Posts Tagged ‘Motorcycle Ride’

WP_20170806_10_56_28_Pro

Debbie and I decided to take a quick Sunday morning motorcycle ride this past weekend.  Our ride took us to three national parks in about 5 hours!

Leaving home about 8AM we headed out to the George Washington Parkway (a national park). It took us about an hour to get to the southern terminus which is also Mount Vernon home of George Washington. Riding north on the parkway gives the rider a wonderful, at times panoramic, views of the Potomac River and surrounding country.

Coming abreast of Washington D.C. the view is remains panoramic as well as breath taking. The Washington and Lincoln Monuments clearly in view, the Kennedy Center and the spires of Georgetown make the few minutes you ride past the city quite awe inspiring.  Just past those sites you come across Theodore Roosevelt Island.  This is an often a much under looked memorial to a great president.  Take the time to walk across to the island and view this memorial. We did not stop this time…the parking lot was full, otherwise it would have been 4 national parks in 5 ½ hours.

The second park of this motorcycle ride was the C&O Canal National Park.  If you follow this blog you will see that I am attempting to get to all the motorcycle accessible stops along the canal.  I have knocked out a few but there is a lot of stops remaining.

Lastly we stopped in and took a look at Glen Echo National Park.  Just a short distance from the Clara Barton Parkway (named after the founder of the American Red Cross) this National Park started life in 1891 as a school and in 1911 transformed in to the premier amusement park of the great D.C area.  In 1971, shortly after the amusement park closed the Park Service took over and it is now a national park!  The park is an easy motorcycle ride coming out of or into Washington D.C.

Leaving Glen Echo we returned to the Clara Barton Parkway and headed west towards home.  All in all…a great day for a motorcycle ride!

WP_20170806_11_17_25_Pro

Location – Lock 10

Mile Mark – 8.8

Historical Comment – One of the few locks to use the Drop Gate Lock system.  See the picture below for details.

Ride to the Site – Very easy.  This point on the canal is near Washington D.C.  Although traffic might be an issue during the “rush hour” phases of the work day.

Amenities – There is a picnic area but no rest rooms.

Road Conditions (from main road) – This lock is directly off the main road. 

Railway Situation – no railroad tracks or crossing. 

Parking Lot Condition – All paved with about 10 parking spots.

 Main Attraction – The Drop Gate Lock system.

WP_20170724_12_02_31_Pro

If you follow me on FaceBook (which most don’t as I don’t really push it) or Twitter you know that I collect Harley Davidson Motorcycle Dealership Pins.  Debbie and I also collect pins that remind us of our motorcycle rides to various destinations.

This year we collected motorcycle ride pins during out nearly 3000 mile vacation ride, touring along a couple of the Great Lakes and into New England.  Neither of us had been into the northeast United States for anything beyond a business trip, so that is why we chose to go there this year.  You can read about our rainy, soggy, drenched motorcycle vacation starting here.

We rode to so some pretty cool places along the way.  On White Face Mountain we got to see the inside of a rain cloud and at Ben & Jerry’s we tasted a new ice cream that is not yet on the market.  All in all we had a great time touring and these motorcycle ride pins will be conversation starters moving forward.

WP_20170626_16_29_18_Pro

Well during our 2017 Motorcycle Vacation ride I was able to get the wife to two more “old world” cities!  Not sure if she still thinks this is funny.

WP_20170619_15_33_20_Rich (2)

 

WP_20170620_10_12_42_Rich

Rolling out of Eire, PA we headed north along the Lake Erie coast on Route 5WP_20170620_09_43_14_Rich(The Seaway Trail, an American Byway Seaway Trail, an American Byway).  We made an assumption that this part of our motorcycle vacation would be along the coast.  It was a great ride in good weather, for a change, but the road is not directly on the coast so that was a bit disappointing.  For the most part you only see Lake Eire a few times.

 Along Route 5 we stopped at several locations including a coupleSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES lighthouses.  The one thing that really surprised me was the amount of vineyards along the road.  There was miles upon miles of grape vines, thousands of acres.  This day’s ride, along route 5, has been our best, so far, for this year’s motorcycle vacation.  

After a few hours we riding the motorcycle through the cool mid-morning we decided to take a side trip over to Gowanda Harley Davidson.  Talk about being in the middle of know where, this is one of the most remote Harley dealerships we have been.  

Riding out from that dealership I set the GPS to take us to Buffalo Harley Davidson. Unlike the past, the last update to the “infotainment system” seems WP_20170620_09_24_55_Richto have fixed the problem of the GPS not quite finding the dealerships but, there are still some problems like the road showing up in Lake Erie.  If you follow me on FaceBook you know I collect the dealership pins but Buffalo HD was sold out, dang!   

