Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

May your holiday season sparkle and shine! 

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Video - NY Route 86

I finally found the time to do some video editing from last summer's motorcycle trip. One of the most memorable rides was on NY Route 86 from Jay, NY to Lake Placid, NY.  We liked the road so much, that we rode the 17 mile stretch twice. 

NY Route 86
The route follows the Ausable River and is full of twists and turns.  If you are ever in the area, it is a must ride road!  There are some very scenic stops along the route as well, including Flume Falls and High Falls Gorge. Enjoy the video!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seger on Tour

I recently scored tickets to Bob Seger's - Ride Out Tour 2014-15 and can't wait to attend the concert.  I have been a Seger fan since the late 70's and attending a Seger concert has always been on my list of things to a few weeks, I will be rockin' with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullett Band.

Looking forward to hearing tunes from Seger's new album and hopefully, many of the classics!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Team Hellcat 2.0

In 2012, I wrote a blog post about my Twitter friend Jase, aka @hellcatcustoms and his attempt to set a Land Speed Record at Bonneville (which he was successful in doing). Last year (2013), Team Hellcat Customs was ready for another attempt at Bonneville, but sadly, it was canceled due to bad weather.  I was really excited for the 2013 attempt as Team Hellcat was going to be running multiple bikes at Bonneville.

Jase - 2012 at Bonneville
After waiting an entire year, Team Hellcat is ready and looking to conquer Bonneville again!  I am happy to be one of the sponsors for Team Hellcat and I am looking forward to following this year's adventure! If you want to sponsor, you still can - click here.

Team Hellcat Sponsors
This year, Jase's partner Kel aka @FieryPinkGirl will also be attempting to set a World Land Speed Record at Bonneville, go Kel go! Here's wishing Team Hellcat all the best at Bonneville!  If you want to get a feel of what it's like, check out the video about Jase and Team Hellcat's experience in 2012.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

2015 Indian Scout

Polaris Industries and their Indian Motorcycle Division just released a new revamped version of the Indian Scout

Photo Credit:  Indian Motorcycle

At first glance, this 69CI liquid cooled motorcycle looks impressive.  Images demonstrate nice lines and attention to design.  Add a riding position similar to the original Scout, tan solo seat and the iconic Indian badging and you keep the image of the original Indian Scout alive.

Photo Credit: Motorcyclist.Com

Photo Credit: Motorcyclist.Com

I will reserve final opinion until I get to see the new Indian Scout in person.  As you may recall, I wrote a post a couple of years back about the Honda F6B and was very excited about it, only to be disappointed when I had the chance to see one.

The marketing people are putting their spin on things, as they should and the promotion of the 2015 Indian Scout is going full tilt.  Here's hoping that Polaris and Indian and can make a go of this.

Ride safe...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

CSBK 2014

Round 3 of the 2014 Canadian Superbike Series took place at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Nova Scotia this past weekend.  On Saturday, I checked the weather forecast for Sunday's final races and the weather forecast was good.  I sent a quick text message to friends who were riding around the South shore of Nova Scotia and asked if they were going to the races and they were.  Another text to my good friend Luc and we had a plan! Get up early in the morning and make the 4 hour drive to Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, NS.

I picked Luc up at 6:00am on Sunday morning and we hit the road.  After a quick stop for breakfast at the Irving Big Stop in Salisbury, we made our way to the track.  We took a walk through the pits and noticed that things were scaled back this year and there were not as many racers as previous years.

After our walk through the pit area, we met up with our friends and made our way to our favorite spot to watch the races, corner 2! From corner 2, you have an excellent view of a good part of the track!

Atlantic Motorsport Track

 Turn 2 View

We thoroughly enjoyed the enjoyed watching the Pro Sportbike, Amateur Sportbike and the CBR 125/250 series races, but the race we drove 4 hours to see was the Pro Superbike race and it did not disappoint!  We enjoyed a 22 lap battle between the top two Canadian Superbike Riders, Jordan Szoke and Jodi Christie.

Christie in the lead!

Christie led a good part of the race, but Szoke was patiently waiting to make a move and when the timing was right, he did just that!

Szoke in the lead!

Christie regained the lead, but again Szoke was right there, leaving Christie with no margin for error!

Christie back in the lead!

Near the end of the race, Szoke passed Christie again, but that did not last long!  On the final lap, going into the last part of the track, Christie passed Szoke for the checkered flag and the win! What a finish and what a thrilling race to watch!

Christie with the checkered flag!

