Category: motorcycles


Yesterday, I wrote a short blog on a Patriot Guard mission that I was about to participate in.  I kept it short as it was pretty late and I needed to get some sleep for the ride.  I wanted to write more about it and try to convey the emotion and patriotism that happened during this ceremony.

I left home on the bike around 8:30am to meet a friend in Clifton Park, and then head up to meet a few others at another destination.  We got to the other destination and met with about 6 more bikers.  Most of these bikers were Vietnam veterans, and they proudly displayed it on their vests.  We left that spot and headed up the Northway to meet with a larger group of riders just before the exit for the funeral home.

At about 10:45, we all fired up the bikes and headed for the funeral home.  At this point, we had about 25-30 bikes.  We got off the Northway and made our way towards the funeral home.  About a half mile from the funeral home, you could see numerous emergency vehicles parked along the road with their lights going.  On either side of the driveway, there was a huge ladder truck with the ladders fully extended.  Hanging between the two buckets was an enormous American flag.  I got a little choked up at this point.

As we came in under the flag, there were already 60-70 bikes in the parking lot.  There were also about 10 local and State Police motorcycles lined up to lead the ride.  About 15 minutes after we got there, we got the call to mount up and everyone got on their bikes.  I was in the back at this point, so I couldn’t see the casket come out to the hearse.  As they brought it out, a bagpiper began to play.  Just as he began to play, it started raining.  It was a little eerie.

The police bikes left, followed by a few fire trucks and then the Patriot Guard riders.  It was raining pretty good at this point, but it didn’t matter.  It also didn’t matter to the hundreds of people lining the side of the road with flags in their hands.  Many of them held their hands over their hearts.  The amount of people standing there in honor of this fallen soldier blew me away.

The ride went through many small towns, and in each town, there were hundreds of people standing alongside the road.  I honestly thought it would be just in town near the funeral home, but it lasted the whole ride.  The ride to the cemetery was about 45 minutes to an hour.

At one point, in the town of Kingsbury, we came to a bend in the road and they had two ladder trucks set up and another huge flag hanging over the road that we all rode under.  It was another point that got me a little choked up.

When we got to the Saratoga National Cemetery, the Patriot Guard quickly dismounted our bikes and took our flags to stand a flag line for the service.  The turnout for this fallen soldier was incredible.  It was nice to see the huge turnout.  I am sure it meant a lot to his family.  Rest in Peace Spc. Osborn.

Here is a little more information about Spc. Osborn from News 10 and the Associated Press;

By NEWS10 Staff, the Associated Press

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. — A local soldier serving in Afghanistan died in combat Wednesday, adding to one of the deadliest months for U.S. forces during the Afghan war.

According to family members, U.S. Army specialist Benjamin Osborn was in the midst of a conflict with the Taliban when he was killed. Osborn, who was 27, had volunteered to be the gunner and was the only one killed in the conflict.

Osborn’s parents were informed of his death Wednesday morning.

Osborn was a 2002 graduate of Lake George High School. Recently, he had been living in Clarksville, Tennessee where he was stationed at Fort Campbell.

He was just deployed to Afghanistan two months ago, in April of this year. He had previously served 15 months in Iraq.

Osborn was also just recently married back in February.

The flag is now at half-staff at Fort William Henry in Lake George.

His family says he died a true hero.

June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly 9-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents have stepped up attacks in response to a NATO push into Taliban strongholds in the south.

The deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan was October 2009, when 59 Americans died, including seven soldiers killed in a single clash near Kandahar and seven who died in a helicopter crash in the northwest not caused by hostile fire.

In the east, meanwhile, three Afghans working for a private security company were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Muqar district of Ghazni province, according to the deputy provincial police chief, Nawroz Ali Nawroz.

Nine Pakistani militiamen were apprehended before dawn Wednesday inside Afghan territory in Kunar province, provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Ziaye said.

The Pakistanis said they fled into Afghanistan to escape attacks by the Pakistani Taliban against four of their checkpoints, Ziaye said. The nine remained in custody Wednesday pending an investigation, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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It’s 1:30am and we just got home about an hour ago from our usual Wednesday night ride. Just had a sandwich and figured I need to get a blog done for today.

As the title says, I will be keeping this short and sweet, as I am getting up early in the morning to go on a Patriot Guard mission.  We will be riding to stand in a flag line and be there for the family.  As you will read in the Wiki link I added, the Patriot Guard was originally formed to ward off protestors at Military funerals.  The Westboro Baptist Church members would protest the funerals with outrageous statements that men and women are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan because we tolerate homosexuality.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

It is very sad that we have to have these funerals, but I am glad that I can pay my respects to this young man that gave his life fighting for our freedom.

So, in the morning I will hop on the bike and head up to Queensbury, and along with probably 100 or more motorcycles, we will escort this soldier to his final resting place at the Saratoga National Cemetery.  When we get there, the bikers will hop off their bikes and line the road into the cemetery as the funeral procession rolls in.  If you can make it to pay your respects, please do.  Let’s show this family how much we appreciate what this soldier did for our country.  Hope to see you there.

