worth seeing all by itself. I’ll have to send Seymour out there. We crossed Route 57 and then up along the last of the real tight roads for this day before taking in some great sweepers that led to Schooley Mountain Road and past the huge crow statue you’ll find on the mountain. Heading into Hackettstown we spied the perfect late lunch stop. Well, after all the birds how could we pass up the Golden Skillet fried chicken joint. Slightly greasy, but delicious it was the only way to end a ride like this on an early Autumn day riding the hills of west Jersey. Following the route after lunch brought us back to I-80 at County Road 517. Some of you could hop on that for the ride home, I am sure. Well, others, you can keep going north - I know of some hills up this way too. This was fun and I am sure we’ll do something like this again in the near future.
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FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
G R E AT A L L A M E R I C A N D I N E R R U N STONEY CREEK INN 8238 FT. SMALLWOOD ROAD, BALTIMORE, MD. 21226 410-439-3123 • WWW.STONEYCREEKINNRESTAURANT.COM
We get some of our ideas for destinations for this magazine from all sorts of places - word of mouth, guidebooks and many times from the different shows on the Food Network. Guy Fieri, from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, visited this month’s stop on the Great All American Diner Run during last season’s run and even back in the middle of winter we knew it was just a matter of time before we made the ride south to Baltimore to see if Guy was right when he said that the Stoney Creek Inn had some of the best crab cakes he had ever tried. Hey, if you can’t trust a wild food-eating machine in a hot Camaro who can you trust. But, it’s not just Fieri that expounds the crabby goodness found down here on the Chesapeake Bay, but the state of Maryland itself has made this same claim - for eight years in a row. Keeping all that in mind we set up a ride down to the Stoney Creek during our Backroads Fall Fiesta Rally in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
tasty places to take your bike
We worked up a great route down through the Amish country and over the Susquehanna River, before crossing the Mason / Dixon Line and into Maryland. That day we had a few dozen riders join us, so we knew that our review of all that would be found on the Stoney Creek’s menu would be well rounded. The Stoney Creek itself looks like all good crab joints should. A smallish seating area inside with a large and open outdoor seating area - The Crab Deck - with beachy music softly filtering from the speakers yep, Buffett’s Margaritaville came on a few tunes into it. Owners Bill and Mary Green couldn’t have been more cordial, even after we called them the previous week and made a vague statement that we would be down around 1ish with about 20 plus folks. We had more and their staff did a spectacular job taking care of each and every one of us, even if the cutesy young waitress rebuked Notso Happy’s advances. Puppets get no respect.
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As promised the Stoney Creek was all about the crab; and they come though in a huge way. Some of us started with Billy’s Cream of Crab Soup - as thick as any soup we have ever tried, it was full of wonderful seafood goodness and easily could be a meal all by itself, but of course there was more to be had here. After the soup we had to have some of their Crab Cakes. We are lovers of the crab here at Backroads Central, in fact each year we have our own Crabfest for friends and family. When the Stoney Creek Inn placed the cakes in front of us we knew that these were going to be special indeed. Created with lump crabmeat, they seem to have added just the right amount of filler to bind it all together. All you tasted was wonderfully spiced crab. Yes, indeed, these were the best Crab Cakes we have yet experienced and worth the trip all by themselves. But, the Stoney Creek was not done. On the menu we spotted what they called a “Bawlmer Speciality.” What is this we thought. Well, the Fried Hard Crab is a large steamed crab that is cleaned and then stuffed with the Stoney Creek’s award winning crab cake. It is then dipped in a batter and deep fried until golden brown. A few intrepid Backroads Fall Fiesters went for it and it certainly looked like nothing we had seen before
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
and we know, next time we’re down there, it’ll be on our plates. But, a word of warning - although it looks like a whole crab in a shell, it is not - so, don’t take a hammer to it, rather a gentle plunge of a fork is all you’ll need, as our friend Jonathon found out the hard and messy way. Thanks for the entertainment Jon. Peeking around the many tables to see what folks had ordered and what they like, it was pretty unanimous that everything the Stoney Creek Inn
serves will make you smile and I dare say this was one of the best lunch stops we have had during one of our rallies in a long time. Next time you are heading south along the coast make it a point to try the Stoney Creek Inn - you will not be disappointed. Our ride down there will be from outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania, so feel free to start from there or jump into the ride at any time. Enjoy the roads and the food.
Rip & Ride® • STONEY CREEK INN 8238 FORT SMALLWOOD ROAD, BALTIMORE, MD 21226 • 410-439-3123 • WWW.STONEYCREEKINNRESTAURANT.COM DOWNLOAD GPS ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/GR21AU • APPROX 95 MILES O/W
START: STEAMBOAT HOTEL, RTE. 30, LANCASTER, PA LEFT ONTO 896 STRAIGHT AT MARY POST ROAD. RIGHT AT 372 LEFT AT HESS ROAD RIGHT AT DRY WELLS ROAD LEFT 472 RIGHT AT PUSEYVILLE ROAD (YES, THAT’S RIGHT) LEFT AT 227 STRAIGHT AT RTE. 22 RIGHT AT RTE. 1 LEFT AT 623 / 161
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FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
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Dearest Shira...and that guy, Many thanks and much appreciation for the wonderfully exceptional book review. Apparently it is now 17th on the Amazon rating, will be on the New York Times best-seller list this week, and has already been discounted by Target and Wal-Mart. Clement “The Merciful” Salvadori
Clement, Glad you got a chuckle out of that. It was done with a nod to the maestro. That’ll teach you to try, quite poorly I might add, to assassinate me with a Harley-Trike. As your new publicist I am proud to tell you that early today your book has surpassed Going Rouge and it seems Mrs. Palin wishes to team up with you on a new book called Herding Cats. Not sure if it is about felines or Congress. Hi Brian, Ha ha, you funny people! I like the Crudential product, and, like the plastic paste-on bullet hole stickers and ADV stickers I see all over the place (mostly in the USA), there’s likely a market for the canned gunk! I once proposed to sell BMW codpieces to GS buyers as an accessory item when they bought these new oilhead adventure behemoths. I’m headed south to soon cross the equator and poke around Java. Not been there before, then maybe on across Asia and to NYC April 1. Should be all pavement so send a can of the Crud stuff. Best, and thanks for thinking of me, 1/2 a world away, and sending me some good reading. Dr. Greg Frazier, on the road around the globe Hello, I picked up your magazine at Cliff’s in Brookfield, CT recently, and really enjoy reading it. I was reading about your trip through the Alps, and you mentioned that you use some Garmin software to plan your route, and then
get it into the GPS unit. Could you please provide either the name or link for the software? I have been doing it the hard way of entering each location one at a time. Would appreciate any help you could offer. Great magazine, and thank you. Richard W. Adua
That’s easy. Simply go to www.garmin.com and you will find all the maps, updates and anything else you will need. Have fun!
Dear Backroads, Just got my copy of Backroads, still the best of the bunch! Your article, “The Argument for Space,” caught my attention, and at least in my opinion is right on the mark. An additional point that motorcyclists of all stripes riding in a group need to remain aware of is the traffic bunching up behind them. Most groups I’ve seen, whether on a freeway or backroad, don’t leave enough space between them to allow passing, or conveniently enabling a car to slide into the parade to make an exit. On a two lane road it can be even more frustrating. A few years ago I was riding with a friend along a two laner with no passing zones, a club was “cruising” at about 35 mph, in a 50 mph zone. Not one would move over to allow us to pass without crossing the double yellow...why? How hard is it to move over a few feet to let a fellow motorcyclist pass? We eventually got by, but if we’d been in a car, we’d have had to go at their pace for 10 miles or so...not exactly building good will among car drivers. Anyway, that’s my 2¢ worth. All the best! Mike from Sunny California Hey Guys, I was thrilled to hear the Spring Break Rally will be in Winchester, VA. You certainly selected a fantastic location with so many great ride and meal options. My wife and I relocated to the area three years ago and couldn’t be happier!
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BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
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Global Warming.... We can’t wait
Got something to say? We’d love to hear it. Letters may be edited, never censored, to fit.
As you have mentioned, the roads are incredible with little traffic. East of Winchester are many caverns, Shenandoah National Park and River, Smithsonian and the awesome Udvar Hazey Air and Space museum to name a few. Wild and wonderful West VA is about 10 miles to the west with endless fun. Also the Perry Zoo in Perry, West VA is a nice stop on Wolf Gap Rd. It’s a small family owned zoo where you can feed the bears 4ft. away from you or hold and bottle feed a Bengal tiger cub with your photo for $15.00. No lawyers here! Looking forward to riding with you again! All the best, Joe Giuffre
Song of the Week
Wow - I can’t tell you how this takes me back - (Icarus by Paul Winter Consort). In the late ‘70’s I was living in Boston. I had a girlfriend who really liked the PWC album with the whale calls. We found that one side of the album was just enough time to .... Well the grooves wore out on that record. Thanks for taking me back 30 years with the magic of digital technology. Rabbi Dan
Everybody can sign up for the Song of the Week, Rabbi - just drop us an email at email@example.com - subject line Song of the Week.
Backroads, My husband Tom is busy reading the January issue of Backroads that he got in the mail today...he loves your article on global warming! As he said, “Brian has outdone himself in January’s Free Wheelin’. I now understand why you let him lead. The man could teach Dr. Phil a thing or two.” Elaine Deming
A few years back we ran a similar article and when I left the booth at the Javits show to go for a walk some gentleman (I say that with a smile), who Shira saw waiting around, came up to her (right after I left) and berated her for my article. Yelling at the lovely redhead he accused me of being an idiot (only sometimes right) and asked if I believed if the world was created in 7 days, etc., typical of this sort of narrow minded folk. Still, I am sure I will get reamed on this by the GW Dogmatics! Such fun to stir the pot! Hey Brian, Funny you should refer to NJ Black Bear Runs in your current column, as my last two bear sightings have been in Jersey. They were both on the NPS road along the Delaware. In one encounter, the bear was crossing the road and stopped as I approached. I stopped, too, at about 200 yards. He then stood up on his hind legs... and faced me. I waited awhile, he lost interest, and ambled off. Afterwards, I realized that, while black bears are not really threatening, if I had been out West with a Grizzly, my actions would have been foolhardy. I should have turned 90 degrees, to facilitate a quick escape, if the bear turned aggressive. Lesson learned! Gregory W. Bagen
Backroads Central is one ridge over from that road (Walpack?) and we have bear in our yard and on our decks often. They’re just looking for food... Unsuspecting riders are a speciality!
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
E VENT R ECAP
2010 DALE’S CHILLY CHILI RUN
With fierce northerly winds bearing down for the previous few days leading up to the end of the decade we were concerned that this year’s annual Chilly Chili Run would suffer a frigid blow, but once again the hardy riders of northern New Jersey came out in force to ride the first ride, not of the new year, but new decade. words: Brian Rathjen • images: Jennifer Smith
50+ intrepid riders and dozens more folks who drove in (Yep, I was one of them) came out to the Ogdensburg, New Jersey Firehouse for the annual first meal. Chili and hot dogs. Yep, enjoy yourself with great people and motorcycles and blow that ‘eating right’ resolution all at the same time. Now in its 35th year Dale’s Chilly Chili Run benefits the Karen Anne Quinlan Hospice and this year Julia Quinlan, Karen’s mother, hopped in Keith Hyche’s BMW sidecar rig “Go Mustang Sally” and went for the ride herself. Always a brave one Julia is.
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We have been to many of these January 1st runs and with warmer weather hundreds of rider attend it. With this year’s freezing temperatures the Blue Knights NJ IX still raised about $5,000. Not too bad for such a cold start of the year.
