Author Archives: Dan's Travel Blog

About Dan's Travel Blog

Father, explorer and motorcycle traveler spending time out in nature.

Bald Eagle State Park excursion

Travel: Aug 17 – Aug 18, 2019

Bald Eagle State Park: Maps & Guides

Kat and I wanted to get away but only had time for a brief overnighter. We decided to head to Bald Eagle State Park which is located in Howard, PA about 150 miles and 3 hours northward.

This was a fun get-away although short on time. We were able to enjoy the peacefulness of a scenic ride along with lunch and a swim at the lake. One thing to note was the crushed stone campsite access which produced a great deal of stone dust that covered everything. Next trip here I’ll have to see if they have a less primitive camping area with paved access.


GlideFest 2019

NEW Travels: July 24 – July 28 (Due to tropical Storm Barry)

Travels: July 17 – July 21

GlideFest is an annual ride with some seasoned riding friends to various destinations around the Country. The ride has been going on for many years and this year finds us heading to Bluefield, Virginia (about 50 miles north of the Virginia/North Carolina border and 85 miles north of Cherokee National Forest) and the awesome Back of the Dragon.

The Back of the Dragon travels along Rt 16 and spans 3 mountain ranges. It climbs to over 3,500 feet and offers 32 intense miles (and 260 windy curves) of exhilarating riding fun. Check back for more information as the date gets closer. Follow these links for more details.

Overall route spanning Wednesday – Sunday

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Travel Day!

It’s almost 4:00AM. Kat and I are working to leave here as soon as possible towards our first ride-through destination… Front Royal and Skyline Drive.

The day is done and it was a beautiful day of riding. Total distance was about 450 miles but I was weary when we arrived at the hotel and forgot to check the mileage, especially with Fred, Tim and Leroy preparing to leave for dinner. Wednesday morning was crisp and cool with temps in the mid-60’s much of the way. Although the temps started to warm a bit as we arrive in Front Royal the temps dropped back into the 60’s as we entered Skyline Drive (SLD). Fortunately Kat and I were dressed warmly and felt good.

As we negotiated SLD it felt good to glide the bike through the twists and turns. The Road Glide Special handled the twists in performance-like fashion and I could tell Kat was enjoying herself, especially with this being her first time on SLD. With the weather being so nice it was easy to lose focus and enjoy the ride but the “animal crash zone” signs that appeared from time to time were a stark reminder to keep a watchful eye on the road. In fact Kat mentioned several time that she saw deer on the sides of the road. Unfortunately, no bear 🙁.

During our way south we decided to stop at several overlooks to take pictures and some video and enjoy the strong cool breezes blowing across the mountains. It felt great to sit with Kat and look out across the blue-toned mountains with the breeze blowing across our faces. If we weren’t following a plan I believe we may have laid on the stone wall and taken a snooze in the warm sun. But alas, the Road called to us to keep moving. Great memories made though on there on the wall.

As we prepared to start our journey south some folks in a car approached looking like they wanted to talk. So Kat and I abliged and had a nice conversation with a family of Kentuckians on their way down SLD and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once we waved goodbye to our new friends we quickly hopped on the bike and were off but with a slight change of plans. Instead of heading down to Rockfish Gap to exit SLD we decided to exit at Rt 33 to save more time for our next stop… The Natural Bridge. More on this latter as it’s now time for Thursday morning breakfast with the group. Hopefully I’ll catch up with my writing later today. Until that time we’re off…

Rolling Thunder XXXII – 2019

Travels: May 26, 2019

It’s been some time since I attended a Rolling Thunder but with it being reported to be the final ride, and it being Kat’s first RT, I thought this would be a good time to ride. Read on to find out more about this solemn and powerful event.

The day started cool as we rode briskly from our home in Hanover, PA to Frederick Harley Davidson to begin our Journey. We were surprised how well Frederick HD prepared for the event and how big an event it actually was. We were also happy to see the complimentary breakfast sandwiches, coffee, fruits and other perks being given away. As we ate and woke up with the tasty coffee we watched the other riders pouring in and started realizing this was truly going to be big.

After we finished eating the kickstands up call was given so we prepared to leave. The excitement among the riders was thick in the air as we began systematically leaving the dealership. As we rode we felt a sense of being part of something worthwhile especially with all the people waving as we rode under the overpasses. Judging from Kat’s responses on back I knew she was having a good time as well. As we rode we could tell the temperature was rising but it wasn’t until reaching DC and slowing that it became apparent it would be a steamy day with heat and humidity.

With this reported to be the last Rolling Thunder the attendance was incredible with estimates in the hundreds of thousands. This became clear as we tried to get into the Pentagon parking lot but had to park on the entrances with thousands of other riders. It was hot but they were giving cold water out to those who wanted it. Kat and I made the best of it for a couple hours but eventually decided to veer past the parked bikes and head west towards clear pavement and open country.

