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M O N T H LY C O L U M N S
F E AT U R E S
FREE WHEELIN’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
SHIRA’S SUMMERTIME ICE CREAM RIDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
WHATCHATHINKIN’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
ROAD TRIP - USS MONITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
ON THE MARK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
VERMONT’S 10 BEST MOTORCYCLE ROADS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
ROAD TRIP - GRAND TOUR: INTERRUPTED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
HAUNTED BY GHOSTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
BACKLASH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
ART OF THE BIKE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
BIG CITY GETAWAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
FIFTY QUESTIONS FOR SUMMERTIME TRAVEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
MYSTERIOUS AMERICA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
SPRING BREAK 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
WE’RE OUTTA HERE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
GREAT ALL AMERICAN DINER RUN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
KAWASAKI VOYAGER 1700 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
APRILIA DOSODURO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
INDUSTRY INFOBITES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
GIVI AIRFLOW WINDSCREEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
MOTORCYCLE MARKETPLACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Brian Rathjen • Shira Kamil ~ Publishers Contributors: Ken Aiken, Richard Baker, Neale Bayly, David Bonnell, Mark Byers, Lorraine Crown, Sal Ferraro, Bill Heald, Marty Konrad, Richard W. O’Donnell, Terry Slemmer, Dr. Seymour O’Life Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure
BACKROADS • POB 317, Branchville NJ 07826 Phone 973.948.4176 • Fax 973.948.0823 • email email@example.com • web www.backroadsusa.com For Advertising Sales Information: 973-948-4176
BACKROADS (ISSN 1087-2088) is published monthly by BACKROADS™, Inc. 2010. All rights reserved. BACKROADS™ may not be reproduced in any manner without specific written consent from the publisher. BACKROADS™ welcomes and encourages submissions (text and photos) and suggestions. Include phone number with submissions. BACKROADS™ will only return material with enclosed sufficient postage. The written articles and opinions printed in BACKROADS™ are not necessarily those of the publisher and should not be considered an endorsement. The Rip & Rides® published are ridden on the sole responsibilty of the rider. BACKROADS™ is not responsible for the conditions of the public roadways traversed. Please respect the environment, read your owner’s manual and wear proper protective gear and helmet. Ride within your limits, not over them.
FREE WHEELIN’ Brian Rathjen
15 YEARS AND GOING STRONG
You would think that I’d have had this particular month’s rendition of Free Wheelin’ penned months back. But, unlike most of my rants, pontifications and rambles of uncommon sense that are done months before, this month I now know how Shira feels when she waits for the last minute to put down her thoughts in her fantabulous Whatchathinkin’ column each month. Most times when I sit down at the Mac I have a mission, purpose or goal I am trying to get across; but this time around I’d like to talk a bit about milestones. What you hold in your hands is the 179th issue of Backroad, the first one showing up at the sign-in tables of the ‘95 Ramapo 500 at the Red Apple Rest. Back then the idea was simple. To give you readers places to go and things to do on your motorcycles. 15 year’s later the objective is the same - it hasn’t change a bit; it has just grown up and gotten grander. In the early ‘90s there were one or two regionals in the New York area and, although fine publications in their own right, they didn’t address what we saw as a dire need; a publication for folks who really enjoyed riding and exploring the backroads of the territory. Back then if we spotted an article about a certain restaurant or place in one of the national glossy mags we would be riding there that next weekend. Backroads was born to fulfill that need for everybody who loved to ride, but just needed a little prodding to go off and explore. The idea of the Rip & Ride Route Sheets, which has been both a blessing and curse to some of you, was brainstormed during our very first night of production. These days, if you have a GPS, you can download the routes right to your unit and get voice prompts the entire route.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
What was once a humble 16-page black & white newspaper is now the largest regional publication in the United States! Now a full glossy magazine Backroads is full of superb riding information each and every month with a serious following. For this we have to say THANK YOU to all of you. Without your support this would never have happened. Along our path we went from just suggesting places to go and things to see to actually holding events where you could do just that. This month will see Backroads, and about 100 others, take over Fontana Village in the great Smoky Mountains for our 29th rally. Each one of these rallies has been a free affair, without a cent charged, and many friendships have been forged with these events. We know personally than many of our dearest friends were found along the route this magazine has traveled and for that we feel particularly blessed. Each time we hold a rally we know certain folks will be there no matter what. Sun, rain, snow, rain.... more rain this is one hardy crew of riders. With Backroads Shira and I have been fortunate to have ridden to a plethora of places around this planet and have featured stories from the tip of Alaska to the tip of South America, from New Zealand to Norway and many places in between. As a publication we have endure, like all, national tragedy - and our response to that now sits in the FASNY Fire Museum, in Hudson, New York - the stunning Dream Bike! When the economy took a tumble we watched and tried to help as various local dealers and shops took it on the chin. Our jaw hurt too, but other ideas sprung from this. The Backroads Moto-Inn Program, which is free and found on our website (www.backroadsusa.com), has a listing of real “Rider Friendly” hotels, inns and restaurants around the nation. Just our way of helping to push our motorcycle community and the establishments that understand our needs. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the various sales people and, most (Continued on Page 13)
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
W H ATC H AT H I N K I N ’ SHIRA KAMIL
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this being the start of our 15th year publishing Backroads. To borrow from the Grateful Dead, ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been.’ Aside from learning how to pack, I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to some wonderful destinations, both domestic and abroad, ridden some excellent, and not so excellent, motorcycles, made the acquaintance of some very fine folk and forged a few meaningful friendships. All this would not have been possible if it weren’t for all our supporting readers and advertisers. And a special thank you, along with a hug and kiss, to my most excellent partner-in-crime and travel buddy Brian, who made this all possible. He had the foresight and tenacity to make something out of nothing and let it grow into the strong oak it has become. Thank you ALL for making these past 15 years the best, and longest, job I’ve ever had. As Mark Byers penned in this month’s column, it’s an ‘occupassion’ and one that I look forward to participating in for a long, long time. Hope to meet you all on the road one of these days.
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU
Perhaps one of the most oft-asked questions I’ve gotten while touring is ‘How do you pack all your stuff?’ I guess I have to qualify this by saying that it’s usually directed to me from the female side of the equation. Sure, I’ve been asked by guys what sort of bag I might use when traveling by air to carry riding gear and such, but for the most part, it pertains to my fitting what I want to take on my motorcycle when I leave the garage. When I started traveling on two-wheels, it was as a passenger. I first met Brian when he was riding a Suzuki 550 and, truth be told, we had neither the time nor money for any overnight jaunts, let alone weeks on the road. When he realized that I wasn’t getting off the back of the bike and I, indeed, enjoyed this mode of transporation, he moved on to a Kawasaki Ninja 600. We still had little time and money, but we did have camping gear. We would load that bike to the hilt and, somehow, I would fit in the middle of the packing. Camping requires little change of clothing as most of what you’ll be wearing is going to smell like smoke, get wet in the river or just plain muddy so why change. Our riding gear was minimal at that time as well, so no worries about heated gear, rain suits, etc. Once I was on my own bike, packing really didn’t change all that much. We still didn’t take a whole lot with us, so the soft luggage we were using sufficed. Long ago, in my youth, I learned the art of packing from my dad. Being in the navy, he was great at the ‘rolling’ method, which I adopted. This works especially well with long, narrow saddlebags and tailpacks, and keeps the wrinkling to a minimum. Fast-forward just a bit to the days of hard saddlebags. Once I had my BMW, I was no longer concerned with moisture and thought I could take more ‘stuff’. Making it even easier were the case liners, form-fit to the bags. Just stuff them full of stuff and stuff them in the bags, right? Not necessarily. They still have to close. Invariably I’d remove something that I really could have used while having way too many tshirts which never got worn. Enter the packing list. I know that this has been mentioned many times in these pages, but there are always new eyes out there. With all the travels we’ve done, having a packing list at hand while actually putting your stuff in bags is invaluable. No more trips to the local Walmart for that forgotten belt. Here’s the key thing that I’ve learned: you ALWAYS bring more clothing than you can wear. Remember, if you’re on the bike all day wearing your protective riding gear (you are wearing protective gear, aren’t you), you just have to rinse out your undergear when you get in at night and it’s good to go the next day. If it happens to be one of those hot, clammy days, you’re shirt is going to take a beating, but nothing a good soak in the sink at night can’t fix for the next day. One line of clothing I’ve found to be an excellent repeat-wear is the ExOfficio. They carry everything from thongs to sundresses. Their underwear is the best - simply wash in the sink, hang and off you go the next morning. They come in many shapes, sizes and styles and, although a little pricey, remember that you’ll cut down on quantity so it all pays off in the end. You can find the on the web at www.exoffico.com or through Whitehorse Gear at www.whitehorsegear.com. I know women who insist on taking everything they own and the kitchen sink while traveling. Unless you’re going to the Cannes Film Festival, I’m guessing that you won’t need your hair dryer, 6 inch heels, cocktail dress or linen pants. Everyone wants to look good when they’re off the bike, but it really is relative. Look at your destination and pack accordingly. Here’s the trick: take out everything that you think you’ll need, want or desire on your trip and put half of it back, ‘cause you won’t use it.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
ON THE MARK MARK BYERS
I have an employee who’s been out of college about a year. He is generally sensible and is a bicycle racer (some would say that’s why I hired him, but there’s almost no truth in that). His two-wheeled experience was limited to a machine powered by his own exertions, so it was a surprise when he came into my office and declared, “I just bought a motorcycle.” I wasn’t aghast, but knowing young engineers, I pursued a cautious line of questioning. “Great!” I said, “What kind of bike did you get?” “I think it’s a Suzuki” was the reply. DING DING DING DING DING rang the alarm bells as the red lights flashed and the distress rockets shot skyward from their mental launchers. “You THINK it’s a Suzuki?” was my retort. “Yeah, I’m getting it from this friend of mine” was the all-too-familiar reply. In my mind’s eye, I saw a glitzy sportbike that had been flogged within an inch of its mechanical life and that the present owner wanted to unload on my unsuspecting neophyte rider. I don’t know about you, but when I buy a bike, I research every morsel of it. Ask me about a prospective motorcycle purchase and I can tell you the engine serial number and the parentage of the guy who made the pistons. This gent obviously isn’t one of those people. Further questioning revealed he wasn’t quite sure of the model or even the year. Klaxon horns were added to the cacophony of alarms ringing in my head, but I decided to play it low-key. “I hope you’re taking the MSF class,” I ventured. “Oh yeah,” he said, “I’m scheduled to take it next weekend through the community college.” My heart climbed from somewhere South of my shoes to about knee level, but I could just see this young man being taken by a “friend” with a highpowered sportbike of unknown pedigree. I didn’t want to dampen his enthusiasm, but I also wanted to be a good moto-mentor, so I said, “Hey,
I’ve got some spare gear: why don’t we see if some of it will fit?” The next night, we retired to my Garage Mahal to try on gear. I’d been through this exercise with one of my other “kids” who got a VFR-800 as a graduation gift, but he was a little different: he was a lifelong rider who started in the dirt and whose father rides. My latest newbie had little clue about his machine, but left the house with a ventilated jacket and liner, some barely-used gloves, and a full-face helmet. He also left with a fair amount of “mentoring” and an admonition that if he killed himself, it might affect his job rating in a slightly negative way. In the interim, my newbie passed the MSF course and used the certificate to get his license. He picked up the bike, which turned out to be a blue, 2001 SV-650 with only fifteen thousand miles on it. I was pleased to hear of the choice because it’s a great beginner’s machine, but one with which he’ll not quickly become bored. In fact, I have the same bike, albeit with some modifications, so I also have a fair number of spare parts should he need them. I really hope he doesn’t need the parts. Someone told me a couple young, sportbike-riding pals of his tried to convince him to ride Skyline Drive with them last weekend. Fortunately, his better nature prevailed and he elected to wait until he’s got a few more miles under his belt. We’re scheduled to have a regular “bike night” with the VFR guy and another one of my folks so he can have some good role models on whom to pattern his riding. Even our Victory-riding Division Head agreed to ride with him. I love bringing new people to the occupassion I call motorcycling, but it’s a big responsibility: entering this world without proper mental preparation, training, and equipment can be deadly. Some riders are like pied pipers of stupidity: following them can result in the development of bad habits at best and serious grief at worst. I hope this young man finds as much joy and adventure in the motorcycling family as I have and I hope he is blessed with the same good fortune. I can’t afford to lose him: someone in my Branch has to do the work! I’ll keep you posted on his progress.
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE BILL HEALD
THE DOWNSIDE OF RELIABILITY
As I write this I just finished watching the World Superbike Series that was enjoying a rare American round in Utah, and I observed something that was a bummer for a very talented rider. In both races that were held on Memorial day, Carlos “Chubby” Checa, who was blazingly fast all weekend and in the lead both times, saw his Ducati crap out on him in what is being called, in the first race at least, a failure of the “Fly by Wire” system. OK, first, I may be the only person who calls Carlos “Chubby” as he is quite fit. Second, “Fly by Wire” is a term stolen from aviation that refers to the flight controls that migrated from direct cable operation to electronic servos, with a computer filter in-between. This arose because craft like the now-retired Stealth Fighter was an unflyable mess without constant computer intervention. In the case of Checa, the failure was (as of this writing) traced to an electronic throttle component that replaces the old cable system that move components of the fuel injection when you twist the throttle, thus increasing fuel input and thus increasing power, and thus increasing acceleration and thus increasing speed, and thus increasing the rider’s ability to win the race and thus acquire a very large, elaborate trophy. Since there was no back-up to the electronic control (like a redundant cable, for example), Checa’s race was done. Despite this failure, though, it’s important to remember that, in general, the modern motorcycle is an amazingly reliable machine compared to bikes of even just a few years ago. The amount of maintenance newer bikes need is also down appreciably as well, for oil, spark plugs, coolant (if so equipped) and other things have a much longer replacement schedule. Modern synthetic motorcycle oils are true marvels of durability, and there’s no real reason you can’t comfortably go 5,000 miles between changes provided you spring for top-quality lubricants. Even simple things like brake light bulbs are much more durable than in the past, for LED lights are replacing the old incandescents and last much longer, largely because they are far less susceptible to vibration (and use
less juice). And in terms of juice, batteries are also much improved and in most cases pretty much maintenance-free. The more you look through the maintenance schedules of new bikes the more you can appreciate how much less tinkering you have to do, and in general the electronic components tend to be wonderfully reliable. But, there’s a cautionary tale in this newfound freedom from the wrench. This is especially important now that winter is well behind us, for a lot of you are starting to log some serious miles on your favorite mount and it’s easy to lose track of things you should really keep an eye on. The less we have to service our bikes, the easier it is to not catch a problem before it could cause trouble. You STILL need to be vigilant about your machine, and that means even though your shiny new bike leaks no oil anywhere and has that wonderful synthetic or semi-synthetic elixir in the crankcase you need to check it periodically. This is not just to make sure you’re not burning any oil and the level is dropping unexpectedly, but to also eyeball the stuff to make sure there’s nothing ugly (like coolant) in it. Remember those wonderful LED bulbs that do your signaling, brake announcing and just help keep you visible? As superb as they are, they can still fail (and wires and connectors can still become loose). If you typically ride alone like I do, it is doubly important to check your brake lights at regular intervals. The more bodywork you happen to have, the more fasteners are present and you should give the hardware a little tweak with a wrench from time to time to keep things snug. Tires should regularly get not only a pressure check but a good, complete visual inspection damn near every time you get on the bike, for this takes almost no time and can catch an impending problem well in advance. While you’re checking the tires, just give your brakes and brake lines a look and since the pads on most brakes (unless you have drum rears or something reeeeallly classic) are very easy to see. Snug the bolts that hold the brake line brackets occasionally as well, just to keep everything where it should be. The more you check things, the more things you think to check as you realize you haven’t examined the air filter for a mouse nest in ages (which is a fact of life in these parts despite three cats and many a trap deployed). Less scheduled maintenance is a lovely thing, but don’t let it slide you into complacency.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD SIGN OF THE BEAST
We’re a superstitious lot we Americans. I’ve always found it curious that in this age of science and technology so many people still hold, perhaps subconsciously, to old beliefs. Most tall buildings are still built without a thirteenth floor. One still does not walk under a ladder or break a mirror. We do knock on wood so as not to jinx ourselves and throw spilt salt over our shoulders. The list could go on but you get the point. So while wandering the back roads of the Jersey Pinelands last October 31st, I was a bit surprised to come across the junction of Atlantic County Route 666. As I expect you know, in Christian lore the number 666 is the mark of the Devil. Now I know there are other roads here and there with this designation but they are usually minor secondary roads without route markers. The signs are more often than not stolen or taken down at the insistence of religious groups. But not this one. Here, several route signs in all their blue and gold glory, proclaimed Atlantic County Rt. 666. I don’t often venture into the Pines and as such I’m not that familiar with the area. I immediately decided it was worth seeing where this road went. I thought if there was a Rt. 666 there just had to be a Thirteenth Street to go with it. The road itself is typical of the area, flat with a few gentle sweepers. Nothing exciting but a pleasant enough ride though the Pines. After a few miles, widely spaced residential side streets appeared with (you guessed it) numbered designations. They started in the twenties and where descending. Twenty-one, eighteen, fifteen, fourteen and then: zilch. The next intersection had no sign. I rode on to Twelfth Street and turned around. Sure enough the sign was gone. The post remained but the sign had obviously been stolen, apparently a routine affair
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as there was a white number thirteen painted on a utility pole and someone had made a cardboard sign and stapled it to the pole. I stopped and got off the bike to poke around the side of the road and into the piney woods a bit hoping to spot some tracks of a Jersey Devil. (The monster that is, not the hockey team) But alas: no luck, just a couple of squirrels, chattering at me to get out of their neighborhood. Back on the bike the road continued much as it had been. Coming to the end of Rt. 666 brings one to a stop sign facing a cemetery, an old cemetery. (Like it could have been anything else.) Having always had a bit of a fascination with old buildings and cemeteries, this was the perfect place for a break. I wandered around a while checking out some of the very old tombstones, many dating from the 1700s. By then it was late afternoon and feeling the need to get going, I headed back to the bike. As I prepared to mount up I spied a small group of headstones on the other side of the road. Curious as to why these were off separate from the rest, I strolled over for a look. As I rounded one of the larger stones: Surprise!! There, still clearly etched into the stone was the name Issac Bonnell “1794”. OK, now this was starting to get a little weird. I know the family line goes way back to early colonial times, the late 1600s in fact, so Issac here could well have been some long distant relative. But really, what are the odds of having been drawn to this particular spot at this particular time? Firing up the machine, I turned out to go back up Rt. 666 the way I had come but at the last second turned left to Rt. 557 instead. They say you have to give the Devil his due. But not on this ride.