The Pro Superbike race made the 8 hour return drive entirely worthwhile!  It was also fun hanging out with our friends at the track...overall, a great way to spend the day!  After the Pro Superbike race, we said our good-byes and made the 4 hour drive home. Already looking forward to the next time I get to see motorcycle races, maybe AMA, WSBK, or MotoGP (just throwing it out there Luc)!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2014 Motorcycle Trip - Part III

Days 6, 7 and 8 - NH, ME and NB

Day 6 - Auburn, NY to Nashua, NH (NY 20, NY 787, VT7, VT 9, NH 9, NH 101)

Our Day 6 plan was not written in stone, our plan was to complete New York State, move into Vermont and New Hampshire.  At the beginning of the day, we were unsure which route we were going, so we decided that we would continue on NY 20 to Albany, NY and then move into Vermont and New Hampshire.

Day 6 Routes

We started on NY Route 20 early in the morning and I have to admit it was a bit slow.  Luc piped up on the Scala communicator and said," if this speed continues, we will have to head for the Interstate".  Fortunately, it did pick up and we continued on Route 20.  The weather was overcast, however, the ride through farm country was scenic and enjoyable.  As we rode through the stretch from Sharon, NY to Esperance, NY we noticed a significant amount of damage from Tropical Storm Arthur...there were many uprooted trees and broken tree limbs scattered across the countryside. We stopped for fuel and a coffee and spoke to one of the local residents.  He explained that the storm moved through very quickly and even damaged his property.  This was the same storm (tropical storm Arthur) that hit our community the next day and caused significant damage, including damage to my property and Luc's property.

Next, it was on to Albany and the Vermont state line.  The ride on the 20, also known as the Western Turnpike was straight forward, it took us through Albany to NY 787 and then to the exit for Bennington, VT.  Due to the volume of traffic, it was not until we passed the exit that we realized we missed it.  A quick turn around and we were off to Vermont on VT Route 7.  The sun was shining, we got rid of our rain gear and continued on to Bennington VT.  Once in Bennington, we stopped for coffee as we had not planned our route past this point.

Making a plan!

We were not really sure what direction we were going to head in.  Luc mentioned that he wanted to go to Whitehorse Gear in Conway, NH and I wanted to go to Derry Cycle in Derry, NH to look at the new EBR 1190RX. As we looked at the maps and played around with Google Maps on my tablet, I said to Luc, "Nashua, NH is not that far, why don't we head there for the eve and see if we can connect with our good friend Jeff".  Luc said, "ok, let's see if we can connect with Jeff".  Jeff is a great guy and one of the most connected guys I know. We posted a quick IM on Facebook with Luc's cell number and within minutes, Luc's cell phone rang and we were thrilled to find out that Jeff was available to hangout with us.  So, the plan was to ride to Nashua, NH and connect with Jeff for the eve!  This is how Luc and I plan!

After our coffee, we left Bennington and moved on to VT Route 9 to Brattleboro, VT.  We rode this road last year and it is one that I highly recommend.  It is full of curves, twists and turns and is an absolute joy to ride!  At one point, while I was leading and having a great time accelerating coming out of one of the many corners, I met the State Trooper coming towards me.  I was pretty sure that I was exceeding the 50 mph speed limit, but on this day, luck was on my side!

We stopped at Hogback Mountain as there is a lookout area where you can see for miles and miles.  At the lookout point, we ran into a couple from Maryland who were returning home from a ride that took them to Bar Harbour, ME. We spent about half an hour exchanging stories and rides.

Hogback Mountain Lookout, VT Route 9

Following the stop at Hogback Mountain, it was on to Brattleboro, VT via Route 9 and across the state line into New Hampshire.  We continued on Route 9 and on to NH 101 into Nashua, NH.  Along the way, we stopped for fuel and at the same time checked on accommodations. Since we had such good luck with the three previous evenings at Holiday Inns, we decided to check out the Holiday Inn in Nashua.  The ride along Route 101 was good, with traffic picking up as we got closer to the city.  Once in Nashua, we checked into the Holiday Inn and contacted our friend Jeff to let him know that we were in town.

Later on, Jeff arrived and it was really good to connect with him as it had been 11 months since he visited New Brunswick and the last time we met.  Jeff took us to downtown Nashua where we checked out MT's Local Kitchen and Wine Bar.  We had an enjoyable evening discussing everything from motorcycles to families to jobs to rides...the food at MT's was very good too!

