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.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ohio Bike Week

  I have been fortunate enough to have gone to many Ohio Bike Weeks. Each year they get better and better. Ground zero for OBW is downtown Sandusky, Ohio. Sandusky blocks all the streets off and welcomes bikers wholeheartedly. There is also some really scenic rides The Coastal Trail along the coast of Lake Erie or ferry over one of the islands off shore just to name a few. Every year I participate in The Jesse James Dupree Pancreatic Cancer ride in which the frontman for Jackyl leads ever year. It begins at Mad River Harley in Sandusky on Thursday during Ohio Bike Week. I will be riding it again next year and hope you plan on attending it next year. Let's bring all our friends to ride with us and help raise money for a good cause.

   Sandusky is also the home of Cedar Point, the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. I try and visit that too while I am up there. With a fist full of world records, their coasters will thrill even the biggest adrenaline junkies.
  This year the rally was made even better by the presence of Progressive Insurance. To start with, they host the main stage that saw such bands as Jackyl, Colt Ford and Buckcherry just to name a few. Also present was Flo's Chop Shop where attendees can get beards and mustaches trimmed from professional barbers.  People can get manicures and everyone can get boot shines. Did I mention all this is absolutely free? And Progressive didn't stop there. They also had an enclosed parking garage for everyone to park at that included 24 hour security in case you partook in the festivities too hard and wanted to leave your bike over night. One morning they even had an all inclusive breakfast buffet for the first 500 participants. They do all this extra service free just to demonstrate that they believe that is what a good insurance provider does..
  Sandusky also has the food covered. With it's many local restaurants highlighting things like lake perch and walleye, they also have every kind of food vendors on the street with things like deep fried cheese curds, award winning BBQ and my favorite, chicken on a stick.

      With all these things and more, you can be sure that I will be back next year. I'm looking forward to doing The Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas and attending all the good things that Progressive has planned there as well. Hope you will be there to enjoy it with me! 
                               My trip to Ohio Bike Week was in partnership with Progressive.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Riding a brand new 2015 Indian Vintage

        As you may know, my Twin Cam motor in my chopper had a minor problem that did a lot of damage to the rest of the motor. I was going to be without a bike for a couple of weeks but needed to keep moving. My friend at  American Biker, which is an Indian, Victory and Polaris dealership in Charleston, South Carolina helped me out by lending me a brand new Indian to ride across a couple of states to my next destination. They had some other motorcycles but I have been chomping at the bit to try out the new Indians with the 111 inch Powerstroke motor. Some of you may remember this video I filmed with the motor when they debuted it at Daytona Bike Week 2013.
   Thanks to Rich, the owner of American Biker, I was going to test ride this for several hundred miles of Interstates then head across the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina for several hundred more miles.
Rich gave me pick of his fleet and it was a hard decision. There was excellent highway bikers like the Chieftain and the Roadmaster but I opted for a more stripped down bike. The Classic comes with just a windshield so I got that with the Vintage package- Tan leather bags and seat. I strapped on my two duffle bags, tent and sleeping bags and filled the saddle bags with my trade mark top hat, rain gear, road atlas and other necessities and hit the road  for the Smokey Mountain Chopper Fest. 
    Rolling down the Interstate was effortless. The cruise control was almost necessary to keep me going the speed limit as it was easy to look down and see I was nearing triple digits. Yea, it really rides smooth and straight, even with all my heavy luggage piled up on the passenger seat. I expected this and the big Indian is a highway bike. Heavy bikes usually perform well on the highways. This bike never felt unstable or any sort of swaying at any speed. I did notice some vibration in the handle bar grips but I think I was just used to my aftermarket Avon grips. I think an addition of a pair of those would have taken care of that.
The next part of this trip was when I left the interstate and got on some back roads. These were the foothills of what would take me into the Smokey Mountains. The roads were filled with holiday traffic and riding through the small towns that were over run with traffic was a bit frustrating, but it wasn't because of the bike. It zig zaged through traffic and intersections like a much lighter bike. I could also come to a complete stop for seconds and then pull off without ever feeling the need to put my feet down. It really didn't act like a heavy bike at all. Soon I was in the twisty mountain roads and got to test out the ground clearance. I leaned that bike back and forth all day. I went through 15mph hairpin turns faster each time to see if I could get it to drag a little. Never once did I ever get a floor board or the kick stand to even scrape on the pavement once. Over the weekend I was even changing my side of the lane in a sharp turn just to simulate it was a sharper turn in search for the ground clearance limits but I never found them. I even rode a passenger  thinking that would help find some turning limitations but it still rode like a sport bike. I didn't expect that and I am still very impressed.
    Everywhere I stopped on the bike, crowds were drawn. I was always fielding questions being told that it was a beautiful bike. I'm used to people commenting similar things about my custom chopper but I have months of labor and over double the amount of money in building my bike. Here this bone stock bike was doing the same thing. When I got to Chopper Fest with several hundred custom bikes, I missed my chopper but didn't feel too out of place. I even had several friends practically beg me to take it for a test ride them selves. I let some of them and they all agreed when they returned that it was a surprisingly easy and fun bike to ride.
  I have heard some people complain about "valve pinging" and I did notice that at low rpms, it does ping. Most all stock bikes do since strict EPA regulations do that but I also found that with a stock Indian, they perform much better by learning the power curve and revving the rpms a little higher than other bikes. I also found out that revving them real high is where a whole lot of horse power is waiting.
    All in all, I loved the bike. I was thinking about maybe buying one before but now, I'm talking to financier and looking at all my options and have a feeling that I may own one in addition to my chopper. Life is too short no to enjoy all the good things in life!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Which shiny new bike should I ride away on?
Being without a running motor cycle creates a big problem. Repairs to mine are taking longer than expected. Thankfully I have a friend at American Biker in Charleston South Carolina. Actually I have several friends there including Rich, the owner.  I went to talk to them about maybe buying a new Indian. Wasn't sure if I wanted to go in debt for a new one though. Still I needed transportation to get back to Louisville so  Rich said for me to take one and see what I thought. He was sure that after I rode it for awhile, I would be back in his dealership to buy one. My only dilemma now is which one? Check out their website here-