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
Spring Break 2010
Laura and I just wanted to add our two cents to all the other accolades that the 2010 Backroads Spring Break will no doubt generate. These getaways exemplify what it is that you and Shira do to make your magazine come quite literally to life. Wonderful rides, a great hotel but MOST importantly a great group of people. And from us a special shout out to the boys from Philadelphia who helped us out with trailering 101. Hugs and Kisses, Helene and Laura
Howdie, What an amazing weekend. This was my first extended motorcyclin’ trip where every day was dry. I had never been to those parts of VA or WV and I can’t wait to go back. It was also nice getting to know more of your ralliers - is ralliers even a word? I only wish we had more time to have ridden around and had a few meals together. It would have made the event that much more fun. As always, great to see you both. Thanks for picking Winchester! Talk to soon, Brad - King of Philadelphia
Brian & Shira, Once again you guys have outdone yourselves! Spring break was simply awesome! What a great hotel and town. The roads and scenery were just perfect with perfect weather as well. Of course the after-ride activities with all the great people who come to these rides is great fun also. I believe we rode almost 1400 miles by the end of the weekend, and enjoyed every one of them. We have to thank you for continually finding these great destinations that bring us all together each year. Another outstanding job! Lisa and I took a ride out to the East end on Sunday morning. We stopped in Greenport for breakfast and while there a couple from New England riders (or something like that) saw our Backroads license plate bracket and came and searched us out. They also noted our “2UP RT” so I guess they were hoping to meet you guys but ended up with me and Lisa instead. Anyway...they couldn’t say enough good things about Backroads. The woman said it was her favorite publication and she reads each issue cover to cover. We told them of the recent ride to Winchester and how great it was. Who knows maybe we will see a couple of new faces at the next rally. See you, Mike & Lisa Hoffman
Hi Guys, Just got back from Baja and waiting for me is the latest issue of Backroads. The “Tacos, AK-47...etc.,” article was of special interest. Baja is a great place to visit and not anywhere near as dangerous as you might believe from watching TV, or reading the newspaper. I used to go down 5 6 times a year, sometimes just for the fish tacos - of course living in San Diego makes it easy. Baja is very motorcycle friendly. I’ve crossed at both Mexicalli and Tecate and have had policemen either guide or usher me to the front of the waiting line (this is possibly the most frustrating part of going to Baja). When we crossed last week, at the 111 crossing, I noticed a sign that indicated motorcyclists could leave the line at that point and there was a route that lead you along a sidewalk to the front of the line. Baja is a great place, with friendly people, great scenery and fair prices. Most people mention the border towns, the resort towns around Cabo, but there are some pretty interesting and spectacular towns along the way. Hope you guys are doing well...everything here in God’s country is under control. Regards, Mike Vaughan
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Dear Editor, It was quite a surprise for us to see your article on SoCal - San Diego County and Borrego Springs. Debbie and I moved to Charlotte 4 years ago from Orange County and were glad to leave there I assure you. However, 8 years ago we bought a small ‘60s-ish condominium in Borrego Springs for weekends of riding motorcycles and bicycles. So many great roads for doing both 2 wheel disciplines. And, we watched as the first of the Avery Sculptures went up just outside of town...and then many more. I was there for two weeks in March to enjoy the incredible greening of the desert...and we hope to go back again in November. It’s truly a fabulous little place to get away and relax while still having great fun riding! Hope you enjoyed your short visit there as well. Bill & Debbie Kniegge
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Hello Backroads, A New York friend, Jake Herzog sent me the May 2010 issue of your publication and, being that my half vast hacienda Rancho Costa Mucho is located near Kerman about 20 mi. west of Fresno, I read about your Calif. travels with great interest. You folks got out here in time to see a really great spring re: flowers. High marks for all the good places that you managed to see. AnzaBorrego, Death Valley, Kernville (I’ve stayed in that motel), the Carrizo Plains, Hwy. 25, Carmel Valley, Hwy. 1— the whole bit. Good on ya. Re: petrol problems on Hwy. 58: thanks to the EPA and the rest of the enviros, that area is a notorious Black Hole for fuel. I can think of at least three places in the area that had fuel, but have been shut down in the last 1015 years by those people. The rule is, “Never pass gas.” I ride a 1000 V-Strom, and it has a pretty decent range, and lets me get over dirt roads in fine style, but I still find myself on the verge of being caught out in that area. I got back to New York on the Strom (Thurmond) about 4 years ago, and had the pleasure of riding the back roads of New York / New England with Jake and Piet Boonstra for about a week or so. My first visit. Prior, I guess I pictured New York as crowded. It sure as hell wasn’t crowded on the roads those two took me over, and I figure I got to see ‘em with guys that represent the heart and soul of the motorcycle sport in that area of the country for the last 40-50 years. A great experience. I realize this wasn’t your first Calif. trip, but you can see why we’re spoiled with all the back roads we have to ride out this way. I hope the rest
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
of the world continues to think of us as LA / San Fran, and stays away. Fact: I usually see close to zero people on my travels. I don’t fear an onslaught anytime soon. Enjoyed your magazine, and glad you had a good ride, Jim Bellach
The Sharpie Gal
Hi Brian and Shira, Thanks for including my bike in your great mag! (and including my website too!) Hope to meet up with you again sometime! Jody
You Go, Girl
Dear Brian & Shira, I just got your June issue of Backroads. I always like the fact that there is something in it for everyone who rides. I was extremely happy to see your profile of Gloria Tramontin. Not only is she an inspiration to all women riders, but also an inspiration to all of us men riders as well. I have had the opportunity to meet her on several occasions and Michelle went to a women’s garage party at Tramontin where Gloria was the guest speaker. She is one classy lady who knows her stuff when it comes to motorcycles and riding. Plus she rides a Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail Classic, Go Harley! Michael Mania
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TRACK DAY HEADQUARTERS • NESBA Dealer 188 Halsey Road (Rte. 626) • Newton NJ 07860 • www.wforacing.net Ph: 973-579-5103 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Fax: 973-579-1806
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Mr. Rathjen, Would the sophisticated lady at the dinner table (page 21 - June 2010) be the same one you often feature from the back, Nolan helmet, red pony tail, green bike? You married up! Tom Deming Cliff Park Inn Hi Guys, Joan and I took your advice and rode over to the Cliff Park Inn yesterday for lunch. What a great spot; a real diamond in the rough (no golf pun intended). We spoke with the owner for about 15 minutes and she filled us in on the history of the place. Thanks for sharing this discovery with everyone. We will be going back for the “hearty” breakfast. Uncle Nick and Joan
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
Editor, Your mother wanted me to tell you that the June editorial was particularly not bad. Geeze! What will narrow-minded people think of next? Oh, I have faith. They’ll come up w/ somethin’. Meanwhile, your comments were very entertainin’, and slapped the nail spot on. Hope you and Shira are otherwise well Scott Jenkins
NIMBY...or why some people aren’t as open-mined as they believe
Dear Editor, A few years ago my wife noticed an advertisement for a very nice (upscale) bed and breakfast and we decided to make it a part of our twoweek motorcycle vacation. Since this particular B&B was very popular, reservations were to be made well in advance and paid in full. Given the fact the B&B was a day’s ride from our home this would be the first night of our vacation. In fact we had decided to stay two nights as this was a very scenic area. Hence, two nights paid in advance eight weeks prior to departure. Lots of information about the B&B along with a personal letter from the innkeeper welcoming us was sent to our home, via U.S. mail. In that information packet it was noted that the B&B was located on the Chautauqua grounds. Fine with us. What was not mentioned on any of this material was the fact that motorcycles were not permitted on the grounds at all. As we approached the entrance to the Chautauqua grounds, which was manned by a tollbooth-style gate, I noticed a big sign that said “No Motorcycles”. When I mentioned to the lady in the booth that we had reservations at the B&B she said “fine, park your bike (BMW) over there and walk in” - a walk of approximately one half mile. I informed her this was not going to happen and I would ride into the grounds to the B&B. She then stated to me that if I did, she would be forced to call the authorities. You can call the police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, homeland security, or whomever you please but I am going to ride to the B&B to get my money back, was my answer to her. I did go to the B&B and by this time my wife and I were upset to the point that we would not stay there even for free, which it wasn’t. The innkeeper
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was just as obstinate as the gatekeeper and refused to return our two-night room deposit, nearly $300.00. Okay, see you in court. Then she couldn’t write the check fast enough at that mention. Chautauqua is run and patronized by opinionated, closed minded, hypocritical, bigots. Philip Eramo - Columbus, Ohio FREE WHEELIN’
(Continued from Page 4)
of all our writers who have lifted this humble 16-page newspaper to what it is today. Bill Heald, Mark Byers, Jeff Bahr and so many others have constantly brought us to a new level. Lastly I want to thank Shira. She is the Lt. Scott to my Capt. Kirk. She is the heart and soul of Backroads. She makes it look fantastic, knows how things work, takes weird ideas and makes them real and still makes sure we have a slight bit of solvency in addition to stopping me from crossing the Romulan Neutral Zone every now and again. Thank you Shira - my love and gratitude for you has no boundaries. And, again thank you all for making this a wonderful 15 years. Now get riding!
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JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
B I G C I T Y G E TA W AY
daytrip ideas to get out of the daily grind
A Tale of Two Bridges: This month we’re bringing you some history while crossing the Delaware. Both bridges are historic in their own right and will lead you to or from a most excellent assortment of paved, or un- if that’s what you prefer, paths on the road to adventure. Enjoy! THE AQUEDUCT David A. Bonnell
What the devil is this? This must be the oddest bridge I’ve ever seen. Only a few minutes before, I had been riding northbound on Rt. 97 approaching Narrowsburg, NY. It was late in the day and I was beginning to think I should turn south to start heading for the barn in central Jersey. I decided to turn around and cross the Delaware River via a small bridge I had passed a few miles back and wander along the Pennsylvania backroads. Approaching Roebling Bridge I noted a small parking area at the intersection and a small building literally at the edge of the road. Turning onto the bridge I was
confronted with a narrow single lane bridge, with tapered sides about ten feet high. As I started across the bridge I realized the sides were not mere railing or sidings but actual walls. The effect produced by this odd configuration was that of riding through a chute or deep ditch. On the Pennsylvania side of the river there was another small parking area. Always on the look out for the unusual setting or the historical oddity, my curiosity was piqued. I turned around to investigate. Begun in 1847, the Delaware Aqueduct was originally built to carry the Delaware and Hudson Canal over the Delaware River. Prior to this, canal boats had to be transported from the canal to the river through locks, floated across the river and then back into the canal through locks on the other side. Transporting canal boats above the river reduced the time needed to cross the Delaware, enabling the canal to remain competitive with it’s arch rivals: the railroads. When the canal finally closed in 1898, the aqueduct was converted to a private toll bridge. Around 1900, a tollhouse was built on the New York side and over the years the towpaths were removed and the wooden trunk walls, as they were called, were dismantled. The aqueduct continued in service as a vehicular bridge until 1979. Designed and built by John A. Roebling, who later went on to design and build the famous Brooklyn Bridge, the Delaware Aqueduct was revolutionary for it’s time. Although not readily apparent at first glance, it is in fact a
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The Narrowsburg Inn
Located in the beautiful hamlet of Narrowsburg, NY just off scenic Route 97, 1/4 mile from the Delaware. The Narrowsburg Inn welcomes you and your riding companions to its large tavern and lodging, all with queen size beds, in an 1840 building.
Join us 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Open at Noon. Delicious food and good cheer. Tavern and lodging 7 days a week. Please call for hours and more information.
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
DINGMANS FERRY BRIDGE AN HISTORICAL LOOK AT A REGIONAL ICON
I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started, all I had was swamp! Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show ‘em! It sank into the swamp, so I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. I built a third one. It burned down, fell over, and then it sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up! And that’s what you’re going to get, lad— the strongest castle on these islands! ...The King from the Holy Grail
suspension bridge. It is the oldest bridge of its type in the country with its original superstructure still intact. Some historians believe it to be the oldest in the world. In 1980 the National Park Service purchased the aqueduct. As restoration work began, a primary goal of the Park Service was to preserve as much of the original ironwork as possible. Today, almost all of the aqueduct’s ironwork - cables, saddles, and suspenders - are the same ones installed when the structure was originally built. Tests conducted in 1983 concluded that the cables were still viable and in fact exceeded Roebling’s original design specifications. Roebling’s cast iron “pier saddles”, an innovative feature of the design, still sit atop the original stone piers. In 1986 the wooden superstructure was reconstructed using Roebling’s original drawings and design specifications. The towpath was restored and the trunk walls rebuilt. The original tollhouse still stands at the edge of the road and now serves as a small museum. Today Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct is fully restored, appearing exactly as it did upon completion in 1848. Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct is located on Rte. 97 about midway between the popular Hawk’s Nest and Narrowsburg NY. Although likely not a destination in and of itself, it is definitely worth a stop to appreciate one of the unique but often-overlooked pieces of American history in our midst.
If you have ridden along with Backroads to the eastern parts of Pennsylvania, then it is most likely you have piloted your motorcycle over one of the few privately owned bridges in the United States - Dingman’s Ferry Bridge. But not many know that this bridge is the fourth, and longest lasting, of the bridges that have spanned this part of the Delaware River, and many of us have ridden over this iron beauty with no idea of this area’s rich history. Let’s have a little history lesson, shall we? We’ll ride back in time, nearly 300 years... According to the Dingmans themselves it all started back in 1735 - one Andrew Dingman had run a flat boat ferry across the river between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. That continued until the first bridge was built in 1836. That structure survived only eleven years before floodwaters washed an upstream bridge down into it, carrying both
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Gold Certified Professional rider depicted on a closed course. ATVs with engine sizes of 90cc or greater are recommended for use only by riders ages 16 years and older. Yamaha recommends that all ATV riders take an approved training course. For safety and training information, see your dealer or call the ATV Safety Institute at 1-800-887-2887. ATVs can be hazardous to operate. For your safety: Always avoid paved surfaces. Never ride on public roads. Always wear a helmet, eye protection and protective clothing; never carry passengers; never engage in stunt riding; riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix; avoid excessive speed; and be particularly careful on difficult terrain. ©2009 Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. Cypress, CA 90630.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
away. The Dingman family restarted the ferry. Somewhere around 1850, a second bridge was built. It only lasted four or five years before a terrific windstorm lifted it from its piers and dropped it into the river. Again, to the rescue, came the old Dingman’s ferry boat. A year later, yet a third bridge was hastily erected. Its demise required neither flood nor wind. Shoddily constructed, it simply fell apart, plunging into the river. By then, it was Andrew Dingman III who restarted the reliable ferry service. Finally, at the turn of the 20th century, came the three Perkins brothers from Horseheads, New York. They were structural iron men, bridge builders, and they had in their possession three magnificent trusses of pin-hung wrought iron which they transported to the Delaware and erected upon stone piers in the river. With no great ceremony, the Dingmans Bridge was opened for traffic in November, 1900. This bridge is still open today. How does it survive where its predecessors did not? The company is committed to a rigorous program of inspection and repair. A professional engineering firm inspects everything every year, above and below water, every rivet, nut and bolt, and on the basis of their report the company does yearly maintenance work. The bridge is probably in even better shape today than when it was built. Throughout its hundred plus years of service, the bridge has never had a single serious accident. Oversized vehicles, disregarding posted limits, occasionally swipe off a board from the arched overhang by the toll booth. A car or truck driving too close to the side sometimes loses a mirror. But no serious accidents. Tolls have not increased much in the past century. Historic records show that at the time the Dingmans Choice and Delaware Bridge Company was incorporated in Pennsylvania, in 1834, the bridge could collect “for every coach, landau, chariot, phaeton, or other pleasure carriage with four wheels drawn by four horses, the sum of fifty cents.” Two-horse wagons were 25 cents; a horse and rider, 10 cents; horse alone, 6 cents (which hardly seems fair since cattle were only 3 cents); a bicycle was 5 cents, or if a tandem, 6 cents; a pedestrian had to pay 2 cents except that then as now anyone going to a funeral or to church was afforded passage free. There did seem to be an unusually high incidence of hearse travel over the bridge during the days of prohibition and rum-runners. The bridge was not damaged in any way from the floods of 2004 and the unexpected wrath of the subsequent Great Floods of 2005. Today, there are government bridges up and down river, all modern and big, but the experience of crossing the hundred year old bridge at Dingmans Ferry is nostalgia for some, commuter convenience for others, a unique blending of history, heritage and dedication for all. So there you have it kids and the next time you ride across the tiny bridge at Dingmans Ferry you’ll know the rest of the story.... Now if you have never been across Dingmans Ferry Bridge...follow along with the Rip & Ride…
DINGMANS FERRY BRIDGE GWB TO ROUTE 4 RTE. 208 NORTH SKYLINE DRIVE CR 692 LEFT AT T CR 511 RIGHT AT RTE. 23 NORTH LEFT ON RTE. 94 RIGHT ON CR 661 BEAVER RUN ROAD LEFT ON RTE. 15 RIGHT ON RTE. 94 SOUTH RIGHT ON SID TAYLOR ROAD
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www.OLDCLARKINN.com Marlinton, WV 1-800-849-4184
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
Morton’s BMW Motorcycles Presents Dr. Seymour O’Life’s M Y S T E R I O U S THE FARNHAM COLOSSI Along the tiny backroads of this great land you will come across some amazing things. When you least expect it your ride can be stopped by some of the oddest collections you can imagine. That’s how we felt when we first came upon the Farnham Colossi. Along a sweet road that ribbons through the West Virginia countryside, near the town of Unger, you will come upon one giant and mysterious collection. The Colossi. Wonderful West Virginia is worth riding every day. Not only are the roads stupendous but you’ll find all sorts of things. Being there are no real zoning laws in and around here, anything and everything is fair game. Years ago a D.C. lawyer named George Farnham left the Capital rat race and bought a
14633 WINCHESTER GRADE ROAD -RTE. 13 • UNGER, WV • 304-258-5977
home outside Unger, West Virginia. Later his wife to be, Pam, moved in with him. George and Pam got into the collectable business and then things got big REALLY BIG! In addition to his collections of so many smaller things - pin-up gal gas station calendars, magazines and hot sauces, George started to dream in a larger scale. His first thought was a Dinosaur - for his pond. Pamela countered with a search for a Muffler Man. What’s that, you ask? Well, standing nearly 30 feet the Muffler Man was the iconic giant outside a Midas Muffler Shop in Whittier, California. This giant now calls Unger, West Virginia home. There are others to keep the big boy company. There is what they call, “The Beach Dude,” who stands even taller. Next to him is what looks to be his diminutive girl friend, at just 20 something feet tall. I do believe she was a Uni-Royal Gal at one time. Now
she just looks incredibly, gigantically hot in her purple bikini. To keep these giants fed is the huge Shopping Bag Boy loaded up with delicious fiberglass goodies for his friends. There are plenty of friends around too - especially if you like Alpacas, of which there are dozens. Be friendly to them and they will be friendly to you. They didn’t bite that day. You’ll find the original Dinosaur there as well as the only tiny Roller Coaster we have ever seen in a private backyard; although I don’t think I would go for a ride on it. My favorite were the Apples, especially the lovely one painted with great quotes from famous people in history talking about the fruit. For example Arthur Miller, the famed American Playwright said, “ The Apple cannot
be stuck back on the Tree of Knowledge; once we begin to see, we are doomed and challenged to seek the strength to see more, not less.” Other wonderful and appley quotes abound on this giant fruit. If you’re into Sharks, you’ll find a few good ones here as well. We’d love to borrow one for the next Jimmy Buffett concert. The Farnham Colossi is like no other yard in the nation, and the surrounding roads are magnificent and as delightful as the statues themselves. So that being the case we’ll give you the same great route to get to the Colossi that we used during the Backroads Spring Break out of Winchester, Virginia - a great town all by itself. The Farnhams are very friendly and you are welcome to stroll around the grounds until you feel at home - Coo coo ca chew! This route starts and finishes at the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, Virginia - a great base of operations.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Rip & Ride® • THE FARNHAM COLOSSI 14633 WINCHESTER GRADE RD/CR 13, UNGER, WV • 304-258-5977 • GPS DOWNLOAD
THIS IS A PRIVATE RESIDENCE, PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL WEST ON E. PICADILLY ST RIGHT ONTO US 522 / NORTH FREDERICK PIKE RIGHT ONTO SILER RD LEFT ONTO GLENGARY RD LEFT ONTO BACK CREEK VALLEY RD LEFT ONTO HAMPSHIRE GRADE RD TURNS INTO ROMNEY MARTINSBURG RD LEFT ONTO CR13 / WINCHESTER GRADE RD LEFT AT UNGER STORE CONTINUE ON CR13 1.5 MILES ARRIVE AT FARNHAM COLOSSI ON LEFT BACK ON CR13/WINCHESTER GRADE RD RIGHT ONTO US 522 LEFT ONTO HWY 9 RIGHT - STAY ON HWY 9 LEFT ONTO LEE ST / OLD PAW-PAW LEFT ONTO MOSER AVE LEFT ONTO SPRING GAP / NEALS RUN LEFT ONTO SPRINGFIELD/MILLESON RD CROSS US 29 ONTO CR 45/20
LEFT ONTO CR 15 LEFT ONTO US 50 BEAR LEFT ONTO NORTHWESTERN PIKE LEFT ONTO N. CAMERON ST RIGHT ONTO E. PICADILLY ST ARRIVE AT GEORGE WASHINGTON HOTEL
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
Bergen County Harley-Davidson Presents
W E ’ R E O U T TA H E R E BRICK HOTEL 1 EAST WASHINGTON AVE., NEWTOWN, PA 18940 215-8608313 • WWW.BRICKHOTEL.COM
Every now and again Shira and I like to ride down along the Delaware River to Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia. When most folks think Bucks County they almost immediately think New Hope and some think about how many buck$ they will end up spending in that shopping mecca. It is true that Bucks County tends to be expensive, but there are other parts of the county that shine all their own, without the crowds and congestion you’ll find along the river. So ride along with us this month, down the Delaware, and we’ll introduce you to a wonderful hotel that has it all, as well as just a bit of history. Fire up the bikes cause We’re Outta Here! When Good Friday came around this spring it brought with it the best weather of the year and not wanting to waste a second off the motorcycles, especially after this crappy winter, we were itching to get out and ride. Shira did a little bit of researching and found a phenomenal hotel, not far from New Hope, in the burg of Newtown, Pennsylvania. The Brick Hotel has gravitas. It has to; it was built back in 1763. The town itself was founded in 1682. Our route down took us across some of the New Jersey Highlands before we crossed the river at the Belvidere Free Bridge and continued south. We stopped for lunch at the Riverside Barr & Grill, a true “biker bar” if ever there was one. Even early on this Good Friday the lot was full of bikes and not a full face helmet could be found, ceptin’ Shira’s and mine. The food was decent and this place deserves
a weekend destination keeping you on the backroads
a Great All American Diner Run all by itself. Route 611 runs into Route 32 and in a short time we rode into the oh-so-nice county called Bucks. We found a spot in New Hope and spent an hour grazing around the various shops and enjoying a glass of good wine at the Landing overlooking the river and bridge, walked around for another hour before hoping back on the bikes and continuing to Newtown. I had briefly looked at the Brick Hotel’s website, but the pictures did not do this regal place justice. The long three story white building has 15 rooms in all, and is as stately as they come. After checking in and getting settled in the Jefferson Room with its large queen-size four-poster bed we ambled downstairs and found a table in the garden that was painted with flowers of all colors this spring afternoon. We enjoyed a glass of wine in the warm sun and then explored the rest of the Brick Hotel. The place has been a centerpiece of Bucks County for almost 250 years and George Washington even held Hessian soldiers in the basement after his historic crossing, not far from the Brick Hotel. The Brick Bar has been a local tavern since 1780 and all the people working at the Brick were as pleasant and helpful as could be. The bartender, Rich, clued us in on all the hot spots in Newtown; of which there are plenty, but before we’d go out exploring the town we were very intrigued by the hotel’s restaurant that boasted ‘American Fusion’ cuisine, blending American with global flavors. The special White Mussels were divine as were Shira’s Crab Cakes. I went for the LineCaught Salmon, which was equally as tasty. All in all the Brick Hotel has a seriously great restaurant and staff and their prices were more than reasonable, especially in trendy Bucks County. After dinner we strolled the town, window shopping some of the closed shops and taking in the oldest movie theatre in the United States. Newtown certainly was bustling this evening and we met our friends Brad and Marla, who live not far away for a drink and then found a great cigar bar that has a smoking band playing as well. Later that night we made our way back to the Brick and the incredible comfortable bed. Morning found me rating the shower a solid 7.5, which is good indeed and a lite breakfast and strong coffee were to be found on the wide enclosed veranda. With the sun burning through the morning fog we moved out to the garden to enjoy the beautiful set-
ting and a cup of Joe. We enjoyed everything about the Brick Hotel and next time you’re looking to ride towards Bucks County and New Hope, after you’re done with the crowds, ride over to Newtown and enjoy a perfect night as guests of the Brick Hotel. You’ll feel like you have ridden back into the 18th century and it will be a good time indeed.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
As usual we’ll give you ride to the Brick that will be as much fun as your night will be; so ride along and enjoying your stay. This ride will start at the Chatterbox, in Augusta NJ where Routes 15 and 206 come together. You can download a GPS route here: www.sendspace.com/file/mvodzy (may differ from printed route).
