Sunday, July 08, 2007

Errors and Omissions

The Father's Day present that Katrina was talking about
was actually a birthday present. My mom had hidden it in
one of Dad's compartments and marked it "do not open until
July 1." The funny thing is, it could have gotten us
detained at the border on June 27 or 28. It turned out to
be a Swiss Army knife. The border guard's first question:
"Do you have a knife?"

Holiday Inn was the winner with two check-ins. The one in
Ontario was the nicest hotel we stayed at and also the
most expensive at $160+ with taxes. The Fairfield in
Detroit was the best bargain - a great hotel with free
dinner and breakfast for around $79, I think.

I found that reading this makes me sound like an
alcoholic. A case of beer and a fifth of Jim Beam will
last me the rest of the summer, and I don't go to bars.
But I do enjoy a libation when I don't have to get up to
go to work or do slave labor for Lisa. It's good to be
king for a week.

I get well over 50 mpg when cruising along at 60. Usually
I'm blasting my way into work or ripping around town and
"only" see around 45. I got 55 or better more than once on this

I think my rain gaiters (boot covers) are at the hotel in
Johnstown. They were only like $15 and were pretty well
worn out anyway.

90% of Ohio is flat as a pancake with nothing to see but corn and
soybeans (except for the 3 little oil derricks
we saw!?!) When, in the eastern counties, we finally had
some hilly, twisty roads, they were covered with tar snakes
and it was raining. Should have been the other way

The picture of the bridge in the "rain" post below is from Zanesville, OH and if you click on it, you will see what makes it unique. It was built on the National Road in the 1800's, and rebuilt later in the same Y configuration with a traffic light right in the middle.

Route 22 is comprised of what was Zane's Trace in Ohio, the William Penn Highway in PA, and the original Jersey Turnpike from Phillipsburg to Elizabeth.

Much of current US 22 in Pennsylvania is expressway. I had wanted
to find the "old" route which exists near most highways,
to soak up the sights and small towns that get bypassed,
but we really didn't have the time. We did see everything
I had planned for except for the Motorcycle Hall of Fame
museum near Columbus.

  • Total was 2266 miles, 7 states and one province (all but 2
    of which I had ridden through before) in 8 days of riding.

Next will be the PA State HOG Rally in August. Lisa will
be along for that one, along with all our friends from the
local chapter. This will probably not get blogged.

Hope you enjoyed riding along with me. If you missed last year's stuff, you can look back into the archives for another day's worth of reading, and if you check back next summer, you'll probably get to come along somewhere again.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friday Narrative

Friday's post covering Pennsylvania is a history lesson. Follow along:

Back in the 1800's, water was the key to everything in the US. Cities were located on water for both supply and for commerce; the only way to get a large amount of anything from here to there was by boat. Roads were tedious and slow when they were passable at all, and navigation was simply following signs to the next town when the traveler reached a crossroads. Canal building reached a frenzy just as railroads were starting to be built. Anything beyond the Appalachians was "the West," and Mississippi was the southwest territory. Because water to the west drains into the Gulf of Mexico and into the Atlantic on the east, it was imperative to develop an economical Appalachian crossing to develop the frontier. A long boat trip around Florida and up the Mississippi was the only other option.

North of Johnstown, where the steel industry was in its infancy, an earthen dam was built by the canal company to stockpile water for the Union Canal. The Allegheny Portage railroad was built to connect canals on either side of the mountain range.

The railroads quickly caught up with the canal system, and soon the canal system was abandoned. The dam was purchased and the lake refilled for a resort for wealthy steel barons. When Horseshoe Curve was laid in Altoona, it completed an uninterrupted rail link, and the gateway to the West had finally been breached.

On May 31, 1889, after several days of tropical rain, the South Fork Dam gave way and unleashed 20 million tons of water down a creek bed 14 miles upstream from Johnstown, nestled in a tight valley in the hills. The flood was the greatest disaster of the 19th century and destroyed the booming city, killing over 2,000 people.

