Archive for the ‘Rally’ Category

We rode for about 7 hours on Monday from our home to the rally. This ride was all interstate and really reminded me why one should avoid Interstate 81, south or north, it is a terrible experience in the best of times.  Thousands of tractor trailers and stupid car drivers weaving to get “the fastest” spot while hold a phone to their face.  SIGH.

As we approached the hosting hotel, the “Airport” Hilton, the GPS lady was telling us to ride the motorcycle to the arrivals and departures section of the airport. Of course, we thought that the crazy GPS lady was once again full of “stuff”, so I stopped and reselected the location.  Turns out the hotel is literally a few steps from the arrivals and departures doors of the airport.  Imagine that!

Day One of the Great Smokey Mountains HOG Rally

Rally registration was at the hotel and sign in for the pre-registered, like Debbie and me, was quick and easy.  We each received a SWAG bag that contain pertinent rally materials a t-shirt, patches, pins, and a HOG water bottle.

We were also showed how to download the routes from by scanning a Q-code from their routes posters and how to load those routes into the motorcycle. Snip/snap and we had multi-routes installed on our Harley Davidson. 

Ok not quite snip/snap.  The problem is the that the Harley Davidson Boom GTS radio/navigation system does not come with a paper owner’s manual but with a little coaching I was able to get the routes set up.  I mentioned to the National HOG representative that they should hold a few classes on using the Boom GTS at each rally, I think it would be one of the more popular aspects of future events.

After registration we rode to Smokey Mountain Harley Davidson. SMHD is the host dealership of the rally, and their facilities are among the best that I have ever experienced. A large dealership with an inviting exterior and expansive interior they have very large inventory of motorcycles (and sold 2 while I was there), accessories, and clothing.  But that is just the start, Smokey Mountain HD also has a BBQ restaurant and a concert venue. I have never seen a dealership like this before.  A little more on the concert venue below.

As we were looking around the dealership and the vendor, Debbie spotted a Custom Dynamics Rear Finder Tip Light which would be SO much brighter than the existing OEM light.  She bought the light and wanted it installed while we were there, I did not argue. With the large number of drivers, she saw holding phones on the ride down another run/brake light will never hurt.  I will do a separate post on this light and my thoughts on Custom Dynamics soon.

As we were looking around the dealership and the vendor, Debbie spotted a Custom Dynamics Rear Finder Tip Light which would be SO much brighter than the existing OEM light.  She bought the light and wanted it installed while we were there, I did not argue. With the large number of drivers, she saw holding phones on the ride down another run/brake light will never hurt.  I will do a separate post on this light and my thoughts on Custom Dynamics soon.

After the part was installed, we decided to ride through Wears Valley, TN.  The twisty ride up and over a mountain was a lot of fun and the ride through the valley was quite beautiful. The route we took dropped us in Pigeon Forge, TN near the Rocky Top Harley Davidson Dealership.  If you have followed IJustWant2Ride on Facebook or Twitter you will know I collect dealer pins which means I had to get a Rock Top pin!

We had a snack at the Iron Boar bar and Mexican Grill right across the street from the dealership … along with 30 new friends, all from the HOG rally! After we had fueled ourselves, we headed back to SMHD for the opening ceremony and the first concert of the rally.

Still watching you Hurricane Ian!

On May 7th, 2022, women across the world will be riding their motorcycles for the 16th annual International Female Ride Day!  For 16 years the IFRD has “shined a spotlight on women riders and females in the motorsports arena!”

Nearly 20% of riders are women and that number has been growing over the years and I do not expect that growth to end anytime soon. Coming out of the pandemic more people and especially women are feeling empowered to do the things that they really want.

The goals of the event are:

  • Highlight the number of women who ride.
  • Encourage other women to take up the activity
  • Raise awareness about women’s equality in motorsports
  • Celebrate women’s advancement in motorsports and powersports
  • Ride for accelerated gender parity.

Are you going to participate?  If so, submit your photos to the IFRD photo gallery for a chance to participate in the photo challenge sweepstakes.  And while there are no prizes here, you could post to the comments section to show us what you were doing!


Ride on, Ride safe

WOW 2021 was just as bad as 2020 in regards for content for best motorcycle poster, but it was close. I gather my candidates from the social media cesspool, looking all year for the interesting, cute or weird poster.

This year I had 12 to start before reducing down to the best 9 motorcycle posters. Why 9 because everyone does 10 and 11 is too much work. I would love to give credit where it is due, so if you know the artist that produced the items below let me know and I will be happy to provide attribution.

Which one is your favorite?

