Friday, October 7, 2016

September was a busy month

The beginning of September found me once again in beautiful Digby, Nova Scotia Canada. I was just finishing up another Wharf Rat Rally and getting ready to head back south. I needed to be in Brooklyn, NY for the annual Indian Larry Block Party but I had 2 weeks to get there. As usual, I was in no hurry at first but then decided to take a detour to upstate NY for the 10 year anniversary of the Gypsy Run. I did that last year and loved it so I did it again. The Gypsy Run isn't an organized ride in fact it is all about the opposite- several " suggested " routes and you can ride with whoever you want at your own pace. I pushed the envelope even farther and took my own route- literally down the Delaware River. I rented a kayak and had a ball. Even talked a couple of friends into parking their bikes and going along with me.

   As I said, I had plenty of time but just as I added The Gypsy Run into my schedule, I also added the Moto Film Festival into my plans. It was in Brooklyn also but I would need to get there 4 days early. Brooklyn is a fun town and I had a ball the entire time but the week went fast and it was time for me to set my sights for Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Bikes Blues and BBQ with Progressive. I had 4 days to get over 1,300 miles. This shouldn't have been a problem but first I had my wheel bearings go out. This cost me over a day and after I fixed them, I was still noticing a slight sway that made me very nervous so I decided to take another day and put new swingarm bearings in.
  This delayed me by another day but it was totally worth it as I had forgotten the tight feeling my bike gave when it had all new bearings. 100,000 plus miles has a way of wearing things out. I made a good 600 mile day but was well worth it as I pulled into the Ozark mountains and watched the sun setting.
   It was good to be back at the Bikes, Blues and BBQ but the first thing I needed to do was get over to Flo's Chop Shop by Progressive and get some of that grease out from under my nails. I knew that Flo's Chop shop gives not only free manicures but a whole slew of other free services too. All to show the extra distance they are willing to go for their customers. I got Jacqui Van Ham to do my nails while she wasn't emceeing for Progressive.
   Another service Progressive gives is a free breakfast. This year not only did I get my fill of breakfast including coffee and juice but I even stashed a genuine Flo waffle in my saddlebag for a delicious snack later. This was a good idea however the syrup wasn't very compatible with the rest of my belongings in my saddlebag.
   I love the riding in Arkansas and all the spots around Fayetteville are really nice. I spent as much time as I could exploring and just plain getting lost on the back roads but I did stick around for their annual bike show. It is different from most as it gets very interactive with the crowd. After the semi-finals, contestants get up in front of the crown and speak about their bikes, explaining why theirs should win. I have never seen any other shows with this type judging. My very favorite of the show was this 1956 Panhead that was customized in 1962 and survived all these years.
Like most of my weekends, this went way too fast and next thing I knew, it was over and time to say my goodbyes. I've never been very fond of goodbyes so I jumped on my bike and rode off but not before stopping and doing a photo shoot with one of my favorite photographers that also works for Progressive, Jeff Klaum. He got some great shots. Click HERE for one of those.
   Add in all this PLUS my birthday the following week and worn out doesn't even begin to explain the half of it so I'll just let this picture do the translation.
What I left out is all the people that helped my pull this month off. Thanks to them all and especially to my friends at Progressive whom I am in partnership with. Enjoy the Ride!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

