Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Central PA Ride

I did a couple of local rides in Central PA, just noodling around some familiar haunts. Waggoner's Gap is a short jaunt from home, and I can run a one, two, or three hour ride from here, depending on how long the honey-do list is for the weekend. This was just a short run, but perhaps mercifully so, as it was already more than 90 degrees at 9.30 AM.

The view from the top is beautiful, even when it is hazy, hot, and humid, like it's been for the past two weeks here.

Occasionally, a Sasquatch shows up, too - ARGH!!!

I also rode down Duffield Road to Duffield, PA, which would be completely unremarkable, except that my last name is Duffield. So, that was kind of cool.

I don't know if it is EVER going to cool off, but these leaves reminded me of the promise of Autumn.

So, what's a person to do to cool off? If there is a better answer than Igloo Ice Cream in Shippensburg, PA, I don't know what it is. It's worth the trip, no matter how long the trip...

...though, it should be noted, that blue-black bruise in the sky to the right is a harbinger. Something wicked this way comes, and it involves rain, gale-force winds that had us leaning hard to the left, and lightning. It was the lightning that finally had us ducking for cover...

 





Saturday, August 13, 2016

ATGATT

I committed to wearing All The Gear All The Time (ATGATT) on day 1 of riding. I got a pair of Olympia pants, a textile jacket, and a pair of Sidi boots on massive sale. My helmet was an HJC flip up and I had a pair of leather gloves. Not bad, but not the best out there, either. The pants were especially awful, with no breatheability at all.

Recently, I started upgrading my gear I got a pair of MotoPort pants, lightly used, and loved them. The Kevlar is even more abrasive-resistant than leather and it breathes. I also got a pair of Alpinestars gloves that are mesh and reinforced with hard plastic. Much better, and again, breathable. I upgraded the jacket too a MotoPort as well, then added a Shoei helmet.

I feel even more comfortable on the bike now, especially in the heat, and my gear is all top quality. I feel so much safer AND cooler.

The reason I mention this is that today I had something hit me on the knee while I was riding. I'm not sure if it was tossed from the car in front of me, flipped up from their tire, or fell from an overhanging branch. All I know is that it hit me square on the knee...and bounced right off.

And that is why I roll ATGATT.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Scenes from My Commute

I spent some time commuting to work this week. I knew it was going to be hot later, so I gauged where the sun was goig to be at the end of the day, and made sure my whip would be in the shade. It only took me a coouple of years of riding to figure this one out. 

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I love these back country roads. Berks County, Pennsylvania. It always surprising to me how quickly Pennsylvania gets rural outside of her cities and towns.
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The first rule of Italian riding: what's behind you doesn't matter. Unless it's miles and miles of beautiful winding roads. 
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

FARKLEPALOOZA

I got some FARKLES (Freaking Awesome Really Kool Likely Expensive) for the bike. Wings that are designed to improve airflow up and over the helmet, rather than directly blasting me in the face. That's an improvement.

The view from the cockpit. You can see them lower and to the sides of the windscreen.

I also added a Ram Mount to hold my phone, so I can use it as a GPS system.


I also added a cruise control. I can't understand how a Ducati Multistrada has a keyless start system and does NOT have cruise control. What are they thinking?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Southcentral PA Noodling

I went for a ride with my buddies Roger, Vern, and Brad. Roger showed up with his recently completed redo of his gorgeous Ducati 990. I love this bike!

Our crew is an eclectic group, to say the least. When you see groups of riders out and about, there is almost always a unifying theme. Harley riders, crotch-rocket kids, veterans, gangs, and the like. But we have Brad's long-distance sport tourer (Kawasaki Concours), Vern's cruiser (Harley-Davidson), Roger's 990, and my dual-sport adventure bike. I sometimes wonder what people think when they see the four of us, especially people who know riding. Truth be told, the thing that brings us togetheer is going to the same Bible study for more that a dozen years and a love of riding.

We took back roads down to a scenic overlook, King's Gap, which offers a spectaculaar view of the entire Cumberlandd Valley. It's funny, I used to live near there and never knew it existed until quite recently. We wound our way up to the top and looked out. It was amazing. Took a quick snap, and then we were back in the saddle for the next section.

From here we went to the South Mountain Restoration Center. This is an intriguing spot, once used to help kids with tuberculosis recover. It's at a higher elevation (1600 feet) and it help clear the patients. Today, most of it sits idle.

