Total time: 05:42:06
Sunday, June 11 2010
Different engines sing different songs. More so with motorcycles than with cars, since cars have standardized onto a few common configurations (V8, V6, and I4). Even today, motorcycles come with a much wider variety of motor types than cars.
This morning the Magotts assembled a barbershop quintet for a Sunday sing-along on the NJ-NY border. I rode my Ducati (big-bore 90-degree V-Twin) singing Basso Profundo. JTC was on his classic 1985 Honda VF1000R (big-bore V-Four) singing Baritone. Half Sack and his non-Magott friend Mike carried the Tenor section on Half Sack’s Triumph Scrambler (360-degree parallel twin) and KLR650 (small bore thumper), with Mr. Furious as the Counter-Tenor on his Triumph Speed Triple (high-revving inline triple). I rode without earplugs and could hear all these different engines close together, running at the same speed but different RPMs and harmonizing into a glorious motorcycle aria.
I set out with more than a little bit of a hangover. The previous night was Date Night with my wife, and we had a great time bonding without the kids at SM23, the fancy-schmancy bar shared by Mendhi and Ming-II in the Headquarters Plaza of Morristown. I drank too many perfectly mixed Paul Harrington-style classic cocktails. Our forefathers who invented these drinks certainly had some capacity for alcohol. My head was pounding and I was a little worried about backsplash in my helmet in case of a Martini Escapement Event. Also, I had no clue how much fuel was in the Ducati. I’ve been riding the Buell lately, and hadn’t touched the Duc since Catskillcade. So what are the chances that the tank is nearly dry? The Moto Gods say: Very Likely. Sure enough, about halfway to the meeting spot at the Chatterbox my low fuel light comes on. That means I have one gallon grace period, and I *think* it’s only about 20 more miles to the ‘Box. Passing by the three handy gas stations near the Route 15/Route 80 intersection, I make a run for the Chatterbox.
Not only do I make it there with fuel to spare, I’m also the first to arrive. Gas up at the Exxon next to the Chatterbox and wait for the crew. JTC arrives while I’m fueling. He’s not on his Gold Wing (yet another engine config: flat-6), but rather on the new-to-him 1985 Honda VF1000R. For you Harley pukes, this is a classic piece of machinery that helped to define what sportbikes would become in the next 25 years. This example is beautiful in the original red white and blue paint.
In short order Half Sack and his friend Mike arrive, followed by Mr. Furious. Half Sack is the ride captain for the day, and he gives us two options: One is to do Hawk’s Nest to Roscoe NY for lunch, the other is through “the onionfields” to Greenwood Lake. We all vote on the latter route since we’ve all done Hawk’s Nest so many times and feel the urge to see some new roads.
It turns out to be an excellent choice. The onionfields are exactly that. Huge expanses of farm in Pine Island NY that look more like the Central Valley of California than anything you’d expect one hour outside New York City. The roads are a little bit straight, but there are enough jinks around farm parcels or following colonial era deerpaths to make it fun.
We arrive at the Emerald Point pub on Greenwood lake for a late lunch and a few beers. This is one of those biker hangout places that promotes itself for just this sort of motorcycle ride stop. Predictably it’s about 85% Harley, and most of those are very high end Harleys indeed. There are at least 3 custom choppers of the $50,000+ club and one well-ridden Boss Hoss (for Bing). The parking lot has some unimaginably expensive AMG Benz in it, but the bikes are all encouraged to park on display across the street backed up to the lake. And by “encouraged” I mean there is a guy on a golf cart berating us to park tight so other bikes can fit. This notches Mr. Furious about two steps closer to a head explosion, but I give them credit for trying to make ti good for all riders. The bar itself has a big porch and a lawn with tables overlooking the bike parking and lake, so it’s like a mini-Laconia watching the parade of bikes and bikers arrive and leave. I will note that among the RUBs there was one guy with one of the coolest tattoos I’ve ever seen. It was a full color illustration of a WW-II flying tiger airplane diving down his shoulder and bicep. Tattoos for 1%-ers? Yes. Tattos like this? WAY too artistic, but in a good way. Still, I bet this guy owned the plumbing or electrical contracting company that the 1%-ers work at.
Motors singing vs. motors shouting: Several of the groups that left while we were relaxing there contained at least one guy on a bike with ultra loud pipes. Louder than just open drag pipes; probably some big-inch S&S motor with GG-type megaphone exhausts. Whatever the case, they were so loud that even at a biker gathering in the middle of the day we all gave each other a WTF look. Yes, there is a point where the sound of a bike motor is no longer a beautiful song and instead becomes an annoying shout. I can’t say for sure where that line is, but if you piss off other bikers with your exhaust noise then you are definitely over the line.
Spent a long time relaxing at the Emerald Point and eating lunch, maybe an hour and a half. Eventually we had to head home. The route took us along the South shore of Greenwood Lake and around the Wanaque reservoir. Bikers know that roads along the shore of a lake tend to be nice and twisty, and this rule held true here. Very nice riding!
I split off from the group at Route 23, turning South towards home while the Sussex County boys headed North. Weather was hot but not unbearable. Sunny and nice while riding, comfortable when parked in the shade. The ride was just long enough to be a solid bike session but not so long that my wife was upset with me for coming home late. Thanks for planning and leading to Half Sack!