North Shore to Isle Royale

Last week I was sitting in my parents living room in Louisville, KY watching a morning news show with them when we saw a news story on a very little know National Park, The Isle Royale. Now my parents are older and have physical restraints but after watching that show, I decided to leave for a visit of Isle Royale.
   The Isle Royale in an island in the middle of Lake Superior almost in Canada. It has ferries in Michigan and in Minnesota that carry visitors to the island. I opted to ride up the Minnesota side and that was an extra treat.
   The ride up Minnesota Hwy 61 is called North Shore and it is epic. I'm not the only biker that knows about it as I saw groups of 10 and more bikes everywhere I looked. I had no idea it was there but plan another ride on that next time I am near.
North Shore runs from Duluth all the way up to the border of Canada and is on the shoreline of Lake Superior. You owe it to yourself to check it out if you haven't already.
I always carry a tent and sleeping bag and with all the hotels and cabins with no vacancy signs I was glad. I checked a few campgrounds and even the tent space was full. I prefer " primitive" camping so I spotted a For Sale sign on a property with an over grown drive way and it was perfect. The even higher weeds in the back provided excellent camouflage for my bike and tent so no one knew I was there and I got and evening of undisturbed sleep plus the high weeds under the tent made nice padding. 
But getting back to The Isle Royale, it is home to over 1300 moose. The visitors center had this cool skeleton. I saw a pair of moose swimming in the water and then walking on the shore line. Can you believe it, the one time I didn't have my camera.
Dockside sushi was provided by some local fisherman that caught a large salmon and a steel head.
The harbor is also the final resting spot for The "America". The America is a 184 foot steamship that hit a reef and sank in in 1928 here at Isle Royale. The tip of the bow is only 3 foot deep as you can see the bow here but the rest of the ship continues deeper with the stern 80 foot deep. It is an excellent dive destination and since I am a certified diver, I might have to give this a look next visit.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Giving back at Sturgis 2016

  This year at Sturgis 2016, I will have the honor of participating in 2 charity rides. The first one is Aidan's Ride on August 8th. It benefits The Aidan Jack Seeger Foundation and helps battle a terrible disease, Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) while remembering the blue eyed ruler, Aidan Seeger. Hosted by Aidan's Parents, it is one that is dear to my heart. God bless Bobby and Elisa Seeger. I hope to see you there but if you can't make it, you can still support this event but clicking the link here. Join us now even if you can't make the ride- Aidan's Ride Support
  Two Days later on the 10th of August, I will be joining Throttle Girl for a ride to Pine Ridge Reservation in support of One Spirit (non-profit 501). Pine Ridge Reservation has some of the worst living conditions in North America. Helping children grow up in this harsh environment is just one of the many programs that One Spirit delivers. Join us in Rapid City for a ride down to Pine Ridge where we will meet with members of the Lakota Nation and be their guests for horse back riding, a buffalo BBQ and more. For more information on this ride, check out this link and remember, you don't have to be there to support. Lakota Heritage Ride Celebration

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ohio Bike Week 2016

   For several years I have been doing Ohio Bike Week. I even wrote about it last year too. I felt it necessary to write about it again because I did a few things differently that made the experience even better.
Participating in the Annual Jesse James Dupree Pancreatic Cancer Benefit Ride is a staple for me but every year it gets bigger and better. This year more than 350 participated making it another record breaker. Jesse James Dupree ( the lead singer in Jackyl) always gets there early and stays to the end even though he has many other obligations. He is a class act. This run by itself is a great reason to do Ohio Bike Week.
The music venue at Ohio Bike Week keeps getting bigger and bigger too. The three stages downtown, where  bands like Jackyl and Pop Evil rock downtown aren't the only place to see headliners as Mad River Harley Davidson hosted Buckcherry, Blackstone Cherry, Eddie Money and more. Jackyl always rocks downtown like no other. A short ride away to Toledo Harley Davidson was a Sebastion Bach concert. The Sandusky Fairgrounds hosted Montgomery Gentry. Every night had something with several nights forcing me to choose between acts.
During the day, riding in northern Ohio is some of the best as the roads around Lake Erie create a beautiful backdrop. This year I did more riding than ever and one such ride was the Kelley Island Poker run. To get to the island, you have to take a ferry ride. Kelley Island is located so close to the Canadian border that most cell phones want to start roaming internationally. It really is a gem that is often overlooked by many. I had no idea how cool it was.
On Kelley Island is the Glacial Grooves which are grooves that were carved into a limestone rock bed 25,000 years ago. This is the only place like this on earth. It is a 7 acre park, free once you get to Kelley Island and has a path to walk around at your own pace with informational plaques all along the way.  I can't wait to bring more friends with me next year and show them.
And speaking of friends, riding with friends and sharing the experiences only makes it better. This year I got to ride with more old friends and make new ones along the way. Isn't that what it is all about too?
I got to do a lot of riding with Pat from Progressive too. He emcees for all the Progressive functions like the IMC Shows across the country. Working with him to promote for Progressive is almost as much fun as riding the countryside with him.
Progressive is behind a lot of Ohio Bike Week as well as many other motorcycle events. It's quite fitting really considering that Progressive is the oldest insurer of motorcycles. That's why I " go with Flo"
I've mentioned Flo's Chop Shop presented by Progressive where you can get free services like mustache trims, manicures and boot shines just to name a few but this year they added something new there.
The has three custom built " thrones". One was at Flo's Chop Shop where anyone could sit and get their picture professionally taken in it and then they would get a copy emailed to them. The other two were placed back stage and guests from the audience that participated in different sweepstakes, got to watch the shows from these vantage points.
Ohio Bike Week for me was 10 days of Fun and that is coming from The Mayor of Fun. Being in partnership with Progressive is the icing on the cake. I hope to see everyone again next year!
This post was written in partnership with Progressive Insurance. I have been compensated, but the thoughts and ideas are my own.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Leesburg Bikefest

