Tag Archive: FJR


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!

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FJR and FLHR

FJR and FLTR

Last night, our meetup group, No Destinations, meets for our last ‘winter’ meeting before we start riding again.  Every Wednesday night during the warmer months, we meet at The Mill on Round Lake around 6pm.  At 6:30, it’s kickstands up and we are off to a certain ‘undisclosed location’ to hang out and chat for a bit before returning to The Mill and having some food and good conversation.

The name ‘No Destination’ came about because most nights the location is kept secret as a surprise and we don’t find out until we get there.  Only a certain few that are leading and blocking know the route and location.  The phrase ‘where the hell are we going?’ came about because every Wednesday night, people would ask that question while waiting to leave.  “We’re going for a ride” is the most common reply.

This group of riders is a bunch of the most laid back, friendly people I have ever met.  We always have a good time, and everyone gets along very well.  It is a mix of all ages and motorcycle types.  There are sport bikes, Harleys, and even a BMW with a sidecar.  It is a great time.  I can’t wait for our rides to start up again.

See ya soon!

Here in the Northeast, the weather can be pretty brutal during Winter.  Even more so if you have a motorcycle, or two in my case.  It’s awful.  I love the area, and wouldn’t move, so I just have to suck it up, but I don’t have to be happy about it.

As I was going through ideas I had written down for possible blog topics, I found one that made me smile.  It was about a great ride I took this past summer through the Catskill Mountains.  One of the reasons for thinking about the ride (other than five months of cold weather) came from a few announcements today on Twitter.  One of them was from Harley-Davidson© announcing their new $36k bagger.  Yes, I said $36k for a Harley.  Have they lost their mind?  They are nice and all, but not my thing.  I could pick up two bikes for that amount of money.  Secondly, a friend on Twitter ( @MotorcycleFans ) posts and re-tweets some great motorcycle info everyday.  A lot of the tweets are news in the motorcycle industry.  There were some great tweets about some new Victory motorcycles as well.  I’ve come to know @MotorcycleFans as Chessie.  Chessie has a great blog called 365 Degrees, photos from each day.  Check it out.

So, this past summer, I felt like going for a ride.  Rose didn’t want to go, so I headed out on my own on the FJR.  We have a GPS unit for this bike, but I don’t use it a lot.  I learned my way around Albany a few years ago by filling up the tank and picking a road to see where it brought me.  No matter where I went, I would always find my way out.  I would also learn fun roads to everywhere, rather than taking the main roads. I get around very well now after being here for only a few years.

That day, I wasn’t sure where I was going, but remembered a fun ride that our good friend Dusty had taken us on a few weeks earlier.  Dusty’s friend was in the middle on her bike and is a little timid, so I wanted to ride this one particular road again, but this time at a much faster pace.  It was amazing.  County route 308 on Delmar if you are from the Albany area.  Lots of twists and turns, great for laying it right over.

I got on that road and it was pure bliss.  These are the times where you remember why you love riding so much.  All your cares and worries seem to disappear.  It is so therapeutic.  After a few more roads, I ended up in Athens, NY.  I stopped for a drink and a snack, then I debated what to do.  I could turn around and head back, or I could keep going and keep taking roads to see where I would end up.  I went with the latter.

Next thing you know, I am on Route 23 in Catskill and and a huge smile comes across my face.  I know exactly where to go.  Up into the mountains.  The ride up there is a motorcyclist’s dream.  25 mile per hour corners, 15 mile per hour hairpins, double lane uphill passes, sweeping corners…what a ride!  If you ever get the chance, get on the bike and ride this road.

This road continues through the Catskills and by Windham mountain.  The ride after Windham is pure countryside.  Beautiful vistas, mountains soaring into the sky and views for miles.  Somewhere on route 30, I stopped and took a break to grab some pictures.  As I pulled into the overlook parking lot, I saw a great site.  An older gentleman and his wife on their Harley that had stopped for the same view I had.  As soon as I got off the bike, I noticed the gentleman’s haircut.  I pegged him immediately as a former Marine.  Dead on.  I struck up a conversation with him and his wife, and they were great people.  They asked me about GPS units, and I pulled mine out of the trunk and showed them how it worked.  While I was there, I grabbed the next few shots.  The panorama was taken by standing on the guard rail.