We rode down out of here, and shortly thereafter saw an 8+ foot snake in the road. I don't normally get the heebies with snakes, but this was easily the largest snake I have ever seen. I'm glad we all misssed it on our bikes, especially since it was World Snake Day.

We rode through Michaux State Forest and Caledonia State Park, out the other side to Waynesboro, home of the Frontier BBQ. This is some of the nicest riding in the region, and we were not disappointed. We got to the Frontier and parked in next to some likeminded BBQ lovers.

I think anytime you arrive at a place that has the words "hickory smoked" and "bullhawg sandwich" on the walls, you're in for something special.

I was torn. I wanted a brisket sandwich, 100% beef slow-cooked to absolute perfection. But, I also wanted a bullhawg,, a half-beef, half-pork, monstrosity of godzilla-like proportions, designed to be eaten/slurped/chewed/worn with reckless abandon. So, I did what any redblooded American would do. I ordered them both, with a coke.

I'm not mentioning names, but one of those fools ordered a DIET. Like that's going to make a difference.

On the way out, II saw an old street rod. It was really cool, but the last time I was here, the chainsaw artist had a 9 foot sasquatch. It was nowhere to be seen this time, and I was seriously bummed. Bigfoot is for real.

Here is a shot of me with my Squatchy friend. Better days - hope you are well.





Monday, July 11, 2016

One More Pixxor

I had to get the obligatory Tale of the Dragon photo, so here it is. Me on my Multi, absolutely loving life. 


Friday, July 08, 2016

Epic Motorcycle Ride Day 6: Wytheville, WV to HOME!


I woke up in the morning and it was raining. Again. Or is it still? I waited, and it let up a little, but it didn't show signs of stopping for a while, so I decided to ride through it. Checking the radar (I use the MyRadar app and it's a fantastic tool), it looked relatively clear 1-2 hours up the road, so I donned the Frog Togs and left. It seemed prudent to take the highway, at least until the weather started to clear a bit.

Finally, it began to clear, and I got off the highway. The roads turned "fun" shortly after leaving, but with the rain, I decided to take it easy.

The ride into West Virginia was still overcast, but the clearing had begun. 

Of course, there was the requisite wildlife for the region.

She's on the run!!!

West Virginia had been declared a disaster zone since the storms that fell on her the day I left. Entire towns were swept away, and there were videos of cars swept underwater with their headlights still on, and houses on fire being swept downstream. I was higher in elevation, for the most part, so I didn't see many signs of the disaster, but my thoughts were with the people of West Virginia ass they continued to clean up and recover. 

I also pulled into Hillsboro, West Virginia, home of Pearl S. Buck who wrote The Good Earth. It was one of the best and saddest books I read, required in high school, and this year it was also required reading for my daughter. The classics never die.  

That's her home behind the tree there.It was closed, probably on account of all the flooding. Notice the sun is shining again...finally!

Just beyond this, I went into Greenbrier, WV and this town was more impacted by the rains. Also, there was a near-gridlock situation as I rode further into town. I couldn't figure it out until I saw a Super Wal-Mart and realized everyone was going there to get supplies. Still, people were patient, with no one honking their horns, or yelling, or carrying on. Sometimes the worst things happen TO us and bring out the best things IN us. 

I got out of there and moved on, coming into Cass, WV an old mining (I think) company town decked out in white buildings with black trim. 

  
There was also a lot of mountain cleanup in the area, with crews clearing debris from the roadways as it was washed off the hillsides. On one stoppage, I looked to my left and saw this little oddity: a gnome home.  

I also saw HUGE satellite dishes at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. I was sorry I didn't have time to take the tour and see the dishes up close, so I will also add that to my "next time" list. 


I got lost again, and this time I hooked up a GPS. It took me the most convoluted way ever, including some "Enduro" time down a backcountry road that reminded me of a scene from Deliverance. Luckily, it's a fast-moving bike, and I was able to outrun the banjo music. 

I took a lot of great roads: 219, 66, 92, 250, and Senator Robert Byrd's US-48, a mammoth highway from nowhere to nowhere with no one on it. I think it was paved with Congressional pork. For a motorcyclist, it was perfect! I hit I-68 and sprinted for home, arriving as the sun set. 


In six days, I travelled 2,600+ miles, covering 12 states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Virginia. 

And still, Dorothy was right: "There's no place like home!"