Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday, 27 July 2014 Ride Report

It’s been a while since I got back from Butt Lite 7, and I thought it would be a great idea for the two of us to take a nice Sunday ride to West Virginia. The Northern Virginia weather forecast was for hot and humid conditions, with severe thunderstorms starting in the evening hours and continuing through the night. Those are all great excuses for a ride to higher elevations.

I took all of the rally gear off the bike (including the tank bag) – we were running about as light as we can, while still carrying some tools. It was nice to ride that way today, after riding heavy during the work-ups to Butt Lite 7 and the ride itself.

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We shoved off around 0930 (after checking the satellite weather again), and headed in the general direction of Romney, WV. We didn’t have a plan (other than to have a nice ride), so didn’t have any specific locations to visit. I thought we might have lunch around Romney, but we were both hungry when we passed through Winchester, so we had a nice Sunday brunch at Village Market & Bistro in Old Town Winchester. The food was really good.

After lunch, we continued west along U.S. 50. We received a tornado watch on the satellite weather receiver when we were just east of U.S. 220. I checked the map quickly, and the watch extended east to the point where U.S. 220 and U.S. 50 meet. So, it was a nice nudge to head north on U.S. 220, then east on I-68. We stayed well ahead of the bad weather and made it back at a decent hour.

It was a great ride!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday, 8 June 2014 Ride Report

Time for another ride!

There were a few nearby bonus locations that needed to be finished, so they constituted today’s ride. A Grant County (WV) sign (for the Team Strange Airheads Presidential Grand Tour), the 10th Mountain Division memorial at Seneca Rocks (Tour of Honor), and the Edinburg, VA Post Office (for the Team Strange 30th Anniversary Grand Tour).

I’d wanted to take Connie along some of Old WV Route 55, so that was in the mix, also.

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The weather was perfect…it was in the mid-70’s when we left, and didn’t get above about 85 all day. The temperature dipped to the mid-60’s as we rode through areas affected by recent thunderstorm activity. We were rained on a bit in Petersburg, VA but a couple of stops under gas station awnings ensured we missed the worst of the downpours.

U.S. Route 48 is slowly straightening the route that old WV Route 55 still follows. The old road is quite twisty, so it’s a lot of fun on a motorcycle. Since we weren’t in any hurry to get to where we were going, it was a wonderful day to explore the old road.

We got fuel at the new Sheetz in Moorefield, then headed south to Petersburg. After a bit of a rain delay, we reached the Grant County (named for U.S. Grant) line, and got the needed photograph.

Our next stop was the Front Porch Restaurant at Seneca Rocks. We try to stop there every time we’re through the area. We had a nice, and somewhat extensive, discussion with the motorcyclists at the next table.

After lunch, we headed over to the 10th Mountain Division memorial at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. It took a couple of tries to find the best access (with motorcycle parking available), but find it we did.

From Seneca Rocks, we headed south and east on U.S. 33 until nearly to Harrisonburg. We’d been on I-81 A LOT, so I wanted to find some back roads to take us home. We took routes 613 and 42 through some wonderful farm country, and along some amazing ridge views.

We got the needed Edinburg, VA Post Office photograph, then continued north through Woodstock and Toms Brook. We picked up I-66 where it intersects U.S. 340 (and where we got something chilly to drink), and headed for the barn.

Another great ride and a great day!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Farkle day

I noticed that the Powerlet outlet on the left side wasn't working after I picked the bike up from the first clutch repair. Ugh. I tried to debug it before Connie and I went on a ride, but ran out of time. 

During that ride, Connie's heated gear connector started acting flakey, and I narrowed it down to that particular connection (not a connection further toward the bike).

So, with two failed electrical connections, it was time to make a few repairs. I suspected that the Powerlet connection failure was corrosion-related. Both the female and male connections looked bad. I could read voltage (but lower than expected) on the female connector, but the male connector looked like it failed on the ground side (likely caused by corrosion).

