W H A T ’ S MO NT HLY C O L U M NS
I N S I D E 14 Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure
FREE WHEELIN’ ..................................................4 WHATCHATHINKIN’ ...........................................5 POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE.......................6
Brian Rathjen • Shira Kamil
Mark Byers, Doug Graham, Kadir Asnaz, David Mobley, Bill Heald, Robert Pandya Dr. Seymour O’Life
ON THE MARK ....................................................7 BACKLASH..........................................................8 INDUSTRY INFOBITES.......................................9
Editorial Office BACKROADS, POB 620 Augusta, NJ 07822
THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD.........................11 BIG CITY GETAWAY .........................................14 GREAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN ..............16
MYSTERIOUS AMERICA..................................18 WE’RE OUTTA HERE ........................................20
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE ............................22
SHIRA’S INSIDE SCOOP ..................................23
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR ...................40
FE AT U RE S
HUDSON VALLEY MC DUCATI UNVEIL .........24
THE RIVER OF GODS.......................................26
A BATTLE FOR GRAVEL ..................................32
MOTO R C YCL E S P OT L I G H T KAWASAKI 2018 RETRO TO ROCKET.............30
PR O DU C T R E V IE W S RKA SHILOH ROAD TANK BAG.......................35 TIROX SNAP JACK V2 + CHAIN BRUSH ........36 COLBY EMERGENCY TIRE VALVES ................37
BACKROADS (ISSN 1087-2088) is published monthly by BACKROADS™, Inc. 2018. 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.
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
FREE WHEELIN’ BRIAN RATHJEN
Fake News This phrase has been in the spotlight quite a bit now and, just when you are really getting tired of it, an example that affects you directly hits you square in the face. I am not talking Washington politics, climate change or the NFL protests here but something that seemingly comes from someone who actually should have done their homework just slapped me across the head as ridiculous, false and plain silly. Real Fake News. We get all sorts of press releases here at Backroads Central. Mostly motorcycle-related, travel bulletins and a lot from different regions letting us know why they are the next best thing. It’s all good. Mostly. But occasionally we get a press release from an unusual source – in this case Princeton University. “Hmmm,” I thought, “What can this be?” Well, what it turned out to be was a research paper called Dark Side of the Moon: Motorcycle Deaths Linked to Full Moons by Donald Redelmeier, professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Redelmeier hypothesized that people’s attention may be naturally drawn to a full moon, thereby potentially contributing to fatal motorcycle crashes. My friend Walter pointed out to me that papers like this have been written many times in the past – but still, this related it all to motorcycles and motorcycle fatalities. So I read it with interest – we even printed an edited version in Industry Infobites as the numbers were interesting. But there was a part that I held back. A statement that Dr. Redelmeier made that spun my head like Regan MacNeil. Redelmeier stated, “The average ride on a motorcycle is more dangerous than a drunk driver with no seatbelt traveling the same distance.” Whuuuut?! Seriously? This statement came from the author of a scientific-based paper on motorcycle fatalities and Lunar influence on them… and he inserts something so obviously wrong, misguided and ignorant that well… I call “Fake News!” Worse than making a totally biased and erroneous proclamation like this – he was actually funded to do so as the project was supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Your Canadian tax dollars at work, ehhh? You might think this is really no big deal, but it is, as statements such as these directly lead to the public perceiving motorcycles, motorcyclists and riding in general as a reckless endeavor and one that ultimately costs the public in a variety of ways. And we all know where that will eventually go. Our motorcycle life-style is already under the thumb now and my point is when the non-riding people, my mother, insurance companies, safetycrats, politicians in power and the like out there read that a Canadian professor has said that every motorcycle rider out on the road is the equivalent of a drunk driver – well, they just might believe that bit of Fake News. When falsehoods like this are allowed to perpetuate and spread then eventually there is a cry for action from “well meaning” people and this will not be good for us. We live in a knee jerk society that reacts in hasty and unthinking ways and it seems we go through phases of issues to jump on – each of them the worst thing that can happen. Every year there is a new deadly disease or some highly-paid athlete taking a knee or the next bigwig, actor or politician who did not know how to simply be a gentleman. I fear that some day America will wake up one morning and decide that motorcycles are just not worth it. That is not Fake News – just a prediction.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018
WHATCHATHINKIN’ SHIRA KAMIL
kodachrome We have a space that seems to hold all the things that we can’t bear to throw away yet don’t want to be within eyesight every day. I’m sure every one has such a spot. Brian decided it was time to revisit this to clean both physical and mental cobwebs. After the dusting and trashing had been done, down came two very large and heavy plastic tubs of photographs – real, live Kodak-printed images. We dusted off the tops and made sure there were no critters nesting inside and, during the holiday week, we poured adult beverages and dove in. Opening each plastic envelope, complete with negatives, brought anticipation, smiles and some tears. There were tons of nonsense product imagery for the magazine, many out-of-focus riding shots taken on the motorcycles, and some spots that we could not place. But for every one of those, there were triple the amount that made us recall all of the wonderful trips we had taken, people we have met across the years and discoveries that, hopefully, entertained you throughout the past 23 years of Backroads. Here are a few that I’d like to share with all of you: First cLass – It was the early ‘90s and we had signed up for our first of what would be many outings with Reg Pridmore and CLASS, this one at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. It was a one-day class and we had some friends come along with us. The picture here may have been from this or from our first time at Watkins Glen CLASS in 1995, since I was wearing a Backroads shirt.
Page 5 First Ims – 1997, which may have been our first year, but certainly within the first few, of our exhibiting at the New York International Motorcycle Show at the Jacob Javits Center. In attendance are Diane and Jeff Kurtzman, Nuri and Michael Wernick of Rising Wolf Garage and Brian’s mom Betty and her friend Ayne Maree. This was when the show popped into NYC in February, when riders were jonesing for anything motorcycle during the winter months, and attendance was to capacity. First european motorcycle Tour – 1997 was a good year, as it was also the first time we would join our now friends at Edelweiss Bike Travel for our venture into organized motorcycle touring abroad. This was to the Alps and I was sporting a BMW K75, which turned out to be the perfect tool for the job. This shot was on the Gavia Pass, which we had ‘snuck’ onto as the gates were closed. We ran into the reason for the closed gate, as the Italian paving crew begrudgingly let us pass when the asphalt truck was being refilled. At the other end, also a closed door, was a pack of riders asking if the road was open. We smiled and said, ‘sure, go right ahead.’ The 1800 Gold wing release – it was October, 2000 and Honda had announced the release of the much-anticipated GL1800. We attended the press launch in Ohio, me as pillion, along with a slew of journalists. How do I remember Continued on Page 39
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE BILL HEALD
meTeoroLoGIcaL PersPecTIve It has come to my attention that, based on various news accounts and personal sampling, it has been cold out. It happens. When the temperature gets low enough humans take steps, and these often include complaining about how cold it is in the middle of the winter. A bracing wind becomes too bracing, the wood stove becomes useless iron when the wood is not cooperating, and quite often there’s pesky flakes in mass quantities that make motorcycling ill-advised. What do you do? Well, on nights like tonight where you see what seems to be the South 40 of Ice Station Zebra outside your window, the mind tends to wander backwards into situations that involve something other than frigid cold. During such a moment of reverie, I have found myself in a state of disquiet over the weather once again. This time, it’s something I hate as much as excessive cold: heat straight from the fires of Mt.Vesuvius itself. And man, I’ve been on some seriously hot rides. The cold is one thing, and can lead to numb limbs, excessive fatigue and chattering teeth (for real. I’ll never forget the first time my teeth first chattered in freezing conditions. I thought I’d rattle me helmet off). But heat; it’s a real nasty piece of work. It’s no wonder that we are taught as children to avoid behavior that might lead to “the Fires of Hell,” much more than “the Glaciers of the Popsicle Purgatory.” Perhaps since my formative years were spent in the Texas summer (that was often more sauna than sagebrush), I’ve come to dislike really hot climates. I got so sick of it that while in high school I worked the summer months away at an ice plant. I had to wear a jacket when working inside the
plant proper, but when delivering ice I not only sweltered in a non-air conditioned truck, my cargo melted with me on the way to my deliveries. No matter what the occupation, the heat always found a way to find you. Its’ no wonder the 100-plus degree world is not my friend. But it should be noted, we are often lured into what gives us angst, and the flame holds a strange attraction even though we know it can burn us if we get too close. I have motored through the likes of Nevada and Lake Havasu City, Arizona, in the middle of summer. I clearly remember the adventure of it. Riding across a desert wasteland is like no other venue; it has its own singular beauty that is the opposite of a curvy mountain road. Where the mountain pass often has a certain tight, enclosed feel thanks to the peaks and trees around you, the desert reveals all and allows for seeing great tracts of earth for miles around. However, there is precious little shade. And, as the old expression goes, the desert plays tricks on you. The approaching horizon often appears to be a lake, even though you know there is no such body of water ahead according to the map. The pavement shimmers. The air you move through does not offer much cooling relief, in fact it is more like a furnace fan as sung by Robert Earl Keene. You start to think about the strain this boiling wind you’re riding through is putting on everything mechanical, from the cooling system (air or liquid both take it on the chin) to the oil cooking in the crankcase to the tires. Oh man, the tires. In my desert light-headedness, I have harbored great concern for our rubber friends’ welfare when the road they’re spinning on is hotter than a beach on Mercury. In my paranoia, I start thinking about the rubber compounds shedding themselves on the gooey tarmac, bit by bit, until their ability to retain the air I put in them to keep me going will be compromised. Here’s a likely kind of scenario I have conjured up while droning along in the desert: The pavement temperature is scalding. The tires are burning through rubber as the miles roll by, reducing the tread depth bit by bit. Up ahead in the distance on this hot, sultry day I see a few storm clouds, generated by a pop-up thunderstorm of great strength (with the Continued on Page 39
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018
can’t wait to take her to the track with Mr. Pridmore. I don’t know what came over ME either. I am a strong middleweight fan, with 650-675 cc’s being the magic number except for my big BMW touring MARK BYERS frau, but if you’re going to have a daft, naked litre bike, you might as well have a great one. I’m also not a big fan of rider aids, but again, go big or go oPPorTuNITy home. My affinity for this bike may have come from her little sister’s headI didn’t mean to do it; I really didsnapping 675 cc’s of lovely quickness. Just the sound of a triple breathing n’t. I was just minding my own busithrough an Arrow pipe is pure magic. And those silver engine bolts against ness, dropping off a bike for service, the black motor? Triumphs wear them with pride. when this muscular babe put a hex on me. And by hex, I mean she occupied I couldn’t wait for a ride, so the next morning we rode to work on a late more than my meager excess mental capacity for many days. I went to the December day. It wasn’t much of a ride, but to my delight, the quickshifter internerd and read and looked at photos and checked for the usual personality worked flawlessly, allowing clutchless upshifts without any throttle manipdisorders; however, I found nothing untoward. To realize opportunities, ulation. Thankfully, the two-stage heated grips also worked, so well that inwhen one knocks, you have to answer the door and this one didn’t so much stead of taking her home for lunch and trading her for the truck, I kept her at knock on the door as kick it. work all day, knowing that it would be dark ust the sound of a triple breathing through I tried to rationalize. I tried to resist. I dallied, thinkfor the ride home. “I’ll check out the headan Arrow pipe is pure magic. And those ing, “If I wait, someone will come along who is meant lights,” I said to myself, and I found the tradesilver engine bolts against the black to have her more than I.” But when I called a couple mark twin lights of the Triumph Triple models motor? Triumphs wear them with pride. weeks later, she was still there, lurking seductively in are just amazing, especially on high beam. the used bike section. She was no wallflower, standing out among the staid Except in the snow, that is. As I left work, a hard flurry began and the high Bavarian gals, clad in a pearl white bikini fairing with red accents. She was beams turned the world into a hyperspace entry tunnel. With the push of a muscular, but lithe as a jaguar, which suited her understated Union Jack tattoo button, I selected “rain” mode to tame the power in case the roads got slick, and matte gold Ohlins jewelry. In the end, I heeded the advice of my friend but it was warm enough that the snow didn’t stick. It was also warm enough Stephen, who said, “Life is short: buy the bike.” And that is how, dear readto take the long way home and do a quick circuit of a local farm famous for ers, I ended up with a barely-used 2017 Triumph Speed Triple R, a 1050-cc, its Christmas lights! What a great inaugural ride on a British bike. So far, three-cylinder, twin-piped, unfaired ridiculous motorcycle beauty. I’ve only gotten in a couple commutes to work, but other than needing to I don’t know what came over the previous owner: to take this year’s model, manage my exuberance, I find this new girl to be as magical as the spell she add OEM hugger, frame sliders, radiator guard, heated grips, electrical cast at the dealer. socket, and quickshifter, ride her for 3,300 miles, and then trade her in strikes Some may find me crazy, but I’ve always said the way to owning multiple me as a bit daft. Perhaps her love potion didn’t work on him. I will not look bikes is to find quality used ones (preferably with known pedigrees) or to a gift bike in the intake, however. So far, I have found the reviews on target find old ones and fix them up. In this case, I was in the right place at the and she’s an amazing ride. She’s the most technologically advanced machine right time. Or maybe, Bellatrix really did cast a spell on me and when she I’ve ever had: ride-by-wire throttle, five traction control modes (rain, road, knocked, I answered. Either way, I have a feeling this spell is stronger than sport, track, and user-defined), and multiple ABS modes, including off. I her last one.
