Author Archives: Darek


Sometimes you just have to stop and take in the road

(but then quickly get the hell out of the road!!)


Somewhere along Rt. 116 in MA


massrideThanks to a Hybrid Course I had the morning off, so I decided to take a ride.

Mass loop included : CT routes – 34, 302, 53, 37, 7, 44, and 183 into Mass.

MA routes: 183, 23, 8, 116, 112, 2, to I95, onto I90, then 32 back into CT

CT again: 32, hopped on 84 for a sec, got to 320, 44, I384, I84, to 15 to school!

Odometer: 355 Miles in pristine weather

Accommodations: Single day ride, only my home away from home on the saddle

Meals: Breakfast at home, brown bag lunch (note to self, never pach a pear in the side case again). Saved a bunch and just stopped for coffee to go with my sandwhich at lunch.

As I mentionedI had the morning off in mid November and I planned on checking out what I might have missed in Mass on our way back from VT the last time. I mean, there has to be some fun stuff right? Well as I set out in the morning the air was brisk, probably about upper 30’s. I had on all of the layers of my Olympia GT Air Transition Jacket (Review Coming soon) and Jeans under my new Rev’It! Zip Textile pants (Also soon to be reviewed) but I was still chilly after the first hour. A first hour which, much to my chagrin, was filled with slow moving morning commuters and stop lights. Note to self: Stay the hell away from Danbury or any of 34 in the morning. I even had the pleasure having some crazy woman pass me on the right. With nowhere to go ahaed of me. In the break down lane. Wanted to kill her…

p10300041Anyway, eventually I got to 37 which was a nicer road with some longer sweepers, so speeds picked up and traffic went down considerably. After that I hopped on 7 which is a nice road at the time I hit it, about 9:30AM on a Wednesday.  I’ve been on this road with traffic and it can be a bit boring, but with lighter traffic and a bit more speed its an absolute pleasure to ride. This shot is from the parking lot at Kent Falls. If you’ve never been, pack a picnic and spend the afternoon climbing next to these gorgeous falls. This day, however, I didn’t get any farther from the bike than to take this photo , as I was a bit tight on time. Quickly hopping back onto 7 and continuing on.

p10300091The leaves were turning and the ride kept getting prettier. The long sweepers often followed along river and provided beautiful sights  to accompany the Inline 4 soundtrack.  A bit farther up the road I ran into something I’ve been meaning to see, the Cornwall covered bridge. Frankly, I stopped because

a) I like wood bridges, woodwork gets me going.

b) I don’t have a bike photo in front of a covered bridge

c) Everyone seems to think these things are awesome

It was cool, but I doubt I’d stop next time by.


After I turned onto 44 I got to this Dairy farm that has a great view. If you’ve ever been on 44 up near Canaan you’ve seen this, and possibly the soon to be veal section. Sad, but oh so delicious. Now my original plan was to take 44 to these back roads that would cut across to Rt. 8 so I could head north into Massachusetts. Well those roads were fun. An odd, pothole dodging adventure. But since I wrote the route onto a scribbled note, I forgot that the first major road these back roads take you to is 183, not 8. Sooooo…. some 25 later and out of the way I finally get back to 8. The detour wasn’t bad, but I wanted to do that section of 8, as I seem to remember some good roads in that area. Oh well, a ride for another day.


A good look at the traffic through much of these Mass. routes. Nice and Sparse. 8 was a fine drive, and most of the time I was able to go for miles at a clip without getting behind a car. The Temps came up to the the 60’s by mid day and it was quite a warm ride in the afternoon. As I got a bit further up Rt. 8 I started getting hungry, so I pulled to enjoy the sandwich I packed and a cup of joe from a local coffee shop.

malunchThis shot was the scene at my table for one on the patio, courtesy of the camera on my EnV, which is actually not that bad. Enjoyed by lunch, sipping on Gin n’ Juice, hold the gin. And the Juice actually. After about 15 minutes I was itching to get back on the bike so I cleaned up and hopped on, gun ho to get to 116 which a fellow rider had recommended as an alternative to Rt. 2. I’m glad he did, because 116 was empty and a nice high speed sweeper road, which I managed to lose as I inadvertently missed the turn on 112 where you need to go to keep on 116. Instead I rode onto 2, which even at mid-day Wed. was full of traffic. From there I wanted to head south so I could make it down to CT to check out 320, which is supposedly a fun twisty road.

