Saturday, May 30, 2009

Riding Destination: Solomons Island, MD

Going Crabbing, originally uploaded by bikerphoto.

One Saturday recently I decided to take the bike to Solomons Island for some sunrise photography. Taking photos at sunrise by the water is a beautiful way to relax, but rising early enough to get there before the sun comes up is kinda hard for me. I had intended to get up at 3:30, hop on the bike and ride the 80 miles to be there and set up by 5:30. The alarm went off at 3:30 and I thought, "Geesh, what a stupid idea." Then I had a hard time going back to sleep, so I finally hit the road at 5 AM.

I knew I would get there well after sunrise, so I would use the trip to scout around for the best places to set up the next time. It was not a great sunrise to shoot anyway. The sky was perfectly clear, as a cold front had just moved through. Sunrise is always more interesting if there are some clouds to make it look dramatic.

When I arrived at Solomons it was about 6:30. People were out walking along the waterfront. I parked the bike and walked around some, taking in the scenery. I found some men working on loading crab pots on a boat. Making a living on the water as a professional crabber is a rough life. In Maryland it is the Blue Crab they go after. The television show, Deadliest Catch shows the extreme conditions professional crab fishermen have to endure in the Arctic. In Maryland on this day, the conditions were not so extreme. In fact, it even looks peaceful seeing these guys head out to work, but there are nor'easters, tropical storms and even hurricanes that these guys have to deal with at times.

Before they shoved off, I talked to them a while. Working watermen are men of few words.

"How is the crabbing this year?"

"Not bad."

"Just now heading out for today?"


"Mind if I take a few picutures while you are working?"

"As long as you are not with America's Most Wanted."

Hmmm....Made me wonder if I should look on the AMW website to see if I recognize these guys.

Solomons is a nice day trip from the Richmond area or the Shanandoah Valley of Virginia. When you ride your bike here you will see primo sailboats as well as working crab boats like this one. There are many waterfront restaurants to satisfy your appetitie for seafood after a long ride. Take some time to look around and relax. Bed and breakfast inns offer a quaint place to spend the night. Just off the island there is a Comfort Inn and a Holiday Inn express.

Park your bike, get off and look around. You can walk the island to enjoy the waterfront views, or just sit and relax on the benches at the waterfront. The Calvert Marine Museum is a must-see where you can learn the history of Southern Maryland. Other things to see are Solomons Island Winery and Drum Point Lighthouse.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Heartland USA Customizing Kit for Harley Rocker

For owners of the Harley Rocker Softail, there is a customizing option that is affordable and easy. Heartland USA offers a kit for $1999 that will turn this bike into a machine that turns heads everywhere you go. Heartland has been around for about 12 years. They provide easy, pre-fabricated customizing kits for Harley Softails. Everything is cut and pre-drilled, ready to be bolted on. It is perfect for a guy who is good with hand tools but doesn't have a complete metal working shop in his garage.

Jim Grove started this company after selling his business designing interiors for BMW autos (not bikes). He was working on customizing his own softail in his 6th floor condo. All who saw it wanted him to design the customizing for their bikes. That gave him the idea of starting a company that offers easy customizing kits

Heartland makes easy customizing kits for all softails. You can see all the Heartland custom products on their website at

Photo courtesy of Heartland USA.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bikers in Haw River North Carolina

While riding in North Carolina last weekend I met some nice folks at a gas stop. They were all out for a day ride. One of the best things about riding a motorcycle is you meet the nicest people along the way. Riders are always eager to talk about their bike and where they are riding to. I always enjoy posting pictures of fellow riders I meet along the way.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Harley Rocker

FXCWC Softail Rocker C, originally uploaded by Toni_V.

The Harley Rocker C is the only Rocker model that Harley will offer for 2010. Gone is the black Rocker. Personally, I like the standard Rocker with its gray powder coated engine. It would be real cool to have a blacked out Rocker. They could call it the Night Rocker. If Harley decides to do this, you heard it here first.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

2010 Honda Fury - First Look

The Fury, originally uploaded by RichardUpshur.

The first Honda Furys are hitting the dealerships now. I sat on a blue one (not the one pictured) at my dealer in Laurel, MD yesterday. The bike certainly gives the feel of a chopper with the arms stretched, feet forward seating position. Choppers aren't made for long distance riding. the seating position dictates getting off the bike often to stretch and stand up straight. Chopper seats are usually hard on the fanny too, but in my short time sitting on the Fury this seat felt pretty good.

