Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gotta Love Those Backroads

Back when I started my blog I posted a story called "Ode to the Old Dirty Biker". At the end of the post I requested if any ODBs wanted to share their stories to feel free. Well...not sure if this guy is an ODB but I have a feeling that he is. Hope you enjoy this story as much as I did. I'd like to thank the author for sharing it with me so that I could share it with all of you.

I am not a big fan of interstates...and before I irritate those that love the super slabs....yes, I understand that you can cover lots of miles on the interstates. I have actually ridden many a 700 mile day on them myself, but usually only because I needed to be at a specific place in the quickest time possible. have to love those backroads. That is where America can truly be found. These are the roads that lead to the best little roadside diners, mom and pop motels, and some of the most interesting people you could ever hope to meet.

My riding partner, RV, and I have been trying to ride to Gettysburg for almost 7 years now, but we just never seem to make it. Yeah...we know where it is, but every time we point the bikes in that direction we always seemed to get sidetracked. Most times it was spending too much time with old friends on the way, but it was also new places found on the way that were just too good to pass up.

This year...this year we actually made it all the way to Gettysburg ...and with the exception of just a few miles...all on backroads.

What was special about this backroad trip...nothing really...and everything. For me, it isn't about mind blowing experiences, but rather the simple experiences and joys that riding brings.

Someone told me that "life is what happens to you between the plans you make". Ain't that the truth? But that is what makes the journey fun and amazing. Your choice is whether to view events as adventure or misery. Take for example our first 10 miles of the first morning. We are taking a state road in West Virginia that needed a little upgrade, so the construction barrels are out preventing access to the shoulder on our side. big deal, but when Mother Nature decides that this is a great time for a have a choice...laugh or cry.

Granted...we couldn't pull off to put on raingear due to the construction and yeah, we got soaked to the bone...but I was still laughing my ass off...mainly because RV was just as wet as I was and he hates rain! Soon, I could see him laughing in my rearview mirror as well. He really started to smile when we broke out of the rain and back into the sunshine. Twenty miles later and we are dry and sweating.

A few backroads later and we are in a small place called Little Orleans. Not much there, but it had everything we needed...gas and food. How long has it been since you used the old time gas pump that you have to press a button to reset, flip a lever, and has the little numbers that mechanically roll around? Get on the backroads and you will still find them. Funny thing was that apparently the old pumps only allow a price of $3.99 and with gas well over 4 bucks, the owner had a sign up stating that gas was twice the price of $2.23 that was shown on the pump!!

Once inside, we found a small lunch counter and a grill. Ahhhhhhh yes...cheeseburgers made by hand and cooked by a little old lady with countless years of making simple things taste out of this world. Remember those interesting people I mentioned...well our waitress was one of them. She had moved to Little Orleans from Washington D.C. a few years back. She had enough of city life and moved site unseen to the country to raise English Bulldogs and ride her 1992 Sportster. We found out that she gets $2,500 for each of those bulldog pups and she has about 16 litters, several pups to a litter, a year...damn...who knew. When I asked if she needed a house husband to help her spend her money, she replied "hell no...I am done with that...I am not scratching any man's ass again". I laughed myself right off of my stool...but we did get free pie and an offer to stay at her place. We took the pie but had to pass on the lodging offer as we wanted to push on.

As I told you earlier...we did make it to Gettysburg and wouldn't you know it, that on the backroad leading into town, we found a little mom and pop motel. You might remember the kind...horseshoe shape configuration, all the rooms with exterior doors facing a small courtyard. And to no surprise, our neighbors across the courtyard were bikers as well, up from North Carolina ...via the backroads!!! The next morning, Ol' Pop brought all of us old towels to wipe the previous night's rain off the bikes. He regaled us with stories of when he used to ride back in the 40s and 50s. Told us that today's backroads were the main highways back yonder and motels like his were the norm rather than the exception. He even came down our last night with a six-pack of beer and more stories. Find that at your Holiday Inn or Best Western!!!

