Monday, September 27, 2010

In a Parade!

Probably one of the lowest mileage rides I have been on, but certainly one of the most fun ones!  

Holliston MA throws a town fair each September to celebrate all that goes on and to honor the citizens of the year. The kickoff is a parade to the park where you will find booths with fun, information, and food. A good time is had by all.  

This year I decided to put my business into the parade!  So I brainstormed as to what could be done with my bike.  I doubt you will find anyone that will argue that it ended up being a reflection of the hippie chick flower child that I am :) 

Parade lineup was at the elementary school and kickstands up at 9am. I mean, start walking and driving at 9am. :)  There were a couple of other bikes at the front, but I had many exclaim that a bike float was a first for them.  

It was  a pretty well loaded parade for a small town, you just have to love the fire engines, antique cars and farm equipment. We also had the National Lancers, a ceremonial cavalry unit as our Color Guard. 

I had my support team with me to toss candy and hand out fliers to the crowds.  None of us knew what to expect, so we were all excited!  I was a little unsure about just how hot the bike would get at parade speeds, but it was fine.... it was a little less than a mile long, so my bike was hot but not too unhappy when I parked her at the end. 

I decided to be really daring and ride without my jacket. Those that know me have teased me, because I think in my five years of riding, I have not ever gone without my riding jacket.  I figured that 5mph was a safe enough speed to risk going without the protective gear.  Today was all about fashion.  :) 

My husband was stationed on the parade route, instructed to grab a photo or two and he did a fine job :)  I had a couple of requests for videos, but I didn't have enough time to locate a camera.  There is always next year! 

All in all, a really fun morning!  I had great feedback from the event, lots of cheers from women who might have missed my message of shopping locally though, I got the distinct feeling they were cheering for the chick on the bike :) 

Back at the shop, all the flowers took on their next job, to fill the flower box in the front of the store. I was off to my next destination for the weekend, a relaxing time by the ocean in Maine.  I mistakenly had double booked myself for this day, my husband and I had this cottage on the calendar for a few months, and I had blindly been thinking that Celebrate Holliston was the following weekend.  Where is cloning technology when you really need it? :)
So, I sent my husband to Maine to hang with our friends and I promised I would buzz up there as soon as I could.  At about 3pm, I jumped on the bike for a quick 110 mile ride. At the fuel stop, I realized that I had not completely undecorated my bike...

Surprisingly, these little flowers stood the test of highway speeds for two hours!  I arrived in Maine and took off my footwear... once again realizing that I am often not like everyone else. This vignette really cracked me up! I don't own footwear that even remotely resembles the other ones at the cottage this weekend. :)

 I made it in time for cocktails on the porch overlooking a fantastic seascape. It took me about 30 seconds to get into relax mode.

  This is the view off the porch, about 30 feet away... I was in heaven! The waves were gently rolling in, speaking in a calm voice as the water splashed on the rocks.
The weather overnight turned windy and cold..the next day dawned with waves that were breaking well up onto the rock wall.  I grabbed a gorgeous handmade comforter (that I coveted very much), poured my coffee and went out into the cool morning air. 

Later in the morning, we all went to Old Orchard Beach to walk around, it was pretty well closed up for the season. I did see one thing that I just had to try... no, not the Fried Twinkie. I tried one of those delicacies this summer. This time it had to be the Deep Fried Oreo.

If it had been more than a buck, I think I would have been disappointed.  But all in all, not a bad little taste treat.  Mine was underdone though, with uncooked batter.... another 30 seconds in the fryolator and I bet the Oreo creme middle would have gotten melty. :)

 So, I have a deep fried Twinkie (back in July in WV) and an Oreo under my belt (literally).  Can't promise that I will try things like fried pickles or other strange things I hear about though, but you never know. It might be my new calling to taste and review them.  However, I might not have to have my arm twisted too hard to try a deep friend Milky Way bar.  Not sure where I would have to ride to in order to locate one, I think maybe Texas... 
We decided to call it a weekend when the weather continued to deteriorate, as we were not really prepared for the cold. My raingear was taken off the bike for the parade and the skies were looking very threatening, reinforced by the choppy waves now pounding on the retaining wall, it was a very different view from the day before.  It was gorgeous, my kind of ocean! 

