Category: harley


Every year, Rose and I head to Americade in Lake George to see the massive influx of motorcycles.  The bikers come from all over the the US and Canada to participate in this rally.  It is estimated that 50-60,ooo bikes will ride into Lake George for the week of Americade.  I didn’t take the time to count them all, but there were a load of bikes there, despite the gloomy weather we had last week.

On Thursday morning, we put on our rain gear and headed up the Northway knowing we might hit some rain.  It’s annoying, but not a big deal if you are prepared for it.  We have friends that live close to us that head up every year and stay in the same hotel.  So, we went up to meet them for a ride to Old Forge.  There was a threat of a pretty strong thunderstorm, so we decided to stay local and head downtown to the expo and the forum to see what the vendors had to offer.  The picture below is of the parking lot outside the expo.  Despite the threat of rain, the bikers turned out in droves to peruse the forum.

Inside the expo we found hundreds of vendors.  Some of the bigger names were companies like Kuryakyn, Givi, Nolan, Mustang seats and so many more.  If it is motorcycle related and you are looking for it, there’s a good chance you can find it in the expo.  You could get new tires, pinstriping, seats and many more accessories added to your bike while you wait.  It is truly a one-stop shop for bikers. As we walked around, I saw something that made me smile.  Indian motorcycles seems to be back in business.  They have gone out of business and been brought back a few times, and it seems like they’re back again.  Indian motorcycles are the epitome of a classic motorcycle.  Even the new ones look like the classics of the past.  Here’s the truck and some of their motorcycles.

After a few hours in the expo, the sky started to look a little dark.  As we were walking out, we heard thunder off in the distance.  Time to hustle up and get on the bikes.  We got back on the bikes and headed back to the hotel.  On the way, we saw a few bolts of lightning and it rained pretty hard.  Luckily, I hadn’t taken my rain gear off, so I stayed nice and dry on the ride back to the hotel. This is what we saw when we left the expo…

We hung out at the hotel and had some great times with our old neighbors from Delmar.  It’s a really great time, as a lot of the same people come back there every year.  So, it’s like a family reunion each time.  People are incredibly friendly, and more than willing to come hang out, sharing great stories and good company with you.

Around 10pm, Rose and I hopped on the bike and headed back to Albany.  We were tired, but needed to get home to take care of the dog.  Be sure to stop back by tomorrow to hear more about our trip back up on Friday.  See ya soon!

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Looks like Indian is back in business.

With the first day of summer just about two weeks away, I start to think of why it is my favorite time of year.  I think the warm weather is a bit of a given, but I have a few other reasons why I love it.

The Pool – I’ve been a water rat since I was a toddler.  I also lived close to the ocean in Virginia growing up.  So, I have spent many hours of my life in the water.  I’ve also been pulled out of the pool (over the side) because I couldn’t breathe more times than I care to remember.  That has not stopped me from going back in.  To this day, I still will spent a good portion of the day in the pool.  I love it!

The Grill – I love cooking on the grill.  I do it all year long, but it’s much more pleasant when it isn’t below freezing outside.  This morning I made bacon in a frying pan on the side burner of the grill.  I like to make it outside so it doesn’t smell up the house.  It doesn’t matter if it’s hot dogs or steak, I love cooking out there.  Plus the grill overlooks the pool.  Bonus!

Motorcycles – Riding is a huge passion of mine.  I still do it in some of the colder months, but like other things, it’s much more enjoyable when it’s warm outside.  Being on a motorcycle is such an amazing feeling.  It’s so relaxing.  It also will make you forget all your problems for a while.  Great for clearing your head.

Friends – This one sort of ties into all of the others.  Summer to me is about hanging out with your friends, having a cookout, swimming in the pool and riding.  There’s something about the camaraderie of bikers that makes you proud to be a part of that family.  I’ve met some of the best people while riding or talking about motorcycles.