Rip & Ride® • BRICK HOTEL 1 EAST WASHINGTON AVE., NEWTOWN, PA 18940 • 215-8608313 •
ROUTE 206 SOUTH RIGHT ON PRICE ROAD LEFT AT AUGUSTA HILL RD. LEFT AT CR 519 RIGHT AT CR 626 LEFT AT CR 521 RIGHT AT MOUNT BENEVOLENCE RD. LEFT AT OLD FOUNDRY RD. LEFT AT STILLWATER RD. RIGHT AT CR 521 LEFT AT E. CRISMAN RD. RIGHT AT RTE. 94 BEAR LEFT AT CR 616 STRAIGHT AT KNOWLTON RD. BEAR RIGHT AT KOECK RD. RIGHT AT DELAWARE RD. LEFT AT SAREPTA RD. RIGHT AT RTE. 46 IMMEDIATE LEFT AT CR 620 STRAIGHT AT WATER ST. CROSS RIVER INTO PA STRAIGHT AT MARTINS CREEK HWY. We Loveles! c Motorcy
RTE. 611 LEFT AT RTE. 32 TAKE RIVER ROAD ALL THE WAY PAST NEW HOPE MAKE RIGHT AT WASHINGTON CROSSING RD. BECOMES SYCAMORE ST IN NEWTOWN LEFT AT WASHINGTON TO BRICK HOTEL ON LEFT
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
G R E AT A L L A M E R I C A N D I N E R R U N
tasty places to take your bike
PROSPECTORS DINING COMPANY When riders think of the mountainous region bordering the states of Tennessee and North Carolina many thoughts turn to the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap; an excellent road, not to mention very technical, for sure. But, we have another road right nearby that we find far more fun to ride. It’s called the Cherohala Skyway and we have made mention of it many times here in the pages of Backroads. In fact, we got to calling it the Shirahaulla for obvious reasons. Where the Dragon is only 11 miles long, this piece of pavement is more like 36. The Cherohala Skyway was completed in the fall of 1996 after being under construction for some thirty-four years. It is North Carolina’s most expensive highway carrying a pricetag of $100,000,000. It winds up and over 5,400 feet of mountains for 15 miles in North Carolina and descends another 21 miles into the deeply forested backcountry of Tennessee. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name ‘Chero...hala’. The Skyway is becoming well known in motorcycling and sportscar circles for its long, sweeping corners and scenic views. You can find out more at www.cherohala.com. On the Tennessee side is the small town of Tellico Plains. Here you’ll find a great motorcycle shop called Motorcycle Outfitters, on Scott Street. This place has some serious gear and is a must drop by when riding in the region or stopping by on this month’s Great All American Diner Run the Prospectors Dining Company. It was right after the BMW MOA Rally in Tennessee and we were meandering in the general direction of the famed Cherohala, and to get there one must pass through Tellico Plains. It was late morning and as we hadn’t eaten since the previous night our tummies were growling. Spotting a sign that said Prospectors Dining Company we took a quick left and headed down a little side road of the main highway. Heck, a diner is one thing, but a place that calls itself a 105 MECCA PIKE, TELLICO PLAINS, TN 37385 • 423-253-6887 • WWW.PROSPECTORSDININGCOMPANY.COM
Dining Company must be very special indeed. It was. The Prospectors Dining Company is a very friendly place. They even have a special roofed off area for motorcycle parking called the Hog Hut. They let our BMWs in regardless. The wait staff was as pleasant as could be and the one woman took great pride in showing me that they can even serve you upside down if you like. Being on the road we did really appreciate that they had free wi-fi and it’s a wonder these days why more restaurants, especially those near main highways, don’t have this courtesy. We were still in time for breakfast, although the lunch menu looked impressive as well with the Mine Shaft, Claim Jumper and the monster one pound Double Jumper Angus Burgers catching my eye. Hey, you have to love a place that serves fried bologna sandwiches. Breakfast didn’t disappoint us either. Shira went for the Prospectors Dining Company’s Golden Flapjacks, for which the place is well known amongst the locals. Having them toss in some locally grown blueberries and with a side of eggs this gal was ready to go for the rest of the day. I, on the other hand, was about to go out on a limb gastronomically. When traveling, most often, I tend to look for something that I can not create at home. Why have flapjack when I could have the Campfire
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Confounded Creation? What in geehosafats is the Campfire Confounded Creation you ask? Well, first the folks here at the Prospectors Dining Company start with a large skillet that they get real hot. Then they add in a layer of taters, atop that go the eggs - cooked any way you like - then you might need some meat so they layer in the bacon. Not content with that, and who would be, they then toss in a bunch of sausage for some added flavor. But we wouldn’t want the Campfire Confounded Creation to be dry, would we? Heck no, so they top this glorious monster off with some delicious homemade sausage gravy and then add a fresh baked biscuit to help mop it all up. Yum, right past the throat and straight to the aorta! When the waitress placed the Campfire Confounded Creation in front of me I glanced around looking for the portable defibrillator. Yep, I did finish it and no I did not regret it. It was awesome and if you get there early enough for breakfast you must have this. Since this is so far from our normal Backroads region we’ll start this ride from the home base for our Backroads 15th Anniversary Rally at Fontana Village, in North Carolina. We hope you can make it as this promises to be the greatest riding event we have ever held. Download GPS route here: www.sendspace.com/file/udofji
Rip & Ride® • PROSPECTORS DINING COMPANY 105 MECCA PIKE, TELLICO PLAINS, TN 37385 • 423-253-6887 • WWW.PROSPECTORSDININGCOMPANY.COM • 145 MILE R/T FROM FONTANA VILLAGE, NC LEFT OUT OF FONTANA VILLAGE ON ROUTE 28 RIGHT ONTO ROUTE 129 - ENTER THE DRAGON BEAR LEFT ONTO ROUTE 72 LEFT ONTO ROUTE 411 LEFT ONTO M COUNT S LEFT ONTO POVO RD LEFT ONTO GRIFFITH BRANCH ST
BEAR LEFT ONTO BALLPLAY RD RIGHT ONTO BALLPLAY SCHOOL RD RIGHT ONTO BELLTOWN RD RIGHT ONTO HWY 360 RIGHT ONTO HWY 165 RIGHT ONTO BANK ST PROSPECTOR DINING COMPANY ON THE
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
JULY 2010 â€˘ BACKROADS
Welcome to the Jungle - The Art of Learning to Ride Skillfully A column dedicated to your riding survival
Riding with Kids What should you do when the little ones want to go for a ride
For years now your kid has been looking yearningly at you whenever you pull your motorcycles out from the garage. You have sat them up on the bike; maybe let them play with the throttle a bit- just to give them a smile. Perhaps they have helped you wash the motorcycles and maybe even became a tech assistant handing over a screwdriver or wrench while you were doing some maintenance. From the beginning you wanted motorcycles and motorcycle riding to be a part of their young lives, just as it is part of yours. But now theyâ€™re a tad older and their desire to really go for a ride is becoming more and more apparent. What is a caring Mom or Dad supposed to do at this point?
Well, it really depends on a number of things - there are a lot of variables that go into the big decision. One thing that we have talked about in the past is just how old and, just as importantly how large in the child. They are two completely different things. Young Joey can be six years old, but maybe on the small side of things, where Sally might be just 5, but is as tall as some 7 year olds. I think children need to be of a certain size and a have a touch of maturity before letting them hop on the back for that first ride.
BACKROADS â€˘ JULY 2010
The child must be able to reach the passenger pegs without stretching and also understand that he or she must hold on. They have to be old enough in their mind to realize what they are doing. The mother or father who just puts a small child on a motorcycle for the heck of it should have their head examined. The same goes for riding gear. My young friend Eric has been coming on Backroads events with his dad Larry for a few years now and his riding gear is better than some adults I know. Add that mind set to Larryâ€™s understanding of how precious his cargo is and they have thousands of happy miles so far together. I have seen parents and adults riding around with children at various rallies and rides. Some understand exactly what they are doing but there have been a few I have seen that should have their kids back home safe and sound. These kids that barely fit on the back, without any real clue of what they are doing except that they are with Mommy or Daddy. Meanwhile they might have a sweatshirt on, low sneakers, no gloves or any real protection and an old motocross helmet that is bouncing around their small skull like a bobblehead. The picture to the left was taken at heading into the Holland Tunnel. Right, into Manhattan; a hard place to ride with the best of conditions. Contrast this scene with our second picture and you see a young child with some serious gear on. Yep, there were gloves too. The kid has a backrest and a helmet that actually fits, with communication to te pilot as well. My point here is that when you decide it is time to take your little ones for a ride you are the one that is responsible for their safety and well being. Just because a child can physically and mentally cope with sitting on the back of a modern motorcycle does not mean that they should, at least until they are properly geared up. You might think that a pudding bowl helmet is sufficient for you, but you donâ€™t have the right to make that decision for a small child, even if the kid is yours. When they are older they can make these decisions for themselves, but until then it is up to us to show them that motorcycle riding is one of the most fun activities a family can do together - and as safely as possible.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
PENNINGS ORCHARD AND FARM MARKET ROUTE 94 AND WARWICK TURNPIKE, WARWICK, NY 845-986-1059 • WWW.PENNINGSFARMMARKET.COM
In an ever-vigilant search to bring you cold treats during a hot riding season, our next installment of Shira’s Ice Cream Ride brings us to the historic Hudson Valley town of Warwick, NY. Those who have ridden through the Pine Island Black Dirt region have no doubt passed Pennings without a thought of what wonders lie within. Here’s the 411... Pennings Orchard and Farm Market has been bringing folks locally and home-grown produce for the past 20 years. The Pennings family prides itself in being green in every way possible. The Farm Market carries goods from over 20 regional producers - from dairy and maple products to beef, eggs and honey. During the Fall riding season, stop by with empty saddle bags to pick your own NYS apples. But we’re not here to fill your grocery list, although you can certainly do that at Pennings. This time of year we’re in search of ice cream and you’ll find a magnificent selection here. Whether you just stop at their outdoor window or wander inside (more on that in a bit), your taste buds will be sated. Featuring two flavors each of soft-serve custard and frozen yogurt in addition to their 16 flavors of old-fashioned hard ice cream from vanilla and chocolate to orange cream dream and chocolate birthday cake, you can have these served simply in a cup or spruce it up with such toppings as gummy bears, peanut butter cups, toasted coconut or granola, just to name a few. A paper cup isn’t your style? How about a homemade waffle cone with all the fixings. Trying to watch the calories? Pennings has homemade Froyo, made fresh daily. What’s Froyo, you ask? It’s a healthy, tart frozen yogurt, made with fresh milk or soy milk and live probiotic cultures. It’s low in calories and fat and high in protein. Add in fresh fruit purees of pomegranate, mango, bananas or strawberries and you’ve got yourself one awesome treat. For those lactose intolerant, it makes a great alternative while your riding buddies are pigging out on those banana splits. Perhaps you’ve gotten to Pennings hungry for a bit more than ice cream. No worries, they can fill your belly with wholesome goodness before you have your dessert. At their Harvest Grill and Brew Pub (remember the wandering inside bit from before) you’ll find a menu filled with everything from soups to salads, some great sandwiches and paninis, burgers and more. Their menu highlights the seasonality of the local produce harvest. How about a scallop & tangerine salad, a spicy pulled chicken quesadilla or some fish tacos. Not the usual farmstand offerings, huh? This is all served while you’re seated at an antique apple grader. This 60-year old grader was fully operational as part of the Park Farm prior to the Pennings family purchase of
Shira’s Summertime Ice Cream Ride
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
the farm in 1981. The grader is fully functional during apple picking season, but sits idle during the rest of the year. Before you go make sure to peruse the rest of the market. This is one of those places where you can’t help but find something you’ll need, or just want. Pack your bags with great stuff like homemade salsas, cookies and jams or locally produced meats and cheeses. Pennings will certainly fill your belly and send you home so you’ll not go hungry for quite some time. Perhaps you’ve got a hankering to stop for the night in the area. Pennings has events all through the season like live music on the weekends, open mic nights on Wednesdays and Classic Car Night on Thursday. After the bike is
parked, partake of their wide selection of local beers, wines and hard ciders. Check their website for details on their events throughout the summer. As always, we’ll bring you on a delightful ride before stopping for a rest or the night. Have a great time at Pennings and we’ll see you next month on Shira’s Ice Cream Ride.
Here are two GPS downloadable routes. One will start in Phillipsburg, NJ and run you about 84 miles one way. The other starts at the Daily Planet Diner in Lagrangeville, NY and will take you 70 miles one way for your ice cream stop. Enjoy and remember to always save room for ice cream.
Pennings Market from Daily Planet Diner http://www.sendspace.com/file/ck9h5x Pennings Market from Phillipsburg, NJ http://www.sendspace.com/file/8wio8i Some lodging in the Warwick area: Peach Grove Inn • 845-986-7411 • www.peachgroveinn.net Chateau Hathorn B&B • 845-986-6099 • www.chateauhathorn.com Warwickshire B&B • 845-988-1946 • www.warwickshirebb.com
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R OAD T RIP
The USS Monitor Mariners’ Museum
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia were the first Iron vessels of their time. They dominated the waters they patrolled and no wooden vessel had any chance of survival against the Iron Clads. On March 9th 1862, the two vessels met (known as The Battle of Hampton Roads). The battle lasted over 3 hours and there was no clear victory by either side. But each side declared the battle a victory. Later that year, the USS Monitor sank off the coast of North Carolina on a cold stormy night in December, 145 years ago. In 1973, the USS Monitor was discovered off the coast of North Carolina and was marked as a National Marine Sanctuary. This was to preserve the site and stop scavengers from destroying it. In 2003, the distinguishing symbol, the turret, of the USS Monitor was raised from the ocean floor, and for the first time in over 140 years, saw daylight. Since that time the preservation had begun and still occurs. The USS Monitor is located in Newport News Virginia at the Mariners’ Museum, just north of Virginia Beach. I read about the USS Monitor while planning a group trip to Gettysburg, Antietam and Fredericksburg. I decided to take my son, Nick, to see the USS Monitor. We took a half-day off from school and work and headed out. The route would consist of both highway and back roads, as we had limited time. We headed down the New Jersey Turnpike towards the Delaware Sal Ferraro
Memorial Bridge. Once over the bridge our route got better and we headed down Route 13 through the center of Delaware. This was a nice two-lane road with an occasional light. At around 300 miles and 6 hours of traveling, it was time to find a place to sleep; we had just crossed into Virginia.
After a good night’s sleep we were up early to continue our journey. We packed up the bike and headed towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. This is a 20-mile Bridge-Tunnel that allows traffic to travel across the bay. It dropped us off at the northern part of Virginia Beach. This Bridge-Tunnel is a spectacular piece of engineering, the views while crossing are fantastic, and almost worth the trip alone. But this was not
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allowed to walk the deck. After 3 hours of wandering around the artifacts of the USS Monitor we start for home. Overall, the trip was great. We took some new roads and routes. The scenery was spectacular. The museum was better then I expected. This area also has other great historic sites such as Jamestown (The first US settlement), Yorktown, (one of the last battles of the revolutionary war), and Virginia Beach. This is an easy ride for any length of stay in the area; there is so much to see.
USS Monitor/The Mariners’ Museum 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606 757-596-2222 • Admission: $12 Adults www.mariner.org • www.monitorcenter.org Hours: Wed-Sat. 10am-5pm • Sun. Noon to 5pm
our destination. It was another 30 miles until we got to the USS Monitor. When we were there, the Mariners’ Museum was in the process of upgrading the area, and the signs were not clearly marked. We drove past the entrance and saw the back of the USS Monitor. After a few U-turns we were in the parking lot. After paying the nominal entry fee, Nick and I head right for the USS Monitor section of the museum. We are the only ones in this part of the museum. We are able to meander around all the exhibits at will. As we wander around, my son mentions that he is studying the Civil War in school. What a great field trip. They have countless number of artifacts from the vessel. In a room by itself is the lantern of the USS Monitor. We watch a 15minute video on the history of the battle of Hampton Roads. Prior to Pearl Harbor, the battle of Hampton Roads was the largest loss of life by a US Navy. As we enter the center of the museum, the replica of the turret is there. It is massive in size, 22 feet in diameter, housing two massive guns. Looking out the window there is a full size replica of the USS Monitor, which we are
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Vermont’s Ten Best Motorcycle Roads
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Vermont offers some of the best motorcycle touring in the northeastern United States. Those visiting for the first time are under the impression that Route 100 is the premier motorcycle-touring road in the Green Mountains, however, except for particular segments, it’s overrated. As a native Vermonter, the following is my biased ranking of the top motorcycling roads in the state. Ken Aiken
#1 The Appalachian Gap: Route 17, Irasville to Bristol
Both scenic and technically challenging this is the undisputed #1 motorcycle road in the state. There are plenty of curves, but those double hairpins with decreasing radius always come as a surprise. As a local rider I don’t recall ever doing this run without scraping the pegs or floorboards of whatever I was riding. It can be a dangerous road: logging trucks require most of both lanes to make these corners and do I need to mention nervous drivers? There are challenges when tackling this from either direction, but the most important thing is to slowly inspect the road before testing the extent of your lean angle. An overlook with ample parking is located at the top of the gap.
#2 Route 140: East Wallingford to Tinmouth
Scenic and technically challenging, this road is almost unknown except as a shortcut between Routes 103 and 7 by local residents. When I want to see what any of my bikes are capable of, this is the road I take. I prefer riding Cycle Motion is your provider of motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, snowmobiles, and utility vehicles by Kawasaki, Suzuki, Polaris, and Yamaha. With a large parts department, qualified service technicians and a full shop full of parts and accessories, we're here to meet all your power sport needs.
east to west, but the opposite direction also offers some challenging corners and you can unexpectedly “catch some air” in places. Either keep your eyes on the pavement or slow down to sightsee-don’t do both at the same time.
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#3 Route 232: Marshfield to Groton
Twisting through the Groton State Forest this is the preferred sport bike road in the Piedmont. Some corners are quite deceptive and those unfamiliar with this road can get into trouble very quickly. Best take it easy and enjoy it simply as a cool shady route on a hot summer day. Need I mention beware of deer and moose? Groton Lake State Park is one of the most popular of the state’s public campgrounds and the dark, cold water is extremely clean. Owl’s Head is a popular rocky outcrop overlooking this wilderness area and it’s just a short hike from the parking area. Gravel roads lead to both places.