So at about 2pm, I layered on all my clothing and headed homeward.  The skies were drizzling on me pretty much the whole way, but I did not get wet wet.  Toes were pretty chilled when I got home, it took a few hours to completely warm up.
All in all, a great weekend, full of new adventures, all within 100 miles of home.  :) 

Ride Safely everyone and thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coastal Maine... my favorite landscape

This ride was supposed to have been last week, but the weather intervened and it was rescheduled. The temps yesterday were probably the most perfect for a enough to be comfortable in gear and warm enough to keep fingers and toes just right. 
I met my friend Gar at the Shell station in Berlin MA. For a ride heading north, it is equidistant from both of us and an easy rendezvous point. 

I may have to rethink this rendezvous point though... it's bad enough that I am pretty much color coordinated head to toe, but when I start matching the gas stations, well enough already!  :)

Kickstands up at 8:30am, the first leg was highway, heading toward the coast.  After 45 minutes or so, there is the motorcyclists' obligatory ride in New England starts without this place:
Refueled, we headed toward Salisbury Beach, to route 1A, the seacoast route north.  It was a Monday and still early, so it was a delightful run up this local road, winding by cottages and little business centers, lots of clam shacks and early morning beach goers, which as I looked closely, were mostly surfers today. The waves were active and exciting this day... a huge gift for me! 
Salisbury beach is a busy tourist mecca in the summertime, we motored down the retail strip toward the beach and Gar followed the U-turn in the road. He had to pull over though because I stopped following him. I HAD to investigate this outrageously fabulous bike set up...
It was a GoldWing with every bell and whistle and farkle that a bike can hold. PLUS, check out the trailer! 
The cutest thing I ever saw... 

But then wait a second... owners of the bike came strolling back and I have to say that THIS quite possibly is the cutest thing I have ever seen.  Her name is Abby, a rescue who started riding with her new mom and dad last March.  Dad says that Abby loves riding as much as they do. 
She gave me a couple of sweet kisses, I gave mom, dad and Abby guardian angel coins and we were on our way.  Abby's dad said he was going to drill a hole in her coin to hang it on her collar. :)

I have mentioned before how much I love the ocean. It is such a powerful feeling for me to be there... someday maybe I will have a little hermitage by the waves just to sit and listen and be quiet. Meanwhile, I will visit and ride to find the waves and the energy. 
We are still poking our way northbound on 1A, heading toward Hampton Beach, another stretch of pretty commercial beach.  I think it might be one of the longest stretches of beach in New England. We don't have many wide open beaches.  The waves today were very satisfying to watch. We pulled over at one point, where I saw that the waves were breaching the seawall...a thick cement barrier built to protect the houses across the street.  I loved riding along and seeing the crashing water up and over the wall and dousing the sidewalk and pedestrians.  So Gar pulled into the parking lot and we stopped along the wall.  
And the answer is yes... before too long I was rolling with laughter when a wave crashed over the wall.  I got wet too, but I had the camera.  haha!
There were lots of characters out today!  Of course, I mean all the OTHER characters. haha...  at this stop on the strip at Hampton, a fellow came up and started talking about my bike. He was asking about the color and model and so forth. I don't think he was really so much interested in those details, I think he wanted the company more.  You know the kind... a conversation happens and winds up and you start to walk away and then suddenly you hear a voice behind you. Oops, I didn't realize we were still talking!  It was a fun half hour or so with this guy, talking about bikes and the beach and biker bars, of which I do not go to.  But, it was colorful, for certain and we were not in a hurry.  How can you not love no teeth and an eye patch, talking about motorcycling?
I have no idea what time it was at that point... it was moving slowly along, as we were. The next few miles wound around some of the most beautiful coastline and homes in New England. This stretch is famous for the magnificent mansions that are on one side of the road and the rocks and waves on the other.  
I love this photo and the clouds in my mirror :) 