As we made our way west then north towards Pennsylvania we had open riding and time to contemplate the day’s event. Although we weren’t able to get fully into RT we realized our participation to that point was fun and meaningful for us. As we pulled into our driveway we looked forward to a cool shower and some tasty Thai food we picked up along the way. Until the next journey…

Foul Weather Riding

Dec 28, 2018

When I first started riding back in 1981 I was definitely a fair weather rider. If there was pummeling rain, shivering cold, blistering heat, hard blustery winds or any combination of these I wasn’t too interested in venturing out for a ride. As time went on and I started doing longer and multi-day rides I realized that you can’t always wait-out bad weather conditions. Oftentimes you have to just ride through it to keep on schedule with your plans, especially if you’re riding with or meeting others at some far-off destination. Gradually over time I started figuring out the things I needed to do to be comfortable and safe in these adverse conditions. In this blog post on Foul Weather Riding I’ll touch upon some of the things that have kept me safe over the years. I divide it into four logical parts; bike preparation, clothing, bike handling and mental preparation.

BIKE PREPARATION: While it may be true that some bikes handle the elements better than others some commonsense tweaks can make bad conditions more tolerable. No matter how hardcore you are, or want to be, a windshield will save you a lot wear and tear while riding through rain, wind, hot and cold temperatures and especially when putting on the miles at highway speeds. Now before you go thinking I’m a softy I’ll admit that I spent my first several years of riding with no windshield… and yes I was doing long highway rides. I did fine and my forearms became Popeye-strong holding on at 80 MPH but as time went by I learned how to be more comfortable so that 1,000 mile+ days were tolerable.

In short, you need a sufficient windshield and bags to carry all your stuff securely and in dry comfort (hard bags preferably as they don’t require rain covers). You also need to be sure there are no outstanding mechanical issues to plague you and that your bike has been serviced and is ready for the road. You should add any accessories you feel will keep you comfortable and focused and practice riding with those accessories. In my case I added several including a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and a double-insulated water bottle and holder on my handlebars. The bottle has a popup straw that’s easy to use with my gloved left hand while riding on long trips.

If you’re mechanical, with the right tools and knowhow, double check the work your mechanic does as things are often left undone or not properly done. This can be catastrophic if the wrong bolt is left loose. I’ve had bolts left loose on several occasions from a few different shops which is why I do all my own services now as many veteran riders do. Also, understand that the wear components on your bike are not necessarily the best in the industry but rather a compromise of sorts. If you take the time to research tires and brake pads for instance you’ll probably find (through user reviews and word of mouth mostly) that there are tires and brake pads that offer better traction and braking in dry and wet conditions than OEM. The tradeoff may be in a shorter lifespan and higher cost but you’ll need to decide for yourself if better braking in the rain or tire grip on the road going around that curve are worth the extra bucks in the long run. For me I buy the best rubber and brake pads I can buy. Do your research but don’t get too caught up in the “paralysis of analysis”.

Another item I feel is very important for managing foul weather are your lights (to see and to be seen by others). Headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals and marker lights. One night, with your bike in a dark parking lot, walk 75 feet then 150 feet away and look at different angles to inspect your visibility. Make sure your visibility is sufficient or else make the changes necessary. In my case I added LED lights to every light on my bike due to the increased light output, the decreased electrical draw and the instant-on aspect of LED lighting. Since the dual headlights on my Harley Road Glide were white (of course) I added bright yellowish-amber Motolights to my brake calipers.  From a distance the white lights tend to be drowned-out by ambient lighting especially on rainy days. These 50 watt Motolight LED’s are super contrasted and very visible to other drivers. I also added brighter Custom Dynamics turn signals and brake lights and a third brake light up on my TourPack that flashes a few times upon braking. This gives me an effective triangle of brake lights. Other than maybe some better side lighting there’s no doubt I’ll be seen by others.

CLOTHING:  Although there are many opinions and choices when it comes to motorcycling clothing there are what I call the essentials. These include a proper helmet, riding jacket, riding pants, riding boots, riding gloves and raingear. With this group you can be assured of being protected in foul weather, from airborne debris and in case of a fall.

            Helmet: Even if you live in a non-helmet state like me you’ll need a helmet for riding in the other states and to help fend off rain, bugs, stones and the cold. Nothing like a hard beetle, juicy moth or yellow jacket hitting you in the face at 65 MPH. Whether you choose a half, three-quarter or full helmet is up to you as each offers different plusses and minuses. I personally use a three-quarter for much of my riding as I like the airflow and the added protection over my half-helmet. I like full-face helmets at certain times but don’t use them any longer mainly due to the field of view restrictions. I also enjoy the convenience of the integrated face and sun shield of my three-quarter helmet. You may even find yourself with multiple helmets like most of us.