Photography – This is also a given.  I do have a photography blog and a Photo Group.  The sun, the flowers, nature, cars and waterfalls all make me very happy when I get out with the camera in my hands.  There are a lot of places that I want to shoot this year.  Hopefully this nice weather (well, before this weekend) will continue and I can check more places off my list.

What about summertime makes you happy?

A few ducks were cooling off in the motel pool at last year's Americade.

Image courtesy of Rose

Yesterday, the temperature hit 94 degrees here in Albany.  According to Channel 10 New’s Steve Caporizzo, we tied 1994 for the record temp on this day in history.  It was pretty warm for upstate New York in spring.

Every Wednesday, we ride with a meetup group called No Destinations.  Yesterday was no different, but it was a little bizarre.  We put on the gear (yes the jackets, boots, full face helmet and gloves) and set off on this adventure.  It was to be different that most days.  We usually leave here around 4:30 so we don’t get stuck in rush hour traffic on the Northway.  Sure, we get to the ride about an hour and a half early, but it beats sitting in traffic for an hour or two.

We left a little later than usual, probably around 4:45 or so.  The Northway was already moving pretty slow, so we jumped off exit 6 and picked up Route 9.  That wasn’t much better.  We hit every light on 9, and it seemed those lights took forever to change.  We were roasting.  I needed gas in the bike, so I pulled into the Hess in Halfmoon.  I got off the bike and Rose noticed a sign on the door that the air conditioning died, so they closed early.  The sign also said that the pumps were still on for credit card users.

Great!  I spin around to the pump and look at where the numbers should be, and there are none.  What the ?  I guess we wont be getting gas there.  As we rode up the street, we noticed a bunch of stoplights were out.  Not flashing, but out.  If you live in the area and know Clifton Park drivers, you will understand why that scared the hell outta me!

We headed up to Malta and grabbed some gas, then headed back to the Mill to wait for others to show up.  As we were heading up for gas, I saw the tire marks where my friend was riding and a van did a u-turn in front of him.  It was pretty eerie.  Word on the street is that he is coming home from the hospital tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.

Back at the Mill, about 25 riders braved the heat for the ride.  We did a nice ride up to Saratoga.  We stopped at the Horseshoe Inn Grill & Bar.  It was a really nice place, just across from the Saratoga racetrack.  While we were there, I got a text from the Weather Service telling me a thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area.  I pulled up the Weather Channel on my phone and the radar showed the storm North and West of us.  Nothing to worry about right now.

When we got back to the Mill, the club had some meatloaf and mashed potatoes waiting for us.  We ate dinner and had birthday cake for our good friend Murph.  There was a sign up sheet for us to volunteer to help our friend that was in the accident, as he wont be able to do these chores for a while.  People signed up to mow the lawn, help with the pool and cook food.  That is why I love this group so much.  The list filled up quickly and people were more than willing to jump right in and help out a member who fell on hard times.  It’s like a great big family.  I am honored to be a part of it.

It was getting kind of late and it had been thundering and lightning to the north of us, so we decided to head home.  As I turned the key on to start the bike, I noticed this fine mist in front of the head light.  I took my glove off and felt for rain.  It wasn’t rain.  We got on the road and it was coming down almost like fine snow.  I joked to Rose through our communications device about volcanic ash.  It was really weird.  I chalked it up to being pollen blowing out of the trees because it was very windy.

Heading down the Northway, the lightning show was amazing!  I could tell that we were heading for some rain though.  Around Exit 8, it started to downpour.  At 70 miles per hour, the rain felt like needles on my skin.  It was crazy, but I loved every minute of it.  It was a great day.

See ya soon!

Image courtesy of Hub Pages

Please read this one.  And then share it with everyone you know.

It had been a busy few days, and I woke up tired yesterday morning.  Yes, I woke up tired.  So, when a friend sent me a text asking if we wanted to go out on the motorcycle for the day, I turned him down.  I wasn’t feeling alert, and being alert is a huge must when riding.  We went about our day and did some things around the house.  Later on, we went out to get some stuff for the garden.  We were walking around the nursery I hear a text alert from Rose‘s phone.  Rose then said to me “Oh my God, (friend’s name) has been in a motorcycle accident.

