Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gettin' Our Kicks: Barber Motorsports Museum Photos

I finally finished editing all of the pictures I took while we were at the Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, AL.

Here are three samples...

You can see them all here: Gettin' Our Kicks at Barber

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gettin' Our Kicks: Judith’s Diary Entries #6

July 22 to July 26


Highlight for each State:
California   Bluest sky
Arizona   nicest clouds
New Mexico   pass with care
Texas   I can see for miles or bugs eat you
Louisiana   Bridges and bayous
Mississippi   ? Many trees, less Dodge Rams
Alabama   They are cheating - the liberty statue should not be here
Georgia   Tar snakes
Tennessee   Beat-up cars
North Carolina   Great roads
Virginia   Wonderful riding
Maryland  Red traffic lights
Delaware   Zipped through too fast to come up with something
Pennsylvania   Potholes

July 22, Middleburg to Gaithersburg
We had a snort ride including an old ferry to Dennis' cousin's, who he hadn't met since he was little. The afternoon was a lot of catching up, later we had a great dinner in a brewery restaurant and concluded the evening on their magnificent deck.


July 23, Gaithersburg
This was a rest day I mostly spent on the deck. I saw foxes in the morning, watched the birds, and saw a raccoon in the evening. Dennis spend the day going over the family tree with Laurna and catching up on his blog. Dinner was in a nice Moroccan restaurant.

July 24, Gaithersburg to Annapolis
Another rather short ride, but slow (red traffic lights) to Annapolis. This is a very picturesque town with a nice yacht harbor and a lot of marine stuff going on.


July 25, Annapolis
We had a slow start in the morning. We went down to the Naval Academy and did a walking tour. We were lucky to get to see a parade. After the tour we spent some time in their swimming hall and watched the young soldiers' swimming training. Three of them were not participating, but read their "bible" in a very funny way. The rest of the day was more or less "hanging out".

July 26, Annapolis to Philadelphia
After breakfast in this crazy deli we got on our bikes again heading to our last station. We had to cross Bay Bridge (toll, of course), spend 30 mins in traffic in front of the toll booths, to have an amazing view of the Chesapeake Bay. The rest of the ride was not that exciting. We finally arrived Dave and Mary Ellen's, where we are going to stay for the rest of the time. We spent a wonderful evening on their deck talking.


So, finally, we did 6133 miles (9870 km) from west to east - amazing
[Editor's note: there is a small difference in mileage between Judith's and mine because we did a few rides two up on my bike, thus a few extra miles for my bike]

Hi lights
Best place we stayed at: Oak Park Inn, Waynesville & Pine Tavern Lodge, Floyd
Best road: Angeles Crest Highway, Cherohala Skyway, Blue Ridge Parkway
Most spectacular/memorable people: performers of the jam session at Oak Park Inn, redneck Steward
Most interesting place: Barber Motorsports Museum
Most spectacular location: Monument Valley
Best dinner: Bess Bistro, Austin
Best hotel: La Posada, Winslow
Most inspiring person: Sam at El Trovatore Motel, Kingman
Most impressive views: Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Blue Ridge Parkway
Most boring stretch: Amarillo to Plainview, TX
Biggest cockroach: Fredericksburg, Texas
Greatest cultural experience: Library in Austin
Best thing: wine GLASSES instead of plastic cups
Biggest lie: free WiFi at various hotels
Most true saying: it's all about the people
Most relaxing: rocking chairs on the porch
Weirdest thing: man against food
Biggest milk shake: Chick & Ruth's deli, Annapolis

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 47 – Day 52 Annapolis, MD to Norristown, PA

July 26, 2015

Well… this is it. The last day!

We packed up and headed to our good friends Dave and Mary Ellen’s in Norristown, PA.

Dave and Mary Ellen are kindly putting us up for the last week in the U.S. Dave is also going the extra mile and will sell our two trusty motorcycles.

After an uneventful ride, we arrived at Dave and Mary Ellen’s about 4:30.

Arrival - safe and sound

My GPS showed 10,082 Kilometers or 6,265 miles.

It’s hard to believe that we have been on the road for two months. It really does seem like we just started a few days ago.

We will spend the week catching up with friends in the area, doing a minimal amount of shopping and laundry.

Looking back – 52 days on the road:

We saw so many wonderful sights along the way it is difficult to recount them all.