            Jacket: There are many options for riding jackets from leather to synthetic, waterproof and non-waterproof, shoulder-elbow-back pads, vented, bright colors or black, etc., etc. In my case I enjoy wearing some good leather for local a regional rides mainly for its added protection. If it rains I just throw a rain suit over it. For long rides or really cold temps I prefer a good synthetic riding jacket like my Klim Latitude Misano. I find the synthetic keeps me warmer while wearing the same amount of insulation probably due to the leather holding the cold more than synthetics. Also, many of the better synthetic jackets are well-vented and waterproof so I can easily adjust while riding as the temperature changes or if it rains.. a helpful feature on long rides.

            Pants: For pants you have the choice of jeans, riding jeans and riding pants and I’ve used them all. Most of the time I wear jeans or Kevlar riding jeans (like the Defender jeans from Diamond Gusset) which have Kevlar fabric sewn into the knees, butt and hip areas (very helpful if you take a slide on the pavement). If it rains I stop to pull over some rain pants. For long rides I have a pair of Aerostich AD1 Gore-tex riding pants which have knee pads, very durable fabric and are waterproof so I can keep going rain or shine. These pants are not vented so they don’t breathe very well in the heat and humidity. These can be worn over jeans, long underwear, short pants or just underwear (not recommended).

            Boots: For us motorcycling purists there’s nothing like a great pair of heavy leather, steel toed boots with a Goodyear lug sole for top protection. Nowadays though you have many choices even including riding tennis shoes. But if you truly want to protect your feet and ankles tall quality boots are the ticket. I still have my original Harley Davidson steel-toed Engineer boots I bought back in 1982. They’ve been re-soled once but are an incredible hunk of quality leather. I have a couple others I use as well but quality leather with a good gripping sole are important. Make sure you keep your leather cleaned and conditioned with your favorite product. In my case I use Obenauf’s Heavy Duty Leather Preservative a few times a year but there are other good brands as well. With care I expect my HD boots to be around another 30 years.

            Riding Gloves: If you’re like me you’ll end up with several different types of riding gloves. Although they’re all full-fingered, leather-palmed gloves, I have a mesh pair for hot weather, thick leather pair for modest temps, cold weather insulated gloves and my Gerbing heated gloves for when it dips below 40F degrees. I also have heated grips on the bike which are needed along with the heated gloves in freezing weather. Oh, I also have a pair of synthetic Gore-Tex lined gloves when riding with my synthetic Klim jacket. With the leather gloves if it rains hard I pull on waterproof three-fingered over-mitts made by Aerostich. They’re a little freaky to get used to but work well.

            Raingear: Unless you’re able to avoid the rain like the plague you’ll need to invest in raingear (jacket, pants, gloves or glove covers and perhaps boot covers). You can go with an expensive HD Gore-Tex rain suit as I did many years ago or you can buy something like the Frogg Toggs “Road Toad” jacket and pants for about $80 – $90. Some are made with waterproof fabric and some just have water resistant fabric but none will keep you bone dry if you’re in pouring rain all day. If I take the time to put my suit on carefully I’ll stay mostly dry all day in the rain. For comfort and safety sake invest in good raingear.

BIKE HANDLING:  The number one point here is keeping your bike upright. The good lighting you installed will help you to be seen but positioning as you ride is crucial. Hopefully you already know not to linger in a car’s blindspots but there are many other situations (too many for this post) you need to be aware of so that you are visible to other drivers. While positioning to be seen is more important in foul weather being able to properly manage your clutching, throttling, braking, steering and balancing simultaneously are critical in staying upright. No matter how proficient you become you should continually practice the coordination of these 5 key elements in dry weather, including slow speeds, and “think” about what you’re doing and the results. It’s with constant practice that you’ll develop and be in tune with the feel of your bike and the road in all conditions.

Quick story… one slightly rainy day while riding home from work I was transitioning from a highway and entering the Baltimore beltway. With very little traffic around I simply hit the throttle a little to cruise across a few open lanes to the lane I wanted to be in. As I moved across the lanes I felt a vaguely familiar feeling which I quickly recognized as my rear tire losing traction and starting a power slide. I immediately let some off the throttle to give the tire a chance to regain its grip but didn’t over-react with my steering or trajectory. Fortunately all went fine but had I not had the experience of this under more controlled conditions it could have ended much differently. Remember, practicing never ends… an important lesson I learned while pursuing my Advanced Open Water Scuba Diving Instructor certification many years ago.

MENTAL PREPERATION:  Mental preparation truly begins before you buy your first motorcycle in making sure you’re of the right mindset and willing to practice and learn how to be a good and safe rider in an unsafe world. Fortunately there’s a direct correlation between the effort you put into riding practice and your safety on the road. The more you think about and practice generally the safer you’ll be… and riding in foul weather is no different.