*Image courtesy of http://www.amlgnp104tn.org/files/PatriotGuard_Riders.jpg

After my review of the FlipSide 300, the folks at LowePro sent me the FastPack 350.

The FastPack 350 is a bit larger and has some extra storage space. It also has room for a 17 inch laptop.  You might recall that in my review of the ProRunner 450AW, I had a difficult time fitting my laptop in.  This was not the case with the FastPack 350.  My laptop fit in much easier.

The FastPack 350 is set up a little differently than most camera bags I have used before.   Your camera equipment goes in the bottom of the bag, and that section opens to the side instead of from the top.  Inside this area, you can store a DSLR with with a 70-200mm lens attached, along with 2 or 3 extra lenses and a flash.  There are also two velcro pockets that can hold memory cards.

Along the side of the bag, you will find a long zipper that opens to provide storage for up to a 17 inch laptop.  As I mentioned earlier, my HP 17 inch laptop fit in there with no problem at all.

The top portion of the bag opens to reveal a rather large storage area.  Inside that storage area, there is a removable zippered pouch that will hold any extras you may be carrying with you.  The storage compartment also has two velcro pockets that are great for holding extra batteries and remotes.  Along with these pockets, there are pen holders, a mesh pouch and a clip for your keys.  On the outside of this compartment, there is a zippered pocket that leads to even more storage space.  This bag has quite a bit of room!

Just like the other bags I have tested for LowePro this bag has ample padding on the shoulder and waist straps, as well as the back area.  When I was wearing this bag, it was comfortable and did not feel like it was too heavy.  I even took it on the motorcycle one day just to try it out.  It worked just fine on the bike, although I did not have my laptop in tow.

Specifications and Description from LowePro’s site;

Capacity:

1 pro digital SLR with lens attached (up to 70-200mm f/2.8), 2-3 additional lenses or flash units, 17″ widescreen notebook, memory cards, batteries and cables

Size(Interior):
11W X 6.1D X 10.6H in./
28 X 15.5 X 27 cm

Size(Exterior):
12.4W X 9.6D X 19.3H in./
31.5 X 24.5 X 49 cm

Notebook Compartment Inner Dimensions:
11W X 1.5D X 18.9H in./
28 X 3.75 X 48 cm

Weight:
4.08lbs/1.85kg

Go all day with the lightweight, comfortable Fastpack 350 backpack. It protects your pro digital SLR and 17″ widescreen notebook compactly while providing generous storage for other gear. Side-entry compartments let you quickly grab equipment and accessories, even while you’re on the move. Customize the easy-to-access main compartment with adjustable dividers. A comfortable mesh waistbelt, and an adjustable sternum strap, help distribute weight evenly. To help you make the most of this Lowepro bag take a look at our new product video.

Price: $149.99

Colors: Black, Arctic Blue/Black, Red/Black

Pros

Fits laptops up to 17 inches
Extra storage space
Heavy padding for comfortable use
Mesh side pocket for carrying water

Cons

No All Weather cover

This has been yet another great bag from Lowepro.  I really enjoy testing them, as they make a great quality bag.  See ya soon!

*Images courtesy of LowePro

I am following up on a previous blog I wrote about some of the people I interact with on an almost daily basis. Some of these you will have seen before, but I have added a few others to the list that I have met over the last month or so.  I read a post a few months ago that said instead of clogging up Twitter with the #ff’s, make a list in a blog and have people follow from there.  So, here ya go…

The coolest of the cool

Dom P. – One of the funniest guys I know.
Jerry P. – Dom’s brother and the other funniest guy I know.  Check out his blog.
Cassie – Organizer extraordinaire of the Albany Tweetup.
Kelly – See Kelly for special ‘meat’ sales.
Emily – Kelly’s co-worker and photographer. Check out her blog.
John J. – Albany’s own celebrity. Everyone knows John.
Bill – Beer guru and tech dood.
Keith – Web designer and all around good guy.
Andrew – Code guru and blogger.
Rose – My honey. She also has a blog.
Brian – Shoots video like a pro with his Canon 7d.
Humbearto – Reporter for the Times Union. Moved to Seattle and Albany misses him greatly.
CuteElla – Heart of gold and she also has a blog
Jim – Phish fanatic
Stickfigureman – awesome Stick Figure posts
Angelos – Beer and wine brewer
Amy – PR, Social Media consultant and blogger
Kevin – No nonsense, tell it like it is kinda guy. He has a blog too. Also a self proclaimed “sex symbol”.
Terri – Our favorite Realtor. She is the best. Her blog rocks too.
Sue – Local 911 dispatcher.
AllOverAlbany – Great blog and good people.
John G. – Producer and voice actor in Albany
TonyWeb designer.
IrisiraBlog
Jaci Sabolsky
Jennifer McIntosh
Katie the Intern
Kate Birch
Trish – Painfully shy chick.  Go say hi and make her come out of her shell
Mike Bucc – News junkie and really funny
Di – Bangin’ Canadian and my 90s hip hop buddy
Roz – My source for good information
Goose – Entertainer extraordinaire and funny guy.
Mike Keane – Great guy.  Funny too!
Sue – Helped me in a huge way with the pool!
GoldWing987 – A fellow rider

Here’s a few categories of people or companies that I follow and interact with on a regular basis. Feel free to follow them if you’re interested.

