Archive for the ‘Rally’ Category

This year Debbie and I chose not to ride into the city to partake of the Rolling Thunder main event.  We had went for several years so there was no great interest in doing it again this year.  BUT I did attend a pre-Roling Thunder event and assisted our local HOG (Harley Owners Group) chapter with the marshalling of motorcycles for the police escorted ride from Frederick to the Pentagon. 

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Saturday was the pre-Rolling Thunder event at Washington Harley Davidson.  Not only is it a collection of vendors of all types (t-shirts, food, parts and accessories) it is the site of the official Harley Davidson Owners Group Pin Stop.  Harley Davidson Pin Stops are a half dozen or so events in which Harley Davidson gives out commemorative pins to the HOG members.  Each one is different for each event.  If you follow my FaceBook page each week I post one or two dealer or other pins and several of the pin stop pins are pictured.   

While this is only a SWAG I think there were more motorcycles at this year’s v. last year’s pin stop. The parking lots were mostly full when I arrived and, unlike last year, still full when I left.  The ride to the event was a Frederick Harley Davidson HOG club ride. 

STORM CHASER POWERS ACTIVATE!  About 15 bikes left that morning from

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STORM CHASER!

the dealership under misty, overcast conditions, within 15 minutes the mist turned to full rain and stayed on us for more than half of the ride.  Guess what!  On the ride back we left a partial cloudy site and again got wet, although for a much shorter frame. Some days, when I ride my motorcycle, I just seem to attract bad weather.  

Sunday morning I rolled out of my warm bed, shared by my wife, our dog and myself, and was out the door before 5:30AM.  The HOG chapter was assisting the Frederick Harley Davidson dealership with the staging and marshaling of motorcycle going to Rolling Thunder. 

ijustwant2ride.comThere are two groups of motorcycle riders who participate in Rolling Thunder.  Those that go to the Pentagon (the starting point for the parade) and those that do not go to the Pentagon.  That second group seems to always be nearly identical in size to those that go to the Pentagon.  This group typically rides into the city and then parks along the parade route to watch the motorcycle pass by. 

By ten minutes after 8:00AM all the bikes were out and on their way to the either the Pentagon or somewhere else.  There were just at 300 bikes assembled at the dealership.  Nearly every bike brand was represented, I saw Triumph, BMW, Indian, Victory, Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki, there may have been others but those are the ones I recall. 

It took just a bit over 5 minutes to get all those bikes on the road (see video below).  A short while later we have all the signs, coffee, doughnuts and other stuff gathered and put away.  The parking lot looked like nothing had ever happened.  365 days until the next Rolling Thunder.

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Debbie and I attended the 2017 British & European Classic Motorcycle Day held in Clarksburg, Md.  While this event has occurred for many years it was the first one we have could make. 

We did not make it to the motorcycle affair until mid-afternoon, shortly before the awards were presented.  I was very pleasantly surprised at the number of Harley Davidson in the parking lo many more then I would expected for a European bike show.  But, this is one of those events that if you love motorcycles you should make time to attend. 

I must say from the start that I have never seen so many vintage European motorcycles in one place!  There were bikes of all types on display.  From concours level restorations to choppers made from BSA or Triumph engines and frames.  There were even a few Frankenstein motorcycles like…a Ducati engine in BSA frame with a Honda CB front end.  

ijustwant2rideThere was a couple motorcycle there that I had not seen or heard of before as well. A 1937 single cylinder AJS and an old Douglass (don’t recall the year).  Both are vintage British bikes that I need to learn a little more about. 

We had a good time walking around the event, which was also a swap meet.  It was fun looking at the old motorcycles, pieces and parts.  People were traveling from as far as New York, Ohio and North Carolina to attend, at least by the licenses plates of the bikes in the parking lot and those in the show.  If you are every near this event, you should make the time to check it out.

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As like the previous years, Debbie and I attended the Timonium Motorcycle Show.  As always it was held at the Maryland State Fair grounds.  