Before you head out for the day you should take some time to make sure your bike is prepared and your clothing is adequate and adjusted properly. Be sure to pack additional clothing for all weather extremes because they can and do happen during even a one day ride. As conditions change during your ride give thought to how this will affect your comfort and handling of your bike. Really think about it and adjust your control management “touch” accordingly. If necessary pull off the road to add/remove gear to stay comfortable. This is important as the less comfortable you are (cold, hot, damp, tired, etc.) the less focus you’ll have on bike management at a time when more focus may be necessary. If you find yourself becoming tired or distracted pull off the road and take a break. It’s amazing what 10 minutes sitting with your eyes shut can do to your mental alertness.

As you enjoy your ride you should be visualizing the ride with its twists and turns. Look around and be aware. Look at the road conditions near you and think of what could be around the corner. The color, hue and sheen of the road surface up ahead are a good predictor of what’s to come. Pay attention and know what it all means. Understand your lane positioning as it relates to the road. Be one with the road (had to slide this in ;-). Read, practice and think about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and the result.

In closing I’ll just say that with my love of the outdoors I’ve come to bicycle, hike, camp, fish, rock climb, scuba dive, kayak AND ride my motorcycle in all conditions and combinations of conditions over the years. I’ll head out in the early-morning bundled up in 50F degree temps with fog, then have the sun reach high in the sky and turn blisteringly hot at 97F degrees with humidity, then get hit by a passing rainstorm(s) with driving winds only to arrive home in the late evening to chilly temperatures once again. Lots of adjustments happening to be safe and comfortable in these conditions but this is life out in Nature… and Nature is where most of the beauty in this world lives.

Fortunately with motorcycling it’s possible to carry all the gear you’ll need for the changing conditions. You’ll just need to learn to be good at predicting the weather then stopping to adjust your clothing as necessary. From all the practicing you’ve done you’ll also be able to adjust your riding management on the fly as conditions warrant. With this you’ll be better able to keep the rubber on the road and your bike upright.

New Riders

Nov 15, 2018

I’ve been riding motorcycles all over the U.S. for 37 years. During this time, and hundreds of thousands of miles, I’ve been most fortunate to have never been in a moving accident. I say moving accident as I have dropped my bike on a few occasions while parked in the driveway, fortunately with minimal damage other than to my pride. Over the years though I’ve been asked many times what advice I would give to new riders or those thinking about buying a bike. Here’s the advice I usually give.

First off, don’t buy a motorcycle just to look cool or to copy a friend. If this is the main reason you want to ride you’re setting yourself up for failure. By the way, “failure” usually means an accident (pain, suffering and/or death) or minimally, wasting your hard-earned cash. If you aren’t passionate about riding or at least very committed you won’t be determined enough to get the proper training and experience necessary to stay safe on the road.

Next, buy a bike that’s suited to YOU in the size, make, model and riding style or as close to these as you can afford. Factor into buying the bike buying the necessary helmets, riding jackets, gloves, boots, pants and assorted accessories that will keep you safe and comfortable in hot, warm and cold weather and in the rain or any combination of these. Of course some of this can be added along the way but to those of us with miles in the saddle we know this can be a real expense so plan for it.

The next thing I’d do is register for a motorcycle safety/riding training program. There are several of them out there which can be found through doing a Google search or asking your local motorcycle shop. One that we offer in my wonderful home state of Pennsylvania is the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program, This awesome program offers classes for all riding levels from new riders to experienced riders. For new riders it will help prepare you to get your license and the classes may even get you a cost break on your insurance policy. One of the best parts is the classes are FREE to Pennsylvania residents. I think this is why PA is such a haven for motorcyclists.

Once you have the proper mindset, bike, equipment, training (and license) the next thing you need is riding experiences. This is where most new riders often fail. The reason is many don’t have the support system of riding friends or else may have a riding friend or two who don’t ride often, ride at conflicting times or ride in a way you don’t care to ride. To stay motivated and gain valuable experience you need saddle time. One way to get out riding is to find group(s) of like-minded people you can ride with and learn from. Sometimes there are events at your local motorcycle dealer you can go to and occasionally make riding friends. There are Meet-Up groups you can connect with and there are riding groups and clubs you can check out. No, I’m not talking outlaw motorcycle clubs. I’m talking friendly, family groups such as the Southern Cruisers Riding Club . The SCRC is a motorcycle riding club you don’t have to “join”. You can just drop in and ride with them. There are rules of proper riding you’ll have to adhere to but you should be doing that anyway. I’ve been dropping in with such a club located in the Baltimore area and have really enjoyed the local and long distance trips we’ve been on and the friendships made.

