The Big Money Rally has been going for three days, and since the weather was very clear (albeit somewhat crisp), I headed out to bag a few bonii. As you can see, the bike was reporting the chill in the air -- the icing warning (the snowflake above the odometer) didn't stop flashing for the entire 7 1/2 hour ride.
I was wearing my usual riding gear, plus a Gerbing's heated jacket and trouser combination, my usual winter Gerbing's heated gloves, and a wool balaclava from Aerostich. The heated gear, plus the grip heater and saddle heater made the trip a wonder. I felt a little chill on my ankles (I wasn't wearing the heated socks, today, which I'll add for the next chilly ride), but other than that I was really comfortable.
Those are my beady little eyes, peering out from my helmet.
I knew I wanted to head to southern Maryland, so off I went. The Big Money Rally has a whole set of bonii locations for the first "phase" (12 January through about 1 April 2012). The bonii include National Parks and selected U.S. Post Offices. The National Park units must have the word "park" in their name, so I was off to Oxon Cove Park in Maryland, which is one of the closer units that fit the criteria. Oxon Cove Park contains Oxon Hill Farm, which is a real demonstration farm. It's been YEARS since I've been there -- it'll have to wait a little longer for a re-visit, when I have a bit more time on the clock and the mercury is a bit higher in the sight glass.
Part of the challenge with photo bonii is getting the shot composed just right. I don't have the right hangars for the rally "flag" yet, so I improvised by using the bike as a prop. This was my first bonus location for this rally. As you can see, the parking lot was completely empty on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
The next stop was Fort Foote, one of the U.S. Civil War forts that ringed Washington, DC.
And from Fort Foote, I was on to Fort Washington. Fort Washington is another place I've haven't visited in years...perhaps later this year.
As I mentioned earlier, in addition to U.S. National Park Service units (that have "park" in their name or official signage), selected U.S. Post Offices are on the bonii list. My next stop was the post office just outside Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division.
And, here I am, again, peering out of my helmet, in the bright winter sun.
The U.S. Post Office in Nanjemoy, MD is pretty small, as most of the rural post offices are.
One of the reasons I enjoy these Grand Tours so much is that they, like geocaching, cause me to go places I wouldn't otherwise have visited. I spent a lot of time rolling through some amazing places in rural Maryland this afternoon. While I saw only two other motorcycles (both dirt bikes), I saw quite a few young people out either walking along or playing basketball.
The U.S. Post Office in Welcome, MD shares a building with what appeared to me to be a residence.
I just couldn't pass this one up. Apehanger's Bar & Grill in Bel Alton, MD has a LOT of motorcycle parking. When I'm by here in better weather, the bikes are stacked up like cord wood. Today, there was only one, lonely BMW R1200RT out front. The other motorcycle parking spots had cages in them. Apehanger's is, I've learned, for sale. There's one heckuva investment opportunity for someone, waiting in Bel Alton.
Piney Point is a very interesting spot...I've never been in that area, before, but want to go back and explore more when time permits. For now, though, I've "bagged" their local post office.
As I rolled out of Piney Point, I was getting hungry, and the sun was heading down, so I turned northward to return to the barn. I headed for what was to be the last U.S. Post Office of the day, in California, MD.
There's a serviceable, but not great, Mexican restaurant near the post office, so I parked the bike and grabbed a bite to eat before heading north.
So far this year, I've been able to ride on two weekends. It was chilly both times, but the weather was otherwise excellent. It's great to get out to ride, and to practice rally skills (e.g., route planning, bonii searching, timed stops). Here's hoping the weather holds out reasonably well the rest of winter!