After our meal, we ventured down the street to Castro's Back Room, a local cigar shop.  The selection at this place was impressive and my two friends opted for Dominican Cigars.  We sat outside on the sidewalk and continued our conversations. After an hour or so, Jeff drove us back to the Holiday Inn and we bid our farewells! You can always tell a "true friend" when your conversations pick up where they left off the last time you met...Jeff certainly fits in this "true friend" category!

Day 6 - 486 Km.  Hotel - Holiday Inn

Day 7 - Nashua, NH to North Conway, NH (NH 3, NH 102, NH 28B, NH 28, NH 109N, NH 25, NH 3, I-93, NH 112, NH 113, ME 302, NH 302, NH 16)

Day 7 Routes

Day 7 started out rather slow. We really only had 3 goals in mind, visit Derry Cycle, visit Whitehorse Gear and stop in North Conway, NH.  We were given complimentary breakfasts at the Holiday Inn and we took our time mapping out our day.  Once breakfast was done, I called the Colonial Motel in North Conway and reserved a room.  We stayed their last year unexpectedly during a huge rainstorm and the owner (Jerry) was very accommodating and let us park our motorcycles in his personal car port during the rainstorm.  We figured we owed Jerry a return favor by booking a night at his motel.

We proceeded to load our motorcycles and it seemed to take longer than usual and it was not until we hit the road that I figured it out.  Luc was purposely stalling, as he knows I like to get on the road and that I love to ride.  The reason he was stalling is he wanted to ensure that we would arrive at Derry Cycle when it opened and so we would not have to wait around.  He knew if we arrived to early, I would probably say the heck with it, let's ride on...what a friend!

The ride to from Nashua to Derry via NH 102 took about 20 minutes and we had no issues finding Derry Cycle as I had it programmed in my GPS. We arrived about 15 minutes before the dealership opened, so we went back to a Dunkin' Donuts that we had passed.  Luc ordered an ice coffee, so I figured I would give it a try...that was a mistake, the stuff is crap and mine ended up in the trash!

Back to Derry Cycle...I have to admit, I was quite excited about having the opportunity to see the new EBR 1190RX.  Those who read my blog know that I own a 2009 Buell 1125R and that I am a big fan of EBR Motorcycles and Erik Buell.  As we entered Derry Cycle, I was instantly attracted to the EBR 1190RX and asked the salesman a few questions and asked if it was okay to take a few pictures.  His response, was heck, you can take pictures and we can sell you the motorcycle!

I think the EBR 1190RX fits rather nicely!

While I was examining every part of the 1190RX and taking pictures, Luc spent time looking around the dealership and talking to the parts guy!  It was a real thrill for me to see these bikes and the salesman was confident that we could work out a deal and import one to Canada, I said maybe next year!

As Luc was looking around, he asked the parts guy about highway pegs as he is looking to make a change to the ones he currently has on his bike.  I entered into the conversation and the parts guy took out a set of OEM Harley Davidson highway pegs and mounts, he explained that they were take offs and that he would give me a very good deal on them.  I asked if I could try them on my Street Glide and he said sure.  The pegs were a perfect fit and match with my floor boards and passenger pegs.  I asked the parts guy how much he wanted for the pegs/mounts and he said $60.00 for the!  He even provided the tools for me to do the install! Small note, I had been looking at exactly the same pegs in the HD catalogue.

New Highway Pegs Installed

The team at Derry Cycle were a great bunch and if you are in the area, stop by.  Prior to leaving, we asked what was the best ride North to Wolfeboro.  They recommended scenic bypass NH 28B & 28 and we took their advice.  We said good bye and were on our way.

NH28B and 28 did not disappoint, it was a nice 110 Km ride to the lakes region of NH.  Upon arrival at Wolfeboro, traffic was very heavy so we choose to take Route 109N around Lake Winnipesaukee and ride to Laconia Harley Davidson in Meredith.  I picked up a t-shirt and we priced the foot pegs I had purchased earlier in the day, HD price, $99.99 for the mounts and $150.00 for the pegs!  I got a great deal at Derry Cycle! Thanks again Luc for bringing the highway pegs to my attention!

Our next destination was Conway, NH and we wanted the ride the 112 again, also know as the Kancamagus Highway.  We took Route 3 out of Meredith and hit the I-93 North to Lincoln.  The ride on the I-93 isn't bad as it is very scenic and you are in awe as you enter the White Mountains region.  Traffic on the 112 was very light and there are many views along this route.  I have to admit, I was very disappointed with the condition of the 112, it was much rougher than I recall.  While scenic, it would not rank as one of my favorite rides of the trip.  We had been on much better roads in VT, NY and PA.

