Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Dig in Deeper

Posted: July 16, 2015 in General Musings, Photos

Less than 3 hours in parking lot on a gorgeous 82 degree day. Sun was shining, but was not unbearably beating down. It wasn’t oppressive. It was the closest thing to San Diego weather we have on the east coast. I never saw it coming. Nice to know my kickstand plate was secure in my saddlebag.

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

9 Days, 2603 miles: The Blue Ridge Parkway twice (south to north in one day), The Dragon’s Tail, The Devil’s Whip and Diamondback, Hellbender, The Cherohala Skyway… and I am ready for more.

Three

Photo Credit: Sheila Chudik

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

Way back in June I purchased and installed the Harley Daymaker Reflector. Installation was, by my standards, quick and easy. The entire stock headlight and mounting ring had to be removed, and the new mounting ring installed (this is shown in the pictures). Once installed, the light plugs into the harness, and mounted onto the ring. The trim ring screws back in place, and voila, you have daytime at nighttime. Total install took less than an hour.

Verdict: I have ridden with these lights in direct sunlight, at sunset, at night, in fog, and in rain. And all I can say is, “What a difference a day(maker) makes!” These lights truly do create daylight at night. With the stock headlight, I often caught myself using the high beams when alone on the road, not because I wanted to, but because I needed to. With the Daymaker Reflector, there has been no need to use the highs. And on the topic of the high beams, if there is a weakness, it is in the high beam as it does not offer exponentially more light than the low. But I wonder, is it that the high beam is weak, or is the low beam that strong? I tend to side with the latter rather than the former. And the other drivers on the road tend to agree. Day and night I am constantly flashed to turn the high beam off… I would love to know what they are thinking when they realize they are my lows. This headlight provides an exponential increase in nighttime visibility and is well worth the money – especially if you can find it at a 20% discount from certain online retailers.

Couple this upgrade with the Custom Dynamics Dynamic Ringz and really let yourself be seen by the other drivers on the road.



Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

For those familiar with Harley touring models, you know that in 2010 Harley Davidson abandoned the large taillight in favor of two dual purpose brake lights and turn signals. Although it adds to the sleek look of the bike, it really allows for poor visibility to other motorists during daytime riding, especially on sunny days.  I have been told countless times by those I ride with that my bike is virtually invisible when I”m braking – especially in direct sunlight.

After doing numerous cosmetic and “performance” upgrades to my dearest Beatrice, I decided it was finally time to do something that could potentially save us both.

I ordered the Custom Dynamics Dynamic Ringz, LED brake lights, and load stabilizer online for $172 shipped. They arrived within eight days, and they took all of 30 minutes to install.

Installation in the front and rear is as easy as popping off the existing lens covers, unscrewing and removing the halogen unit, and inserting the LED unit. Pop the lens cover back on. Many choose, at this point, to run smoked lenses on all four lights. I chose to install clears in the front, and I kept my red lenses in the rear. I felt it was a better aesthetic fit for the bike. A flat head screwdriver is all you need to complete this task.

The load stabilizer was the longest and trickiest part of the install. The load stabilizer mounts underneath the bike’s side panel and connects into the main wiring harness. Positive and negative terminals also attach to the bike’s battery. Truthfully, this wasn’t an arduous process – once I located the main wiring harness. Connecting to the battery requires nothing more than a screwdriver, just do me a favor and make sure you properly feed your wires underneath the frame otherwise the seat will be resting on them. As you can surmise, I had to reroute my wires because I screwed it up the first time.  Syncing the lights and stabilizer are simple. A few left blinks followed by 10 or so right blinks, back to the left and done.

Front: The Dynamic Ringz convert the stock halogen turn signals to full time LED running lights and, when activated, amber turn signals. They have 48 LEDs on each insert. The outer ring of 24 are white, and the inner 24 are amber. The outer white ring is very noticeable to oncoming traffic (see pic below). At night, it does not light up the road too much more, as the LEDs are aimed straight out, but they do reflect brightly off of any reflective surface – for example stop signs, road paint, and the eyes of animals watching from the side of the road.

Rear: The improvement from my stock tail lights was remarkable. In direct sunlight daylight, the rear running lights are brighter than the stock brake lights. And the brake lights, when activated, are extremely hard to miss.  One of the first upgrades I made when I first bought the bike was the tri-bar upgrade, which converted the tri-bar on the bottom of the fender to running and brake lights. These new Custom Dynamics drown out the tri-bar brake light entirely. The photos below show the Custom Dynamics LEDs as running lights on the left, and as brake lights on the right.

