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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pants On Fire

And I wasn't even a "Liar-Liar".   Read on.

It was the last day of our motorcycle trip.  Overnighting in Lake George Village, we had a great breakfast and then hit the road, heading South on the Northway and then the NY State Thruway.  It was sad to see the Adirondack mountains slipping away in my rear view mirrors as we traveled.

But it was not going to be all boring highway riding, we had an interesting destination in mind:

The headquarters for Orange County Choppers.  If you never saw the TV show, you missed out on the amazing pieces of art that they built into motorcycles.  They had many examples on display that we enjoyed as we walked around the showroom floor.

The detail work on these motorcycles was amazing.  Just look at the custom wheels on this NY Yankees motorcycle.
Even though these motorcycles actually run and can be ridden, they are more artwork than anything else.  Looking at the miniscule seats on these bikes, I guess I will never complain about the seat on my motorcycle again!   ;c)
We had lunch in the OCC CafĂ©, which was really good.  I had a Reuben, the corned beef on the sandwich was excellent, the only better one I've ever had was in Katz's Deli on Houston Street in NYC.
We hit the road again, with one final stop in mind.  My dad is a minister and in the early 1960's he was the pastor at a country church in NY State.  Since it was close by, we swung in to see it.  We hadn't been there since my dad left the church in 1966 for another pastorate.
It was just as we remembered it, but seemed to be very much smaller.  Maybe it was because we were so much smaller in the 60's? 
We even got a chance to peek inside, the doors were unlocked.  There were some changes inside, but the pew where I was sitting at for a Christmas Eve service when the giant Christmas Tree fell over on me was still there.  We had a good time laughing as memories came flooding back.  We'll have to bring my dad back to see the church again, I'm sure he'd get a kick out of it like we did.
Alas, our ride ended.  We drove down the highway and first Dave pulled off and headed to his house, then little brother Gordy turned off on his exit.  I still had about another 100 miles to go before I got back to the Journey and Marti, who had been patiently waiting for me.
It wasn't a smooth ride, I hit a 15 mile long bumper to bumper back up due to thousands of cars heading down to the NJ shore.  I crept along on the bike, a few feet, then stopped for a couple of minutes, then crept along again for a few more feet before halting again.  Of course it was a very hot day, temps in the mid 90's and the heat was getting unbearable. 
My motorcycle thankfully has a water cooled engine, so it did okay in the heat.  My pants, however are only cooled by wind rushing past as I ride the bike a speeds.  With that big engine throwing off heat, added to by the dual exhaust pipes, the undersides of my pant legs began to get a little warm, then warmer, then downright HOT!  I couldn't take it any more and had to pull off the highway and sit it the cool grass under a tree for a while to let the pants (and my legs) cool off.
 I got home around 7pm to a nice welcome from Marti, she was happy to see me all in one piece and none the worse for the wear from riding over 1300 miles in four days.  Yep, PDD applies to motorcycles just like RVs!   :cD

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Friday, July 24, 2015

State Flag, State Bird, State Car?

We set out on a clear morning, the motorcycles purred along nicely as we rode the back roads up the West side of NY’s Lake Champlain.  We crossed over at the top of the lake into Vermont.  Just as in New York, the scenery was breathtaking.


We stopped often to stretch our legs, which I appreciated.  I’m the oldest brother and have realized on this trip that I’m not 18 anymore, even if I feel it in my mind.  ;c)

At each stop, we checked the weather forecast in the direction we were heading.  How did we live without iPhones?


As we headed South down the rural roads in Vermont, we came across this wonderful place.  A coin operated car wash!  We pulled the bikes into one bay and started giving them a good cleaning to get all the mud and grime off.



The bikes rode so much better after their baths.  A clean bike is a happy bike.

We rode all the way South in Vermont, observing what, if not already, should be the Official Vermont State Car: the Subaru Outback wagon.  They seemed to be everywhere.  I guess if you’re a Subaru car dealer in Vermont, you’ve got it made.

We crossed back over to New York and headed North again back to the Adirondacks and into Lake George.  This area is special to us, we grew up spending many wonderful vacations in this area.  The views were just as good as we remembered. 


We stopped along the road at Swede Mountain, where a trail begins to the top.  Over the years we hiked up to the fire tower many times.  We passed on hiking it again as the day was getting away from us.


We worked our way around to Brant Lake, where our parents had a cabin for many years.  My dad’s brother also had a cabin there and we enjoyed many summers with our cousins.  Our uncle passed away years ago and is buried right near the lake.


He rests in a cemetery with a beautiful view of the mountains.


Once again, we found a reasonable hotel to stay in, this time in Lake George Village. 


We were surprised that there was one available, being the height of the summer season.  The hotel clerk said tourism has been a bit slack over the last several years.  We were just glad to get some soft beds to rest our tired bones to get ready for tomorrow, our last day.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Water Cooled

We started out this morning in the Adirondacks to sunshine and cool temps.  The back roads around the many lakes were a joy to ride, and the scenery was amazing.  We tooled along with hardly sighting another car, it was like our own private highway.