I ordered the parts directly from Powerlet, and they showed up yesterday afternoon. Today was a 9/80 Friday, so I had time and beautiful weather to take the bike apart for the fix. The Powerlet connector replacement was a bear. The brass nut had corroded to the base metal connector body, so I had to cut the nut off. The new connector went on with a good coating of lithium grease for the nut and dielectric grease for the electrical connections. It works great.

I then fixed Connie's heated gear wire, and installed a new wire to power the tank bag. Both of those work great, as well. Everything looked fine when I powered up the bike, so I think I'm all set for the next big ride.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday, 1 June 2014 Ride Report

I picked up the bike from Bob’s BMW on Saturday, and needed to get out for a shakedown run. Connie mentioned that she wanted to return to a place we both enjoyed in Washington, Virginia, so off we went!

There’s a tradition in the long-distance riding community called a Ride to Eat. Usually, these RTE events involve many hundreds of miles…we didn’t have that much time, so a short ride around Virginia was in order.

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I planned to get us to Stonyman Gourmet Farmer at lunchtime, so we took a somewhat circuitous route. We headed west along I-66, and turned south to explore Fort Valley Road. It’s beautiful.

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So, we cruised south until we got to U.S. 211, then headed east for lunch. U.S. 211 is a great road, fully of “twisties”.

We had a great lunch at Stonyman Gourmet Farmer – BLT sandwiches with salad, and soda. The temperature was marvelous, so we sat outside in their garden courtyard, and enjoyed out meal (and the birds).

From Washington, we headed north to ride a stretch of Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. We were “warned” we might see bear, but alas, no bears were in sight. We did have a great ride, though.

We headed home via Stanardsville and Ruckersville, familiar territory for our rides.

All that, and we got back at a decent hour!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ride report: Saturday, 22 February 2014

The weather so far this year has been pretty chilly (more than a few days in single digits). I’ve only been out for a ride once, and that was in January. Connie hasn’t been riding since last year. So, when it became obvious that we were going to have decent weather over the weekend, I got about planning a couple of rides (one for Saturday, and another for Sunday if I could trade riding for chores). We’re engaged in the Big Money Rally 2014, so I selected from that big list of bonus locations to plan Saturday’s ride.

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The planned route is in red; the dark cyan is the track.

We got started early (well, earlier than I often get going on weekend rides), and headed for the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge, just east of Annapolis, Maryland. There was a big wreck on the outer loop of the Capital Beltway (surprise!), so we did a little detour to get onto U.S. 50 East.

Clear days are an especially nice treat while on the bridge, because it’s the highest point around. I like stealing glances of the ships at anchor, just south of the span. The traffic on this chilly Saturday morning was light; fast forward just a few months, and the weekend traffic can be daunting.

The major theme of this ride was libraries – our mission was to find specific libraries, then get a smartphone photograph of a library sign (free standing or on the library itself), our rally “flag”, and the bike. It’s great when Connie is along because, in addition to being wonderful company, the flag is in the right place in the photograph.

We had a late breakfast at Southern Grill in Seaford, Delaware, a little mom-and-pop diner.

In addition to taking a lot of photographs of libraries, we stopped to do one virtual geocache.

We completed the ride by heading south on I-95, all the way to Virginia.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ride Report -- end of the 2013 Tour of Honor: 26 and 27 October 2013

The 2013 Tour of Honor ends on 31 October 2013, so I had just a few days left to visit memorials and do a little sightseeing on a beautiful fall weekend. I crafted a nice route that would allow me to complete the four New Jersey memorials (Connie and I had previously visited the memorial in Camden, NJ) and visit the memorial in Manhattan. While I was at it, I wanted to do a little geocaching along the way to add a few more counties to the count.

This was my planned route for Saturday, 26 October 2013:

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With my propensity for dawdling, I wanted to get on the road and head more-or-less straight for my first planned stop in Bayonne, New Jersey. I stopped for a brief lunch at Perryville, Maryland, then got back on I-95.