Rear OneRear Two

The Verdict: This upgrade is a must for anyone concerned with increasing their likelihood of being seen by other drivers on the road in all riding conditions at all times of the day – the bike is highly visible from the front and the rear. It is a relatively low cost upgrade which requires minimal mechanical skills to complete.

Visit Custom Dynamics on the web.

 

Up Next: Harley Daymaker Reflector

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

From the Archives

Posted: May 16, 2014 in General Musings, Photos

From the Archives – June 2013

 

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

I’ve been wanting to try B.T.’s Smokehouse in Sturbridge, Massachusetts for quite some time now. And when I say “quite some time,” I’m not talking about weeks, or months. It’s been more than a couple of years. Alas, poor B.T.’s, I can attribute my failure to get there to nothing other than pure laziness. Finally the wait was over and this review has since been written based on my first experience at 7:15 at night Thursday, April 24,m 2014, and my second at 2:00 in the afternoon on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014.

First Visit: April 24, 2014 (7:15 on a Thursday Evening)

It really says something for a BBQ joint to be packed at 7:15 in the evening. Usually I would expect that to be an off-peak time. Less people. Less waiting. I was wrong on both counts.  But that’s OK. My wife and I weren’t in a rush. A table opened up and we grabbed it. Looking around I realized B.T.’s was BYOB – coincidentally we had a 6 pack of Baxter Brewing Co.’s Stowaway IPA in the car. It wasn’t ice cold, but it held us over. The soda cup looked so sad and useless at the table as we drank our beer.

I figured I would use the wait time to grab an assortment of sauces and garnishes. The “Hellish Relish” was great; the pickled onions and habanero infused carrots were good – although I’m sure much better on a sandwich. I dipped my finger in the “meat heat” sauce, as well as the other sauce options. They were good – some hotter than others, and neither of the sauces had a thick consistency. After the anticipation and buildup, I expected greatness. My wife ordered a brisket platter, and I ordered a brisket sandwich. We also had macaroni and cheese and slaw as our sides. Finally my name was called to pick up the order. Everything looked really good on the tray, and the brisket was cut thick and piled high. Finally I was able to dig in…

…I hate writing these words, but I was disappointed. And I felt dirty thinking it. But my head was filled with some of the adjectives any Q’er hates to hear describing their art. The brisket was lean, dry, and tough; I had to bathe it in sauces to get it down – once again, I tried all the sauces, only this time out of necessity. Fortunately for both my taste buds and B.T.’s, I have a “try everything twice” policy. [As an aside, we were in a car and not on a bike, so maybe the motorcycle gods were getting back at me.]

Second Visit: May 3, 2014 (2:00 on a Saturday Afternoon)

Saturday morning I get the call: “Garganoooooo, I want to ride today. Let’s get some brisket.” And with those words, I was ready to give B.T.’s there second chance. I hoped it would be busier on a Saturday afternoon, resulting in food that wasn’t sitting around as long; with this logic, the quality had to be better – of course there is a fundamential problem with this logic. Go ahead, think about it for a minute.  That’s right, B.T.’s was very busy on that Thursday night,. so my rationale, at least in theory, makes little to no sense. I can only assume on that night it had been a short while since the brisket left the smoker. But back to the now… We (Todd, Angela, and myself) arrived at B.T.’s at 2:00 in the afternoon.

Although parking was sparse – as I imagine it usually is when a joint has fewer parking spaces and many diners – surprisingly the wait was not long at all. We had either come at the tail end of a rush, or we just beat it. Or it wasn’t a busy Saturday. Either way, we weren’t complaining. We quickly ordered and easily found a seat. Once the food was ready and the pictures were taken, it was enjoy time.

The Order: Andrew – Brisket Reuben and a side of pulled pork. Todd – Brisket sandwich and pulled pork sandwich. Angela – pulled chicken sandwich and french fries. And a round of bottomless sodas. Those cups now had a new found purpose!

The Reuben: This was an interesting choice. I’ve wanted to try this sandwich for a long while. The brisket was definitely tender and juicy. The bread was soft, but had the nice crispiness to it one can only get from the grill. It had a very good flavor, however I felt the dressing overpowered the taste of the brisket. Meaty brisket was definitely the mildest of the flavors of this sandwich.

The Brisket: Todd proclaimed this to be the best brisket he has had in his  life. And I will vouch that it was very very good. Heck, it was excellent! Tender. Juicy. Nice smoke ring. Easily pulled apart with fingers. What more can you ask for?