We stopped at one place because we sighted a couple of bears.


They were very friendly, especially for a guy dressed like a giant Minion.


I got a chance to ride a different mount for a little while.


Eventually, a massive rain storm started chasing us.  We tried to outrun the storm, but after a while, the road went in the wrong direction and led us right into the storm.  We quickly found shelter for the bikes and us at a supermarket. 


We waited out the storm, hanging loose for about two and a half hours.  Lucky for us, there was a McDonald’s next door, so we were able to get some lunch and my brothers drank cup after cup of that foul and evil liquid called coffee.

The rain tapered off to a light, spotty drizzle, so we suited up in our rain gear and headed out.  A few miles down the road, we ran into an eight mile long construction zone where the road was just gravel, wet gravel.

The bikes didn’t look too good by the time we reached pavement again.


No big deal, they’ll wash up nicely if we can just find a coin operated DIY car wash.

Later the skies cleared as we drove down a back road in Vermont.  The sun started baking us, so we pulled over to shed our rain suits and researched a hotel room for the night.

Dave was quite surprised at some of the prices they wanted for rooms around Stowe, Vermont.  “What!!!  We’re not going to stay there!!!”.


We motored on and further down the road grabbed a hotel at a Fairfield Inn.  Not the cheapest around, but we bit the bullet and are relaxing for the night.

My motorcycle has a water cooled engine.  I am glad that not every day I get water cooled, too.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Different Kind Of RV Trip

As much as I love traveling in our Journey motorhome, sometimes a special occasion arises to do a different kind of trip.

I set out this morning with my two brothers on a four day motorcycle trip through NY State.


We did a leisurely 309 mile ride from Northern NJ up through the NY State Catskill Mountains into the middle of the Adirondack Park.  We stuck to back roads and avoided highways and summer traffic.  It was a wonderful ride and the scenery was breath taking.


We stopped for the night at a motel in Indian Lake, NY. 


We’re a little bit stiff and sore, old bones and tired butts are being dealt with by copious amounts of Motrin.  Been a long time since I sat that long in a saddle.

Since I look like a giant Minion with my bright yellow helmet and jacket, what better thing to add to my motorcycle than a fellow Minion?


I now have a Seeing Eye Minion to keep me company.  :c)

We’ve three more days to spend together, we’re looking at wandering further North and crossing over to Vermont to ride the back roads to enjoy the scenery, the companionship and the great MPG our motorcycles get:  45 MPG! 

If only our Journey returned figures like that, I’d think I died and went to Heaven!

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Baptism And A Birthday

My shoes squished as I walked.  But this time, it’s not what you think, unlike that other time.

I bought a really nice, low mileage second hand motorcycle that my son Corey told me about, it was turned in at his car dealership as a down payment on a new car.  After Corey had carefully checked it out and gave me two thumbs up, I made the deal long distance. 


It’s a 2003 Honda VTX 1800R, a really (really) big bike.  I’ve been riding motorcycles for years and have put many a happy mile on them, including a honeymoon trip to Disney World with my long suffering bonnie bride, Marti.

When we arrived in NJ and got all set up at the Navy campground, we headed over to see Corey, Amanda and our two Jersey granddaughters, Anabelle and Lizzie (Elizabeth).  After the initial visiting died down, Corey showed me the motorcycle that he had been keeping in his garage for me.


I didn’t know how old the tires were, so to be on the safe side, I had ordered two new ones to put on.  I’ve plans to do a four day ride on the motorcycle with two of my brothers next week up through the NY State Adirondacks, they both have big Harleys.

Not having the facilities to change out the tires (good thing I planned on it, the date codes showed the old tires were made in 2005) I drove my car over to the nearest Honda motorcycle shop, about 15 miles from Corey’s house.  The service manager said he could change the tires for me, to bring the bike right in.  He’d try and get it done by Friday, Saturday at the latest.  Good thing because my trip with my brothers starts Sunday.

Now the fun part.  It had been raining on and off all day.  Sometimes little drizzles, other times the proverbial cats-n-dogs.  I watched and watched, both the skies and the clock.  Finally, I saw the rain stop for a bit, but the skies still looked ominous.  I decided to chance it, I had to get the bike in the shop. 

I pulled on my new bight yellow rain suit and rain boots, donned my helmet and set out for the very first ride on my motorcycle.  Marti followed me in the car for a ride home.

Of course, with my luck, the rain started in while I was about half way there.  I thought to myself, this ride is a Baptism by sprinkling.

By the time I was within a half mile of the shop, the heavens opened and my ride was now a Baptism by total immersion.

I looked like a day glow yellow blob as I sloshed my way into the service manager’s office.  I left quite a puddle on his floor.  Despite the rain gear, I was pretty wet inside and out, no rain gear will keep you totally dry and lots of water had found it’s way down into my shoes.  They squished when I walked, but at least this time it was clean water.