We enjoyed walking around the facilities looking at the 2017 motorcycles from all

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Yes, that is a TV, why? Why not?

the big makers.  There was one in particular missing though and that was Victory.  With the news that Polaris was pulling the plug, now 17 months away, guess there is no real reason to be at the motorcycle show. 

But all the other usual suspects were on site.  Harley Davidson of Baltimore had the largest display of all the manufacturers, in terms of footprint it was not even close.  If I had to guess I would think that the Honda display would have been next largest in terms of bikes.  Pete’s Cycles had, what looked like, at least one of every Honda made.   

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Lois Pryce discussing her recent trip to Iran

One of the busiest sections was the motorcycle travel/adventure area of the show.  Lisa and Simone Thomas (2 Ride the World) and Lois Pryce were just a couple of the folks on hand to discuss their global adventures.  Other speakers were on had discussed travel techniques and opportunities guided and otherwise.  

Several regional motorcycle rallies (Ocean City Bike Week, Mountain Fest, and Thunder in the Valley for example) were on site to remind riders that there were many places to ride to that did not require anything more than a long weekend.  

And of course all the custom and vintage motorcycles your heart could desire.  Debbie and I really enjoyed looking at all the great bikes, from stock/restored bikes from the bygone years to mild customs to full blown, over the top motorcycles!   

As for the crowds, my guess is that in the nearly 5 hours we spent at the event the crowd was at least even with 2016.

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As I cruise around on my bike to events and cruise around the inter-webs on my keyboard I come across interesting motorcycle themed posters/prints.  Here are the nine 2016 winners from the 32 motorcycle posters that I “collected”.  Hope you like them as much as I did.

If you see some cool motorcycle posters while you are cruising about, send me a link and they might make next years list!  Not that the winners get any thing other then a mention here but HEY, that is only a little better then nothing.

BTW here is a link to the 2015 winners.

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The view of the show from up high

Debbie and I went to the Washington DC International Motorcycle Show on the 8th of January.  But before I tell you about the show I have to tell you about the adventure we had just getting to the show. 

On a Sunday morning, barring accidents, it can take about 45 minutes to get to the Washington DC convention center from our home by car.  The problem is that parking in DC is very bad on the very best day, so we elected to take the metro/subway instead.  That was a big mistake! 

First and foremost we forgot that system was undergoing major overalls on the rail lines.  Second the trains are less frequent on weekends and third it was 12F and windy.  Sooooo, we quickly learned that we should have just driven in by car.

 The long story short is that we changed trains 5 times had to leave the subway to take a bus for 3 stops and walked several blocks to wait in stations for the next train to arrive.  At one point I think we were within a mile of convention center but at 12F the remaining 30 minute train ride was a better deal.  All in all just over 2 hours after boarding the first train we arrived at the convention center where we then had to walk to blocks, in doors, to get to the exhibit center. 

Well once there we had a great time.  This here the show was a bit smaller than those of the past.  Honda and KTM were not present thus the number of makes were down by at least two.  Last time we were there on a Saturday so I do not know if the crowd was smaller but it felt well attended to me.   

We wondered around the exhibits looking at the new bikes, checked out the JP Cycle motorcycle show contestants (I should enter my Army bike) and talked with the representatives. I had a nice conversation with the CEO of Southeastern Virginia Indian out of Newport News about what he and Indian are doing.   

I also had a good conversation with the marketing director of Royal Enfield USA.  She knew about the DawgHouse Motorcycle Radio show and stated that if any of us got to Milwaukee we had an invitation to ride the new Royal Enfield Himalayan adventure bike.  It is not yet available in the US but of course the HQ of Royal Enfield has a few on hand! 

After about 2 hours we knew we had to pack it in, even if we were not ready because we had a 2 hour train/bus/walking trek ahead of us.  So we packed our swag and headed out. 2 hours later we were in our car warming up and head to the house. 

All in all this year’s IMS Washington DC event was worth the 4 hour travel!

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This year September 11th, in addition to being a national day of tragedy here in the US, it was also the day the 2016 Motorcycle Cannonball Run leg 2 began in York, PA.  York is only about 90 minutes from my home so it was a no brainer to go and check it out. 