We left the next morning heading south and then west. I didn't even have any idea what state we were in most of the time... Pennsylvania , Maryland , or West Virginia as the backroads weave from one state to the next without much fanfare. If finally became clear that we were in West Virginia and on one of the most beautiful two lanes I have been on in a long time. We were winding our way thru the mountains on a ribbon of a road carved thru rock. Slow sweeping turns combined with sharp twisties made for the perfect stretch of road. As we entered into another section carved thru the mountain with sheer rock faces on each side of the road, we came around a blind curve to find a bear...a big bear...a really big black bear standing in the middle of the road on all fours. RV and I locked up the brakes on the bikes...I know, I know...never lock up your rear brake...but did I mention there was a BEAR...and we slid to a stop about 20 feet from the bear. Now, I thought he was big when he was on all fours....but when he stood up, he was huge. I locked the front brake, hit the throttle, slipped the clutch and slid the bike in the other direction. I guess that was enough reason for Mr. Bear to run the other way and saved me from taking another layer of rubber off my brand new Avon tire. RV rode behind him for about 40 yards before the bear went up the shallow part of mountain face and disappeared into the woods. RV swears the bear was running at 18 m.p.h!! Did I mention the bear was big!! Later RV scolded me for sliding my scooter for a get away...but he finally admitted he was going to do the same thing but was too damn slow!!!

A couple hours and a couple of backroads later, we find ourselves in a little town called Capon Bridge . Time for a gas stop and food. We went inside to ask for a local place to eat when I saw know...her...that drop dead gorgeous chick that makes you forget the rest of the world for a moment. She was paying for her drink...long dark hair down to her waist...even longer legs down to the ground...obviously had been poured into her jeans just that morning...twinkling eyes...and a smile to die for. I know all these things because I was staring...staring so hard that I walked into the plate glass door. I still have the bump on my forehead to prove it. She laughed...I said "damn, that was worth it" and I followed her outside to talk. We finally got around to the issue of food and she tells us that she works at a little bar called Full Throttle and is headed there to open up the place. She tells us that the bar doesn't open for another hour or so, but that if we want, she will cook up some hot wings. Hmmmmm...if I want…if I want?? I just rammed a plate glass door...of course we will be happy to partake of some yard bird. So, off we go...we eat and drink...on the house. Find that on the interstates!!

As with all trips...this one came to an end. Was it anything special...yes...and no. Every day and every ride is special and while at the same time being nothing extraordinary. Just great roads...great sites...great people...all courtesy of the backroads.

As I said...gotta love those backroads.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Mark your calendars and attend the Bottoms Up Bike Fest on Friday, July 18th and Saturday, July 19th at the Dakota County Fairgrounds in Farmington , MN .

Gates open at 5 p.m. on Friday. Friday night there will be a DJ, COLD BEER and HOT BBQ! There will be a meet and greet held under the Bottoms Up - Big Top Tent. Come Friday and camp all weekend!

On Saturday, July 19th there will be a motorcycle show and contest at noon with many categories and trophies for the winners. There is a Tattoo show and contest at 1:00 p.m. Make sure you enter your awesome looking Tat and possibly win a trophy. Enter the Biker Rodeo games at 2:30 p.m. Trophies will be given to the best rodeo riders. Saturday evening, rock out with special guests “Kick The Dog” Band playing on the main stage! Kick The Dog Band is a high-energy rock band playing a wide variety of danceable music, with a distinct focus on today’s rock. Kick The Dog Band entertains all ages and satisfies your musical tastes with an energetic performance!

Wet T-shirt contest and a Sexy Male contest after the band!!!

There will be motorcycle vendors from all over the Midwest including, MC Dyno Tech, the official Dyno tuner of the AMA Drag bike Championship Series and Fury Motorcycles from South St. Paul. Fury Motorcycles will have a trailer load of custom motorcycles and choppers for viewing and for sale. J&J Powersports out of Faribault is bringing some of their biggest and baddest motorcycles. For all your leather needs stop by and see Lucky 13 Apparel. Other vendors you'll want to stop by and check out are Bone Yard Art Gallery and Bright Red Snapper. Inc. Since every Biker gets hungry after an event filled day of great motorcycle fun, you can feed that hunger with World Champion Award Winning BBQ by BBQ Doug from “Red, White and Que.” You can wash all that BBQ down with the Cold Beer that is being sold right onsite!!!