ON THE MARK
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
BACKLASH Dear Ones, You won’t ‘member me, but back almost when giants roamed the Earth, y’all very kindly published ah couplah homely scribbles by me and a really good one from Sam, and while up north we popped into Backroads Central and showed us ’round and were good’nuf to stop what you were doin’ and make us feel welcome as a new all-night donutery across from the Governor’s Mansion. I snapped this pic, thought you might getta right guffaw from ‘em. Shira didn’t just get pretty last week – she was pretty, pretty then! And Bri? As Rocky told Bullwinkle, “Once a moose, always a moose!” Y’all are ‘doin great! Thanks for everythin’! scott & sandy Jenkins Scott, We miss your writings, wit and style and know you two are always welcome at Backroads Central. Now watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat…again?
Letters to the Editor Hey Guys, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! After reading the article on the trip to Newfoundland I was wondering how many days you were actually up there. It seemed, reading the story, you weren’t up there that long. Nadya and I are headed up August ‘18 and I’m thinking we’ll be up there a week and a half. Nadya wants to do hiking, kayaking and all and I wanted to bring my guitar so (please don’t judge) we’re renting a convertible. We did a shake down run in Nova Scotia this past summer and the BMW convertible was lovely! It’s not the motorcycle but it wasn’t like being in a cage either. mike Having a guitar along the ride is always a great thing. We were up for a little more than a week. Could have used a few more to see some of the more out of the way towns…. Brian and Shira, Great article on the France trip in the December issue. Thanks for sending us a copy. It was great to have such a fun group to travel and party with and a great part of the world to see. Hope you’re off travelling in another exotic destination someplace. See you down the road again sometime we hope. steve and mary Jane sheldon
Nanny State! Dear Mr. Editor (I mean B & S), In this month’s issue of Backroads, I read with little surprise and great disgust, of NY AB 7800. Aileen Gunther may believe she has been chosen to protect the unwashed masses from themselves, but she’s wrong. If she wants to do some actual good, perhaps she can work on reducing New York State’s 357 billion dollar debt. Yes that’s billion with a “b”. I would suggest Ms. Gunther she repeat 8th grade civics class. If she’s paying attention this time, she’ll learn the purpose of American government is to protect the rights of the citizenry and to provide for common defense. Government has no business telling people how to live their lives. Not in this country, anyhow. Jeff adams, msgt, usaF (ret.)
From Our PBFS FaceBook Page Happy New Year Everyone. I am thankful for those Backroads folks. If it wasn’t for you two, we wouldn’t have ever met these wonderful people that we have come to know over the years and I am thankful for James for bringing me on a Backroads trip and introducing me to you all. Thank You ! Thank You ! Thank You !!!!!!!! Lisa rhodes mutchler Lisa, It works both ways. We have developed such great friendships, have had great riding adventures and been able to share them with you all. Here’s to the amazing adventures we’ll see in 2018 and beyond. Let the riding begin! (maybe when the thermometer goes above zero). Hello, First, kudos on a great magazine. A friend and I split subscriptions to a handful of motorcycle magazines and pass off copies to each other. I’m a regular reader and rider. I ride on-street only, solo touring most of the time, up and down the east coast from Georgia to Canada. I was disappointed to see a photo of a woman (Shira?) riding a motorcycle in motion without a helmet on
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018
I ND U ST RY INFOBITES HOW ABOUT COLOMBIA IN 2018? What a year it’s been so far! 2017 has been the busiest in their 9-year history and 2018 is already shaping up to beat the record. With the latest fleet expansion, Motolombia now has 50 motorcycles awaiting your next, or first, Colombian motorcycle adventure. The models available include the entire BMW GS line, Honda’s Africa Twin CRF1000, Honda CB500X, Yamaha XT660R and the new Royal Enfield 500 Classic. As they enter into their 10th touring season they are running more tours than ever and Motolombia can now also do one-way rentals between Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, and the main office in Cali. Check their 2018 calendar to find a tour that fits you: motolombia.com If you ride with them in 2018, they will give you their special 10-year anniversary 10% discount when you mention this infobite. BackLash page 42 of the September 2017 issue. While some states have decided that riders can choose to wear helmets or not, the article appears to indicate that she is riding in New Jersey, with compulsory helmet laws, so she’s breaking the law in this photo if that’s the case. I believe in always wearing a helmet when on a moving motorcycle, and believe in following the laws of the states I’m riding in. I don’t think I need to get into the details of my beliefs as you have surely heard them before from other riders. The idea that smaller displacement bikes are exempt from laws or wouldn’t cause injury in a wreck is also one I want to dispel. I hope that Backroads may also someday follow these rules in its editing, articles, and photos, even if some riders prefer to ride helmet-less when laws allow. I usually pass my copy on to a young nephew in the beginning of his motorcycling life, but I won’t pass this issue on as it condones things I don’t believe in, and I don’t want him to pick up this riding habit. Jason h. Pier
News from the Inside ON ANY SUNDAY’S BRUCE BROWN PASSES Legendary filmmaker Bruce Brown, who produced the classic motorcycling movie “On Any Sunday,” died Sunday, Dec. 10. He was 80. Mr. Brown’s early acclaim resulted from his groundbreaking surfing movie, “Endless Summer,” which was released in 1966. “On Any Sunday,” released in 1971, helped spur the explosive growth of motorcycling in the 1970s. “I think many people changed their minds about motorcyclists after watching the movie,” Mr. Brown once said. “On Any Sunday” earned Mr. Brown an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary in 1971. Continued on Page 10 Jason, First - thank you for the compliment and we’re glad you enjoy the magazine. We hope it inspires some of your travels. The image you mention was a staged shot specifically for the Honda Grom. If you have been reading our magazine for a while, you’ll know that Brian and I are huge NY Mets fans and did this piece aimed directly at their pitcher, Jacob deGrom. Not having a motorcycle helmet done up in Mets blue and orange, we bent the rules a bit for a photo shoot in our driveway. And, referring back to your past reading of Backroads, you will undoubtedly know that we are HUGE proponents of ATGATT, doing articles all the time on the proper riding gear, training and safety on two wheels. We’re sorry that this issue won’t make it into your nephew’s hands, as just four pages past this image is a whole article on the benefits of taking CLASS with Reg Pridmore, a skills on-track training school, something we push all the time.
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FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
ART OF THE RIDE AT PHOENIX AIRPORT Paul Yaffe, one of the most famous and renowned custom motorcycle builders in the world, is the featured builder in Art of the Ride, a motorcycle-themed exhibit at the Phoenix Airport Museum running until the end of May 2018. Combining photography, painting, and custom motorcycle builds and parts, Art of the Ride is a celebration of the passion and attitude that embodies motorcycle culture. The exhibit will feature two of Paul’s most-famous, spectacular builds: The Copper Chopper and Prodigy. Today, Paul Yaffe’s Bagger Nation, together with Paul Yaffe Originals, is recognized as one of—if not the—preeminent custom bike building outfits and source for custom parts. Art of the Ride runs through May 28, 2018, in the Phoenix Airport Museum, located in Terminal 4, Level 3 Gallery, in the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
DUNLOP UNVEILS NEW WEBSITE Dunlop has launched a new web site that makes it easier for customers to find the right tires for their bike, learn about the technology components offered in each tire and easily identify dealers within the area to take advantage of exclusive offers such as rebates and tire protection programs. While searching for a tire, new navigation makes it easier to find the right tires for your bike. You can
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search by your motorcycle, tire size, type of bike, or just browse through Dunlop’s expansive tire selection. New technology icons help identify tire features and intended usage. When you’ve found the perfect tires for your bike, an all-new dealer locator lets customers search for the nearest Dunlop Pro Dealer in the area. You can search not only by city and zip-code, but also by motorcycle type (sport, cruiser, V-Twin, etc.) and brand. It also highlights dealers who offer Dunlop’s exclusive Road Hazard Protection Plan, where you can purchase a plan to protect your tires for up to two years. When taking advantage of Dunlop’s rebates, the new site enables you to apply for your rebate without ever having to leave the page. As before, you can keep up with Dunlop’s current happenings by browsing news and a live social media feed. To see more of what the new Dunlop site has to offer, visit www.dunlopmotorcycletires.com.
2018 SCHEDULE FROM HEAR THE ROAD MOTORCYCLE TOURS Enrico Grassi, founder and owner of Hear the Road Tours says, “I couldn’t have been happier with our best year of delivering first-class motorcycle tours of Italy.” Tours for 2018 have a range from 812 riding days in an effort to suit everyone’s wish to ride the best scenic Italian roads, visiting destinations like Amalfi Coast, Alps, Dolomites, Tuscany, Chianti, Sardinia, Corsica, or watching the Moto Gp Race at Mugello and Misano circuits. So, whether you crave twisting country roads, historical destinations, spectacular views of the mountains and the Mediterranean or 4 Star Hospitality, there is a tour for you. Hear the Road Tours also caters to those riding enthusiasts that long for a riding tour in Italy but can’t meet the calendared tour dates.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018
THOUG HTS FRO M THE ROAD
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE READERS OF BACKROADS MAGAZINE Hello. You have distinguished yourself as an enthusiast simply by having this printed magazine in your hands. Brian and Shira are enthusiasts who write for enthusiasts and share your passion for riding. As the former PR manager for Victory Motorcycles and Indian Motorcycle in the past decade, I had loaned them test bikes, and talked about story ideas. They get it - but the truth is, there are fewer of us who “get it” these days. INdusTry INFoBITes Self-Guided, Customized and/or Private Tours are a popular option for individuals or groups of any size. This year as an extra bonus we are offering a free night in Rome to who book within January 2018. For additional information, contact: Enrico Grassi: email@example.com Tel. +39 393 04 03 260
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON Distracted drivers, like those who text behind the wheel, are a danger to themselves and to others. Even a brief, momentary glance away from the
Robert Pandya Overall motorcycle sales and participation are hitting a very rough patch because of many factors despite there never being a better selection of motorcycles available. There are fewer potential riders daily, and while the industry is working on the problem in a relatively private manner, there needs to be a public intervention that calls on all of us to elevate riding. Spoiler alert - there is no silver bullet to fix this. It will be many smaller efforts that will stem the losses and increase positive attention towards motorcycling. Manufacturers and the aftermarket as well as the Motorcycle Industry Council (the industry reporting and advocacy group sponsored by members) are doing what they can - but we have some real problems. The lack of a public conversation drove me to bring together a panel of equally frustrated industry buddies and riding enthusiasts. What I thought would be a group of ten or so grousing over a couple six-packs turned quickly into something much bigger. I had dozens of people ask to be on the panel and hundreds fill out an associated survey. Clearly this conversation needed to happen. I formed the “Give a Shift Roundtable” to talk through some obvious stuff, but there were lots of new ideas and most importantly: some solutions. The power of the GAS Roundtable was to get together diverse, insightful and enthusiastic riders to have an anonymous conversation. 25 magazine editors, Continued on Page 12 road can result in life-threatening consequences. Research published Dec. 11 in The BMJ points toward another potential distraction for motorists: the full moon, gracing the sky with its brightness around 12 times a year, and the dazzling supermoon, which comes into focus around once a year. The researchers found that on nights illuminated by a full moon, fatal motorcycle accidents increased by 5 percent compared to nights without a full moon. The project was supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Page 12 ThouGhT From The road Continued from Page 11 writers, OEM PR people, aftermarket industry reps and committed enthusiasts made up the panel. A fully anonymous transcript, summary report and a bonus industry report by well-regarded trade writer Guido Ebert can be downloaded at https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/SdhSlwwnDH. The report outlines five focus areas including: 1) Products are great, but desire is fading, 2) A considerable threat in an autonomous vehicle future, 3) Female (and correlated youth) ridership must be increased, 4) Motorcyclists must self-promote, 5) Dealerships lag behind current retail trends and methods. Read through the report for more details and if you REALLY want to be a fly on the wall for a very smart conversation, enjoy 60 pages of the transcript from the three-hour conversation. So here is a suggestion for you, dear reader and rider. Take point four above and make it your own - be the best ambassador you can be. Invite people to explore motorcycling with you. Don’t have a “ladder” approach to push newbies into bigger bikes - be excited about small bikes. Evaluate a used bike for them. Answer dumb questions without judging or pushing. Bring them to a dealership. Bring them to a couple - including one you don’t usually go into in case they have different moto-taste than you. You may learn something yourself! I hope that the Give a Shift Roundtable helps define how you, your dealer, your riding group and even this magazine can help swing ridership into a positive direction. Choosing to ignore the issue or be complacent about what is a truly great activity for family, friends and our future is a road to nowhere. A ride we may enjoy now, but a future we can avoid.