White Mountains via the Kancamagus Highway

The last part of our ride was rather comical, we entered into Conway and wanted to find our way to Whitehorse Gear.  Traffic was heavy and we thought we knew a different route with "thought" being the key word! When we crossed the state line into Maine, we knew we were not heading in the right direction!  We had a great laugh and ended up on back roads, crossed the state lines a few times again and rode on what I think is the roughest road in all of NH!  We eventually made our way to the 302 (thanks to GPS) and headed straight for the Colonial Inn.  We unloaded our gear, went for a short walk through North Conway and found a place for food and coffee.  Whitehorse Gear was going to be part of our Day 8 plan!

Day 7 - 300 Km, not a great day mileage wise, but a very fun day!  Motel - Colonial Inn

Day 8 - The Voyage Home, North Conway, NH to Fredericton, NB (NH 16, NH 2, ME 2, I-95N, TC 2)

Day 8 Routes

We woke to a beautiful morning in North Conway and went Priscilla's Country CafĂ© for breakfast..  We went to the same restaurant last year and the breakfast is one to die for, ask for the Maine Blueberry Pancakes!  In the parking lot, we spoke to a couple from Maine who were touring on their Electra Glide, again, we shared stories and rides and had a wonderful conversation!  Luc has said on many occasions, half the fun of the trip is the people you meet and the conversations that you have!

Back at the Colonial Inn, we loaded the bikes for one last time.  Jerry, the owner came over to wish us well and thanked us for staying with him.

Day 8 and Loaded

Our next stop was Whitehorse Gear and we knew how to get there this time. This is another must stop for motorcyclists!  The selection is amazing and the staff is friendly and very knowledgeable!  We spent about an hour or so there and Luc purchased a new rain suit and a pair of riding glasses.  I enjoyed browsing through the warehouse and dreaming of all the things I wanted to purchase.

It was time for the last leg of our journey, the 600+ Km ride back to Fredericton.  NH Route 16 is another fantastic ride, the view of Mount Washington and surrounding areas is picture perfect!  Traffic was very light to the Route 2 intersection, so we were able to enjoy the ride and take it all in.  We stopped in Gorham for fuel and made our way through to Skowhegan, ME where we stopped for coffee and fuel.  The ride along ME Route 2 was slow at times due to truck traffic and construction. 

At Pittsfield, we jumped on the I-95N for the journey to the Canadian border.  A stop for fuel in Lincoln, ME and then we continued on the I-95.  Once you get past Bangor and head North, there is one word for the I-95, boring!  It is just a ride through the woods!  For entertainment, Luc and I took turns passing each other on the Interstate.

Another stop for fuel in Houlton, ME and onto the Canadian border and the 100 Km ride home. We did make a quick stop at the duty free store in Houlton for some liquid beverages!

We arrived back in Fredericton around 7:30pm, said good bye and ventured each on our own way.  It was nice to be home and it was with a great feeling that we had experienced another excellent road trip!  8 days and 4000+ Km of riding, beautiful roads and scenery and new friends and conversations.  The trips keep getting better every year!  Also, thanks to Luc for being such a great travelling partner, we both share a care free attitude and just enjoy the ride...the way it should be!

Ride safe!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Motorcycle Trip - Part II

Days 4 and 5 - NY, PA, and NY

Day 4 - Oneonta, NY to Warren, PA (I-88, NY 17, PA 220, PA 6, PA 660, PA 362, PA 6)

Day 4 started with  breakfast at McDonalds in Oneonta, NY and a view of our maps.  The bikers we spoke to on the Lake Champlain Ferry recommended PA Route 6 and a visit to the Grand Canyon - Pennsylvania version.  We opted to take the I-88 past Binghamton, NY and head straight to the Pennsylvania state line.

Day 4 Routes

The ride from Oneonta, NY to Sayer, PA was typical highway riding, nothing overly exciting.  Once we hit PA Route 6, the ride became much better!  Route 6 is very scenic and a fun road to ride.  Our first destination of the day was Wellsboro, PA.  Once in Wellsboro, we jumped on to Route 660 and headed for Leonard Harrison State Park and the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, or least we thought we were!  I was in the lead and completely missed the turn off for the State Park and we ended up back on Route 6.  Rather than backtrack, we opted to go into Wellsboro and have a coffee break.

