rides

Riding with the Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride Presented by BMW Motorrad USA

 Riding Across the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 with 150-200 motorcycles behind us! ( Left: Sarah Schilke, National Marketing Manager BMW Motorrad NA. Middle: ME. Right: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer of the Sisters' Ride (Photo: Christina Shook)

Riding Across the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 with 150-200 motorcycles behind us! ( Left: Sarah Schilke, National Marketing Manager BMW Motorrad NA. Middle: ME. Right: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer of the Sisters' Ride (Photo: Christina Shook)

Day 1 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Brooklyn, New York

Last weekend I finished up a spectacular event with my friend Alisa Clickenger, the organizer of the Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride. If you hadn't read my article about this ride, read this first and then come back. :D 

 Adeline and Augusta Van Buren after riding into Mexico all the way from Brooklyn, NY (Photo: Van Buren LLC)

Adeline and Augusta Van Buren after riding into Mexico all the way from Brooklyn, NY (Photo: Van Buren LLC)

 Of course I brought  my Man  :-) Photo: Christina Shook

Of course I brought my Man :-) Photo: Christina Shook

I could only do the first week of this amazing ride so I brought the man with me to the kickoff point, Brooklyn on Sunday, July 3rd. That night was a small, intimate event with members of the Van Buren Family that were joining the entire cross country journey. That night I had the pleasure of  meeting Sarah Van Buren, Great Grand Niece of the Van Buren Sisters, as well as her father, Robert Van Buren (Great Nephew of the Van Buren Sisters). Sarah was so inspired by what her ancestors accomplished and the momentous event of this ride that she herself obtained her motorcycle license just 9 months before the beginning of the ride! What an accomplishment, to ride across the country before you've even racked up a few thousand miles of riding experience under your belt. Sarah, you should be incredibly proud of what you've accomplished, as your Aunts would have been so proud of you as well.

 Sarah and Robert inside the wall of death at AMA Vintage Days earlier this year (Photo: Sara Liberte)

Sarah and Robert inside the wall of death at AMA Vintage Days earlier this year (Photo: Sara Liberte)

 Alisa Clickenger (organizer) holds the Proclamation (Photo: Christina Shook)

Alisa Clickenger (organizer) holds the Proclamation (Photo: Christina Shook)

The evening was marked by a very cool proclamation from the Borough of Brooklyn, New York declaring July 3rd 2016 "Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride Day in the Borough of Brooklyn".

Since we were leaving super early the next morning for Springfield, it was a light evening for both of us. 

Day 2: Brooklyn, New York to Springfield, Pennsylvania

 Nothing to see here, just a few dozen people riding motorcycles through Brooklyn. (Photo: Christina Shook)

Nothing to see here, just a few dozen people riding motorcycles through Brooklyn. (Photo: Christina Shook)

Our route as we left Brooklyn took us North, up the Taconic State Parkway. It's a very scenic route (nothing twisty really) into Massachusetts. After awhile, Evan and I split off and decided to ride a backroads route into Springfield instead of with the larger group we were with. (There were 3 distinct groups based on riding experience and overall comfort. So no, it wasn't 100 people all riding together all the time <which freaks me out a bit>). We had a blast riding for a bit with Robert Pandya (External Relations Manager - Indian Motorcycles) and Robert Van Buren!

 Robert and Sara Liberte riding all the way cross country in this beautiful Indian Chief Dark Horse with matching Sidecar. &nbsp;Such a stunner! (Photo: Christina Shook)

Robert and Sara Liberte riding all the way cross country in this beautiful Indian Chief Dark Horse with matching Sidecar.  Such a stunner! (Photo: Christina Shook)

 Me and Robert, after rolling into Springfield! &nbsp;(Photo: Me)

Me and Robert, after rolling into Springfield!  (Photo: Me)

That night we rolled into Springfield without much fanfare. We did however, hit a huge milestone and rode through Connecticut! Another state knocked off my list. It was HOT too. Did I forgot to mention how HOT it was? 

DAY 3: SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

First day in Springfield, the morning kicked off with a great tour of the Springfield Museums and another proclamation. This time from the Mayor of Springfield. 

 Alisa with Domenic Sarno,&nbsp;Mayor of Springfield. &nbsp;(Photo: Christina Shook)

Alisa with Domenic Sarno, Mayor of Springfield.  (Photo: Christina Shook)

The coolest part for me was seeing the Van Buren Sisters portion of the museum. If you haven't visited the Springfield Museums, they have a varied collection of exhibits including the history of Indian Motorcycles. 