Now how does this adventure end, you ask?  If you guessed clear sunny skies by the time I got home, you’d be correct.  I guess I have to work on my timing.

No matter, we’re here and Lizzie has just turned 1.  We had a party for her, right down to the ice cream cake adorned with a #1 candle.


She thoroughly enjoyed her cake.


How does one clean a one year old after enjoying making a mess of her cake as she ate it?


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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Simply Rolling

After numerous hugs and goodbyes, we left Marti’s sister and her brood in Ohio and headed out at the crack of 10:30. AM.  Yep, nothing like an early start, eh?   ;c)

Meandering along, complete with our annoying dash whistle, we completed a measly 255 miles, including one stop for diesel fuel and another for lunch.  No rush, our reservation at the Navy Base campground in New Jersey is for tomorrow and we have less than 200 more miles to go.  Maybe these short hops aren’t so bad after all…

We stopped for the night at another Flying J, actually our very favorite one that we’ve stayed at many times over the years.  Don’t worry, we’re not mooching here, in fact we’ve left many pretty pennies for fuel bought here.


Why, you ask, is this our favorite Flying J?  Here’s why:


Still can’t figure it out?  Here’s a closer view:


Dunkin Donuts right next door.  Marti can get a nice cup of her favorite coffee (I don’t drink that foul and evil liquid) and we both can start off our day tomorrow with a nice sugar rush!   ;c)

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dead End Kids

A short 255 mile drive took us to Marti’s sister Anne’s house.  We’re here for a couple of days before we head to New Jersey. 

We started out in eastern Indiana and discovered the last 25 miles of I-70 were designed to shake everything possible loose inside the Journey, I was even worried about the fillings in my teeth.  We have to say it’s the worse stretch of road we’ve ever driven on in our travels since I-40 in Oklahoma (2002).

It’s a nice place to visit because they live on the very end of a dead end street, so we can park the Journey there and “Moochdock”.   :c)


There are no full hook ups, but we are able to snake an extension cord to the house to get some 110v electricity, enough to keep the fridge running and use a few lights.  Can’t beat the price, though.


Of course, it didn’t take Marti long to contribute to the delinquency of a minor by teaching her sister’s little grandson, EJ, how to play games on an iPhone.


We’ll be pulling out Saturday morning for a two day, 450 mile drive to New Jersey.  We’re already getting rumblings from our NJ granddaughters that they can’t wait to see us.  I have a feeling the campground pool will be getting quite a workout.  Good thing we have lots of experience in that, courtesy of the Missouri grands!   :c)

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Maybe I’m Losing My Touch

We pulled out of the Pin Oak Creek Campground around 10 am with lumps in our throats.  With the campground disappearing in our mirror as we headed east, we realized how much we miss the girls already.

As usual, the alarm on our instrument panel sounded off, and the gauges worked intermittently.  The wiring harness issue is still waiting to be fixed by Freightliner in Gaffney, SC, whenever we can get there, should be September.  In the mean time, I can monitor my speed via the GPS and my information bar on the dashboard.  I also have the resettable odometer, so I know when I need to fuel up.  Thank goodness for a CD player with music to help drown out the alarm a bit.

After driving with a wind hitting us broadside, and many construction zones, as well as rush hour traffic around Indianapolis, we still managed to see fuel mileage bounce between 7.7 to 8.2 mpg.  Not complaining, if I did, I’d probably find myself saddled with a headwind the rest of the way to New Jersey and mpg in the mid sizes.

We stopped for the night at a Flying J in Indiana.  Can’t beat the price and we’ll be able to fuel up in the morning.  We start the generator, close the curtains and we could be anywhere, the a/c is keeping us cool and we hardly notice the noise outside as the blowing air gives us a nice white noise.


Our distance covered for the day was only 333.7 miles, I might be losing my PDD driving talent.  Tomorrow, we’ll be driving even less as we’re stopping for a couple of days at Marti’s sister’s house in Ohio.  A little “Moochdocking” in front of her house on a dead end street.

We made reservations for our NJ stay at the Navy Base campground in Earle, NJ.  We’re planning on being there for about sixty five days. Along with spending a bunch of time with our granddaughters Anabelle and Lizzie, we have many friends from our old stomping grounds to visit, a several day motorcycle trip with two of my brothers, a 7 day cruise to the Bahamas with my dad and Marti’s sister Gail, plus some necessary maintenance projects on the Journey.  It might not be enough time… 

As I walked around the Journey tonight, I noticed the front of it is looking really bad.


It’s not bug splatter, but mold growing under the clear plastic protective coating on the front.  It’s really bad in some places.


Many folks that have had this problem have removed the plastic.  Some have paid to have it done, while others made it a DIY project.  I’ve heard horror stories that some people have had removing it, others saying it peels right off.

I tried a little spot on one edge and it peeled pretty easily.


Yep, another project to add to this summer’s list.

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