The Pulled Pork: My portion of pulled pork was fatty and it contained a lot of bark. Typically I don’t complain about too much bark. But if I separated the shreds of pork from the fatty pieces and bark, I would be left with a pile of pork significantly smaller than the rest.

The Chicken and Fries: Angela thought the chicken was slightly dryer than she anticipated, and less flavorful than the other foods on the table. The tiny forkful that I had was dry. The portion of french fries was heaping, and as far as french fries go, they were very good.

The short and skinny from the tall and fat… Wow, I am glad I made it out a second time. You know that old adage “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression”? Well, it’s wrong. When one takes advantage of a second chance in the way B.T.’s unknowingly did, it really makes you forget the first impression. Portions are a good size. I would recommend trying the brisket. And on future visits I must try the ribs. Every order of ribs I saw go out to the customers looked absolutely succulent. There are many more options on the menu than your typically BBQ place. That’s OK. Breathe. Choose wisely. You will be back a second time. And most likely a third. There will be plenty of opportunity to sample the remainder of the menu.

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B.T.’s Smokehouse on Facebook

B.T.’s on Twitter

B.T.’s on the web

Address: 392 Main St., Sturbridge, MA 01566

Phone: 508-347-3188

 

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

Yesterday was supposed to be a beautiful day of riding around the Quabbin Reservoir in Mass. I met Jim in Sturbridge for breakfast at Annie’s Country Kitchen (much to my amazement, I was a few minutes late and he was about 40 minutes early so I didn’t have to wait for a table). Over a few cups of coffee and and egg sandwich we decided rather than ride the Quabbin, we would head south into CT, then head west across CT-20, north up 8, and scoot over the Pike so he could be home for a dinner reservation.

The ride south and west was uneventful, but after we passed through Granby and were headed toward Winsted, it occurred to me we had the New England Air Museum nearby at Bradley Airport. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, and I knew from previous conversations it was something Jim would enjoy. And so we turned around and headed to the museum.

As much as I am fascinated by airplanes, I don’t know anything about them and their history. Walking through the NEAM was great, and having it basically in my backyard makes me wonder why I haven’t been there in the 13 years I’ve lived in the area. We didn’t do a ton of riding, but that was OK.  It was more exciting to see and do something new…

Here is a gallery of Jim’s photos from the NEAM:

More Information:

New England Air Museum

38 Perimeter Rd., Bradley International Airport (Windsor Locks, CT)

Phone: 860-623-3305

Web: http://www.neam.org/

Admission: $12/adults (12 and up), $6.50 (ages 4-11), Free (3 and under), $11 Senior Citizens 65 and up

 

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

 

Portraits From the Ride

Posted: August 22, 2013 in General Musings, Photos

Here are two of my favorite photos Melisa took while staring at my helmet for five hours in Alaska. One is of me, the other is of her. Hopefully the distinction between the two is clear.

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Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

 

August 16-18 were the dates for the 2nd Annual Weekend Motorcycle Trip. We (Melisa, Todd, Kim, and I) settled on Burlington, VT as our home base and rode up Lake Champlain and through the Adirondacks on Saturday. Sunday would be our long return trip home. Over the three-day span, we clocked almost 800 miles on the odometers, drank some decent (and some better than decent, and some not-so decent) beers, ate both good and disappointing food, saw some unexpected sights and places, experienced a ferry ride with the bikes, got crabs, cherished great company, and enjoyed every mile of the trip.

The one thing missing from this trip is a photo of the four of us. It really bums me out to realize we missed the opportunity to take one.

The Good

Asiana House (191 Pearl St. Burlington, VT) – This was great sushi. No complaints could be heard at our table. After a disappointing plate of chicken sate the night before, the sate here was the exclamation point on an eating experience filled with tasty rolls, and tuna and salmon sushi.

Fiddlehead IPA – This beer was consumed at Asiana House, not in the Fiddlehead taproom. It proved to be the best non-Hill Farmstead or Lawson’s beer I had all weekend. It was hoppy and citrusy with just the right bite! A close second was the Lompoc LSD at The Farmhouse.

Blackback Pub (Interesection of Main and Stowe, Waterbury, VT) – I couldn’t imagine being within 20 minutes of this place without stopping by. Faithful readers know this is a favorite location of ours, and the hour stop on Sunday early-afternoon was well worth it. Lawson’s Double Sunshine was my draft of choice.