 Standing below their famous ancestors: Left, Sarah Van Buren and Right, Sofié&nbsp;Ruderman (Great Granddaughter of the Van Buren Sisters. Photo: Christina Shook)

Standing below their famous ancestors: Left, Sarah Van Buren and Right, Sofié Ruderman (Great Granddaughter of the Van Buren Sisters. Photo: Christina Shook)

Something that truly struck me was how much these two take after their famous female ancestors. Their resemblance is striking, isn't it? Right next to this wall was a display case of the very headwear that Augusta Van Buren wore back then during their trip. I guess you could call this her "helmet". 

 Erin Sills (SheEmoto) AGV Helmet next to Augusta's cap. Her head was SO tiny. &nbsp;(Photo: Me)

Erin Sills (SheEmoto) AGV Helmet next to Augusta's cap. Her head was SO tiny.  (Photo: Me)

Maybe it's because I've been working in this industry for awhile now, or maybe not. But it truly made me realize how lucky we are to have technology in the 21st century to allow us to be safer. We have so many options available to us now that weren't just ~20 years ago! Ask any woman rider you know that has been riding for at least that long, and she'll tell you that options were pitiful back then. I know it seems like we don't have much today, but WE DO

After the museums it was time to head over to Westover Airforce Base to take a quick tour of a C-5 Cargo Plane. One of the best things about participating in the Sisters' Ride was seeing my West Coast Friends! And the cargo plane was pretty cool too. It was like a sauna inside though, I don't know how any of these brave men and women do it. 

 Left: Porsche Taylor, Editor of Black Girls Ride Magazine. Middle: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer (Photo: Me)

Left: Porsche Taylor, Editor of Black Girls Ride Magazine. Middle: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer (Photo: Me)

Day 4: Springfield to Sayre

Our last day with the Ride was to Sayre, Pennsylvania. We even got a police escort all the way out of town! Thank you Springfield Township Police Department for your service. 

 (Photo: Christina Shook)

(Photo: Christina Shook)

After leaving Springfield Township's city limits safely, our first stop was going to be along Jacob's Ladder Highway along Route 20. It was a place that the Sisters' stopped at 100 years ago. So we paid homage to them and snapped a photo right where they stood. Ok maybe I'm just being silly, but I really felt that awesome light were the Sisters saying hello :) 

 Left: Alisa, Right: Robert at the Rock Cairn along Jacob's Ladder Highway (Photo: Me)

Left: Alisa, Right: Robert at the Rock Cairn along Jacob's Ladder Highway (Photo: Me)

Sarah places another rock to add to the pile and add the Sisters' Ride to a place in history. 

 (Photo: Christina Shook)

(Photo: Christina Shook)

And a lovely shot of the entire rock cairn with everyone: 

 (Photo: Christina Shook)

(Photo: Christina Shook)

After that, it was an easy ride towards Sayre for the night. 

Unfortunately the next morning (Thursday) meant going back to Philly, so I could take the time off I needed to meet everyone back in Carson City 2 weeks later! 

Friday, July 22nd in Carson City

This was yet another opportunity to see my West Coast friends! I flew out the night before into San Francisco and the next morning, I borrowed this stunning, speedy BMW R1200R. It's practically brand new, and someone I hardly knew extended her kindness to let me borrow her for a couple days so I could ride with my fellow Sisters. THANK YOU AGNES!

 This 2015 BMW R1200R had a stock seat height of 30" and nothing lowered.&nbsp;

This 2015 BMW R1200R had a stock seat height of 30" and nothing lowered. 

I still need to write a review of this wonderful ride, so stay tuned to my social feeds and newsletter to find out when it's published. Needless to say, I had a blast on it! I rode out to Carson City (all slab, 80 to 50) to meet up with the rest of the group. As soon as I get off the bike to walk into the hotel lobby, who do I run into except racing legend Mary McGee! It was such a great moment, because that's where I saw Mary for the first time 4 years ago at the last AMA Women & Motorcycling Conference at the very same hotel. 

  Mary McGee :&nbsp;The first woman to hold an AMA motorcycle racing license in California.

Mary McGee: The first woman to hold an AMA motorcycle racing license in California.

That night, we had a nice dinner with everyone who was going to be riding with us to San Francisco the next day. Alisa presented the staff and cross country riders, special medals that showed how they participated in this historic motorcycle ride. 

 Medals recognizing all the riders who rode from Brooklyn to San Francisco.