In summing up, if you truly want to experience the incredible joys of motorcycling, the gorgeous scenery out in the country, the camaraderie and friendships you make along the way, then motorcycling may be for you. To stay interested and passionate though as with any activity you should immerse yourself in it to learn and make friends. Find what part of motorcycling you enjoy the most and pursue it. In my case I enjoy long road trips, alone and with friends. I enjoy the friendly people I meet out in the heartland of our country, the nature I experience in the mountains (along with camping, kayaking and rock climbing) and the thrill of carving some incredible twisty curves through the Adirondack, Ozark and Great Smoky Mountains. I hope to see you on the road one day…

GlideFest 2018

 *Click HERE to Track My Adventure*

Travels: Jun 20 – Jun 24, 2018


GlideFest is an annual ride, with some seasoned riding friends, to various locations around the U.S. The ride has been going on for a number of years and this year finds us heading to fellow rider LeRoy’s backyard in Northwestern Pennsylvania, just south of the Allegheny National Forest (ANF). The ANF seems like an awesome place and I’d like to spend some time there camping, boating and fishing at a later date.

*Check it out here..  Visit ANF    U.S. ANF

On this trip we’re hoping to visit Kinzua Dam & Skywalk, the PA Grand Canyon and the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville. Check back to see where we end up…

GlideFest Map
The epicenter of our adventure

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Travel Day

After getting home from work yesterday I realized I’d better mow & trim my jungle-lawn so I decided I’d finish packing this morning. After some good coffee, leftover pancakes w/maple syrup and yogurt I’m ready to throw my gear on and head out. Check out the (*Click HERE to Track My Adventure…) link above to see how it works. More to come…

Shoving off at 9:00am

The riding day has been ideal. Temperatures in the 70’s with lower humidity. I only encountered a few short-lived rain storms that barely dampened me.. unlike most others in our group as I’d find out later.

My route took me along the Susquehanna River trail with some stunning views of this mighty river. My problem was that I couldn’t find an adequately safe area to pull over so I couldn’t get any photos. Oh well, it’s imprinted in my brain ;-).

With only about 50 miles or so to go I decided to stop off in Boalsburg at the Pump Station Cafe for some good coffee… and a cannoli. Boy that cannoli was good… the coffee was too.  Pump Station Cafe

The rest of the journey to the base hotel Best Western in DuBois has been great. Many farms and mountains as far as I could see. It proved to be quite the pleasant ride.

Pump Station Cafe
Nice cup of coffee & great cannoli

After pulling into our hotel I was greeted by the friendly familiar faces of Leroy and Fred then Bill and Bob. As we talked a few others shows up, although no Phil and Nancy yet. After a quick trip to the grocery store, in Fred’s truck, for some snacks and beverages we decided to take the short walk to eat at the DuBois Diner. I had the Reuben sandwich and we all caught up on the past year of happenings with life, family and motorcycles. Now back to the hotel to continue…

Your Choice..


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Flight 93 Memorial

(Flight 93 Memorial)

After a great night of sound sleep I woke up early, as usual. With a little time before complimentary breakfast I decided to dry Dory from a night of rain. Best Western hotels have a deal with Harley Davidson for various discounts AND many offer bike wash stations and/or drying towel service. In short order Dory was pristine once again. Time for breakfast.

Breakfast and coffee were very good and the company was great. It was so nice catching up with the guys on a year of happenings. As we ate we planned out the day. After breakfast everyone dried their bikes, gathered their ride gear and in no time we were off. A couple guys decided to stay behind as they weren’t feeling all that well.

The day was intermittent sunny, cloudy and rainy. No big downpours but at times we had to wear our rain-gear. The 100 mile ride to the Flight 93 Memorial was fun although the time at the memorial was very somber considering the circumstances in all those passenger deaths. As I walked around and looked at the pictures and artifacts real sadness struck me at times. I’d been here a couple other times and the sadness is always there. If you’ve never been here you should come.

Afterwards we stopped at the close-by Lincoln Café (The Lincoln Cafe) and were treated to a fresh, home-made meal. I got a steak sub which was awesome. After lunch we cruised the back roads to our hotel. The ride was in and out of a little rain but it was a fun ride none-the-less. Once back I showered and decided to do some blog posting before dinner. The weather tomorrow is forecast to be very rainy… we’ll see ;-).

For dinner we found a great, nearby Italian restaurant called Luigi’s and boy we were glad we did. The food was authentic, fresh-made and quite good. I opted for a Caesar salad with shrimp as I was not very hungry after my big lunch. Luigi’s has an interesting history and quite the memorabilia on their walls.  (Luigi’s Ristorante)

After dinner we went back to our hotel only to find that Phil & Nancy had arrived. The rest of the evening was spent catching up, celebrating their arrival and the official introduction of Jack into our group.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Kinzua Dam & Skywalk  Thunder in the Valley Motorcycle Rally

After another good night sleep and tasty breakfast we’re busy scoping out the rainy weather trying to decide on the day’s destination. More on this to come…


Storms everywhere!

It was decided to head south to the Johnstown, PA Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally instead of the Kinzua area due to weather concerns. Before we got on the road we walked to nearby DuBois Harley Davidson and were treated to quite an interesting dealership. As you’ll see from the photos the dealership’s inside theme was as if their store was a small town with a road, streetlights, parking meters and more. As I think more about it I’m sure I’ll think of other unique aspects but it was very cool. Oh, check out the urinal with the clutch operated flush.