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The ride started promptly at 11am and lasted about 50 minutes when, led by Sussex county sheriffs department, the ride came back up County Road 517 and in minutes tables were full and the chili was spooned out. Master of Ceremonies “Uncle” Nick Irons kept things lively, and awards were given out as well as a new Tin Man trophy to replace the famous rubber chicken award. Bergen HOG was the best represented club with 35 members and the Blue Knights completely sold out on the raffle for the bike. Once again a year of great riding gets a warm (okay chilly) start in northwestern New Jersey.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
The Best of Backroads 2009
ear readers, riders and dignitaries of all models, it is time once again to look back on the year just past and whittle out the very best of Backroads for 2009. Yes, we know this year has been a tough one for so many, and for some of us the only escape from day to day was to hop on your machine and ride. Thankfully we at Backroads had plenty for you all to do as this year we found some really excellent places to ride. Of course our yearly tradition of choosing the ‘Best of” issue was handled over a weekend at the infamous Monkey With a Gun where, this year, the Flying Winemaker wines were featured as well as some seriously good premium tequila, rum and cigars brought in from an island - not too far from Key West - that the Federal Government does not want us to have. A few days later, when the heads and the cigar smoke cleared, we had our list and it’s a good one. So welcome to the Best of Backroads 2009 - get ready to ride!
The Great All American Diner Run
As we have said many times in past Best of Backroads’ issues the Great All American Diner Run, or GAADR as we call it, is far and away our most popular monthly column. That tasty combination of good friends, superb location and twisty roads makes for a righteous formula indeed so let’s get right at it and found out who was the “Best” in 2009.
Second Runner Up • Riegelsville Hotel & Inn Our Second Runner Up, the Riegelsville Hotel & Inn, is a bit out of the way. Although it lies right on the Delaware River you do still have to search it out, but is it ever worth it. Great ambiance, superb food, plenty of parking and, once you know where it is, it will become a favorite for sure. If you get there for dinner or in the evening they have an excellent bar and live music is common and they also have rooms right upstairs so you can continue your ride in the morning, safe and sound. The Rip & Ride Route Sheet to the Riegelsville Hotel is one of the best rides in this magazine, so make it a point to check this place out. 10-12 Delaware Rd, Riegelsville, PA • 610-749-0100 • www.riegelsvilleinn.com
First Runner Up • Maggie’s Krooked Café Main Street, Tannersville, NY • 518-589-6101 • www.krookedcafe.com
We ran into Maggie’s at the BMW Rally at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills this past fall. Quirky and cool Maggie’s Krooked Café offers great ambiance, delicious fare and Tannersville is found right in the middle of some of the best riding in all of the northeast. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the food and make sure to say hello to Maggie for us.
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
First Place Great All American Diner Run 2009 Vanilla Bean Café Rtes. 44/169/97, Pomfret, CT 860-928-1562 • www.thevanillabeancafe.com
The Vanilla Bean Café, located in the quiet corner of Connecticut, has long been a favorite of local riders, but this year we brought this great Nutmeg secret to all of you. The owner rides himself and the Vanilla Bean has everything you could want in a Great All American Diner Run - superb rider’s atmosphere, miles of scrumptious roads to get you there and food that will never disappoint. From the emails we have gotten from so many after this appeared in the November issue of Backroads it seems that the Vanilla Bean Café is the place to ride to in 2009 and beyond when looking for the very best Great All American Diner Run!
Big City Getaway
The Big City Getaway has always been about two things - the ride and the destination. Over the years this column has brought riders to all sorts of places and this year was no different. Welcome to the best of Big City Getaways for 2009.
Second Runner Up The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
It was with great honor that we featured this wonderful museum to all our servicemen and women who have be wounded or killed in service to our great nation. Located not far from venerable West Point, the Purple Heart Museum, in Vails Gate, New York is a humbling place to visit, learn and pay your respects to all of our brave soldiers. We thought this was one of the most respectful museums we have ever been to and urge you to see it for yourself.
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First Runner Up Hudson River School Tour
This was a labor of love for Shira, who herself is a Cooper Union alum. The Hudson River School of artists work is both breathtaking and a part of American history. The route will bring you to some of the outstanding homes of these many artists, not to mention along the very scenery that so inspired them and still does artists these days. It was a grand ride and well worth being in the very Best of Backroads 2009.
First Place Big City Getaway 2009 The Snowmobile Barn Dixon Road, Fredon, NJ 973-383-1708 • www.snowmobilebarn.com
This was a wonderful find from the very beginning of the year and so worth the ride to the northwest part of New Jersey to see. The Snowmobile Barn has so much to see, and not just the greatest collection of snow machines either. Don Klemm’s collection goes past his menagerie of snowmobiles and into very pieces of rare Americana as well.
ROLLIN’ FAST CYCLE SPORTS 104 Main Street • Lebanon New Jersey 908.236.9000 • www.rollinfast.com
The Snowmobile Barn was an easy pick for the very best of the Big City Getaway for 2009 and an honor very well deserved.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
We’re Outta Here
Okay, call us romantics, but we take great pride in our We’re Outta Here column each month and we especially like to hear from readers that have followed in our wake to some of the tiny inns, B & Bs and hotels that not only welcome us as riders, but then whisk us to another world entirely. Welcome to the best of We’re Outta Here for 2009.
Second Runner Up • The Inn at Millrace Pond 313 Hope Johnsonburg Road/CR 519, Hope, NJ 908-459-4884 • www.innatmillracepond.com
Located on County Road 519, one of the finest roads in all of western New Jersey, the Inn at Millrace Pond has all the ingredients for a most excellent get away, in fact we know two editors that work for this very magazine that spent a romantic wedding anniversary there this past May. The inn’s location is wonderful, the restaurant and wine cellar is beyond compare. You cannot go wrong if you and yours steal a few nights at the Inn at Millrace Pond - we promise you will not be disappointed.
First Runner Up Historic General Lewis Inn 301 East Washington St., Lewisburg, WV 304-645-2600 • www.generallewisinn.com
So you say you want to go to West Virginia? Well, we can’t blame you and while buzzing around the state make sure to check out our #1 pick for Mysterious America, take a short ride into
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Lewisburg and take a room at the General Lewis Inn. A very rider friendly place, the General Lewis Inn is as comfortable as it gets. From the wide porch and rocking chairs, to the spacious grounds, great rooms and superb restaurant, the good General has it all. A place not to be missed while riding in the Mountain State.
First Place We’re Outta Here 2009 Spin & Margie’s Desert Hide-a-Way Off Sunkist Road in the desert, P.O. Box 1092, Joshua Tree, CA 760-366-9124 • www.deserthideaway.com
Although far away from the Backroads region this place easily took our hearts and first place in the Best of Backroads We’re Outta Here 2009. Spin & Margie’s Desert hideaway is just that. Found in Joshua tree National Park in the California desert, Spin & Margie’s was as wonderful as it comes and we know we would be hard pressed to be in this wonderful part of the United States and not make our reservations here. The night we were there we had the entire place to ourselves and took huge advantage of that fact. At night the stars totally dominated the sky and, except for the Sahara, we have never seen so many. The rooms were wonderful and the various games they had spread around the property made the stay even more fun, as did the fire pit.
Spin & Margie’s easily took the #1 spot this time around and if you are ever riding in southern California please make plans to stop by and visit Spin & Margie’s for a few days. With Joshua tree and the mountains so near it is an excellent “hideaway” from which to explore this great region.
This is, without a doubt, the favorite column of Rathen, Bahr and the good Doctor O’Life himself - mostly because he gets the big bucks to oversee it each month. Still, we hope you appreciate the quirky, odd and mysterious places that we ferret out in each issue and this year we had some off beat places and stories indeed. From Killer Fogs to Killing Frogs - it was an unusual year at Mysterious America, but eventually we boiled it down to the top three we hope you agree.
Second Runner Up The Frog War of Willimantic Connecticut’s Wildest War
If you are riding through the quiet corner of Connecticut these days, and happen to be passing through the town of Willimantic, you might find it a bit odd that the bridge in town has giant frogs sitting atop huge thread spools. You might ask yourself, “Hey, what’s up with dat?” Well kids, Doctor O’Life is hear to give you the low down on a bit of forgotten Mysterious America. As we told you in the September issue, way back when the town folks of Willimantic lived
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
through a night of terror. They thought they were to be slaughtered by Indians and the French as unearthly sounds surrounded the fair town only to find in the morning light that a war of frogs and toads had raged through the previous night over a battle for a drought dried pond. A true story, and certainly one for Mysterious America.
First Runner Up • The Toy Robot Museum Now the Toy Robot Mueum was not only unusual and odd, but lovable as well. This is one of those places that you find every now and again and you know that any one you bring there is going to leave with the biggest of grins. Joe Knedlhan’s collection of
9 Market Plaza, Stoudtburg Village, Adamstown, PA • 717-484-0809
Toy Robots is simply marvelous and while riding around the Amish country of southeastern Pennsylvania do make it a point to stop by and say hello to Joe and the collection of bots - all 2,000+ of them. Folks do collect all sorts of things, but Toy Robots rule - end of story! Well worth a place on this year’s best of Mysterious America.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
B OOK S POTLIGHT
First Place Mysterious America 2009 The Bunker at the Greenbrier
For the first time ever all the tanked bags and Doctor O’Life were in agreement on our choice for the Best of Mysterious America and “The Bunker” had no rivals with which to contend.
This hidden command center for the hiding of the Senate and Congress in case of a Soviet nuclear attack, residing in the magnificent Greenbrier Resort in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, was kept secret for decades. These days you can actually visit and tour where our government would have operated if the Reds decided to push the button down. Walking through the huge blast doors and the complex you will truly be amazed with this place, and even more so on how they kept such a place a secret. Absolutely amazing and The Bunker at the Greenbrier was easily the #1 choice for this year’s Mysterious America.
You can find all the Rip & Rides for the Best of Backroads 2009 starting on page 40, as well as links for GPS downloads.
ACHIEVABLE DREAM MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE TRAVEL GUIDE
Are you a traveler on two wheels? Have you been inspired by the stories you’ve read in Backroads and other places? Or, perhaps you watched the ‘Long Way’ series and it’s got you thinking of a motorcycle trip to distant climes - the markets of Marrakech, the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan, the salt flats of Bolivia, the Bungle Bungles of Australia, the Pan American to Tierra del Fuego? Maybe it is time to follow your dream. With a little help it is achievable. We have been watching a video series called Achievable Dream. Basically a four DVD set which will help the “would be world traveler” cover just about everything they could possibly need, want or desire. Created by the folks that run the website HorizonsUnlimited.com, Grant and Susan Johnson, we were very impressed by both their website as well these well done and incredibly useful DVDs. On the first DVD, Getting Ready, veteran world travelers tell their personal stories and experiences on a variety of subjects such as paperwork, finances, planning, safety and so much more. The videos are an excellent watch, especially if you have ever dreamed of chucking it all and disappearing down the road for a few years, as many of these riders have. Other videos cover ‘Gearing Up’, ‘On the Road’, and ‘Ladies on the Road’. Available for $24.99 per DVD and $36.99 for On the Road, which is a two DVD set from www.horizonsunlimited.com. While there, take some time to explore this truly excellent resource for the Greg Frazier in all of us.