All bikes welcome
• New Location: Dakota County Fairgrounds (2 miles from original location)
No attitudes!

Vendors: If interested in a vendor spot, contact Jeff at

Visit the Bottoms Up Bike Fest website for even more details:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tim Russert

What a sad time....Tim Russert dead at 58. I will seriously miss him. Someone will eventually take his place on Meet the Press but it won't be the same. He allowed the regular Joe the ability to understand the political world. And he was never afraid to ask the tough questions and would pry until he got an answer or until he made the guest squirm a little.

He was one of the great ones! RIP...

Friday, June 13, 2008

D-Day...did you find an Ark? I need to buy one too!

Hello everyone...thanks to everyone who has been posting and making sure that we are OK here in Johnston. So far I'm high and dry and I think it will remain that way for us. The river is set to crest around midnight tonight so that is why they evacuated parts of Des Moines today. I do have to say that it is a mess and most of Iowa has flooding! Keep us in your thoughts! Iowa will bounce back...we know how to bounce back after mother nature gives us these kinds of challenges!

Thanks again to everyone that has checked on us's great to have a group of friends that care. And the wild part...we've never met! It's awesome!!!

Have a great weekend!!


Sunday, June 08, 2008

A little IHG Trivia

I'd like to thank Rick Slark for posting this on his site. It's fun getting to know the other bloggers a little and it's fun to share it with the rest of the world too.

Favorite brand of bike? Harley Davidson (Indian Motorcycles come in a close 2nd)

Favorite color of bike? Black

Do you always wear a helmet? Years past, no. This season, yes. I saw a motor scooter/car accident and it really made me think. I do believe that it should be the rider's choice. I'm against helmet laws.

Most miles ridden in a day? 476 miles Since I ride on the back I just go with the flow!

Do you belong to a riding club? Not currently Dan and I are pretty much Lone Wolves.

How many bikes do you currently own? 1

Do you wave at passing bikers? Yes...I seriously do the biker wave to everyone on two wheels...even bicycles. :)~ I find it rude when people don't wave back. I try to make myself believe they didn't see us. Yeah Right!

How many brand t-shirts do you own? 5 I'm not really into HD clothing. Two of the ones that I have were free.

Do people think you are obsessed with motorcycles? Yes, people think I'm motorcycle nuts. I have a HD bathroom and my desk at work has pictures of the bike and my biker friends. I even have 3 little mini HD motorcycles sitting on my shelf. I'm obsessed!

What is your favorite type of riding? I love long distance trips. I'm not really into just riding around town. Dan gets too annoyed when he has to stop at numerous stop lights. Plus I love seeing our great country.

Do you have any riding superstitions? Yes I do. I always have to have my guardian angel medal with me. I also have a HD poker chip that I put in my bag. And before each trip I ask our guardian angels to watch over us on our journey.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

You Didn't See Me

I was just catching up on blogs I regularly read and stopped by to read what was going on with KT DID. She had a link to this YouTube video called "You Didn't See Me." I know KT DID won't care that I've posted this too. For some reason this PSA is not anything I've seen here in Iowa to alert cage drivers to pay special attention and look for us. Hopefully some non - bikers will happen upon our sites and see this and it will make them think...WATCH FOR MOTORCYCLES!

Bittersweet Journey

What a week!!! I'm sitting here listening to a little Captain and Tennille. Yes that's what I wrote, stop laughing. They are ICONS! :)~ what a week...Thanks for the comments on last nights entry B.B. & Ann. I'm glad I blogged what I was thinking because I didn't think about it for the rest of the night! That guy was a jackass though...WOW!

Last Sunday Dan and I stained the deck at like 6 am and then hit the road on a 230 mile journey. I've gotten to the point this year where I ask where we are going because there have been a couple recent adventures that have turned into long distance rides and I've been sitting on the back freezing like an ice cube because of poor planning or lack of communication. A few weeks ago I had to finally gesture at the road sign to exit at Story City so that I could put on my leather coat. When I got off the bike Dan was like..."What's up?" Steph..."I'm freezing!" Dan..."And you call yourself a biker chick!" Steph...Arm punch..."Yep I still do!!" LOL It was funny...guess ya had to be there, huh?