After we checked into the hotel, and clocking 900 miles, we decided to ride down to the American side of the falls.  BIG MISTAKE…not to check the WP_20170620_15_17_29_Proweather radar.  About half way to the falls we could see rain in the distance and it was very clearly a heavy rain.  Turning around at the first opportunity, we made a run back to the hotel…. LOL we did not make it.  Quite well soaked we stopped under an overpass to wait out the storm.  I am very happy that the hotel has a laundry. 

After dinner we tried it again…this time we had no rain and had a good time at the falls.  Tomorrow we are going to travel to the Canadian side and check out the sites.  I know for a fact that we will be getting wet again tomorrow, we plan on taking the boat ride to under the falls! 

2017 Motorcycle Vacation Day 2

ijustwant2ride.com

I have been taking my wife to some of the great cities of the old world. Last year I was able to take her to Lisbon and Damascus. Two years ago we rode the motorcycle to Paris.

Not sure where we will ride the motorcycle to next… but you can count on her getting to London and Glasgow sometime soon.

ijustwant2ride.com

 

Struggling to decide where to ride or tour on your motorcycle in the coming season?  How about the two following websites to help generate some ideas. 

The first site is a repeat of one from an earlier post. A few years ago I wrote about a website that could help you plan some cool motorcycle tours.  This site by the Federal Highway Administration (can you believe that the federal government got a website right?) is called the American Byways.  America’s Byways is an interactive, map based, website that will provide you a listing of each of the 150 different roads.  Those roads are comprised of the National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. You can select the road from a national or state map to see basic information on the road (length, average time to travel the road and historical background) as well as route maps, directions and photos. 

american byway

Interactive map of American Byways

The second website to help you pick some motorcycle rides or destinations is “Only in Your State”. With this website you can find some out of the way or quirky places that you may never even heard or read about near your home.  For example, here in Virginia, this website recommends the “Southern Virginia’s Donut Trail Is Everything You’ve Dreamed Of And More”.  So the saying “Ride to eat. Eat to ride” fits in well.

Ijustwant2ride.com

 

There are a lot of other websites like this out on the ‘ole interwebs.   If you have one that you like to use when it comes to finding a destination for motorcycle ride, tour or destination please share in the comments below!!!

Ijustwant2ride.com

The first really great motorcycle riding weekend of the year and we got to take advantage of it!   It was a bit cool when we started, something just under 50F.  But, Saturday, a little before noon, the sun was out, the temperature was rising, the sky was blue and the motorcycle was calling.  

I threw on my chaps, Debbie put on her electric jacket liner and we were ready for a motorcycle ride to the US Marine Corp Museum.  We had not been there before but had seen its structure many, many time.  Anyone who travels north or south on Interstate 95 in the Washington, DC metro area has seen the spire of the museum rising above the tree line.  

Ijustwant2ride.com

Iwo Jima flag rising… in Legos!

We rode out, going the long way to avoid the DC highway system, and a couple hours later we were pulling the motorcycle into the parking lot of the museum.  The building itself is quite imposing, it was built to give an artistic representation to the Marines rising the flag on Iwo Jima.  

It is quite amazing when you walk into the atrium of the building. Hanging from the ceiling are multiple Marine Corp aircraft from WWII as well as a Harrier jump jet.  The museum itself is well laid out walking you through the founding of the Corp at Tun Tavern through their current deployments in the Middle East.

If you are in the area of Quantico, VA riding your motorcycle or in your car, you should stop a check out this free museum.  It would be worth your time to learn a little more about one part of the American armed services.  

b-3

So why 9?  Because everyone does 10 and 11 is too much work.

First of all this list is not for one of those around the globe motorcycle adventure trips.  I will not be mentioning things like lion repellant, spare tires or satellite phones.  These tips are more for that multi-day to couple week trips via normal roads/interstates motorcycle trips.

These tips are primarily based on our own experiences and may or may not be fully applicable to you.  However, Debbie and I are not any different then you guys so I hope that the tips get you to at least think about a particular item.

9.  Carry a few tools.  Yes, this is dependent on the type of motorcycle you ride.  A sport bike is not going to carry as much as a touring bike.  At a minimum get a multi-tool that is appropriate to your bike.  By that I mean, if your multi-tool has a hex tool but your bike has Torx screws, it is not going to be of much use.   Here is what I carry on the Harley Davidson Ultra Limited:

Multi-tool that came with the motorcycle, which turns out is quite limited based on our summer 2015 trip.

Mini screwdriver and ratchet sets with Torx, hex and standard bits in the sizes I need for my motorcycle.

Stop n Go tire Repair kit.