This is the other view I generally have when riding with Gar... his red GoldWing with 3 flags flying off the back. The POW flag is curled a bit, on the right.  It's kinda cool :)
We are making our way to Nubble Lighthouse.... as I understand, one of the most photographed lighthouses on the eastcoast. How I have never seen it, I don't know.  It took a little while to get there, because I kept stopping to sit by the ocean :)
This stop, took me a while, there were some great rocks to climb down on.... I could spend hours here!
I was reluctant to go back to the bike... but finally I did and we were on our way again, up 1A into Rye NH. Then Gar turned down 1B... a small road that I have never been before. It went into the sweetest little town center, so old fashioned and cozy. I would love a home here!  Rt 1B eventually wound its way back to 1A, and at one point, crossed a causeway, passing this giant old building on my right. Now looking quite abandoned... I have to find out what it used to be. 
The road then took us into Portsmouth, one of the prettiest old towns on the seacoast. It is a great place to go and park, and just walk around for a few hours. There are quirky stores, galleries, lots of food, harbor frontage and history.  Worth a trip to see if you have never been there!
We still have not made it to Nubble light, but look in this can see it off in the distance!  Just ignore that giant yellow helmet in the foreground. :) 

Finally...we made it to Nubble Lighthouse.  I will have to come back to this place, it is so wild and rocky!  The lighthouse sits on an isolated little island, the supplies get brought across via a basket on a wire. I am not sure if the lightkeepers go across in this manner also. While we were there, a woman approached me and we ended up chatting for a while... she is a rider also. When I told her that I did my cross country ride this summer and said it was mostly solo, she gave me a big "You Go Girl" hug.  We were excitedly talking until her husband dragged her away, saying something about a schedule. Didn't he realize how busy we were?  :) 
You can see the white basket in this picture...can you imagine traveling across the water in this?  It is not far, but still pretty precarious for my tastes!  
It was lunch time and my belly was talking now, all the salt air really makes a girl hungry.  Our route was pointed at Perkin's Cove, yet another quintessential New England coastal town that I have never seen.  Another adorable tiny town perched on the water's edge. Gar and I had lunch at a place that sits right on the water.  I had a lobster roll and it was yummy.  To think that all these years, I insisted I hated lobster.  Oh well, my waistline has probably been the better for it. 
Perkin's Cove has a walkway along the coast, called the Marginal Way, which ends in Ogunquit. This teeny lighthouse is at the entrance to the walkway. I had to get a photo here!  The start and finish points are fun shopping and eating places, with benches to rest on while on the walkway.  We did not walk the Marginal Way yesterday, but I think I will return to it someday to do it. Maybe in the off season so that the ocean is active and there are not many people.  

A nice slow ride, gorgeous weather and even prettier scenery makes for a perfect ride.
It was not many miles, not a fast pace, lots of people to chat with, and home for supper... just perfect! 

Until next ride...
Bee safe!

By the way, 
September 21st, is the United Nations International Day of Peace
Peace to you all

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Warrior Thunder Ride

When you go to the website for the
the first thing you will see is,
"The Greatest Casualty is Being Forgotten"

Pretty powerful words to one as sensitive as I am... so when one of my good customers (shout out to Lyn Briggs) invited me to go on this ride and I found the website to see what it was about, I committed to joining this ride. I checked the schedule at my shop, made sure that the team working today would be okay without me and left early this morning to register.  I showed up with my not so pretty fingernails to the ride because I gave the Dirty Girl a quick polish with Lemon Pledge right before I left. I didn't want her to be SO dirty for the ride :) 

The mission of the WWP is simple:

.... to honor and empower wounded warriors.

Its purpose:

raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women

help severely injured service members aid and assist each other

provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of severely injured service members

The ride was launched from Paramount Harley Davidson in Framingham MA. When I got there, it was pretty evident where to put my bike :)

The bikes started rumbling in and over the next hour, the staging area filled with what looked to be a good turn out for this first annual benefit ride. We registered and were given a Wounded Warrior Patch and a nifty red white and blue wrist wrap in order to be allowed in to the base for the BBQ. 
You can see DG mingling in the crowd...camouflaged if that is at all possible by a yellow sport bike.
At about 11:30, we had the huddle to go over road rules... always a good thing. I raised my hand and asked about red lights and stop signs- did the escort mean that we would not be stopping at all?  The answer was yes, the 8 or so motor cops from area towns were there to volunteer their time to make sure our parade was safe and fun.  
11:45...Kickstands up!  We were going on a 50 mile loop through MetroWest Boston, ending at Natick Labs, the only active military base in MA (I think that is what I heard said). 