We woke in Johnstown, took our bikes down the funicular railway (look it up) and spent some time in the city before heading up to Horseshoe Curve. Threading through the Alleghenies via the old pre-interstate route was breathtaking, and really illustrates the challenges faced by early road-builders. Following Rt. 22 took us into Harrisburg right around rush hour, so from there we cheated and took interstates until hopping on "old 22" to finish the ride home. An hour after I got off the bike for the last time, it rained again.

There will be one more post to sort of tie things up and fit in some observations and pix that didn't make the on-the-fly log. If you haven't figured it out, you can click on the images for full sized versions.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Be It Ever So Humble

There's no place like home.

I rolled in today around 6:30, safe and sound 2266 miles and 10 days later. I'm pretty worn out and looking for a nice shower, so details will have to follow tonight or tomorrow. I will have a recap of some sort, and will add pictures to the previous posts that had none. Thanks for playing along at home.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall

The nice thing about putting on your rain gear before you leave in the morning is that you get to do it in a hotel room instead of alongside the road. We left today in a steady mist with the promise of gradual clearing. The mist dried up and what we got was steady nothing, yet damp roads and black skies kept us from going without protection. Eventually outside of Cambridge, OH the skies opened up and let us have it. No crazy winds or lightning like yesterday, so we tucked behind the windshields and toughed it out. When we took a break for a late lunch in West Virginia, the rain had stopped. By the time we came back out, the sun was peeking out and drying the roads.

We really didn't have much in the way of sightseeing today, and got around 300 miles in before the skies turned black again heading east out of Pittsburgh. We called it quits here in Johnstown, and tomorrow morning we will check out the flood memorial and museum before heading up to Altoona. Tonight is our last night on the road. We have about 225 miles to go tomorrow, and our own beds will be waiting for us. I miss my ladies and my goofy cat, and as much as I like my road trips, I'm *really* looking forward to getting back to them.

I tried to get Dad to the neighborhood bar and grill next door to make some sort of observance, but he's old so he just took a shower and logged on to the internet. We hadn't eaten since lunch, and the lobby computer was occupied while he was on his laptop, so I took it upon myself to mosey over to the Alibi and enjoy a sammich and a beverage or two on my own. What a great name for a bar. If I ever open one, I am going to name it the Furry Taco or the Alibi.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Dixie Highway Tour

This morning we left Madison, IN and hopped right over the bridge into Kentucky, where we spent most of the day. We rode down through Louisville, then caught the Dixie Highway south to Fort Knox. We saw the repository where the gold is held (nobody goes inside without an order from the President) then turned east to Clermont to see where my Jim Beam comes from. All of Happy Hollow smells like whiskey whenever the wind gets the air moving.

We left under an iffy forecast, but it wasn't until we were nearing Cincinnati that we got hit with weather. We had stopped for gas and a sack of White Castles, and when we came back out it was looking a lot like our luck was running out. Sure enough, we didn't even get to the next exit when it started to spit. I hurried off and we ducked under a gas station canopy to suit up. By the time I had finished, a wicked thunderstorm was crashing around us with winds that almost knocked the bikes off their kickstands. Nobody was riding anywhere.

We left as it died down. Within 5 more minutes, it had stopped. We rode on wet roads into Cincinnati, and ended up again on the Dixie Highway. We had actually ridden on the Dixie Highway almost a week ago northwest of Detroit and I was amazed that it not only went all the way to Detroit, but continued. Now I can't get away from it.

We rode on for another hour and a half or so out of Cincy, spending most of our time riding on roads just rained on but never actually getting rained on ourselves. I decided to quit pushing my luck here in Washington Court House, OH and found a motel. It's pouring buckets right now.

Tomorrow's forecast is more of the same. We got on Rt. 22 where it starts in Cincinnati, and will more or less follow it all the way back to Allentown with just couple more distractions. We're blowing off the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum tomorrow so that we can finish catching up to schedule. We have one more night on the road.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Catch-Up Post

Since the last post, I have:

1) Explored Detroit
2) Spent 4 days camping at the drag races
3) Spent a day at Cedar Point riding the roller coasters
4) Had my blog hijacked, and
5) Ridden to Madison, IN

Dettroit was extremely cool and eerily... vacant, I guess you would say. Entire blocks of grass with no homes, or parking lots, or anything right in the middle of a big city. Neat place, though, and we never had the feeling of being in danger.

