On May 25 through 26, some of the finest riders in the Mid-Atlantic area and beyond competed in the next to last Mason-Dixon 20-20.
The pattern was familiar:
A plan, a bike, a rally book.
Go here, go there; highway, byway; rain, rain stopped; rerouted!
Rest and repeat.
Return. Tally score.
Was blood let in the scoring room? (choose one) _x_no __ yes.
Celebrate with friends.
Our details, if you care (by bonus name): 1954, 1927, 1935, 1907, 1908, 1923, 1915, 1940, 1916, 1909, 1938, N01, N02, N03, REST, N04, N05, 1922, 1958, 1914, 1924, 1917. (The track includes our ride home to Northern Virginia.)
The highlights in pictures and vignettes.
Meetings the night before and pre-dawn. Last chance to cast your lot for the cheesedick award.
|Heading out to the staged bikes|
Paying Respects to Jim
Indiantown Gap National Cemetery is always breathtaking, especially on Memorial Day weekend. Many of us made Jim Young's grave our first stop.
On the way to Indiantown Gap we passed and were passed by many riders. Few stayed close to us long enough for me to get a half-way decent picture. (Feel free to identify yourself or ask me to delete it; I have no idea who anyone is when in full gear.)
Of course there was a festival. But at least not as many as Rock -n- Ride had.
|Not the bonus. The rock in the background was.|
Flight 93 Memorial: Wish there was a webcam
After Sugartown, the pack thinned quickly. We overlapped with Chris Rasmussen late in the day at the Paoli Massacre Monument, and the Stargazer Stone, but the next real gathering of riders that we encountered was at the Bermuda Triangle of Bikes, or “the place the bikes laid down.” Although the picture below is terrible, this rider marks the spot -- and one of the exceptions – of the bike dropping and lost rider drama of this location.
|Rider 6: Bringer of Light|
Quite a distance down the road on Route 30, near the old construction entrance, we can see the headlights of a motorcycle that appears parked. We cross the road and Jeff attempts to take a picture of the sign, me, and the flag, lit by a flashlight. Big sign. Dark night. No go. Jeff crosses the road to bring the motorcycle around. With the Erica lights he added to the GSA, that bike could light a stadium.
Another bike pulls up on Route 30, near the construction entrance. Now we can see the two sets of headlights. Too far and too dark to know what the riders are doing down there. Looking for a sign?
As Jeff circles around and pulls up near the edge of the road, I turn and walk back toward the sign, getting in position for the picture. I hear the bike stop and then the expletive. I turn just in time to watch Jeff and the bike tumble in slow motion to the pavement. I run over. He’s fine. As soon as he’s back on his feet, one, two, three lift, and in 30 seconds the bike is upright again. Cursing about the camber of the road, Jeff pushes the bike forward, gets back on and starts another circle to reposition.
The lights of a fourth and then fifth bike appear from far down the driveway, emerging from inside the memorial grounds. What were they doing in there? There are now five bikes in view (counting us) and we appear to be the only ones who know where the sign is located. But we haven't yet gotten enough light for a picture.
A sixth bike approaches on Route 30, from the direction we arrived.
Jeff pauses his circle, stopping again in the driveway, to make way for the new rider on Route 30. The other two bikes stop further back in the driveway. The new rider (badly pictured above) pulls up in exactly the right position on the road, flooding the sign and me with light. As the new rider gets off and begins assembling his photo material, I radio Jeff not to bother moving the bike. Just take the picture! Bathed in the light of Rider 6’s bike, we’re done with our photo before he has his flag in position to shoot.
As Jeff sends our photo off, Rider 4, now off his bike, hustles down the driveway. He and Rider 6 share the light. Rider 6, the model of efficiency, wraps up. I believe he left just before us. The other three riders will be left in the dark (assuming the two down the road decide to join to the party).
We were only a brief episode in the Flight 93 memorial drama. We learned later that the Cover-Rufo trio dropped two of three bikes on that spot – in different directions! Our breakfast companion, Matt, tipped his there too. He said he heard of others. Seems more than one person missed the sign too. Anyone else want to ‘fess up?
|A new day|
Two things: At least it wasn't still raining when we headed up the last stretch. And, this would be a gorgeous ride to do again in the daylight.
Turkey Point Lighthouse: Exercise!
(But, alas, no non-bonus pictures)
The lighthouse. A “fifteen-minute walk.” Ha! Here again, there was a convergence of riders, and divergence of attitudes.
The rally book said 15 minutes. Google maps said .8 miles and 16 minutes. That’s 3 miles an hour, which is not an unreasonable walking pace -- if you aren’t wearing motorcycle gear. Jeff and I shed our helmets, and noting the other bikes draped in helmets and gear, I also dropped my jacket and vest. We headed down what turned out to be a dirt and gravel path, with hills, passing through patches of woods and fields, shade and sun. The temperature was in the low 80s I think, not terribly humid, but hot enough. The families in their shorts, tank tops, and sneakers looked very comfortable.
On our walk out we encountered Marty Cover and Steve Rufo, chatting amicably and looking as casual and relaxed as a couple of philosophers exercising body and mind on a Sunday stroll. Further along, Lisa Cover Rufo, hailed us, looking weary but cheerful. On our return we spotted Jim Owen, purposefully striding along, looking somewhat warm, but calm and focused, as he waved his flag at us. Eric Bray combined bonus hunting with his morning workout. In his track shoes and shorts, only the flag clutched in his hand distinguished him from any other runner. Erin and Jeff Arsenault were all business, as they briskly headed out, clipboard in hand, and extolling the benefit of some morning exercise.
We finished the round trip rather warm and sweaty, but reinvigorated by the break, as we headed into the final stretch of our trip.
Finding a pothole big enough to stand in was easy. Finding a pothole big enough to stand in long enough to get your picture taken is a different problem. Although every bridge on Route 81 appeared to have potential, and many other roads, such as this one, also offered opportunities, having your picture taken in the middle of a highway was a bit too sporty for us.
Jeff spotted this beauty, however, as we were about to pull out of a gas station early on Day 1. A guy who had just pulled in, likely to pick up a pack of cigarettes, reluctantly agreed to be our photographer (since Jeff’s attempts to mount the tripod on the bike were wasting precious seconds). We hopped into the hole and would have had room for a third.
This trip was the maiden run for my new Helite 2 vest. It is a little warm and the latching mechanism is rather tiresome as it has to be latched and unlatched when I get on and off the bike. But it’s not that bad. (Heated gear has that issue too.)
On the plus side, the Helite vest replaces the back plate in my Klim jacket which is a huge benefit. Doesn’t solve the overall problems with the fit of the Klim jacket, but at least the backplate is no longer hitching itself up on the pants’ waistband. Miss having access to my pockets, though.
I haven’t set it off accidentally yet, and hope I never set it off to do what it’s designed to do. Overall, I think it was a good purchase.
Pictures we were not required to take
|Pittston PA: Home of the Annual Tomato Fight|
|Keeping the log straight.|
|"Choose Fun." Isn't that why we do this?|
Congratulations to Rick and Jean Miller for yet another blockbuster year of challenges, adventure, camaraderie, and fun! Thank you too to all the rest of the staff, who worked so hard to make this event possible.