A Sunday Jaunt

Posted: June 4, 2012 in Destinations, Food, General Musings, Travel

Yesterday morning had the makings of a wonderful day.  That is of course, until you looked at the weather forecast.  But that didn’t stop us from getting out for a little ride. Leather jackets or sweatshirts?  Opted for the sweatshirt.  Rain gear?  The thought never crossed my mind. The ultimate goal of the day was to take the Mrs. on her first ride on the new bike.  We would head north into Massachusetts, stop at a local BBQ joint for lunch, head over to the Yankee Candle factory outlet, and then head home. We aimed for a noon departure, as that was the approximate time our good friends Todd and Kim (as you’ve met in previous posts) were planning to arrive.

The morning started with some tinkering on the bike. Assembly of the passenger backrest was completed while I enjoyed my morning coffee.  I then swapped out the tri-bar fender tip running light in favor of a tri-bar running light/brake light dual, and although a tight install, it was the proverbial piece of cake. My visibility had increased in less than a half hour.  I proceeded to swap out the seat for a demo model of the HD hammock style seat. Checked appropriate tire pressure, and increased the psi in my shocks to 48.  As this was our first two up ride, I wanted to prevent any and all potential bottoming outs. [As it turned out, the comfort of the hammock seat made the ride seem softer than the stock seat with 25 psi in the rear shocks. This may be addressed in a later review.]

We left a little before 1:00.  Slightly behind schedule, but the beauty of riding is that there is no schedule.

Previous rides have taken us a similar route, route 190E  into Stafford, turn onto 319 and follow to 32N into MA.  Although it wasn’t new, it always is fun… and although a year later, the storm damage in Monson, MA from last year’s tornado is still a sight that should be seen!  There were no complaints to be made.  The weather was beautiful, the bike was responding great to two up riding, and the demo seat was all too comfortable.  We hit a sprinkle here and there, but all in all it added a little character to the trip.  Eventually we hit route 9, passed the Quabin Reservoir, rode into Amherst, and turned onto 116.

For lunch we stopped at Bub’s BBQ in Sunderland, MA. My wife and I had eaten here once before, not on the bike.  The appeal at the time was all you can eat hot/cold sides buffet, and relatively reasonable pricing.  Between the 4 of use, we had ordered a pretty good sampling of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and deep fried alligator tail.  We also tasted almost all the sides, including beans, hickory smoked potatoes, collard greens, dirty rice, macaroni salad, coleslaw, french fries, and others.  Now that I look back on it, I am pretty bummed I didn’t take any pictures.  I guess another trip is in order – especially for more pulled pork.  It wasn’t until after I ordered that I learned their specialty is in fact, the pulled pork.  Burgers, kielbasa, sausages, and chicken begin to fill out the rest of the menu.

The final stop was the Yankee Candle Village Store at the factory.  This is how I got my wife to get on the bike in the first place!  And boy, was she happy we had saddlebags!

Cue black storm clouds with, as Todd noted, the look of having toronadic (is that even a word?) activity. Flashback… leathers or sweatshirts… leathers or sweatshirts… leathers or sweatshirts… I just watched the replay in my head again.  And again.  And again.  And each time we never mentioned rain gear.

After a short debate, it was decided we might have had a window of no rain. We mounted our iron steeds and road off towards the clouds.  The window of rain was apparently closing.  Three minutes into the trip home the skies opened up.  I still stand by my original statement that rain adds to the character of the ride.  Of course it helps tremendously when you’re on your way home and plan on making no more stops.

The most interesting part of the ride, and the scariest, came when a white and brown hawk swooped down into traffic on 91.  And of course, it chose my lane to fly, or I should say glide, with it’s wings outspread (thankfully it was moving with traffic as opposed to against it!). The bird had a wingspan measuring 4-5 feet in length, taking up the majority of the lane I was traveling in… furthermore, I was traveling too fast for the bird. No matter how quickly I decelerated, I was still gaining on it. There wasn’t enough room to go around it, and I couldn’t scoot into either lane.  Flying at fairing height, a collision seemed imminent. Although slowing down, I continued to gain on it.  As we approached collision with the bird, my wife and I both crouched to the left. Finally, at the last moment, the hawk started to veer to the right; I seized the moment and veered slightly the left.  With a car to the left of me, it was the motorcycle equivalent of threading a needle. Fortunately our good friend Hudson (that is the name I now, affectionately, call the hawk) gave me enough room to pass.  And in doing so, his wings made contact with my wife’s arm.  Close?  Yes.  Did I have any buffalo sauce?  Unfortunately not.

All in all we didn’t let the rain dampen our day.  It was a great day of great food with great friends on a great ride!  Heck, or I should say hawk, even the birds came out to play.

For more information on Bub’s BBQ, including a menu, hours and directions, please visit their website.

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

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