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#6 Smugglers Notch: Stowe to Jeffersonville
Unfortunately I have to qualify this choice as, “only when not jammed with car traffic.” Route 108 is unique, climbing past Stowe’s famous ski resorts and squeezing through the defile that was created by the great glaciers of the most recent Ice Age. This passage was an established smuggling route after President Thomas Jefferson established a trade embargo against Great Britain in 1807. Jeffersonville was the center of this illegal transportation network and named in jest of this unpopular President. Traveling east to west is recommended, approaching from Moscow preferred over that from Stowe village, and the steep grade coupled with tight corners requires first and second gear to reach the top of this canyon-like notch where the highway wraps around boulders weighing hundreds of tons.
#7 Tyson-Reading Road: Tyson Four Corners to Felchville
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#4 Route 5A: Lake Willoughby
Incredibly scenic and far too short, the road winds along the eastern edge of this very deep glacially gouged lake. It reminds me of touring in the lake region of Italy, but without the castles. The southern shore is 6.6 miles from the junction of Route 5 in West Burke and the road follows the very edge of the eastern side of the lake for 5.1 miles to the junction of Route 16. Peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs of Mount Pisgah and giant lake trout cruise the depths of the lake. The water is clean enough to drink unfiltered and at almost 1,000 feet above sea level Lake Willoughby is a popular scuba-training area. It doesn’t matter which direction this road is ridden.
#5 Route 110: Tunbridge to Washington
This is one of those old roads that you hope will never be “improved.” It carries enough traffic to warrant good road maintenance, but not enough to disrupt a good run. This is the heart of the Vermont Piedmont and the scenery is gorgeous. The first five miles from Royalton to Tunbridge and the last five from Washington to East Barre seem like a different highway from 16 miles in between. Six covered bridges are found adjacent to the highway and the shire town (county seat) of Chelsea has two town greens and notable 19th century architecture. The locally famous “Tunbridge World’s Fair,” has taken place in midSeptember every year since 1867.
This short, but sweet road was established in the late 18th century and except for the addition of drain culverts and asphalt it’s pretty much the same as it was 200 years ago. The road begins in Tyson across from the Echo Lake Inn, one of the oldest continuously operated inns in the state. The first few miles were built in the 1760’s as an addition to the Crown Point Military Road of 1759 that was used by Major General Jeffery Amherst to attack and capture Montreal in 1760. Iron ore was discovered here in the 1830’s and the Tyson blast furnace operated through the Civil War era making the armor plates used in constructing the Union ironclad, Monitor. (See page 28) New England’s only gold rush began here in the late
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1850’s and while I’ve managed to pan a few flakes of gold from these streams, others have been far more successful. In the hamlet of South Reading the road cuts between “sneckeled” stone buildings that were constructed in the late 1830’s. Warning: some corners are still more suitable for a horse and buggy than a bike and this road is a deceptive dragon.
#8 The Old Stage Road: Townsend to Chester
This road offers the quintessence of old Vermont. It’s a scenic road that hasn’t changed since the early 1800’s. The Grafton Inn was built in 1801 as a stage stop and was expanded to its present appearance in 1865 after Harlan Phelps made his fortune in the gold fields of California. The inn has be a frequent repose for Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Rudyard Kipling, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and other notables.
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Route 35 begins in Townshend and ends in Chester, but detour by taking the left fork (3.5 miles from Route 30 in Townshend) to cruise through the beautiful village of Grafton. Immediately after crossing the concrete bridge in the village turn left to continue on Route 35 to Chester.
#9 Route 242: Montgomery Center to Jay
Sport bike riders will probably think I ranked this too low, but Route 242 from Montgomery Center to Jay definitely ranks in the top ten. It’s one segment of a circuit that includes Route 109, 118, and an unobstructed 12.5-mile stretch of Route 105 that’s notorious for high-speed runs. Route 242 climbs the southeastern shoulder of Jay Peak and past the entrance to the ski area; Route 105 goes over
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the northern flank of the mountain. All of the roads on this circuit are extremely scenic, more so during foliage season when the multitude of fluorescent yellows, oranges, and reds transform the area into a surreal impressionistic landscape.
#10 Route 100: Heartwellville to Wilmington segment
There are three segments of Route 100 that I enjoy and this one, the very beginning of Route 100, is the best. Tight corners and radical changes of elevation make it a joy for all riding styles. Whitingham was the birthplace of Brigham Young, leader of the Mormons after the assassination of the prophet, Joseph Smith (from Sharon, Vermont) and a western military hero. Somewhere on the hills above Sadawga Pond there is a marble monument erected to him, but I’ve yet to find it. I wish the remaining 188 miles of this highway were of this caliber.
Now that I’ve ranked the top ten motorcycle roads in Vermont I can’t help but notice the ones omitted: Route 100 from Hancock to Waitsfield through the Granville Reservation; Newfane Road to Williamsville Station along the Rock River; the beautiful Pleasant Valley Road through Underhill Center; and many more. Choosing the top ten roads is highly subjective and the ranking can change depending upon the condition of the pavement for a given year. Then there are those that are partially maintained gravel and therefore omitted from this list for liability reasons. The Lincoln Gap Road is one of my favorites, but two segments are gravel. At 2,424 feet this is the highest pass over the Green Mountain Range and it resembles roads in the Italian Apennines more closely than others in Vermont. The road through Hazen Notch is also gravel, so too for Roxbury Gap yet both are a treat on dual-sport machines. I’ve ridden Bear Mountain Road from Stratton to Kansas on a fully loaded BMW, but it’s often iffy for anything not classified as a trail bike. Still those that don’t mind the challenge of gravel will discover some of Vermont’s best-kept touring secrets along these backroads.
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R OAD T RIP
GRAND TOUR - INTERRUPTED
Route 50, sometimes referred to as “The Backbone of America”, stretches between Ocean City, MD and Sacramento, CA, running through twelve states and Washington, DC. At one time it even extended all the way to San Francisco. It is one of the longest non-interstate highways even though in some areas it does coexist with the interstates. This seemed like another great ride for me and my ‘93 Harley FXRP. Once I hit California, my plan was to find an interesting route north to Washington State, ride the Cascade Highway (Route 20) east, then Route 2 along the top of the United States to Michigan’s Mackinaw Bridge, and from there a direct route home to New Jersey. I expected the trip to take about sixteen days. This may seem like an aggressive schedule, but I usually find myself on the road twelve hours a day when touring alone. Since my route was fairly direct and not very complicated, this was not a ride for which I would have to depend on my GPS. I would mainly use it to find places to stay at night and occasionally to find gas stations. I prefer referring to individual state maps for the big picture, checking for possible points of interest, and finding those squiggly lines that indicate great motorcycle roads. Starting out early Saturday morning, I took I-78 west from New Jersey, then I-81 south to Winchester, VA where I picked up Route 50. Life was good until I hit Nutter Fort, WV where my engine started firing on only one Marty Konrad
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
cylinder. I pulled over to the side of the road and looked first for the obvious, spark plug wires. One wire had disconnected from the coil. After reconnecting it, the engine ran fine. In the process I noticed that both spark plug wire boots, where they attached to the coil, had disintegrated even though the rest of the wires looked perfectly fine. The coil connections were hidden which is why I had not previously noticed the deterioration. I could have run like this, but I was concerned that there might be a problem if it rained. My GPS showed that there was a Harley dealer less than two miles away and a phone call confirmed that they would be open for another half hour. After purchasing and installing the new wires, I was on my way again. In Ohio I passed Route 555 which I had ridden on a previous West Virginia/Ohio motorcycle camping trip. The Triple-Nickel, a favorite with the locals, is known as an amusement park for sport and sport touring bikes. If you are ever in the area, I suggest taking the time to ride it. I wasn’t too keen about riding through Cincinnati, OH, so I took the interstate bypass south through a little bit of Kentucky and then continued into Indiana. As you pass through towns, most of their names just slide through your mind, but for various reasons some just stick. Such was the case Sunday around lunch time as I found myself passing through Lebanon, IL. It caught my attention because my dealer, Williams Harley-Davidson, is located in Lebanon, NJ. Riding through town I passed Uncle
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Huffy’s Barbeque. It looked too good to pass up so I did a quick U-turn and went in. I know that BBQ is a very personal thing and that fights have broken out over which is the best sauce, but to me the sauce on the baby back ribs was some of the best that I have ever tasted with just the right amount of vinegary tang. And the red beans and rice with three types of peppers was spicy and delicious. Everything was home made except for the apple sauce. I was even able to say hi to the BBQ master, Uncle Huffy. I now have another good reason for remembering Lebanon, IL. Crossing the Mississippi River brought me into Missouri, truly the gateway to the West. This is where the Wagon Trains and the Pony Express started their long treks west. This is where Jesse James rode. I looked forward to ever decreasing traffic and cluttered roadsides and being able to just enjoy the unobstructed landscape flowing past me. Riding through Kansas, a small sign for the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve caught my eye. Something told me to make a U-turn and check it out. The Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve is about 11,000 acres, all that remains out of the original 140 million acres that covered the central United States between the Mississippi and the Rockies and extended into Canada. Most of it was plowed under for farm land, but the area in the Flint Hills was too rocky, so it remained range land. In the autumn the grass grows as high as a horse’s back. This is the very same unchanged prairie upon which the endless American
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
try Ray’s Tavern. The large sign painted on the face of the building said, “The Place for Everyone”, and it surely was. There were river rafters, geologists, oil men, truckers, campers, bikers, tourists, locals, and more, both young and old. It seemed to be a cross section of everyone in town. The place was friendly, the food was good, the beer was cold, and the conversations were lively. Distances between towns in this part of the country can be quite far. Checking my maps I saw that there was one 150 mile stretch between Delta, UT and Ely, NV with only one town and my GPS didn’t indicate any gas stations. Under the very best of conditions I might get 140 miles out of a tank of gas. I’ve previously ridden through towns without any gas stations, so before leaving Green River the next morning I purchased a two and a half gallon gas can, filled it up and strapped it to my luggage rack. On leaving town, there was a sign that read, “Next gas 106 miles”. There were a lot of exits along the way, all reading, “Ranch Exit, No Services”.
Buffalo herds grazed and where the early Native Americans lived and hunted. The same that greeted the westward traveling settlers. The Preserve’s headquarters is the old Stephen F. Jones ranch, built in 1878, which includes a house in the French Second Empire style, the largest barn in Kansas, and several out buildings, all built with hand cut native limestone, and 30 miles of stone fences. The limestone 3-Rail Bike Trailers buildings even include a large elegant three hole Toy Hauler Trailers outhouse, which outdoes the often referenced well with or without built brick s**thouse. One often forgets that Kansas was actually the Wild Living Quarters West. This is brought to mind not only with the Tall Grass Prairie, but also Dodge City by which Route 50 Full Service and Parts Facility passes. The town was a major cattle drive destination; a wild cow town where famous lawmen like Wyatt Earp and Batt Masterson kept the peace. Large Selection of Open and
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In Colorado the Great Plains gave way to the Rockies and the climb over the 11,312 foot Monarch Pass. What a ride. Spectacular. I was now on the western side of the Continental Divide. Tuesday evening I stopped in Green River, UT which calls itself “Utah’s Desert Treasure”. I asked the motel clerk for a good place for dinner and was told to
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In this part of Utah the landscape is unbelievably beautiful but rugged and desolate. I can understand how it must have taken a strong religious conviction for the Mormons to settle here. At the various highway over-looks there were spectacular 360 degree panoramic views. One was the Black Dragon Canyon area where Native Americans and outlaws such as Butch Cassidy hid out. I could see formations that exposed over 250 million years of paleontological history.
Even though my GPS didn’t indicate it, there was a gas station between Delta and Ely, a little over the border into Nevada, complete with a nice slot machine casino. It figures. The temperature had climbed into the upper 90’s, the hottest on the trip. I could see that a brief rest in the shade of a tree near the gas station was in order while I filled up on water. Before leaving I soaked my T-shirt and head wrap in cold water. With all the vents in my jacket and helmet open, I had my own personal swamp cooler. Nevada advertises Route 50 as “The Loneliest Road in America”. There were very few cars between the wide spread towns as is the case on many western roads. I might have been alone, but I wasn’t bored. As I rode I thought of the Pony Express riders whose route I was paralleling. I could see the storm clouds forming in the direction of Fallon, NV where I planned to spend the night. It was hard to tell how bad I would get hit because the storm was moving fast and the road kept changing direction.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Sometimes it appeared as though I would be going between the storm clouds and other times that I would be going through the thick of things. I gave the throttle an extra twist, but it still seemed like the longest hour. As it turned out I hit a little rain, but not enough to stop and put on my rain gear. The next morning I headed toward Custer City, NV, but instead of continuing on Route 50 I turned north onto Route 341 toward Virginia City, the old Comstock mining town. It was a very twisty road up to the old picturesque town, but I arrived too early for the shops to be open. The road down was just as twisty, much of the way with a spectacular view of Reno and the surrounding valley, making it hard to concentrate on the curves and switchbacks. Once down the mountain I took Route 431, another squiggly line on the map, to Lake Tahoe. The road took me over the 8,933 foot Mt Rose Pass. I’ll have to watch that I don’t overuse the word “spectacular”, but it’s hard. What can I say about the area around Lake Tahoe that hasn’t already been said. It’s beautiful. From Lake Tahoe I took Route 267 to Route 89 which I planned to follow on much of my ride north through California. Riding through the forests of Northern California the fragrance reminded me of the little log cabin incense burners with the pine scented incense that were purchased as a child vacationing with my parents in New Hampshire. It’s surprising how distant memories can suddenly surface with a little help from our senses. I followed Route 89 to Lassen Volcanic National Park. I had just parked and entered the visitor’s center when it started to hail. Luckily the hail wasn’t large enough to do any damage. When it stopped I took the winding park road which passed through the volcanic terrain with its bubbling springs and steam vents. I stopped at the camp store at the north end of the park for gas and while there it started to hail again and then rain. I tried to wait it out, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, passing the time conversing with other park visitors, but I had to finally put on my rain gear and ride down the mountain. Naturally, at the bottom the sun was out. I couldn’t continue on Route 89 because it was closed due to forest fires. Instead I took Route 44 west to Redding, CA where I spent the night. The next day I took I-5 north to Route 97 north. To my right was Mt. Shasta rising above the low lying clouds. What a beautiful sight.
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
Continuing on Route 97 and then Route 62 I arrived at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, another in the string of volcanic landmarks in the far west. There was a slight on and off misty rain as I rode up to the
lake, but not enough for rain gear. The first thing that hit me when I saw the lake was that the water was the bluest blue that I had ever seen. The five mile wide lake was formed only by the collection of rain and melting snow in the remnants of a volcano that collapsed over 7,700 years ago. There is no other source of water and no outflow. Cliffs that are 2,000 feet high ring the 1,943 foot deep lake, the deepest in the United States and one of the deepest in the world. I slowly rode down the mountain in thick fog, only able to see a short distance in front of my bike. It cleared at the bottom where I turned east on Route 138 back to Route 97 north and then took Route 58 west to I-5 north. I followed I-5 to Woodland, WA where I spent the night. At the motel I happened to meet a guy from The Netherlands riding a rental Softail that also had extra gas strapped to the luggage rack. I wasn’t the only one concerned about running out of gas. That’s the price one pays for exploring the wide West on a cruiser. Saturday morning I headed to Mount St. Helens. Less than three miles from the motel on I-5 my oil light came on. I quickly pulled over and checked things out including the oil level, but could find nothing. I called my motorcycle towing insurance company to arrange a tow to the Harley dealer that was about 18 miles south in Vancouver, WA. When I hung up, the bad situation turned worse. I dropped my cell phone. When I picked it up the screen was blank and it wouldn’t respond. How was I going to answer the call from the towing company to verify my location? Panic! I pulled the battery out, replaced it, and turned on the phone. All I saw was a continuously spinning hour glass and nothing else. I put the phone back in its holster and sat on the guard rail waiting for the police or anyone to stop. After a short while I checked the phone and it looked OK, showing that I had one voice mail. It was the towing company which I called back. The towing company dropped the Harley and me off at Columbia Harley-Davidson. They took the bike right into the shop with hardly a wait to check what was wrong and gave me the bad news. A pinion bearing had shifted and broke the oil pump gear. It was a mess that would take a few weeks to repair. Since it was Saturday and they would be closed for the next two days I had to make a fast decision. I decided to rent a truck and drive the bike home. They gave me access to a phone and computer to make my arrangements. I found a truck that I could drive oneway back to New Jersey, but the only problem was that there were no good tie-down points for the bike. When I got back to the dealer with the truck they had my bike mounted and tied down on a steel pallet that Harley uses to deliver new bikes. They then fork lifted the pallet into the truck which was easier to tie down. For all this, Columbia charged me nothing. Wow!
I rode 3,665 miles in seven and a half days to Woodland, WA and a direct 3,025 miles back home in four and a half days with the rental truck. The bike broke down at almost the farthest possible distance from home within the lower 48 states. The truck ride home was interesting in its own way, but if I had thought about it at the time, it appears that it would have been less expensive to ship the bike back with Federal Motorcycle Transport and fly home. It would have only taken them a couple of days to pick up the bike which I could have arranged for the dealer to handle. Federal is recommended by both HOG and AMA and they ship the bikes strapped to a pallet. I don’t know what would have awaited me the rest of the trip, but until it was interrupted it was a spectacular adventure filled with great sights and memories. Luckily disaster didn’t strike until the trip was more than half over. I guess I’ll just have to figure out the best way to complete it. And by the way, I didn’t have to use any of the spare gas that I was carrying, but I came close a couple of times. It’s possible that I might have needed it on the unfinished part of my trip since there were still many open miles remaining. I’ll have to say it again. It was spectacular.