The Motorcops were giving us a little last minute information...and then we got the 'Start Your Engines' go ahead.  My heart always pounds harder when I am in the midst of motorcycles that are all starting at same time.  The rumble goes right to my bones and that first sweet smell of exhaust that says motorcycles! 

The temps today were on the cool side, which I kind of like. I think many riders were chilly... but as the route progressed, I was glad it was not baking hot today.  A large portion of the ride had roads with numerous 'tar snake' repairs... these are downright nasty in the heat of the summer, slippery and dangerous to motorcycle tires.  The cool temps today made them a non-issue and I was glad of that. 

I absolutely loved  having the police escort!  It made the ride a bit more exciting for me... I am like a little kid sometimes, I hear a siren and get excited.  I suppose that is what is supposed to happen though. :)  
The motorcops would rotate through their numbers to zoom ahead and hold traffic at intersections.  They would run their lights and sirens when doing this because they were up along side of us. I loved seeing the lights approaching in my mirrors, maybe I am easily entertained, but it did not get old for the whole 50 miles to watch them do this.
I don't know how many bikes participated, I would guess that it was around 100. I was smack in the middle I think.  Looking ahead, I could not see the beginning bikes as the line would wind up and around corners on the country roads:
And then looking in my mirrors, the same thing... headlights that went on and on:
It was fascinating to watch the reactions of the motorists that were coming the other way.  As the police bikes would ride up through our ranks with their sirens and lights going, some drivers would barely move to the side and keep driving.  I thought that odd.  Other cars would do what they were supposed to when one sees a police vehicle and pull completely to the side and stop moving.  What was funny though was that some of them were unsure about whether they could go forward again.  I saw a few cars simply stop and watch the bikes. 
The Warrior Thunder Ride felt most thunderous when we were navigating through downtown Hudson... a busy town center, narrow streets and traffic. It was fun because it was making such a statement!  Maybe these people will look in the newspaper tomorrow and see why all those motorcycles were parading through their town and make note of the WWP. Many shoppers and store people were standing outside watching us pound through. I waved to a lot of little kids today :) 
 Right on schedule, at about 50 miles, we pulled into the Natick Army Labs, showed our wristbands to the guards and motored on to the parking lot, the entrance to the base was a motorcyclist's dream and  I admit, I hit the throttle a little harder and giggled as I made my way to the parking area.

We parked our bikes and gave a round of applause to the men that made this ride so enjoyable and so safe. I have been on group rides before and the presence and support of police make all the difference in the world for the riders.  Many many thanks to these Boys in Blue that volunteered their time today!

We were then entertained by a great band and many riders had a feast at the barbecue.  I had a few oatmeal raisin cookies and a hot cup of coffee... sat for a bit and talked with other riders, and people watched, one of my favorite pastimes when in a large group. There were a lot of service people there today, probably most of them.  I was one of the people today who showed up to show my respect and thanks. 

I met a couple of the people who put this ride on, and you could feel their excitement. One fellow in particular, who was at Paramount, directing the parking.  He was in relax mode at the bbq...totally understandable and well deserved!  Thank you to Darren (I don't know your last name) for a great day! I hope that this ride was what you envisioned! 

As always, thank you for reading my blog...

Peace and Love, 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Odds and Ends

A few weeks ago, it was time to go back to daughter Annie is now a sophomore at college and kind of on cruise control at this point.  She came home for the summer, and many of her things for her dorm room never got unpacked. Her bedroom looks rather like a storage room...certainly did make it easy to get her back to school!

The last weekend of August was move in was looking to be a beautiful day ahead and so I invited Annie to ride on the back of my bike and we would send Dad in the car with her belongings.


To my delight, she said yes!  I don't get much bike time with my daughter, she has a busy social schedule, or one of us is working, or off on a trip for that matter, as Annie is a willing hiker with my Mom.