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
UP COMI NG EVENTS
MARCH 1 THROUGH OCTOBER 31, 2018 TeamStrange is proud to present the Melting Pot Grand Tour! America is a country of immigrants. Outside of our Native American family, we have all come from somewhere else in the relatively recent past. Most of us are aware of the great immigrant migrations of past centuries but did you know that today, there are over 40 million American citizens who are immigrants? It’s true. The first part of this grand tour involves finding and documenting the names of foreign nationsin, or within, the names of North American cities. For example, Indianapolis carries within it, the country of India. Malibu contains the name of the country of Mali. The city of Spiceland carries the name of the country of Iceland. Make sense? The letters spelling the name of a foreign country can appear anywhere within the name of a North America city. However, the letters must be in order and contiguous. That is, while Chadwick, Mo will work for the country Chad, Thomaston, GA does not count for the country of Oman since the letters in O-MA-N are not contiguous or touching one after the next in the name of the city of Thomaston. Got it? Photo submission and documentation rules apply to all cities/towns. You are thinking, “Oh my heck! That’s hard!” Yep. It is easy to understand but hard to do without some research and creativity. TeamStrange’s official list of nations can be found in the Q&A below. There are over 190 countries in the world, but have no fear. Many of the country names are not achievable and you will be able to sort out which ones will work with a little research. For example, we will let you know up front that Sao Tome and Principe, will not be achievable for this GT. You can claim each country a maximum of five (5) times in this GT. The second part of the Melting Pot Grand Tour is a tribute to the iconic Liberty Bell. We all know about the famous Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. However, did you know that in 1950, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sponsored the casting of fifty-five full-size replicas of the American Liberty Bell? All forty-eight American states, the American territories, Washington, D.C. and Annecy-le-Vieux, France took ownership of their very own Liberty Bell replica shortly thereafter. You can document photos for up to ten (10) of the 1950 Liberty Bell
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018 replicas for points. To document a liberty bell, you need to have a receipt from the city in which the bell is located in addition to meeting the regular photo standards to document your visit. Why the receipt? They are replicas. Photo submission and documentation rules apply to all bells. There are, of course, bonus locations as well. Each bonus location is worth 50 points. Photo submission and documentation rules apply to all bonuses. Your entry includes a GT flag and a custom designed sticker. Entry fee is $40 for one or two up. GT flags and stickers will be mailed around February 15, and thereafter, upon sign up. QUESTIONS? Ask Jon J. at firstname.lastname@example.org To register go to www.teamstrange.com and click on Melting Pot Tour. This will show you the rules, details, list of acceptable names and where to sign up. Good luck!
EIGHTH ANNUAL MODERN CLASSICS MOTORCYCLE SHOW
FRIDAY, MARCH 2 + SATURDAY, MARCH 3 For weather beleaguered motorcyclists in the Northeast there is a ray of hope on the horizon. Hosted, as always, by Martin Moto, 567 Rte. 100, Boyertown, PA, The Modern Classics consists of the ever popular Friday evening Kickstart Party Powered by Hagerty and The Grisafi Agency from 7-10pm, with bike show, moto art, music, beer, wine, and finger food, all for only $15 (advanced purchase only). Saturday’s exposition, The Modern Classics, runs from 9am to 5pm and is still just $10 at the door, with free admission for those 12 and under.
Page 13 Each year this unique indoor show puts its primary focus on the epic motorcycles from the 1960s through the 1990s. The usual on-sale inventory is broomed from the spacious Martin Moto showroom floor to be replaced by a carefully curated collection of 100 great motorcycles from the era. Modern Classics is literally a museum for a day. This year, as a special feature, The Modern Classics will also feature a sampling of motorcycles from every decade of the 20th century. From the early 1900s, when motorcycles were little more than bi1923 Ace XP3 cycles with crude internal combustion engines, through the World War I era, the Roaring 20s, and on to WWII and the post war 1950s….this special collection will help to tell the story of the industry, the technical advances, and the style that made motorcycling what it is today. For more information on The Modern Classics and for advance tickets for Friday’s Kickstart Party visit www.modernclassicsbikeshow.com
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
Hanover Powersports Presents
BIG CITY GETAWAY FLy creek cIder mILL & orchard 288 GOOSE ST, FLY CREEK, NY • 607-547-9692 • FLYCREEKCIDERMILL.COM OPEN EVERY DAY MON-SUN 9AM-6PM We have some great friends who send us little gifts of joy – usually in the form of printed reading matter. Sindee and Ed are as thoughtful as can be and the last package to arrive contained not only some wonderful cooking spices but one of the best cookbooks we have on our shelf. The Fly Creek Cider Mill Cookbook has over 100 recipes, with apples featured in most; everything from appetizers to desserts, sweet to savory, and most things in between. We have not made one thing from this book that hasn’t been delectable. I put the Fly Creek Cider Mill on my list of must-visit places.
Sometime in August, I got a posting on my Facebook page from another friend – Tony L. – who had gone to Unadilla and, on his way home, made a stop at the Fly Creek Cider Mill. His image of homemade cider donut and fresh churned ice cream solidified by desire to visit this wondrous place. With our Fall Fiesta in the near future, I looked at maps, plotted courses and
daytrip ideas to get out of the daily grind made the announcement that, if Brian was willing to follow one of my routes, we were going to have lunch here on the way home from Bolton Landing. After many curvy miles, some filled with new oil and chip, we arrived at this happy bastion of everything apple. The Fly Creek Cider Mill, for the past 161 years, has welcomed visitors with the sweet smell of fresh pressed cider. Starting with Hosea Williams’ original press, harnessing the power of the Fly Creek, and moving through time to today’s fully renovated and modern complex run by Brenda and Bill Michaels, the Fly Creek Cider Mill has become more of a family attraction than a place where settlers got their cider to ferment and age into hard cider. You can begin your visit with a walk to the Millpond, where assorted fowl can be fed and photographed. In the same area can be found the Vintage Equipment Display, with an extensive collection of John Deer equipment both on display and in action, as well as some single-cylinder gas engines operating with their hit-and-miss rhythm. There’s a self-guided tour of the Mill’s production area in the Cider Gallery on the second level of the Mill Store, which runs continuously from 10am-2pm on busy fall weekends. Beginning with the harvest, the apples are stored at 38 degrees before washing, grinding, pressing and storing in two storage tanks ready to be tasted and pur-
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BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018 chased by Mill visitors. Of course, the procedure in between is more detailed, but when you make your visit you can watch the whole thing. You can also find historic displays, literature and memorabilia on the second level before heading down to the Marketplace. Make sure you bring your appetite, as there are over 40 different products to be sampled, ranging from cider to cheese and so much more. I was stopped short by the sauces, salsas, marinades and jams – where I filled my cart with Key Lime Curd, Smokey Pig on Pig BBQ Sauce with Bacon and Tikka Marsala Simmering Sauce. There is a temperature-controlled room full of NY State apples, from sweet to tart, available for the munching. While I know that I enjoy a good Cortland (created at the NY Agriculture Experiment Station in Geneva, NY in 1915), after tasting the Zestar, a new variety developed by the University of Minnesota, I think I’ve found my new favorite. It’s been described as an early Honeycrisp, as it becomes available early in the apple season. Come with empty saddlebags, as the apples are FREE (you just purchase the size bag you want and fill it to the brim – from 2.5 to 20 pounds). If you make your way out of that room you’ll come face-to-face with the fudge counter. The Mill manufactures over 5 tons of sweet, butter-cream fudge in over 14 flavors – and you may taste them all. There are hard ciders and apple wines, as well as salad dressings, dips, butters and honeys. Whatever tickles your tastebuds can be found on the shelves of the Marketplace. If you’ve saved your appetite, once outside the store you’ll face the decision of what’s for lunch. There are many outdoor picnic tables and tables overlooking the Millpond, as well as indoor dining, but you have to place your order at the walk-up counter for either. While you wait, try your hand at the Duck Race just beside the outdoor tables. You may choose from dogs and sausages, sandwiches, soups, chili and mac ‘n cheese along with the sweet side of ice cream and baked goods. On our visit we opted for the chili in a bread bowl and a pot roast sandwich – even on a super hot day they were extremely comforting and delicious. I know I’ll have to make a return visit as I was too stuffed to sample their desserts and ice cream – oh well… And, as icing on the cake, should you be too stuffed, or want to enjoy the surrounding of this area for a longer period of time, the Cider House is located on the property of the Fly Creek Cider Mill and is available for weekly rentals during the summer. Built in the 1880s and completely renovated in 2011, the home can accommodate 8 adults with 3-bedrooms and 2-baths, a covered porch with rocking chairs overlooking the Cider Mill and a 14X14 deck with gas grill and picnic table. With all the great riding in this area, it would make a perfect home base to explore the region. It was only an hour, but the time spent at the Fly Creek Cider Mill reminded me of the my family vacations, stopping at little stands along the roadside, sampling the wares and soaking up the later afternoon summer sunshine. Situated just outside Cooperstown, NY, it’s a great destination any time of year, but during apple harvest time it is spectacular. Here’s a 150-mile portion of the ride I put together, starting at the diner in Branchville, NJ (or you can opt to begin at the Elias Cole on Route 23 in Sussex, as the route passes right by). Enjoy! ~ Shira Kamil GPS download: www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/6jeh6p
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
G REAT A LL AMERICA N DINE R RUN The BrIdGe caFé 8 BRIDGE ST, FRENCHTOWN, NJ 08825 • 908-996-6040 • BRIDGECAFE.NET As you motor up and down both sides of the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, south of Interstate 78, you will run through a number of very cool and interesting towns. New Hope, Lambertsville, Milford, and our stop for this month’s Great All American Diner Run – Frenchtown. We spent an afternoon down Frenchtown way back in late October – visiting our friend Andrew from MachineartMoto. Taking a stroll around town we ending up at the bridge and the restaurant found right next door, remarkably called The Bridge Café. Entering The Bridge Café we met the owner Ken Miller who immediately read we were motorcycle enthusiasts and had a few stories to tell. He seemed like an interesting fellow and, looking at the website, I learned a bit more about he and his wife and just why the food this day was almost off the charts. Kenneth and Lisa Miller, a married culinary team and graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, opened the doors to the public in July of 1987, offering delicious breakfast and lunch selections as well as a wide range of morning pastries, hot and cold beverages, ice cream, cakes, pies and cookies. Their motto stands today: Serve freshly prepared meals and items in a casual, unpretentious and unhurried atmosphere. Sharing this vibe with locals and visitors is the power source behind this “ little engine that could.” And, this little engine really can! Let’s start at the beginning – breakfast that is served from 8 to 11am every day. You will not find the usual fair at this eatery, as some of the items on the
tasty places to take your bike
menu will attest. How about thick sliced challah French toast with mixed berry coulis, whipped honey, lemon ricotta and toasted almonds. Their scrambled egg sandwich lets you choose between applewood smoked bacon, Taylor pork roll, sausage patty or fried ham with Swiss, cheddar or American cheese on a brioche bun. If you want simple, delicious and heart healthy try The Bridge Café’s Oatmeal with toasted coconut, almonds and sliced banana. What grabbed our attention was “The Green Thing” – scrambled eggs with spinach, onion jam (what?!), Swiss cheese and arugula on seven grain toast.