So trying to make good time I got on I91 and headed south to catch the Mass Pike. As I was about to merge onto 90 I remembered that it’s a toll road and I didn’t have a dime on me. So I detoured to find an ATM. I’ve never had such a hard time finding a bank on a crowded retail strip. The whole process wasted 30 minutes.  I was a bit perturbed by the time I got back to the highway, but seems like God wanted to tell me to calm down. At about 80MPH I glance down and see a red spot on the tip of my windshield.


A lady bug clung to the screen at highway speeds like it was hitching a ride. It made me smile after the whole toll ordeal. Thanks little lady.

p10300331So I made it down to 320 Finally, which was a neat road, but not the kind of twisteys I really try to find. Although it had some decent turns, it was only about a mile lo ng, and a lot of it was residential with turn ons. Still I gave it a few passes as i had gone all this way just to check it out.One area was a nice turn that came down a hill and then back up. It was fun, but as I headed through the second time on the return I came upon what looked like a shadow in the road. I truned out this was no shadow, but a good sized rock that I proceed to ride directly over. This rock did not take kindly to being run over, and promptly threw my rear tire off to the side. Pucker moment if there ever was one.The Culprit (Pictured)

On the way back I pulled over to kick them off the road. Who knows, maybe some other rider will come through here later and benefit.

After hitting this stretch I got back onto 44, this time on the other side of Hartford, and headed back towards school. All highways from there, and I made in time for class. The trip took me a little less than 9 hours, with a few stops here and there for photos and the one lunch break. No Fancy Shmancy GPS so I’ll figure out my own average speed- 355/9= 39ish. Of course that’s not average moving speed, but who cares. Now the weather has turned cold and the time change brings down the sun before I leave work.I haven’t been riding as much lately, but I’ve still got some left in me before the white stuff comes down and I switch from two wheels to two skis!


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ROAM: Catskills Part 2


From Opus 40 we took 212 through Woodstock, NY which was a super tourist area. From there we hit 28N, 42N, and then West across the Catskills on 23A, another road that might have been fun in less traffic. We then took 82S, nice sweepers and little traffic, to 199W, to 44S, and hopped on 343N to connect to 4W which would eventually bring us to rt. 8. From here we shot strait home down the highway.

Odometer: Google maps says 180, which would total about 286 miles for the day, but my odometer actually ended up at about 314miles. Beautiful day of riding.

Accommodations: As Jodie mentioned, only the bandit for this single day trip.

Meals: See Catskills Part 1

Here’s a view of the catskills in the distance from the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge on 199. The ride to get to opus 40 was probably more fun than the ride after, which you’ll get to hear about now. Thi is mainly because the roads taken to get there were more off the beaten path with less traffic and aggravation. Cars were few and far between and we kept our own pace, enjoying sweepers and rolling hills. I actually wasn’t that impressed with the Catskills, but I’d like to give them another shot staying off of the main routes and trying to hit some of the connecting roads in between.

So after leaving opus 40 we donned our gear and made our way into the Catskills area. Unfortunately it was hot, damn hot. I was getting very irritated by slow traffic and the heat coming off the bike. Avoiding woodtock would have been nice, but we might have never found a place to eat and then we really would’ve gotten ugly.

I think the shot to the right is of 212, but since many of the roads we were on looked very similar, I could be off. The Catskills main routes definitely lacked in any fun technical stuff, and we saw tons of cruisers out on these roads. Each time we got onto a new route, from 212 to 28 to 42 I hoped for some fun twists in the road, but these were generally just strait roads with a sweeper here and there. I did see a couple bandits though! One had red Corbins on was really moving along. No shots of him though, fast as lightning! (hahah)

23A across the upper Catskills was a long strait shot until then end where it started to descend and has some turns, but the snail pace of traffic was sure to keep us within the limits of the law. I was getting very tired, perhaps from work the day prior, and for the first time in any of out trips I really felt the need to stop. We pulled into a rite aid, got a snack and a red bull(bleh, first time in years) and took a rest. After 15 minutes or so I was feeling a lot better so we hopped on and took on the arduous task of finding 82 from 23A. Some poor signage delayed us a bit but we eventually made it down the road, and after almost everyone got on the Taconic we had a nice open road to ourselves. Again nothing too fun but it was nice just to ride without changing pace every minute.