The drag races were awesome. You can get a pound of ice cream for a dollar, and they give you a free one with your tickets! We camped inside the actual fence and had pretty much free run of the pit area with our motorcycles, which is unheard of.

Cedar point must be nirvana for roller coaster junkies. I took Kristi, who would be my niece if my brother in law married his girlfriend. We rode Top Thrill Dragster twice. It is a powered launch that sends you to 120 mph in 4 seconds, then arcs to a vertical climb of 420 feet and straight back down. Crazy. Despite that, we may have made the wrong choice. The rest of the gang stayed at the track to see if there was any testing going on, and ended up with access to all the restricted areas while the cars were making runs. They got an experience that you can't get for all the asking in the world, and have the pictures to prove it. Great weekend all the way around.

Today we tore down camp and hi-tailed it out of there. We got a late start, which got us into some holiday rush hour traffic skirting Cincinnati. We crossed into Indiana there, and spent the next 2 hours going maybe 50 miles. That means we're behind the 8-ball for tomorrow already. I did get laundry done, but aggravated the hell out of myself and broke my $130 riding glasses in the process. Snapped the arm right in half. They will stay on my head, though. They are self-tinting, so I definitely need to keep them for nighttime use as I did tonight.

Tomorrow we are shooting for Kentucky, then turning for home.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Miss you daddy

Hi daddy how are you? I know i'm not punctuating very well but I love you!!! And Today is very Friday morning so i'm cleaning my room now (with Dana) (she is sleeping over today) and I cant help but notice how you left your blogger account open so I'm writing you this sweet post (and after you read this you can delete this because you have the password) So I just wanted to say that me and mom cleaned up the whole house and that I'm still very confuzzeled about the whole proscout thing so you know. But that's okay. How are you, I didn't get to read all of your blog but I definantly will then. It rained cats and doggies thursday around sixish and that definately sounds smartical!! :) Me and brad have been playing monopoly for two days in a row. So as you can see it's very very very very very very very very very very veeeeeeeeeery exciting here at the Klinger homestead and everything and yes that was me who wrote this (cant you tell from the smartical part :) ) he he well dana is poking me to death so I ought to go now before this post becomes a novel (with all this typing) your posts are longer though. But I haven't talked to you on the phone lately so I just want you to know that i care about you but you better wear your helmet at allllllllllllllllllllllllllllll times (you hear me) dana says to make sure you quote "Staaaaand clear of the closing doors!" quote But most of all please make sure your safe but I have to tell you a couple more things: tell pop-pop I said hi and ask him if he liked his fathers day present!! thank you!!!! have fun, Ilove you, I miss you, and I hope to see you soon email me please since I seem to be away when you call!!! Dana says Hi and Bye and have fun. So does mom. Well see you on next Friday. --K8e

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Today is Opposite Day. Where yesterday was hot, hurried, and kinda stressful, today was absolutely beautiful. When you’re riding in strong winds, you’re constantly “steering” the motorcycle, leaning into the wind. When a 32-wheel truck (actually counted them today) comes barreling past you, it blocks the wind and suddenly you are veering in the direction the wind had been coming from. Then when the truck has passed, you'd better be ready to make sure you don’t get blown back in the other direction. When that wind is 99 degrees and you’re doing 70 through a construction zone, it can make for a long day. It’s not really as bad as it sounds, though, and still better than a good day at work. Today was crystal clear, cool chamber of commerce weather. In fact, it was only 22 degrees when we left Kitchener! The ride was beautiful, traffic was very light heading west toward the other end of Lake Erie, and again, there’s the courteous drivers who are paying attention. What a concept.

Today’s discovery: you can’t do the hokey pokey with out bumping into two Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada. McDonalds seems like exclusive dining in comparison. Curiousity piqued, I finally did eat in one, but it was across the river in Port Huron, Michigan. You can save yourself the trip; it wasn’t all that.

The border crossing, which I again expected to be a hassle, was a 10-minute affair including the line. We got into the Motor City (actually staying in Auburn Hills) a little after lunch, and spent the afternoon exploring the Chrysler museum and learning about all the cars I grew up being enchanted with.