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JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
2010 KAWASAKI VOYAGER 1700 TESTED IN DEATH VALLEY Riveted in the moment, breathing slowly, trying to absorb the intensity of Mother Nature while buzzing on my man-made mechanical steed, I have attained my own motorcycle nirvana. Rolling out of Lone Pine, California, as the sun lights the gleaming white snow on Mount Whitney two miles above us, I’ve found it. I’ve found the perfect speed and mental attitude to fully appreciate the new 2010 Kawasaki Voyager as we head south through the majestic Owens Valley. Riding for the past couple of days from Irvine, California, to the Alabama hills, and then into Death Valley with photos and video in mind, in this moment I find the big Kawasaki touring rig’s sweet spot. The work all done, this is a pure pleasure cruise, and rumbling down the picturesque highway I don’t want it to end. With the tachometer reading right around twenty five hundred rpm, and the speedometer needle somewhere between 67-71mph, the throttle is barely cracked. Sat comfortably in the broad, sculptured saddle, the engine simply purrs, and the full touring fairing is deflecting the cool air as we effortlessly roll down the two-lane highway. It’s like being on a giant conveyor belt with some gentle vibration and a light breeze programmed in for physical stimulation, while the sensory department gets stunning, postcard perfect mountain backdrops to enjoy. To my right, the Alabama hills provide a golden base for the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Crest, as vivid blue dry salt lakes shine brightly to my left. Low flat land rolls up to a softer mountain range that pushes up into the cloudless sky, and the air at this altitude is refreshing and energizing. Turning on the sound system, I decide to over-stimulate my highly engaged grey matter with a little music from my iPod. I missed the press intro for the Kawasaki Voyager 1700 when it was released in 2009, so while the new 2010 is essentially the same machine with some minor revisions, it’s new to me. Replacing the venerable Vulcan 1600 with an improved 1700cc power plant, the new 52-degree V-twin now kicks out 108 ftlbs of torque at 2750 rpm, which is about a 15% increase. It’s also making 20% more horsepower and this peaks at 5,000rpm, with the rev limiter kicking in a words: Neale Bayly • images: Adam Campbell
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
thousand rpm beyond this point. Compression ratio for the large 102mm pistons is 9.5:1 and they run in a 104mm stroke. These figures are a little different to the other models on this platform, with the Voyager being the mildest of the bunch. A single overhead camshaft opens and closes four valves per cylinder, wile two 42mm throttle bodies feed fuel and air into the big cylinders thanks to the digital fuel injection. An electronic valve provides the perfect cocktail by reading the throttle position, its load, and the air pressure and temperature. Making for near perfect fueling anywhere from idle to red line, there were a couple of times when the system felt like it was not performing just as it should. Coming off a long straight road where I had been running on a constant throttle, the bike did some minor coughs after the stop sign when I came back on the throttle. The only problem was it happened after filling the gas tank in Death Valley, and I can’t say it wasn’t a case of some bad fuel as it only happened that significantly on the one occasion. At other times it felt like we experienced a brief lean condition, which could have been the wind pushing the big rig around. For the rest of the time it performed flawlessly, and when in it’s sweet spot the bike’s is as good as it gets on two wheels. Power is taken to the rear wheel via a sixspeed transmission and belt drive. Cleaner and more efficient than the old shaft drive system Kawasaki has seemed fond of, it uses the top two gears as overdrives. This makes for a very relaxed ride at highway speeds. Realizing this corresponds to the bike’s peak torque output explains why rolling down the road around 70mph is so effortless. The engine uses twin counter balancers, so the vibration from the single pin crankshaft is minimal until the engine starts approaching the red line where it starts to let you know it’s there. Acceleration on the big Kawasaki is measured and predictable, and the bike responds better to planned inputs when overtaking. Visually, the big V-twin engine is a real looker. Masquerading as an air-cooled lump, it is liquid cooled with finned cylinders and nice chrome accents on the cam covers and lower end of the engine. These are further accentuated as the rest of the engine parts have a matte black finish, which really helps make the chrome parts stand out. Holding the big motor in place, the Voyager uses a double cradle steel frame with a box section single tube backbone. A beefy looking conventional 45mm hydraulic fork lives up front and has 5.5 inches of travel. It holds a sixteen-inch front wheel with a 130/90 series tire. Braking duties are taken care of by a pair of 300mm rotors that get squeezed by four piston calipers. The version of the Voyager here in the pictures comes with ABS, which is an $1100 option at time of purchase. Using what Kawasaki calls “K-ACT”, the linked braking system is also used on the Concours 1400, and applying the rear brake activates one of the front discs. Pulling the front brake lever works both the front discs in a conventional manner. Pressure sensors on the master cylinders read the bikes’ speed, and make necessary adjustments to the front/rear brake bias accordingly. The system is also disabled at speeds under 12 mph, and the ABS at 4mph. This makes U turns a lot easier when you have to rely solely on the rear brake to make the maneuver. Having used the system on a skid pad, while testing the Concours, it really is a fabulous safety feature and hopefully one you’ll never need. Air assisted shocks are used in the rear, and a 170/70 series tire wraps around another sixteen-inch rim. The shocks are adjustable for rebound damping and provide a very compliant ride. The front fork is typically cruiser soft, so it’s a good job the brakes don’t work it any harder, but during my time on the big cruiser we got to experience a wide variety road surfaces and I have no complaints about the way the suspension dealt with them. Start pushing the Voyager on a twisty road and its 886-pound weight makes itself known, but handling is super light and responsive thanks to the comfortable wide bars at sensible speeds. Besides, hustling along canyon roads is not what this motorcycle is about. Coming with a 5.3 gallon tank, you have close to a 200 mile range before looking for fuel, and the sophisticated on-board computer tells you how many miles you have left before fill up time.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Sitting comfortably in the pilot’s seat, the initial view inside the fairing is pure old school. Good sized round analogue dials rimmed with chrome read engine and road speed, while a slightly larger multi-function LCD display in the middle gives a plethora of information to keep the savvy traveler on course. Featuring a gear position indicator, remaining fuel range and average fuel consumption indicators (over 40mpg for my bike during the trip) and dual trip meters, odometer, and additional fuel gauge you are not going to be in need of in-flight information on the Voyager. There is also a traditional fuel gauge to the left of the speedometer and a temperature gauge to the right of the tachometer. Over on the right handlebar is the switch for the cruise control. There are no surprises with the way this works, and touching either brake puts you instantly back in control of the throttle.
communicate with each other as we rode. A simple system that cuts out the music when someone starts speaking, it will be a great asset to those traveling with their fellow Voyager riders, or those wanting to communicate with truckers and other CB users. We had a lot of fun with the system and the headphones gave great in-helmet sound when listening to the radio or my I pod. The sound system also allows you to listen to music through the bike’s speakers located in the fairing, and this didn’t quite offer the same quality of sound. Not that it was bad, but the headphones just do a better job. The sound system can be operated with buttons on the radio, or by a series of switches on the left handlebar. These are a tad complicated to get right, and some familiarization before hitting the road will make them a lot easier to use, as there are a lot of different choices you can perform. You don’t want
The old fashioned looking radio not only does FM/AM duties, but handles Satellite radio, your iPod and the on-board CB radio. This is a neat feature that is apparently making a return, and by simply installing a head set system provided by Kawasaki before we left Irvine, we were easily able to
to be learning them on the move. You can even listen to music when you are off the bike by putting the ignition switch collar to the ACC position, and also still use the accessories. This is a nice feature when you are pulled over admiring the view and want a little music to compliment your experience.
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
For the distance rider the full fairing has a large windshield that offers plenty of protection. Frame mounted, the bike is more stable in high winds than if it were mounted to the handlebars. This also helps contribute to the light steering. The leg shields have adjustable vents to allow you to control airflow and the bike has better heat protection for the rider than the ‘09, according to Kawasaki’s PR man. Luggage capacity is ample, and the large trunk can take two full-face helmets, or 13.2 gallons of whatever you take with you on trips. There is an additional 20 gallons of storage space available between the two side cases, and these have a refreshingly easy top opening system and, like the trunk, are fully lockable. The Kawasaki Voyager is traditionally styled, and the bike exudes quality with deep luster paint and liquid smooth chrome. It’s available in a choice of Metallic Diablo Black and Metallic Imperial Red, or Metallic Midnight Sapphire Blue and Metallic Moondust Gray. The price for the non-ABS version is $17,299, and with ABS it’ll run you $18,399. It comes with Kawasaki’s traditional 36-month warranty and is available at dealers. Priced competitively, with a number of sensible upgrades from last year’s model based on customer feedback, Kawasaki has done a great job with the Voyager if you are looking for a bike in the heavy duty touring category. Sophisticated, with it’s modern conveniences and safety features, it is still capable of giving the raw, visceral experience long distance touring riders are looking for, and it has a truck load of looks and personality to go with it.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Rider Insurance is offering the chance to win a $1000 gift card to any motorcycle dealership or motorcycle shop of choice by entering the Rider Insurance Jingle Contest. As of June 1, 2010, applicants can submit a 30-second recording of a jingle that communicates why someone would insure with Rider. This contest ends on July 31, 2010 and is open to all legal United States residents 18 years or older. Void in Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other U.S. territories and possessions and where prohibited by law. Applicants can submit recordings at www.Rider.com. Five entries will be selected by Rider on or about September 1, 2010, and the public will vote for the grand prize winner between September 10, 2010 and October 10, 2010. The grand prize winner will receive a $1000 gift certificate to a motorcycle dealership or store of choice, and the other four finalists will each receive a gift certificate in the amount of $200. The winners will be notified on or about October 15, 2010. For more information on Rider Insurance, call 800-595-6393 or visit www.Rider.com. Become a fan of Rider Insurance on Facebook to get the latest updates on the Jingle Contest.
RIDER INSURANCE ANNOUNCES “JINGLE” CONTEST
Watch out for the other guy in South Dakota - it could be the ex-governor, now back behind the wheel after killing a motorcycle rider in 2004. A self-professed speeder and convicted stop-sign runner, four-time South Dakota Governor and one-time Congressional Representative, Bill Janklow has just completed his three-year probation for causing the death of biker Randolph E. Scott, 55, of Minnesota, a crime for which Janklow spent over three months in county lockup on a second-degree manslaughter conviction, according to Web sources. At the time of his trial, Janklow was widely reported in a 1999 speech to have said, “Bill Janklow speeds when he drives - shouldn’t, but he does. When he gets the ticket, he pays it,” a line dutifully reported recently by blogger Cyril Huze. Janklow spent 100 days in jail and endured three years of probation for the manslaughter rap, speeding, running a stop sign and reckless driving, sources report, noting a $5,000
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penalty for fines and court costs was also tacked on. Huze called the fine “small” and wrote that Janklow “only temporarily had to surrender his law license.” The light sentence was reportedly based on Janklow’s lifetime of public service, but nonetheless drew howls of protest from some segments of the motorcycle community. “He just completed three years of probation during which he was forbidden from driving. Now he can drive again,” Huze reported. “The Motorcycle Industry Council has urged Chairman Inez Tenenbaum and the other members of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to recommend in its report to Congress, on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act an amendment that would end the current ban on youth powersports vehicles resulting from the law’s lead content provisions,” stated a spokesperson for the organization. In a letter, the MIC thanked the CPSC for its efforts to promote youth safety by implementing a temporary stay to make some youth vehicles available despite the ban, but at the same time, the MIC offered three suggestions to completely or substantially exclude or exempt youth off-highway motorcycles and ATVs from those provisions, they explained. These suggestions reportedly include adding a “functional purpose” amendment, making a categorical exemption, such as would be provided by H.R. 1587, or making a change in the definition of “accessibility” for powersports products.
MIC URGES CPSIA AMENDMENTS
“Many off-highway motorized trails in America’s national forests could deteriorate dramatically or even disappear under the new federal budget for 2011 proposed by President Barack Obama to Congress on February 1,” American Motorcyclist Association spokesperson James Holter stated. He said, under the proposal, funding for the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Capital Improvement and Maintenance program would be cut by $100 million to $438 million for the next fiscal year. “The administration’s budget proposal is also disturbing because it comes at a time when the Forest Service is creating a new planning rule to manage the 193 million acres it
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
controls nationwide ... This proposal could shut out off-highway riding,” explained Holter. He added, “The AMA strongly advises its members and all other off-highway vehicle riders to contact their federal elected officials and urge them to oppose any cut in the U.S. Agriculture Department’s capital improvement and maintenance budget.” The AMA is pleased to welcome Jack Penton to the position of AMA Director of Operations. Penton, an AMA Life Member who was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 in honor of his off-road racing success, started on June 1. As director of operations, Penton will report directly to AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman, and will assist him in managing the day-to-day functions of the Association. Penton will also have direct responsibility for the Hall of Fame. “Jack Penton’s breadth of experience in the motorcycle industry gives him a fresh perspective that I’m excited to bring to the AMA,” Dingman said. “His hands-on approach will help guide our staff as we continually seek better ways to serve our members and more effectively promote and protect the motorcycling lifestyle.” Penton has more than 40 years of experience in the motorcycle industry. Early in his career he worked for Penton Imports developing Penton motorcycles, a brand founded by his father, AMA Hall of Famer John Penton. Later, he worked for Kawasaki Motors, Malcolm Smith Racing and KTM America. Most recently, Penton served with Tucker Rocky Distributing, a world leader in the distribution of motorcycle merchandise. “I am eager to join the AMA staff, and I look forward to helping the Association become a more powerful voice for America’s motorcyclists,” Penton said. “The threats to motorcycling are greater today than ever before. Now is the time to secure the rights of motorcyclists in America, but to do so the AMA membership needs to grow many times over. “The AMA has its priorities in order and has made the commitments needed to expand the organization,” Penton said. “Now is the time for motorcycle enthusiasts everywhere to join us so that we can respond with strength to the forces that want to take away our rights as motorcyclists.” Effective June 1, those wishing to contact Penton can send him an e-mail at email@example.com, or call (614) 856-1900.
AMA HIRES JACK PENTON
TWISTED TOURS LAUNCHES “MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES WORLD-CLASS ROADS”
the best eateries and brew pubs, and he is eager to share his knowledge with groups of sportbike riders. Tour participants will enjoy great food, artisan brew pubs and sleep in comfortable lodgings. Tours originate in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and make their way north on scenic Coast Highway 1, stopping in Ziemer’s hometown of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County. The tour then heads north along Highway 101, through the towering redwoods of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, to Highway 36 and east into the California Coast Range, with stops in charming small towns such as Weaverville and Etna. The tour loops into the upper Sacramento River Valley with an overnight stop in Chico and a visit to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. The last day’s travel has many different possibilities for the return to the Bay Area. Options include riding the Sacramento River Road, or riding along the lakes of Lake and Napa counties, or over Mt. St. Helena and through the Sonoma and Napa valleys. The company’s stated mission is “to take motorcycle enthusiasts safely on some of the most beautiful and challenging two-lane blacktop in northern California, to enjoy as a group the scenery, physical and mental challenges, and camaraderie that our sporting members enjoy.” Twisted Tours emphasize cornering skills with improvement of riding skills as one of the goals. The tours are appropriate for riders with some experience, and with northern California’s scenic wonders as a backdrop, the tours offer a feast for the senses. From rocky sea cliffs along the Pacific, along curvaceous roads through the redwoods and into lush valleys with awe-inspiring mountain views, there are more twisties than can be imagined. To find out more about “getting twisted” with Twisted Tours, and to take a rider survey, please visit www.twistedtourscalifornia.com, or contact Greg Ziemer directly at 707-813-0748.
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New motorcycle-touring company Twisted Tours, owned by veteran rider and ER nurse Greg Ziemer, offers motorcycle enthusiasts a chance to “Get Twisted” on his five-day tours of northern California, which encompass some of the most challenging and scenic two-lane blacktop roads in northern California. The tours offer vehicle support, prearranged accommodations in scenic historic towns, and hundreds of miles of sublime riding. Tour dates are available now for Summer and Fall 2010. Ziemer has been riding throughout northern California for more than a decade. He knows the roads, the towns,
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JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Thirty years ago I wrote an article about ghost towns in the Northwest for a now defunct motorcycle magazine. It was not just the towns that fascinated me but the roads taken to get to them. Once the towns died the roads remained, roads that are often paved and thread through magnificent country. They are also void of traffic. Some of the best biking roads are in Eastern Oregon, miles and miles of great riding with plenty of twisties and scenery that goes from here to eternity. Since I had just purchased a new Moto Guzzi California Vintage from International Motors, in Seattle, I was looking for a chance to get better acquainted with it by revisiting some of the old Oregon towns. I wondered what remained of the old towns and how have they changed. My son-in-law’s father, Andy, with words and images: Richard Baker his Gold Wing and travel trailer, decided to come along. I would never have a bike trailer but I do enjoy it when someone else does and offers to pack some of my goods. I always camp out, often without a tent (except when rattlesnakes are about) and occasionally cook meals since some towns are nowhere near a café. Other times cafes appear in the most unexpected places. Since we live in Tacoma, Washington we always take Highway 410 over the pass to Yakima then follow Highway 97 to enter Oregon at Biggs Station. We had decided to eat breakfast out. Andy says the little mom & pop restaurants serve the best biscuits and gravy. My dad always ate at chain restaurants like Denney’s because “no matter which one you eat at, the food is always identical, no surprises.” I believe food is an adventure, often life threatening, and I wait in anticipation to see what is placed on the table. I rate the quality of a restaurant by the number of flies caught in the screen-door. The image of biscuits and gravy filled my mind: creamy white or tan gravy freckled with spots of pepper and sausage bits gently caressing biscuits so soft light and fluffy that they flake apart with the touch of a fork. Reality can be brutal. We found a café in a small town along the way that looks perfect: the “a” missing from Café so it read C fe, a rusted Orange Crush sign leaning against the outside wall, and masking tape covering several bullet holes in the main window in an attempt to keep the pulse beating. The morning sun Sussex NJ County Rd 639 • Next to the Airport cast a yellow beam across a booth and called us to sit Open 7 Days • 973-702-1215 and relax on the torn Naugahide cushions. We could We have New Jersey Lottery & Scratch Offs almost taste the swimming biscuits so we ordered the We accept cash, credit cards & ATM on premise large size, an extra biscuit on the side. My porcelain WE’RE LOCATED IN SCENIC SUSSEX COUNTY coffee cup sported a crack down one side and the A POPULAR NEIGHBORHOOD PUB steaming coffee tasted like magma. The taste of coffee is heavily influenced by the quality of the water and FRIENDLY SERVICE • ICE COLD BEER desert water is notoriously bad, something I should AND ALWAYS SOMETHING TO DO… have noticed by the glasses of water the waitress TWO POOL TABLES • JUKE BOX • DARTS brought that resembled tea. Still, there were the bisOUTDOOR SEATING FACING THE AIRPORT cuits and gravy to come. The waitress placed the con“WATCH THE SKY DIVERS” coction on the table - several layers of roofing shingles Stop by and We’re Sure to Become One of Your Favorite Stops drowning with meat gravy having the consistency of PLUS … WE SERVE A SIMPLE PUB MENU FREE BBQ on Sundays SUPPORT OUR TROOPS lumpy mashed potatoes. As we headed to the bikes my weather The Summer’s Here! tongue continued to seek new caverns of chipped teeth. ‘ You Cook ‘Em…’ permitting Even on the hottest days the high desert air remains It’s Always Bike Night at Stop by for some great comfortable as it whips past. The Guzzi is a remarktire-kickin’ and hangin’ able machine and it purrs along as if idling. In fact, it
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
is idling. At 60 MPH the tachometer reads 2,700 RPMs. The bike runs smoothly at 3,500 RPMs. I don’t mind occasionally pushing the speed limit but that RPM is way too fast for me to run for any length of time. I never forget that there are old bikers and there are bold bikers but there are no old/bold bikers. The sun wandered slowly up the sky as we pulled into Kent. The last time I was here several people and businesses still remained and it was not considered a ghost town, just a town on the decline. Times have
like cattle. Andy walks from building to building looking for treasures but careful not to take anything - proper behavior in any ghost town. Less than 20 miles away Shaniko waited, one of the best-known ghost towns in Oregon and one that changes almost yearly. I have occasionally visited the town the last 30 years since it is impossible to miss. Highway 97 south is a straight shot until it reaches Shaniko where it makes an abrupt
changed. Not a single person about. Even the restaurant was closed. I remembered it had the best biscuits and gravy I have ever eaten. The paint peeled up in curls exposing bare wood on the outside. Through the windows, broken chairs and tables snuggled into the dust on the floor. A block away the gas station revealed its age. The regular pump showed prices stopped at 66 cents a gallon. Premium sold for 69 cents. Several other interesting buildings remain. A look through another window showed someone had been pouring cement sculptures. In an underground catch behind a house bottles were scattered everywhere. Rusted cars grazed in the grass
ninety-degree turn to the west. I enjoyed talking to Cherry Brown at the lovely hotel. Miles before reaching the town its grain elevator always came into view. Not this time. It has been eliminated. The unique water tower at the edge of town that resembled a frontier blockhouse also vanished by falling down upon itself. The brick hotel is closed. The town was virtually deserted 30 years ago when I pulled in for the first time. The hotel sported several broken windows. Inside, the stairs had fallen to the main floor, the counter and a large circular seat were overturned and water damage appeared everywhere, especially from the ceiling where paint hung down like skin from the roof of a pizza burned pallet. The town had an interesting main street with four or five buildings side-by-side.
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JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
RESTORED SHANIKO HOTEL
Across the intersection more buildings continued almost to a railroad freight house that abutted the grain elevator. The jail was intact on another street along with
the county city building. Only a few buildings, if any, survive in most ghost towns. That puzzled me for years. Where did they go? Old pictures of thriving towns might show over 100 buildings. What happened to them? Eventually I discovered that
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when a town died people often tore down the structures and took the lumber with them to build in another area. I know of only two towns with extensive wooden structures remaining: Bodie, in California, and Bannack, in Montana. A man approached from the freight house on my first visit. Walking on spindly legs and stroking his beard, he offered his hand. He was Dave Gastman, a friendly and talkative old recluse who claimed to be the sheriff and the mayor. He said Shaniko was built through the wool industry and was the main shipping point for the farmers. Five railroad tracks came to the town to haul away tons of wool. When a more convenient center was built toward the Columbia River the town died.
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Driving through at a later date I noticed some of the buildings had been repaired and several families had moved in. The biggest change was the hotel. Retired plumbing contractor Jean Farrell had bought the building and had restored it, not for monetary reasons but for historical ones. It was absolutely radiant inside. The long counter was polished and the staircase erected properly as was the refinished circular lobby seat. The rooms upstairs were refinished and named after former Shaniko residents. Over the years Jean put in a pizza and ice cream business. One old building was made into a wedding chapel and Jean had put a honeymoon suite in the hotel. He also improved the water system. Across the road the rather unique schoolhouse was being restored through donations and a historical grant. As Andy and I pulled into town on this adventure I noticed the grain elevator was missing and so was the JEAN FARRELL
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
water tower. The school had been completely restored. A for sale sign hung from the door of the hotel. Andy pulled up beside a biking couple from the East coast as I drove around the corner for some pictures. A woman emerged from a building and started yelling. I couldn’t hear her but I figured she was angry about something. I walked over to make amends and she started to smile. “You boys want some coffee?” she said. “I just made a fresh pot.” Her name was Wanda. She and her family rent one of the buildings during the summer and sell various goods and antiques. She filled me in on the last few years. A wealthy man
had bought the hotel from Jean and, having lost his interest in it, was now attempting to sell. No grant came for the water tower and it eventually fell. The grain elevator was destroyed because of people like me who would not stop climbing it for great views. The owner did not want a lawsuit if someone got hurt climbing on it. On every visit I had climbed to the top to photograph the town. I took the last full picture of the town from there while watching the sun set over the mountains. I noticed that Andy was fiddling with his trailer. It had a flat. Immediately people emerged from various buildings and they all offer help. Someone fetched an air compressor. The tire appeared to be holding air. So it had a very slow leak and John Jacobs offered his business card and agreed to help Andy within 100 miles of Shaniko if he had any more trouble. Desert people are always kind and generous. From Shaniko, Highway 218 runs south through Antelope. I have never driven this road without seeing a herd of antelope or deer nearby. Today is no exception and a herd of antelope drank at a water hole beside the highway. Andy sees another herd a mile ahead. On one twisted stretch of road we encounter eight smashed rattlesnakes within a quarter mile. A cobbler could make a fortune on this road just by harvesting road kills. Antelope has not changed in the last 30 years. Some people live in the buildings behind the town and the main street remains deserted. There are several interesting buildings along the way including a newspaper office. The café/store shows no indication of being in business, but it is. The gas pump outside is empty but inside the coffee and food is good. The desertedlooking café has always been open although the tenants come and go fairly rapidly. Today was no exception. A family had rented the café but there was a for sale sign outside
and they will soon be pushed out by the new owners. The building is clean and cheerful inside as the morning light flowed through the main window. How the proprietors earn a living is beyond me. Only one car passed during the hour we talked and relaxed. Highway 218 continues to Fossil. The road is fabulous, clear and twisty, and the scenery verges upon spectacular. At each mountain pass you can see miles and miles of empty country. After crossing the John Day River we were treated to a solid wall of interesting rock formations. They are part of the John Day fossil beds and a quick walk around the structure reveals many fossils including water plants. A sloping path takes you up the side of the rocks where hundreds of birds scatter in and out of small caves.