I am just now getting around to writing about our trip to the 2021 International Motorcycle Show. Life and work have been pushing against riding and writing for a couple months now thus the reason for fewer posts.  I hope that is changing for the better, fingers crossed.

For us this year’s show was held at the Carlisle, Pennsylvania Fairgrounds, which is about a two-hour trip for us.  That was not much more than the trip into Washington, DC.  The trip into the city, while 100 miles closer, could often take hours as well.

The fairground was mostly flat with only a small hill to get to the Kawasaki display I had no issues with the choice of the venue. It was easy to get to food and product vendors as you walk around taking in the sights.  Parking was ample with separate areas and entry points for car and motorcycles.

The fact that the International Motorcycle Show was outdoors, was a surprise. While there I meet a member of the show team and spoke to her about why they moved outdoors.  I will write a separate post on her response to that question, it was interesting.

As far as the show and motorcycles went it was pretty much on par with the indoor show with one major exception, there were a lot of test rides available.  Every major manufacture had something on hand for a test ride! This was not the case with the indoor DC show typically held in January. DC in January is not an opportune time to test ride a motorcycle.

This year, as I noted in earlier post, the motorcycle show folks had the Direction Wide Open team there to talk about traveling the RV/Caravan lifestyle with motorcycles. Lucinda and Will Belden provided an interesting and lively discussion on how you can take your motorcycling in a different direction with the use of an RV. It was quite fun listening to their stories and answers to the attendees’ questions.

J&P Cycle was again sponsoring the custom motorcycle show and contest next to the tent holding the vintage bikers’ rides.  Walking between the two was like a time travel event! But, in each tent there were fabulous motorcycles that made me want to hit the lottery so I could have my own set of tents.

So, all in all I would deem the Outdoor International Motorcycle Show a hit.  Would I go if it were raining?  Well, if you have read this blog for very long you know the answer to that question, of course I would.  But would the attendance be as great, of that I am not sure.

White Sands New Mexico

Five years ago, I didn’t own, ride, or predict seeing my future self on a motorcycle.  Not that I didn’t like motorcycles, they were just not on my life’s blipping radar.  I was a cruise agent with six grandkids, a brick-and-mortar home and, well, I did have a nice little convertible.  Transport yourself to the future ‘now’ and you see me riding 5-6 hours a day, many days in a row…and on a sidecar no less.  I rode it on the Tail of the Dragon, Twisted Sisters, Talimena Scenic Drive and so many other ‘famous’ road.  I’m full timing it in an RV working and riding.  Icing on the cake – I’m making a living at it.  How the heck did I get here!

  • Step one:  Your spouse suggests you guys buy a bike and take motorcycle lessons.
  • Step two:  Two-upping isn’t enough, you get your own ride.
  • Step three:  Life sneaks up and kicks your ass – you decide how to respond.

I didn’t take naturally to riding a motorcycle.  I failed my first class.  I went out and bought a bike anyway and practiced in a parking lot for months before I could get up the nerve to take the class again.  I passed with a perfect score.  About a year into riding, I was in a motorcycle accident (mechanical failure), the bike totaled.  Broke my kneecap and nose and was in physical therapy for 9 months.  What did I do while I was laid up?  I bought a new bike and helmet. 

On a cross-country road trip, I dropped my bike at a corner with my weak knee.  It took me an hour to feel like I could get back on the bike, but I found I had messed up the gear shifts.  My spouse and I two-upped it the rest of the trip.  On this trip I decided two things – riding a motorcycle wasn’t for me, not riding wasn’t an option either.

Mounting up for another day of riding!

Idea!  How about a sidecar.  A new journey of resistance, not on my part but for every inch I tried to step forward, something or someone was shoving me a foot back.  The first sidecar builder I found botched the job – the wheel fell off at 60mph going down the interstate.  The wheel well kept it from flying off and I was able to pull over.  At least 10 other things went wrong in this journey until I found the sidecar builder who helped me change my life (to him I will forever be in debt). Thanks Texas Sidecar Company!

I have put over 20,000 miles on my sidecar in less than two years.  And like this whole path, I continued to forge forward following my new passion.  My spouse and I started RVing so we could ride new places.  I had written a couple of articles for Ride Texas Magazine.  The editor found out and mentioned it might make a good story.  Like everything else, I took it to the next level.  I now write a series called Direction Wide Open on our RVing and motorcycling experiences for Ride Texas Magazine which will culminate in the first ever RV-Motorcycle Rally in the U.S end of September 2022 – hosted by ‘Me’.