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Chasing a Sunny Day
“Wow, that’s bright,” I thought as the dawn’s sun poured through the wide window, its pure light trying to scramble the laser surgery I had years ago. It had rained hard, really hard, overnight and we thought this Friday was sure to be a wash out. But, the tempest that so rock and rolled the previous night had blown east and we had an unexpected free day to go out exploring. What amazes both Shira and I is that after 20 years we still run into roads that surprise us and, with the addition of Garmin GPS mapping software, our rides are getting more and more interesting. Smaller roads that we might have ridden by are now called out to us and you can even download these routes off the net onto your own PC (or Mac if you are enlightened). It’s an amazing world, but what we found this bright and sunny day was amazing as well. Shira has really taken to plotting out routes on Road Trip (the Mac version of the Garmin Program) and earlier had gone to work concocting a route that would, eventually, take us to a place outside Allentown, PA called Wert’s Café, reported to have the best hamburgers and onion rings on the east coast. Fully fueled and raring to go we set out down around Swartswood Lake and then headed up into the Kittatinny mountains that run along the border of western New Jersey, rolling down to the Delaware River. The
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FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
Stunning finds, wonderful roads and the search for the world’s best burger and onion rings
heavy rains from the night before had given the dozen or so waterfalls added fire and running along Old Mine Road was a visual delight this day. We crossed into Pennsylvania at the Water Gap and then followed through town on Route 611 before making a sharp right and heading straight up on Mountain Road. We had to improvise around a misplaced golf course (who makes these monstrosities?) but soon were riding high on the ridge in a more or less southernly direction. Shira’s route was full of twists and turns, rights and lefts and this mid-November day, just a week before Thanksgiving quickly warmed into the high 50s. At least for us everything was perfect in the world. Off of Route 512, which is as sweet as they come, we made a quick left onto Fox Gap Road. The road headed downhill into a sharp right bend, but it was to my left that had my attention. Columcille, a stunning megalith park. Columcille draws its inspiration from Iona - a tiny island of four-billion-yearold stone off Scotland’s West Coast. The island has been a source of spiritual guidance and awakening for centuries. Written accounts of Iona as a place of pilgrimage date back to the seventh century and oral histories and legends preserve traditions that stretch back to the earliest times. This day it caused Shira and I to decelerate in a most rapid manner and park the bikes for a little exploring.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
Year’s ago, columnist Jeff Bahr wrote about this Stonehenge of Pennsylvania in the illustrious pages of Backroads, but we had never gotten out to see it. This day we had literally stumbled across it. Fantastic. Incredible. Spiritual. Magnificent. Hmm, get the idea? Parking the bikes we walked through the swinging iron gate and into something from another place and time. Giant stones stood erect on the hills and I was waiting for wood nymphs or Druids to step forward at any second. We strolled around The Circle and then explored the Saint Oran Bell Tower, heading along the path to a most magnificent sight - the astonishing Thor’s Gate. I have been to Stonehenge and walked amongst its impressive stones, and this easily rivaled anything on the Salisbury Plains. Columcille was an unexpected and wonderful surprise. Regretfully we had to keep on the move if’n we were ever going to get to these mythical hamburgers and onion rings we had heard tale of. Shira’s route did not disappoint and at one point I realized my wife had actually turned my legendary internal compass around and I had no real idea where we were. It was most excellent. For the next few hours or so, we followed the prompts from the Zumos and along the way I spotted a Tom Cat, an F-14 atop a hill - this needed to be explored at another time - but Wert’s was just minutes away and we were famished. Wert’s Café itself was a gem and when you see the local chapter of the Red Hat Society banging back martinis and having a late lunch, you know you have a winner. We took a small booth and in just a few minutes the owner stopped by to say hello. He rides as well and wanted to talk bikes. We ordered the Wert Burger, which is stuffed with mushrooms and onion and added cheese and bacon on top. The onion rings were a must as well and in an incredibly short time we were served what I think is the greatest hamburger I have ever had. Seriously.
We spooned on some of Wert’s homemade mustard on top, which cleared both of our sinuses in seconds, and munched into the onion rings that were unlike any other type of onion we had before. Perfectly slivered and fried to a crispy perfection. Shira described them as a gaggle and tangle of deliciously coated and fried bit of onions that could not be beat. We have heard everything else is superb as well, but we were here for the burgers and rings. Another trip back seems like a must. Unfortunately in mid-November the wonderful sunlight we had been celebrating all day long was making a quick slide to the western horizon and we had just a few hours to get back to home base before Morpheus and his armies took back the day. As the sun dropped back behind the Kittatinny range we pulled into the gravel drive at Backroads Central. This Indian Summer was giving us some of the best riding of the year and we could only hope that last year’s Juneuary would learn form this November. You can download the one-way ride from Thisilldous in Belvidere, NJ to Wert’s Café in Allentown, PA here: www.sendspace.com/file/xony4q
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
F IRST R IDE
A FIGHTER. FOR ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a rider with a sport bike. He cherished this sport bike; a truly worthy steed with a Grendel of a motor and a chassis stolen from the greatest racing gurus, and rode it almost every day whether it was to work, to see his friends, or just to clear his mind. Then, one day, the rider pitched his beloved sport bike down the road. “Dang,” he said, when he saw the precious, damaged bodywork. “How am I going to afford all the replacement plastic to fix my ride?” Then a moment of enlightenment took place. “Why, in the name of Our Lord Mike Hailwood do I need all this bodywork?” our rider queried. “And while I’m at it, why don’t I put the nice high bars from my dead motocrosser on the bike so it will be more comfortable around town?” Thus, the naked sport bike was born. In the early ‘90s, Ducati launched the Monster series of bikes which were naked right out of the box, and Triumph followed suit within a year with the Speed Triple. Over time more and more performance was injected and more and more manufacturers came out with their own bare beasts, which have now been placed in a new genre called Streetfighter. It stands to reason that, since Ducati pretty much started up the class, they might just want to own it and maintain their nude supremacy. So, they have created the machine that all others would have to chase for said supremacy. Oh, and what do they call this monstrous new buck-nekked superbike?
Long Haul or Slow Burn
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Why, the Streetfighter of course. Ducati has definitely left any form of restraint back on the factory floor and decided to make the Streetfighter literally their most powerful, potent and technologically advanced naked bike ever. They did this, simply enough, by starting with their most potent superbike ever: the 1098. The Street is powered by the downright boisterous 1098cc Testastretta Evoluzione 90-degree V-Twin, which not only sounds like Mad Max is trying to escape from its engine cases (in a good way) but it also deals forth a claimed 155 horsepower. The exhaust note is standard Ducati moto-music only more so, and the power delivery is very torque-rich (with a strange sort of hit around 3,200-4,000 RPM). The six-speed
• All-new 65-degree, four-valves-per-cylinder, 1679cc V4 plus downdraft four-bore fuel injection with YCC-I intake technology and YCC-T fly-bywire throttle, provide plenty of eye-opening acceleration. • Lightweight aluminum chassis puts the engine low and forward for mass centralization, resulting in a machine designed to handle curves as well as straightaways. • Borrowing liberally from advanced sportbike technology, VMAX features a slipper clutch, wave-style brake discs with ABS and • Comes standard with a fairing that includes integrated speakers and connector for Brembo® master cylinders and complete suspension adjustability front iPod® players, plus a convenient, handlebar-mounted audio control system. • A pair and rear. • The Star® Accessories Catalog is packed full of high-quality of large, color-matched, locking hard sidebags make for excellent long hauls and parts that invite Star owners to fully express their individuality. short trips. • Electronic fuel injected, 113-cubicinch (1854cc) air-cooled, pushrod Vtwin produces great thrust at any speed. • The Star® Accessories Catalog is packed full of high-quality parts that invite Star owners to fully express their individuality.
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tranny has good ratios and comfortable action, although with all the power on tap and broad spread of grunt you don’t have to be too perfect in your gear selection. The more expensive “S” version comes standard with a very sophisticated traction control system and data logger for those that are interested in such wizardry. While the traction control would be a great thing to have, I must confess the excellent tuning of the fuel injection system makes modulating all that power manually, with nothing other than the throttle, a pretty user-friendly experience.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
The ergonomics of the Streetfighter are a bit unusual, in that the chassis is based on a hardcore superbike so the position of the rider is biased towards the front of the machine yet
there is still a long 58-inch wheelbase. So, as you sit in a fairly upright position the front wheel sort of disappears because most of the motorcycle is well behind you like you’re pulling a trailer. I know this seems hard to picture (and I am exaggerating of course), but you have to jump on one (especially after being on some other naked street bike) to see what I mean. Another interesting ergonomic quirk is the right footpeg, which is in such close proximity to the exhaust and subsequent shielding that it forces you to kick your boot outboard a bit. You get adjusted to it so it’s not a real problem, but it does take some getting used to at first. At 33 inches the seat height is lofty, but the narrow chassis makes it manageable at stops for those with shorter inseams. All this positioning leaves you with a surprisingly comfortable mount that handles beautifully, and gives the rider excellent feel for what the front hoop is up to. Ducati’s traditional trellis frame is as stiff as granite and yet some-
how compliant when the bike is leaned over just as it has always been; reminding you that great engineering never goes out of style. The regular Streetfighter gets a fully-adjustable Showa suspension with 43mm inverted front forks and an equally alterable rear shock; the S gets the full Ohlins treatment. As will come as no surprise, the brakes are also the Finest Kind (as Hawkeye Pierce was known to say) with twin radially-mounded Brembos up front with 330mm discs, and a single 245mm disc out back. This is a rider’s bike through and through, and while the styling is pretty stunning in and of itself the real joy comes in flinging its sub-400 lb. weight about on your favorite tastilicious tarmac. A very futuristic instrument display gives you tons of info (and has a cool horizontal-run tach), and at 4.4 gallons I wish the Streetfighter had a bit more fuel capacity (but I pretty much always complain about that with any bike, especially one like this). The machine exudes quality and has wonderful, walk-around-and-drool attention to detail, from the deep luster of the paint to the elegant, horizontallymounted steering damper.
Prices start out at $14,995, with the S model ringing in at $18,995.
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FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
E VENT R ECAP
Like the folks here at Backroads Magazine, I am also a big fan of the Americade Touring event held in Lake George every June. So when the staff of Americade announced that they were going to have a “rally” over the Labor Day weekend called Rolling Through Vermont and limit it to 300 registrants, I knew I would have to be one of the first ones to sign up to make sure I was in. The idea of riding through scenic Vermont with its twisty roads cutting through the Green Mountains and a three day weekend all put together by the Americade staff was too hard to resist. Plus, when they were saying that they put on a great event every year for 50,000 folks (which I totally agree with), imagine what they could do for 300? Sold me! When the time came to register there was no disappointment from the start gate. In true Americade fashion you were given options to choice from to fit your needs from lodging to optional activities. The base package included such things as guided rides through Vermont and the upper Lake Champlain region, lunch stops with fantastic meals at Stowe Mt Resort with optional gondola rides available, an evening enjoying a VIP cruise aboard the 100-year old, 220 foot Ticonderoga steamship for coffee and desserts to view Vermont’s Balloon Glow, and a private tour of the Full Throttle Motorcycle Exhibit that included wild customs, choppers, and vintage bikes all located in a round Shaker barn located in the Shelburne Museum property. And this was only the first day. Wow, I couldn’t wait for the event to come. Now most of us in the northeast know that this past summer was certainly not designed for riding. Rain, rain, and more rain was a format we all had to live with; so when the forecast for the Labor Day weekend predicted sunny days and warm temperatures for the whole weekend I imagine everyone that signed up for the event was ecstatic. We waited all summer for this weather and finally got it the last weekend of the season. I think the Americade staff owes someone big time for this to happen. words and images: T. Armac
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The Friday of the weekend was perfect, sunny skies and temps in the upper 80s; what better way to head out for a rally than weather like that. I headed up to Burlington, Vermont (home base for the event) from the Hudson Valley via Rte. 22 in New York to Vermont’s Rt 22A. Not what one would call challenging roads, but fantastic scenery for cruising. Once I got to my hotel, which was the host hotel, I was greeted by staff members with event information, maps, times for meetings and a goodie bag with a T shirt and some of Vermont’s specialties (maple syrup and candy - tasty stuff).