Different and delicious. When the clock strikes 11 The Bridge Café shifts gears into lunch mode and that is about when we arrived this sunny and warm Sunday. Shira started off with the soup of the day, which was a seafood chowder – meaty, flavorful and easily could have been a meal by itself if she went for the bowl – but the cup was a great starter. She followed that up with the spinach cake salad, a scrumptious medley Worth the ride from anywhere!
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of twin patties of lentils, brown rice, feta and chopped spinach mounded on a generous lightly dressed mixed green and raw veggie salad. It was a good size portion and half came home with her. Andrew chose the baked tofu wrap with a spicy sesame peanut sauce and crunchy seasonal vegetables with a side of quinoa salad. Since we are all on the fit and healthy mood I grabbed The Bridge Café’s special salad that they were serving this day; a wonderful Greek fusion with shrimp, hummus, delicious feta cheese on a bed of fresh and crispy greens with quinoa and flat bread. You will find a whole bunch more excellent offerings on the menu as well and I can tell you this was one of the best and most nourishing meals we had sat down to in a while. In fact, everything that Ken and Lisa create is not only delicious and well portioned – but you can tuck it away and still feel svelte and good about yourself after you are done. We have been by The Bridge Café many times while traversing the region, but this was the first time we got a chance to stop by and experience what these CIA graduates have to offer. I can tell you it will not be the last! As is the Backroads’ way we’ll give you a ride to The Bridge Café that is almost as good as the meal you will have along the east shore of the Delaware River – starting at Skylands Baseball Park in Augusta , New Jersey. Enjoy both. ~ Brian Rathjen
Rip & Ride® • THE BRIDGE CAFÉ 8 BRIDGE STREET, FRENCHTOWN, NJ 08825 • 908-996-6040 • BRIDGECAFE.NET
RTE. 565 SOUTH RIGHT - RTE. 206 NORTH LEFT - AUGUSTA HILL RD. RIGHT - CR 519 NORTH LEFT - CR 627 / 626 LEFT - CR 521 SOUTH LEFT - NEWTON SWARTSWOOD RD. BEAR LEFT - OLD SWARTSWOOD RD. LEFT - NEWTON SWARTSWOOD RD. RIGHT - CR 519 SOUTH FOLLOW SIGNS THROUGH NEWTON STAY ON CR 519 SOUTH LEFT - ALLAMUCHY RD. RIGHT - QUAKER CHURCH RD. RIGHT - LONG BRIDGE RD. RIGHT - SHADES OF DEATH RD. LEFT - HOPE RD. RIGHT - US 46 WEST LEFT - RTE. 31 BEAR RIGHT - WASHINGTON AVE. BEAR RIGHT - JONESTOWN RD. STRAIGHT - HARTMANS CORNER RD.
STRAIGHT -HARMONY BRASS CASTLE RD. BEAR LEFT - BURR RD. LEFT - BICKEL RD. RIGHT - HALFWAY HOUSE RD. RIGHT - RTE. 57 LEFT - STEWARTSVILLE RD. LEFT - SOUTH MAIN STREET LEFT - RTE. 173 RIGHT - CR 579 RIGHT - CR 513 LEFT - SHY CREEK RD. LEFT - JEREMIAH LN. RIGHT - SKY MANOR RD. STRAIGHT - SENATOR STOUT RD. LEFT - CR 519 SOUTH PAVED – STAY ON CR 519 LEFT - RTE. 12 TO BRIDGE STREET A LITTLE GRAVEL IN YOUR TRAVEL… RIGHT - CREEK RD. LEFT - RTE. 12 TO BRIDGE STREET BRIDGE STREET CAFE ON LEFT
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
Morton’s BMW Motorcycles Presents Dr. Seymour O’Life’s MYSTER IOU S A MERICA The PemBer museum oF NaTuraL hIsTory 33 WEST MAIN ST, GRANVILLE, NY 12832 518-642-1515 • WWW.PEMBERMUSEUM.WORDPRESS.COM HOURS: TUES-FRI. 1-5PM • SAT. 10AM-3PM • GROUPS BY APPOINTMENT This was the sixth time we were traveling to West Dover, Vermont for a Backroads’ Summer Squeeze. This year would split the group between the Gray Ghost and Kitzhof Inns, and all were looking forward to the bucolic riding that area has to offer. Since we try to offer suggestions for interesting stops along the way, I asked the good Dr. O’Life if he had any hidden spots on his list of weird and wacky. He rolled his eyes to indicate that he had forgotten more places than we could possibly visit, but put forth one that, while odd to many, would turn out to be quite informative and well worth the time spent. So it was that on the Tuesday of the Summer Squeeze I headed out with Helene and Gerry for a visit to the Pember Museum of Natural History. The
name is a bit misleading, as the Pember not only houses the Granville Library but is also home to the largest taxidermy collection in the state of New York. Franklin T. Pember, born in South Granville, NY, was a man of means and his wife Ellen (Wood) was prosperous in her own right. Together they were considered a Victorian power couple. Pember began his collecting at the young age of 21 but much of his personal and financial success came after meeting and marrying Ellen at the age of 27 in 1868. Pember formed a partnership with Prouty in the fur trading business (Pember and Prouty, Commission Dealer of Furs and Skins) in NYC and, as the Pembers grew in wealth, they began travelling the country and the world, with Franklin hunting and collecting natural specimens of every imaginable kind. In 1908 Ellen and Franklin funded the building of the Granville library in which the collection would eventually be housed. In 1909 the Pember Museum of Natural History was open on the second floor of the library and exhibited a lifetime of travel and collecting. The Victorian floor-to-ceiling exhibit cases of cherry wood fill the museum with 80% of Pember’s collection of birds, mammals and reptiles, minerals, eggs and nests. There are over 7,000 objects pristinely showcased in vintage Victorian tabletop and glass cases, perfectly lit for all to admire. Rare and exotic mammals such as the Duckbilled Platypus and Red Kangaroo and extinct species such as the Carolina Paroquet and Passenger Pigeon are highlights of this
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amazing collection. Though it fell into disuse for a time after the Pembers’ deaths, in the 1970s the local community of Granville revitalized and reopened it. Today you can visit this wondrous place, seeing it much as it was back in 1909. Entering this grand Victorian-style building, we encountered a beautiful calico cat sitting peacefully on a library patron’s lap. Heading up the wide
staircase and passing through the heavy wood doors, we stepped into another world. To the left, the floor-to-ceiling glass cases are filled with birds of every imaginable variety, from the tiniest hummingbird to the massive Andean Condor. Each specimen is labeled and many have the year they were collected. I was halfway through the first cast before I realized that these creatures were all well over 100 years old, yet in almost new condition (mostly). Rounding the bend at the end of the hall, the right side of the museum houses mammals and reptiles, from the tiny vole to the giant brown bear. You’ll find insects, eggs and nests, plants, rocks and minerals as well as the history of the Pembers and their travels. We thought we would pop in for a quick peak, and that turned into almost an hour’s visit that was quite informative. Sarah Williams, the young woman in charge for that day, was exuberant and answered any and all questions that we had regarding the Pembers and the specimens on view. Should you like to continue your exploration, the Pember Nature Preserve, occupying 125 acres not too far from Granville and home to a variety of mammals and birds, offers a number of hiking trails of varying lengths. ~ Shira Kamil
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
WE’RE OUTTA HER E
a weekend destination keeping you on the backroads
harTNess house 30 ORCHARD STREET, SPRINGFIELD, VT 05156 802- 885-2115 • WWW.HARTNESSHOUSE.COM Sometimes when we are looking for a special place for our “We’re Outta Here!” column, we run into something so extraordinary, that it not only fits that bill but could also fill in as a Great All American Diner Run, Big City Getaway of even a Mysterious America. With this month’s visit to Springfield, Vermont’s Hartness House you can take your pick, as this is a very special inn indeed. So pack your overnight bag, strap on the helmet and zip up the riding suit – ‘cause we are way outta here! The Hartness House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in the early 1900s by James Hartness. Hartness was an American inventor, a brilliant engineer and an entrepreneur who mentored other inventors to develop their skills in his precision machine factory. He also was an avid astronomer who fostered the construction of telescopes by amateurs in his town, an early aviator who built one of Vermont’s first airports and, not having done enough in his life, was also the 58th governor of the state of Vermont. The famed telescope maker Russel Porter was a student and friend of Hartness and the two did wondrous things together. Russell Porter founded the Springfield Telescope Makers. Earlier, he was navigator on several arctic expeditions, and then spent time founding an artist colony in Port Clyde, Maine. Later, he was recruited by Hale and joined the 200-inch telescope project at Palomar. Yes, this area has remarkable history – but the house is in a class by itself. The Hartness House Inn was built by James and Lena Hartness in 1904. During their time in the home they hosted many influential guests including Charles Lindbergh.
In 2015 the Inn was purchased by new owners who set about returning the Hartness House to its former glory and made additions as well. Today the property offers 40 guest rooms, located in the main house and annex, and sits on 35 stunning acres above the town of Springfield. The truth is we came to see the Hartness - Porter Museum of Amateur Telescope Making, but were swept up in the beauty and class that this inn exudes. Chef Nicholas Matush was kind enough to spend a bit of time with us and gave our group the grand tour of the museum, found at the end of a 250 foot
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tunnel that lead away from the mansion to where Hartness and Porter kept their beautiful Newtonian telescope. It is still operational today and the museum itself maintained by the Stellafane Society. After the tour a few of us joined Marissa, who took over from Chef Matush, and brought us around the grounds and the mansion itself. Stunning, gorgeous, opulent and elegant barely do the Hartness House justice. Located in the main house the Mansion Rooms ($140 to $250 depending on dates) are uniquely decorated to reflect the time period of when the historic home was built. Each room has a private bath and modern amenities including flat screen TVs. Just the view from atop the staircase down was a treat. The Charles Lindbergh Room was very special with its large and stately wooden bed and fitting amenities; it was a step back in time. All the other rooms we peeked into were of equal style and flair. Very nice. The Standard Rooms ($109-$140 depending on dates) are connected to the Mansion. These rooms are newly renovated and offer better than average comfort and work well if you don’t think you are of Lindbergh or Astor caliber.
With Chef Matush at the helm the Hartness House Tavern has become “the” place to go, as some of the thoughts and online reviews on the place speak for themselves… “The Tavern is awesome, recently renovated dining room and bar area is comfortable, the staff knows us by name now and the young Chef Nick Matush is serving new hip meals. Every time we go we fall in love with another one of his dishes. The pork belly tacos are worth raving about and the Bartender, Lisa’s Bloody Mary’s can’t be beat.” “This place is the best! Incredible historic Victorian mansion - the recently renovated Tavern restaurant is gorgeous - industrial chic with a cozy, comfortable vibe. And the food is amazing! Chef Matush is so talented serving up fresh, local food at reasonable prices...” The Tavern is open for dinner Thursday - Friday: 5pm – 9pm and for Sunday Brunch from 11am – 2pm. We know we were impressed and can not wait to return to Springfield and, perhaps, bring a bunch of friends with us – for when we find a great inn like the Hartness House we really like to share it with our riding buddies and our readers. What are you waiting for?
