Posts Tagged ‘Virginia motorcycle ride’

My wife Debbie and our close friends Tim and Karma went for a cool ride this past weekend. Cool in that the temperature was about 50F degrees before wind chill.

I was going to take the Ultra Limited out, thinking the big faring would reduce the wind. But, luck conspired against us and the Ultra would not start (weak battery). So we hopped on the Heritage and away we went, we both had our chaps on and Debbie had her long underwear, full face helmet and heavy jacket. I put on an open face helmet and a middle weight jacket.

picture by scott massey

Watching the pig dance

We linked up with Tim and Karma at the intersection of US Routes 15 and 50. We had barely been there 5 minutes (watching a dancing pig) before they pulled up looking like black leather clad Eskimos! There was no skin showing anywhere on Karma and only a little on Tim. I started thinking maybe I was a bit under dressed.

We did not have any real plans on where to go, this was a last minute thing, so I took the lead. I knew neither Tim nor Karma had been on the “Secret Blue Ridge Mountain Northern Stretch” which runs along a blue ridge mountain ridge line and connects US 50 with US Route 7. I also knew that I was the only one in the group that had taken River Road along the Shenandoah River which would take us back to US 50. I had mentioned the Blue Ridge route here and the River Road ride here.

picture by scott massey

Wolf Tune Pub

As the sun stated to slide into the west it stated to cool even more. About 3 PM we pulled into the Wolf Tune Irish Pub, part of the Blackthorne Inn & Restaurant in Upperville, VA. The atmosphere and food in the pub was superior! The hot apple cider warmed our hands and insides. If you are in the Upperville area we can recommend a stop at the pub!

Getting back on the bikes we began chasing the fading light, sunset was coming fast. Riding back to the intersection where we met we soon split, with Tim and Karma heading east and Debbie and I going north back to Leesburg. It was at the split that I really started feeling the cool, hugging the engine a little closer I survived to ride another day.

harley Davidson

Harley Davidson Vehicle Operations, York, PA Open House

Debbie and I decided to ride to the Open House at the Harley Davidson factory in York, PA on September 19th.  The factory, which is officially known as the “Harley Davidson Vehicle Operations, York, PA”, has an annual open house and allows the public a chance to see how HD Softails, Trikes, Touring and CVO are built.

We left the house a bit later then we wanted but hit the road mid-morning.  Taking US Route 15 North to Gettysburg (after stopping at Deb’s favorite, Chick-fil-a for breakfast).  The ride on 15 between Frederick, MD and Gettysburg is nice smooth, picturesque trip through Farm County.  But, you need to be alert on this road as there are many, many crossroads that require attention!

When we reached Gettysburg we turned on to US Route 30, also known as The Lincoln Highway, which is the third longest route in the US.  The exit for Route 30 is also the exit for Battlefield Harley Davidson.  I was surprised at the number of motorcycle related small businesses were along the road between Gettysburg and York.  While we did not stop, we were running a bit later then I wanted, I counted at least 5 bike related stores including Battlefield Leather and the Iron Horse Repair Garage.

The worse part of the ride occurred just outside the town of New Oxford. The major crossroad in the town is being repaved and had traffic backed up at least 5 miles.  The GPS showed no way around without a lot of back tracking and Deb would not allow me to skip traffic by riding on the shoulder.  Once we reached the city limits I was able to ride through the back streets and bypass the traffic and construction.  All in all the road worked added another 30 minutes to the ride.

We arrived at the factory a bit before noon. There were all makes and manor of bikes there, even for a Thursday afternoon.  After registration we were issued safety glasses and told to stay inside the yellow lines.

harley davidson

Debbie having lunch outside the factory!

During the walk through we witnessed the birth of a Harley (the VIN stamped onto the frame), fenders and tanks stamped from sheet metal, fairings and saddlebags attached, and bikes tested then loaded into trucks.

We talked with a few of the workers that were assigned to keep us on the path and out of the way of the robots moving the bikes and parts along the assembly line.  They all like working at the plant and enjoyed having us walk through and see what they do to make the bikes.

The walk though ends with you in the gift shop, of course.  There were many “Vehicle Operations” labeled items including the ubiquitous t-shirts.  Because this was an open house the factory had invited several local dealers to “setup shop” in the parking lot along with some food vendors and the “Globe of Death”!  In a different part of the factory campus there were demo rides of the new 2014 bikes as well as the HOG (Harley Owners Group) Pin Stop.

All in all we had a great day (with the exception of the town of New Oxford), so much so that we are considering going back for the “Steel Toe Tour”.

I recorded this at the Harley Davidson Vehicle Operations, York, PA Open House!

Last Saturday I rode with the Northern Virginia Motorcycle Club (NOVA MC) to the Route 11 Potato Chip factory.  Debbie had to work so she missed out on the fun.  WP_20130914_007

The start point was in Manassas, VA with a link up time of 8 AM but I left the house early in order to stop and have breakfast with Debbie.  We stopped at the Chick-fil-a in Leesburg to have a quick meal I then went to ride and she went off to work.

We had eleven bikes, several with passengers, show up for the ride.  After a short safety brief from the road captain “Chaz” we started to roll out…. But, one of the bikes had a malfunction, it would not start.  After a few attempts at “bump starting” it was apparent it was not going anywhere.  We confirmed that the rider had the issue covered and then set off.

It was a bit cool when we hit the road, around 60 degrees (Fahrenheit) and of course even cooler as we road down Interstate 66.  After the merge of I-66 and Interstate 81 we took the first exit (Route 11) and headed south.  We rode though the towns of Strasburg, Woodstock (where we noticed that the temperature was now around 55 degrees), Edinburg, and Mount Jackson.

Turns out that I-81 was the major interstate replacement for Route 11. 11 begins at the Canadian border at Rouses Point, NY and ends in Louisiana.  Route 11 is 1,645 miles or 2,647 KM in length.

Turning off Route 11 we hit Wissler Road (VA 720) and rode through Meems Bottom Covered Bridge.  The bridge was a bit tricky, it had raised wooden planks for cars to traverse, which caught me a bit off guard.  Going into a dark covered bridge with dark sun glasses trying to keep a good distance and pace while riding on raised planks….interesting!

A few miles from the covered bridge is the Route 11 Potato Chip factory.  It is out by itself, you have to want to go there, which we did.  They were not cooking chips that day but I have to admit that for a place that deep fries their product it was remarkably clean!  The owner gave us an overview of how the operation works which was interesting and we sampled all their different types of chips.

I liked the BBQ chips the most and bought a bag for myself.  I also bought a small bag of their “hot” chips, Mama Zuma’s!  Now that was a spicy potato chip!

After the visit to the chip plant we stopped for lunch at Johnny Appleseed’s restaurant.  The food was nice and the lunch conversation was better.  After we ate it was time to head back.  We took VA 340 North and I followed the same path as when Debbie and I visited New Market Battlefield (click here for that ride).

All in all it was another great ride with the NOVA MC!