We took 82 down to 199 and then made our way through Sharon, CT. Somewhere along this path there was a tight left turn in the road with a jersey barrier on the right which really reminded me of the road in Poland that I first rode on with my brother. We tried to get a video of me going through it but technical difficulties and looming police sent us on our way. From Sharon we got to rt 4 and back to rt. 8. From then on we didn’t bother with any detours and just made our way home.

This sums up the day for me: A great time with someone I love.

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Words of wisdom

I often find myself caught up in life, distracted by the 1 million plus events and details that occur and want attention. When I read this it really reaffirmed how I try to prioritize my life, and why I always want to be able to remain calm, step back, and look at the big picture. I found this on a forum, unattributed, so that is how I will post it.

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Beers   When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the
mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had
some items in front of him. When the class began, he
wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise
jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then
asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that
it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured
them into the jar He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles
rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He
then asked the students again if the jar was full. They
agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it
into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything
else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The
students responded with an unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the
table and poured the entire contents into the jar
effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The
students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I
want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things—your family,
your children, your health, your friends and your
favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and
only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your
job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else—the small stuff. ‘If you
put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is
no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes
for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the
small stuff you will never have room for the things that
are important to you.

‘Pay attention to the things that are critical to your
happiness. Spend time with your children Spend time with
your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get
medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play
another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the
disposal. Take care of the golf balls first—the things
that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the
Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m
glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter
how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a
couple of Beers with a friend

-Unknown Author

Cheers friends.


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ROAM: New England via Mt. Washington

The view is always better from the top

(click on any photo for full size)

Route: Being unfamiliar with the area, I chose to use to help plan to roads we would take. I really wanted to find some great scenic and twisty roads to help explore Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. We didn’t stay exactly on route, but it was a great ride. Here’s a recap of the general route:

Day 1: Rt. 9 from New Britain to Middletown to pick up Jodie. I91N to rt103 in VT.

Day 2: Rt103 S to I91N, Rt4 E to 118 N(Nice road, mediocre condition) to Rt112 E (Nice views, hairpin turn!). Left onto Bear Notch Road to Rt302 E, connect with 16 N to Mt. Washington Auto Road! Back on 16 N to Rt2, to I91. I91 S to Rt131 W and back to Rt103.

Day 3: Rt121 S to Rt35 S, to Rt30 S. Rt9 W to Rt8 S(nice drive) into Mass(bleh). From there Rt7 S to Rt183 S, to 57 W, to Rt8 S back into CT.

Odometer:Night 1: 160M Quick shot up the highway intended to help us avoid riding at night(Moose- eep).

Day 2-360M: (Big day for us) – Started with highway to get into NH, then some nice relaxing drives through 118 to 112, which was a gorgeous scenic drive through the Whit Mountains. Did the Mt. Wash. Auto Road and then took Rt2 across NH. We decided to head home the quick way and shot down 91to end the day.

Day 3-220M: (Ride home) – Nice roads in VT, some dirt, Poured on us into Brattleboro. Rt. 9 was a nice scenic drive, and Rt.8 had some good twists to it, but we hated the drive through Mass.

Total:740Miles (In about 48hours)

Accomidations: Jodie’s dad was nice enough to let us stay at his VT home both nights!

Meals: Late night Pizza at Zachary’s in Chester. We hit a diner in Chester both Mornings. Friday we ate lunch at S.A.L.T.. Dinner was a la Progresso Soup. Sat we had lunch at “The Hot Dog Ranch” in North Adams, which had terrible food and staff.