Photography

Scott BournePhotofocus blogger and photography pioneer.
Trey Ratcliff – AKA Stuck in Customs. Some of the most amazing HDR I have ever seen.
Amazing Pics – They pick out great pics and share them.
Nikon – The best cameras in the world.
Alex Suarez – Photography and technology blog.
Adorama – Photography supplies.
Fluck – Photography blog
Canvas On DemandSite for great canvas prints. I had them print a 16×20 for me and it was gorgeous.
Peta Pixel – Awesome blog with tips and tricks for photographers.

Motorcycles

Harley Brother – Harley events
Joe Rocket – A motorcycle junkie with some great links
Harley-Davidson© – The motorcycle company, silly.
Kurt Sutter – Executive Producer of Sons of Anarchy.
Motorcycle Fans – Awesome news and a daily photo blog

News

Kristi Gustafson – Times Union’s OTE blogger.
Amanda Talar – Times Union’s East Greenbush blogger.
Naomi Seldon – Times Union’s Simpler Living blogger.
Mike Huber – Times Union’s Interactive Audience Manager
Channel 10 News
Metroland

Cars

Top Gear
Keeler Motor Car

Blogs (Those not mentioned previously)

Rude Cactus Blog
GreebleMonkeyPhotoblog
WordPressBlogging platform
Christa WatsonIt’s Like Christ with an A
Albany InsuranceAlbany Insurance Professional
Rob MadeoMan of a Certain Age
Kari VanAlstineChronicles of Chronic Pain and Wreckless Abandon
Jen HernandezSweetly Tart

Miscellaneous

Uncommon Grounds – Coffee house in Albany and Saratoga
Price Chopper – Grocery shopping
511 Traffic – Local traffic
Boob Emancipate – Who doesn’t like boobs?
InTune GP -My cousin’s husband. He makes guitar picks for a majority of the rock bands out there.
Newegg – Computer parts at great prices.
Woot – Daily deals.
Wootoff – Crazy specials.
Shawn KingYour Mac Life
Alyssa Milano – Yes, the actress from Who’s the Boss.  She has some really great Tweets.  I really enjoy reading them.

That’s quite a few of the people I follow. I know I have missed a bunch, but this is a good start.  Please feel free to add people or businesses that I missed or that you think would be good to follow. Please follow me at TCRPMG and subscribe to this blog. See ya soon!

**Image borrowed from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/ ***

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early and were on the road by 8:30, headed back up to meet the guys for the ride we didn’t get to do on Thursday.  When we got to the hotel the guys were staying at, one of the guys was missing.  He had gone back down to the expo to exchange the boots he bought the day before.  They were a size too small and hurting his toes.

He got back to the hotel and went to put them on, and the strap on the back to pull them on broke.  Crap.  Guess we’re not leaving anytime soon.  We all got geared up and went back down to the vendor where he got the boots.  They exchanged them and this pair did the same thing.  He was offered a refund, but he needed the boots as the heel on the boots he wore to Americade had separated from the boot.  So, he kept them and we got ready to ride.  While we were waiting, we noticed that there were helicopter rides leaving from that area and flying over the Americade festivities.  They were only $60 too, which was pretty cheap.

Rose and I also bumped into someone we know while we were waiting there.  A friend of ours that rides with us every Wednesday night happened to show up and we flagged him down and said hi.  After a little bit of chatting with him and taking pics of the helicopter, the guys were just about ready to leave.  As we walked towards them, Rose pointed out a sports bike with Louis Vuitton material on the windscreen and seat.  Not something you see every day, but definitely interesting.

When we got back on the road, we headed out to Old Forge.  The guys head up there every winter to go snowmobiling, and they really like the area, so we were going to check it out.  It was quite a hike, but we pulled it off.  We ended up riding about 250 miles that day.  It was a long day, but we had a lot  of fun.  Two of us even went ahead of the pack and cut up a really great twisty road.  It made me so happy.

Back at the hotel that night, the guys fired up the grill and cooked hot dogs, burgers, bacon and ham steaks.  They even invited others that were out in the hotel courtyard to come and have some of the food.  They had an extra bed free, so we spent the night so we could hang out later and not have to ride home in the middle of the night.  The next morning, it poured.  We waited for a break in the downpours and headed for home.  We had our rain gear, so we stayed dry, but we passed a lot of bikers that didn’t have rain gear, and boy were they wet!  It pays to be prepared.  See ya soon!

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!

Looks like Indian is back in business.

Yes, that is Louis Vitton fabric on the windshield and seat.

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?