The weather for the ride was drizzly at times and very rainy other times. Just before reaching the rally it poured so we decided to stop to let the rain subside a bit. As luck would have it the place we stopped at were giving away free breakfast sandwiches. Several of us took them up on the offer and the sandwiches were good. Soon we were back on our way and reached the rally uneventfully.

As we entered Johnstown Leroy decided that we’d park in an indoor garage, which was a nice touch considering the weather. I decided to wear my rain-jacket and good thing as we were pummeled with rain. As we walked around I saw the normal vendors that are at most MC rallys. Having been around biking for 37 years there’s very little I need so the vendors weren’t of much interest to me. We did find a place offering cheap beer and great french fries outside under a large tent which was timely as it started pouring. So there we sat drinking beer, eating great fries and socializing. It was fun but soon the rain slowed and out we were to finish our vendor tour.

Before too long we decided to hit the road on our way back via some twisty roads. The ride back was fun and uneventful. Soon we were pulling into our Best Western and I made a beeline for a quick hot shower then to the lobby for dinner. For dinner it was decided to walk to the Hitching Post which was pretty lively with some sort of party or celebration going on. We were seated at a large heavy wood table and had an attentive waitress taking care of us. I was surprised to hear that our waitress had three daughters as I do. I wound up with an awesome cheeseburger and a tropical drink that our waitress promised I’d enjoy (as she was also a mixologist). The drink was good but every bite of that burger was great. I was satisfied!

After dinner we walked back to the lobby and did some end-of-day reflection but soon dispersed for a much needed rest. Tomorrow I’m thinking we’ll head to the Kinzua Dam & Bridge Skywalk…. I hope!!

By the way, in one photo you’ll notice flood marking on the wall of City Hall. The area is in a flood area and has had some real doozies.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Kinzua Dam & Bridge Skywalk

(Kinzua Bridge)

Well, here we are at our final riding day. It’s 9:00AM and having just finished a nice breakfast with most of the group I decided to save my photos to Dropbox and do some posting. The weather is looking stormy as it’s been each previous day but I think we may be heading to Kinzua. It’s a 10:00AM kickstands-up call so I’m going to finish typing for now and go get my gear ready for a day of exploring and adventure. More to come, after I get back home.

The Kinzua Dam was very nice as dams go. After a short time looking around and taking some pictures I’d had enough. I wanted to see the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk. A few people in our group opted to return to the hotel to pack for Sunday’s return trip home. That’s a shame as I felt the bridge may be the highlight of the day. Not only WAS it the highlight, the ice cream parlor a few miles from the bridge was AWESOME!!

As you’ll see from the photos the bridge was stunning. Although it was raining the four of us walked out to the end of the bridge. I believe I read that the bridge is 300 feet tall with part of it having collapsed from an F1 tornado passing through it. It was an awesome  spectacle with much of its structure laying below on the valley floor. If you get up this way you definitely have to eat ice cream and see the bridge.

Mt Jewett Tastee Freeze

Kinzua Dam

IceCream & Kinzua Bridge Skyway

This being our final evening we decided to walk to Hoss’s Steak & Seahouse. I had some ribs and broccoli which turned out a bit on the overcooked side. All in all we had a nice dinner and conversation before walking back to the hotel. Once back we decided to gather for a parting group photo to include new member Jack and two new interesting recruits whose names escape me.

After our photo op we stayed around a bit to discuss the trip and some possible ideas for next year. Floating around was the idea of shooting over to eastern Ohio in Phil & Nancy’s home state (or at least one of them). After some drinks, ride planning and goodbyes I was off to get organized and get a good night sleep. My plan was to pack and be ready to head south towards home before breakfast, figuring I’d eat on the road.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Ride Back Home

I was up at 5:00am, packed by 6:00am and riding away from the hotel by 6:30am. With rain in the forecast, go figure, I decided to wear my usual rainproof riding gear. After a quick goodbye to Canadian Brian, I was off.

For this ride home I wanted to glide south along the mountain ridges which looked great on the map. Not always trusting the GPS to follow my route instead of its own I wrote down the roads on a piece of paper. From DuBois I essentially followed these routes South and/or East. There’s a Harley Ride Planner link of the route below.

In retrospect this proved to be an absolutely gorgeous route that I’m anxious to ride both ways some time soon. I’m certain the sun, cool temperatures and dry roads helped but I could only think that this ride epitomized why many of us ride with the sights, sounds, smells and feeling of gliding through the breeze. I could smell the strong aroma of honeysuckle in the air, feel the warmth of the sun against my skin cooled by the cool morning breezes, hear the thumping of the tuned engine making easy work of the hills as I glided up and down.. left and right.