Day 1

Due to work schedules, we only had two days off to make this trip, and since I don’t like the – Go, Get there, Come back – kind of trips I thought it would be a good idea to head into VT Thursday evening after work. While it did get us about 2.5 hours closer to Mt. Washington and this lovely sunset, we ended up having to ride at night. I try to stay away from this, especially in deer and moose country (namely VT & NH). It actually got a bit cool and we made it to VT fine. Once in the state we stopped at a pizza place that made us their last pie of the night! Happy to have had dinner, finally, we headed to Jodie’s dad’s place. This entails driving up a steep(about the steepness of MT. Washington) dirt/gravel road and an equally rugged driveway. As I planned we just took it slow and the bike handled to road fine and without incident. We slept hard in the cool Vermont air.

Day 2

We got up bright and early and got dressed warm as the temperature in the hills probably hovered around 45 degrees. Since this was scheduled to be our longest single day ride, I wanted to be sure we had plenty of time to make the loop if we needed to stop later on to relax our buns. So after a quick diner breakfast we hopped onto 91N to cover some ground.

The ride was easy, and the northbound side of the highway had just been paved, making for a smooth comfy start to the morning. We got off the highway and jumped onto Rt. 4 West, which took us into New Hampshire for the first time on the bike. Rt 4 is sort of a main road, so the riding wasn’t anything to remember. From there though we switched to Rt. 118N which proved to be a nice and relaxing road. The conditions varied, and like most of the NH and VT roads there was cracking and various road imperfections throughout. These weren’t bad enough to cause any trouble though.

On Rt. 118 I caught a glimpse of a pristine stream running alongside the road and had to pull over. Had we more time to relish the occasion I would have jumped into the crystal clear mountain water. These kinds of beautiful roadside rivers and streams were a common sight in both VT and NH. We enjoyed the view for a few minutes and got back on the road.

118 w was a fine road, offering good twists and a few great views. Again, conditions weren’t the best, but

were hardly behind a car for the whole route.

Here’s a shot of Jodie on one of the pull offs located on Rt. 118. With so many mountains abound in New Hampshire, it’s hard to say what is pictured in the background.

Soon 188 led us to Rt. 112, the Kancamagus Highway. This might have been my favorite roads on the trip. Although it’s not a terribly technical road, it offers amazing views throughout all while claiming the only hairpin turn of the whole trip. I saw the sign indicating the hairpin and my heart skipped a beat! The road condition was great and the tires warm so we were really able to lean it over here. I’m sure Jodie was a bit tense as this is probably the most lean she’s experienced thus far. With all the spectacular views I had to try hard to keep on going and not stop for pictures every few minutes. But, some other tourists were stopped at this sign so we decided to ask them to snap a pic of us and the bike. Probably the only photo of it’s kind as the bike usually serves as a tripod therefor rarely makes an appearance when both of us are in the photo.

This breathtaking view comes up suddenly just after the hairpin, and we couldn’t resist but to pull off and enjoy what God had put in front of us. We helped ourselves to a snack bar and then hopped back on.

Like you might imagine, the road was a popular road to motorcycles and cages alike, so it wasn’t long till we were stuck behind a caravan of slow moving, well, vans. So as we approached the point where you can turn left onto Bear Notch Road or continue on 112 to rt16(the more common road), I decided to take Bear Notch and experience the twisties reported on the motoroads website. Bear Notch, while being a resonably twisty road, was in terrible condition. It’s an extremely tight two lane road that is seasonal, so when we got stuck behind four cars the fun of the road pretty much went out the window. I passed a couple, but then gave up as the opportunities never really arose to safely pass. So we meandered behind two more vans through the bumpy and often mishapped road. Doing this kind of restricted me from hitting Hurricane Mtn Road, which I am told is a great twisty bit, but since we only had so much time I didn’t want to back track back down 16 to get to it. Luckily, New Hampshire Isn’t that far away, so I plan on heading back up again, although it might be 09 before I find time to make it up.

And so we make it to the Mt. Washington Auto Road! Here’s another panorama near the top, not quite as high as the pano at the beginning of the post, but about 5,000+ feet. Also a short video clip the view during part of the dirt section of the road.

And a look at the view for the Bandit..

We really enjoyed the whole experience, the ride up was so magnificent, I wouldn’t have had it any other way but on a motorcycle. And apparently we were lucky, as 3 out of 4 days the mountain is hidden in clouds, fog, or high winds.