We hopped in the car and headed for the hospital to see him and comfort his girlfriend.  We got there and were allowed to go in and see him.  He was in a lot of pain but his injuries were not life threatening.  Here’s what he told me:

He was riding by the lake just past The Mill and a lady in a minivan was sitting on the side of the road by the lake.  She apparently decided to do a u-turn across the road without looking in her mirrors.  He locked up the brakes and laid the bike down and hoped for the best.    He said he hit the bumper of the car.  He was pretty heavily medicated by this point, so I don’t know if it was the front or the rear bumper.

The accident left a him with a huge gash across his knee, a compound fracture and a chunk of bone out of his foot.  He went into surgery and we waited around for him to be out, so we could make sure he was in the clear.  He was, but they had to amputate all of his toes (on the right foot) and part of his foot (right).  I am both saddened and angered as I type this.  Someone couldn’t be bothered to look in their mirrors, and now he has to live with this for the rest of his life. The road by the lake is a major highway with four lanes and a turn lane in the middle.  Why would you do a u-turn across that road?

And then there are the what-ifs…

  • What if we had gone with him?  Would we have been in the same accident?
  • If I was on the Harley, would they have heard us?
  • What if he just stopped for five minutes, even to get gas?
  • What if his girlfriend had been on the bike with him?
  • What if he was going just a little bit faster?  Would he have made it past her?

But, all the what-ifs in the world wont change what has happened.  The only good thing I can say is that he is still alive.  And for that, we are very grateful.  Please, please, please – Look twice and save a life.  Motorcycles are everywhere.  This didn’t have to happen.

See ya soon.

As I was mowing the lawn yesterday, something hit me and made me think.  I know, it doesn’t happen very often.  Anyway, I was thinking about growing up as a kid on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  I thought back to mowing the lawn since I was old enough to safely push or ride the mower.  My  grandfather worked on mowers in his spare time and we were always testing them out when he was done to make sure they worked properly.  The best part was when he would fix go-karts and we could test them out.

I can remember one day he fixed a go-kart and I was testing it around the yard.  I was ripping along at a good pace for the first lap or two, slowing down for the corners and accelerating in the straights.  By the second or third lap, I was all out coming through the corners and sliding the back end around, steering through the corners.  Well, I made it maybe two more laps around the yard before I heard “the whistle”.  When he put two fingers in his mouth and made that whistle, you knew you were in trouble.  Without hesitation, my foot came off the gas pedal and I slowly crept back to the garage.  I was scolded a little for tearing up the lawn when I slid the back end around the corners, but it was more like a life lesson.

We also had a mini-bike back then.  I can remember riding it around the yard and the neighborhood when I was young.  I even remember one time when my brother was riding around the yard and the throttle got stuck.  I can see the grown ups like it was yesterday, chasing hims as fast as they could run.  They caught him eventually and all was well, but it was a little scary and quite humorous.

I remember my Aunt and Uncle coming down from Massachusetts on their motorcycles and my uncle taking us for rides.  It was the best.  When I was 16, my grandfather had an old Suzuki automatic (650 LA perhaps?) that he let me take down the road one day.  That was all she wrote.  Since those days of go-karts, mini-bikes and motorcycles, I have been a motorcycle lover.  I love the freedom and the instant speed.  A lot of sport bikes I have ridden will do 0-60 in under 3 seconds.  That’s faster than a Ferrari.  Now you see why I love riding.  And it’s not just the speed.  It’s the fresh air in your face, the smells, the freedom.  I love it.

So, a big thank you goes out to my grandfather.  He was like a father to me and taught me great things I will never forget.  He also taught how to treat and respect a woman.  He and my grandmother were married for 54 years before he passed away.  They just don’t make them like him any more.  I miss him very much.