We endured temperatures up to 105 degrees and humidity ranging from near 0% to over 90%, and fortunately a minimal amount of rain.

No real mechanical breakdowns and no crashes.

Judith and I have been a fantastic team throughout the adventure.

Most important however, this trip has been a tremendous reward for both Judith and me.

It fulfills a dream of a lifetime for Judith and it has allowed me to help her to fulfill that dream. We have met countless wonderful people along the way, made several new friends, reconnected with old friends and my cousin Lorna and I finally reunited after more than 60 years.

As Sam, the proprietor of the El Trovatore Motel in Kingman, AZ, told us very early on in the trip, “It’s all about the people!” He is a wise man.

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 46 – Day 51 Annapolis, MD

July 25, 2015

After a super breakfast in the Delly we walked over to the U.S. Naval Academy for a walking tour.

We happened to be there just before the Noon Meal Formation of the Plebes. Plebes are first year students at the USNA, and they arrive six weeks before the school year starts for Plebe Summer (their orientation to the USNA - i.e., Boot Camp). After the first year the Plebes become Midshipmen.

The Noon Meal Formation is a military formation with pomp and circumstance that leads to a march to the chow hall. You cannot just go to the chow hall to eat – you must do so with a military precession. Fun to watch, but probably not so much so if you are hungry.

The Formation is underway, but not ready to go to lunch just yet.

Bancroft Hall is in the background. That is where all of the Brigade sleep.


After the formation left we were taken around to some of the other interesting spots on the Academy grounds and then left on our own to wander. The grounds are beautiful and, as you would imagine spotless.

The tomb of John Paul Jones

Replica of the first Naval aircraft built by the Wright Brothers

Joseph Bellino and Roger Staubach Heisman Trophies

Later we were back into the Main Street and harbor areas to wander further, have a little to drink and then a nap.

We found a nice Sushi place for dinner, followed by a nightcap and bed.

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 45 – Day 50 Gaithersberg to Annapolis, MD

July 24, 2015

Off to Annapolis for two days… This is a short ride from Gaithersburg.

We had reservations at the  Scotlaur Inn B&B, which is over the famous Chick & Ruth's Delly.

Neither Judith nor I had ever been to Annapolis before and when we pulled into the center of the old town section we were pretty amazed at how busy it was.

We could not for the life of us find the B&B, but we knew we were close. We parked and Judith went on a scouting expedition. She returned successfully and we now knew where the B&B was located and why we couldn’t find it. We were looking for the Scotlaur Inn, but the predominate sign is for Chick & Ruth’s.

Turns out that Chick & Ruth’s is a very well known and extremely popular Delly (this is how Chick & Ruth spell Deli, so I will too) – it is a sort of a destination deli. The B&B is lesser known, but nevertheless a popular and quaint old place. The check in process for the B&B is completed in the Delly at the cash register – in between customers paying for their Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes and pastrami sandwiches. The Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes are very good by the way.

The Delly has a line to get in from opening to closing everyday. It is super busy. Teddy, the son of Chick & Ruth runs the show in the Delly and the B&B with the precision of a seasoned Navy boatswain's mate supervising the docking of a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier – but no swearing and with a smile.

We had a seat up above all the action. This gives you a little idea of the organized chaos.
Teddy is a very nice guy. He took us to our room to get us settled and even carried some of our bags.

He is a real patriotic guy as well. Every morning at 8:30, Mon – Fri and 9:30 on Sat and Sun, he leads everyone in the Delly in the Pledge of Allegiance. He also has a number of fund raising activities on going for wounded warriors.


The temperature had dropped down to a pleasant low 80’s and there was a nice bar and restaurant next to the Delly with outside seating, so naturally we sat down and had a beer or two and an early dinner. Afterwards, we strolled around Main Street and down to the harbor to look at the big boats and crowds of people having a good time – so were we.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 44 – Days 48 - 49 Middleburg to Gaithersberg, MD

July 22 - 23, 2015

We were next heading to Gaithersberg, MD to visit with my cousin Lorna. We had not seen each other for about 60 years, but have kept loosely in contact.

Gaithersberg is very close to Washington, DC and Lorna suggested staying away from the beltway and taking a back roads route that would take us across the Potomac River on White’s Ferry – an old cable ferry that crosses between Leesburg, VA and Dickerson, MD. This proved to be a good call.

The trip across the Potomac only took five minutes, but was fun and one more new adventure for the trip.