Medals recognizing all the riders who rode from Brooklyn to San Francisco.

 New Rider Sarah Van Buren receives her medal.

New Rider Sarah Van Buren receives her medal.

Saturday, July 23rd to San Francisco

Saturday was a quick, all slab route to San Francisco. We had a fairly quick lunch stop at A&S Cycles in Roseville, CA with a bunch of other riders who came to join the fun. Not everyone was coming with us to San Francisco but many of them stayed to say hello and grab a free burger courtesy of A&S. 

After lunch, it was off to the staging point just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It felt SO good to be riding towards that bridge again. I was so tempted to turn off on the Lucas Valley exit and take the R1200R for a really good ride through Petaluma. *sigh*

I don't have the exact numbers so I'll keep using this number: 150-200 riders showed up just north of the bridge at Fort Baker. We had men and women on everything from classic Indians to Ducatis to Harleys to BMW's. It was one of the most thrilling motorcycle experiences of my riding life. I also got to see more old friends!

 Me with my friend Aleks Grippo, owner of  Moto Guild San Francisco

Me with my friend Aleks Grippo, owner of Moto Guild San Francisco

Oops, must post another photo of the bike!

 The mighty R1200R I borrowed for the weekend. SO much fun and what a suspension! The luggage I used was a  Givi TankLock XS312 Tankbag &nbsp; and my trusty  Kriega US-20 Tail pack (it seems to follow me everywhere)&nbsp;

The mighty R1200R I borrowed for the weekend. SO much fun and what a suspension! The luggage I used was a Givi TankLock XS312 Tankbag  and my trusty Kriega US-20 Tailpack (it seems to follow me everywhere) 

 Group Shot with the Golden Gate Bridge shining in the background (Photo: Christina Shook)

Group Shot with the Golden Gate Bridge shining in the background (Photo: Christina Shook)

We had the honor of having San Francisco Motorcycle Club escort us across the bridge into San Francisco down to their historic clubhouse. It was pretty crazy. 

 Quick rider meeting before we leave with a few words from the Club.

Quick rider meeting before we leave with a few words from the Club.

I'm lucky that I lived in the city long enough to have participated in several group rides with various friends/ clubs. Shutting down an intersection to let 20-30 bikes through is not big deal. But 150+??

 I was lucky enough to be in the front of the pack, right behind Alisa and Sarah. What a great ride down the Great Highway!

I was lucky enough to be in the front of the pack, right behind Alisa and Sarah. What a great ride down the Great Highway!

 Looking back after riding down Clipper Street into the Mission District. Woooohooo!

Looking back after riding down Clipper Street into the Mission District. Woooohooo!

After riding through the mad streets of San Francisco passing angry tourists and residents who were left to wait in their cars while all these damn motorcycles ride by.... we made it to SFMC's Headquarters. Did you know that their club is over a 100 years old, established in 1904? They were allowing women full voting rights within the club before our government decided we were equal.  

 No big deal, just parking in the median.

No big deal, just parking in the median.

If you've never had the privilege of entering SFMC's clubhouse, it's a very unique place. So much motorcycle history is here, all over the walls. (Photos: Christina Shook)

That night was the Grand Finale Party Presented by Allstate at the Dainese Store San Francisco, where I got to see more friends and spend time in a city that I miss every day.

I also got a few photos with some long lost friends and family :) 

 

I had an incredible time, even though I only made it for 1/3 of the ride. I felt like I had been there with everyone all the way from Day 1 to 20. 

Now I have the cross country bug. I'm dying to do this trip next year somehow but I'll certainly have a different route. Not sure if I'll have enough time to go all the way across and back with my vacation time, but we'll see ;-)

 

Ride Report, West Virginia. Again!

 At the top of Skyline Drive

At the top of Skyline Drive

What can I say? I love West Virginia. I never thought I'd say that, but when it comes to finding heavenly, twisty roads, I can't help it. 

My husband and I went on a 5 day vacation from Philly to West Virginia a few weeks ago, leaving on Sunday and returning Thursday that week. Here are a few highlights!  

 Stopping somewhere in Washington DC by the Potomac on our way down.

Stopping somewhere in Washington DC by the Potomac on our way down.