After we descended the mountain, following two extremely slow moving vehicles, we headed back onto 16N into Gorham to route 2. Here Jodie spotted a diamond in the ruff, S.A.L.T. A family owned restaurant serving lunch and dinner. The place is close to a Ski Resort as well as Mount Washington, so I’m sure it has no problem attracting customers for their fine dining. This was the “Summer Chicken Sandwich,” with chicken, mozzarella, pepper and lots of summer veggies. It was delicious! S.A.L.T. stands for the names of the parents and their children who own an operate the place. Lunch is served downstairs from what used to be a savings bank. You have to walk through the old vault, which they knocked a hole through, to get upstairs!

After a filling meal we headed back onto the road, following Rt2 west across New Hampshire. The road was nice, but nothing special. It’s a pretty slow pace with the 50mph speed limit, but most of the travel was done at around 60. Even so it took us a while to reach I91, at which point we need to make a decision to continue taking the scenic route or to take the easy way home on the interstate. Both of us were tired, and with glooming rain clouds in the area we decided to take the highway for the better part of the return trip.

We held the highway for a while, but I ran out of ear plugs and the buffeting was giving Jodie a headache, so we got off early and traveled Rt131 to 103 back into Chester. 131 turned out to be a nice ride, much of it following along a river. We made it back up to Jodie’s father’s house and kicked back to a beer and a movie, while warming up with some Progresso soup. Prefect end to a perfect day.

Day 3

Since we only had about 220miles to make it home, there was almost no time time table for our trip back. We woke up when the sun was too bright to keep sleeping, and headed out to get breakfast and enjoyed another meal at the Chester Diner. We got back to the house, double checked everything and then got on our way. Here’s a shot Jodie took as I maneuvered down the dirt/gravel driveway at her dad’s. From here we headed down dirt roads for a while, taking Rt. 121 to 35, and then down to 30. These roads were nice to experience. Ranging from dirt to pavement, with hardly any traffic. The threat of rain loomed throughout our time on 121 and 35, but never seemed to hit us. We’d see some wet areas on the road, but not a drop on us. Finally our luck ran out once we got a bit through 30. The road was wet all over, and the precipitation went from very light to light in a few seconds, so I turned off so we could get our rain gear on. By the time we got it all out and in it was coming down. Wearily we made it back onto Rt. 30 and continued on,. After seeing a lightning strike I was ready to pull off and wait out the rain, but just up ahead you could see blue skies in the western horizon.

This was coincidentally the direction we were headed, so we rode through the heavy rain and within 10 minutes it was done. We turned onto Rt.9, and were soon getting weird looks from passing motorcyclists(wondering why the rain gear, but they’d soon find out).

Rt. 9 Turned out to be a nice road, but with all the Saturday traffic abound, it was nothing to seek out specifically. There was however a beautiful pull off at a peak of the road. Lots of people stopped and there was a cafe there too. I’m assuming this is what the Hawk’s nest Cafe once used to be like. From here we took Rt. 8S, and we should have stayed on it… Rt.8 proved to be a fun road with lots of twists in decent condition. It was a fun to ride and traffic was minimal.

After that, well, after that we got to Massachusetts. Now, I can’t rule the state out and say it’s a bad state to ride in, but everything we hit was loaded with Traffic, and stop and go. We turned off Rt. 8 in North Adams to visit Mount Greylock, but apparently all the roads are closed for the year for maintenance and repaving. So that went out the window. We decided to stop at “The Hot Dog Ranch”, which served us thick skinned dogs and dry burgers.. Now with a bad taste in our mouths, literally and metaphorically, we continued down through MA. We took 7s for a bit, but quickly realized that it would be all lights and hopped on Rt.183 S. This, while being a two lane road, was like driving through your rich uncle’s neighborhood. We seemed to have to slow or stop every 5 minutes. Needless to say it wasn’t very enjoyable when held to the light of the prior day of smooth riding. We got off 183 onto 57, which was a bit better. Finally that led to Rt.8 again, and back into CT. From there we dropped into Winsted, and stopped for some ice cream and to take a break. We contemplated staying for a parade that was about to begin there, but decided to just get home.

The approximate 48hours proved to be the most and best riding we’ve done to date. The White Mountain area of New Hampshire was a real joy, and I look forward to being able to get there again and experiencing other roads.  As for now, the Bandit’s making a weird sound, so I’m bringing it in for service. We’ll see.