Somehow the thought of a Honda chopper doesn't really register. Those who follow this blog will know that I like all types of bikes. My first thought was to wonder why Honda didn't choose the 1800 for their chopper platform, rather than the mid-sized 1300. I suppose they have their reasons, but a thumping 1800 engine would gain more respect from die-hard big motor chopper fans. In the chopper world quaking the bike with every beat of the motor and pounding your eardrums with the concussion of big combustion chambers is the name of the game.

Being a Honda, this bike will likely be a lot more reliable than most custom-built choppers. Liquid cooling, which is not unusual for Honda but is very unusual for a chopper, will give better operation on hot days and longer engine life.

One thing most buyers will change is the exhaust. The bike is way too quiet for a chopper. Moreover the canister-shaped mufflers just don't look like something you would find on a chopper. When we start seeing them on the streets with custom exhausts and cool air intakes, then the Fury will truly turn heads.

The $13,000 price tag saves you a lot compared to the factory chopper from Harley Davidson - The Rocker - which sits on the show room floor for just shy of $20,000. So if you are in the market for a budget priced chopper, the Fury should do the trick.

Looking Forward: watch this blog for future articles and comparison of the Fury against the Harley Rocker and the Victory Vegas. Also watch for an article next week on US Route 30 in Pennsylvania, which I call the Pennsylvania Anti-Turnpike.

Photo by Richard Upshur on

The Pennsylvania Anti-Turnpike: US Route 30 from Gettysburg to Breezewood

This is the first of a series of occasional articles on US Route 30 in Pennsylvania.

Most of us who travel by motorcycle like to stay off the freeways, turnpikes and beltways in favor of the "old road". In Pennsylvania we can avoid semis, motorhomes, toll booths and traffic congestion by traveling US Route 30. When you are a biker, being on the road is the experience. It is not about getting from point A to point B the fastest possible. It is about taking the most interesting and fun road to get from point A to point B. So most of us take the old road when we have the time.

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As old roads go, US 30 in PA has a lot to offer. History, food, interesting towns, mountain vistas, sweeping turns, and interesting people are just a few of the reasons to ride US 30, which roughly parallels and criss-crosses the Pennsylvania Turnpike. US 30 runs along or near the historic Lincoln Highway, which was the first paved transcontinental road in the United States before US routes were designated.

US 30 is two lanes in some places, and three or four lanes at times. West of Chambersburg, the elevation is constantly changing. Up and down, up and down, as you traverse the many spines of mountain range that run roughly northeast to southwest in Pennsylania. The mountain ranges between Gettysburg and Breezewood are easy to climb, though steep in places. The curves on the mountian ranges are higher speed sweepers, rather than footpeg dragging hairpins.The pavement is smooth and plenty wide allowing a relaxing leisurely pace of about 50 mph through the long sweepers.

In the towns, you will slow to stop and go traffic. Passing through the heart of these small towns such as Chambersburg and Gettysburg is an opportunity to stop and get a cup of coffee or lunch in a local establishment. Bikers always get attention when we stop in small towns. Some of the characters you can meet make the trip all the more interesting. The best restaurants are always the mom and pop places, and at bikerphoto we are always amazed at how many mom and pop restaurants there are in every town throughout the keystone state.

In Gettysburg the place to visit is National Military Park, where in the summer of 1863 the Union won the battle that was the turning point of the Civil War. It is a solemn thought that 51,000 Americans died in this battle, the streams running red with blood.

On a much lighter note, there is a good biker stop between Chambersburg and McConnelsburg.

Mountain House Bar and Grill

Photo by Matthew Singer.

Heading west from Gettysburg, the road turns to long sweeping turns up to the top of Tuscarora Ridge, where right on top of the summit is Mountain House Bar and Grill. This is a very popular stop for bikers with bikes always in the parking lot. The food is tasty, and you might get lucky enough to be there when they have a live band. The place is a bar, but you can get a soda as well as a beer. It is never a good idea to drink and drive, especially on a motorcycle.

Further west is the commercial strip in Breezewood. This is where I-70 actually pours onto US 30 for a short stretch of hotels, restaurants and gas stations. This is a very unsual gap in an interstate highway. One can only surmise that policital interests in Breezewood influenced this plan to route all travelers through the town.

Coming soon on the bikerphoto blog is the eastern portion of US 30 in Pennsylvania from Gettysburg to Philadelphia. Be sure to check back!