See ya soon!

Yesterday, I did something I have never done before.  I participated in a “peaceful rally”.  This rally was put on by the members of ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) of New York.  The purpose for this rally is to fight the profiling of motorcycles and illegal roadblocks that target only motorcycles.  We rode downtown to the the Capitol building to make our voices heard.

The New York State Capitol

The bikers came out in large numbers.  I would guess that there were four or five hundred motorcycles that met in Schodack and rode into downtown Albany.  The line of motorcycles for a mile or so in front of you and behind you is quite impressive.

Halfway up the street

A little farther up the street. The bikes went on forever.

One of the main issues that were discussed today were the roadblocks that target only motorcycles on the way to Americade and the Harley Rendevous.  The police pull over motorcycles and issue ridiculous tickets for exhaust, helmet and license violations.  It’s not right.  I understand the helmet and license issue.  I wear a full face helmet all year round and would never ride with a brain bucket or no helmet at all.  That is my choice.  If people want to ride without a helmet, that is their choice.

What bothers me is these roadblocks are basically entrapment.  They only pull motorcycles over.  While you are there, they look at your pipes.  If they are not stock pipes, you get a ticket.  That is total crap.  My bike is obnoxiously loud (quote from my friends) and I wont change it.  I changed my pipes once.  I was going for my road test at the DMV and figured I would get flack for the pipes, so I had them swapped for the day.  On my way to the DMV, a car came over in my lane and I had nowhere to go but into the guard rail  I made my peace, confident I wasn’t walking away from this one.  Quick thinking on my part and a fast bike got me out of it.  I punched it and leaned it hard and was able to swerve clear of the guard rail.

That day, I swore to never change those pipes.  Most people think it’s just to be annoying, but people just don’t see you when you’re on the bike.  They are too busy eating or texting while driving and swerving all over the road.  I saw a t-shirt today that was dead on, but I didn’t get a picture of it.  It said “I’m sorry my loud pipes disturbed your phone call”.  Funny, but sad.  It amazes me how little people pay attention when they drive while talking on the phone.

Most people don’t understand or just don’t care that loud pipes do save lives.  I’m not saying I’ve never made unnecessary noise.  But for the most part, they are there for safety.  With my bike being as loud as it is, if you hit me and say you didn’t hear me (or feel the vibrations from the exhaust) there’s a problem.  You know when I am in your blind spot.  You know when I am next to you.

I can rant and rave here all day, but if I can reach a few people at a time and make them aware of motorcycles, it will make me very happy.  The best thing I have seen so far is a slogan that reads “Look Twice.  Save a Life.  Motorcycles are everywhere.”  There are a few variations of this saying.  Take the two seconds to turn your head and see if we are next to you.  Put down the phone and turn your head to see who’s there.  And this doesn’t just go for bikes.  We wouldn’t have all the accidents we do if people would just pay more attention.  It could save your life.  See ya soon!

Yesterday, we met a friend at Starbucks to see his new puppy.  Before you get too excited, we were outside on the patio on what was a beautiful, 70ish degree day.  The puppy was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and it was adorable.  But, that’s another blog for another day.

Anyway, we are sitting there talking to our friend for a few hours and motorcycles keep passing by.  After a while, two Harleys pull in and the owners walk over.  The husband sits down and the wife goes in to grab some drinks.  He notices the dog and strikes up a conversation.  He mentions they have a Maltese and they spoil it rotten.  We tell them about our 4.6 pound Chi-a-poo (chihuahua poodle mix) and how ridiculously spoiled she is.

Our 4.6 pound killer attack dog, Isabella

Rose and I are really great at making new friends.  It seems almost everywhere we go, we make a new friend, and a lot of times we meet people that ride like us.  They each had their own motorcycle and, as most bikers do, they loved telling us about their bikes.  So, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?  Absolutely nothing.