Tonight we will have a moment to catch our breath, get re-organized, and get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow before heading to the races, we will take a driving tour of Detroit and see pretty much the entire history of the American auto industry. We will be unarmed. Wish me luck.

Oh, yeah: we checked in this afternoon and there was a FedEx package waiting for me! :-) So... there will probably be no more updates for a while, as we will be spending the next few nights being drunk and disorderly at the racetrack campground in Norwalk, Ohio. During the day, it will be 300-mph Top Fuel drag racing. Just the ticket for a simple redneck like me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Canada -My New Favorite Place

Here I am in Canada, Eh? Kitchener, Ontario to be exact (originally named Berlin until WWI, according to the guy on the next barstool.) We rode about 220 miles after work on Tuesday night and stayed in upstate New York, then up early for a run to the border today.

This was my first experience in Canada. The border crossing was surprisingly easy and went something like this:

Border guy: "I need your ID."
Me: "Here you go."
Border guy: "Do you have a knife?"
Me: "No."
Border guy: "Do you have any guns or explosives?"
Me: "No."
Border guy: "Have a nice day."

There I was with travel bags strapped to backpacks bungeed to zipper bags looking like a freshman on moving day. I was hoping I wouldn't spend a half hour taking the whole shebang apart for him, and it turns out I didn't need to even pull a zipper. Very nice.

We did the tourist thing in Niagara Falls, made our way here to Kitchener, and checked in. With the searing wind still relentlessly assaulting us and the muggy skies darkening, we made for Toronto with our fingers crossed. After a trip to the top of the CN Tower (highest observation deck in the world) and a quick tour of the **very nice** city, we found it much cooler and much less threatening for the ride back. Since entering the country, we had been getting passed by everything on wheels --including trucks with 28 of them-- and with the day's priorties completed and the promise of a cold beer in my future, I hunkered down and picked up the pace considerably.

Holy cow, this is like the friggin' autobahn around here! People actually stay out of the left lane unless they're passing somebody, and unless you're doing 80, you ain't passing anybody. We started running 70 mph, which is well above the 100 km/h standard, and cars were literally rocketing past us. 75? Still a traffic hazard. 80? Nope - get the hell outta the way.

OK... pin the throttle and hang on? Hey, at 105 mph we're finally starting to pass people! :-) We kept that up for a while, then settled in at around 75 and just stayed out of the way. I drive in North Jersey every day and didn't think this existed. What a country!

Also of note: I had my first minor crisis today. I woke up this morning and realized that I'd left the race tickets and campground passes at home! That had been taken care of months ago; it was how the whole trip got started in the first place. In the time since, I'd been putting so much effort into planning the rest of the trip that I totally forgot about them. After a few minutes of panic, I made a hotel reservation for tomorrow night in Detroit, then called Lisa (hi sweetie!!) and had her FedEx everything there. I told the staff to expect the package, and Lisa put my cell phone number in the comments, so hopefully disaster has been averted. We shall see.

That's 550 miles, three states / provinces, and one (hopefully overcome) setback. So far, so good!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On The Road Again

Road Trip, version 2007

Looks like I'm all set to leave tonight for my annual adventure. This time, I will have a road mate (my Dad) which is always a nice thing to have when you're 1,000 miles from home on a motorcycle. We're heading to the drag races in Ohio, via Toronto and Detroit. The route home will take us through Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio again before riding back through Steelers Country and the Alleghenies.

Tonight will be late - hopefully updates by Thursday sometime.

Happy Trails!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Yes, I understand

Adventures in New York City...

I had a training session in Queens on Wednesday, just across the 59th St. bridge in Long Island City. I had stayed overnight in one of the apartments Met owns in the East village, and took the subway over for the class in the morning. I had lucked into a parking spot on the street and my parallel parking skills saved me the aggravation of parking in a garage. Had a nice walk around Union Square, a couple beers in a pub, and a good night's sleep.