The event started of Friday night with a Welcome Party to review the weekend’s itinerary while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, dessert and beverages. The Rolling Through Vermont (RVT) Staff, lead by Christian Dutcher, went over the weekend’s events and information. They certainly did their homework on this one to make sure everyone was in for a great weekend, even down to having chase vehicles with trailers and cell phone numbers to reach them. The evening was capped off with $300 worth of certificates donated by TourMaster. Now on Saturday, another unbelievable weather day, everyone meet after breakfast to head out and ride. The RVT staff had Road Captains ready to lead us out in waves. For those with CB communication you could listen as well to the information floating through the airwaves. Besides directions and any possible hazards, the guides would inform and describe points along our route. Now if you’re not really into riding with larger groups, not to worry. The staff also had maps and directions included with your registration package so you could move along on your own. I’ve already
described to you Saturday’s events, but the riding and routes chosen were perfect. We meandered through some of northern Vermont’s most scenic roadways leading up through Smugglers Notch, kind of Vermont’s mini version of the Dragon, to our lunch stop at Stowe Mountain, with a gondola ride to the resort for a feast, overlooking Vermont’s high peaks. We headed
down to the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, just down the road, for a tour and, of course, some of their delicious flavors. After the tour, we were lead once again back to Burlington for the evening’s events. The only change to the night was the rescheduling of the balloon glow to Sunday night due to winds. The rest of the evening, with the private motorcycle tour and the steamship, sailed smoothly.
Sunday arrive with not a cloud in the sky, the morning was cool but you knew it was going to warm up and be ideal for riding. Sunday’s ride was taking us through the Lake Champlain region along with riding through some of the northern islands. It was neat to see the view of the high peaks which we rode just the day before. With lunch you had a choice of attending the scheduled BBQ picnic at the Abbey Restaurant (once again great eats) or go on your own in town. After lunch there were lakeside rides to a local apple orchard for a quick visit and cider tasting then off to Burlington
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
for the evening’s event. For Sunday night there was a dinner cruise on Lake Champlain with an option to take a later cruise, which included an eighteenpiece big band. The meal was superb, the views from the ship as the sun set over the Adirondack Mountains were amazing and the band sounded great. Once back to dock I decided to spend the evening in Burlington on its famed Church Street. The downtown area of Burlington is beautiful in itself, lake front views, and charming old buildings and, of course, there’s Church Street, a pedestrian street lined with restaurants, nightclubs, shops and parks. An adventure worth taking on its own. Monday had all of us enjoying breakfast at the Catamount Country Club, with photos taken throughout the weekend by the staff projected on the wall, closing thanks and thoughts and a few door prizes donated by Cardo Systems. For something different, the RVT staff had routes to take you towards home. Some headed east, west or north for our Canadian visitors. Everyone I spoke with loved the weekend. You could tell that Christian Dutcher and the RVT staff did a lot of work to make this a memorable event and they certainly succeeded. All of us who were fortunate to be at this inaugural weekend are already looking forward to returning again next year. If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, check out www.rollingthroughvt.com for more information and set your plans now because word of this event is going to spread like maple butter. Rolling Through Vermont will take place Labor Day weekend, September 3-6, 2010. Watch their website for registration and full details.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
What kind of rider are you and what do you hope to learn? That was the question posed to us by Mike Dillon and Aaron Stevenson on October 10th at their Cornerspin, Dirt Training for Road Riding and Racing, school. My reply was simple - “I have many years of off-road and road experience, which I’m sure will mean absolutely nothing! I’m just here to learn!” I’m not a racetrack kind of guy, and have no desire to be. For many, mastering control of a motorcycle while leaned over as far as it can go seems to be the Holy Grail of riding. Many years ago, I read about Kenny Roberts using XR100s on a flat track for training his sons and other up and coming road racing stars. King Kenny’s accomplishments include AMA Dirt Track, Grand National and Road racing championships as well as three World Championships on 500cc two strokes. If this is what helped top-level road racers then there has to be many benefits for the rest of us. When I first learned that a school of this caliber exists today, I immediately contacted Cornerspeed and made a reservation. Aaron and Mike are accomplished riders in every sense. They are both in excellent physical condition, they train hard, enjoy riding, have years of racing experience and provide various consulting services to top level racers and teams. Aaron is a life long athlete and active in many sports. He coaches motorcycle riding techniques, nutrition, strength and endurance training as well. A life long motorcyclist, he began riding at the age of 7. He received his expert racing license in 1992 and since has raced in the Vintage (Open-Superbike), Modern Supersport, Superstock, Superbike and Endurance classes having won a national championship and finished secondover-all several times in the WERA National Vintage classes. He currently races vintage superbikes, competing against racers on modern machines. During his schools (Cornerspeed and Cornerspin), Aaron takes complex riding theory and makes it easy to understand so that students can apply it to their own riding. His teaching style is relaxed and fun but he’s very serious about the knowledge students gain and how they apply it. He also does great impressions of Rossi, Hayden, Edwards and many other riders. Mike Dillon began his riding career off-road in the desert of New Mexico in 1979. In the mid 1980’s he raced amateur motorcross in New Mexico and Texas and participated in enduro, cross-country desert races, and hare scrambles. He also began racing dirt-tack throughout the Southwest and in Mexico. In 1989 he became Texas State Flat Track Open Amateur Class Champion and Mexican National Flat Track Champion (Open Professional division). Mike began his professional racing career in 1990 in AMA Pro-AM achieving over 40 national race victories. Over the next few years he finished 10th overall in American words: Tony Lisanti • images: Tony Lisanti and Cornerspin
TAKING IT TO THE TRACK
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
Motorcyclist Association Junior National Dirt-track Championship and was top points earning rookie on American Motorcyclists Association Camel Pro Dirt-track series. By 1993 he was awarded National Number 20 by American Motorcyclists Association Pro Racing Division and earned an AMA Professional Superbike racing license. Over the last few years Mike competed in both the WERA and CCS/FUSA road racing series earning 32 race victories and two WERA National Championships in A Superstock and Formula 1 and one regional championship. Mike currently works with Aaron as an instructor and helped develop the school with him. They carved out a small, tight and well-manicured dirt-road race course in the countryside about an hour north of Charlotte, NC. They included a perfectly
To boldly go where no man, or woman, has gone before.
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BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
groomed short track there as well where they like to let loose with their dirt track skills. Humbling to say the least. Needless to say we were in good hands. And hands are where the training begins. There are certain times when I’ve learned something about motorcycling
that have changed forever the way I ride. My first MSF course was one and this hand position lesson was another. Mike and Aaron took us through the proper hand position for precise throttle control. For the next two hours they demonstrated properly gripping the handlebars like a screwdriver handle rather than the usual “beer can” grip we all use. Keeping the elbows out and up was also emphasized for more leverage. Next was proper body position. Sitting as far forward as possible, being careful not to lean forward. Gripping the tank with our knees and weighting the outside peg in the turns. Lastly was rolling your butt onto the outside edge of the seat when cornering, and pushing the bike into the turn with the outside leg and turning your inside foot toward where you want to go. Keep centered, look through the turn and push the bike into it.
In short order we were putting the theory to practice. First some braking drills to get us warmed up. Rear brake control then front brake, then both. Next braking into a turn. Soon we were out on the track practicing cornering technique. Getting up on the outside of the seat with the proper positioning we made circles to the left and then to the right, inside foot down, then both feet on the pegs. Next it was one handed. We placed our left hand on the gas cap and rode in circles to the right, then to the left, inside foot down, then both feet on the pegs.
This was taking the basic elements of turning a motorcycle and practicing each and every one. The main focus was throttle control with the new “screwdriver grip” and the XR’s are excellent bikes for this. Nice mellow power but responsive. The bikes also made it easy to maneuver with a low seat, slim profile and neutral handling. As the day progressed, we practiced late braking and turning harder, leaning the bike as far as you could. Of course, there were more than a few tipovers, but nothing too painful. After each exercise, we were given pointers on what we did right and what we did wrong. The day culminated with a mini version of a superpole where they set up a tight “road race” course on the track and let us loose. By the end of the day we were trail braking getting the back end of the bike out (at least a little bit) and were gaining confidence and speed in the corners. When we finished I was excited about what I learned but was also exhausted. Day two started with a review of the previous lessons and hand and body positioning was re-emphasized. Traction and track conditions were perfect with a nice tacky surface, Aaron and Mike let loose for a couple of laps on the short track actually laying down a rubber groove on the clay. In short order we were back on track practicing how to late brake and turn the bikes on the extreme outside of the turn. This was tough as most of us would tend to run on the inside “hugging the rail” as Aaron put it. Mike was awesome at demonstrating how to drive into the outside of the turn and stuff the bike over
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
and exit with a controlled drive. Mike was able to show us that the short way around the track was not necessarily the fastest. He showed us how to choose a line to properly set where the bike should be for the next turn. We were given the opportunity to see for ourselves on the short track going right then left, braking late and turning hard leaning the bike as far as we could. The motorcycle goes fastest when it’s upright and you are on the throttle. The faster you can turn the bike, then the sooner you get back up and on the gas. That’s why a football shaped line around the short track was actually faster than riding a line dead center in the groove or even inside all the way around. We were shown by Aaron and Mike just how this was done. The guys got to show their stuff in a masterful demonstration, Mike and Aaron alternating taking the football line and hugging the rail. The two of them burned off about ten hard laps, each one passing the other and at times were close enough to elbow one another. The lean angles they achieved looked impossible. We were back on the “road” course practicing with flat turns, down hill and off camber turns. We also completed an exercise executing a sharp right hand turn in loose conditions immediately following a small rise. This was to demonstrate how the suspension unloads and how to settle the bike with the brakes prior to turning. By the end of the day another superpole was run and we ran lap after lap dicing with one another and taking the occasional spill. I ended my day after ten laps or so of my own on the short track and one big smile. This was one truly amazing experience. The drills demonstrated and practiced will no doubt be put to good use. I have no delusions of my going road racing, but the advice and techniques taught at this school will help any rider, young, old, dirt, street, tourer, racer, newbie or experienced. It is an amazing fun way to hone your turning skills that you can use immediately. In the end, when given the opportunity to review photos from the two days, I realized I had improved but there is still a long way to go. A few more old habits need to be broken. Perhaps making a return visit at some point in the near future is in order. The Cornerspin School is $500, including use of their bikes. They offer riding gear rentals. I recommend renting or bringing dirt riding gear rather than using your own street gear. A dirt helmet and dirt gear isn’t as bulky and breathes better as it is a work out. Street gear can work, but don’t bring your “Sunday best”. Also remember the temperature there is much warmer. The Cornerspin school is located one hour north of Charlotte, North Carolina right off I-85 in Spencer. You can contact them at:
WEB: www.cornerspeed.net/spin.html • PHONE: 704-332-3147 EMAIL: email@example.com
High Alpine Tour with Backroads and Edelweiss
July 17-24, 2011 • If Not Now - WHEN? Head off with Backroads’ publishers Brian & Shira for a tour of a lifetime as we join up with Edelweiss for their High Alpine Tour. Ride the roads you have dreamed of in the past - Paso Del Stelvio, the Grossglockner, the famed Dolomites. We’ll even have a day’s ride to Venice.
When: July 17 -24, 2011 Yes, 2011 – that gives you two years to get ready to come on Backroads most exciting event ever! There’s only room for so many, so make your plans now! Prices start at just $3360/rider and $2920/passenger. For more info email Doris at Edelweiss: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 973-948-4176
Ride the Alps, if not now, when?
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
FROM THE INSIDE
The American Motorcyclist Association announced the 2009 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year with a departure: This year’s recipients are a group, rather than an individual. The winners? Kids who ride motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. America’s youngest riders were at the center of the biggest story of the year in 2009, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission enforced a ban on selling youth-model off-highway vehicles. AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman made the announcement at the annual AMA Racing Championship Banquet, presented by KTM North America, being held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. “The core of the AMA mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling, and few threats have taken a more direct aim at that lifestyle than the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act which effectively banned the sale of youth-model OHVs,” Dingman said. “The AMA Motorcyclist of the Year is the person or persons who have had the most profound impact on motorcycling in a single calendar year. Although they were unwitting victims, kid motorcycle and ATV riders were thrust into that role in 2009.” “This devastating ban could potentially cast aside the hopes and dreams of thousands of young riders and their families,” Dingman said. “It is our duty to protect those dreams and re-establish the permanent access that young riders have to youth-model OHVs.