The Could Have Been Much Better Than It Was

The Vermont Pub & Brewery (144 College St. Burlington, VT) – I am hoping we were the victim of the late night menu. The food was sub par at best (in fact, my rare burger was probably the best offering at the table and that’s probably because it was unintentionally undercooked), and worse, the beer was not memorable.

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill (160 Bank St. Burlington, VT) – I don’t feel right putting this in the “The Could Have Been Much Better Than It Was” category, but it’s primarily because of the beer selection. For a 24 beer tap list, I expected so much more. The aforementioned Lompoc LSD and the Hill Farmstead Edward were the best offerings on Friday night. And both kegs were killed by Saturday night (fortunately the Edward was followed by HF’s Society and Solitude 7). Clearly this is the hip and happening place in Burlington. Another drawback in my book.

The Scenery – We’ve done some great riding over the last few years, and unfortunately we all agreed that the scenery on this route was a bit disappointing. All roads are not created equal, and it’s ok. We still had a blast.

The Unexpected

Lake Placid – Never thought I would ride through this town on this trip. I had seen a few shots of the ski jumps some friends took on a June trip, and I at that point I wanted to eventually get to Placid. The town was packed with tourists, and riding down the main street reminded me of riding through Freeport, Maine. Long story short, I would like to spend at least a day exploring Placid in the near future. Of course, riding through the town wasn’t enough to make me want to sit through the movie of the same name.

Fort Ticonderoga – It is difficult to ignore pieces of American history, and it seemed a no brainer to take the short road up and try to see the fort. It just wasn’t in the cards for that day. Unfortunately we pulled in minutes after the gates closed to the last tour. I think the $17.50 price tag per person to visit is rather steep, but it really punctuates the point that nothing is cheap nowadays – including history! When I visit Placid again, I will be sure to visit Fort Ticonderoga.

Breathe Right – Thanks to these wonders of modern medicine, Todd really didn’t snore. Of course, he supposedly woke up looking like he played the role of punching bag to Mike Tyson (1980’s vintage Mike, not the Mike we’ve been subject to in later years) – again, one of those photos that unfortunately was never taken on this trip.

780 miles later, here is a map of the route, with the letters representing our various stops along the way:

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A: Starting and end points (Enfield, CT)

B: Hotel (Burlington, VT)

C: Jon’s Family Restaurant (Malone, NY) – A very enjoyable lunch stop. Food was very good with no complaints.

D: Lake Placid (Lake Placid, NY)

E: Essex – Charlotte Ferry (Essex, NY)

F: Hotel (Burlington, VT)

G: Blackback Pub (Waterbury, VT)

H: Start of Route 17 (Waitsfield, VT) – See below.

I: Fort Ticonderoga (Ticonderoga, NY)

J: Joe’s Crab Shack (Latham, NY) – First time eating at a Joe’s, and probably my second or third time eating crabs. Very enjoyable. And costly. But enjoyable and worth it.

Road highlights: Route 73 in New York, and Route 17 in Vermont. The recommendation is to ride all of route 17. The Mad River portion of 17 is very twisty with ascents, descents, and hairpins. Unfortunately, the road is in horrible condition.  In my opinion, riding the Mad River portion of 17 is best done west to east ending in Waitsfield rather than east to west. But of course, it’s all subjective. Route 73 was the best stretch of road on Saturday’s Adirondack ride. It meets with Route 86 south of Placid and meets up with 9N (N apparently does not mean north) which took us to the Ferry.

Although we didn’t stop, we passed a bbq joint called Tail O’ The Pup in Raybrook, NY. The place was packed tighter than a can of sardines (I think that’s a decent cliche). This is a definite must stop in the future. Further research shows it to be lobster and bbq. This may just be food Heaven, but I won’t know until we go back.

And finally, a gallery of our trip:

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[Note: Purposely omitted was our stop at Green Mountain Harley Davidson where Kim fell in love with a Wide Glide. I chose to leave it out so this post does not pour salt in the wounds of her aching heart.]

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

Benvenuti Nella Famiglia!

Posted: August 14, 2013 in General Musings, Photos

My good friend Scott (I wish I was blogging during our Italy trip but WordPress hadn’t even been thought of yet) and his wife Laura recently took the Rider’s Edge course at their local Harley Davidson in South Carolina. I am very pleased to welcome them to my riding family. It is only a matter of time before we hit the roads together! In the meantime, Scott and Laura, keep the rubber side down and as always, ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile!

Scott and his new to him CBR.

 

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.