For those of you unfamiliar with this the Cannonball Run it is a timed cross county event of 100 year or older vintage motorcycles.  So this year the run is with motorcycles built before 1917. Starting on

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Every motorcycle over 100 years old

the 10th of September The Cannonball Run is going from Atlantic City to San Diego. If you go to their website you can get a lot more detail, in case you are interested in running the next event in 2018.  

Phil, from the DawgHouse Motorcycle Radio show, and I arose early (3AM for him 4AM for me LOL) in order to be there before the motorcycles began departing. BOY am I glad we went to the event.  We got to see vintage bikes that you might only see in a museum, if ever.  For example, I saw two motorcycles that I had not seen in person before a Shaw and a JAP.   

By 10AM all the bikes that were going to make the start were on the road.  Attrition on this ride is high. In talking to some of the participates we learned that about 90 of these vintage motorcycles departed Atlantic City the day before but nearly 30 were unable to make the time hack in York.  That group included one bike that burned to a crisp shortly after the start.   

ijustwant2ride.comYou can also tell by the pictures below that there is a lot of maintenance that occurs.  One of the motorcycle mechanics said that they begin the preparations for the next day as soon as the bikes are cool enough to touch.  He also said that while the vintage motorcycles in the Cannonball Run might be easy to work on, there is not really that much in spare parts and a lot of creativity is required to keep them running.

It was a wonderful morning walking around looking at these 100+ year old vintage motorcycles and seeing what goes into them to keep them running.  I have a new respect for all those folks that participate in this event!

 

 

ijustwant2ride.comWe awoke to day seven of our motorcycle vacation with both excitement and a bit of sadness. This day had a lot of great riding on the schedule but was also the last day riding with the Harley Owner’s Group “History in the Hills” national rally and the last day with our new friends.

After a quick breakfast, loading the bike and performing the motorcycle safety Ijustwant2ride.comchecks we were kickstands up and on the “Moonshiners 28”!  28 has some awesome sections of twisty roads interspaced by small towns and great scenic vistas.  The first stop on this ride was Bridal Veil Falls which was a bit underwhelming as there had not been much rain in the area but it is very easy to see how if got its name.

Still on the moonshiner our next destination was Fontana Dam.  This dam was built as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority electrification effort but also as the primary electrical supply of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the race to build the atomic bomb.  As far as dam’s go it was pretty spectacular and you can still ride across the top a pleasant surprise in this day and age of high security.

ijustwant2ride.comOn the way to Fontana Dam I kept wanting to really run the turns and twisties.  I would get a mile maybe two of fun and then I would get behind a slower bike or car, after getting around that person I would get another mile or two and end up behind an even slower vehicle!  This went on until I was riding up an ascending right hand turn behind a fellow biker in 1st gear.  At that point I leaned back and told Debbie that God must be trying to tell me to slow down and enjoy the view … which we did.

Literally, less than five minutes later I said that we happened upon a crash!  Another participant of the History in the Hills ride, riding in a small group, was on the ground.  It was not a multi vehicle accident or a rider exceeding their ability but a true ACT OF GOD!  A very large tree limb broke and fell upon them as they past under causing them to wreak.  The passenger took the brunt of the falling limb and suffered, we found out later, a broken collar bone, mild concussion, and a multitude of cuts and abrasions.  The rider fared better but did have some minor injuries while the bike appeared to have a bunch of cosmetic damage.  This was the only serious injury of the entire HOG event.

After stopping at the Dam we were back on the road towards Deals Gap and theijustwant2ride.com start of the Tail of the Dragon.  Debbie and I have ridden the Tail of the Dragon in the past and boy is it a lot of fun.  Before hitting the road we had a snack of onion rings at the Deal’s Gap dinner and of course the mandatory swag from the gift shop.  As much as I enjoy the Tail of the Dragon I do have to point out that there are many similar places in my home state of West Virginia just without the hype.