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
The Law Office of Paul G. Gargiulo Presents
Welcome to the Jungle - The Art of Learning to Ride Skillfully A column dedicated to your riding survival romuLaNs oF The ForesT Spock: “I believe the Romulans have developed a cloaking device, which renders our tracking sensors useless.” The Enterprise Incident Deer. They are the Romulans of the forest. And, like the pesky Romulans who had not been heard from for 100 years in the Star Trek universe, they can suddenly appear out of nowhere right in front of you and dish out a whole bunch of mayhem before fading away into the dark space of the woods.
It is like they have a…. Cloaking Device. Like the crew of the Enterprise we have nothing that can track them or give us any warning that they are near. Clear road one second - flashing brown, white, hoof and antler the next. Hopefully they disappear like a Bird of Prey – but sometimes things get too close for comfort. We were riding up from Virginia International Raceway in October. It was a beautiful day and we had just spent the last two under the watchful eyes of Reg Pridmore and his talented instructors at CLASS – a high performance riding school. Shira had mapped out a spectacular route, without any gravel roads - a first for the red head, and things were moving along quite swimmingly. I was in the lead following the Purple Line of my Garmin GPS along some of the Commonwealth’s better backroads when there was a flash of fur from the left, hurtling across the road, not 100 feet from my bike. I was doing about 45. It was so fast I barely began to get off the gas and on the brakes before she was already by me. A second later Shira piped up on the Sena… “Holy crap…you okay?” “Yup, where did that come from?” as the adrenaline began to flow. We’ve all had encounters of the too close kind with these furry Romulans. A few weeks earlier we were in the Finger Lakes of New York. Once again I was leading, but this time I did not run into the Romulans, a riding companion did. We were just 5 miles out, at the end of a nearly 300 mile ride from New Jersey to Canandaigua, when I heard Shira (she is the only one I am paired with, okay?) do the “no, no, no” thing. Freakin’ Romulan had used the Cloaking Device to get to the side of the road, uncloaked, and then ran in front of our friend, clipping his front wheel, tearing the fender off and putting him into a killer wobble that he successfully rode out.
Whew! Disaster avoided. Romulans! It is not just deer that can get us… Last summer in Newfoundland I had a Bull Moose run across my path – big as a battleship, he was. More Klingon than Romulan, I swear. But as always, he appeared from nothing, nowhere and instantaneously. Cloaked one second – de-cloaked the next. Up here in Sussex County, New Jersey, where there is more forest and farms than towns and people, we see so many deer. Many times it is close up after they have de-cloaked in front of a car or pick-up truck. Deer! Boom! Sometimes I think that Romulans are born on the side of the road dead! These creatures are a very serious issue for we riders. This past summer a local New Jersey Law Enforcement officer, Peter Kamper, was killed when a deer struck him on his way home. So terribly sad. It is usually said that a rider hits the deer. Let us get it straight …the deer almost always hits us. And, each and every time this happens, they appear out of nowhere – like Romulans de-cloaking to attack a Federation Starship. Then there are their foresty friends… the Andorians (opossum), the Cardassians (skunk) and the ever pain-in-the-ass Ferengi (squirrel) – who really are the bane of my riding existence. C’mon you little bastards make up your minds! It’s a jungle out there kiddies….who knew it was out of this world.
RIDE LIKE A PRO NJ Advanced Riding Training Classes Being Held in New Jersey ‘NEVER FEAR that U-turn or dropping your 800lb. or any motorcycle again’ • You can learn the 3 simple techniques that master low speed maneuvers that Motorcops have been using for years • Our instructors - all active or retired motor officers - will instruct the use of Motorcop riding techniques to help you better control your motorcycle
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Pre-registration is recommended as classes fill quickly. Gift certificates available • Course Fee is $175.00 Visit our website to take advantage of this special offer.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018
The GuzzLe RAINBOW ST E., THOUSAND ISLAND PARK, NY 13692 • 315-210-6831 It’s winter, it’s cold, snow has covered everything and, for me, the bikes are tucked away for a few months unless there is an unusually warm spell to dispel the ice fields that surround Backroads Central. But none of those things will ever stop me from my quest for ice cream. Luckily, I had this place tucked in my backup belt for just such an occasion. During last year’s Fall Fiesta in the beautiful area of the Thousand Islands of New York State, I was in search of an ice cream joint to satisfy the dairy delights of our rally-goers. My search led me to The Guzzle, apparently an establishment that has catered to ice cream goers in Thousand Island Park, NY for quite some time. Though tragedy struck in 2014 in the form of a massive fire, which wiped out The Guzzle along with several other building on that block, they rose like the Phoenix in 2016, bigger and better. The Guzzle occupies a whole city block, with its large, cavernous interior filled with dining, counters and ice cream cases. The setting is quite lovely, with a park across the way and the water just down the block. In fact, most of Thousand Island Park is just that, a state park. While there are few paved road, those not bothered by off-road riding will find some very scenic spots around the island. But we came for ice cream, so let’s get back to that. When we visited, it was lunch time so we had a sampling of their sandwiches and salads before sampling their desserts. I have to say that the pulled pork sandwich I had was one of the best I’ve ever tasted, and the salad that Brian ordered was equally as satisfying. We dined al fresco, watching other Backroads’ folk come and go along their routes. Once the main dishes were done, we strolled inside to see about some ice cream. The Guzzle does not make their own ice cream but serve the very delicious Perry’s, which is quite common in upstate New York and New England. Their flavors are creative and the quality is very high. While I will almost always choose pistachio when I see it, I could not pass up ‘Queen of Hearts’ – dark chocolate ice cream with raspberry swirls and fudge-filled hearts. How delightfully decadent this was. Brian went with the ‘Cuse 44’ – salty caramel ice cream with crushed crème-filled cookies and orange-covered pretzel balls; quite a departure from his usual vanilla. Apparently The Guzzle is ‘the’ place to be from Memorial to Labor day in this part of NY State. Close to the marina and easily accessible by land or water, The Guzzle serves up some fine food and, according to the locals, some of the best ribs around on Friday nights. Should you find you and your motorcycle in the Alexandria Bay area, point your wheels over the bridge to Wellesley Island and ‘sit a spell’ in this quiet, old-timey community and enjoy a dip or two.
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
HUDSON VALLEY MOTORCYCLES DUCATI UNVEILING
On Friday & Saturday December 8th & 9th Hudson Valley Motorcycles, in Ossining, New York had a gala event to showcase the newest offering from the Italian motorcycle company - Ducati. Masterful emcee Duane Alexander did, well, a masterful job in introducing three new Ducati models – including the new 2018 Panigale V4, now heralded as the most powerful sportbike in the world.
It is certainly one of the sexiest. Friday night was an invitational private affair, but Hudson Valley was still packed, with great food and wine being served along with the festivities involved in introducing these long awaited machines to the Hudson Valley and New York region.
Saturday’s snowstorm did not stop their customers from coming in for the extended weekend event and, once again, Hudson Valley Motorcycles showed that it is not just a shop that is looking to sell or service your bike – but a family-owned business that is and has been truly passionate about riding for decades. Good for them! www.hudsonvalleymotorcycles.com
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
words: David Mobley images: Kadir Asnaz In English, the Spanish word Golpeado translates to beaten up, which is the perfect way to describe how I felt after my latest motorcycle adventure. I’ll get back to that, but first let me backtrack slightly. In 2013 after going through a divorce, I sold the house, quit a high-paying job, threw caution to the wind, and set off for a year aboard a BMW F800GS. I rode solo for 24k miles, and passed through 17 countries. I started in Denver and made my way to the bottom of the world in Argentina. The trip changed me deeply, in ways that I can’t explain. Upon return I accepted another highlevel corporate management position, which relocated me to Brooklyn, but I couldn’t shake daydreams and cravings for more adventure. In June of 2016, after two more years in the Corporate America grinder, I quit and took off yet again. After riding a bicycle for 100 days across the United States with my 65 year-old father, sailing the Caribbean and hopping around Latin America for a bit, I ended up settling in Cali, Colombia. After being there a few months, I was offered a gig leading motorcycle tours parttime through Colombia and South America with Motolombia, a well-respected rental and tour agency.