Ok...Captain and Tennille...while a great duo...not really inspirational blogging music. Need to find something else. LOL Alright...I'm going with a little Poison...Bret Michaels is a biker...this will be good! :) Hey was the show? Bret rocks...

Back to the we get on the road and head over to Hwy 330. Great back roads on the way over and 330 is a nice road with not a lot of traffic even though it's 4 lane. We are headed over to Parkersburg to see the tornado damage. I get into my head and think a lot when we are riding...I'm mentally preparing myself for what lies ahead in Parkersburg while still trying to enjoy the ride. I have mixed feelings about this Parkersburg trip. I've never seen the destruction that a tornado has caused first hand.

We've had so much rain in Iowa that the fields are flooded and many rivers are out of their banks. We come up on the 30/330 bypass and there is a sign telling us that we will need to exit and go through Marshalltown because 330 is under water at Albion. We cruise into M-town and stop off at a Kum and Go for gas. Here is a pix of Zippy Pickle at the pump and the current price of gas as of last Sunday.(3.75 was for the cheap stuff)

Back on the road we head through NE Iowa on Hwy 14. We get to Grundy Center and my stomach starts to get butterflies...I'm bracing myself for what I'm about to see. We head past the new Grundy County truck stop, off of 14 and Hwy 20, and are now getting closer to Parkersburg. We blow by the road closed signs and I'm actually hoping at this point that we won't be able to get too close. I see the P-burg water tower and a lump forms in my throat...the closer we get I can hear myself saying Oh My God out loud. Everything that greeted you to this town when you enter it on Hwy 14 is now gone. Debris is everywhere. The tears begin to fall from my eyes. Dan pulls off the road and we both sit there and just look...silent. It's the worst thing I've ever seen. Peoples lives torn apart by nature, strune all over the country side. After about 10 minutes Dan starts up ZP and says that he's going to see if we can ride through. I don't want to...I want to turn around and go back. I'm feeling guilty for being there because I'm not volunteering to help...I'm just another gawker. The ISP lets us through and then we are stopped again by some volunteer firefighters up from Norwalk. One of the guys doesn't want to let us in and I really don't blame him. I'm feeling like shit at this point, thinking that we should have gone back. The looks on peoples faces were so sad. There was no laughter, no smiles. We got past the firefighters and venture into P-burg. As you ride through town it's amazing to see houses that weren't affected at all. It's unbelievable how mother nature picked and chose that day whose lives she was going to change. We ride up by the high school and it's destroyed. National Guard trucks line the parking lot at the school. I finally asked Dan if we could head out. My heart couldn't take anymore...we had to get on down the road, so we did. I didn't take any pictures, it just didn't seem right...if you want to see footage go back to an earlier post and watch the videos.

Back on the road I reflect on life, reflect on what I just saw, said a prayer for the people of Parkersburg and then moved it out of my head. We stopped in Iowa Falls and had lunch/dinner at DQ. Then we cruised on over to Ames and stopped off for a cup of coffee at Burgie's Espresso Cafe. Fueled up ZP and were back on the road headed back to Johnston. This was a bittersweet journey. I still feel guilty for gawking but I'm glad I went up there to see it first hand. Seeing that kind of destruction really makes you think about the things that are most important and it's obvious that they aren't material belongings. My thoughts continue to be with the people of Parkersburg.

Have a great weekend and hug the ones you love!!


Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Evening Thought....

This is to the very nice driver of the Hyundai, Thank you for being so kind and considerate of me tonight on my ride home. I actually meant to block traffic in the road construction on Merle Hay Road. And I guess I should have just let the dump truck run over me so that you could get in the turn lane that you were so desperate to turn into. The sound of your horn and the beautiful language that came wafting out of your mouth was like a beautiful Slipknot song.

Have a great Friday night! I need a drink!!!!