When I got there, the first thing the trainer said was that we'd probably be done around 3. As Ashton Kutcher would say, "sweeeeet!" I'd be at the Holland Tunnel by 4, easy, and have a nose out in front of rush hour. I got off the train and walked up to 20th street, and that's when things began to unravel quickly.

My $%#&ng car was gone. See, they don't tell you this, but if there is one of these signs anywhere along the length of a street, you're illegally parked, no matter how many other no parking signs there may be. And per NY code blah, blah, blah, section umpteen, of 1959, the entire city is a tow-away zone. Now mind you, there's a sign 20 feet behind my car that says no parking Tuesday and Saturday mornings, and the No Standing sign is 50 feet in front of my car with an arrow pointing to Denmark. And, as noted, I had to parallel park in the only open space on the street.

The lady in the tow pound is royalty when she's behind that window. Nobody would probably give her the time of day on the streetcorner, but at work she's the Queen of England. From businessmen in $1,000 suits to punks whose cars are worth less than their sneakers, we are all equal --all subjects of the Queen. There are 10 bulletproof walk up windows, and one lady. And she's in no hurry to get you back in your car. Stand in line, "yes, ma'am, I understand," have a seat. Get called back up to the window, "yes ma'am, I understand," have a seat again. Never spoken, but crystal clear to everybody in that room, was the reality that any other response would cost you as much misery as Queen Latifah cared to dispense. Your car might depreciate before you see it again.

Called back up, "yes, ma'am, here's my $185". Down the hall to another room, hand over the paperwork, have a seat. After 2-1/2 hours, I finally get to my car and realize that my contribution to the city did not end with the towing fee and the chamber of horrors. There's still the matter of the two $110 parking tickets tucked under the wiper. When I get a parking ticket at home, it costs me 5 bucks and I don't even need a stamp.
What a racket. The city owns a fleet of tow trucks, buzzing in and out like blue bees with NYPD emblazoned on the side and armed cops inside. Probably 100 tow trucks, and ONE uninspired, underpaid lady to process all the paperwork. When she got up from the "information" window and walked over to the "cashier" window, I almost peed myself. No wonder they're behind bulletproof glass.

So, $405 and 3 hours later, I'm back in business, sitting behind 10 blocks of traffic trying to get thru the Lincoln Tunnel at 6 pm. New York thanks me for my visit - come again soon.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pizza Provi Wit

For people who live so close to Philadelphia, I have always been sort of ashamed to say we have never been to the birthplace of our nation. I mean, we've been to Philly plenty of times, and I even visited the Liberty Bell when I had jury duty, back when it was displayed in that little shack on Market St. But we've never seen Old City, the National Park, or Independence Hall. So, taking advantage of a visit with my good friend Liz, we did the tourist thing and actually stood in the hallowed hall. Very, very cool. We also walked down Elfreth's Alley, billed as the oldest continuously-occupied street in the nation, and of course had to take Katrina boutique shopping so she could fawn over all the Coach and Burberry stuff.

Also, I finally made it to Pat's for a cheesesteak. I've had a Philly cheesesteak before from Tony Luke's (not bad) but the center of the cheesesteak universe has always been where Passyunk crosses 9th; where Geno's and Pat's square off from opposite corners. For the record, the girls each got a Whiz with, and mine was a Pizza Provi with. You can get real good cheesesteaks in lots of places in the Lehigh Valley, and honestly I wasn't expecting much. I was surprised -it really was all that.
Notice how this space is basically

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Brace Face

OK, I said I'd update with important stuff if important stuff happened, and then it did and I didn't. In October, I had a visit with my friendly neighborhood orthodontist, and for the next 2-1/2 years or so, I will look like a teenager. The way the timing worked out, the big day was October 30, and I had the perfect Halloween costume for work the next day. Unfortunately, the next morning, the novelty was gone, and the braces were still there.

If you've had braces, you know the first couple weeks are just hell. I was totally miserable, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, and was seriously reconsidering my decision. But then I figured if a teenage girl can take it, what the hell is wrong with me? So, they're still here. Still a pain in the ass, too, but at least I'm not in constant pain anymore. In 4-1/2 months, my teeth have moved quite a bit already and I'm pretty impressed. Only 2 more years to go.