It’s an unwritten rule in motorcycling culture to stop for a distressed rider. Of course, rider ethics go well beyond the open road, as motorcyclists often stop on the journey of life to help those in need - rider and non-rider alike. In the spirit of that support, HarleyDavidson introduced a new clothing line today designed to aid those touched by breast cancer. The new Harley-Davidson Pink Label Collection was inspired by women who have been affected by breast cancer and designed to provide them support during their difficult ride. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every Pink Label Collection item will help fund the YourShoes 24/7 Support Center, which is administered by the national non-profit Breast Cancer Network of Strength. The YourShoes center, which helped nearly 50,000 people in 2008 alone, is staffed by breast cancer survivors who provide immediate emotional relief, at any time of day, to people affected by breast cancer. To find out more about the Pink Label Collection, or purchase items from the collection, visit your local Harley-Davidson dealership or www.harley-davidson.com/pinklabel.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON GOES PINK
“While we’ve always considered road racing an integral part of our sportbike development process, the realities of the current economic situation dictate the temporary suspension of our U.S. road racing activities,” said Bruce Stjernstrom, marketing director. Kawasaki’s long history of successful road racing includes 20 AMA series championships. Among the many champions who have worn the Kawasaki lime green racing leathers are Reg Pridmore, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Miguel Duhamel, Scott Russell, Doug Chandler, Eric Bostrom and more recently Tommy Hayden and Roger Hayden. “We expect to see eventual improvements in the general economic condition and Kawasaki will reevaluate its road racing position as we monitor those issues,” said Stjernstrom.
KAWASAKI MOTORS CORP., U.S.A. SUSPENDS ROAD RACING FOR 2010 SEASON
Now New Jersey’s weirdness is right at your finger tips! The WEIRD NJ App, long awaited by fans of the popular magazine, is the ultimate mobile travel guide to New Jersey’s local legends and best kept secrets. On the road you can now read stories, check out tons of photos, and get driving directions to the odd, offbeat, and just plain weirdness that makes the Garden State the truly bizarre place that it is._Log onto www.tikiinteractive.com for more information.
Overall satisfaction with the motorcycle ownership experience increases for a seventh consecutive year to its highest level yet, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Motorcycle Competitive Information Study released in December. The study finds that overall motorcycle ownership satisfaction averages 838 on a 1,000-point scale in 2009, up 24 points from 2008. Satisfaction improves across all five factors measured in the study-product; quality; cost of ownership; sales; and service-with the most substantial increases occurring in the sales and service factors.
J.D. POWER SAYS MOTORCYCLE SATISFACTION
“Given that industry sales are down roughly 30 percent during the past year, manufacturers are competing more than ever for every customer,” said Todd Markusic, senior director of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “The result of this increased competition is that the quality and performance of bikes is at an all-time high, and dealers are paying much more attention to their customers’ sales and service experiences.” The 2009 Motorcycle Competitive Information Study, now in its 12th year, includes responses from nearly 8,000 owners who purchased a new 2009 model year on-road or dual-sport motorcycle between September 2008 and May 2009. The study was fielded August through October 2009.
CRISTINE SOMMER-SIMMONS FIRST WOMAN TO RIDE IN MOTORCYCLE CANNONBALL RUN - U.S. COAST-TO-COAST ENDURANCE RIDE, SEPTEMBER 10-25, 2010
Three time Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee and author of the newly published book, The American Motorcycle Girls: 1900 - 1950, Cristine Sommer-Simmons today announced that she will be riding in the Motorcycle Cannonball Run next year. Sommer-Simmons will be one of only two women riders in the cross-country endurance run of the century. The Motorcycle Cannonball Run is gathering momentum to launch a pack of riders on vintage motorcycles for an historic ride across America in September 2010. The brainchild of Lonnie Isam, Jr., promoter and owner of Jurassic Racing in Sturgis, South Dakota, The Motorcycle Cannonball Run of 2010 requires that participants ride classic pre-1916 motorcycles such as Pope, Sears, Flying Merkel, Excelsior, Henderson,
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
Indian, Triumph, and the Harley-Davidson’s Silent Grey Fellows. Sommer-Simmons will make the 3,320-mile transcontinental ride on September 10 on the east coast in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on her 1915 Harley Davidson. “This is the thrill of a lifetime!” exclaims Simmons, “It’s an honor to be a part of such an historic and monumental race, and even more exciting to be the only American woman registered for the event!” For more information about the Motorcycle Cannonball Run, visit www.motorcyclecannonball.com. SideStand Up “The World’s Only Motorcycle Radio Road Show” broadcasts live Tuesday evenings 7-9 PM Eastern on www.SideStandUp.com. Past programs can be heard on the SideStand Up site, iTunes, and Zune. SideStand Up is dedicated to the riders and dreamers around the globe. Every week SideStand Up brings informative motorcycle related topics from vendors with quality products, authors and regular folks talking about their moto adventures. With a team of correspondents SideStand Up covers every aspect of motorcycling from dual sport riding, endurance riding, racing, product evaluation, how to write a blog / travel log / book, women’s issues, manufacturers recalls, safety, land use and many more timely topics. Visit www.sidestandup.com for more information.
BACKROADS gladly accepts press releases. Please send text/images via email to email@example.com.
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*Rider Education of New Jersey, Inc. has been approved by the Motor Vehicle Commission to offer the New Jersey Motorcycle Safety Education Course.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTS BRIGHTEN UP
Just in time for the dark days of winter, Twisted Throttle is proud to present Denali Extreme LED Lighting. The Denali light kit was assembled specifically for use on motorcycles. The compact 2”-square lamps house ultra-bright LED’s with an incredibly low draw of 0.75 amps each. Each 10watt pod produces 900 lumens, making the Denali LED’s the most efficient off-road lamps on the market. Unlike HID lighting, which requires a warmup time, LED’s are on at the flick of a switch. Each Denali kit includes a full wiring harness, water-resistant lighted switch with relay, and two sets of lenses, so you can run them as driving lights with a narrow, focused beam pattern or as flood lights with a wider beam pattern. The lamps ship with a universal M10 mount kit that works on most makes and models of bikes. Twisted Throttle also offers a number of bike-specific light mounts and light bars on their website- www.twistedthrottle.com. The Denali Extreme LED Lighting lists for $299.99.
KEEP TOES WARM
Boot Capote, which means simply “boot cap”, is an easy and affordable way to keep your feet warm and dry even in the most nasty of stormy rides. First off, not all boots are the same; and unfortunately even some boots that claim to be waterproof can eventually fail and let some moisture through, usually right up front at the boot’s tips and seams where they take the brunt of riding in the wet. The Bootcapote is a set of smartly designed, strong and resilient waterproof rubber caps that quickly and easily fit over the tips of your boots during rides, keeping even the slightest bit of moisture from sneaking in. What we liked about the Bootcapote is that once on they look like they are part of the boot itself, unlike other boot covers that give you the “galoshes” appearance from grade school days. The Bootcapote is very affordable and sells for $20 Canadian for a pair. You can easily order using PayPal on the website at www.bootcapote.com. These days if you order two pair you get a third free. For the extra protection the Bootcapote offers every rider should carry a set of these along for the ride as you never know when Mother Nature is going to throw a wet and chilly day of riding your way.
RIDING AMERICA’S BACKROADS
Over the last ten years, our friends at RoadRUNNER have taken readers on countless motorcycle adventures through the pages of their magazine. Riding America’s Backroads features more of the same evocative story lines and first class photography that RoadRUNNER is known for, but with updated maps, travel information, and attractions included. We are particularly fond of the choice of name for this book. They should be hearing from the boys at Dewey, Cheatum & Howe any day now. Seriously it is well put together, informative and just a fun read, especially when the winter is keeping you trapped. In addition to 20 full length touring articles, this book features six motorcycle service pieces covering topics like “packing a bike” and “riding in the dark”. Readers can also download RoadRUNNER’s tankbag maps and GPS files, for each tour, from their website. Although Riding America’s Backroads is especially geared to motorcyclists, it’s entertaining and informative for any traveler, whether on two wheels or four. Riding America’s Backroads: 20 Top Motorcycle Tours is a soft-covered book of 192 pages priced at $27.95 and available at www.roadrunner.travel/shop or by phone 866-343-7623.
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
Rip & Ride
Rip & Ride® - RIEGELSVILLE HOTEL & INN 10-12 DELAWARE RD, RIEGELSVILLE, PA • 610-749-0100 • WWW.RIEGELSVILLEINN.COM DOWNLOAD GPS ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/8S8UV9
EXIT KOSCO H-D IN POMPTON PLAINS MAKE U-TURN UP RTE. 23 NORTH LEFT AT CR 647 LIBERTYVILLE ROAD STRAIGHT AT CR 650 DECKERTOWN ROAD CROSS RTE. 206 BEAR LEFT THEN IMMEDIATE RIGHT ON OLD MINE RD CROSS CR 560 STAY ON OLD MINE ROAD TOWARDS WALPACK VALLEY BECOMES SR 615 AT VILLAGE BEAR RIGHT ONTO SR 606 HORROR - TAKE I-80 EAST FOR AN EXIT BEAR ONTO RTE. 46 EAST BEAR RIGHT AT CR 620 MASSENATTS RD. QUICK RIGHT AT MANUNKACHUNK RD. LEFT AT MARKET ST. BECOME CR 620 GREENWICH ST. IN BELVIDERE, NJ RIGHT AT DELAWARE DR.