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ROAM: Deleware River – Part Deux

We made it down the river in record time; 2.5hours whereas Jodie and I took almost 5 to complete the same route the year prior. We got back and capped off our last night with some volleyball with strangers, more burgers and drinks, and some Beirut. We all slept hard that night, and relaxed as a couple of nice days came to an end. The next morning The rest of the gang had to pack up so Melvin could make it to work in the city, so they slowly disassembled our tents as we simultaneously prepared breakfast. Everyone got packed to leave, even us although I planned on spending the morning riding around the area. And so we filled the side cases and left them in our tent as we went to wander around the calm rolling New York country roads.

The day before we saw a sport bike slow and pull a u-ie to get a shot with this waterfall on rt 97, and followed suit as we drove by that morning. The sight and sound of the fall was charming, but the lack of a room on the side of the road was not. So we snapped a couple quick shots and headed down the road.

The weather was perfect, a cool breeze in the morning and the temperature in the low 80’s, the ride was relaxing and enjoyable. We rode for about 20 minutes without coming up to another vehicle, which I really appreciated in contrast to the more congested nature of the Hawk’s Nest area. The landscape changed from small forests, to large open fields, and then to farmland. Try as we might, we could not find a decent breakfast place until we made it back to Port Jervis. So we ate a n early lunch and then shot back to the hawks nest for a few more passes at this great road.

We rode up through the main twists and then headed back to stop at one of the scenic overlooks. As usual, there were many bikes in the area and I said hello to a few fellow bikers. There was even a guy on a first gen Bandit that he turbo-ed himself! I believe he’s on the MaximumSuzuki forums, but I didn’t catch his id.

We geared up and hit the pass once more before heading back to finally break camp and get packed to head home. Since we had a better part of the day left we took the long, scenic route rather than the highway. This proved to be a great idea, as we unexpectedly ran into Bear Mountain, and some great twists on rt. 6 in that area.

The mountain provided a beautiful view, but the hazey sky hampered visibility. Here’s a great shot of the bandit loaded for camping overlooking the mountainous region.

With this shot I’ll end the post, a sort of teaser for what should prove to be an exciting weekend Exploring New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts’s!


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ROAM: Delaware River – moto camping (part 1)

I have to say this was the most exciting thing I’ve done all summer. Block Island was fun, but this was extended fun and GREAT riding. This trip made me wish that I had more time to explore the northeast. But as everyone knows jobs and responsibilities often get in the way of getting to ride.

Route Taken

Route Taken

Total Miles ridden: Approx 350

Days: Wed – Sat

Beers: Who knows..

Favorite quote: “JELLO SHOTS! THEY FLOAT!”

Jodie and I took the same camping trip a year ago in the cage, and my brother has been going to this campsite (Cedar Rapids) for probably 10 years before us. Be sure to print out that mid-week coupon if you plan on using it…

Cedar rapids is a small privately owned campground with a few nice amenities, but their main attraction is the same of the area competitors, rafting kayaking and canoing. Their website’s pricing probably hasn’t been updated in like 6 years, so the rafting prices are a little higher than what’s listed. It was about $35 for each person to go rafting down the long run, about 9 miles. Kind of steep, but the place will probably be empty if you go mid week, and according to their site there is a mid-week special.

Oddly enough I didn’t really take as many photos as I usually do, probably because I was preoccupied with starting fires with wet wood. The camp site is pretty small, so you’ll likely need a reservation for the weekend. I made ours about 20 days in advanced and didn’t seem to have a problem, but if you’re traveling you should have no problem staying mid-week unannounced.

So back to the ride. We packed the crap out of the bandit! Here’s a shot of the side cases loaded up. Being that these are JC Whitney’s and not Givi bags, I was a bit nervous about the amount of weight we had in em. I weighed one case loaded and it was bout 24lbs, just about what givi has as the max load on this set up. Again, never one to trust an inferior product, I threw a couple bungees on each side case to make sure that the covers wouldn’t open and that the cases stayed on the rack.