Eleven miles and 318 turns later we bested the Tail of the Dragon again and onto our next stop, lunch at Knoxville Harley Davidson West.  The dealership served ups BBQ sandwiches with all the fix’ns.  But because it was hot we wanted to do the last few mile to our hotel in Oak Ridge so we left fairly quickly.

It is at this point I have to point out and highly commend the organizers of this rally.  The Harley Owners Group had chosen RUSH LLC to develop, promote, lead and run this event and they did a fabulous job.  This job well done was top with a giant cherry ….. an actual visit to the grounds of the national lab and to the nuclear reactor that help create the nuclear/atomic age.

This was a really big thing, I had a job working a contract at the lab a few years ago they just do not let regular people in very often.  The RUSH folks said it took about seven months to do all the coordination and get the individual badges issued and I fully believe it.  Awesome job RUSH.

The reactor was the one where all the materials to create the two bombs thatijustwant2ride.com ended WWII and was in operation until 1967.  After the war better reactors were created and this one used to help develop and support nuclear medicine.  Nearly everything in the medical field that you use today that has a nuclear component can, most likely, trace it origin to the Oak Ridge National Lab and this reactor.  A very cool way to end this trip.

The buses then took us to our farewell diner.   This was a fun but bittersweet event.  We shared our table with the same folks that we shared the table during the opening diner.  Two of the other couples and Debbie and I had become friends during the event and the other guys (Moe, Larry, and Curly) were great guys and good sports that we happened upon almost daily.

As this was our first, but highly unlikely last, trip with the HOG rolling rally and RUSH crew.

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Waking early for our 630AM kickstands up we rolled out of bed and got dressed for the day.  Our first stop was the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, NC.  The store is a great example of the old time general store and has been in operation since 1882.  It is still the local store, post office and community gathering place.  This was a very cool stop, make sure to ask about the “chicken chute” when you visit to see how people bartered for goods “back in the day”.

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Mike got a lot of mileage from these simple wax lips!

We also swung by the Mast Candy Store.  The store focused on old school candy like wax bottles and lips, Bit’O Honey, caramel chews and pretty much any type of candy from your childhood.  Of course we had to buy back some of our childhood, one of our new friends (Mike) bought some glossy red wax lips and proceeded to scare and delight riders the rest of the day.

Rolling out of Valle Crucis we hit the Diamond Back! Our route took us about 2/3rd of the length of this snake.  This 38 mile diamond shaped loop includes NC 226A, US 221, Toms Creek Road, NC 80 and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Riding through Little Switzerland on our way to the Mountain Gateway Museum (and lunch) was one of the highlights of the day.  One of the low lights of the day was zipper of my Kevlar pants blowing out (as well as a pocket).  The rest of the day the crew we were riding with (Mike, Dale, Stacey, Tori and Don) would occasionally call me McFly….sad day indeed!

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1 of 30+ machines

The next stop was the Mountain Gateway Museum where I found out there was a Spanish Fort in this area well before any English or French outposts, very interesting.  After lunch at the museum we rode to Asheville to check out the Pinball Museum. If you are into classic to modern pinball games or 1980s video games that are fully playable this is your place.  I had a lot of fun playing a vintage 1978 KISS pinball machine then jumping over to an 2015s KISS machine was completely awesome!  I could have spent hours in there…sad that I don’t but glad I don’t live in Asheville I would spend a lot of money at the pinball museum.

Back on the bike we rode a little more than an hour to the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum. Debbie and I visited Wheels Through Time last year when on vacation.  It is an awesome facility that every motorcycle enthusiast must have on their list of sites to visit.  This time, because we were part of the HOG rally, we got to spend more time with the owner Dale as he told us stories about how he acquired several of the very rare bikes in the collection.

This time we also got to hear the story of the Traub motorcycle, a one of kind bike found sealed behind the wall of an apartment building.  I will write a separate post on this story.

After Wheels Through Time we rode on to our hotel in Hendersonville, NC.  We met our new friends for drinks and laughs and then off to bed.  Day 7 brings the Dragon.