Mike, the owner of Motolombia, asked if I wanted to help guide an upcoming tour called the ‘River of Gods Explorer’. I’d been told we would ride high mountains, low plains, and experience the border between dense Amazon forest and the Andes. Our ultimate goal was to reach Caño Cristales, known as the River of Seven Colors or River of the Gods. Some say Cristales is the most beautiful river in the world, and it’s quickly becoming very popular, as the southeastern department of Meta opens up and presents itself; all this following a recent peace treaty negotiated between the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group. I agreed, and we began preparations for the world’s first organized motorcycle tour to the mythical Caño Cristales. After months of anticipation, the day finally came to begin the tour. We were seven total: A slightly older former U.S. Marine named Jim, the father and son duo of Doug and Matt, Kadir, a professional, very talented photographer from Turkey, the owner Mike, representing Motolombia, the newest full-time guide and amazing rider Dennis, and me. After a briefing at the shop, the first stretch of the trip took us north from Cali to Salento. We exited the back door of Salento on a dirt stretch riding a ridge above the stunning Cocora Valley down into the tiny village of Toche. This is the heart of the Colombian coffee region, also the only place to see
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Colombia’s national tree, the beautiful Quindio Wax Palm. From there it was onward to Melgar, really nothing special, but a good resting point. The day was split between paved and packed dirt roads. The scenery just outside of Salento is some of the most beautiful in the world. A couple of maintenance issues aside, day two was uneventful apart from some spirited, sweeping paved curves that led us to Vista Hermosa. We were on Yamaha XT 660s, wrapped in Metzeler Karoo rubber. I have a road racing background, and was quite impressed with the stability and lean angle that can be achieved by this combo. Keep in mind that traffic lights, speed limits, double yellows, and stop signs are not enforced here and seen as ‘recommendations’ instead of rules. As long as you aren’t a complete knucklehead, don’t wheelie past a police station, or blow through a military checkpoint, you should be fine. After spending a relaxing night in Vista Hermosa, day three was where the real fun began, and by fun I mean pure, muddy torture. The plan was to ride the entire stretch from Vista Hermosa south to La Macarena, but recent rain made that impossible. Deep mud, bike issues, military checkpoints, and various delays meant we needed to stop around the halfway point once the sun set behind the trees. That put us in a little known spot called Caño Canoas. The next morning roosters, donkeys, and various other animals woke us early. The caretaker of the rustic cabins offered to take us on a short hike to see Caño Canoas. We hiked up a dirt track paralleling the river for around 20 minutes. This brought us to a bluff overlooking three massive, stunning
waterfalls. After scrambling down a tight path we were able to spend time swimming and bathing under the falls. It truly was an amazing place that felt like the land of the lost. The dangerous history of the area, and sheer remoteness has left Caño Canoas a hidden gem of Colombia. After the hike, we mounted our trusty steeds and set off on the most in-
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
sanely difficult, but amazingly fun 20km stretch of the entire trip. The mud was indescribable. Beyond knee deep at points, so thick your boots would almost get sucked off when trying to walk through… and why walk you ask? Well, because bikes were toppling over and getting stuck left and right. Seriously, skill level didn’t matter at that point. It was a total war zone. Six hours later, we were exhausted when we finally arrived at Cristales, but everyone had a smile from ear to ear. Caño Cristales is absolutely spectacular. The multicolored algae blooms give the river a surreal and ethereal feel. There’s also the beautiful waterfalls to gaze at and swim under. Really the area has it all, and I recommend going now before too many tourists trample the algae in hopes of getting the perfect Instagram selfie. The area known as Caño Cristales lies between the river itself and Rio Guayabero to the south. Five years ago you wouldn’t dare go because of the danger. Now you won’t go because you can’t. The Colombian government
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has made it all but impossible. Most everyone arrives via plane to Macarena, and to see Cristales you now have to book a tour with a guide and permit, which will run around $300k COP. No vehicles are allowed to cross the river from the Macarena side to the Cristales side. There are six trucks permanently stationed to shuttle tourists from Guayabero to Cristales. The difficult track that we took from the north (Vista Hermosa to Macarena) is also off limits. Apparently it was built by the FARC years ago. There is also a rickety old FARC-built bridge as you near Caño Canoas. We were told that the Colombian government doesn’t support this road because of its sordid history. This is sad because it isolates the locals that live between the two villages. On the other hand, there’s an unintentional benefit as it preserves some of the most magical landscape in the world. We stayed in La Macarena for the night and headed out early the next morning after some routine maintenance. There were also a few non-routine repairs, but you can’t do a trip like this without sustaining some collateral
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BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018 damage. Note, if you do this route be sure to stock extra brake pads and chains. The consistency of the mud was wearing everything much quicker than usual. In all, we had two broken chains, replaced brake pads front and rear on the majority of the bikes, a broken mirror, three flat tires, and a small hole in a radiator (cleverly fixed by pouring in two egg whites sourced roadside). That said, the trip couldn’t have been more memorable. It was one of the harder things I’ve done on a motorbike. I’ll remember the stretch between Vista Hermosa and La Macarena forever, both in a good and bad way. From a bike perspective, I won’t say the XT is my favorite of all time. However, we put the bikes through some serious testing. All seven proved to be trustworthy and made it to the end with a little tender love and care. In my opinion the only issue is the factory suspension - too soft for rough conditions, especially the rear. But if that’s the only complaint after putting the bikes through absolute hell, it’s pretty amazing. I’ve always been a Yamaha fan; this trip solidified that opinion. From La Macarena we made our way over two difficult dirt mountain passes. Day five to Florencia, then day six to San Agustin, which is a small village in the Andes known for its pre-Columbian remains spread over many different sites in the region. Imagine Easter Island-style, carved, volcanic stone figures and tombs scattered throughout the surrounding forest. It’s a special place, and the village itself is pretty amazing. From a riding perspective, the roads nearby are a combination of twisty and paved, along with spectacular dirt sections, all with views for days. On the seventh and final day we woke up and cleaned the hotel out of coffee entirely. After clearing the cobwebs we headed out (one too many celebratory Poker beers at dinner). After a quick stop for lunch in Popayan, the
Page 29 beautiful white village, we continued on to Cali. We arrived back at Motolombia mid-afternoon and celebrated a successful journey. Looking back, I remember digging my bike out of mud thinking to myself, “why in the world did I ever give up my former life?” Things were comfortable, I never needed to worry about guerrillas, or where to find shelter in the middle of a dark Colombian jungle. However, this trip was true adventure. I challenge anyone to find an area or ‘tour’ that rivals it. One point I want to get across is that Colombia is more than what you see on TV. Although the negative perception is slowly changing, people still buy into what they learn by watching Narcos, or read in negative news sources. Colombia is absolutely safe, stunning, welcoming, perfect for motorcycle travel, and thankfully still somewhat unexplored. Sure I’m biased, but I would recommend anyone who has interest in motorbikes, Colombia, and/or Latin America to reach out to Motolombia for a tour, be it guided or self-guided. Furthermore, I’d do it now before things change and become overrun. In the end did we get everything we were promised? Por supuesto! We rode high mountains, traversed low plains, and experienced the unspoiled border between the Amazon and Andes. And of course we reached our main destination, beautiful Caño Cristales. The company was great, the scenery superb, the locals genuine and kind, and the riding nothing short of epic. In retrospect this trip was a vivid reminder of why I chose to escape the rat race once and for all. Hope to see you down here in Colombia soon. Remember, the only risk is wanting to stay! More info, questions and bookings: www.motolombia.com
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
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They say you cannot go back again. Evidentially Kawasaki has now said you can! Rolling into the New York Show was a blast from my past when the cover came off the new 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS, the newest addition to the Z family. Unveiling this machine in Manhattan was very apropos as the code name for the original Z-1 was the New York Steak! Although with its iconic root beer and orange paint scheme it might look like a machine from 45 years ago (Holy crap!) the Z900RS is packed with technologically advanced components and features, including the 41mm inverted
front forks, slipper clutch, and Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC). The bike also has some of its own new features as well, such as Kawasaki’s first fully tuned exhaust note, designed to elicit rider response when the 948cc in-line four cylinder engines roars to life, idling, and low speed riding. The Z900RS, features a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve 948cc in-line four cylinder engine and while Kawasaki in-line four cylinder engines have been historically known for their great-sounding exhausts, this is the first time that Kawasaki has used sound research to craft the model’s ideal exhaust note. We heard it run and they have nailed this.
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The Z900RS is equipped with Kawasaki TRaction Control (KTRC), which has two performance settings riders can choose from: Mode 1 prioritizes maximum forward acceleration, while Mode 2 provides rider reassurance by facilitating smooth riding on slippery surfaces. The centerpiece of the Z900RS is, without a doubt, the beautiful four and a half gallon teardrop fuel tank that is almost as sexy as the original Z1. The entire frame was designed around positioning and showcasing the striking fuel tank. The stylish engine fins were cast onto the cylinder head to create the image of an air-cooled engine. The machine will have a number of accessories for it as well, but I would think the retro Kawasaki tank emblems would be the first thing on order – that and a Bell Star II helmet (orange w/black shield) and Brooks leather jacket – tan please. Look for it at dealers soon for around $11,000 and for me down at Astoria Park across from the monument.
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A few years backed Kawasaki rocked the sportbike world with their supercharged H2. Technologically and visually the machine was in a league of its own. But, as we are a travel and touring motorcycle publication, I snarkely asked if it would come with luggage. The Kawasaki rep kinda just looked at me. I thought it was a joke. Kawasaki did not and now, just a couple years later, Big Green introduced the Kawasaki H2 SX SE – a supercharged sport-tourer complete with matching hard luggage! Yowzaaa! The Ninja H2 SX features a 998cc inline four-cylinder engine design, new balanced supercharger, slipper clutch, single-sided swingarm, and dog-ring transmission, all new aggressive full fairing bodywork, new passenger friendly trellis frame, Kawasaki first TFT LCD meter and full LED Lighting and a whole bunch more. The sleek full fairing bodywork of the Ninja H2 SX isn’t just for good looks; it also provides some protection to riders from the wind while riding. The ability to design and equip the Ninja H2 SX with a fairing wouldn’t have been possible without the highly efficient engine that puts off significantly less heat than its Ninja H2 counterparts, while maintaining the performance and fun that the supercharged Ninja H2 family is known for. The riding position of the Ninja H2 SX has struck
the perfect balance between relaxed and sporty riding positions. High-speed performance is difficult to achieve with an upright riding position, but the full fairing of the Ninja H2 SX provides superb wind protection that makes this achievable. The position is comfortable for both in-town riding and long touring, while still enabling the rider to enjoy sporty riding. The mounting system for the accessory saddlebags allows them to be attached and removed very simply, contributing to improved convenience. Seamlessly integrating the saddlebags with the rear of the bike, the clean-mount system positions them close to the bike centerline, which enhances its clean design, ensuring the rear of the bike still looks good with the saddlebags removed. If you are a rider looking for a cutting edge machine, one that will be talked about a few decades down the road, then take a look at the Kawasaki H2 SX SE – it will soon be at your local Kawasaki dealer and we hope to have a First Ride Report as soon as we can get our hands on one.
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FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS over 120,000 miles of every type of road between Carolina’s Outer Banks and Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, and the rural roads of his Loudoun County home are still his favorites. But there’s trouble in Loudoun: it rhymes with “t” and is spelled with a “d” and it’s called “development.” When Doug arrived in 1983, there were 510 miles of gravel roads – mostly connected – and you could ride those bucolic beauties all day on horse, bicycle, or motorcycle and scarcely need to use a paved road. But pave they did, to answer the call of progress, as the DC Metroplex grew and McMansions sprang up in the fields that once fed the area in the time BC (Before Costco). Today there are only 298 miles of gravel roads left in Loudoun County and as we rode, we crossed the freshly-paved corpse of Alder School, one of the two oldest roads in Loudoun and once one of the main East/West passages in and out of the Shenandoah Valley. Some of the old roads, like Diggs Valley, date back to 1620 or earlier and were used by settlers in wagons, not Volkswagens. These roads were used by settlers to get to the fertile Shenandoah Valley, a place destined to become the breadbasket of the East over the next 300 years and beyond. There’s a lot of history in these roads: military men on both sides of the words: Mark Byers • images: Doug Graham
After a fine breakfast at the Leesburg Diner, three of us rode motorcycles through rural Loudoun County, Virginia under an electric-blue October sky. The bikes ahead of me kicked up dust devils that chased the loose, yellow leaves into the ditches on either side of unpaved roads, flanked by low stone walls in various states of repair. Some places, the walls were augmented by wooden fences with cleverly-built low spots across which horses can jump to follow baying hounds in pursuit of elusive prey. The fall air was cool and the trees swayed from breezes that promised to bring rain. Horses grazed and nuzzled each other in the meadows. It was the kind of day and they were the kind of gravel roads for which the words “bucolic” and “idyllic” were coined. Gravel roads aren’t the first type most motorcyclists crave when they think of a ride in the country, but there are those of us who treasure them, especially my friend, photojournalist Doug Graham. Doug’s Kawasaki Versys has seen
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Civil War knew the mountain passes in West Loudoun were key to getting into that breadbasket, but Jackson, Stuart, and Mosby were experts at denying access to Snicker’s and Ashby’s Gap to the Union, allowing an entire army to move unseen behind the mountains. There was a key battle in Loudoun County in November 1862 around Unison, where Stuart’s cavalry foiled Lincoln’s plan to put the Union Army between Lee and his capitol after the southerners had been badly bloodied at Antietam. Because of Stuart’s actions on the rural roads of Loudoun, Lee got safely back to Culpeper. Other battle sites in Loudoun include Aldie, Up-
Page 33 perville, and Middleburg. The battles of today still involve that real estate, but now they’re fought with computers, deeds, bank notes, and votes. The Loudoun Preservation Society has a Rural Roads Coalition whose goal is to save the remaining 298 miles of gravel roads. I saw a sign posted on a board fence that said, “Save our Rural Roads,” but it’s tough to convince people who paid big money for large new houses or old mansions that they should drive down dirt and gravel roads to access them. SUVs are supposed to be able to handle it, but who wants to get his Land Cruiser dirty? Gravel is hard on performance sedans too. So residents demand, and politicians respond, and roads get paved, irrespective of their historical significance. I don’t think the folks who move to Loudoun County are ill intentioned – I just don’t think they understand the gravity of the gravel they’re covering. I am also not sure they understand there are win-win situations in leaving rural roads unpaved. For example, when we were riding, I saw numerous electronic signs that displayed our measured speed versus the limit. One sign said, “Watch your speed, WE ARE - Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.” Ironically, the entire day we were riding on the gravel roads, I don’t think our speed ever got above the values they desired: gravel roads are self-enforcing. But if you really want to talk to voters, you talk to their wallets and here’s the deal: it costs about $120,000 a mile (or more) to pave a road, and about $7,000 a mile to maintain it. Gravel roads don’t require that initial investment (they already exist, some since they were trails laid down by Native Americans) and they cost orders of magnitude less to maintain. In Montpelier, Vermont, they’re even removing pavement, recycling the used asphalt, and keeping money in the coffers by going back to unpaved roads. It is in keeping with Vermont’s desire to maintain their rural heritage.