The next stop was Richmond high atop another set of rolling hills. It had a church and the first covered mall in the west, an attached row of stores with a common covered walkway. Nothing has changed here except someone has restored the church. The stores contain much more trash than
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before: empty bottles, piles of clothes, rusted lawn mower, and a wrecked motorcycle. The air was especially clean and fresh and held the aroma of sweet flowers mixed with pine trees. A school bus was parked in front of the stores ruining the ambiance but reminding me of the days when I was 3rd grade dodge ball champion two years in a row and was deeply in love with a girl named Sally. The first poem I ever wrote was to her. I still remember the opening line: “If I had a million I’d spend it on her, I’d take her to Germany and up through the Ruhr...” I knew something about rhyming back then but nothing about geography. I suspected that girls liked money and travel.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
Andy returned home after Richmond so I was on my own. Riding through the hills makes me feel a part of nature and I dreamed of Sally as I swayed around the corners, sun on my face, wind caressing my body - then WHACK!!! A bee attempted suicide by smashing himself inside my helmet. That is twice in my 45-year riding career I have been stung inside my helmet. The dance I performed would have made the Watusi resemble the hokey pokey. Such accidents are good reason to wear a full-face helmet but they have always made me feel claustrophobic. I don’t know if there are any laws about camping anywhere in Oregon but if there are, no one enforces them. Oregon, along with Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, is one of the last states that believe in individual freedom and they don’t charge you for it. I pulled into a town park in Spray to camp beside the river. Two older couples were having a meal and noticed me surveying the area. One of the women said, “We will be leaving in a few minutes if you want to camp beside this picnic table.” There remain great and kind people everywhere in this world. I unfolded my short chair, lit a cigar, and watched the sun go down displaying ribbons of red and gold in the sky. There is no better sleeping pill than the muffled sound of water. In the morning I boiled coffee and oatmeal. I always bring my special blend of oatmeal on trips and sometimes eat it for all meals. I pour mapleflavored oatmeal, quick oats, and powered milk into a large Zip-lock bag and mix it up. The mix tastes wonderful and it takes up very little space when packing. A dirt road of twenty miles leads to Lonerock. Such roads are always a challenge with a road bike, especially the Guzzi. It felt good to be back on the Guzzi, the open road (even a dirt one) under my feet, the wind on my face. Nothing except empty country awaited me, no problems, no distractions - well, almost no distractions. The trouble with being a photographer is that images often overcome good sense. I had been riding for about 20 minutes down the dirt road when I saw a great shot across a field of scrub brush and lava rocks. An old ranch gate sat on the edge of a ravine withered, leaning, with cottony clouds behind it. I turned down an obviously abandoned road and past the sign that said: “No vehicles beyond this
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point.” I had completely forgotten I was on the Guzzi and not on a Bultaco. Within 100 feet of the sign I dove into a rut. The Guzzi lurched, my left foot flew to the side and twisted downward under the footboard as the bike toppled over, trapping my ankle under the frame. Although the Guzzi is a great bike it remains terribly top heavy. After five minutes of trying to lift it with my right foot I gave up and started to think of another plan. I lay back watching the fluffy clouds, the bike stretched across the dirt and rocks. I inhaled the air of freedom and listened to the quiet as the buzzards started to gather overhead. “Life can not get any better,” I thought. Digging under the ankle with my opposite foot I finally got free. The shot of the gate no longer seemed important as I drove into Lonerock. Lonerock is in an odd location for a town. There is nothing except desert for miles around. The town was built in a small green valley. A post office was built there in 1872 and ranch owners R.G. Robinson and Albert Henshaw plotted the town in 1881. A place of extreme temperatures, water was always an issue. As time progressed the water diminished and farmers could no longer grow decent crops. People slowly drifted off leaving a decent schoolhouse, a church, and a main street. Almost completely deserted on my first visit, it is now populated with a small group of mostly retired people. The church sits beside the large rock the town was named after.
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Funny thing about the rules of nature, the road leaving Lonerock is just as long as it was coming in. Since not much remains of the town it might be a town missed for those not wanting to fight the gravel road. Back on the highway to Hardman the Guzzi can be opened up to cut through the warm air. Hardman was built as a stage stop and despite several fires, much remains. Wagon trains also stopped there for brief times of rest and the town grew to considerable size. First called Raw Dog, then Dog Town. Citizens changed the name to Hardman, after the man who homesteaded there. A hotel sprang up followed by a jail and drugstore. Around the town Mr. Parker built a sawmill
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
and a flourmill was established. With the decline of stagecoaches and wagon trains, so went the town. Several families have returned and it remains a pleasant stop for bikers on the high plains. I sat on a bench outside the Odd Fellows hall, eating a sandwich and drinking a cup of coffee I had just made, and watched the sparse traffic. A biker named Bill stopped with his girl friend. We talked about the old towns and the best roads to ride. As they left he said, “If you’re going through Condon there’s a restaurant on Main Street that serves the best biscuits and gravy.” I sat a few more minutes watching the Harley disappear over the horizon then pointed the Guzzi north toward the town, the taste and smell of biscuits and gravy pulling me on.
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JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Art of the Bike “Blown away.” Those are the words used by many to describe their experience at the first Classic Bike and Bluegrass Festival held on May 8th in Frenchtown, New Jersey. Saturday’s warm temperature and blue sky enticed an estimated 2500+ motorcycle enthusiasts to brave incredibly high winds to attend what Bill Shelton, coordinator and host of the event, described as “a walk back into the history of 100 years of motorcycles.” Words: Terry Slemmer • images: Lorraine Crown
Most folks came for the bikes. Others came for the music. Some came for the art. A few people came to stroll along Frenchtown’s Victorian-lined streets, dotted with antique stores and quaint boutiques. All were captivated. The field adjacent to the Frenchtown Inn is slated to become riverfront townhouses and office space, but on Saturday between noon and five, motorcycle buffs transformed the area into an extraordinary display of classic and vintage bikes. Norton, Moto Guzzi, Indian, BMW, Ducati, Triumph, BSA, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda, and others. Bikes that
stir up emotions with which only a first love can compete, and only a fellow riders can understand. Bikes that evoke stories of adventures, of friendships, and of personal treasures from tender years. True to the festival’s billing, music filled the air. Some patrons listened as they wandered among the bikes. Others gathered around the platform as, in turn, Jericho Mountain Grass, Daddyo, and South Jersey’s Bad Dogz took to the stage. The soulful blues of headliners George Laks (pianist for the Lenny Kravitz band), Mr. Bill Sims, Jr., and Byron Landham, collectively known as Daddyo, electrified the crowd. Local businesses all seemed to support and contribute to the festive atmosphere. Some opened their lots for parking. Some highlighted unusual
motorcycle art in their windows. Some set out patio tables and chairs inviting festival goers to relax and enjoy local musicians performing on Bridge Street away from the main stage. Merchants and patrons alike were appreciative. At Open Space Gallery, 36 Bridge Street, many experienced the art of several well-known artists: James Willis, Tom Fritz, Gregg Ross, Michael Ulman, and Patricia Fabian. The exhibit features original art as well as prints for sale. James Willis is a New York City painter whose work has been featured on
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
the cover of Art and Antiques and in American Art Collector magazine. On display at the Gallery, Willis’ art includes oils, charcoals, and hand-tooled leather seats, as well as the second in a series of bikes as sculpture: A Triumph 650 cc called Edgar Allan Poe. Tom Fritz’s colorful oils mix realism with the soft edges of impressionism. His art appears in private and corporate collections around the world. Fritz, recipient of numerous awards, was commissioned in 2001 by Harley-Davidson® to paint an image commemorating their 100th anniversary. Also on display at the Gallery are the
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vibrant pinstripe and panel art pieces of New Jersey artist Gregg Ross; “Head Out on the Highway” series of oil by nationally acclaimed paintings Tewksbury, New Jersey artist Patricia Fabian; and the fascinating motorcycle art of Boston sculptor Michael Ulman. Asked if he thought the festival was a success, Shelton revealed an avalanche of emails, videos, and pictures that began to arrive Saturday evening. One woman summed it up well: “Rode from Hershey, PA, in the rain, and returned in outrageous wind. Your event was worth every second.” As I said, “Blown away.” For more information about Art of the Bike, visit www.artofthebike.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Richard W. O’Donnell Summer is the time to hit the road. For all you heading out to some, or all, of our wonderful 50 states, here’s a little quiz sent to us by Mr. O’Donnell. So you think you know America. Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. It’s a big country with fifty wonderful states. Let’s see how much you know about those states.
1. Which state has the motto, “Many Deeds, Womanly Words”? 2. “Home on The Range” is the official song of what state? 3. What state is the “Empire State of The South”? 4. What state is also known as “The Constitution State”? It was the fifth of the original 13 states. 5. Which state has the motto, “Eureka, I have Found It!”? 6. Which one is “The Keystone State”? 7. Which one is “The Flickertail State”? 8. Which state has the motto, “Crossroads of America”? 9. Which one is “The Stub-Toe State”? A clue: “Gold and Silver” is its motto. 10. The badger is the official animal of what state? 11. The Mayflower is the official flower of what state? 12. Who’s nickname is “The Blue Hen Chicken State”? 13. Which state is “The Panhandle State”? 14. Which one is “The Land of Opportunity”? 15. If you’ve missed every question so far, here’s a gift. “My Old Kentucky Home” is the official song of this state. 16. This one is “The Beehive State”. Its motto is “Industry”. 17. Here’s a tricky one. Its nickname is “The Sunshine State”. And it’s not Florida. 18. Its state tree is the sugar maple tree. 19. The official flower of this state is the magnolia. Its state tree is the magnolia. And it is also known as “The Magnolia State”. 20. Its flower is the Indian paintbrush, and its bird is the Western Meadowlark. In addition, its tree is the Plains cottonwood. 21. For what it is worth, the single leaf pinion is the official tree of this state. 22. Brace yourself. The scissor tailed flycatcher is the official bird in this state.
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SUMMERTIME TRAVEL 23. “Old Folks At Home” is its official song. 24. This one is “The Show Me State”. 25. It’s “The Hawkeye State”. 26. This state has a famous nickname, which will not be revealed. It is also known as “The Beef State”. 27. This one is “The Buckeye State”. 28. It’s the state that has the dogwood as its official flower. It is also known as “The Turpentine State”. 29. Which state is known as “Old Dirigo”? 30. Its flower is the Yellow Carolina Jessamine, and its bird is the Carolina wren. 31. This was the thirteenth of the original thirteen states to ratify the Constitution. 32. This state is “The Star of The North”. Its flower is “The Showy Lady’s Slipper”. 33. It’s “The Web-foot State”. 34. You won’t believe this one. This state is sometimes called “The Excelsior State”. 35. Which state is known as “Old Dominion”. 36. Its flower is the Lewis mock orange. 37. Its song is “The Tennessee Waltz”. 38. This state is known as “The Inland Empire”. 39. It’s “The Auto State”. 40. This state entered the Union on August 21, 1959 41. This one is “The Chinook State”. 42. This one is “The Lizard State”. 43. This is The Granite State”. 44. This is “The Mosquito State”. 45. This one is “The Pelican State”. 46. Where is “The Land of Enchantment” 47. Its flower is the forget-me-not, and its official fish is the king salmon. 48. It’s “The Centennial State” because it entered the union in 1876. 49. Its capital is Lincoln, and it is “The Cornhusker State”. 50. This one is known as “The Apache State”.
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
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GIVI AIRFLOW WINDSCREEN
They say variety is the spice of life, whoever they are. But, I do know that the stock windscreen on our BMW R1200 GS, even though adjustable in angle really didn’t do such a great job at diverting air around the rider, especially at speed. When we got the GS one of the first things we tackled was a new screen and the one we put on from Givi did a superior job on the bike, but all things can be improved. Givi has just introduced their new Airflow Windscreen. Available for a wide variety of machines, this new screen has two separate components. The first is a basic fly screen, which can be used all by itself, but a second screen slides onto the first and this allows for a wide range of protection for the rider. Both are created from durable polycarbonate and with adequate care will last for years. The difference between the lowest position and the highest is nearly 5 inches and operation of the screen could not be easier. Simply open the two levers that lock the screen in and adjust to the height you desire. Whether hot or cold, in sun or rain, you have a wide number of options. Riding around town we find the lowest level to be more than adequate, but on the highways the highest position offers a great deal of rider and passenger protection from wind turbulence. Having two screens allows for an area of controlled pressure, which lifts the oncoming rushing air up and over both rider and passenger. This “venturi” effect works wonders and the ease of adjustability that this screen offers with its excellent choices gives you just the breeze, or not, that you’d want. Installation on our GS was fairly easy ceptin’ for the one spacer nut that fell down into the bike and disappeared into the Black Hole where all the missing socks go. But happily the next day it came back through the Event Horizon and all was well and tight. Raising and lowering the second screen is a snap, but we do recommend that you do not try it on the fly. That would be akin to texting and you should be riding your ride, not adjusting your screen. After a few thousand miles with the new Givi Airflow Windscreen we have to say that it is an excellent product and a great choice if you are looking for more adjustability with the air around you. The Airflow windscreen is available for a number of motorcycles and scooters and you can log onto www.giviusa.com to see if they have one for your ride. Price, around $260 depending of model. LOW
MEDIUM ANSWERS; 1. Maryland
FULL UP 17. South Dakota
34. New York
7. North Dakota 8. Indiana
11. Massachusetts 12. Delaware
13. West Virginia 14. Arkansas
15. Kentucky 16. Utah
21. Nevada 23. Florida
24. Missouri 25. Iowa
26. Texas 27. Ohio
28. North Carolina 29. Maine
30. South Carolina 31. Rhode Island 32. Minnesota 33. Oregon
35. Virginia 36. Idaho
39. Michigan 40. Hawaii
41. Washington 42. Alabama
43. New Hampshire
44. New Jersey
46. New Mexico
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR E V E RY M O N T H - W E AT H E R P E R M I T T I N G Saturday • Bergen County H-D/BMW Saddle Up Saturdays and BBQ • 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • 201-843-6930 • www.bergenharleydavidson.com Second Sunday • Philadelphia Breakfast Ride. Meet at Silk City Diner - 5th/Spring Garden, Philadelphia PA - 8am • 215-922-2214 Every Sunday • Eastern Suffolk ABATE Breakfast Run. Crossroads Diner - Calverton NY. 10:30am. Eat and Ride After • 631-369-2221 First Sunday of the month • Layton Meet at the Layton Deli, corner of Dingmans/Bevans Rd, CR 560, Layton, NJ. Meet around 8am – breakfast available. Join others for a ride or head out on your own Every Tuesday • The Ear - Spring St, NYC. Come meet some fellow riders and do some benchracing or whatever. 8pm-ish Third Tuesday • 7:30pm ABATE of the Garden State, North Jersey chapter. Black River Barn, 1178 Rt. 10 West, Randolph, NJ. 7:30pm. New members and all mc brands welcome. Help fight for rights as a motorcyclist in NJ! Alex Martinez 973-390-1918 First Wednesday of the Month • Bergen County H-D/BMW Hump Day MusicFest. Free concert from 6-9pm • 124 Essex St, Rochelle Park, NJ • 201-843-6930 • www.bergenharleydavidson.com Every Wednesday • Country Bike Night at the Airport Pub sponsored by the American Legion Riders Post 132, Franklin, NJ • 6pm - ? • CR 639, Sussex, NJ - next to the airport • 973-702-1215 Every Wednesday • Bike Night at Tramontin Harley-Davidson, Exit 12 of I-80, Hope, NJ • 6-9pm • 908-459-4101 • www.tramontinhd.com Every Thursday • Bike Night at the Chatterbox Drive-in sponsored by Tramontin H-D and Rider Insurance. Corners of Rtes. 15 + 206, Augusta, NJ. Great food, outdoor seating, DJ spinning tunes • 973-300-2300 • www.chatterboxdrivein.com Every Thursday • Red Knights XX PA at the Dairy Queen, Route 209, Marshall’s Creek, PA, exit 309 off Route 80 • 6-9:30pm, weather permitting Every Thursday • Bike Night at The Old Schoolhouse Restaurant, Rte. 206, Downsville, NY • 607-363-7814 Every Thursday • Bike and Boat Nite at Woodport House/Sullivan’s Marina, 125 Route 181, Lake Hopatcong, NJ. 6-10 pm starting May 22. DJ, music, food and drink specials. Partial proceeds to benenfit ASPCA • www.woodporthouse.com Every Friday • Bike Night at O’Toole’s H-D. Open until 8pm. Food available. 4 Sullivan St, Wurtsboro, NY • 845-888-2426 • www.otooleshd.com
SUSSEXMOTORSPORTS 446 Route 23 • Sussex, NJ • Located across from the A&P Shopping Plaza
Open Tuesday thru Saturday
Visit us at www.sussexmotorsportsnj.com
JUNE 2010 24-27 • Thunder in the Valley, Johnstown, PA • www.johnstownthunder.com 26 • Bergen Sport Cycle Motorcycle Show. All years, makes and models welcome stock, custom, radical, whatever. Prizes awarded, refreshments and giveaways. Set up: 10-11:30am • Show: Noon-4pm. Pre-reg: $10; Day of show: $15 • 30 US Hwy 46 East, Lodi, NJ • www.bergensportcycle.com • 973-478-7711 26 • Schoch’s Harley-Davidson hosts Cal Shoch Sr Memorial Ride. For more information please contact them at 570-992-7500 • www.harleyclothes.com 26 • Cliff’s Cycle Revolution hosts BMW Demo Truck. Demo rides and more. Check website for updates • www.cliffscyclerevolution.com • 203-740-1279 • 485 Federal Rd, Brookfield, CT. 26 • MC Poker Run to benefit Claws Cat Rescue and Adoption Shelter of Sussex. Sign in: Franklin American Legion, Rte. 23/Mitchell Ave, Franklin, NJ. 9-11am with coffee and donuts. $20/rider; $15/pass; $10/just food. Food served at Noon. Door prizes, 50/50, silent auction, best poker hand • 973-600-4629 • email@example.com 26 • Blue Knights VII Annual MC Run + Picnic. Sign in/Endsite: Salaam Shrine, Livingston, NJ. 9-10:30am. $20/rider; $10/pass. incl. continental breakfast, beverages, and full picnic menu. 50-mile police escorted run, Bike Show with trophies, entertainment by All-American DJ • 973-566-6010 • 973-951-5011 26 • 2nd Annual Poker Run to benefit the New Hampton Fire Dept., New Hampton, NY. Sign in: 9am with coffee/donuts. 60-mile Ride @ 10am. $20/rider; $25/two-up. Endsite: Firehouse with lunch, cash prizes, door prizes, 50/50 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.newhamptonfd.com 27 • HHR/HOG Annual Ride for Hope Benefit Run for Danielle Szezorak Lazaro. Sign in: Baer Sport Center, 330 Grandview Ave/Rte. 6, Honesdale, PA. 9-11am. $20/pp. Endsite: Lake Genero Park with food/pig roast, live music, games, door prizes • www.baer-inc.com 27 • I Bike for Animals 3rd Annual Rally and FoodFest. Sign in: Warren Cty. Tech, 1500 Rte. 57, Washington, NJ @ 9am. $25/rider; $25/pass. Ride starts 11am, food @ 1pm @ Landslide Saloon, 1090 Rte. 173, Pattenberg, NJ. Scenic ride, music, auction and raffle to benefit Common Sense for Animals, Warren Cty’s only no-kill animal shelter Broadway, NJ • www.commonsenseforanimals.org • 908-859-3060