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Time for a second bike?

   It has become more and more evident that a second bike would make a lot of things easier. First of all, if I ever need to let my chopper get needed maintenance, I wouldn't have to rush it as I usually have a rally to do ever weekend. Another reason is international travel. Three times already I had to pas on free transportation to Europe and other countries because I would be without my bike for so long. If I had another, I could stick it on a boat and forget about it till it was time to fly over and then ride it.
   This is the dilemma.  My question is to you-

    A- Do I just keep going on my one bike and make due the best I can?

     B- Get an older Evo for a reliable and dependable ride?

     C- Go in debt and buy a brand new shiny Indian?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The adventure begins before it officially starts

  As Joe Sparrow and I begin our next adventure which is Winter time in Cuba, we had to fly to Nassau, Bahamas to catch our flight to Cuba since there still is no public flights to Cuba from the United States. We left Fort Lauderdale on New Years Eve in a rush to get this adventure started. Arriving in Nassau, we discovered that every room on the island was booked. This wasn't suppose to matter as we were planning on immediately jumping on another flight out to Cuba. Cuban flights only happen twice a week so we were going to be in one spot for awhile. I found a room online however after booking a room and taking a taxi to it, I discovered changed the date and we were 3 days early. El Greco Hotel was very accommodating however and even though they were completely filled, they put 2 roll away beds in the lobby and let us sleep there. This may sound like no fun but the other thing we didn't know about was Junkanoo. It is a festival that begins at midnight and continues until noon. We took a short nap and was back out in the middle of the parade. Yes, only 18 hours into this adventure and we are in the middle of a parade much like Peter Fonda and Denis Hopper in Easyrider.
 The music was outrageous!
                                 The floats weren't motor driven so they were pushed ......
and pulled with barely enough room to squeeze through the narrow streets
And some floats were actually worn and one person would "carry" them the entire parade route
I was able to get right in the middle of the parade and photograph ( and dance )
getting shots front and center
Of course Joe was busy doing the same
The crowd participated also. Even the youngest brought their instruments to play along.
There was dancing in the streets
                                                             and floats in every shape and size
Some floats had "mini floats" to compliment them
What a great way to start the first 12 hours of our journey just to get where we want to be for our Great Cuban adventure- stay tuned for more!!!!!