I’m happy to report no problems. Well, other than the torrential rains we saw on the ride there. We decided to leave after work on Wednesday, Jodie and I on the bike, and my friends Chris, Melvin, Adam, and Adam’s girl Chrissy in Chris’ Jeep. Had they not taken the jeep it would have been a much different, and likely more expensive trip. Since Chris came we packed a cool full of brews and food and had most of our meals cooked over the fire 🙂 We’ll get to the food in a second, simmer down.

Back to the rain. Since it hadn’t rained in weeks, you know the day we are going to leave for our trip it had to come down, right? Well come down it did. Since it was dark and overcast before we left we got suited in the rain gear from the get go. When stopped we were sweating to death, the temps were probably in the 85-90 range with lots of humidity. Once we got moving it was bearable, and once the monsoon started it was downright comfy.

We got into New York before it started raining, but before long we were in the midst of a can’t-see-40feet-ahead kind of rain. Jodie was getting nervous as this was her first rain experience, and in fact I was ready to stop when I saw how close the lightning was. However, by the time we got to a place to stop the lighting was pretty much behind us and the rain wasn’t so fierce. We braved the storm and came out alright. For the rest of the ride I was weary as visibility was low and dusk crept upon us as time went on. By the time we made it off I84 and onto rt97(mmm rt97 in NY) it was pretty much night fall and I was praying that bambi wouldn’t F up our trip. We eventually made it to the campsite, and managed to get all of our tents and a canopy setup in the rain.

(Rain not pictured)

We had plans of an elaborate breakfast of bacon and eggs cooked over a fire, but we awoke to more rain, and the hopes of getting a fire going were slim. We sucked it up and hit a local diner, as well as K-Mart for all those -man we shoulda brought that- supplies. By the time we got back the rain had let up and we got a nice fire going with a mix of dry and wet wood. Lunch was a delicious combo of hot dogs and burgers, flame broiled(?) over the wood fire. The campsite wouldn’t allow us to get on the river because the current was so great from all the rain. There goes my idea of saving money by going during the week. We made the best of it anyway. Time flew by as maintaining the fire and cooking meals kind led into each other. We were cooking dinner before you know it. Chris works at a grocer, and got the hook up on some prime sirloin steaks. He seasoned them and we cooked them over the fire along with some cob corn and baked potatoes. Honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. So you ask where are the photos of it…Well, we were all to preoccupied with the amazing meal and forgot to take any.. so use your imagination.We continued the trend of drinking and eating, having some savory kielbasa and later enjoy a smore or two.

The next day we got up and finally had our bacon and egg breakfast after which I couldn’t resist but taking a quick ride to the hawks nest. Jodie came along, but was not thrilled with the, er, spirited riding I was doing on the way there and back. The traffic was pretty low, which made going through the hawks nest great this day. Two days earlier we kept it pretty tame on the road considering the 400 or so extra pounds on the bikes and the pouring rain. The tight twisty bits of this road are some of the most fun I’ve experienced, and it seems that other bikers share my sentiment. Throughout our time in the area we saw a TON of bikes enjoying the same patch of road.

I felt great in those twists, and the bandit banged them out no problem. I never got crazy but it was quite a fun pace. After a couple passes we hurried back to hop in a raft and rocket down the fast moving Delaware. The same trip that took Jodie and I almost 5 hours the year before took us less than 3 because of the current. We all enjoyed the relaxing ride, taking in the great scenery. The highlight of the entire raft ride was not something that you might see there normally. When coming up to a bend we spotted some other rafters on the shore, having a brew. After waving and discussing how we wouldn’t mind another beer the gentleman digs into his cooler and comes up with a small cup. “JELLO SHOTS! THEY FLOAT!” he yells while taking aim at our raft. He quickly fires off a cup that lands near the raft and we scoop it up within a minute. He throws out two more and we maneuver the raft like were in battle-“Left side paddle!” None of us paddled hard than in those few minutes. We waved the the friendly family and yelled cheers!

More to come..


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Roam: Block Island, R.I.

Twists and turns, hills and valleys, and every road leads to a scenic beach: how could we resist taking the Bandit for a day trip to Block Island?

I convinced Darek to take the day off Friday, we woke up at 5:30 and by 9 we were crossing the Atlantic, bike and all, for a day of unplanned adventure.