RIGHT AT FOUL RIFT RD. RIGHT AT CR 622 ROXBURG STATION RD. LEFT AT RIVER RD. RIGHT TO STAY ON RIVER RD. RIGHT AT CR 621 RIVER RD. LEFT CR 621 RIVER RD. RIGHT AT 5TH ST - PHILLIPSBURG LEFT AT NORTH BROAD ST. STRAIGHT AT BROAD CR 122 - BECOMES MAIN ST. RIGHT AT CR 642 CARPENTERSVILLE RD. LEFT AT CARPENTERSVILLE RD. BECOMES RIVER RD. RIGHT AT RIVER RD AT CREEK RD. LEFT AT ROEBLING-RIEGELSVILLE BRIDGE CROSS INTO PENNSYLVANIA-WATCH BRIDGE SURFACE RIEGELSVILLE HOTEL & INN AT FOOT OF BRIDGE
Rip & Ride® • VANILLA BEAN CAFÉ RTES. 44/169/97, POMFRET, CT • 860-928-1562 • WWW.THEVANILLABEANCAFE.COM ONE WAY ROUTE 100 MILES • DOWNLOAD GPS ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/XWAPJ2
START: CLIFF’S CYCLE REVOLUTION 465 FEDERAL RD, BROOKFIELD, CT US 202 LEFT AT SR 133/JUNCTION RD RIGHT AT WEWAKA BROOK RD RIGHT AT HUT HILL RD - MINOR BRIDGE RD LEFT AT FALLS RD LEFT AT SOUTH ST BEAR RIGHT AT SQUIRE RD BEAR RIGHT AT SR 67/SOUTHBURY RD BEAR LEFT AT RUCUM RD LEFT AT BACON RD RIGHT T SR 317/GOOD HILL RD LEFT AT US 6/MAIN ST S RIGHT AT MOUNTAIN RD - OLD MIDDLE ROAD TPKE LEFT, THEN IMMEDIATE RIGHT AT MIDDLE ROAD TPKE CHANGES TO HAMILTON AVE BEAR RIGHT AT US 6/WOODBURY RD LEFT AT BIDWELL HILL RD BEAR LEFT AT US 6/THOMASTON RD
BEAR RIGHT AT PINE HILL RD RIGHT AT WATERBURY RD LEFT AT JACKSON RD LEFT AT CARTER RD RIGHT AT EAST MAIN ST/US 6 EAST RIGHT AT US 6/E MAIN ST LEFT AT ROUTE 10 N/MAIN ST RIGHT AT ROUTE 4 E/FARMINGTON AVE GET ON I-84 EAST EXIT FOR ROUTE 44/CONNECTICUT BLVD EAST LEFT AT ROUTE 5/44 CROSS I-84, BEAR LEFT AT MIDDLE TPKE WEST STRAIGHT AT ROUTES 6/44 LEFT AT SR 198/EASTFORD RD RIGHT AT OLD COLONY RD RIGHT AT ROCKY HILL RD RIGHT AT SOMERS TPKE RIGHT AT NORWICH WORCHESTER TPKE ARRIVE AT VANILLA BEAN INTERSECTION OF RTES. 169/44
Rip & Ride® • THE SNOWMOBILE BARN DIXON ROAD • FREDON, NJ • 973-383-1708 • WWW.SNOWMOBILEBARN.COM GPS DOWNLOAD ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/SP86PG
STAY ON RTE. 94 SOUTH PAST LAFAYETTE VILLAGE DROP IN AT MOTORCYCLE MADNESS - GREAT SHOP RIGHT AT RTE. 206 LEFT AT CR 626 - FAIRCLOUGH FUEL RIDE THROUGH TWIN BRIDGES LEFT AT PARSONS RD LEFT AT T UNDER SMALL TRESTLE UP HAIRPIN ON PLOTTS RD. RIGHT AT CR 519 RIGHT AT CR 622 LEFT AT CR 521 SOUTH LEFT AT CR 610 IN STILLWATER CROSS BRIDGE BEAR RIGHT UPHILL ON CEDAR RIDGE RD. STRAIGHT INTO DIXON RD. SNOWMOBILE BARN ON LEFT
FROM THE G.W.B. REGION HEAD WEST ON RTE. 4 STRAIGHT AT RTE. 208 /287 SOUTH EXIT FOR SKYLINE DRIVE BEAR RIGHT AT T ONTO RTE. 511 GO AROUND RESERVOIR BEAR RIGHT AT Y-SPLIT ONTO WARWICK TURNPIKE AFTER SMALL LAND BRIDGE, WITH LAKE ON BOTH SIDES, MAKE LEFT ONTO UNMARKED ROAD UNMARKED ROAD IS CLINTON ROAD RIGHT AT RTE. 23 NORTH LEFT AT HOLLAND MOUNTAIN RD. RIGHT AT RIDGE ROAD RIGHT AT EDISON RD. LEFT AT CR 517 RIGHT AT WEST MOUNTAIN RD. RIGHT AT OLD PROSPECT SCHOOL RD. LEFT AT RTE. 94
Rip & Ride® • HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL ART TRAIL PRINT TRAIL GUIDE:
• DOWNLOAD GPS
START: OLANA, HOME OF FREDERIC EDWIN CHURCH 5720 ROUTE 9G, HUDSON, NY • (518) 828-0135 RIGHT ONTO RTE. 9G LEFT OVER RIP VAN WINKEL BRIDGE/RTE. 23 LEFT ONTO SPRING ST/RTE. 385 THOMAS COLE CEDAR GROVE ON LEFT 218 SPRING ST, CATSKILL NY • (518) 943-7465 RIGHT ONTO SPRING ST/RTE. 385 LEFT ONTO RTE. 23 WEST LEFT ONTO RTE. 9W SOUTH STOP ON BRIDGE FOR VIEW OF CATSKILL CREEK CONTINUE SOUTH ON RTE. 9W RIGHT ONTO W. MAIN STREET/RTE. 30 BEAR LEFT - CONTINUE ON CAUTERSKILL RD/RTE. 47 LEFT ONTO RTE. 32 SOUTH RIGHT ONTO BOGART RD RIGHT ONTO RTE. 23A WEST APPROX. 3.5 MILES PASS BASTION FALLS VIEW
TRAIL ACCESS PARKING ON LEFT
AVAILABLE THROUGH CLEARING
IN TREES ON SOUTH SIDE OF PARKING LOT
HIKING TIME: LEAVE BIKE AND PROCEED BACK TO ROAD CROSS BASTION FALLS BRIDGE TURN LEFT TO EXIT ROAD AND FOLLOW TRAIL TO RIGHT OF FALLS
MILE TO BASE OF
BACK TO BIKE - WEST ON RTE. 23A RIGHT ONTO NORTH LAKE RD/CR 18 CONTINUE 2 MILES TO NORTH-SOUTH
(TOLL/FEE INVOLVED TO ENTER) BEAR LEFT TOWARDS NORTH LAKE BEACH RIGHT AT STOP SIGN PARK NEAR RECREATION CENTER SHORT HIKE: FOLLOW
PATH DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM
TOWARDS NARROWEST PART OF LAKES
BACK TO BIKE
BACK TO NORTH LAKE ROAD RIGHT AND CONTINUE TO NORTH LAKE BEACH PARKING HIKING TIME - A LITTLE MORE STRENUOUS HEAD EAST ACROSS PICNIC AREA - LEFT AT LEDGE FENCE LOOK FOR BLUE TRAIL MARKERS - ESCARPMENT TRAIL .25 MILE WALK, UPHILL, TO THOMAS COLE’S PROSPECT ROCK WITH SWEEPING VIEW OF HUDSON VALLEY FOLLOW TRAIL ABOUT .5 MILE TO JUNCTION WITH YELLOW TRAIL - SUNSET ROCK • RETRACE PATH BACK TO NORTH LAKE CAMPGROUND • DONE HIKING, TIME TO EAT
BACK TO ROUTE 23A WEST LEFT ONTO CLUM HILL RD RIGHT AT T - FOLLOW CLUM HIL RD LEFT ONTO PLATT CLOVE RD/CR 16 LEFT ONTO CR 33/135 LEFT ONTO CR 47A TO WOODSTOCK - EAT HERE OR... LEFT ONTO RTE. 212/MINE HILL RD RIGHT ONTO RTE. 375 W. HURLEY RD LEFT ONTO RTE. 28 HICKORY BBQ ON RIGHT 743 RTE. 28, KINGSTON, NY • 845-338-2424 FROM HERE YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN - HAVE FUN
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
Rip & Ride® • SPIN & MARGIE’S DESERT HIDE-A-WAY OFF SUNKIST ROAD
• P.O. BOX 1092, JOSHUA TREE, CA • 760-366-9124 • DOWNLOAD GPS ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/JTHKBE
IN THE DESERT
RIDE STARTS FROM SAN DIEGO, SO BOOK YOUR FLIGHT AND BIKE THERE)
I-5 NORTH TO OCEANSIDE CR 76 EAST LEFT AT S6 TO PALOMAR LUNCH THEN STRAIGHT ON S7 LEFT AT CR 76 RIGHT AT CR 79 THROUGH JULIAN - STOP FOR APPLE PIE! OUT OF JULIAN P/U CR 78 EAST RIGHT AT S2
Rip & Ride® • THE INN
GREAT SOUTHERN OVERLAND ROUTE OF 1849 LEFT AT S80 EVAN HEWES HWY LEFT AT RTE. 111 - HEAD NORTH FOR 50 MILES OR SO RIGHT BOX CANYON RD. IN MECCA UNDER I-10 BECOMES COTTONWOOD SPRINGS RD. RIGHT AT PINTO BASIN RD INTO JOSHUA TREE FOLOW SIGNS OUT OF PARK RIGHT AT ROUTE 62 RIGHT AT SUNKIST ROAD (VERY SANDY - GO EASY) RIGHT INTO SPIN & MARGIE’S ENJOY, WE KNOW YOU WILL! AT
313 HOPE JOHNSONBURG ROAD CR 519, HOPE, NJ 07844 • 908-459-4884 • WWW.INNATMILLRACEPOND.COM DOWNLOAD GPS ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/V6DML5
PALISADES INT. PKWY TO EXIT 16 LAKE TIORATI RD CUT AROUND CIRCLE AND UP ARDEN VALLEY RD. LEFT AT RTE. 17 BEAR RIGHT ON RTE. 17A LEFT AT RTE. 94 RIGHT AT RTE. 1A INTO RTE. 1 TOWARD PORT JERVIS (WARWICK WINERY SIGN) LEFT AT RTE. 6 INTO PORT JERVIS LEFT AT RTE. 23 SOUTH INTO NEW JERSEY UP THE WINDING ROAD TO HIGH POINT RIGHT AT CR 519 SOUTH (SPACE FARMS SIGN) TAKE THROUGH BEEMERVILLE RIGHT AT CR 636 UPPER NORTH SHORE ROD. RIGHT T RTE. 206 NORTH LEFT AT CR 560 STRAIGHT AT NPS 615 INTO WALPACK VALLEY BEAR LEFT ONTO MILLBROOK RD.
LEFT AT GAISLER RD. LEFT AT MOHICN RD. RIGHT AT RTE. 94 LEFT AT CR 658 WEST CHRISMAN RD. STRAIGHT AT COUNTRYSIDE RD. LEFT AT POLKVILLE RD. RIGHT AT CR 616 - KNOWLTON RD OVER I-80 STAY ON CR 616 BEAR LEFT AT KOECK RD. LEFT AT DELAWARE RD. LEFT AT SEREPTA RD. LEFT AT CR 519 NORTH RIGHT AT LAKE JUST IT RD. LEFT AT HISSUM RD. LEFT AT CR 611 GREAT MEADOWS RD. INN STRAIGHT AHEAD IN HOPE AT CR 519
Rip & Ride® • MAGGIE’S KROOKED CAFÉ MAIN STREET, TANNERSVILLE, NY • 518-589-6101 • WWW.KROOKEDCAFE.COM ONE-WAY ROUTE 100 MILES • DOWNLOAD GPS ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/AXGZMW
START: SITE OF RED APPLE REST ROUTE 17, SOUTHFIELDS, NY NORTH ON ROUTE 17 BEAR LEFT ONTO SR. 19 LEFT AT 17M FOLLOW SIGNS TO RTE. 208 NORTH LEFT AT RTE. 52 OVER MOUNTAINS RIGHT ON RTE. 209 NORTH LEFT AT CR 213 (CR4)
FOLLOW SIGNS TO ASHOKAN RIGHT ON RTE. 28A FOLLOW ROAD OVER DAM LEFT ON RTE. 28 FOLLOW SIGNS FOR PHOENECIA (ON RIGHT) RIGHT AT RTE. 214 RIGHT AT RTE. 23A TO TANNERSVILLE MAGGIE’S KROOKED CAFÉ ON LEFT
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
Rip & Ride® • THE TOY ROBOT MUSEUM 9 MARKET PLAZA, STOUDTBURG VILLAGE, ADAMSTOWN, PA • 717-484-0809 DOWNLOAD GPS ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/RZU0AX
\START: INT. RTES. 94/I-80/RTE. 46 IN COLUMBIA, NJ CROSS RIVER TO RTE. 611 SOUTH RIGHT AT 512 RIGHT AT ALPHA OR NORTH BROADWAY BEAR LEFT AT OLD PA - 115 LEFT AT MOUNTAIN ROAD STRAIGHT AT BUSKIRK / UPPER SMITH GAP / 3002 BEAR LEFT AT LITTLE GAP - THROUGH PALMERTON RIGHT ON RAMP TO 248 SOUTH RIGHT AT 873 - BECOMES MAIN ST. RIGHT AT MOUNTAIN RD. LEFT AT 309 RIGHT AT 143 CROSS I-78 HARD RIGHT AT MOSELEM SPRING RD. LEFT AT MAIN ST. RIGHT AT SHOEY RD.