I looked for new ways to share my excitement about riding and RVing and found several more magazines who would have me.  I submitted a short motorcycle story to Continue the Ride which is a series of rider stories that showcase the diversity and shared passions in motorcycling.  My story was in the first round picked up and the only one with the unique combination of RVing and motorcycling full-time around the United States.  A few months later Progressive reached out to me to present my experiences at the national Progressive IMS Motorcycle Shows across the U.S.  As an introvert, I now find myself center stage at six major cities presenting on RVing and motorcycling five times per weekend.

RV’ing at Iron Mountain

How did I get here?  Well, I don’t think I was planning on a shift from being a work from home cruise agent grandma to a RVing, sidecar toting, riding, grandma writer and speaker.  But here I am.  This has been the best ride ever!

The July Bikes & Breakfast, for Poolesville, MD gathering occurred over the weekend. The 1st Sunday morning of each month motorcyclist collect in a Poolesville parking lot for a meet and greet.

Click for the website

This month my grandsons are in town, so I took the older one with me to the event.  Taking the blue Harley Davidson, we rode the motorcycle the long route to Poolesville, on a beautiful bright day but very humid morning.  We arrived about mid-morning and there were not a lot of bikes in the parking lot.  At first, I thought maybe it was Covid-cancelled but we hung around to see what would happen.

By about 10AM the parking lot was getting full, I would guess there was at least 70 motorcycle on display.  Besides the ubiquitous Harley Davidsons, there were the standard Triumphs, Hondas, etc. There were a bunch of custom bikes from café racers to bobbers.

The one motorcycle that stood out for me was a 1967 Moto Guzzi.  A two-owner bike that is in remarkable shape for a very well ridden bike.  Of course, it helps if the owner runs a vintage European Motorcycle garage.

When we left, we took the White’s Ferry across the Potomac river and head for the house.  My grandson said he had a good time, but 14 year-olds…does one really know?

z14

Overcast, light rain and thunderstorms, that was day one of the HOG Curves to Cores motorcycle rally. There were no guided rides and with those weather conditions I decided not to do any of the self-guided rides. Instead I did the poker run and apple hunt. I still had a lot of fun!

Day Two of the rally was sunny but not hot, perfect motorcycle ride weather! I had signed up for the “Acting Like a Good Ole Boy” guided ride.

z16This was a 127-mile, well crafted, ride across the Blue Ridge Mountains and down the Shenandoah Valley. Some SPECTATUCLAR scenic views and some cool riding. I was unable to get pictures from the motorcycle as my co-pilot and backseat photographer had to work

The mid-point of the motorcycle ride was a stop at “Cooter’s Garage and Dukes of Hazard Museum”. Those of us of a certain age will remember the Dukes fondly as it was a lot of fun to watch. Today it is “politically incorrect” but then it was fun.z17

When we pulled into Cooter’s Garage, we were only folks there but, before we left there was at least one other group of about 10 motorcycles and then the Can-Am Spyder section of the Women’s Mid-Atlantic Riding Tour pulled in the parking lot.

The last time I saw that many Spyders in one spot, my wife sent me to the store for a can of bug spray! (now that is comedy)

From Cooter’s Garage we rode to lunch and then back to home base in Winchester. The return trip was just as scenic.

Day Three was supposed to be a ride to Summit Point Raceway to ride our big Harley Davidsons on the track. I did not make this ride as I had an offer to test ride the new Zero electric motorcycle. Stand by for a post on that event.z13

Day Four of the rally and the weather, once again, was perfect for riding motorcycles. This day my wife was able to attend and we had chosen the “For Whom the Road Tolls” guided ride.

At 80 miles this ride followed the first toll road in what would become the United States, Snickersville Turnpike. This was another well run ride. I want to praise our road captian Peter for an outstanding job on a ride with lots of intersections and stop signs!z6

This ride was through some of the most rural parts of northern Virginia. Beautiful farms and landscapes abound though out the ride. We passed though multiple small towns founded in the mid-1700s, a lot of pre-United States and Civil War history was ridden through this day.

Day four was also the closing of the rally. Held at Groves Harley Davidson of Winchester they had several event prizes to give away, of course I did not win anything! Bummer.

All in all this was a great event, setup and executed very well. We are going to another HOG rally later this year, it will be hard pressed to outperform the Curves to Cores rally.

Ride On, Ride Safe

ijustwant2ride

I recently attended the Harley Owners Group (HOG) regional motorcycle rally. This year it was held in Winchester, VA.  Winchester is only an hour from my driveway there was no way I could miss this event.