Panorama 2
The trunk held the camera bag and GPS

The trunk held the camera bag and GPS

Catskill Creek

Catskill Creek

After the overlook, I kept on going up 30 until I hit Route 20 and back into Albany I went.  What a great day.  It was about 150 miles round trip.  Here’s a map from the Harley-Davidson Ride Planner© that I used for the trip, in case you want to try out this ride.  Or let me know.  I’d love to go again.

Trip Map

Trip Map

Do you ride?  Been on a bike?  Love them?  Hate them?  Let me know.  Please feel free to subscribe to my blog.  Oh, and if you’re on Twitter, follow me @TCRPMG …See ya real soon!

Back in August 2008, Rose and I decided to take a trip to Montreal.  I had never been there, but had always wanted to go.  So, we made a reservation for two nights and packed our stuff.  We left around 5 pm on Friday, and hit monsoon like weather most of the way up.  High winds, torrential downpours, thunder and lightning.  Rose even thinks there was hail.  No big deal you say?  In a car, no.  But we were on the motorcycle.

We left Albany and the weather was threatening to rain, but didn’t start until the Adirondacks.  It was pretty brutal, but I loved every minute of it.  We had on raingear, with the exception of my jacket.  It had zippers on the sleeves, so the rain poured in and ran down my sleeves and into my shirt and pants.  Luckily, the Yamaha has heated hand grips, so my hands kept warm most of the trip.  My upper body, not so much.  If you don’t ride, or don’t know about riding in the rain, here’s a quick lesson.  The gloves are leather and dyed black.  When they get wet, the dye covers your hands and makes them black as well.  Until you scrub them with some type of a bristle brush, they will stay black.

We arrived at our hotel around 9 pm, parked the bike and went to our room.  I immediately stripped down and laid my clothes out around the room.  It was time for a hot shower, as I was freezing.  After we warmed up, we went out for a walk to see what we could find to eat.  We found a Chinese restaurant and then hit a grocery store for some soda and snacks.

And then it happened – I found Kit Kat Dark.  Kit Kats drenched in dark chocolate.  I haven’t been able to find them in the Northeast.  If you find them, please let me know.

The next day, we walked around the city, with showers off and on.  It is a beautiful city.  Of course I had my camera, and I took a few pics.  There was a church that I took this picture in, but I can’t for the life of me remember then name of it.  I didn’t have a tripod with me, so I had to brace the camera on top of one of the pews in the choir loft and hope for the best.

Overlook

Overlook

This window was also from that church…

Outside the church

Outside the church

We also went to see the Notre Dame cathedral, but it was closed for a private wedding and they wouldn’t let us in.  Here’s Rose sitting outside by the bike when we were getting ready to leave.

Rose

Rose

We were sweating, as we had our raingear on over our clothes.  It was supposed to rain that day.  It never did, and it was extremely warm instead.  So, we were lucky and stayed dry. Here’s a few pics of Rose getting ready to get back on and a horse and carriage.

Rose again

Rose again

Horse and carriage

Horse and carriage

Waiting

Waiting

When we left there, we went to St. Joseph’s Oratory.  It was huge.  I am not a religious person at all, but I do appreciate the architecture.  It was incredible.  I took quite a few pictures while we we there.  I could have spent hours there shooting, but we needed to head home.  Here are a few shots I took while we were there.

Incredibly tall

Incredibly tall

So many candles

This was handheld. Can't believe it came out so well.

Go towards the light

Go towards the light

Coming home took a bit longer than going up.  For some reason, we went through customs going into Canada in about ten minutes.  Coming home, it took us at least an hour, hour and a half to get through customs.  Why does it take so long if I am an American coming back into my own country?  Talk about being efficient.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the extra security that is hopefully keeping the undesirables out.  However, they should put in a line for U.S. residents to come back in.  I understand having to wait to go into Canada.  But coming home?  Ridiculous.

It was a great trip, all in all.  I hope to get back up there soon.  The one thing about taking the bike is that it costs almost nothing for fuel, but you can’t pack too much.  It’s definitely worth it if you have the time.

