Posts Tagged ‘HOG’

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. 


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



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.

I bought a Bone Dry Motorcycle Seat Cover for our 2014 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited just prior to our nearly 3700 mile vacation.  The impetuous for this purchase is the fact that it always rains on us when we ride and we do not really enjoy putting our butts on wet seats, especially after a good night’s sleep. We also knew that a hot seat, after stopping for lunch, can be a real pain in the butt.

I looked at several different manufactures and no one product jumped out more than another except for Bone Dry.  Their product comes in different colors other then all black and that is why I purchased their product.  We have a blue bike and the blue striped cover matched, simple as that.

In operation the cover worked as expected. The Bone Dry Motorcycle Seat Cover kept our seats dry through several storms and keep the seat cool in the hot sun.


Now there are a some drawbacks that would apply to any cover of this type.  The first drawback is that in the deep south of the United States there is a LOT of humidity. There was always some condensation under the cover, especially after a thunderstorm. This was expected so no big deal.

The second drawback was what to do with a wet seat cover after a storm or early morning condensation.  Our solution was to “spin” dry the cover a much as possible before stowing.

Lastly, just like most covers of this nature, Bone Dry makes the seat covers in generic sizes.  I am sure that their covers for a pre-2014 Harley would be perfect fit, but Harley Davidson slightly changed the seats on the “Rushmore” bikes.  This change forces the cover to be tightly stretched to fit the seat.


The cover looks great on the bike!

The cover folds into itself for storage, no need for a separate case to loose.

Made in the USA.

It worked.

The ONLY reason I am giving it 4 and not 5 stars is that we had to stretch the cover to fit our seat more than I would like.  Over time, I really think that the stitching will become strained because of the difference in the pre/post 2014 seat sizes. But, I am willing to bet that this is an issue with many, if not all other covers  so this should not restrict you from buying the Bone Dry Motorcycle Seat Cover.  If you are in the market for a motorcycle seat cover, I suggest you consider Bone Dry.

4 out 5 stars

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 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 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.


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”.

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!

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!




Tuesday morning we had to be at Roanoke Harley Davidson bright and early, the local Harley Owners Group chapter were providing breakfast! So we were kickstands up and riding the motorcycle at about 7AM.  Once again, the dang Dealership location feature of the GPS was screwed up! (you can read more on my thoughts about this thing from a post more than a year old here…not much has changed).

After thanking the HOG and dealership employees we got back on the road.  Hopping on the Blue Ridge Parkway (we were on and off the parkway about dozen times it seems) we arrived at out second destination Mabry Mill.  Now I have been to dozens of mills over the years and this one was no different except for the story behind.  If you have time check the link for the story.  Also they have a working blacksmith forge, the gentleman working the forge makes several different items. He was just starting the heat the forge when were there so he was not working iron.

ijustwant2ride.comNow start whistling the theme for the Andy Griffith show while thinking about the song Rain Drops Kept Falling on my Head.  Because both of those fit our stop in Mount Airy, NC.  A short(ish) ride from the Mill, Mt. Airy was the home of Andy Griffith and the town has become Mayberry as a result.  The main street is a neat little “kitsch” with county/Mayberry themed stores.  But the real “Floyd’s” Barber Shop and Snappy Lunch stand are there.  We had a nice lunch at Snappy and if I had needed a haircut I would have stopped in Floyd’s.

A large part of stay in Mt. Airy was in the rain.  Riding the motorcycles in it was a hit and miss sprinkle, walking around it was a light rain but most of the stores had awnings that kept us covered but for about 5 minutes there was a downpour.  One of our new friends (Don of Don and Torri 🙂 ) made the rain stop by running down to their bikes and putting covers on their luggage.

After visiting the Andy Griffith Museum and Siamese Twins exhibit we were back on the road headed to Winston-Salem, NC.  This next stop was at the Winston Cup Museum. If you are into NASCAR this small museum will be right up your pit-lane (see what I did there LOL).  Holding 20+ race cars the museum tells the story NASCAR when RJ Reynolds was the primary sponsor.

After this it was a sprint to our hotel, a shower, beer/sprits, dinner and fun with new friends and sleep… or and air conditioning!!  Not sure what is the most important invention of the modern era… Motorcycles or air conditioning!

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!


Day 2 started with breakfast in the Hotel (Gettysburg Country Inn and Suites).  The eggs were……weird, all uniformly round and the same thickness. It was if they had come out of one of those automatic pancake machines.  The taste???…well with the three scopes of salsa I applied they were barley ok (Debbie did not like them at all). 

Our ride around the Gettysburg area started with a trip to the Jennie Wade house. Jennie was the only civilian who was killed during the battle.  She was shot dead while baking bread for the Union soldiers encamped around the home.  It was a stray shot that went through two doors and killed her instantly.  Her story was quite inspiring during and after the war, I highly recommend you take a few minutes to check it out 

After our docent led tour of the Jennie Wade house we rode back to the Seminary Ridge Museum.  We did not get a chance to see the entire museum on day one and wanted to finish the tour.  There was a lot of neat history on display. 