The “Curves to Core” motorcycle rally organizers which put the event together really did a nice job. Why “Curves to Cores”?  I think the curves is self-explanatory, and the “Cores” is about a defining industry in the area.  This part of the Shenandoah Valley is a big apple growing area, providing a large part of the apples used in products across the North IMG_20190620_062955720America.

The organizers put a lot of work into making this event a success.  40+ motorcycle rides documented turn by turn AND with a memory stick full of GPS directions.  About half of this rides had an option for a guided tour version.  There were also scavenger hunts, poker runs and off bike events open to all attendees.

I chose 3 guided rides to participate in:

“Acting Like a Good Ole Boy”- A 130-mile ride crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains twice with a visit to “Cooter’s Garage and Duke’s of Hazzard Museum”.  If you are of a certain age you will remember the TV show following the daily troubles of Bo and Luke Duke.

“10 Turns of a Big Ole Yeee Haww” – A 90-mile loop ride with a stop at Summit Point Raceway. The highlight of this ride would be getting your Harley Davidson on the race track and letting it loose, so long as you did not run out of talent or floorboards (I have rubbed some of mine off and I had not been on a track).

“For Whom the Road Tolls” – A 80-mile ride on Snickersville Turnpike, the first toll road in America. Luckily it is no longer a toll road but it is a very, very quiet and scenic motorcycle ride though back country Virginia.

Unfortunately I was not able to do the track day ride.  I got an offer to test ride the Zero electric motorcycles.  Watch for a post about the Zeros in a future post.    IMG_20190619_102816460_HDR

I really enjoyed the other two rides and I will write about the rides in another post.

One of the day one activities was a scavenger hunt for large apples.  I called it apple picking.

We are currently scheduled to attend a second regional HOG rally in September, the “Hills and Hollows” rally in Johnstown City, TN.

Ride On, Ride Safe

 

t1

For those of you in the Washington DC metro  area the Timonium Motorcycle Show is an annual mid-winter event.  With most motorcycle manufactures represented and lots of motorcycle vendors and travel crews Timonium has been one of my favorites.

However there has been some rumbling about the 2019 show when the long time organizer for the event dropped out. But, fear not the event is still on as Jam On Productions jumped in to setup and run the show.  From all appearances the 2019 show will occur and look a lot like the previous years events.

So if you were concerned (or even knew about) the show for 2019 now you know.  I will be there walking around with the wife.  Just hope that it is above freezing while we are in line to get in LOL.

 

custom dynamics

Recently Debbie and I took a 570+ mile round trip to visit the headquarters of motorcycle aftermarket lighting manufacture Custom Dynamics.  If you are a regular to this blog you know that, after buying and installing several of their products, I am a fan of what they produce.

Every now and again I check the Custom Dynamics website to see what new products they are offering.  This time I discovered they have new light for the Harley Davidson Rushmore motorcycles, one that fits into the fairing air vent.  The LED Light Kit for HD Bat Wing Fairing is both a bright running light and turn indicator.

ijustwant2ride

Debbie talking with Karen

I was just getting to the point of hitting enter on the order button when the “light bulb” (bad pun #1) came on over my head.  I was hoping that I could get a couple blog posts while shining a light (pun #2) on Custom Dynamics.

I contacted Custom Dynamics via their twitter account (Erin) and asked if I could ride down to check out the facility, products and talk to them about the companies’ history and where they are going. After a bit of back and forth we received an invitation to visit.

Arriving at a non-descript building with no signage we were not sure we were in the ijustwant2rideright place at first.  We meet with our point of contact, Karen, who had us ride into warehouse so the technicians could start the work.

While they were working I had an enlightening (pun #3) conversation with both Karen and the techs.  Turns out they have expanded the warehouse, doubling its size, and were now filling the new space. I am not surprised, like I said earlier they make a good product.

Ijustwant2rideTalking with the techs I asked how many installs they do at the different rallies and events that they attend.  This year they have estimate that they have installed over 3000 items and the season is not over yet.

While they were installing the new vent lights they decided to toss in new turn signal lights.  Now I was very pleased with the “Ringz” light I installed a few years ago, but WOW the new “ProBeam” turn signal insert lights seem to be a magnitude brighter. It was at that point Dave, the owner of Custom Dynamics, stopped in.

Talking with Dave I got the impression that he would be a guy I would like to hang out with or have as a neighbor.  We had a good conversation and a good interview about where the company came from, and where it is going…. But you will have to check in for part 2 for the rest of the story.

Click to enlarge but even with that you cannot understand how bright they are!!

Check my post on the Custom Dynamics Tour Pack Flasher kit!