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My first [planned] stop of the day was the To the Struggle Against World Terrorism monument in Bayonne, NJ.

I took a somewhat circuitous route to and from the monument so I could take in the local scenery. The Military Ocean Terminal has been repurposed, somewhat. There’s a cruise ship terminal there now, along with a ship repair / graving dock facility (you can see the graving dock on the southern-most of the two long piers in the map, below).

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These two gigantic piers are constructed of fill, and stretch quite a way out into the Upper New York Bay.

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My second planned stop of the trip was the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site. There was a little traffic on the approach to the Holland Tunnel – I had a nice chat with some motorcycle (and cigar) aficionados while waiting. My track is ratty because of the tunnel and multi-path in Manhattan. The trip to the site was uneventful, if not a bit slow because of Saturday traffic.

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I was in a bit of a hurry to get the photograph, then get back to my bike, so they’re not the best photographs I’ve taken this year.

I had great parking while at the preview site. When I pulled up, I read the sign as saying that spot was reserved, but it was only reserved during the work week. So, I was all set. At the moment I took this picture, all the tourists who had been milling about at the site had moved on.

From here, I wanted to head uptown to grab a few geocaches. My planned route uptown was a mess, so I chose to ride north through Chinatown and the Bowery, which is always colorful.

My next stop was the virtual geocache at the Ralph Kramden statue located at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (the traffic was fierce, so I didn’t stop for a photograph).

From there, I wanted to head north to Central Park to snag a few more geocaches, but the roads in the lower part of Central Park were closed that weekend because of the New York Marathon. I bailed on the rest of Manhattan, and headed for some geocaches in Queens. My track to and across Queens was predictably interesting. I did see a R1200GS while crossing the bridge into Queens, so that was nice.

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I had planned to do a little geocaching at Flushing Meadows – Corona Park I got one cache, then decided to press on.

The light was growing dim when I took this picture, but the graininess of the photograph helps hide some of the more significant flaws of these three observation towers at the New York State Pavilion (which are in serious need of a little needle-gunning, primer, and a good paint system).

I’d left a little later in the day than originally planned, so I wound up leaving Queens somewhat later than planned. I decided to head directly for The Rockaways to snag a couple of geocaches in Queens County.

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The virtual geocache I wanted to find at Fort Tilden was closed, so I headed west to Coney Island (Defending the Honor of American Popular Culture?!). I’d hoped to find a geocache while there, but I just couldn’t find it.

I did, however, have time to stop for a couple of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, straight from the source. It was a beautiful night to eat outside…I only had one panhandler come by to check on the spare change supply.

I wanted to ride to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge to do a little geocaching and to get some photographs of the bridge. My initial route had me riding over the bridge both ways to get a cache on the southern end of Manhattan, but I was always willing to drop that if I was running low on daylight.

My traffic-enabled zūmo 665 determined that the Brooklyn Bridge was closed, so all of my subsequent routing went out the window. I knew basically where I wanted to go, so I just headed north to a pair of geocaches adjacent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

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I got to see impromptu street racing in Brooklyn, and arrived at the scene of a pedestrian-vehicle collision immediately before the emergency vehicles arrived. Wow. That ride north through Brooklyn was awesome.

There’s a geocache across the street from Steiner Studios (which is located at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard). There’s another geocache outside the gate of Quarters A at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I was able to grab both. image

I’ve never before been to the Brooklyn Navy Yard (or any of the nearby sights), so seeing that area was a real treat. The neighborhoods of Vinegar Hill, Dumbo, and Brooklyn Heights are definitely worth a return trip.

I had wanted to see the Brooklyn Bridge at night, so I found a nice spot on John Street in Brooklyn for a photograph.

It was past 2200, so it was time to head back to NJ to find a place to stay for the night. Before getting back on I-278, I wanted to do a little more sightseeing. I took this photograph at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 along the East River.