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Recreation lovers, like those of us on “adventure” motorcycles, are rediscovering rural roads. Bicyclists are hosting “gravel grinders” wherein they use offroad-style bikes to traverse unpaved roads. Loudoun County’s large equestrian community, long known for their passionate hunts, certainly appreciates unpaved roads. During our day of gravel riding, we saw people on horseback, on bicycles, on foot, and walking dogs, enjoying a gorgeous fall day. To pave all the roads appears to take away the country charm that attracted people to Loudoun with which to begin. As the old Joni Mitchell song says: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.” On our ride, we saw 80 miles worth of the prettiest scenery one could imagine. At one old estate, a group of women in period dress was gathered under a large tree in the front yard. Amazing old houses of stone and brick abounded and well-preserved little towns like Waterford and Bluemont took us back in time. I had some of the finest brisket with custard-stuffed cornbread at Monk’s Barbecue in Purcellville. As the gravel grumbled under our wheels, beautiful old barns built by German POWs came and went, foxes darted across the road, and we crossed a historic iron bridge on Featherbed Road that was disassembled elsewhere and reassembled at its present location. We took a Halloween photo in the middle of Route 666. No matter where we rode, traffic was scarce, another fringe benefit of gravel. Fall is stingy with her light and as the day waned and the deer appeared in the meadows, we knew it was time to turn for home. Besides all the history I learned, I know one other thing: there are 218 miles of unpaved Loudoun roads I’ve yet to see. I’ll be back soon to ride Loudoun’s rural, gravel roads, hopefully before the inexorable march of progress makes them disappear. Bring your motorcycle and join me, because it always seems to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.
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RKA 24.5 LITER SHILOH ROAD EXPANDABLE TANK BAG
There is a common thread with the luggage from RKA. It’s not the incredibly durable and well-made luggage themselves, nor their lifetime warranty. It is that Rich Battles (The R in RKA) constantly names his bags after local roads that mean little to those outside the region north of San Francisco. Here I thought “Good for RKA to include an historic Civil War battle in the mix…,” then I realized they meant Shiloh Road a few miles from their factory. Kathy (the K in RKA) needs to get him out more often. Monikers aside, there is no denying that RKA makes some of the most serious luggage on the planet – whether it be their saddlebags, rack or seat bags, liners or, in this case, tank bags. Let’s talk durability. Both my personal machines – the GS and KLR – have RKA tank bags on them. The last one I purchased from RKA lasted well nearly decade. But even the toughest gear will wear out eventually and it was time for a new tank bag. Talking with RKA, they believed that their Shiloh Road was exactly what I needed. Yes, that is another great thing about RKA – they actually answer the phone and talk to their customers. The Shiloh Road is designed with the sloping tanks of today’s ADV machines in mind. The bag is made from 600 Denier solution-dyed polyester and has two sections, the top that expands and the main section that retains its shape. When the top is expanded you have near a whopping 25 liters of realty in there. I particularly love (and needed) the three pockets that come with it and it was easy enough to transfer my much needed “stuff” I carry around with me from the old bag to the new bag’s rear and side pockets. The Shiloh Road mounts with RKA’s familiar and easy to install three-point system. I run power into my tank bag for phone and other devices that need charging and RKA makes this very easy with a built-in portal that opens on both front and rear of the left side of the bag to carry any electrical wires or cables that you might need to route inside. The bag’s lower case is lined and padded with 3/8inch foam on a silver backing to easily find things in the bag. This is combined onto a 200 denier coated nylon bottom that is made with a very grippy fabric called Slip Not – an anti-abrasion grip fabric which is also waterproof, strong and washable. The bottom part of the Shiloh Road keeps it shape, using inserts made from 1/8- inch ABS Plastic. When attached correctly the RKA Bags are very, very stable. All the zippers are durable YKKs that will last for years. If needed, you can order a “control box” to hold communication gear in the bag or an optional dashboard or wrap to hold all your devices securely. Another standard feature I like is the organizer underneath the top lid to carry all sorts of items like maps, pen, tire gauge and your paper work. There is also a handy key chain holder found here as well. Up on top there is a thick clear and removable Lexan map holder perfect for a Rip & Ride. Off the bike the Shiloh Road Tank Bag is easily carried with a strong and rubberized handle and a shoulder strap is included as well. Although the bag is fairly weather-resistant I recommend you go for the optional rain cover for a bit more rain protection. The RKA 24.5 liter Shiloh Road Expandable Tank Bag sells for $195 in black with silver piping but RKA makes the bag available in custom colors as well for $225. Call them at 707-836-7659 or log onto www.rka-luggage.com to see this and all the others luggage and products they offer. Now if Rich would just name a bag after our area – the Storm King, the Hawks Nest or, maybe, even the Cross Bronx? ~ Brian Rathjen
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
PRODUCT REVIEWS We use WD-40 as a cleaner for our chains. With the Snap Jack pivoting the rear wheel off the ground and drop cloth under the chain we give it a good saturation and then simply thread the 360°Chain Brush onto the chain, make sure it is tight, and hold it lightly while spinning the wheel a number of times in both directions. We then give it a good spray of water and then a wipe down with rag. It is a good idea to pop the bike onto the ground and take it for a 10 minute ride, to warm up the chain, before pivoting it back
TIROX 360° CHAIN BRUSH & SNAP JACK V2 CHAIN MAINTENANCE JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT EASIER If you are like us, we sometimes fall behind on simple things like chain maintenance, especially on some of our machines that do not have a center stand to make wheel spinning for cleaning and lubing easier. Enter the Tirox Company with a couple of easy and useful products to help with the task. Owner Basil Andrews, based in southern Ontario, Canada, has combined years of experience in the petrochemical and powersports industry to come up with some truly innovative solutions. Let’s talk chain cleaning again. It helps to get the rear wheel off the ground and if you do not have a center stand or a bike stand of some sort, it can be problematic. Having the rear wheel spinning freely and easily makes life so much better. This is where Tirox’s Snap Jack V2 comes in. The Snap Jack is a fairly compact hand powered jack that pivots most bikes onto their side stand, lifting the rear wheel off the floor just enough for a free spin making for easier access. The Snap Jack V2 is very easy to operate. Lock the front brake with supplied Velcro strap and place Snap Jack under the rear axel on the right side of the bike. Simply push and the Snap Jack does its magic. A pin locks into place and you are ready to clean and lube your chain. This is where the 360° Chain Brush comes, simply brilliantly.
up with the Snap Jack V2 and using a high quality chain lube to finish the job. The Tirox Company has made this process very easy and you can find more about these and their other products on their website: thesnapjack.com The Snap Jack V2 can be found from various sources for around $49.95 and the 360° Chain Brush for around $12 – both affordable and a great investment in your motorcycles upkeep. ~ Brian Rathjen
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018
COLBY EMERGENCY TIRE VALVES Sometimes you might not be aware that you need to carry something along for the ride…until you need that something. Even if you did not even know that something actually exists. Let me explain. We had been enjoying a nice Sunday ride up to the Catskills for some autumn color action, then back down into New Jersey through the Walpack Valley and into Hope, New Jersey before turning north towards Sussex county. Swinging through one of the many sweepers that County Road 519 can offer the bike, which had just been rock steady and riding on rails for the last week at Virginia International Raceway, slogged badly through a right-hander. “Hmmm, that felt very sloppy,” I thought. In the next little town steering was a might hard. I knew what it was. My front tire was losing pressure. When does this ever happen up front? I checked my Garmin Tire Pressure System – 9 pounds and dropping fast. We pulled to the side and popped the BMW onto its center stand. Shira and I spun the front tire looking for a screw, debris or cut. Nothing. I pulled out my trusty BestRest pump and brought it up to just under 40 psi. Moving the chock off the valve I could hear air leaking. Pushing the valve brought out even more air. A little playing around with the tire’s valve and it was apparent to us
Page 37 both that the valve had failed. It is a good idea to change these valves when you swap tires, but this might have been overlooked a few time and all things fail eventually. Today it was the front tire valve on my bike’s turn. It took three roadside fill-ups to limp the bike back to Backroads Central. I was glad I was fairly local and not in Newfoundland. The next day new valves were ordered from BMW and later in the week they were on the rims and the tires were back to their old tire pressure holding selves. Lesson learned. Change your valves. But, even new valves can go bad. Things happen. I was telling this story to a friend of mine who is one of the top Honda techs out west. Jason asked if I had ever heard of Colby Emergency Tire Valves. I had not. But I know about them now and have a two-pack set packed on the bike if and when this ever happens again to us, or anyone riding with us. The Colby Emergency Replacement Valve is a replacement tire valve that can be installed in minutes from the OUTSIDE of the wheel. Simply cut the old valve close to the rim and let the old rubber base fall into the tire. Then install the Colby Valve – which takes literally seconds. The “winged spacer” design makes installation as easy as twisting a wingnut. Colby’s Emergency Valves offer a tool-free installation from the outside of the wheel, in about 1 minute. These are .453 size, and will fit everything from bicycles to truck tires. Motorcycles are easy. Colby claims that their valves are 20X stronger than standard valves. We have now heard of these “emergency” valves doing the job for thousands of miles – much like Stop & Go tire repair plugs. Sure, you should replace the valve with a more permanent valve – which Colby can happily provide as well. But, it is good to know that this quick fix will last for the rest of a tour or your Sunday ride in Autumn. A two-pack of the Colby Emergency Valves cost $34.99 and can be gotten from www.colbyvalve.com. ~ Brian Rathjen
Fall Fiesta 2018
Endless Mountain Excursion • Sept. 20-24 book early - rooms are limited
Thursday, September 20 Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel
Fri-Sat, September 21 + 22 Altoona Grand Hotel
Sunday, September 23 Inn at Jim Thorpe
700 Lackawanna Ave, Scranton, PA 570-342-8300 • www.radisson.com/scranton $104 + tax (Backroads Group discount)
1 Sheraton Drive, Altoona, PA 814-946-1631 • altoonagrandhotel.com $119 + tax (Backroads Group discount)
24 Broadway, Jim Thorpe, PA 800-329-2599 • innjt.com $98-$148 + tax (Backroads Group discount)
Originally a French Renaissance-style train station in 1908, the Lackawanna Station has been completely renovated while keeping its history and artistic flair. Get here early and visit the Steamtown National Historic Site, Houdini Museum or just stroll downtown Scranton.
A great two-night stop, complete with indoor pool and fitness center. Saturday you can visit Punxsutawney Phil and ride through the Allegheny Forest, head to Horseshoe Curve and take the funicular or the 194 steps to the overlook, or simply enjoy the beautiful curves and sights this part of Pennsylvania has to offer.
Built in 1849, the Inn at Jim Thorpe is a perfect stop for our last night on the road. Within steps of the front door, there are shops, dining, live music and historic sites to fill your evening. If you arrive early, visit the Old Jail Museum with its eerie dungeon cells and mysterious hand print.
BACKROADS • FEBRUARY 2018 whaTchaThINkIN’
Page 39 Continued from Page 5
this date? Because the Mets and Yankees were in the World Series. We were watching one night and one of Honda’s development team came over and said, ‘How can you call it a World Series if you don’t invite Japan?’ The next day, during our ride, Fred Rau pinched his back and was unable to continue. Everyone looked around for a candidate to pilot the bike home and I said I certainly could do that. Brian reasoned that I was the first woman journalist to ride the new GL1800 and this image shows the Honda Team surrounding me on the bike. First Press Bikes – When we started Backroads, Brian said that we’d be ‘someone’ when we were invited to our first press introduction for a new motorcycle. That day came when BMW invited us to the launch. Not too long after that, we inquired about borrowing an R1100RT and RS to do a tour of California. As they say, you don’t know until you ask and they said ‘sure!’ It was the first time I rode in California, and it developed a love for riding in that state. Backroads rides– Our first charity ride went from the Red Apple Rest to the Red Wolfe Inn, benefiting the Breast Cancer Foundation. We had a good turnout and began a long friendship with the Walz family, owners of the Red Wolfe. Sadly, we just said goodbye to Rudy Sr. (pictured here) at a proper Irish Wake but the Red Wolfe is still going strong, serving up the best steak you’ll find in western Jersey. Brian and I tried to figure out at which rally this photo was taken, and we’re pretty sure it was our 2003 Fall rally in Killington, VT. For those who have frequented our annual gatherings, you might recognize a young Michael Bellantone (bottom left) next to a cigarwielding Brian to his right. While some of the players have changes or disappeared, the Backroads’ Rally crew has grown into a very nice family and we look forward to continuing its growth for many years. Bill heald – It was the February 1998 issue when we first introduced you to Bill Heald, for those who hadn’t already read his masterful meanderings in other publications. Brian had met Bill on a press intro and the two wacky minds hit it off. We are ever grateful to have him in our Backroads family. dr. seymour o’Life – The good doctor has been on this earth for quite some time, always riding motorcycles in some form or another and forgetting more places he’s been to than we’ll ever see. He is the founder of the Tanked Bags, the king of conspiracy theories, the mayor of the mysterious and the sultan of the secretive. How he came to befriend us we’ll never tell; let’s just be happy he has and follow his bizarre and abstruse adventures. Jeff Bahr – It was April, 2001 when Jeff joined the Backroads family. Soon after, his monthly column Throttle Blips brought us his insightful and often inflamed outlook on the world of motorcycling. His membership in the Tanked Bags brought us to many of the places Dr. O’Life couldn’t reach. We lost Jeff in 2014 but he will forever be in our hearts.