RIGHT AT MAIN ST. LEFT AT IRISH CREEK RD. LEFT AT SHARTLESVILLE RD. LEFT AT 183 RIGHT AT N. HEIDELBERG RD. RIGHT AT W. PENN AVE. LEFT AT NORTHVALE BLVD. LEFT AT W. HIGH ST. RIGHT AT S. 2ND ST. BEAR RIGHT AT NEWMANSTOWN, RD. / 419 LEFT AT 897 LEFT AT 272 TOWARD ADAMSTOWN LEFT INTO STOUDTBURG VILLAGE PARK AND WALK INTO VILLAGE TOY ROBOT MUSEUM TOWARDS BACK OF VILLAGE
Rip & Ride® • NATIONAL PURPLE HEART HALL
374 TEMPLE HILL ROAD, VAILS GATE, NY • 845-561-1765 • WWW.THEPURPLEHEART.COM DOWNLOAD GPS ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/UM8ADD
FROM NEW YORK CITY - GWB PALISADES TO EXIT 15 GATE HILL RD. HARD LEFT AT CEDAR FLATS RD. SR 69 RIGHT AT QUEENSBORO RD. LEFT AT MOTT FARM RD. SR 118 LEFT ONTO ROUTE 202 NORTH
HARD LEFT RTE. 9W NORTH SIDE TRIP THROUGH WEST PONT - EXCELLENT IDEA! CONTINUE UP RTE. 9W LEFT AT QUAKER AVE SR 107 RIGHT AT 32 CROSS AT RTE. 94 TO RTE. 300 -TEMPLE HILL RD. PURPLE HEART HALL OF HONOR ON RIGHT
Rip & Ride® • HISTORIC GENERAL LEWIS INN DOWNLOAD
301 EAST WASHINGTON ST., LEWISBURG, WV • 304-645-2600 • WWW.GENERALLEWISINN.COM GPS ROUTE: WWW.SENDSPACE.COM/FILE/8QP5R8 • GPS ROUTE STARTS FROM ROUTE 209 SOUTH (420
I-80 WEST TO I-81 SOUTH EXIT AT RTE. 209 SOUTH AT T IN MILLERSBURG MAKE
RIGHT THEN LEFT TO
FERRY ONE BLOCK TO RIGHT OPEN WHITE DOOR TO SUMMON FERRY RTE. 34 ACROSS HIGHWAY IF BY FERRY STRAIGHT AT 274 SOUTH STRAIGHT AT 75 SOUTH RIGHT AT 641 STRAIGHT AT 522 LEFT AT 994 LEFT 3017 RIGHT AT 913
LEFT AT 26 SOUTH - INTO MARYLAND CR 40 CROSS 1-68 • CONTINUE STRAIGHT LITTLE ORLEANS - BECOMES UNPAVED FOR A BIT LEFT AT RTE. 51 INTO 9 STRAIGHT AT RTE. 29 PAW PAW RIGHT AT RTE. 50 LEFT AT RTE. 220 / 28 RIGHT AT RTE. 42 LEFT AT RTE. 55 / 28 STAY ON RTE. 28 PAST GREENBANK OBSERVATORY LEFT AT RTE. 92 RIGHT AT RTE. 60 WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS RIDE TO LEWISBURG GENERAL LEWIS INN ON LEFT BEFORE TOWN
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR E V E R Y M O N T H - W E AT H E R P E R M I T T I N G Second Sunday • Philadelphia Breakfast Ride. Meet at Silk City Diner - 5th/Spring Garden, Philadelphia PA - 8am • 215-922-2214 Every Sunday • Eastern Suffolk ABATE Breakfast Run. Crossroads Diner - Calverton NY. 10:30am. Eat and Ride After • 631-369-2221 Every Tuesday • The Ear - Spring St, NYC. Come meet some fellow riders and do some benchracing or whatever. 8pm-ish Every Wednesday • Country Bike Night at the Airport Pub sponsored by the American Legion Riders Post 132, Franklin, NJ • 6pm - ? • CR 639, Sussex, NJ - next to the airport • 973-702-1215 Every Wednesday • Quaker State & Lube, Commerce Blvd. off Rte. 6, Dickson City, PA • 570-489-5823 Every Thursday • Red Knights XX PA at the Dairy Queen, Route 209, Marshall’s Creek, PA, exit 309 off Route 80 • 6-9:30pm, weather permitting Every Thursday • Bike Night at The Old Schoolhouse Restaurant, Rte. 206, Downsville, NY • 607-363-7814
FEBRUARY 2010 13 • Baer Harley-Davidson Valentine Sale Day - Up to 30% off. 330 Grandview Ave/Rte. 6 East, Honesdale, PA • 570-253-2000 • www.baer-inc.com 13 • Bergen County Harley-Davidson/BMW/Big Dog Men’s Health Awareness Day. Free screenings for oral cancer, cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. $25 gift card for donating blood. 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • www.bergenharleydavidson.com • 201-843-6930 13-14 • Northeast Motorcycle Expo at Boston, MA. Bayside Expo Center • 978-6888888 • www.kevmarv.com 20 • S 1000 RR After Hours - 4 pm - Morton's BMW Motorcycles, 5099A Jefferson Davis Hwy, Fredericksburg, VA. Special after-closing session on the new superbike from BMW. Champion road racer Nate Kern and others will tell you all about the new bike, show you how to customize suspension settings, and much more. Free pizza and sodas! RSVP e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. More info at www.mortonsbmw.com or 540-891-9844. 21 • Odyssey Productions 7th Annual Winter Blast Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet. Ice Box Sports Arena, Scranton, PA. Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet. People’s Choice Custom and Antique Bike Show, Vendors, Music and More • www.odypro.com • 607863-4295 26-March 7 • 69th Annual Daytona Bike Week, Daytona Beach, FL • www.officialbikeweek.com 27 • 92nd Crotona Midnight Run sponsored by the Ramapo MC. This is the original Midnight Timed Run which was started by the Crotona Motorcycle Club in 1911. Sign in 11pm Feb. 27 at Nathan/Kohl Parking Lot, Central Park Ave, Yonkers, NY. Key time: Midnight, Feb. 27/28. $20/bike. This is a road enduro with a schedule speed of 30mph. Computers and/or GPS not allowed. For more info contact Dick Roberts at 201-7673594 • www.ramapomc.org
MARCH 2010 13-14 • Northeast Motorcycle Expo at Wilmington, MA. Shriner’s Auditorium • 978688-8888 • www.kevmarv.com 20-21 • Northeast Motorcycle Expo at Philadelphia, PA. Greater Philadelphia Expo Center • 978-688-8888 • www.kevmarv.com
APRIL 2010 18 • Westchester Beemers MC 2nd Annual Multiple Sclerosis RIDE 2010 to benefit National Multiple Sclerosis Society Southern NY Chapter. Start: Rye Playland, Exit 19 off I-95, Rye, NY. Sign in: 7:30-9am; Ride departs: 9:30am; Returns 12:30-1pm. Advance registration $25 rider/$10 pass; Day of event: $35 rider. Light breakfast at start. Lunch and entertainment at endsite. For more info: www.westchesterbeemers.org or 914582-8673 / 914-328-7909 21 • Odyssey Productions 9th Annual Spring Breakout. Ice Time Arena, Newburgh, NY. Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet. People’s Choice Custom and Antique Bike Show, Vendors, Music and More • www.odypro.com • 607-863-4295
MAY 2010 7 • International Female Ride Day occurs every year on the first Friday of May. It’s a day for women motorcyclists, worldwide, inviting women to join together on their motorcycles, not matter the type, size or style and --JUST RIDE! More info at www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=113686186117 May 13-16 • BACKROADS SPRING BREAK • Winchester, VA
JUNE 2010 7-12 • Americade - world’s largest touring rally, Lake George, NY www.tourexpo.com 12-20 • 87th Annual Laconia Motorcycle Week, Loudon, NH www.laconiamcweek.com
JULY 2010 9-11 • AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio. America's grandest celebration of motorcycling heritage • www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com 15-18 • BMW MOA International Rally, Deschutes Fair & Expo Center, Redmond, OR • www.bmwmoa.org/rally10 23-25 • The Carlisle Bike Fest is the Mid-Atlantic’s premier motorcycle event! Tens of thousands of bikes and two-wheel fanatics will converge on the 102-acre Carlisle PA Fairgrounds for non-stop entertainment, an unbeatable motorcycle shopping experience, breathtaking and historic local rides, giveaways all weekend long and the chance to ride the latest models from manufacturers. The ride to the Carlisle PA Fairgrounds, located less than 200 miles from five metropolitan areas throughout the East Coast, is almost as much fun as the event itself. No matter which direction you come from, there is a tour ride that will be loaded with plenty to see in the way of scenic mountains, farms, orchards and battlefields. When you arrive in Carlisle, that’s when the real excitement hits you: the number and variety of bikes (V-twins, choppers, sport and metric bikes), the hundreds of vendors, a manufacturers midway filled with top names in new parts and accessory dealers, bands on stage all weekend, stunt shows and every component a major motorcycle event could possibly offer, all in one place! Limited vending space still available.
AUGUST 2010 August 2-6 • BACKROADS 15th Anniversary/Summer Soiree • Fontana Village, NC 31-Sept. 3 • Curve Cowboy Reunion, Killington, VT. Gathering of K12LT, but open to enthusiasts on all brands and models of motorcycle • www.curvecowboyreunion.com
SEPTEMBER 2010 12 • Larz Anderson Classic European Motorcycle Day, Brookline, MA September 26-29 • BACKROADS Fall Fiesta • Gray Ghost Inn, West Dover, VT
OCTOBER 2010 14-17 • Daytona Beach Biketoberfest, Daytona Beach, FL • www.biketoberfest.org Oct. 31 - Nov. 7 • High Seas Rally. Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. Vendors, Cash and Prize Giveaways, Entertainment, Great Shore Excursions and so much more. Leaving from Port Canaveral, FL, ports include Labadee, Hispaniola, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, George Town, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. These Caribbean rallies have earned the reputation of being more fun than most can handle. Selling out almost one year in advance, the rallies are anything but standard. Although the majority of our participants are currently American V-Twin riders, all motorcycle enthusiasts are invited, and dozens of different motorcycle brand riders are represented at every rally. It's just one big FUN happy pirate family - ARRRRGH. Find out more at www.highseasrally.com
2010 POLAR BEAR SCHEDULE February 7 • LANDSLIDE SALOON, 1090 Rte 173, Pattenburg, NJ 08802 • 908735-6919 • www.landslidesaloon.com February 14 • HOOTERS, 25 Rte 23 South, Wayne, NJ 07470 • 973-837-1876 • www.hootersnj.com February 21 • BAHRS LANDING, 2 Bay Ave. Highlands, NJ 07732 • 732-872-1245 • www.bahrs.com February 28 • FIREHOUSE EATERY, 455 Saint Georges Ave. Rahway, NJ 07065 • 732 382-9500 • www.firehouseeatery.com March 7 • LONG VALLEY PUB & BREWERY, 1 Fairmount Rd., Long Valley, NJ 07853 • 908-876-1132 • www.brewpubnj.com March 14 • THE CHATTERBOX, #1 Rte 15 South, Augusta, NJ 07822 • 973-3002300 • www.chatterboxdrivein.com March 21 • BRIAN’S HARLEY-DAVIDSON, 600 S. Flowers Mill Rd., Langhorne PA • 215 752-9400 • www.brianshd.com March 28 • FLYING CLOUD CAFE, 800 New Hampshire Ave. Atlantic City NJ 08401 • 609-345-8222 • www.acflyingcloud.com April 11 • CAPE MAY V.F.W. post #386, N .J. 419 Congress St., Cape May, N .J. 08204 • 609-884-7961
20-23 • Concours Owners Group Northeast ‘Sprig Fling’ Rally. Somerset, PA. Sport-touring at its finest. For more information visit www.cog-online.org or contact Jaso at 814-535-8669
GET US YOUR UPCOMING EVENTS EARLY - FREE LISTINGS IN PRINT AND ONLINE
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
C YCLE S IDEBAR
MERRITT PARKWAY BRIDGES
The Merritt Parkway is an important link connecting Connecticut to New York City. Motoring south on Route 91, a traveler would merge on to Route 15, following it until it becomes the Merritt Parkway. Immediately noticeable are the lower than normal posted speeds; as low as 45 MPH at various points along the highway. It is a limited-access-thoroughfare. There is a vehicleheight limit of eight feet due to the numerous words and images: David McCormick
low overpasses. This fact prohibits any tractor trailer traffic. The road is also lacking the usual lengthy entrance and exit ramps. There’s a reason for all this. The parkway was built in the 1930s and was designed for a slower paced world, for slower moving traffic. Back then, the road was perfect for the Hudsons, Desotos, and Studabakers of the day. By the time driver and passenger had passed beneath three or four overpasses, they might realize each of the bridges was different from the previous one. Experiencing the parkway for the first time, one couldn’t help but notice
those unique patterns that make up the many arches and the creative formations of the numerous columns-or the wonderful nonrepeating architectural designs that are incorporated in to the bridges. The Merritt Parkway was and still is known for its intended scenic design. The long, gradual, winding curves and the beautiful rolling landscape-its architecturally-elaborate-bridge overpasses adorn the entire
route. This is a riders/drivers road-those long sinuous turns make cruising the parkway a pleasure. There are approximately seventy of these bridges and each displaying an individual motif. Each is framed by native trees and plants; some of the structures covered with ivy meld into the surrounding landscape. With these special attributes, it’s no wonder the bridges are held in reverence by many commuters and locals alike. The Merritt Parkway, a continuation of Route 15, runs from Stratford, CT to the New York state line, ending at Greenwich. This scenic highway is listLIFE archive
FEBRUARY 2010 â€˘ BACKROADS
ed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is also deservedly designated as a National Scenic Byway. In 1992, the parkway was recognized as a State Scenic Road. The creation of the Merritt Parkway was to be the answer to the problem of congestion on the Boston Post Road. But it became more than that. Out of the Depression came the birth of this new highway, but it was not a smooth ride. During the planning stage, there were some serious shenanigans going on: land schemes, political cronyism, fraudulent records, and in some cases-documents were destroyed. In addition, there was the opposition from the residents of Fairfield County in Connecticut. In spite of these detours and roadblocks, the construction of the Merritt Parkway commenced in 1934. The idea was not just to build a road. It was to be much more than that. The Depression provided a trained workforce to construct the highway. Through the efforts of