When we left on Sunday, May 8th, we had a rather late start. I won't even bother to share the ride route. We pretty much slabbed  drove through Washington DC and stopped briefly to take some pictures before heading into Arlington. Since we started so late we decided to stay the night just outside DC at the Hampton Inn Gainesville-Haymarket

I'd highly recommend it, very motorcycle friendly, clean and just overall a very nice place to stay (I usually try to stay at smoke-free hotels, because I just can't stand the smell of smoking hotels). Unfortunately someone left the microwave on or something, and we had a 4:30am wake up call. Luckily, it only lasted about 20 minutes and we were able to get back to sleep. Zzzzzzz. 

The weather was raining on and off Monday, so we headed out late and just decided to head south, towards the border of West Virginia and Virginia. Looking at the radar reports, we tried to go just below the storm paths so we could at least find some dry, twisty roads. Oh and along the way we found tasty Mexican food! Who knew there were delicious, authentic Mexican restaurants in Virginia? We stopped at La Michoacana Taqueria & Restaurant. Delicious! 

mexican_virginia.jpg

So we headed out and we aimed for Waynesboro, VA. When we stopped to take a look at hotels, we found a room in Staunton, VA at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. It was beautiful, and we got their Stay 2 Nights and Save Promo. 

Staunton is a really lovely town with a lot of history including an old train station and wonderfully preserved downtown. 

 Staunton at night. My husband sure knows how to take photos.&nbsp;

Staunton at night. My husband sure knows how to take photos. 

 Easy parking at the hotel in their garage. I just love how these two look side by side.&nbsp;

Easy parking at the hotel in their garage. I just love how these two look side by side. 

So we decided to camp out in Staunton and just looked at the maps every day to figure out which way we thought we wanted to go. 

Tuesday was our first day of explorations. The weather was crummy in the early morning so we waited until the rain passed a bit more before heading out. We found some fun scenery including a rickety bridge that you aren't supposed to ride across. So we didn't. 

As we rode off, we found even more scenery, including some horses who didn't seem to mind as we pulled over to take photos next to them. I tried to coax them away from lunch but they just weren't interested. :(

 I don't know how, but he manages to get the timing just right on these sometimes. I guess I was stretching...

I don't know how, but he manages to get the timing just right on these sometimes. I guess I was stretching...

 I think the horse is looking at us like we're crazy.&nbsp;

I think the horse is looking at us like we're crazy. 

One of the coolest things we saw a few times were abandoned buildings like this old service station. These photos just don't do this building justice. It was so pretty in person, eerie and stunning at the same time.  

ridereport_wva2 7.jpg
 We didn't get to go inside, but I was able to get a photo through the windows.&nbsp;

We didn't get to go inside, but I was able to get a photo through the windows. 

 Evan poses!

Evan poses!

 And another abandoned garage. Way creepier.&nbsp;

And another abandoned garage. Way creepier. 

Since the weather wasn't that cooperative most of the time, we did some very simple routes, nothing fancy. But some of the best riding on this coast lives here: 

 Staunton to West Virginia and Back.&nbsp;

Staunton to West Virginia and Back. 

We were trying to find some cool covered bridges, but we only found this one which we weren't able to actually drive through. It was called Humpback Covered Bridge in Covington. 

So all we could do was take selfies. 

I highly recommend lunch in Marlinton at the Greenbrier Grill. Tasty, inexpensive and outdoor seating. 

We took 39 back mostly, such a fantastic road. I'll warn you, these roads are twisty so should always take those easy if you're not immediately comfortable. I practically live to ride these roads, I just wish they were closer :(

My friend Tamela recommended Route 311, just south of Covington but unfortunately I somehow got us off track and never got to ride it. It also looked amazing. 

The next day we played around 39 and 250 again. 250 is probably my favorite road on the East Coast so far. 

Unfortunately we didn't get video of 250 because of the crappy weather that day, but in case you missed it, here's a short video my husband shot on his GoPro, Swivit Mount and Gimbal. We finally had some clearing weather and was able to get some beautiful shots while on 39 or 84, I can't remember which road this is. It's mixed in with some footage of Skyline drive as well, but there are bits and pieces of WVA in here. 

 Getting all the equipment ready to film. If you've never heard of  Swivit.com , check them out. Their adjustable mount is unique, and was the first of its kind.&nbsp;

Getting all the equipment ready to film. If you've never heard of Swivit.com, check them out. Their adjustable mount is unique, and was the first of its kind. 

 With the Swivit, he was able to get shots like this one, because you can move the camera on the fly. (We were going maybe 15mph, and there was zero traffic!)

With the Swivit, he was able to get shots like this one, because you can move the camera on the fly. (We were going maybe 15mph, and there was zero traffic!)