PosTcards From The hedGe Continued from Page 6 characteristic anvil head you can see on other storms along the horizon). The storm means rain, and since overpasses are unbelievably rare the only choice is to roll on. But just think what relief that rain will bring! It will help subdue the hellish temperatures and cool the machine down to a more reasonable level. But wait: the rain on the highway, especially the kind that comes from such sudden summer downpours, will make traction more challenging. And that’s where you need the tread depth you used to have before the rubber was sacrificed to the Gods of Heat. Madness! Will these triple digit July temps find another way to be my undoing? So goes the mind tortured by hours of hot-weather droning on long, vast arid highways. And somehow it all seems quite amusing when looked at from the other side of the calendar, when the wind is howling, the snow is blinding, and the motorcycle is snug in a protected area away from winter’s icy torment. On balance, I actually find both summer and winter challenging yet strangely rewarding in their ways if for no other reason than they add perspective. I know, it was Spinal Tap’s David St. Hubbins who pointed out that, sometimes, “It’s too f****ing much perspective.” As I have to go out and shovel some more, I’m inclined to agree.
FEBRUARY 2018 • BACKROADS
UP C OM I N G E VE NT S CAL END AR EVERY MONTH - WEATHER PERMITTING Every Tuesday • Two Wheeled Tuesday at Spiegel Restaurant • 26 1st Avenue, NYC. An eclectic gathering of motorcycles served with multi-cuisine meals. Kick some tires, have some couscous, enjoy the crowd • www.spiegelnyc.com • 212-228-2894 Every Tuesday • Bike Night @ The Ear Inn, 326 Spring St, NYC
FEBRUARY 2018 10-11 • 20th Annual KevMarv Ten Buck Bike Show. Just a sawbuck, free parking and a building full of great motorcycles, vendors and fellow bike enthusiasts. No gimmicks, no drama, no discount coupons. Shriners Auditorium, 99 Fordham Rd, WIlmington, MA • 978-688-8888 • www.kevmarv.com 9 • Frontline Eurosports Triumph Unveiling Party, Soaring Ridge Brewery, 523 Shenandoah Ave NW, Roanoke, VA. Check website or call for full details. 540-387-9780 • www.frontlineeurosports.com • 1003 Electric Rd, Salem, VA. 9-11 • Timonium Motorcycle Show. The Travel, Touring & Adventure Feature Area is expanded and will again feature presentations by a premiere group of world famous adventure riders like Lisa & Simon Thomas, Alisa Clickenger, Sam Manicom and Steph Jeavons. Also featured are touring experts like Ayres Adventures, Beach’s Motorcycle Adventures, Edelweiss Bike and MotoDiscovery with presentations geared to cover regional and international tours for both amateur and expert travelers. Touring bikes, clothing, equipment and gear round out the Feature Area. The Motorcycle Aftermarket ‘New Product Technical Presentation & Demo Workshop Area’ are expanded with the latest products available for all makes of motorcycles by experts from some of the industries’ top brands. 2018 models of foreign and domestic motorcycle manufacturers, huge custom and antique bike competition show and hundreds of exhibits covering everything the motorcycling industry has to offer. Biker Fashion Shows, Tattoo Contest and the Bikini Model Search Finals. Maryland State Fairgrounds (all indoors), Timonium, Maryland. Friday and Saturday 10am – 8pm and Sunday 10am – 6pm. U.S. Military and First Responders $5.00 Admission on Friday! For more info, go to www.cycleshow.net or call 410-561-7323. 24-25 • 20th Annual KevMarv Ten Buck Bike Show. Just a sawbuck, free parking and a building full of great motorcycles, vendors and fellow bike enthusiasts. No gimmicks, no drama, no discount coupons. Best Western Royal Plaza Trade Center, 181 Boston Post Rd West, Marlborough, MA • 978-688-8888 • www.kevmarv.com 23-25 • Progressive International Motorcycle Shows - Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. Friday: 3-7pm • Saturday: 10a-8p • Sunday 10a-5p • $16/adult; 11 and under FREE • www.motorcycleshows.com
MARCH 2018 2-3 • 8th Annual Modern Classics Motorcycle Show. Hosted by Martin Moto, 573 Rte. 100, Boyertown, PA. Each year this unique indoor show puts its primary focus on the epic motorcycles from the 1960s through the 1990s. A carefully curated collection of 100 great motorcycles from the era. Modern Classics is literally a museum for a day. This year, as a special feature, The Modern Classics will also feature a sampling of motorcycles from every decade of the 20th century. Friday • 7pm – 10pm: The Modern Classics Kickstart Party Powered by Hagerty and The Grisafi Agency. Bike show, moto art, music, beer, wine, and finger food. $15 advance purchase online only (includes Sat. admission) www.modernclassicsbikeshow.com • Saturday • 9am – 5pm: The Modern Classics. Still just $10 at the door. Free admission for children 12 and under. More info: www.modernclassicsbikeshow.com 4 • Frontline Eurosports Sunday ADV Ride. Assemble 8:40am; KSU 9am. 540-3879780 • www.frontlineeurosports.com • 1003 Electric Rd, Salem, VA. 17 • Frontline Eurosports Open House • 1003 Electric Rd, Salem, VA 540-387-9780 • www.frontlineeurosports.com. 18 • Frontline Eurosports Sunday Street Ride. Assemble 8:40am; KSU 9am. 540-3879780 • www.frontlineeurosports.com • 1003 Electric Rd, Salem, VA.
APRIL 2018 5 • Morton's BMW Off-Road Training Day. Join us for our annual off-road training day at the Massey family farm. Riders from beginning off-roaders to experienced adventurers can benefit from this all-day session, which includes morning drills and afternoon trail riding, plus lunch and all the fluids you'll need. Look for all the details on our website www.mortonsbmw.com or call 540-891-9844. 12 • Frontline Eurosports Thursday Rider’s Night with Late Until Eight hours and complimentary food (bustin’ out the smoker) to enjoy while taking advantage of Flash Sales. 540-387-9780 • www.frontlineeurosports.com • 1003 Electric Rd, Salem, VA. 14 • Morton's BMW Spring Open House, 5099A Jefferson Davis Highway, Fredericksburg, VA 22408. Vendors invited to attend, family-friendly, all brands welcome. Complete info on the website: www.mortonsbmw.com or call 540-891-9844.
MAY 2018 16-21 • 20th ANNIVERSARY BACKROADS SPRING BREAK • It is time to plan for the return of great riding weather. This year will be the 20th Anniversary of our Rallies, and we hope to make it another great trip, with a bonus day at beginning and end • BOOK EARLY - ROOMS ARE LIMITED. Heading south to VA and WV, you can find all the details on page 38 or visit www.backroadsusa.com/rallies.html 18-20 • Morton's BMW Spring Fling Rally at Natural Bridge, VA. Located in Virginia's scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley, this rally brings together great riding, good food, comfortable accommodations, and wonderful company at the Natural Bridge Hotel and Conference Center. Featuring vendors, scavenger hunt covered bridge ride, door prizes, catered Brats & Brews Friday dinner, catered Saturday buffet dinner and presentation,
What’s Happening and more, all at one affordable price. www.mortonsbmw.com/springfling_2018.htm to register or call 540-891-9844. 18-20 • Dover Moto Riding for a Cure. Full details on page 25 • dovermoto.com 19-20 • 5th Annual New Sweden 450 sponsored by the New Sweden BMW Riders. 450 miles of great back roads linked together in the tri-state area. The ride will take place over the course of 2 days, traversing some of the best roads in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York (and perhaps Delaware). We provide doughnuts and coffee during registration, free camping, a great dinner on Saturday night, prizes, a 50/50 drawing, a hearty breakfast on Sunday morning, and a finisher’s patch. Route sheets will be provided at the starting location, directions will clearly indicate mileage, turns, and gas/eating spots. GPS uploads available (Donations accepted). This is not a group ride or a parade. Participants can elect to ride in groups, with friends or solo. You decide your own pace. Sign-In between 8:30-10 am Saturday, May 19th at Cycle-Gear, 2070 Rt. 70 (East) Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 and ends Sunday, May 20 at PJ Whelihans, 1854, Rt. 70 (East) Cherry Hill, NJ 08034. Pre-registration $55, day of event $60 (credit cards accepted). $5 discount for New Sweden club members. More info and registration: http://450.nsbmwr.com
20 • 31st Annual Gooch’s Garlic Run presented by Blue Knights NJIX to benefit Families of Children stricken with Illness. Sign in: 4:30-6:30pm; KSU 6:30p. Rockaway Townsquare Mall, Rt. 80/Mt. Hope Rd, Rockaway, NJ. More info: www.BKNJIX.org
JULY 2018 14-15 • 42nd Annual Running of the Ramapo 500. Watch for details. ramapomc.org
SEPTEMBER 2018 20-24 • 20TH ANNIVERSARY BACKROADS FALL FIESTA. The Endles Mountain Escurion. Scranton, PA, Altoona, PA and Jim Thorpe, PA will be our homes for four days of Pennsylvania's twisties, histories and mysteries. Details on page 38 or visit www.backroadsusa.com/rallies.html
POLAR BEAR GRAND TOUR 2017-18 It is not necessary to be a member of the Polar Bear Grand Tour to do these rides. Polar Bear cancellations & updates will be posted on the website • Sign-in is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. unless otherwise posted • www.polarbeargrandtour.com. 2-4-18 • THE FRANKLIN HOUSE TAVERN, 101 North Market Street, Schaefferstown, PA 17088 • 717 949-2122 2-11-18 • O'Connor's American Bar & Grill, 1383 Monmouth Rd, Easthampton TWP, NJ • 609 261-1555 2-18-18 • THE EXCHANGE, 160 E. Main St., Rockaway, NJ 07866 • 973-627-8488 2-25-18 • HOOTERS, 25 Rte 23 South, Wayne, NJ 07470 • 973-837-1876 3-4-18 • BAHRS LANDING, 2 Bay Ave., Highlands, NJ 07732 • 732-872-1245 3-11-18 • LIGHTHOUSE TAVERN, 397 Route 9 Waretown, NJ 08758 • 609-693-3150 3-18-18 • LONG VALLEY PUB & BREWERY, 1 Fairmount Rd., Long Valley, NJ 07853 • 908-876-1122 3-25-18 • THE CHATTERBOX, #1 Rte 15 South, Augusta, NJ 07822 • 973-300-2300 4-8-18 • BRIAN'S HARLEY-DAVIDSON, 600 S. Flowers Mill Rd., Langhorne PA 19047 • 215 752-9400 4-15-18 • THE HICKORY BBQ SMOKEHOUSE, 743 Route 28, Kingston, NY 12401 • 845-338-2424 4-22-18 • PLUMSTED GRILL, 457 Rte. 539, Cream Ridge, NJ 08514 • 609-758-5552 4-29-18 • CAPE MAY V.F.W. post #386, N.J. 419 Congress St., Cape May, N.J. 08204
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