We left at 8am to take back roads to the college, about 100 miles.  This beautiful child, although she does not look like me with her dark eyes and very dark hair, is a natural at riding. I am going to claim this as a boast that she gets that genetically from me, because when I was her age, I was constantly told that it was difficult to tell that I was on the back of someone's bike.  For me, being only 5'4" and putting 5'6" Annie on the back of my 800+ pound bike and being able to say that I can hardly tell that she is there is a huge compliment to her riding sense.
The weather was perfect that morning!  Just cool enough to be super comfortable in the gear. It was a joyful ride with Annie.

And here she is, my gypsy girl, all moved into her dorm... oh, yes, that bright eclectic sense of style also comes from me in case you are wondering.  It falls under, the less that matches, the more fun it is rule of decorating.  We are into polka dots at the moment!  Even her shirt is spotted.  :)
Kisses all around, I blessed my girl and hit the road for home.  I tapped a couple of little boxes on Jack's screen and my route to the college was reversed to take me home.  It was not quite as pleasant a trip, as the temps crawled up into the 90s and about 30 miles of the ride I had chosen were through a commercial strip after another. Of course, being later in the day, the traffic was congested.  It was one of those 'note to self' moments, to fix this part of the ride.

When I got home, I immediately took Jack  (my gps, remember?) into the house to edit the back road ride to UNH.  I needed to cut out the rt102 stretch between Hudson and Chester NH.  I found a potentially sweet route, very zig-zaggy as it wound its way through the smaller towns of NH... and in the end, was the same mileage.  I got to test the route the very next day as Annie forgot a couple of VIPs....those Very Important Possessions, our children all have them. :)

One little thing happened on that Sunday at her school, when I got back to my bike, there was a note tucked into my cup holder:

  I installed my Kruzer Kaddy just before I left on my trip and felt that there were a couple of inherent design flaws... one solved with some bright yellow duct tape and the other solved by only using a half full bottle of water.  When I put a full bottle in, the cup holder would swivel and the bottle fell out.  Well... this was not the best thing, was it?  But I can adjust in a situation like this, and ride with a half full bottle.  And then when I took the bottle out of the holder, the holder itself would often unattach and go rolling on the ground.  GRRR.  So the duct tape covered the key hole that the post slid into. What I did not realize was that I was missing a part, someone may have opened the box at the store where it was purchased because the grommet was never in it.  
So I called Shannon and we had a delightful conversation!  I was highly impressed with the fact that she left the note and offered to fix the obvious issue. She and her husband own the company and are very proud of their products. Shannon told me how excited she was to be in NH (from Mississippi) and to have seen their product in use. I know the feeling, it never gets old.  She also explained how to take the swivel play out of the mounting so that my bottle stays put.  I just have to turn the bolt around.
And THEN, icing on this yummy little cake was that she told me that they are developing a travel coffee mug to fit this particular holder and she will send me one to test for her and give them feed back.  Gotta love a small company and its pride in customer service!  As always, I will share when good will is sent my way...  KRUZER KADDY

Back to riding for one more comment or two...  the alternate route up to Annie's university was delicious!  It is saved in my favorite routes because you never know when some other little thing needs to be delivered.  And in my motorcyclist's brain, a 200 mile round trip is just a scoot down the road  :) :) 

In the weeks following my ride, I have been at odds with writing about riding locally... the adventures were so amazing on my cross country trip that I was feeling as though these weeks would have been a big let down for me and for my readers.  I am getting over that! 

A great experience happened this past week... it was SO much fun, revolving around riding, but all via a phone conversation.  There is a motorcycle radio show, called Side Stand Up, airing Tuesday evenings 7-9pm eastern time. I was invited to be a guest on the show and I accepted it.  How much fun this was!!! 
So, two things... I am going to be self promoting here and tell you how you can still listen to my interview...
go here for the page with archived interviews and click on
AUG 31, #282 . My segment is about halfway through, you are invited to listen to the whole show or you can fast forward it to where you want to start. 
The second thing is, tune in on Tuesday nights! 
The show is all about regular people getting out there and doing what they love :)
The link to the show is under the monkey on the left side. 

As always, thanks for reading!
love, Bee