 I don't know why but we decided to slab it back from Staunton to Philly on Thursday. Although we had an early start, we took the scenic route up Skyline Drive. Since the hubby had never ridden through it before, we thought we'd take a look! Twas foggy on and off. If you watch the video, the tunnel is at the end.

After a bit of fog, we finally got to some clear parts of the mountain. And yes, the speed limit is 35mph. We were following the limits pretty closely, but it was a very quiet day on Skyline so we were lucky enough to have little or not traffic at times. And no performance awards :)

The coolest stop we made was at Fort Johnson. Such a cool, crazy story from the Civil War. I didn't get to climb the entire trail, but I did get to the first tier. Since moving to an older city such as Philadelphia, I am fascinated and constantly amazed by the history that I encounter everywhere I go. Virginia was no exception. So crazy to think that a war was fought on this mountain, where we now stand and take scenic photos. 

 Steps to the first level of trenches.&nbsp;

Steps to the first level of trenches. 

 A long line of trench!

A long line of trench!

 We even met some fellow motorcyclists who were passing through.&nbsp;

We even met some fellow motorcyclists who were passing through. 

And then we had to say goodbye! 

We used our Sena SMH10R's to communicate with eachother the entire week and they performed quite well. I used the Garmin quite a bit, along with my music and I forgot to recharge it one night so it died after a second full day. Just by habit, we recharge our headsets every night but you really don't have to. You should be able to get 2 full days; although we don't have our channels open the entire time. We go back and forth between chatting or keeping the channel open for 10-15 minutes, then back to our own music while I listen for Garmin directions at the same time. 

If you're curious as to how that all worked for me, read my review of the Garmin Zumo 390LM here

 

  Until next time, West Virginia.... until next time.....&nbsp;

Until next time, West Virginia.... until next time..... 

Women Who Ride Motorcycles in Philadelphia

philly moto girls philadelphia women riders meetup  

Ever since I moved to Philly last January (2014), I've missed riding with my girlfriends back home. So I started a new meetup group, Philly Moto Girls. If you actually want to go riding, no egos, just out to have fun please join us! All skill levels are welcome, you just need some experience on the motorcycle in general. I recommend ~1,000 miles of street riding experience. Unfortunately our group isn't going to teach you exactly how to ride but you'll certainly get better the more you ride with us :)

Ride Report, North Carolina and the Women's Sportbike Rally

Bikes lined up at the Fontana Dam

 I had a great time at the 10th Annual Women's Sportbike Rally at Deals Gap two weeks ago. Between doing a track day and getting sick, I'm just getting around to finally sharing my trip.

The Women's Sportbike Rally East has been going on for 10 years now, and this year was the inaugural West Coast event which had a great turnout! I had heard of this event a few years ago but could never take the time off work to make it to Deals Gap. It would have been a daunting trip from California as well.

Riding from Philly made this the longest trip I'd ever ridden solo as well; 6 days and 2,000 miles! Definitely the longest trip on Goldie as well. I decided to take Skyline Drive to the Blueridge Parkway on the way down.

The Rally took place Friday Sept 9th to Sunday Sept 11th. But riding in from Philly was going to take more than a day so I left on Wednesday the 7th and came home the following Tuesday the 13th.

The Rally took place Friday, September 9th to Sunday, September 11th. But riding  from Philly was going to take more than a day so I left on Wednesday the 7th and came home the following Tuesday the 13th.

I mapped out an ambitious route taking my time to get down there so I could hit some of the famous roads before getting to the Gap.

WEDNESDAY

Riding from PA to VA took a bit longer than I expected. I decided to take 95 South to 301 into Annapolis. My friend followed me for a bit, and we stopped for gas and decided to grab a bite to eat (301 Plaza, 920 Middletown Warwick Rd, Middletown, DE 19709) since there wasn’t going to be anything for another hour or so. I really really wanted to get to VA as quickly as possible so I didn’t do any sightseeing in Annapolis, just stopped for some water and got back on the highway heading 66 West towards Front Royal, VA. (I really don't recommend this route, only because it was a little boring. In the future I will either slab it down 95 or take the Westernly route through Western Pennsylvania instead.)