Most people don’t know this about me, but another of my passions in life are motorcycles.  I like all different kinds – choppers, rockets, cruisers, Harleys, BMWs, Hondas.  I have been riding for almost 10 years now thanks to my best friend Jay.  He threw me on a Honda CBR600F3 about ten years ago and said “take it for a spin.”  I had never been on a motorcycle before.  So, here I am, in the middle of Stockbridge, MA on this bike scared to death that I am gonna kill myself my first time out.  He had told me to take it for a quick spin.  Ok, I can do this.  Waiting for traffic to clear, (which could take forever in Stockbridge during tourist season) then I let out the clutch and give it a little gas.  Ok, that wasn’t so bad.  I didn’t die.  Traffic is moving incredibly slowly and I want to go.  Finally, traffic moves out of the way and I crack the throttle.  Seconds later, I look down and I am over 70 mph.  WOW!  What a rush.

If you’ve never been on a sportbike before, imagine Ferrari type power in a 350+/- pounds bike.  Zero to sixty in seconds.  That was it.  I was hooked.  About four hours later, I brought the bike back to Jay with the biggest smile on my face.  It had begun.  Over the next few years, I rode a few other bikes owned by Jay and my brother Mark.  All of them rockets.  I was definitely a sportbike guy.

A few years later, I decided I was going to buy a bike for myself.  I went to the dealer and was all set to buy a brand new Yamaha R6 in Raven.  I was offered a job instead, and they put me in the Harley building selling Harley-Davidsons©.  Yuck.  I was a sportbike guy.  I didn’t like those biker types.  Their motorcycles were way to loud, and oh so slow.  Not my thing.  Fast forward a few months – I am selling Harleys and they keep hounding me to buy one.  I want to go fast, I say.  These things only have 68 hp.  It can’t get out of it’s own way.  “Try this out” the say as they point to a Harley-Davidson V-Rod©.

Interesting.  Great style, 120hp motor made in conjunction with Porsche.  Ok.  I will give it a shot.  So, off we go on a 30ish degree day with a few flurries in the air to test this bike out.  I have to admit, I came back with a smile on my face.  The bike was brand new and had a custom Harley-Davidson© paint kit on it.  I liked it more than I cared to admit at the time.  As I was considering it, they mentioned that someone had a V-Rod© there on consignment with only 1800 miles on it, lots of chrome and lowered two inches front and rear.  I checked it out.  It was gorgeous.  I was in love.  The battery was a little low from sitting around for a bit, so we charged it up and hit the ignition.  Holy Shit!  What a bark from that exhaust.  This thing was obnoxiously loud.  It had to be mine.

Looking back, I met some amazing people over the course of my time at the dealership.  Since then I have met a ton of bikers and let me tell you that while there some bad eggs out there, there are some pretty damn good people out there on motorcycles.  During the summer, we ride every Wednesday night with an awesome group called No Destination run by an amazing woman named Patti.  I have made so many friends there and over the last five years or so in the motorcycle community.  I have been to many, many poker runs to raise money for people who lost family members, or have an illness racking up thousands of dollars in bills.  The Toys for Tots run in the late fall, where you will find 300 to 400 bikes no matter how cold the weather is, bringing toys for needy children and raising money to make sure these kids have a good Christmas.  Here is a pic I took at this year’s run at Brunswick Harley.

Toys For Tots

Toys For Tots

I have also been lucky enough to be a part of a few Patriot Guard Missions.  These bikers go to the funerals of soldiers that have served our country and died, or are killed in the line of duty.  It is an honor to be part of these rides, but heartbreaking to see these young men and women die so young fighting for our freedom.

Another group I am very proud to be a part of is a forum composed of some of my friends that were in a V-Rod© forum and it spun off a photography forum called Movie Photo Forums – a great forum if you are into photography and motorcycles.  Most of the active participants ride, and a bunch actually ride V-Rods©.  There are some incredibly talented members there and I am proud to be a part of it.  They have become like family to me.  I get a lot of inspiration for my photography from the members there.  A bunch of us met in Canandaigua last summer on the bikes and rode together.  We even spent some time shooting in the area while we were there.

I guess what I am getting at is looking back to when I was a sportbike guy and I stereotyped “bikers” I had no idea what I was talking about.  There truly are some amazing people out there.  Don’t judge.  I could write about this all day, but you’d probably get tired of reading and head out.  So I will end this with a pic of my bike and my girlfriend Rose’s bike -or the Cadillac- as i like to call it.  We take my Harley for local rides, and her “Cadillac” for trips to Canandaigua or Montreal.

Our bikes

Our bikes

A few pics I have taken of bikes over the last few years…

FJR in the Catskills

FJR in the Catskills

Chad's Victory

Chad's Victory

Custom Rocker

Custom Rocker

Geico bike

Geico bike