To see what happened on day one check out that post!

 

 

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Today’s HOG motorcycle tour started early.  We were on the road a couple minutes after 7AM (tomorrow will be earlier).  Pulling out of the motel parking lot we headed towards Natural Chimneys State Park, the first stop of the day.  

It took us a few days to figure this out but this HOG event is really an unstructured structured event.  You can go to as many of the stops as you want or none of the stops. You can follow the pre-planned routes or set your own.  We all just start and stop at the same location each day.  This day we chose to skip the State Park and go directly to the second stop the Museum of the Confederacy. 

On the way we had multiple animals try to kill themselves by throwing themselves at our motorcycle.  A rabbit, a squirrel, a blue bird, yellow bird, robins and a couple other critters all threw themselves at us, luckily they all missed by quite a bit.  

WP_20160620_10_45_40_RichThe Museum of the Confederacy is laid out in a fashion that walks you through from what leads up to the succession to the aftermath of the civil war.  In addition to the main museum there are several outdoor features including a “log cabin” built in 1832 and used as a home up until the 1960s. 

From there we headed to Lynchburg Harley Davison.  The Lynchburg HOG chapterWP_20160620_23_08_39_Rich was hosting us for lunch and we had to be there between 12 and 1.  I enjoyed the brat’s and thanked the HOG crew for their hospitality.  By the way, I now have yet another dealer pin for my collection. 

After lunch we remounted the Ultra and headed towards the National D-Day WP_20160620_13_18_32_RichMemorial.  The memorial honors all the soldiers, from twelve nations, that participated in the invasion of Europe in WWII.  As a retired soldier I can say the memorial was quite impressive and provide a poignant reminder of the cost of that invasion.  If you are in the area a few minutes of your time to visit this site would be a good idea. 

Debbie and I skipped the next stop, Foamhenge.  Turns out I wish we had not. Apparently the display will be removed in a couple months.  Oh, well. 

The last stop on this leg of the motorcycle rally, and our hotel, is the Natural Bridge Park and Historic Hotel.  The Natural Bridge is really a bridge with traffic running across the top.  Down below you can hike under the bridge and admire the vista in the same manner as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  As part of our package we also got to view a light show projected upon the face of the cliffs.  About 10PM we were in our bed with dreams of the  next day.  

To see what happened on day one check out that post!

larDay three actually started at dinner because I was able to pass on the crazy hillbilly hat.  It was an ambush style pass off and was a lot of fun for everyone around, except Larry, Larry was not very happy.

ijustwant2ride.comThe next day started with an early 5:30 morning rise with the intent to be on the road by 6:45.  The reason for the early rise is that the Emmitsburg, Md Fire Department (Vigilant Hose Company) was providing the ride with a pancake breakfast.  This Fire Department started in 1757 and it was an honor to be associated with them!

ijustwant2ride.comAfter the breakfast stop we rode about a mile or so to the National Firefighters Memorial. The memorial was quite sobering. The names of all the firefighters killed on duty are engraved on pavers and there is a special section dedicated to NYFD killed on duty including those killed during 9/11.  The oldest documented casualty that I noticed was from the late 1700’s.

From there we were to ride to Groves Harley Davidson in Winchester, VA for lunch.  But, Debbie and I had a slight change of plans, we ran by our home to drop off dirty clothes and pack some clean clothes.  This was one of the benefits of a ride that is less than 20 minutes from your home. Groves had BBQ ready for us when we arrived and boy was it good.

From there we rode to the Luray Caverns.  Even though it is not far from home we had never been there before.  The cave tour came with a free pass to their car museum we had a good time.  The 54 degree cave was a pleasant break from the 85 degree temps outside.  If you decided to try the caverns please note that it is 1.2 mile trek with about a 160 foot elevation change….if you go down you got to come back up 🙂

Leaving Luray we traveled up a mountain with a lot of great twists and turns. Dropping down the other side we were just a few miles from our hotel, a shower and dinner.  It was another good day of travel, sites and riding!