I was nearly across Staten Island, when I decided that I just HAD to stop for a geocache in Richmond County, NY. So, I did.

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I didn’t have a particular location to stay, so I figured I would get another couple of geocaches in New Jersey, then figure it out. It was a beautiful evening, and the traffic was light, so I just enjoyed the ride.

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This is the Quick Stop Groceries in Leonardo, New Jersey, featured in the movie Clerks (the store location is also a virtual geocache).

I also visited a spring that Henry Hudson used to re-provision his ships, but it was far too dark to produce a good picture.

I found a La Quinta hotel in West Long Branch, NJ to bed down for the night.

I got going in the morning, with both geocaches and Tour of Honor memorials in my sights.

The first stop was a marker for Ye Olde Robbins Burial Place (which marks the general location of Deborah Lincoln’s grave).

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My next stop was the Carranza Memorial in Tabernacle Township, NJ. What a place to visit (especially on a sport-touring motorcycle)!

Next, was a Revolutionary War memorial near Port Republic, NJ.

Next up: Brigantine, NJ.

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This monument is located outside the Atlantic County [NJ] Library in Brigantine, NJ. It’s a virtual geocache.

My next stop was the New Jersey Korean War Memorial in Atlantic City for another virtual geocache.

My last stop in Atlantic City was the Greek Temple Monument (the World War I Memorial), where I was to take a photograph of Liberty in Distress, and my Tour of Honor flag. This stop was also good for a Iron Butt Photo Tag photograph.

I was running out of time to catch the last ferry from Cape May to Lewes, so I decided to head directly for the ferry terminal.

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I got to the terminal with enough time to spare that I could ride back to McDonalds for a quick bite.

There was a brief wait back at the ferry terminal, long enough for a few pictures.

I was the first to board, so got a nice spot at the front of the ship.

The sun was setting just as the crew was making preparations for getting underway.

And now we’re underway!

It’s about an hour and a half to Delaware…just enough time to sit down and do a little reading. I had so much cold weather gear on that I spent much of the trip on the weather decks just to keep comfortable.

My only stop in Delaware was the Rehoboth Veterans Memorial.

The ride home was uneventful…I made it back to the barn about 2230. This was an awesome trip.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Late-October 2013 ride

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Got on the road about 1000. Headed right for Bayonne, NJ. Stopped for lunch at the outlet store place. Bayonne was amazing...you really need to know where you're going to find that memorial. Great views.

Got to Manhattan just fine. Took the Holland Tunnel. Lots of GPS bounce, but I knew where i was going. Great parking. Lots of people in the visitors center. Got inside and took the picture, then got back to the bike.

Wanted to go uptown. Nice ride...lots of jaywalkers. Traffic wasn't too bad. Lots of double-parking. Central Park South was a mess. Road into Central Park was closed because of the upcoming marathon. Decided to go to Queens. Saw a GS. Road to Flushing Meadows was interesting. Flushing Meadows has faded. Headed south to Far Rockaway, the to Coney Island. Went north so I could get some pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. Saw the big house at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Steiner's Studio. Brooklyn Bridge going into Manhaytan was closed. Where does Flatbush Avenue go? Saw a guy who'd been hit, lying in the street with a bunch of guys helping him. Ambulance hadn't gotten there yet. Before that, saw two vehicles driving recklessly.

Rode out over Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Stopped to snag a geocache in Richmond County, the headed into NJ. Got a couple of geocaches there. National Park was closed for the day, so i continued south. Stayed at a La Quinta.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Great sleep. So-so breakfast. Got on the road, heading south. Had a couple of virtual caches to get, and two stops on the 2013 Tour of Honor. Knew that the last ferry to Lewes sails at 1800, so headed for the ferry terminal. Got there with plenty of margin. Got dinner, took a bunch of pictures, and enjoyed the ride.