    Leesburg, Florida is located in the center of the state, not far from Orlando or Ocala. It is a sleepy little town that has been hosting Leesburg Bikefest for 20 years now. I was fortunate enough to have went to one of the first ones and now I got to see how much it had grown. It is a great place to see old friends and meet new ones.

   A couple of old friends that I got to camp with were Scooter Tramp Scotty and Pan Head Billy. They live on their motorcycles too but each has their own style that is unique to themselves. It seemed like we all spent the weekend comparing notes and trading stories. It was a good time for sure.
  Some other long time old friends was Charlie Ransom and the rest of the crew with The Wall of Death. They really work hard to take their wall around and entertain the masses all over for only 5 dollars a person. That is a bargain and if you haven't seen their show, catch the next one. Those of you that have, see it again as they have added some new faces and a few new tricks.
   While I am on the subject of good deals, I have to mention my friends at Progressive. They have a promotion to show motorcyclists that they go above and beyond for their customers so they have been coming to rallies like this one and offering a whole slew of free services. Free breakfasts and free secured parking are just a start.
   They have something called "Flo's Chop Shop" where they offer more personal services.
They have boot shines for everyone ( even if your boots aren't as long and pointy as mine)
They do manicures and if they can straighten out all the grease from uner my nails, I know they can work wonders with yours.
They also do mustache trims. They have full professionals doing all these services and I can tell you first hand. I tried trimming this beard and luckily, one of their professionals bailed me out and straightened out my mistakes before he realized how bad I had messed it up.
   Progressive stepped in and provided all these services for free to everyone that wished to partake. And as the hot Florida sun was heating things up, they gave out bottled ice water too. They do a great job and it is no wonder they have been in business since 1937. I am proud to be in partnership with them. Look for good things coming your way from both of us at the next motorcycle rally you attend!
    This post was written in partnership with Progressive Insurance. I have been compensated, but the thoughts and ideas are my own.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bikes, Blues and BBQ