Waiting for the ferry on the VA side to come across from the MD side

Here it is

Looking up the Potomac from the ferry deck

Getting close to the other bank in MD

We arrived mid afternoon and got settled in.

Lorna has been working extensively on our family tree for several years and is always finding new information. We spent the next days catching upon lots of family tidbits. Pretty interesting stuff…

Lorna and her husband Jeff have a lovely house with a huge deck off of the back. This backs up to some woods that offer up lots of wild critters, butterflies and birds. We had a nice time watching all the various butterflies and birds. Judith was treated to seeing three foxes early one morning and we had a raccoon visit us one evening.

Lorna and Jeff

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 43 – Day 47 Peaks of Otter to Middleburg, VA

July 21, 2015

The weather was iffy when we were packing up to leave. It had just rained and was still sprinkling a little. But, with luck on our side, the rain went away as we headed north up the BRP.

A little treating looking in the morning

We made a stop in the nice picnic area that we had all to ourselves and had an apple, almonds and water. This seemed to prove to be a good solution for keeping the energy up during the entire trip.

A nice little picnic area

At the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway we said a sad good-bye and continued on to Middleburg and Treavor’s house.

About two hours from Treavor’s we had to head directly into a small rainstorm that lasted about 45 minutes. This would prove to be the last day of rain for the trip. We were very fortunate with rain. We could only count five times where the rain was actually significant. Not bad for two months of travel.

By the time we arrived at Treavor’s we were totally dry, but ready for a beer. Treavor delivered the goods.

Middleburg is an old town, at least by U.S. standards, established in 1787. Treavor’s home is 100 years plus old and has lots of character.

Great backyard

We had a blue chair society at Treavor's

We enjoyed a nice dinner just a block up the street and a pleasing visit.

Thank you again Treaver.

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 42 – Day 46 Floyd to Peaks of Otter, VA

July 20, 2015

We all parted company this morning to head our separate ways.

But first as tradition would have it, first things first… breakfast at the Blue Ridge Restaurant in Floyd.

Treavor and Jim in shadows at the Blue Ridge Restraunt

Our bikes in front of the Floyd City Hall, across form our breakfast spot.

The schedule is revised

Treavor had invited us to spend a night with him in Middleburg, VA and this sounded like a perfectly good idea.

Originally we had planned to ride the BRP north to Waynesboro, VA, the northern terminus of the BRP. After that we were going to ride on the Skyline Drive up to Front Royal. However, there is not much of any interest in Waynesboro, and Skyline Drive is not all that interesting either.

So, plan B was to take an alternate route off of the BRP for a while and then back to Peaks of Otter on the BRP, followed the next day by a ride to the end of the BRP and up to Middleburg to stay a night with Treavor.

Jim provided a super route to Peaks of Otter and Treavor provided another super route to his house.

We had a wonderful diversion to Peaks of Otter and arrived late afternoon. On the way we stopped at the Swinging Bridge Restraunt in Paint Blank, VA for lunch - another spot I had visited in past trips in the Appalachians.

Swing Bridge has a unique Locomotive smoker

The swinging bridge is inside of the restaraunt

You also get a lesson in mountain talk (click on the photo to get a larger version if you too would like a lesson)

There is a little bit of everything here

This is the third or fourth time I have stayed at Peaks of Otter Lodge and each time has been enjoyable. It is a peaceful setting with nice rooms that offer a view of Otter Peak and a tranquil lake.

Otter Peak from our room

Before the firefly's we had a visit from a couple of ducks

After dinner we sat outside and watched the firefly’s come out with a bottle of wine.

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 41 – Days 44 - 45 TRW Rides

July 18 - 19, 2015

July 18th

First things first… Breakfast!

At 7:30 we headed off to Meadows of Dan and the Poor Farmer’s Market for breakfast.

Country breakfast at the Poor Farmers Market

 Once we were all satisfied and reinvigorated we headed out to enjoy Jim’s Invisible Roads. We used the BRP as our not so invisible road to get to the really good stuff.

After leaving the BRP we wound around all throughout the Blue Ridge Plateau area on roads with big sweeping turns to narrow tight and technical twisty turns.

Judith had been a little concerned that she would be the slowest and weakest rider of the group, but her concern was for not. She was right there with all of us and over the day her skill through corners was greatly improved. She got a bunch of compliments from everyone.

Jim was also kind enough to provide some of his secret sauce riding tips to Judith, even though this was not a real workshop.