Did I mention it was 90+F that day? It was HOT, hot hot. And yes, I’m wearing my full Gore-Tex suit! I’d like to go off on a tangent here and just share the joys of wearing Gore-Tex. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that I can be a fussy rider sometimes. (Only sometimes!) I get uncomfortable fairly quickly. This suit greatly helps me stay comfortable enough to get through the ups and downs of quick changes in temperatures without having to pull over and change layers. Baselayering is REALLY crucial here, as it can change the comfort underneath your riding gear (even while wearing mesh textiles!). An inexpensive option is going to Target and buying a basic tech shirt like this one. It’s $20, and it will let you sweat, sweat, sweat, but still keep you comfortable. I know I keep saying comfortable, but it’s all you can really do in extreme heat because it’s going to be hot!

 Horizons Unlimited California, 2012

Horizons Unlimited California, 2012

Check out my review of the REV'IT Legacy Suit that I’m wearing here. Although this suit is discontinued as of 3 years ago, they've recently launched a new, improved version!  

As far as my gloves, I knew that it was going to be a really wet trip the next day through VA and WVA, and then a cooler trip the rest of the way into NC. I could’ve easily grabbed a lighter pair to wear before the wet weather but I frankly forgot. It worked out well, these Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex X-Trafit gloves are different in that they are not insulated or fleece lined for extreme cold. They only offer the Gore-Tex membrane to keep you dry. But the reason they’re called X-Trafit is because they bond the membrane to the leather so when my hands were hot and sweaty I could easily get them on and off without a problem. There is only 1 women’s specific pair like this, offered by Rukka called the Vilma. Unfortunately my palms were too wide to wear the size 6 (I have small, wide hands) and my fingers too short to wear the 7 so the men’s Apollo in 6 was perfect! 

 Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex Gloves

Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex Gloves

Ok, back to this trip.

Somehow I spent 6 hours to get from Philly to Annapolis. By the time I left and crossed Washington DC via 66 West, I didn’t get to Skyline Drive until ~2pm. Skyline was perfectly paved with very very little traffic. I really didn’t get stuck behind anyone, but there are so many turnoffs to take pictures it didn’t matter. And no, I didn't get any tickets, and I didn't get pulled over. :-)

As always, my trusty Kriega Packs were perfect for a week's worth of riding.

 First Skyline Drive Selfie

First Skyline Drive Selfie

With the slower speeds (35mph), it took me awhile to get down just 40 miles. I was starving so I decided to find food and grabbed a bite at Burgers N Things in Sperryville, VA. By that time it was 4:30pm! Ack, where did the time go?

 A little foggy, but smooth

A little foggy, but smooth

It started raining as soon as I found my late lunch, so I sat under the tiki table. Since it was raining I didn’t pull over for more photos, just kept going to make it to the motel before sunset. I hate riding at night in the rain! By the end of Day 1 I clocked in about 340 miles.

 Trying to stay dry while eating lunch!

Trying to stay dry while eating lunch!

THURSDAY

I stayed the night in the Super 8, 2045 Rosser Ave., Waynesboro, VA. It was nothing special, super cheap, clean and easy to stay. The next morning, it was a quick breakfast at Waffle House! Have I mentioned how much I love Waffle House when I'm on long trips? 

 Breakfast at Waffle House. Goldie staring me down as I eat

Breakfast at Waffle House. Goldie staring me down as I eat

And then onward to continue down Blueridge Parkway. After Roanoke I jumped off the Blueridge onto 221 South and hopped on and off a bit without any real plans. I pulled over on the parkway and grabbed a few pics along the way :-) One of the best parts of traveling on your motorcycle! 

 Another Skyline Selfie

Another Skyline Selfie

 20-Minute Cliff. Definitely Not What I Thought It Was.

20-Minute Cliff. Definitely Not What I Thought It Was.

 Off Skyline Drive. Can't Remember Exactly Which Route This Was

Off Skyline Drive. Can't Remember Exactly Which Route This Was

Skyline Drive was lovely, but for me, it was a very scenic ride and not very technical. I've spent a lot of time riding scenic roads in PA and was itching for something technical. 

Then I stayed the night at Holiday Inn Express in Blowing Rock, NC. Somehow Day 2 was a bit shorter, just 275 miles. 

FRIDAY

One of my goals for Friday was to ride Little Switzerland! A slice of heaven in the NC mountains. One of many, really. Looking at Google Maps there were a ton of roads I wanted to ride. But I was trying to avoid riding at night so I wasn’t able to get on all the roads I wanted. But I did make time for this little gem. 

 There's nothing like this in PA!

There's nothing like this in PA!