JULY 2010 8 • 5-8 pm • Bike Night at Cliff’s Cycle Revolution, 485 Federal Rd, Brookfield, CT • 203-740-1279. Food, fun, DJ, door prizes, Giveaways, 50/50, car & bike awards and more • www.cliffscyclerevolution.com
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR
9-11 • AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio • www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com
31 • Bergen Sport Cycle Bikini Bike Wash/Raffle. Noon to 4pm. FREE - donations welcome • 30 US Hwy 46 East, Lodi, NJ • www.bergensportcycle.com • 973-478-7711
11 • Annual Woodstock Vintage Cycle Ride. Meet 11am @ Woodstock Lodge, Country Club Lane/Rte. 375, Woodstock, NY. 50 mile ride - NO CHARGE. Lunch at finish. All motorcycles welcome • 845-679-2051 • camping available
31 • Sport Honda Bike Club Day and Bike Wash. 911 Middlesex Ave, Metuchen, NJ • 732-906-9292 • www.sporthonda.net
11 • Liberty HOG 11th Annual Poker Run. Sign in 9-11:30am 12 W. Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ. $20/pp. Endsite: American Legion Hall, 581 Maple Ave, Rahway, NJ - food at 12:30pm • 732-381-2100 • www.libertyhd.com 15-18 • BMW MOA International Rally, Deschutes Fair & Expo Center, Redmond, OR • www.bmwmoa.org/rally10 17 • Montgomeryville Cycle Center Adventure and Sportbike Day. 2901 Bethlehem Pike, Hatfield, PA • 215-712-7433 • www.montgomeryvillecc.com 17-18 • Ramapo MC 34th Ramapo 500 Road Tour. Two-day 500 mile carefully chosen scenic, and occasionally challenging, secondary road tour. Sign in: 7-9am on July 17 – Veterans Memorial Assoc., 65 Lake Road East, Congers, NY. Pre-registered by June 30: $33; Day of event: $45. Includes self-guided tour directions, dinner Sat. night, free camping with swimming, entertainment, awards, prizes, breakfast Sunday and pin and patch. AMA Sanctioned. To download registration flyer and for more information please visit: www.ramapomc.org. 18 • Ride for Kids - Utica, NY • www.rideforkids.org 18 • 6th Annual Liberty Towers Benefit Run/Steak Bust. Sign in: 9-11am. VFW Post 5360, Mill St, Newton, NJ. AMA Sanctioned. $20/rider; $10/pass. Event pin, BBQ, raffle, prizes, vendors til 3pm • 973-383-5191 ext. 23 22-25 • MountainFest Motorcycle Rally, Morgantown, WV. 4-day pass includes access to all bands, attractions and entertainment. For details: www.wvmountainfest.com 23-25 • Carlisle Bike Fest is the Mid-Atlantic’s premier motorcycle event! Thousands of two-wheel fanatics will converge on the 102-acre Carlisle PA Fairgrounds for non-stop entertainment, an unbeatable motorcycle shopping experience, breathtaking and historic local rides, giveaways all weekend long and the chance to ride the latest models from manufacturers. The ride to the Carlisle PA Fairgrounds, located less than 200 miles from five metropolitan areas throughout the East Coast, is almost as much fun as the event itself. For more details: www.carsatcarlisle.com/ce/events/bikefest
31/Aug. 1 • O’Toole’s HD has the Factory Demo Truck on-site. Dem rides 9am-4pm. 4 Sullivan St, Wurtsboro, NY • 845-888-2426 • www.otooleshd.com
AUGUST 2010 1 • Ride for Kids - Hudson Valley, NY • www.rideforkids.org 5 • COG Northeast Regional Summer Rally. The annual ‘Summer Bash’ rally returns to Vermont in lavish style at Mt. Snow Resort. Come ride the gaps of the Green Mountains and experience ‘sport-touring at it’s finest.’ Check the Concours Owners Group Northeast calendar of events at www.cog-online.org • 978-459-6275 8 • Ride for Kids - Pittsburgh, PA • www.rideforkids.org 12 • 5-8 pm • Bike Night at Cliff’s Cycle Revolution, 485 Federal Rd, Brookfield, CT • 203-740-1279. Food, fun, DJ, door prizes, Giveaways, 50/50, car & bike awards and more • www.cliffscyclerevolution.com 12-15 • 33rd Annual Daniel Boone Rally & Vintage/Classic Ride-in. Three states, one rally. KOA Campground in Boone, NC - rain or shine. Ride Blue Ridge Parkway and High Country, Southwstern VA and NE TN . On-site rally fee: $40/pp. Pre-reg by Aug. 7: save 10%. Incl. 2 nites camping, catered BBQ dinner Sat., donut/coffee Sun., rally pin first 200, 5 door prize tix. More info: www.carolinasbmwmoa.org/rally.html 13-15 • Ride the Roof of North America with the 21st gathering of the BIG DOGS. Ridgway, CO. Hobnob with Pikes Peak, Paris Dakar and Baja 1000 finishers, enjoy multimedia shows, devour famed Mike Landry Cajun Gumbo and 2” thick T-bone steaks. FOR EXPERIENCED OFF-ROAD ADVENTURE RIDERS ONLY! Hosted by BMW of Denver and Bob’s BMW. Limited entrant invitational. For more info • Clem Cykowski at 303755-6400 • email@example.com • www.horizonsunlimited.com/bigdog 15 • Ride for Kids - New England • www.rideforkids.org 15 • Cedar Rapids Annual Legendary Lobster Bake. Rte. 97, Barryville, NJ. Advanced tickets only. Live outdoor entertainment all riverside • 845-557-6158 • www.cedarrapidsny.com
23-25 • Empire BikeFest, Oswego Speedway, Oswego, NY. Taking place during Harborfest. For full details please visit www.empirebikefest.com
22 • 38th Foggy Mountain Reliability Run. Timed Road Run. Call or send email address for notification • firstname.lastname@example.org • 973-778-6256
24 • Ride for Kids - Marysville, OH • www.rideforkids.org
22 • Joe Pitt Benefit Memorial Ride. Sign in: Dog House, 17 N . Midland Ave, Nanuet, NY 9-11am. $25 Pre-reg/$30 DOV.Scenic ride through Orange/Rockland Cty, NY with route sheets. Incl. food, refreshments, music, door prizes and more.
25 • Wurstboro HOG and O’Toole’s HD St. Jude’s Cancer Run. Sign in at 4 Sullivan St, Wurtsboro, NY • 845-888-2426 • www.otooleshd.com
ATTENTION ALL RIDERS
Looking for a great rider-friendly place to lay your head after a perfect day’s ride? Perhaps an eatery that truly appreciates your two-wheeled business?
Have we got some suggestions for you. Go directly to www.backroadsusa.com and check out the new Moto-Inn Program. Listed by state, all the members actively seek motorcyclists as customers and warmly welcome you. Remember to look for the Moto-Inn logo at these fine establishments and tell them you saw them in BACKROADS.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR 24-31 • Carolina Motorcycle Rental and Tours …to the Races Tour to benefit the Ride for Kids®. You can be a part of the action at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP this August! Join us on the …to the RACES TOUR and take a parade lap around the GP track on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010. The Lap of Champions is limited to 300 motorcycles, so reserve your spot on the …to the RACES TOUR before it sells out. A portion of the tour price will be donated to Ride for Kids. 866-997-3305 • www.carolinamotorcyclerentals.com 28 • 2nd Annual Schenectady Thunder ARTBIKE Festival. State St, downtown Schenectady, NY. 11am-6pm. 3 live bands, photo exhibit, food, vendors, more • 518464-8933
What’s Happenin’ 17-19 • MotoGiro USA. Finger Lakes Region, NY. Headquarters TBD. For more info: Karl Smolenski and Alia Howard • email@example.com • www.motogiro-usa.com 19 • 3rd Annual Ride for the Pride Poker Run to benefit Belvidere Lions Club. Sign in: Tramontin H-D, Exit 12 I-80, Hope, NJ. 9:30-11am. $20/rider incl. picnic/bbq with live music at Hotel Belvidere, Belvidere, NJ. Unescorted 80-mile scenic ride through Sussex/Warren Ctys. Cash prizes, door prizes, 50/50 drawing • 908-475-3418 • www.belviderelionsclub.com
31-Sept. 3 • Curve Cowboy Reunion, Killington, VT. Gathering of K12LT, but open to all brands and models of motorcycle • www.curvecowboyreunion.com
19 • Ride for Kids - Philadelphia, PA • www.rideforkids.org 19 • 3rd Annual Pony Express MC Poker Run to benefit American Cancer Society. Sign in/endsite: My Place, 911 Little Britain Rd, New Windsor, NY. 9-11am. $20/rider; $35 two up. Food, door prizes, live music. Non-riders welcome at endsite at 1pm. $20/pp • www.ponyexpressmchv.net • PEMCHV@gmail.com • 845-361-4133
23-26 • Rolling Thru Maine. All the magnificence of Americade but the size of a family reunion. Tours, lodging and special activities. www.rollingthruamerica.com
3 • AMA Superbike Championship, New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, NJ. The most popular event in the short history of New Jersey Motorsports Park was last season’s debut of the AMA Pro Superbike Championship. Already one of the favorites on the series calendar, the event establishes a Labor Day tradition at NJMP for the series and Mid-Atlantic motorcycle race fans. www.njmotorsportspark.com
25 • Cliff’s Cycle Revolution Vintage Days • www.cliffscyclerevolution.com • 203740-1279 • 485 Federal Rd, Brookfield, CT.
29 • Ride for Kids - Asheville, NC • www.rideforkids.org
3-6 • Rolling Thru Vermont. All the magnificence of Americade but the size of a family reunion. Tours, lodging and special activities. www.rollingthruamerica.com 9-12 • Killington Classic Motorcycle Rally. Town of Killington. Vermont’s Premier Motorcycle Rally. For more info: www.killingtonclassic.com
26 • AMT Children of Hope Mystery Tour. Sign in/Endsite: Cedar Creek Park, 3340 E. Merrick Rd, Seaford, NY @ 10:30am. $20/bike+rider; $15/passenger. Chicken Wing contest, food and music. Prize for best poker hand. For more info:516-781-3511 • www.amtchildrenofhope.com 26 • Ride for Kids - Baltimore/Washington, DC • www.rideforkids.org
12 • Lost Wheels MC 35th Annual Poker Run. Sign in: Dutchess Stadium, Rt. 9D, Fishkill, NY. 9-11:30am. AMA: $23; non-AMA: $25; Under 15: $10. Endsite: Canopus Lake Beach Area, Fahnestock St. Park, Carmel, NY. Live entertainment by Guys Night Out, vendors, food, 50/50, door prizes, trophies, games, ride-in bike show. Awards for Best Rep Club, games, bike show and poker hands • www.lostwheels.com
7 • COG Northeast Regional Fall Rally. Natural Bridge, Virginia offers first class accomodations and great sport-touring riding. For more information check the Concours Owners Group Northeast calendar of events at www.cog-online.org • 540-582-9414
12 • 2nd Annual Poker Lime Run to benefit Multiple Sclerosis. Sign in: Baer Sport Center, 330 Grandview Ave, Honesdale, PA or Masonic Harmony Lodge #8, 519 Rte. 206, Andover Twnshp, NJ. 9am-Noon. $20/pp. Scenic ride through the Delaware Valley/Kittatiny Range to Walpack Inn for a fantastic meal. Live music and prizes for top hands and best times • 570-253-2000 • 973-948-3890
24 • American Spirit MC Annual Tombstone Tour to benefit Hicksville Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Sign in: VFW Hall, 320 So. Broadway, Hicksville, NY – 9 to 10am. $20/rider; $10/pass. Food, music, prizes • www.americanspiritmcinc.com • 516-485-8270
12 • Larz Anderson Classic European Motorcycle Day, Brookline, MA 17-19 • 3rd Annual Boxer Shorts at Snow Farm Rally. Limited to 40 private double rooms, this spouse-friendly artist retreat center near the Berkshires at Snow Farm in Williamsburg, MA. Great roads and legalized off-roading in nearby October Mtn. State Forest. $140/pp includes full breakfast Sat/Sun and fancy dinner Sat. Pre-reg deadline Aug. 15. For more info and mailing address email firstname.lastname@example.org
17 • Ride for Kids - Knoxville, TN • www.rideforkids.org
JULY 2011 17-24 • Head off with Backroads’ publishers Brian & Shira for a tour of a lifetime as we join up with Edelweiss for their High Alpine Tour. Ride the roads you have dreamed of in the past - Paso Del Stelvio, the Grossglockner, the famed Dolomites. We’ll even have a day’s ride to Venice. For all the information you’ll need to book this great trip, please email Doris at Edelweiss Travel: email@example.com
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
HELD GORE-TEX COLLECTION
Stay protected from wind and weather with the new Gore-Tex collection from Held. These jackets and pants will keep you dry while also keeping you comfortable with their breathability. All with the safety features you have come to expect from Held. Held’s Cardona Jacket ($899.99) features a Cool Max inner lining, detachable thermal liner and zippered air vents in the front, back and arms to keep you comfortable. Shoulder, elbow and back protectors along with 3M reflecting panels for your safety. Gore-Tex to keep you dry. Plenty of pockets to keep your stuff organized and accessible. The Frontino Pants ($649.99) also feature a Gore-Tex lining and a detachable thermal liner. Safety features include hip and knee protectors and 3M reflective areas. Additional features include 2 pockets, stretch panels around the knee area, adjustable waist and an anti-slip leather seat to keep you firmly planted in the saddle. See more at www.heldusa.com/goretex.html
BEFORE YOU GET THERE
The Ride the Dragon game was developed to teach safety and basic motorcycling terms to the families of the riders. To play the game, the players roll a pair of dice and move their motorcycle playing piece along the dragon’s tail. If they land on a space with a flame they pick a “Fate” card and follow the directions on the back of the card. The player that reaches the head of the dragon first wins the game. The Fate cards are based on real events experienced by riders. The players are rewarded for following safety precautions such as wearing safety gear and passing safely. They have to move the pieces backwards if they drive recklessly or pass on double yellow. Attending motorcycle training courses of various kinds or checking air pressure in the tires can move your playing piece ahead. Players learn common terms such as “low-siding” and “high-siding” and discover that “RV” stands for Recreational Vehicle. The six playing pieces are made of pewter, beautifully constructed and are collectible. They represent six different types of motorcycles. You can view them on the game at RideTheDragonGame.com. List $39.95
Low on clearance? Tight on time? With Snap-on’s new 10-piece 3/8-inch Drive Metric Low Profile Ratchet/Socket Set with Dual 80(r) Technology you will have all the speed, power and durability to perform those challenging jobs in tight quarters quickly and efficiently. We just got a set here at Backroads Central and believe us, this is a sweet tool, almost a work of art. The low profile sockets combined with low profile ratchet gets the job done in the tightest work areas. Special low profile ratchet square drive design works with low profile sockets to access tight clearance areas with no loss of strength. For versatility, unique 3/8-inch square drive on ratchet also works with any standard 3/8-inch sockets and low profile sockets can work with any standard 3/8” ratchet. Dual 80(r) Technology requires less arc to engage the next gear tooth providing access in confined areas and has seven teeth in contact with gear to provide strength and durability. Manufactured from special alloy steel, precision forged and heat treated for optimum strength and durability. Nickel/chrome plating helps protect against corrosion and makes it easy to wipe clean. Thin handle cross section allows for greater accessibility in tight quarters. Like we said - a work of art. You can find out more about Snap-on’s 10-piece 3/8-inch Drive Metric Low Profile Ratchet/Socket Set with Dual 80(r) Technology (210RAFM) by contacting their local Snap-on franchisee, visiting www.snapon.com or by calling toll free 877-SNAPON-2.
THE ULTIMATE OIL BOTTLE
All motorcycles use some oil between changes. The BMW boxer engine is no exception. Enter the Ultimate Oil bottle, a unique way to carry 0.8 liters. That is approximately 27 ounces for you non-metric folks. This plastic bottle with retaining strap is only for the R1200GS Adventure, sorry regular GS riders. The only catch to using this bottle is that you have to remove the charcoal canister on the GSA which leaves a nook to install the Ultimate Oil Bottle. The desired location of placement for the oil bottle is where the charcoal canister sits. The charcoal canister is mandated equipment for clean air standards by California and it is on all motorcycles sold in the good old U.S.A. Remove said canister at your own risk and under penalty of law. Once installed a rubber strap allows easy removing and refilling and is a very clever way to store some extra oil. I have been informed that these oil bottles are selling very well around the globe as carrying oil takes up room and can leak in your luggage. Contact www.bootcapote.com for more information and ordering. ~Richard Ford
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Come Ride the Dragon Deals Gap Motorcycle Motel & Restaurant
Deals Gap 318 Curves in 11 Miles
www.dealsgap.com Visit Us Online @
www.sporttouringusa.com Sport Touring Accessories 800.889.5550 H.C. 72 Box 1 • Tapoco North Carolina 28771
610-863-5000 • www.penargylcc.com 506 East Main Street • Pen Argyl, PA
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Sussex Hills Ltd. For All Your Harley-Davidson Needs Specializing in Motorcycle Repair, Parts & Supplies Cycle Tires Mounted & Balanced • Batteries & Hard Parts Dynojet 250 Dyno available for testing
First Class Postage $40/12 Issues/in A Protective Envelope " We Accept Checks, Visa, Mastercard Or Discover. Please Indicate Which Card Is Used. NAME ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ADDRESS __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CITY/STATE/ZIP ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CREDIT CARD # ____________________________________________________________________EXP. DATE ______________SECURITY # __________________
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BACKROADS • JULY 2010
ALL THAT GOOD STUFF
MOTORCYCLE TRAILERS DAYTONA, BIKETOBERFEST, STURGIS AND BEYOND SALES RENTALS
BARN TRAILERS 718-426-7039
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KAWASAKI • HONDA • YAMAHA • SUZUKI • TRIUMPH • MOTO GUZZI • ETC Raise your handlebars for a more comfortable ride and still retain stock look.
We now carry German Liqui-Moly Engine & Gear Oil for BMWs
From $59.95 to $139.95
973-775-3495 • M-F 10am~5pm • firstname.lastname@example.org
Order Toll Free (877) 471-1515 Info and Fax (505) 743-2243 • www.zianet/GenMar
Gen Mar Mfg. Inc. • 110 1st Street • HC1 Box 35 • Arrey, NM 87930
OKAY ALL YOU INTERNET GEEKS GO TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE AND BECOME A FAN UP-TO-THE-MINUTE NEWS • IMPROMPTU RIDES www.facebook.com/pages/Backroads-Motorcycle-Touring-Magazine
www.stopngo.com The Best Tire Repair. Know Before You Go! 800-747-0238
LEGAL HELP? MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT? • Car Accident • Work Accident • Criminal Matter • Drunk Driving • Speeding Tickets • Traffic Violations
I Have Recovered Millions for My Clients - Let Me Help You No Fee If No Recovery • No Fee to Talk on Any Legal Issue Will Come to You if Unable to Come to Office
Andrew S. Prince, Esq. New Jersey Attorney for New Jersey Bikers
Call 732-396-1800 or 1-800-WHEEL-02 www.andrewprince.com • APrinceesq@aol.com
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
ALL THAT GOOD STUFF
NEW LOCATION Long Island’s Premiere Motorcycle Outfitters Motorcycle Parts Accessories • Apparel Brand names you know and trust from a dealer that you can count on for EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Ready Riders, LLC 15 East Deer Park Road, Dix Hills, NY Across from Dix Hills Diner
631-262-0600 • www.readyriders.com
WWW.MICATECH.NET • 1.888.464.6494
Premium Aluminum Luggage Handbuilt in the USA
Micatech V2 Cases!
Exceptional Quality and Outstanding Customer Service
Now Available for: BMW F800/650GS Twin BMW G650/F650GS Single R1150GS/R1150GSA R1200GS/R1200GSA Suzuki V-Strom 650/1000 Kawasaki KLR 650 + Triumph Tiger We Make a Strong Case for Adventure Touring
EASY RIDER MOTORCYCLE RENTALS Located at Yamaha-Suzuki-CanAm-Victory of Mineola
Daily - Weekly - Monthly Rentals
If you didn’t like cool stuff, you wouldn’t be reading this magazine. Here’s something you’re going to love.