At some point we encountered a bit of rain, but not enough to cause too much concern. The sun came out later and we all dried off pretty fast.

Here are a few of our stops...

The Country Store at Big Walker Lookout. Yep -  Confederate flags still fly in many places.

If you wanted to do so you could climb this tower for a view to NYC I think. We did not try...

We did have this view from the Country Store

Looking out towards Tazewell, VA

Paul, Treavor, Jim Judith, Dennis

An Amish General Store in the beautiful valley of Burkes Garden

 At the end of the day we had about 225 miles in of 80% super roads.

We cleaned up and had a session at the Red Chair Society before going to Mickey G's Bistro & Pizzeria, a wonderful Italian restaurant in Floyd.

July 19th

Once again – first things first… Breakfast!

Breakfast was in a different spot today and I have forgotten the name and no pictures.

We took the same approach today as we did yesterday – BRP to the good stuff.

More new and great roads once again…
At one point we were on highway 58 (a road where I had crashed a few years ago), going up the hill through a series of very tight switchbacks, when the heavens opened up. After a small bit of thought we turned back down the hill and through the same switchbacks in a pretty heavy rain.

However, at the turnaround point Judith suffered a small incident. Actually it was not a big deal, but rather a Laugh In kind of tip over when she went to put her foot down on a sloping side of the road and the slop was a little too much – so she found nothing but air. This popped the left side mirror off and broke the tip of the clutch lever. No damage to Judith however (other than her pride), so that was good.

Once back at the bottom of the hill the rain stopped and we stopped for lunch and to dry out our gear.

After lunch I “MacGyvered” the mirror back on to Judith’s bike, so all was good and off we went for more fun. Judith’s tip over didn’t faze her in the least and she was still improving through the twisty roads. We even had a half mile or so of gravel road she conquered.

Me - MacGyvering Judith's mirror

We had a break here early morning

Nuff said...

I've had Red Stripe Beer, but not gas.

Heading down another nice road

At the end of second 225-mile day we repeated our ritual of unwinding at the Red Chair Society. Then one more go to the Pine Tavern Restaurant for unbelievably good Southern food.

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 40 – Day 43 Boone to Floyd, VA

July 17, 2015

Back on the BRP for yet another great day of riding…

Around lunchtime we headed off of the BRP to go back in time a little bit and pay a visit to Mayberry, the fictitious town made famous by Andy Griffith in The Andy Griffith Show  from the 1960’s.

The TV show also started the career of Ron Howard, who went on to become somewhat of a Hollywood celebrity. 

Mayberry was based on Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, NC. Mount Airy has several business’s on it’s main street that are tributes to the old television show and their hometown celebrity, Andy Griffith. It is a fun stop and not far off of the BRP.

Main Street Mayberry (Mount Airy, NC)

Floyd's Barber Shop played a central role in the Mayberry

An early 1960's Police Car provides tours around town
After lunch in Mount Airy we headed back to the BRP on onward to Floyd, VA, where we were to meet up with my buddy Jim Ford at the Pine Tavern Lodge.

Jim owns and operates The Riders Workshop and provides some superb real world riding instruction while guiding small groups of 4 or 5 through the back roads (Invisible Roads as Jim calls them) of the Appalachian Mountains. I have ridden with Jim on many occasions, both formal workshops and personal private tours. It is always a great pleasure to ride along with him. I suspected that Judith would 
--> certainly enjoy the experience as well.

We were not going to do a Workshop, but rather do a tour of the Blue Ridge Plateau for two days.

We were all staying at the Pine Tavern Lodge in Floyd, VA, a lodge originally built in 1927 and recently purchased by Dave and Robin. They have brought the Lodge back to it’s former self over the past nine months and it is a delightful place to stay – not to mention the great tavern and restaurant. Dave and Robin are super good hosts, as well as their good friend Reed, who owns the tavern and restaurant. This place is a gem!

After Jim and I had our reunion hugs we met the other two companions for the tour, Paul and Treavor, and got to know each other at The Red Chair Society, over a beer or two. The Red Chair Society is a circle of red outdoor chairs where all the cool people go to drink, smoke cigars and tell tall tails.

After the tall tails worked up our appetites we went off for a magnificent Southern dinner of fried chicken, pulled pork, and all the proper fixin’s.

We capped of the night with some very nice wine from Paul’s Virginia winery.