    All the rallies that I do, I try to ride there. This absolutely changes my feelings towards a rally. It would be easier to fly in or maybe even haul my bike in a truck and a trailer but then it would take much of the fun out if it for me. I have also noticed in the past when I did haul it to a rally, I was all amped up to ride once I got there. Like most rallies, ground zero tends to be a lot of traffic which slows the rally experience down. I have learned that this makes for a bad experience when it actually isn't the rally's fault. I say this to explain the frame of mind I was in riding from The Block Party in Brooklyn, NY to Fayetteville, Arkansas 4 days later. I was ready to take in the sights and enjoy.
   The ride to The Bikes, Blues and BBQ just kept getting better and better the closer I got. Near Fayetteville, Arkansas is some really great destinations also. Eureka Springs and the Harry S. Truman Reservoir is just a few. I enjoyed them so much that I spent one day when the rally was over, to ride back up through these areas making sure to take a path that I hadn't traveled yet. Basically I took roads that I didn't know where they went just to get lost. It was a great ride.
    I don't mean to to talk about other places besides Fayetteville because I was bored there. Quite the contrary. It was very exciting with lots to do as always and I was in the perfect frame of mind to take it all in. Dickson street is where the party is. It is located near the University of Arkansas. Dickson Street is a host of establishments geared for the nearby college crowd and the bikers take that over. Considering all the bikes that converge there, the traffic is managed pretty well. Progressive had thier free, secure parking lot there also which is one of my favorite amenities.
Another one of my favorite anemities is Progressive's free breakfast. They have all the fixin's but my favorite has to be the "Flo Pancakes" where they use custom griddles to shape the pancakes into Flo's image.
Of course there are a lot of vendors selling anything and everything. I found this vendor selling these 2 wheel, Segway like contraptions that I had to take for a spin. Everyone was trying them out with mixed success. There was even some uniformed police officers that took a try at it. I have to mention that it is nice to see police officers enjoying the good times rather than trying to enforce every civil statute with a iron fist.
   A short ride from Dickson Street is the Fairgrounds where they have camping, the famous BBQ cook off, helicopter rides and even a lawn tractor pull. Now these aren't just stock lawn tractors but hopped up ones running on alcohol and even motorcycle engine powered ones. They put on quite a show and are something not seen in very many places.
    These activities kept me busy but I still had time to check out Flo's Chop Shop hosted by my friend, Pat. They offer all sort of free services from boot shining to manicures. They even trim beards and mustaches. I had to partake and get some help taming my stache.
               My trip to Bikes, Blues and BBQ was in partnership with Progressive.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, Nova Scotia Canada

   Every year now for the past 7 years in a row, I have been attending The Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada. This happens on Labor Day weekend. There is truly no other event like this one. There are many different reasons what makes the WRR so special and I could go on forever about them but here are just a few.
   Digby is the scallop capital of the world. It doesn't just stop at scallops but ALL seafood. With their marina in town, you get the very freshest of all seafoods right there, everyday.
   The WRR isn't just about a party either. It has many rides including poker runs, a veterans memorial ride and a couple of rides that visit hospitals and assisted living facilities. The hospital and ALF runs are my favorite and I never miss them. Here is a link to the newspaper that covered this years run.
    The local people of Digby are the best. They welcome us to their town with open arms and let us "take over" for the week.  This year we even had drift trikes where everyone that registered for the rally could be a kid again and go sliding around a parking lot in our make shift race course.
   There is always plenty of other entertainment like boat races, a motorcycle drag race course and a water ski team stunt show. I made the mistake of telling them that I wake boarded and they suited me up and added me to the line up.
                          Did I mention the water was about 50 degrees?
   I also like to go up and visit Cape Breton while I am in Nova Scotia. Cape Breton hosts The Cabot Trail, one of the top motorcycling roads in all of North America.

    While there I make it a point to always stay at Meat Cove, located at the northern tip of The Cabot Trail. Meat Cove Campground is where I always stay. It is a sight to see for sure. One of my all time favorites and the staff there is VERY accommodating and motorcycle friendly.

    This year there, after watching whales just off the coast, I rented one of their kayaks and paddled out to see them up close.
   There are many more reasons to do this rally but I suggest you see for yourself. You won't be disappointed. Find out more about the rally at Wharf Rat Rally.
  You also may want to take the ferry from Portland, Maine over to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. It is a very luxurious shortcut. Check out the Nova Star for times and pricing.