TORQ-IT Screwdriver/Speed Wrench/ Palm Ratchet All In One Tool Variable Speeds Over 600RPM Low Profile, with an “Ergo” Grip and a Non-Slip Design Accepts All 3/8” and 1/4” Sockets and Extensions
BASIC SET: $19.95 • DELUXE SET: $29.95 • ACCESORY SET: $9.95
516-248-5555 • www.ezriderrentals.com 336 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola, NY 11501
Featuring Victory, Yamaha and Suzuki Motorcycles
TORQ-IT PRODUCTS, INC. 1701 Manor Road • Havertown PA 19083 Tel: 1.888.876.9555 • Visit Our New Website: WWW.TORQ-IT.COM
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
ALL THAT GOOD STUFF
Cakes by the Lake
88 Windermere Ave, Greenwood Lake, NY 845-477-2080
The World’s Most Motorcycle-Friendly Bakery
…your personal heaven on earth!
Located in Arden, only 15 minutes from Philippi, on the beautiful Tygart River in West Virginia, our bed & breakfast is the perfect place to call home while exploring the Mountain state.
Stop by for coffee and cake before or after your ride
Farm Folk Bed & Breakfast
Rates from $70 - $90 per night
2184 West Route 897, Denver, PA
Hospitality is our Tradition 10%
when you arrive on two wheels
Dual Sport Adventures Guided Instructional Tours
Lodging & Bike Packages Motorcycle Rentals
Box 696 • North River Road • Philippi, WV 26416
Nestled in the hills along Rte. 897, enjoy peaceful, relaxing accomodations while riding the rolling farmlands of Lancaster County, PA
in the Smoky Mountains www.GSMmotoRent.com Townsend, TN 865-448-6090 Plan your trip now for 2010
The Charlesworth Hotel is New Jersey’s REAL backroads’ hideaway ng Dini c i t n a Rom
THE Place to go when you REALLY want to Disappear
Featured in Jan. 2010 ‘We’re Outta Here’
Home of the BEST sunset on the Jersey Shore
New Jersey Avenue • Fortescue, NJ • 856-447-4928
179 North Highland Ave/Route 9, Ossining, NY 10562
914-762-2722 • hudsonvalleymotorcycles.com
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
MOTORCYCLE MARKETPLACE Nestled in the heart of Warren County New Jersey surrounded by great roads and scenery Perfect for couples or small groups Comfortable accomodations and Comforting food Featured in Best of Backroads 2009
313 Hope Johnsonburg Rd, Hope, NJ
The Boat House Restaurant
ALL THAT GOOD STUFF
lley’s Hudson Va ne Riding Number O t Restauran Barbeque W North 1076 Route 9 mery, NY Fort Montgo
oute 9W icturesque R Located on P Perkins Drive minutes from State Park and Harriman t Point historic Wes just south of
Featured in July 2009 Great All American Diner Run
845-446-0912 rmerbbq.com www.barnsto
If you go home hungry it’s your own fault
Ask about our Diners Club. Gift Cards available.
The Only Outdoor Lakeside Dining on Swartswood Lake
Serving Lunch and Dinner Tuesday thru Sunday 11am - 9pm Closed Mondays
1040 Cty Rd 521 • Swartswood, NJ 973-300-0016
‘50s-Style Drive-In Restaurant Full and Varied Menu Room for the Whole Gang IT MUST BE GETTING WARM BECAUSE…
BIKE NIGHT AT THE CHATTERBOX IS BACK! THURSDAY NIGHTS • GREAT FOOD • GOOD TIMES Located at Ross’ Corners • 1 Route 15 • Augusta NJ • 973-300-2300
Ride to Gunnar’s Landing ‘Cause there’s a Little Pirate in Every Rider!
Featured in Backroads’ April 2010 Great All American Diner Run
Superb Food Surrounded by Spectacular Roads
Wide Veranda Deck Overlooking the Pequest River
Travel along the scenic backroads of the Delaware river. Meet the Markopoulos family and taste chef George’s Greek American cooking. Best bar menu, lunch or dinner. Fresh poppers, perogies, calamari, clams and crispy wings with 8 different sauces.
Tues. thru Sat. 11am-10pm Sunday: Breakfast 9am-Noon Lunch and Dinner served until 9pm
Large Groups Happily Welcome!
The Riverton Hotel and Restaurant
487 US Hwy 46 • Belvidere NJ • 908-475-4900
610-498-4241 • www.rivertonhotel.com
John, Christina, chef George and Eoanna welcome you and your friends. At Belvidere-Riverton Free Bridge, Riverton, PA
The Runway Cafe
320 Front Street Belvidere, NJ
at the Blairstown Airport
www.thisilldous.com • 908-475-2274 Member
36 Lambert Road • Blairstown, NJ
GREAT Food Roads Destination
Enjoy quaint Victorian Belvidere and scenic Warren County
Sharing your passion for good food since 1983 Breakfast • Lunch • Espresso Cafe Ice Cream and Dessert • Catering Off-Premise Worth the ride from anywhere!
Open Daily 7am to 4pm • Sunday 7am to 1pm Try our Full Throttle Breakfast Special every Saturday + Sunday Thisilldous is New Jersey’s best kept secret. Maybe the best luncheonette in the State • Star Ledger
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
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Come see us in the Great Northern Catskills Experience some of the most beautiful riding in the world
Walking distance to Hunter Mtn and all its festivals 7872 Main St. / Rte. 23A, Hunter, NY
• 518-263-5025 • www.fairlawninn.com
TREBOURMOTORCYCLES • Serving motorcycle enthusiasts and representing our brands with pride for over 12 years • Recognized for service excellence including Suzuki’s highest honor The Cutting Edge Award - Servicing all makes and models • We offer Pick up and Delivery service for the entire New York Metro area 1445 ROUTE 46 LEDGEWOOD NJ 07852 • 973-584-0810 • TREBOURMOTORCYCLES.COM
Best SA Roadtrip Ever • Ultimate African Tour • Victoria Falls Tour Visit our website for our full calendar of tours:
WWW.SAMATOURS.CO.ZA If not today, WHEN? Visit South Africa in 2010!
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
FIRST RIDE • APRILIA DOSODURO Warning, prolonged use of this product may cause worn out adrenaline glands, heart palpitations and a stupid grin on your face that might not wash off. Your driving license will be screaming for mercy, you’ll be on first name terms with your local tire changer and none of your law abiding friends will go riding with you anymore. The Aprilia Dosoduro is unfortunately inflicted with the same strain of madness that runs through the SVX550 moto we had on test last year, although thankfully in a slightly milder and more civilized fashion. Still inducing sweat filled nightmares, where I wheelie past a whole line of nine-to-fivers gridlocked in their status symbols on the way to work, before putting the front wheel down in time to see the flashing blue lights, I almost needed rehab when the folks at Aprilia took it away. Thankfully, if you are extremely well behaved you can manage to keep both wheels on the floor, and come to a halt Words: Neale Bayly • images: Neale Bayly and Scott Ely
Backroads 15th Anniversary Summer Sojourn • August 2-6 Fontana Village, Fontana Dam, NC www.fontanavillage.com • 828-498-2211 Rooms from $69/night + tax Ask for Backroads Rally when booking
Like our 10th Anniversary, we’re doing something a bit different and bringing you to theinfamous Dragon - Deal’s Gap. For those who have never done it, it must be done. For those who have, enjoy the other great roads that abound in this area, where they actually name their twistilicious pavement.
without sliding sideways in a cloud of blue smoke, most of the time. You can even cruise on the highway in reasonable comfort and pretend you are an energy saving commuter for a while. But as soon as you hit a piece of twisting asphalt and lose the company of the four wheeled brigade, it’s game on. Using a short stroke, 90-degree V-twin, there is a sense of urgency and visceral excitement when you pin the throttle butterflies wide open that is typical to all Aprilia V-twins. Urgent, raw and bordering on manic the way the bike leaps forward, it’s one extremely addictive rush. Looking through the press brief, the bike is quoted as making 92 horsepower at 8,750 rpm, and while I figure there is little Italian optimism in that quote, it’s certainly extremely powerful for a 750cc V-twin. I recently put in a couple of track sessions on a very well built, big bore SV650 superbike, it still felt docile in comparison, and it was putting out around 84 hp. Whatever the real figure, there is just something about the way Aprilia motorcycles put out their power that guarantees a thrill every time you ride. One of the first things you notice about the Aprilia Dosoduro is there are no generic looking parts anywhere. Starting up at the dual taper anodized aluminum handlebars, race inspired of course, the first thing you notice is the slick matching hydraulic reservoirs for the clutch and brake systems. The attractive levers are both four-way adjustable and covered by a bark buster style hand guard. This is really more for fashion than func-
2010 RALLIES Fall Fiesta September 26-29
Gray Ghost Inn • West Dover, VT www.grayghostinn.com • 800-745-3615
Same, Same, but Different.
How could we not make a trip to our favorite people in Vermont? Magnus and Carina will welcome us with open arms, as will the colorful roads of Vermont, New Hampshire and NY State.
DON’T DELAY - RESERVE TODAY - ROOMS GO FAST!
High Alpine Tour with Backroads and Edelweiss
July 17-24, 2011 • If Not Now - WHEN? Head off with Backroads’ publishers Brian & Shira for a tour of a lifetime as we join up with Edelweiss for their High Alpine Tour. Ride the roads you have dreamed of in the past - Paso Del Stelvio, the Grossglockner, the famed Dolomites. We’ll even have a day’s ride to Venice.
When: July 17 -24, 2011 Yes, 2011 – that gives you two years to get ready to come on Backroads most exciting event ever! There’s only room for so many, so make your plans now! Prices start at just $3360/rider and $2920/passenger. For more information email Doris: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 973-948-4176.
Ride the Alps, if not now, when?
tion, but with the angular mirrors and the futuristic mini fairing, the bikes front-end signature is certainly unique and very modern. The moto style shorty fairing juts out of the gold inverted 43mm forks and accentuates the race inspired front wheel. There are stylish fork shrouds covering the exposed part of the fork, and a pair of four-piston radial Brembo calipers squeezing 320mm wave rotors. These are badged with the Aprilia logo and do a decent job. They are certainly not as sharp and powerful as the sort of brakes on modern sport 600cc bikes these days, even with braided steel lines as standard, but certainly work well enough. A set of softer pads might sharpen things up, but we didn’t get time to make any changes for this test, so rode it as delivered. The front wheel, like the rear, is about as sexy as anything you’ll see wrapped in rubber. These are made of aluminum alloy and come wrapped in sport bike size rubber, a 120/70 ZR 17 in the front and a 180/55 ZR17 in the rear. Our test bike came with Dunlop Sportmax Qualifiers, and these do a great job on the street, warming up quickly and giving more than enough grip for
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
street riding duties. Responsible for leaving a healthy amount of the rear Dunlop on various parking lots, the rear brake set up uses a 240mm rotor with a single piston caliper. Any lack of technology here is not missed, as it’s easy to lock the rear under heavy braking if you aren’t sensitive with your right boot, and lots of fun to do it on purpose if you must. The forks and rear shock are sprung on the comfortable side of the sporting equation. This means that up to certain speeds there are few better handling machines on the road. The bike tips into corners with the sort of intuition that only the new Ducati Hypermotard exhibits with stability to match. This is due in part to the race inspired steel trellis and aluminum alloy frame. Extremely light, while having high torsional rigidity, if you have followed motorcycle racing over the years, you’ll know Aprilia knows a thing or two about building frames that win world championships. You can also see how it was inspired by the incredible SXV550/450. We didn’t spend anytime adjusting the suspension on our test unit, so it tended to get a little vague at high speed. While we could have dialed a lot of this out, it made more sense to leave it where it was for street riding duties. The seat seems to borrow some technology from the Spanish Inquisition, which didn’t make me want to stiffen things up any more, so we left everything alone in this department. Unfortunately having the Dosoduro here in Charlotte over the winter months, we never had the chance to take it to the track, but it did spend some quality time on my own personal favorite test routes when the weather cooperated. I also used it for more pedestrian duties running up and back to the office on a mixture of backroads and highways. While I never fully felt the fuel delivery was perfect, even after a re-map, it was always a fun ride. Talking with my buddy Nick at my local Aprilia dealer, there have been no complaints from service technicians or customers, so I think I’m being overly fussy here. It just seems the ride experience was better when the throttle is opening, rather than keeping it constant or coming back on the gas after sharp deceleration. The Dosoduro actually gets state of the art electronic fuel injection with two throttle bodies. Optimum burn is ensured in the cylinders, thanks to micro-spray injectors, and the whole system is operated by ride-bywire electronic throttle control. For those of you who remember Colin Edwards jumping off the Aprilia Cube Moto GP bike with a stuck throttle back in the early pioneering days of this technology, you’ll be glad to know it’s been perfected thanks to the work of these early super heroes. With the fuel entering and leaving the cylinders, thanks to four valves per cylinder operated by double overhead cams, the Aprilia deals with the burned gases with an extremely unique exhaust system. Two interestingly styled and rather large, exhaust cans sit up under the narrow seat. Tucked in between these is a futuristic tail light that looks suspiciously as if it was lifted from the SXV550/450. Like most of the components on the Aprilia Dosoduro looks as it was styled by an artist. Just looking at the swing arm, I could imagine seeing it hanging in an art gallery and the same goes for the frame. The only time I’ve seen such artistic blending of tubular and box section was during my tour of the Bimota factory in Rimini, Italy. It’s not hard
to be impressed with the attention to detail that’s been lavished on this bike. Even the side stand is a sculptured piece. Retailing for around $9500, the Aprilia Dosoduro is not a budget machine, and it might be hard for some dealers to get this message across when approaching the bike as a 750cc standard. Think about it as a highly evolved, and a little more civilized Super Moto, and it all makes a lot more sense. Throw on an aftermarket set of pipes which lose a pile of weight and gain more horsepower, tweak the suspension, and do a little work to the gearing, and the Dosoduro will embarrass plenty of sport bikes at track days. Soften things up, find a saddle that wasn’t sponsored by a hemorrhoid cream manufacturer, throw on some soft luggage, and you will be sport touring in style. Or just leave the bike alone, sell your coffee maker, and add an extra ten miles to your commute in the morning to arrive as chipper as can be. The Aprilia Dosoduro can do it all.
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
Spring Break 2010
This past winter really seemed to be a drag on so many riders. We know that at the 2010 NYC Motorcycle Show we heard time and again how much folks were looking forward to the Backroads Spring Break Rally. We knew we were too. For those of you who might be new to this publication, or just really haven’t been paying attention each year, the magazine holds a number of
The rally was to be held from Thursday to Sunday, which allowed for travel to and from with a couple of excellent riding days tossed into the mix. We had our friends Richard and Dee Dee stop by Backroads Central for a few days before we, along with our friend Keith, would make our way along the backroads of Pennsylvania and Maryland to Winchester. We were sidestands up at dawn on a very cold day, with temps in the mid-
rallies in various parts of the northeast. They’re always free, just cover your hotel and such and we’ll do our best to provide the fun. Our Spring Break Rallies have become very popular and again and again we see the same faces dropping by to spend a few days of riding and camaraderie of the two-wheel variety. This year’s rally was to be held in and around Winchester, Virginia and we had booked a large block of the landmark George Washington Hotel, in the historic section of the town, to be our base camp for a few days in midMay.
30s when we left home. Brrrr. Thankfully the new “microwire” Gerbings heated gear worked beautifully this day as we made our way south with a very clever route that was pumped right into our headsets thanks to modern GPS technology. The Amish country was a heavenly ride and we stopped for lunch at the historic Franklin Tavern, a Great All American Diner Run from earlier this season. We had just sat down and ordered when a contingent of Spring Breakers showed up as well. It was good to see all our old friends on the road once again.
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
Fed and fueled we scooted down, south of the Mason-Dixon Line near “Terra Rubra” where Francis Scott Key, the writer of our national anthem, was born. Our route brought us along the Potomac River and into Harper Ferry from the east and then down into Virginia and the historic town of Winchester, breezing by Summit Point Raceway along the way. At the George Washington Hotel there was plenty of parking in case of the rain that never came, and the machines kept rolling in. By evening time the hotel bar was packed and plans
were being made for the upcoming day’s rides. In addition to our great group of folks who normally join our little soirees, we had a gaggle of new riders give us a shot on this run. We hope you all had a great time and will join us on more of our rallies. They do become addictive. This year we tried to stay with the main themes and columns of the magazine and offered up a Great All American Diner Run, two Big City Getaways and, of course, a Mysterious America. If Thursday was a bit chilly Friday was the opposite - warm and humid.
While others opted for different rides Shira and I, along with newlyweds Jim and Michelle, jumped on the route to the Farnham Colossi, and the road to Mysterious America. After a few u-turns we finally got our route together and spent a glorious day riding deep into West Virginia. The Colossi was odd as Seymour had promised, so give this month’s Mysterious America a once over to get the lowdown on one of the most bizarre private collections we have ever seen. Following along the route Shira had laid out, we hooked up with Route 9, a veritable roller coaster for
motorcyclists, and took a pizza break in Paw Paw before following along some tiny West Virginia backroads that even we hadn’t been on before. We love when we discover these. What a fantastic day of riding and we think Jim and Michelle had a real good time coming along on this ride. As folks started rolling back into the hotel later that day Shira, I and many of the crew made use of the Romanesque pool and hot tub occupying the lower level of the hotel and that evening, at the bar and over dinner, rides
JULY 2010 • BACKROADS
and routes were compared and tall tales spoken. The 2010 Backroads Spring Break was in full swing. The great thing about the Historic District of Winchester is the goodly amount of restaurants that were in walking distance of the George Washington Hotel. Union Jack, the Village Street Café, the brewery on Piccadilly. There was plenty to offer even the finickiest of diners. The pedestrian mall was full of Spring Breakers each evening. Surprises always abound at these things and our friend Glenn totally blew folks away with his fine piano playing, even joining in on a combo one night. Another rally-goer Jim could tickle the keys with talent as well.
The big storms that were promised for that night never appeared but Saturday was about as nice a day as we have ever had during one of our rallies. Clear and crisp, with the promise of a bit more heat in the day, folks left the George Washington parking lot and, once again headed in all sorts of directions. Even though we had a number of pre-planned routes many had their own plans and museums and potato chip factories were bagged. Thanks to Mark and Betsy we had hors d’oeuvres with drinks on Saturday. Some headed out on our ass-burner ride that spun down into central West Virginia and the Front Porch at Seneca Rocks did a brisk business for sure. We led a small but merry band to the Perry Zoo, which had a decent number of exotic animals and one adorable, if slightly miffed, tiger cub. As there are no zoning laws in West Virginia, having an assortment of large cats and monkeys is not unreasonable. We did see a couple of simians that would fit well at Monkey with a Gun. Shira got to visit the relatives. The ride back towards Winchester was another adventure, especially the great loop of gravel and dirt that went on for 20 miles. John and Denise’s brand new Harley looked very tough after this. We got back early enough to put a small pool together for the Preakness and once again my handicapping skills came into play and I won a whopping sixty bucks. Hey, fuel money never hurts! Okay, Shira picked my horse - Looking at Lucky. This evening found folks all over the town and for most it was a fairly early evening compared to the last two as many had to head back home the next morning. During cocktails, Shira used Garmin’s Mac program Road Trip to plot a route home and a number of riders came along for the ride. Northeast Region Ride Events July 18
Hudson Valley, NY
Tampa Bay Area, FL
How to Raise funds Don’t be shy about collecting funds for the PBTF. Ask your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to pitch in! See if your HR dept. has a matching gift program.Set up a personal fundraising page online and let everyone know! For help with these suggestions, please visit rideforkids.org for more details. For more information on any of the rides, visit rideforkids.org Thanks for helping!
BACKROADS • JULY 2010
IS THIS WHERE THE SMOKE MONSTER CAME
We headed north across the “M/DLine” and then exited near Carlisle and found some hilly backroads to take us to the Millers Ferry Crossing. Unfortunately the ferry was not running and we doubled back across the bridge and then headed north along the Susquehanna and then east into “coal country.” This part of Pennsylvania has really seen better days, but Route 125 near Shamokin is always a rider’s delight. We rode through Centralia, the burning coal town, and spent a few minutes exploring the split roadways and drifting smoke from this fire that will carry on for a few more hundred years before
carrying on eastward. Shira’s route really shined here and we have a whole boodle of new pavement to add to the repertoire. Near I-80 we all said goodbye and Shira and I had one last blast on the county road that leads to Backroads Central. Entering the barn we turned off the bikes and began to unpack them. This is always an odd time for us. Months of planning goes into these rallies, as easy going as they are, but still when we finish a Spring Break like this one, with all the great people, the superb weather and the awesome riding we do have to smile. These Spring Break Rallies always seem to herald the riding season. Well, here it is... let’s get going. Fontana anyone? We’d like to thank Donnie Unger from Duc Pond Motorsports for his help in getting some of our folks back on the road and Charlie and Debbie Bricker from DC Cycles in Delaware for joining us on our Spring Break. Hope to see you all again.
NOTSO, JOLLY N.
SHARE A GLASS OF WINE
THAT CONFOUNDED FERRY?
Published on Jul 15, 2010