the Works Progress Administration, 2000 out-of-work construction workers were hired to tackle the job. The WPA and the Great Depression also provided the sole architect who was responsible for the extraordinary series of bridges that ran the length of the parkway. George Dunkelberger was that architect who designed all the bridges. It was this recipe: an idle work force of construction workers, an unemployed architect, and funding from the WPA that culminated in the construction of this series of bridges. For the most part, the bridges were constructed of concrete. At the outset, it was decided they would be more than generic slabs. Dunkelberger lent his own ideas of architectural design to each bridge. This result is a testimony to Dunkelbergerâ€™s skills. He took great care to ensure that each bridge displayed its distinct character. Architectural forms, such as battlements, balusters and balustrades, were incorporated into a number of bridges. Many of the bridges are designed in the Art Deco and Modernistic style. The Newfield Avenue bridge has huge vertical columns reminiscent of a fifties skyscraper and repeating geometric designs. The South Avenue Bridge employs rigid repeating block-likestructures with striking multi-faceted pillars. The simple, clean, horizontal and vertical lines at right angles to each other seem at odds with the low relief sculpture of the bust of a pilgrim exhibited on the bridge at
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
Comstock Hill Rd; you’ll find many such combinations in many of Dunkelberger designed bridges all along the parkway. But this follows, as he was influenced by distinctly different architects. One bridge that definitely stands out, as it crosses over the parkway, is at Jones Farm Rd. Its bold Art-Deco-Nike Wings are a striking introduction to the Merritt Parkway. The use of ornate columns is incorporated beautifully on the White Oak Shade Rd Bridge. Also evident is Dunkelberger’s use of bright color variations. He was not afraid of combining styles. On
were sheathed in reinforced concrete. And Dunkelberger’s decorative patterns and designs were done with molds. His intent was to make each bridge aesthetically pleasing. And in this, he was successful. He also did not ignore the underside walls of the bridge overpasses, incorporating bold, vertical lines and columns on many of these interior walls. ‘Unexpected’ is one word to describe the sight of the bridges at first encounter. In today’s world of sometimes barren highway systems, the bridges of the Merritt Parkway are a great attraction;
the North Avenue Bridge, he incorporated battlements, defensive structures making up the top of castle walls, along the top of the bridge. And his repeating balusters make up the railing along the top of the Round Hill Bridge. Usually working in concrete, he sometimes detoured to other-more ornate examples. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Lake Avenue Bridge; finding a structure wrapped in cast iron. Dunkelberger created this bridge using elaborate, intertwined grapevines bearing fruit. And along the top railing, he fashioned intersecting elongated loops. The overall, engineered design of the bridges is very simple. They are comprised of arched beams with vertical supports at each end. These frames
one we can all enjoy. They’re definitely worth the trip. Riding along the parkway is a recreation in itself. Traveling at forty-five miles per hour or so, one can enjoy the approach to each bridge. When touring the parkway, it’s best to avoid the morning and evening rush hour commute. That will make for a more relaxing ride. The length of the roadway is approximately 38 miles, which can be covered in a little under an hour. Spring and Fall are the best seasons to visit the scenic byway. The Merritt Parkway has no direct attractions, but the surrounding environs do. Taking one of the many exits gives one access to several restaurants, and other attractions. The Beardsley Zoo, Stamford Museum & Nature Center and the Bartlett Arboretum are in close proximity to the parkway.
SMOKING THROUGH NORTH VIETNAM
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
(Continued from Page 9)
The Minsk putted along fine, a fine cloud of smoke rising from its exhaust. Since the oil and gas must be mixed by hand at a five percent ratio, Cuong’s only advice was to make sure the engine smoked. Forget about the ratio. If it did not smoke, add more oil. The 4-speed gearing is fairly low, one reason it is popular in the hill country. Pleasant villages wallpapered the road, people busy trotting about with fresh goods, others coking and eating on the sidewalks. Temples of various religions are scattered throughout Vietnam. I stopped at several of the more elaborate ones for pictures. Fishing boats crowded into a cove at Vu Ban. On the bank of the river I talked with an old man and he pointed out several objects of importance in the area. I had no idea what he was saying nor could he understand me. Please, thank you, and knowing how to ask for the toilet is about all I have ever learned in preparation for any travel. That small vocabulary has gotten me through most European countries including Russia. I much prefer the animation of sign and body language to make a point. I really believe such gyrations gets me more in touch with the people. The women and children in Vietnam find it especially amusing and we have had many a good laugh over my wide and exaggerated body and arm swings, sucking in my cheeks and pointing to my mouth to show I am hungry, pointing and scratching my head to show I am lost, choking myself to show the price they are asking for a hat is too much, etc. Various objects often figure in my antics and I carry a set of chattering teeth in my pocket for when the occasion arises. Nothing says friendship like chattering teeth. I ran into my son just outside Mai Chau. The Honda had broken down. I always carry nylon cord and so I hooked his bike to the back of mine and pulled it to town. We had just started to catch the border of a typhoon and the rain came pouring down. It seems that every person on any route sells drinks and pho, a delicious noodle soup. While I worked on the bike a woman brought us tea and a bowl of soup. She refused to accept any payment for it, something I discovered
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BACKROADS â€˘ FEBRUARY 2010
several times on the trip. Twice I took the Honda to shops and both times the mechanics refused payment although they had worked on it for over an hour. Troung, A Vietnamese friend of mine, eventually explained their behavior. I was experiencing a difficult time and they did not wish to add to my problems. Decency and courtesy over profit. What a concept! I donâ€™t know how the motorbike shops make a living since most shops are used for when people are having trouble.
We spent the night at the White Thai village of Ban Lac. Any home stay is better than the best hotel accommodations. Villagers willingly open their homes to travelers. There is no set price for the night and they are happy to accept several dollars in payment. I suspect that if you did not pay them at all they would not complain. We slept on bamboo floors in an upstairs room of a stilt house and were treated to both dinner and breakfast before we left. They are very subtle in their kindness. One mat was placed on the floor for Rick to sleep on, three mats for me. (I get it, I need to loose some weight!) An added bonus was the picture of a uniformed soldier in a frame on the wall. He was the father of an older woman in the home and was a decorated hero of the battle of Dien Bien Phu. An award, signed by Ho Chi Min was tacked beside him. Spectacular is the only way to describe the country of the highlands. Jagged cliffs surround lush valleys and water pours from the hills. It is always best to stop and enjoy the view than doing it while driving. Vietnamese roads are a challenge. Sometimes gravel, sometimes dirt or mud, occasionally paved, often washed out, they remain a trial and the (Continued on Page 52)
FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
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FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
SMOKING THROUGH NORTH VIETNAM
moment you take your eyes away, expect disaster. It is not unusual to find grades of 12% or greater, a tough haul for the Minsk that squealed and howled like a character from “Deliverance,” at every incline. The water, muddy on the lowlands, starts to clear the higher you go until it becomes crystal clear. The temptation I could not resist was to jump in for a cool dip every few miles, swim suits optional. There are 56 ethnic groups in Vietnam. Any attempt to contact them all will end in failure because so many are so remote, as are many places in the country. Within the last thirty years two new animal species have been discovered in the hills. Nothing says remote more than that fact. Traveling though the tribal villages is a step back in time. The women still wear traditional dress, not as costumes to impress tourists, but as their regular clothing. Children ride about on water buffalo, men plow fields using wooden plows, and various grains are still harvested by hand. The idea of work appears to have a spiritual concept. I knew most villages could chip in and buy a tractor. When I asked a woman harvesting rice why they did not buy a tractor she looked at me as if I had no sense, and said, “then what would we do?” Sapa, the coolest and least humid place in Vietnam, is the retreat destination for anyone in the country. It sits high in the hills surrounded by ethnic villages and terraced farms. Mist covers the base of the hills during the mornings and I enjoyed having coffee and watching it slowly dissipate. Sapa was my final destination and the perfect end to a perfect trip. The air is fresh and clean,
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BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
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the people - wonderful. I watched the women carrying goods to market. The Minsk, although taking a battering, had survived fine. All it took to keep it happy was to keep it smoking. Already I was planning the next trip, perhaps to Thac Ban Gioc waterfall on the border with China. There was one thing I could depend upon getting me there, the mighty Minsk.
C Y C L E
P R O D U C T S,
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FEBRUARY 2010 • BACKROADS
P RODUCT R EVIEW
SIGNALMINDER • IT
These days many high-end motorcycles come stock with self-cancelling signals. This a great thing, as many times have you been riding down the road behind some other rider who has been signaling left since the last turn. Or worse, to have another rider sloop past you and then give you the international hand signal for turn of your blinker - ya dummy! Or the ultimate worst, having a car driver erroneously think that you are making a turn and turn in front of you - YIKES! Still, these days most machines do not have the luxury of a self-cancelling signal and for all these machines Kisan Industries has the signalMinder. The signalMinder stops the flashing automatically. Easily installed, replacing your stock signal unit, the signalMinder is a solid-state turn signal flasher with a built-in programmable time-out feature. Selectable time-outs range from 10 seconds to 30 seconds. At the end of the selected time-out, the flashing stops. Simple and easy. But with the signalMinder you get a bit more than just having your blinkers stop automatically. Built-in options such as Running Light Conversion, allows you to convert all the turn signals to running lights; this alone makes the signalMinder an invaluable asset. The signalMinder also converts a single handlebar switch equipped bike into a dual channel system; and that gives you 4-Way emergency or Escort mode flash. Hook-up the brake input and you can get the brake flash feature with built-in override when stopped in traffic. All these options help the signalMinder transform your bike into a hi-vis, safety oriented riding machine. We have had them installed on various machines we have had in the barn and have been more than pleased with the quality and ease of installation and operation. The signalMinder is a no-brainer. The signalMinder is available for most machines and retails for just $109 from www.kisantech.com.
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BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2010
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(OFF THE BQE & LIE)
'Best of Backroads 2009' featuring the top picks from the monthly columns, including Rip & Ride Route Sheets, and all the other great monthl...
Published on Feb 12, 2010
'Best of Backroads 2009' featuring the top picks from the monthly columns, including Rip & Ride Route Sheets, and all the other great monthl...