I did make one stop for bacon & eggs at Nick’s Diner right on Rt 22 near Lake Raystown. I’m glad I stopped as the food was good and I met two riders who were camping at the Lake. We had some good conversation as I enjoyed my tasty breakfast. Within 45 minutes I was off and enjoying this fabulous ride home while thinking about this year’s GlideFest adventure overall. It certainly proved to be a very wet journey, all-the-more glad I learned to ride in the rain and practice this critical skill on a regular basis. I would admit that I’ve had some of my most memorable rides in modest to raging downpours although I’d admit I prefer sunshine, cool temps and dry pavement. This trip was very nice and enjoyable and now I’m looking forward to my next adventure, somewhere…

Harley Ride Planner- route home

Key Roads Home:

  1. Rt 219
  2. Rt 729 (past Lumber City & Glen Hope)
  3. Rt 453 (through Tyrone & Birmingham)
  4. Rt 22 (through Alexandria, Huntingdon & Mt Union)
  5. Rt 522 (past Shirleysburg to Shade Gap)
  6. Rt 641
  7. Rt 997
  8. Rt 30 (past Gettysburg and on to Hanover)
Ride Home

The awesome route back home


Dory is packed for the ride home


Breakfast spot near Lake Raystown




Glidefest NumbSkulls DuBois-PA 2018


Glidefest NumbSkulls DuBois-PA 2018

Shark Week VII

CANCELLED: Due to the purchase of my new home in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania I regrettable had to cancel what would have been an awesome ride.

Travels: Jul 24 – Jul 30, 2017


This blog is about the 7th annual Shark Week road trip. The host hotel is in gorgeous Cherokee, North Carolina and we’ll be riding some of the most beautiful areas in and around the Great Smoky Mountains such as; The Cherohala Skyway, Tail of the Dragon, Smoky Mountain Parkway and much more.

This is my first time to Shark Week so while I’m not sure of everything to expect. I am certain though it’s going to be an awesome time in one of the most beautiful areas east of the Mississippi. Check back closer July 24th for more…

PS: For those who don’t know, the term “shark” refers to the Harley Davidson Road Glide model that has a front fairing shaped like a shark’s nose.

GlideFest 2017

CANCELLED: Due to the purchase of my new home in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania I regrettable had to cancel what would have been an awesome ride.

Travels:  Jun 17 – Jun 25, 2017

This trip is all about our annual GlideFest road trip and gathering. For 2017 our epicenter will be Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and all points surrounding this historic area. Check back near June 21’st for more on this awesome road trip.


Spiritual Journey to Cherokee

Travels:  Nov 27 – 29, 2016


This trip is about a personal journey to uncover missing information in the Cherokee ancestry of my friend Kate. Kate and her family have been researching this for a number of years and recently she’s done phenomenal work in connecting the many dots of her past.

On this journey we were hoping to get some deeper insights from research at the Cherokee Museum and from the legend Jerry Wolfe himself. We’re also hoping to have some fun along the way and meet some interesting folks. Read on to see how this adventure unfolds.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Spiritual Journey

My friend Kate and I headed down to Cherokee, North Carolina to do some research on Kate’s Native American ancestry. She has done quite a bit of research trying to discover as many connections as she could while filling out her family tree. We made a Monday morning appointment with Eastern Cherokee Elder and “Beloved Man” Jerry Wolfe, who is a legend of sorts in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. He was the first man to be honored as “Beloved Man” in 200 years. We were hoping Jerry could provide some deeper information on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Kate’s family. We were also looking to perhaps meet with him again in the Spring 2017.

Our ten hour drive down was uneventful but fun. This was actually the longest road trip Kate and I have been on so far. Due to the weather, we opted to drive the car instead of taking the motorcycle and we enjoyed the scenery and our conversation throughout the journey. Fortunately the weather cooperated and we arrived in a blink of an eye. Okay, almost that fast.

By the time we arrived it was fairly late. We ate along the way at a roadside Waffle House and stopped to grab sandwiches later to keep moving. When we arrived at our hotel destination, the scenery was beautiful, although dark.

I looked forward to a warm shower and comfy bed after the drive. Monday should prove to be quite interesting. Lights out!

Cherokee Lodge – 1593 Acquoni Rd, Cherokee, NC

We booked this hotel as the price was right, it was centrally located and Native American owned. We were very happy with the hotel as it was in a nice location, it was clean and the staff was friendly and helpful.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian

After a good night sleep, we got up fairly early, and asked about where to eat breakfast. As we walked back to the hotel room, we noticed some elk that were wandering around. The locals told us that it is normal to see the elk passing through for their breakfast, too.  We stopped and took some pictures, trying not to spook them.