What I am getting at is if I met this couple anywhere else without the motorcycle boots and gear, I probably wouldn’t have know they were bikers.  And that is the case for a lot of people that ride.  If you had seen Rose or I in our street clothes, you probably wouldn’t have known we ride either.  Fact is, a lot of bikers out there are doctors, lawyers, and business professionals.  If you saw them in their field, you might not have any idea that they ride motorcycles

Sure, you will always have some bad eggs, but a lot of bikers are the most caring, giving people you will ever meet.  Turns out the couple we met know some of our friends from a town or two over.  They welcomed us to swing by their house and go for a ride with them sometime.  It reminds me how small the world really is, and how there really are some great people out there.  If you can’t smile after meeting someone like that, then there is something wrong with you.  What a great day to be alive.

So, smile, be happy and make a new friend today.  See ya soon!

When I sent the LowePro Pro Runner 450AW back to LowePro after my review period was up, I asked for a bag that was a little smaller so I could use it when I was on the motorcycle.  This way, I can combine my two loves – photography and motorcycles.  They sent me the LowePro FlipSide 300.  The FlipSide 300 is considerably smaller that the Pro Runner 450AW and a much better fit for the amount of camera gear I normally take with me when I go out shooting.  But this bag is different…

When I opened the box and pulled out the bag, I was thinking “what the ?”  The zipper for the main compartment is on the part of the bag that goes up against your back.  I don’t know if it was LowePro‘s idea or not, but I would think that this will keep water out of the main area your camera is stored in.  Good thinking, LowePro.  The bag also has chest and waist straps for secure and comfortable travel.  The padding on this bag is also quite impressive.  I wore it for four or five hours on the motorcycle and it was very comfortable.

When you open the main compartment, there is room for an SLR body with a lens attached (up to 300mm) and 1-3 additional lenses.  There is a zippered pouch in the main compartment that lets you store memory cards, chargers, cords, or whatever you want to put in there.  It is attached with velcro and can be moved or even removed if you want more space. With the bag open, the flap that swings down has a large zippered pocket in it.  I am using this pocket to store filters and even a small notebook.

There is a handy media pouch on the outside of the bag that zips open to allow storage of pens, keys, and two velcro memory card pouches.  There are two small pockets inside the media pouch as well.  On the other side of the bag, there is a mesh pouch that I used for carrying a water bottle.

On the front of the bag, there is a really handy, durable grab handle built in.  It is heavy duty with a textured under side to prevent slipping.  Also on the front of the bag is a strap to tie down a tripod.  At the bottom of the front of the bag, there is a velcro pocket that hides a tripod holder.  The tripod holder holds the tripod in place and works in conjunction with the tie down strap.

So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.  Here are the specs from LowePro‘s web site;

Capacity:  1 Pro DSLR with 300mm f/2.8 lens attached plus 1–3 additional lenses or flash units, 1 tripod, multiple cables, memory cards, manuals and other digital accessories

Size(Interior): 9.1W X 5.4D X 15.9H in./ 23 X 13.8 X 40.5 cm
Size(Exterior): 10.2W X 6.9D X 17.5H in./ 25.8 X 17.4 X 44.5 cm
Weight: 2.6lbs/1.2kg

Price: $99.99

Colors: Black, Red and Black, Arctic Blue and Black

Pros

-Great size for hiking, biking
-Roomy interior
-Lightweight
-Durable
-Lots of pouches for storage
-Well-padded back and shoulder straps

Cons

-I haven’t found any yet.

I really love this bag.  It is perfect for the amount of equipment I have and for using while I am on the bike.  This is a bag I would really like to own.  If you are in the market for a compact bag with plenty of room for a camera, two or three lenses and some miscellaneous other accessories, this might just be the bag for you.  I highly recommend checking this bag out.

Here are a few pics of the bag in action.

See ya soon!

**Bag images courtesy of LowePro**

**Motorcycle images courtesy of Rose**