During our coffee break, we had a conversation with a local gentlemen and he explained where we had missed the turn off to the State Park.  He also recommended several other places for us to visit. After our coffee we jumped on the bikes and this time rode directly to Leonard Harrison State Park.

Leonard Harrison State Park

Pine Creek Gorge

Looking North at Pine Creek Gorge

Looking South at Pine Creek Gorge

Looking North at Pine Creek Gorge

I enjoyed the visit to Leonard Harrison State Park and would recommend it as a stopping point if you are in the area.  The ride to the park is full of twists and turns and when you leave, make sure you take Route 362, it is a lot of fun!

After the ride on Route 362, you end up back on Route 6.  We continued West across the state, riding through many small towns and rural countryside. After a stop for fuel in Kane, PA, we continued on our way towards Warren, PA.  We had to stop along the way and put on our rain gear as showers were in the forecast and there were a few raindrops falling.

On our approach to Warren, I checked my GPS for accommodations and we opted for the Holiday Inn.  Upon check in, we were made to feel welcome and we settled in rather quickly.  After a short rest, we made our way to the bar and had a great evening.  The bartender, who we will call "Stella", welcomed us immediately and insisted that we join her and several other patrons with a seat at the bar.  We obliged and ended up having a great meal, drinks and an evening of conversation with our new found friends!

Riding distance Day 4 - 500 km.  Hotel - Holiday Inn

Day 5 - Warren, PA to Auburn, NY (PA 6, PA 8, PA 89, PA 5, NY 5, NY 20)

Day 5 Routes

Day 5 started with rain in the forecast.  While loading our motorcycles, the skies opened up and it poured.  Since our motorcycles were parked under the canopy at the Holiday Inn, we opted for a later start.  While waiting, a young man came over to talk to us and told us about the local area.  He also spoke of his service in the US Military and his tours of duty in Iraq. It was a very interesting conversation to say the least.

Prior to the conversation with the young man, I had been on Twitter and posed a question to BK, one of my Twitter friends (she is originally from the Erie region of PA).  I asked her if she would recommend riding to Lake Erie and following Route 5 along the lake, she responded saying "yes! It's so beautiful this year along the lake. Too bad I'm not up there right now, I'd meet you".

The skies started to clear, so we jumped on our motorcycles and rode to Lake Erie via PA Routes 6, 8, 89 & 5.  We had our rain gear on as the roads were wet, but it did not rain on the ride to Lake Erie.  We were really surprised at the number of grapes being farmed in the area, made sense as we saw several vineyards along the route. Route 89 took us right to Lake Erie and we decided to take a break at Orchard Beach Park.

Orchard Park Beach at Lake Erie, PA

Luc taking advantage of the stop at Orchard Park Beach

After our break at Orchard Park Beach, we hit PA/NY Route 5 and rode along side of Lake Erie, thanks again for the recommendation BK, it is a great ride!  In Dunkirk, NY, the rain started so it was back to the rain gear for the next part of the journey.

We veered onto Route 20 which took us into Hamburg, NY.  Hamburg is on the outskirts of Buffalo and we noticed a significant increase in traffic. We stopped for a coffee at Tim Hortons and looked at the map again.  We decided that we would continue on Route 20 East as it was in our morning plan.
Once back on the road, we were pleasantly surprised to come across Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills!  We just had to stop!  The stadium was under going renovations so it was not possible to get into the stadium. Security at the stadium allowed us to take a few pictures albeit from a distance.

Ralph Simpson Stadium

Buffalo Bills Training Facility

For the next hour or so, we rode in heavy rain, fortunately for us, there was very little traffic along NY Route 20 East.  The ride takes you through farm country where corn seems to be the major crop.  Also along this route are the Finger Lakes, this is a beautiful region of central NY State.  We saw many large homes/estates and it appears that waterfront property is for people who have lots of money, very beautiful homes!

We stopped in Geneva, NY for a quick break and decided that we would ride as far as Auburn and look for accommodations.  A Holiday Inn was showing on my GPS and the two previous nights at Holiday Inns were great, so we set the Holiday Inn in Auburn as our destination.  Upon arrival at the Holiday Inn, we were greeted and given a discounted rate on a room.  The hotel clerk was also biker, so we struck up a conversation and he gave us coupons for a couple of free drinks at the bar.  After unloading our motorcycles and getting cleaned up, we went for dinner and drinks at the hotel bar.  We were both tired from the ride and we settled in for an early evening.

Riding Distance Day 5 - 425 Km. Hotel - Holiday Inn

Days 6 - 8 to follow.