Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ride report -- 18 February 2012

This winter has offered some amazing riding weather. I recall last year's first ride was some time in February -- I've been able to ride nearly every weekend so far this year.

I had the bike serviced at Bob's BMW yesterday (24000 mile check, new tires, plus several other things that needed to be done), and the job took a little longer than I had budgeted. Instead of heading out yesterday afternoon, I decided to take the long way home, through the District, and do a little sightseeing. I figured that I'd be able to get out at a decent time on Saturday and would be able to catch up on the riding.

After getting a really good snooze, I was all packed up and ready to head out. The sky was nearly crystal clear (and remained that way almost all day).

It was a nice, and brisk morning. I don't recall seeing the temperature go below this value all morning.
My route had me heading north to Harrisburg, PA via I-495, I-270, and U.S. 15. I'm on the Waffle House Grand Tour, so I stopped by to visit the two Waffle House locations in Frederick, MD to get pictures of my bike, rally flag (er, little serape), and the dining establishment. I was pretty hungry by this time, but didn't want to spoil my lunch by chowing down at the Waffle House.

Waffle House #1666

Waffle House #1555
From Frederick, I headed north to Thurmont, MD -- near the home of the BMW Bikers of Metropolitan Washington (BMWBMW)'s Square Root Rally in Sabillasville, MD. I needed to get a picture of a sign for the Catoctin Mountain Park, and the good folks of the National Park Service didn't disappoint.

I've been here once before, many years ago. The hiking is excellent, and there's a lot of nice history to be seen and enjoyed. I'll be back, when the weather is a little warmer. It's tough to get much walking done when you're dressed like the Michelin Man(TM). I ride on Michelin Pilot Road 2 tires, by the way, but that's not why I feel like the old boy when I ride in the winter.

Catoctin Mountain Park
After that nice stop, I was on to Gettysburg. As you can see, the skies were completely clear. Gettysburg is in a valley, and there was a bit of a breeze, just to keep the temperature crisp. The number of visitors in the battlefield was very light, which was nice for my riding pleasure.

The very nice Visitor's Center is down a road to the right in this picture.
I had a wonderful trip to Gettysburg last was really nice to visit the battlefield and the town again in the winter.

Yes, as you can see, I didn't put the sunscreen on (again).
The Big Money Rally has a nice list of bonus locations, among them National Park System units and selected Post Offices. The Gettysburg Post Office is on the list, so here's my ride, rally flag, and the building.
Gettysburg, PA Post Office
No motorcycle trip would be complete without the opportunity to visit one or more geocaches. This is one that I stopped to find. I managed to find five on this trip, which is pretty good, considering the temperature.

Virtual geocache
 I had wanted to stop by the battlefield (Devil's Den) last October during The Void Rally, but dropped that location when time got tight on the first day. I didn't make it back to Devil's Den on this trip; I saved it for next time (when it's a bit warmer).

I did climb to the top of the tower that looks across the battlefield; I've been by, but never to the top, and knew that I'd get a great shot of Little Round Top.

Little Round Top (left)
 It was getting to be about time to head back to the barn, so I stopped for the virtual geocache at this covered bridge. It was amazing to walk across a bridge this old and well maintained.

Sachs Covered Bridge
And, here I am, back in Northern Virginia, at the end of a wonderful ride....

Smoke Chasing 2012

The increasingly popular Smoke Chasing Grand Tour begins in just a couple of weeks (1 March 2012). I have my "flag", so I'm ready to go....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Early spring?

What an unusual winter. I'm sitting on a pinnic table outside Bob's BMW, reasonably comfortable, in mid-February. If it weren't for the breeze, it would be really nice. I can't wait for the service on the bike to be complete, then I'm off for parts west.

I've heard that we're in for a bumper crop of bugs this year, because the cold usually beats their numbers back over the winter. More ticks. Sigh.