For me, riding in the Smoky Mountains and all around the Blueridge Parkway is exactly what I miss the most about California. This little piece of heaven took me about 40 minutes to finish. I didn’t stop anywhere in the circle, I just headed up the right side of 226 and rode it counter clockwise back to 221 South. There were a couple restaurants and inns inside the circle and they looked really cute. 

After that I rode rather quickly to get into Deals Gap before dinnertime but managed to stay off the freeway. The rally was a mix of socializing, riding and more socializing. I met a lot of cool women and made some fabulous new friends. I just wish they lived closer so we could go riding together more often! :-(

 Group Pictures at the Fontana Dam

Group Pictures at the Fontana Dam

Saturday was so much fun. I went riding with some new friends. The route started at Deals Gap, heading South towards Bridal Veil Falls in Highland, NC. We followed 28 South into Franklin, NC and stopped for lunch at Caff’e Rel, a tasty Italian restaurant behind a gas station.

 Lined Up at Bridal Veil Falls

Lined Up at Bridal Veil Falls

I took another 2 nights to get home, stopping in Wytheville, VA and then Winchester, VA at the Country Inn & Suites (my favorite hotel chain). By the end I was a bit drained, and ready to get home.

I left rather early Sunday morning and was able to finally make the Killboy.com hall of fame with my photo. This was the only time I rode the infamous Dragon. It was fun, but for me just a shorter version of the wonderful roads I had been riding previously in Northern California (3, 36, 49, 84, etc.). As a California girl, it's really hard for me to be impressed by this road. It's nice and all but the roads South of 129 and in and around North Carolina are even better, in my opinion.

 Leaving Deals Gap on Sunday on The Dragon. Photo/  Killboy.com &nbsp;(the original Dragon photographer!)

Leaving Deals Gap on Sunday on The Dragon. Photo/ Killboy.com (the original Dragon photographer!)

My ride home was pretty uneventful, as I decided not to head north into Kentucky to ride some of their delicious roads. I didn’t want to do any night riding so I made an effort to get into my hotel by 6pm at the latest each night. Each day was about 300 miles, so nothing too painful.

By just focusing on my riding technique and getting back to basics, so to speak, it really made me feel better about my riding skills. Before this trip I’d felt like I had to start all over again. I think I was a little hesitant to ride the more technical roads, so I mainly stayed on the lightly curvy ones. Which for many people would still be too curvy, but I really longed for the technical twisties; decreasing radiuses, hairpins! I thought I was ready to attack them all at once, but I decided to ease up a bit.

I do feel at the end of this trip, it healed me in many ways. I’m far less nervous or anxious than I used to be. One thing that has totally changed the way I feel is that I put on new tires as soon as I got back.

Michelin Pilot Power 3 Front and Rear

I really wish I had them installed before I left. I used these on my first SV for about 25,000 miles. They’re the most comfortable tire I’ve used so far, super sticky and a really wide contact patch. It just feels like the tires are glued to the pavement when I’m cornering. My bike did come with a really nice sport tire, the Diablo Corsas. They’re a really good tire and have great reviews. But for some reason they just didn’t feel good to me. Even when I lowered my tire pressure a bit to 32front/36rear (Triumph recommends 40psi in the front and rear, ridiculous) the tires felt hard, as if they weren’t sticking to the pavement. I know they were but I had zero confidence in them.

 Mysterious Sunflower Field in Maryland

Mysterious Sunflower Field in Maryland

For me, and I think for many riders as well, trusting your bike is the only way you can really push yourself to try new things. Or simply having enough trust to lean, to push the handlebars, to counterweight; to really do anything! I’ve always thought of motorcycling as a true relationship.

The enjoyment and learning experience you gain from riding a motorcycle is wholly dependent on the choices you make with it. It should make you happy, help you boost your self confidence and become a partner in the learning process. 

At this point, I feel much better about my riding. I’m still cautious when I see what appears to be water on the roads, in case it isn’t. I’m looking forward to early Spring so I can ride back to Deals Gap but this time with my favorite riding buddy, my husband.

To find out more about the Women's Sportbike Rally, East and West, check out their website.

First Track Day on Our Triumphs

 Someone sort of following me... more like really good Photoshop skills.

Someone sort of following me... more like really good Photoshop skills.

After my accident in June, a track day is exactly what I needed. We signed up for a track day with Team Promotion at New Jersey Motorsports Park. 

I've been so terrible about posting these past few weeks.  Learned some new things, gained more of my confidence back and learned a lot about my bike. Team Pro Motion was great, and my husband and I had a blast!