We were in need of strong coffee and a healthy breakfast. With this in mind we decided to take the hotel clerk’s recommendation and go to Peter’s Pancakes. Peter’s wait staff and our hostess were friendly and inviting. The coffee was hot and strong and the breakfast was tasty and filling. Kate and I did some last minute planning over coffee then were off to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

When we arrived at the museum we were both feeling a bit intimidated. We were imagining our meeting with the authentic and very well respected (and revered) member of the Eastern Band of Cherokees. When we walked into the lobby,  Jerry Wolfe was sitting behind the museum desk as humble and unintimidating as you can imagine. After introducing ourselves we waited a few moments for the Most Beloved Man to join us in the lobby. He was very friendly as well and seemed excited to speak with us.

When Jerry came to us he looked at me and the first thing he said was, “You know Cherokee women come first.” I thought about this for a short while and was certain I’d be hearing it again at some later point, lol. I was actually in complete agreement. He then waited for Kate to sit then sat next to her. After some pleasantries the two of them exchanged information about Kate’s ancestry. Jerry was a soft spoken, peaceful and respectful man who spoke with purpose. He produced a handwritten list with a variety of Cherokee names that Kate could review. After about 30 minutes it was clear that our time with Jerry was over as he became interested in some other people that had walked in. We did not want to keep him any longer than he was able.  Before leaving I asked if I could get a photo of Kate and Jerry together which would be a very special memento for us.

Before leaving the museum we went to the gift shop to find some Christmas gifts. We found many interesting things to buy and some research materials for Kate. After leaving we decided to hit a nearby coop artist gift shop for additional items and we weren’t disappointed. Qualla Arts & Crafts sells the artwork and jewelry from over 350 local Cherokee tribal artists and offered some beautiful works. As it is a Coop, proceeds from sales benefit the artists as well as the community. Of course Kate and I bought a variety of gifts here including some special mementos.

After this gift shop we were ready for another hearty meal. We drove to the nearby Wize Guyz Cafe. We both found it to be clean, friendly and a nice place for lunch. We asked the owner about where we should go next. He gave us directions to two local waterfalls to visit after lunch, Mingo and Soco Waterfalls. Mingo falls has a long wooden staircase to climb to gain access to the falls. This was a great way for us to burn off some of our tasty lunch and no problem climbing for two fit people like us. The setting at Mingo was very beautiful. We spent a little time here taking pictures from the small bridge. After making our way back down we were off towards Soco Falls.

On our way, after seeing sign after sign along the road that said “boiled peanuts,” and “indian owned,” and “native crafts,” we happened by a roadside location call Bear Meats Indian Den. Judging from the name we weren’t sure what to expect but it sure looked good from the outside. Once we went in we were greeted by the friendly owner offering us to taste some freshly boiled peanuts. Now I had never tasted boiled peanuts before but have to admit they were quite good. Kate thought so too so we added them to our tally of take-home goodies. After buying some more authentic Indian wares we were off to the falls. After a short and twisty drive we came upon Soco Falls. After a short hike down a steep dirt path we were at a wooden deck overlooking the falls. I’d admit that even though it was a bit dark by now these falls were not nearly as interesting as Mingo, but still beautiful. After a short stop, we headed back to our hotel.

After taking a moment to consider our dinner choices, we decided to hit Paul’s Restaurant to enjoy our final dinner in Cherokee. Dinner was very interesting, and we wished we were more hungry because Paul’s offered traditional native meals, like frog legs, fry bread, and a number of other dishes. We voted together to go for the fry bread, and since it was quite sweet the waitress suggested we start with that as an appetizer. It was delicious.  The rest of our meal was light, and consisted of soup and salad.  Next time, we noted that we definitely want to go back there when we are really hungry.  The service had some questionable ratings, and that was one of the reasons we chose not to go there earlier. We want to express our delight with a wonderful waitress, home cooked food, and an awareness that it is not fast food, because it is prepared to order. The reviews were either not correct or created by some very impatient people, in our opinion.  After a nice meal and conversation we were headed back to the hotel to pack, shower and call it a day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Long Return Home

The time had come to return home. Kate had accomplished much of what she came for and we both had some fun too, and some great food. My goals simply were to support Kate in her search for information, be a good companion and to drive. It was a great time and I do look forward to returning in the Spring.

After our last breakfast at Peter’s Pancakes we were off and running. As we headed home I thought a lot about this journey especially being the longest road trip Kate and I had been on together. I had enjoyed the time and felt we were good “car” travel companions as we had been on a few motorcycle trips previously. As we made our way towards home we stopped at an out-of-the-way Goodwill thrift store to check things out. Now I’ll admit that I’d never shopped at Goodwill before but was amazed at the deals I walked away with. Two pairs of nice jeans for $4.00 each and a few shirts. Kate also was able to find some deals. I had to openly admit to her that I may become a Goodwill shopper from now on ;-).

As I recall the rest of our trip home was fairly uneventful. About 10 hours of driving we pulled into home at about 10PM. It felt good to arrive. After a little talk-time we were drifting towards dreamland with the next road trip dancing in our heads.

Blue Ridge Parkway
Our elk friend