8. The weather is going to change, be prepared.  No matter what you think is going to happen, plan on getting wet or cold or both.  Again what you can carry is dependent on the motorcycle you ride.  At a minimum you should carry rain gear.  You need to stop and put on the rain gear as soon as you know that it is not a tiny little shower, especially if you are in the mountains.  It sucks to put on your rain gear after you are soaking and then the temp drops.b1

7. ATGATT  All The Gear All The Time – Every time I see or hear this I can’t help but think of the green Martians from the cult classic movie “Mars Attacks” (ack ack).  But what it should mean is good boots, motorcycle pants and jackets that are armored and abrasion resistant and a full face helmet.  I know that I do not do this all the time myself, it is something that we all know we should do!

6. Start Early End Early – This one is more from personal experiences with longer motorcycle trips.  After so many years in the army I still wake up early.  Because of that I get on the road early and, depending on where you are riding, that can get us out before traffic gets heavy.  It also allows you to beat the heat in the summer months, for a while anyway.  By ending early you have time to get your motorcycle unloaded and prepared for the next day, give you time for a shower and a bit of rest before dinner.  I like to be kickstand up no later than 7AM and stopped for the evening no later than 5PM.  This also helps with any bickering or sniping with your passenger because you are both tired or hot or cold.

5. Get in a Routine – Load and unload your motorcycle the same way in the same order.  Do your post ride checks in the same way at the same time (after diner). A routine of this nature will help ensure you do not forget anything while loading and unloading.  It will help to ensure that you perform your ride checks and preparation.b4

4. Inspect your bike at night – As part of your routine, do your T-CLOCS before you close down for the evening.  Wipe down the grime on your windshield/faring and if you have room to carry one, cover your bike.  Performing these activities on your motorcycle each night, I like to do mine after dinner, will allow you to be on the road little quicker in each morning. Do it in the evening or in the morning, but on all long motorcycle trips you need to do it every day.  Things become loose or need attention, better to find out when you are parked.

3. Snack Smart – Eating a big turkey leg at noon and then riding on the interstate might cause you get a bit sleepy.  Snack smart is just a tip to make sure that you can operate your motorcycle in the best manner possible.  Drinking soda or coffee might not be the best option over water or a sports drink on those days where heat might be a concern.  If you are on one of those rides where you only stop for gas consider adding a cup holder or hydration pack to your ride kit. Additionally, consider what you eat, would a banana be better for your riding or do you really, really want that turkey leg!!!

2. Tweak don’t Twerk –  Move around on the seat to stay comfortable and avoid saddle sores on a long motorcycle trip.  This is easy on a touring bike, with larger seats, highway pegs and large footboards the touring motorcyclist has it easy over the sport bike riders.  But, either way, you have to remain a comfortable as possible.  If you plan on lots of long distance riding, look into getting a seat that really fits your seat.

1. Stop and smell the roses! – Yes we all know we need frequent breaks but, if your breaks are only gas stations you are likely missing out.  If you see something that peaks your interest check it out!  Even if you have to turn around and go back to get the picture with the giant roller skate do it.  You might never know what you are missing…. maybe dinosaurs! b-2

21-a

“My life lives inside me… that is what riding an old Harley teaches you.”  A quote from the movie that is what “Easy Rider would had been if it were a motorcycle documentary.

21-bThe premise of “21 Days Under the Sky” is four friends riding old school Harley Davidson choppers across America and the fun, trouble and adventure they find.  By old school I mean vintage Sportsters, Shovel and Knucklehead motorcycles. Their bikes have small tanks and more then a few break downs during their cross-country trip. This film interspaces vintage pictures and film clips from the 1960-70s with the travels and troubles of these friends as they ride US Route 40.

Broken frames, flat tires, running on empty and the age of their motorcycles plague 21-cthe riders.  But they also have some great times along the way.  Deviating from their planed route they stop by the Bonneville Salt Flats only to find it under a few inches of water.  They don’t allow the water to dampen the fun and the ensuing frolic makes for some beautiful and fun photography.

I have to say I loved the cinema photography of 21 Days Under the Sky.  But that was offset by the pretentious of the narration. While much of the movie’s narration was perfectly fine there was just enough ostentatious, almost pompous, sections of the script to gag a goat.

At 70 minutes the movie highly compresses their 21 day trip from San Francisco to New York City.  If you do the math they really did not ride that far each day, unless you count the time and distance they had to make up for each problem that put them to full stop. It would be very interesting to see what was left on the cutting room floor.

Currently on Netflix, 21 Days Under the Sky is worth your time.  Vintage motorcycle, old school choppers, a motorcycle ride across America is a formula for success, right?! I give it 4 out of 5 stars and I will watch it again.  Also, remember that this motorcycle movie claims “The next new thing is just ahead”!

4 out 5 stars