For this track day I didn't buy a 1 piece suit, because I knew that I wouldn't use one again anytime soon but I would be able to use a pair of track leather pants again on the street. So I opted for the Revit Xena Leather Pants to zip to my jacket. 

So is a trackday right for you? I think it really depends on what you're trying to accomplish. There are many of us who are really all about street riding and touring. And we simply want to increase our skills. What's the best way to do this?  

Riding the Infamous Dragon

killboypic_dragon3_2015_web  

I had a blast this last week riding to the 10th Annual Womens Sportbike Rally. The Dragon was fun, but Highway 28 was even better :)  Thanks to Killboy.com for sponsoring the rally and getting this pic for me!

Stay tuned for a ride report of my longest riding trip ever, 2,000+ miles.

Out At The Women's Sportbike Rally

I'm out riding this week through the Virginia and North Carolina Mountains! I'm headed to the women's Sportbike rally at deals gap, so please say hi if you're going to be there. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to see more pics of me and Goldie carving it up in these beautiful mountains.

 

On my way to the Blue Ridge mountains

Garmin Zumo 660LM on my Triumph Street Triple

ram_mount_garmin_zumo_660_triumph_street_triple After a couple hours of wrangling with various Ram Mounts, I finally mounted my new Garmin Zumo 660LM on my 2012 Triumph Street Triple R. 

First, I bought the Zumo on sale from Amazon. 50% off, no tax and free shipping (with my Prime membership). Then I ordered the Ram Mounts Fork Stem Kit.

Everything else you need to mount and power the Zumo comes in the box. I decided to use the Power Cable that comes in the box and mount it on the Fork Stem Kit. Although I could use a USB cable instead, I went with the Power Cable. I didn't think that I could power the Zumo via USB but by the time I realized my mistake I already ran the Power Cable along my bike under the tank to the battery.

Unfortunately the cable doesn't come ready for you to install directly to your battery. My husband had to solder connectors to the positive and negative, so for now it's directly wired to my battery. I don't think this will be permanent, as I'd rather have it connected to my ignition wiring but I need to figure out the proper way to do that first. For now, I will have to be extra careful so as to not leave the Zumo on the bike if it's not running.

garmin_zumo_660_triumph_street_triple

 

I like how it turned out and the Fork Stem Mount is a much better alternative to mounting it to the handlebar. Now I'm ready to navigate!

I know what you're thinking, why not just use your iPhone to do the navigating? I've tried. Believe me, I've tried. The one hurdle with using your iPhone as a navigator is how Difficult it is to create a route, input it into an app on the phone and THEN have it give you Turn by Turn directions! It seems to easy, but this last part is the MOST difficult aspect of the process.

I found an incredible tool not long ago called Furkot.com, to help me plan out my itinerary including gas stops and meals based on mileage range and travel times. It's awesome. I also figured out how to export that map into my iPhone using an app called Osmand and it even shows me my route. I did find some complicated methods of exporting files, downloading apps (PCs ONLY, I'm a mac girl) and converting things to use on my iPhone but I'm never going to buy a PC just to do that. So for me, spending $379 on a Garmin is well worth it. Inputting maps is easy with the Basecamp Software (although I prefer to keep navigating in Furkot).

My husband and I will be heading north up to Hancock, NY to spend next weekend riding. Can't wait to input some routes and ride the twisties!

Went out for a quick 150 mile ride yesterday

triumph_street_speed_triple_scorpion_zion Went for a quick 150 mile ride to Northern PA the other day for ice cream!

We used this ride route that I put together, but only did half of it since we didn't leave early enough. So we made it to just below Bangor, PA and then headed East towards the Delaware River heading south on 32.

On the way we stopped for ice cream at Homestead Coffee Roasters. Yum! They also have a small lunch menu, ice cream and misc snacks. There's also a nice patio out back to sit and enjoy your scoops. Oh yes, we're also both testing out new helmets! He got this special edition Bell Star Carbon and I picked up a Shoei RF-1200 'Graffiti' (LOVE this helmet).

bell_star_carbon_shoei_rf_1200

I don't know why the man looks unhappy posing in front (it's also called the General Store), but he puts up a good front because we had a great time that afternoon.

homestead_coffee_pa

 

And along the way down 32, we found this cute bridge to take a couple pics on.

scorpion_zion_womens_jacket (2)

The weather was perfect, high 70s for the most part. Not hot, not cold, just right. I'm testing the Scorpion Zion jacket for WRN and it worked well that day. A full review will be coming soon, so stay tuned.