The ferry out of Point Judith, R.I. charges $90 for cars, but only $40 for a motorcycle. With moped rentals on the island running between $30 and $50, it was worth the money to have the freedom to explore throughout the day on our own bike.

And explore we did.

We drove to each point of this teardrop-shaped island, which only has about 1,000 residents in the wintertime. For such a small place, there is a lot of variety. Farms abut mansions; beaches are backed up to yards of flowering brush. There’s valleys, ocean bluffs, rocky and sandy beaches. Ocean transitions to a giant pond through a beautiful harbor (where the U.S. Coast Guard has a station), and little ponds and marshy areas dot the island.

One main paved road circles the island, but smaller gravel, dirt and sand roads reach out toward the beach like tentacles. No mopeds allowed! (For proof it’s too dangerous for a moped, there’s the couple we rode the ferry with both ways. On the ride home, we noticed their moped was all scratched up on the left side, and the two passengers were bandaged on their left elbows and knees……. yikes)

Darek, on the other hand, perfected his “sandability” on these side roads – digging deep into the sand with the tires, swerving under the sliding sand on occasion, but never losing his cool or his grounding. (Of course I thought I caused the one scare when I shifted my weight. Turns out Darek was just trying to navigate a really deep section of sand!)

The smaller side roads dump you out to unassuming cul de sacs lined with brush. Tiny paths (I’m talking the width of one small person) disappear down into the brush. If your vehicle makes it to the cul de sac, and you’re ready for a small hike, you get the best reward:

And now for an alternative to Jodie’s finely polished writing style. 😉
On the ferry ride over we met and conversed with some great folks and fellow riders. A couple from CT came on their Harley, and it was nice to talk with another couple who enjoys riding together. The ferry had a good mix of bikes, ranging from an old 80’s kawi, a spankin new gixxer, a newer harley, and a 69′ Triumph!
Here’s a shot of Bill, the owner of the well ridden Triumph (over 300k Miles!) He was nice enough to tell us about one of the harder to find beaches that proved to hold some of the most breath taking scenery of the day. Thanks Bill!
Somehow, we ended up planning the trip on the same day my good friend Adam was going to BI! And as luck may have it, the second we sat down for lunch on the patio of a restaurant he and his girlfriend come walking by! So we shouted out and they joined us for a great lunch.

The island was full of wonderful roads, full of elevation changes, twists, and switchbacks. All of these would make for a great day of riding, but the over abundance of mopeds, bicycles, pedestrians, horses, and other things on the road just wouldn’t allow for any holliganism. Consequently we kept speeds at a meager 20-30mph for all paved road driving. We did benefit from having our own transport when try to get to the side roads that were marked off “NO MOPEDS!” Some these roads led to residential housing. but others led to gorgeous beaches and beautiful vistas. As pictured above, not all the roads are paved, so I got my first shot of sport tires on beach sand. Let me tell you, not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Luckily I kept the bandito upright the entire time. I guess thats just a testament of my “sandability”.
You know. Sand – ability. eh?

As the day went on, we tried to get to as many of the roads on the island(we prob road about 80% of them). At the northern point of the island, the road ends and leads to a beautiful beach adorned with a large stone lighthouse building. Another interesting thing was this stone piece (seen in foreground at left), Which was marked US. I guess this is in case someone lands here and thinks they found the new world. The turns into an arm kicks the would be discoverer off the island exclaiming that the US “don’t want no illlegal imgrants!” … anyways..

As We rode up to the point we came upon a beautiful view overlooking a good sized pond so we had to stop and snap a photo.
Results below:
When you get to the end of the road you come upon the beach to walk down to the light house at the point. At first glance the walk may look a bit daunting, but luckily theres a friendly gentleman there with refreshments and dogs to re instill confidence in wary travelers by providing what might be the most reasonably priced food on the island.
“Johnny Brät” as he says he’s now known as, is a former CT resident who’s come to settle on BI. He makes his own blended mustard that I’d put on just about anything (Start bottling that stuff)! He says he now lives Island side year round, which seems awesome considering the winter weather must be a terror.
The day was great and we both had a blast. I’ll leave off with my favorite scene on the trip which actually made both of us simultaneously gasp as we rode by, and eventually had us stop to grab this shot:

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