Debbie wanted to have taco pizza for lunch but the local Pizza Hut does not make that kind of pizza so she was quite disappointed.  Subway was her second choice so that is where we went. 

ijustwant2ride.comAfter lunch we rolled out to Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum.  If there is an elephant toy, figurine, picture, painting of any size it is likely in Mr. Ed’s collection.  In addition to the elephant museum, Mr. Ed’s is also a candy store with a large selection of old school and newer candy as well as homemade fudge. 

From Mr. Ed’s we decided to ride to Jack’s Mountain Bridge. It is your typically ijustwant2ride.comstandard covered bridge but, the ride up and over the mountain was a lot of fun.  Nice cruiser style riding with sweeping turns and quick elevation changes.  It was short but a lot of fun, we rode it twice! Make sure to check out the video of our ride over Jack’s Mountain.  

Oh and I got a lot of comments about my hat from day one.  I was able to come up with a selection of statements for anyone that mentioned the hat (all in good fun), such as: 

Be careful or I will let the flying monkeys loose!

I have my eye out for my replacement.

I am a big believer in equal rights, there is a good chance a women will get the hat!

Whomever gets the hat next will have a hard time looking this good!

The highlight of the evening was being able to get rid of the hat! 


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

This year Debbie and I decided to try out the national Harley Davidson HOG Rolling Rally.  It has been occurring for the last seven years and this year it is close to home. The theme for this year is “History in the Hills”. 

The start of the rally is Gettysburg, PA and it end a week later in Oak Ridge, TN.  In between there will be the chance to stop at numerous points to fulfill the title of “History in the Hills”. 

Today was the rally registration sign in, a trip to a special event at the Seminary Ridge Museum and the kickoff diner. Our sign in point was Battlefield Harley Davison. It was well organized and took us know time to get signed in, collect our kit of items and talk with some of the folks who are participating in the ride. 

I do have something negative to say about Battlefield HD.  When have been here several times over the years and have always found the folks polite and friendly, willing to go give a hand.  Today that promise of the past did not hold course.  I had forgotten to check the preload on my motorcycles rear shocks and could use a pound or two of additional air to get a better ride.  In the trip from the house to Gettysburg I realized that I needed the additional air and thought I would be able to borrow a pump to add the additional pressure.  NOPE, the service representative said that someone had “borrowed” their pump in the past and did not bring it back thus they did not have a pump for me to use.  Hummm, a complete service center did not have a pump to add air to a motorcycle shock. 

After that we road over to our hotel to check-in.  NOPE, the room is not read, come back after 3PM. Oh and do not park your motorcycle in front of the hotel. We reminded not to park out front at least 3 times.  OK Country Inns and Suites of Gettysburg, I get it you don’t want us to park out front. 

So onto Seminary Ridge and the museum.  We have been to Gettysburg many times and have never been to this museum and plan to take the full tour on day two.  Today the HOG folks (the tour is run my RUSH LLC) had arraigned a special presentation for the group.  We were broke in 4 groups of about 40-50 people and had a round robin education on Civil War soldiers backgrounds and the 1st day of the battle, ambulance wagons, the Seminary itself and a demonstration of how Civil War soldiers formed and marched.  It was quite nice. 

After the presentation were over we rolled over to the Pike Restaurant for the welcome dinner.  The food was good and the folks we shared our table with were awesome.  We had two highlights during the dinner, I was chosen (because I pulled a small prank) to be the first to wear the “HAT”.  The hat is the stereotypical “hillbilly” had from the comics and shows like “Hew Haw”.  I was told that last year the hat was a lobster, so at least I do not have to wear seafood.  I get to pass the hat on to someone else tomorrow….. Let’s see who that will be. 

The other highlight was that we won a $25 Harley Davison gift certificate.  All said we have had a great day and are looking forward to tomorrow’s events.

2016 DAV Rolling Thunder Raffle Motorcycle

2016 DAV Rolling Thunder Raffle Motorcycle

I am not sure, as I have never heard any official numbers, but from my perspective attendance was way down over Rolling Thunder 2015.

Normally, starting from the Wednesday before the event, I would start seeing motorcycles headed inbound to Washington.  This year, even through Saturday afternoon, there was little thunder in the area.

Almost every motorcycle dealership in the Washington metro area has some form of pre-event the Saturday before the actual Rolling Thunder parade. Debbie and I attended the pre-event at Fort Washington Harley Davidson.  This dealership is also the Harley Owners Group (HOG) “pin stop” which leads one to believe that there would be a large crowd, as there has been in the past.  Not this year, I was very surprised at the lack of numbers at the dealership.

I make it a point to wonder around the parking lot to check out the bikes and license plates.  This year there were, of course, a lot of motorcycles from the east coast nearly every state from Maine to Florida were present. A couple plates from Texas and one from Montana were the furthest western representatives.  On the international front Canada contributed bikes from Quebec and Newfoundland.

On the way home we stopped at the Jukebox Diner in Sterling, Va.  It was a quite enjoyable meal.  The restaurant is a hat-tip to 1950s in theme and our server, Erich, was having a lot fun with his customers.

Sunday morning, the day of the Rolling Thunder parade, I decided to support my local HOG chapter with the staging for the ride to the Pentagon.  We parked 373 motorcycles in Frederick Harley Davidson parking lot. That was down from 2015 and way off the 750 staged during the 25th anniversary of Rolling Thunder.

Next year is the 30th anniversary so maybe the numbers will return to the norm.