Excuse Me!

Sorry I have not been blogging. Been busy helping my parents and was also locked out of my blog due to proactive defensive move made by my hosting service who was under attack by evil hackers. Will write something soon. Sorry.

See, Smell and Hear the Birthplace

Most of our readers will agree that Harley-Davidson builds great motorcycles. We love our Harleys! We love to buy em, we love to own em and we definitely love to ride em! Sometimes we even like to argue and complain about em.

There are only four Harley-Davidson factories listed on the factory tour page of the Harley-Davidson website. Two are in Wisconsin and one in Missouri. The fourth is less than 70 miles from my house and sometimes riders here forget how lucky we are to be so close to the Vehicle Operations facility in York, PA.

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Every September the York Open House invites the mass riding public to come into the plant, tour the facility and have a party in the parking lot. It’s like visiting motorcycle meca! It’s pretty cool and I think this might be the third time I have gone. Friday September, 28th 2012 was the first time I went on a weekday. I used vacation time from work to see the newly renovated York facility with new modernized technology and robotics to build the world’s best motorcycles. It is awesome to enter the factory and smell the metals. Lathes are turning, drills are drilling, presses are pressing and welders are welding! Worker driven carts are driving around with parts and beeping to warn people to get out of the way. Orange robotic carts are following electronic pathways on the plant floor with first just a frame mounted and on them and then travel station to station until a finished motorcycle passes through final inspection and is removed from the cart. I was expecting to see hundreds of the same model motorcycle in the same color being mass produced all at once like a line of cookie cutter model A’s… but that is not how they do it now. Each one of those robotic carts has a different model in a different color and the workers assemble different motorcycles one after another. It is really cool to watch! And then after you see the entire process you get to watch a movie in a small movie thearter about the company history from their beginnings in a humble shack in 1903 that we are all familiar with. It takes you through the WWII era the AMF days, then into the eighties and then to current times.

Seeing all the workers on the line on a Friday putting each piece on a motorcylce was ten times better than my past visits on a Saturday where you were lucky to see a fender stamped out of a sheet of metal. If you live near any of the Harley-Davidson factories you owe it to yourself as an American motorcyclist to visit the birthing place of the only American motorcycles! Smell the metal, hear the noise and see with your own eyes the mechanical art being turned out for delivery to Harley dealers so you and I can own and ride an American legend!

Do Your Own Harley Maintenance

Sometimes it pays to hire a professional who has years of knowledge and experience in addition to having all the right tools and a lift. On the other hand there is no reason for you to shell out hundreds of dollars for a professional to perform basic maintenance you can do in your own driveway. When it comes to doing things yourself, sometimes it is better to know it was done right than to find out the hired help forgot to fill your transmission with fluid or didn’t tighten your new ape hangers down with Loctite. These are the reasons I have added the Fix My Hog DVD series to my own personal collection and made them available to you through my online store www.Shop.RoadCaptainUSA.com

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Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay

crab decks too

Most Delmarva motorcyclists have a handful of favorite crab decks and biker friendly bars situated on the water in Maryland that they like to visit from time to time. Some well known ones that come to mind are Red Eye’s Dock Bar in Kent Narrows and Waterman’s Crab House in Rock Hall. One of my lesser known personal favorites is Harrison’s Chesapeake House on Tilghman Island. I’m sure there are visiting bikers from outside our area that would love to ride to a genuine Maryland crab deck to get the insider feel of the Chesapeake experience. Unfortunately our visiting friends may have no idea where to go to pick some jumbos at a fair price with a great view. And then there is the rider who is tired of going to the same places and needs some new places to partake of legendary crab and seafood dishes. After all, we know we ride to eat and eat to ride… or something like that!

Hush Puppies, Jumbo Crabs and Yuengling Beer
 
Susan Elnicki Wade and husband Bill Wade have published a book called Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay. I thought this book would make a great addition to my riding resources library and I was right! This book lists over 150 Maryland seafood eateries and bars on the waters of the Chesapeake and it’s tributaries. If you’re a seasoned rider with Old Bay in your blood and need some new destinations this book will serve you well. If you are visiting from out of state and want to get the full Maryland blue crab experience by eating at a remote crab deck on the bay at sunset then you too will love this book.

Diana doing what she does best

onlyhalf the roof is missing

bikers at harrisons chesapeake house
I semi randomly picked a ride destination from the book called Rolph’s Wharf Sandbar. It turned out to be a neat ride destination. We cruised down Rt 213 and then turned right on Rolphs Wharf Road just past Chestertown. We found this remote open air bar at a small marina on the beach. The bar itself was a grounded boat underneath a shelter. Boaters and bikers alike were enjoying the breezy beach and pulling up a bar stool to the rail of the boat for their favorite beverages. We had a great ride and look forward to our next semi random pick from one of the 150 locations in the Maryland edition.

The Sandbar Bar & Grill

The Sandbar on the beach in Chestertown

Diana at he sandbar

the bar is a boat!
  
If you hale from the lower portion of the Delmarva Peninsula then you will be happy to know Susan and Bill have just released the Virginia edition. I met with Susan and Bill at the Sunset Grill in Cape Charles, VA . I have passed the Sunset Resort many many times and had no idea there was a party on the beach behind the resort every Sunday. The Sunset Grill is a gem of a destination! It was hopping with live music, cold drinks, great seafood and lots of pretty young ladies prancing around in bikinis! If this place is an example of the other places in the Virginia edition than this book is worth its weight in crab seasoning! I know the Maryland book has already served my stomach well! Both are available at www.Amazon.com
 

The Sandbar at Rolph’s Wharf

The Sandbar Bar & Grill

I got this book called Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay. It includes in-depth profiles of 150+ waterfront restaurants and/or tiki bars in Maryland along the Chesapeake Bay and it’s tributaries. Cool, over 150 waterfront destinations! Fill your tank, lets ride!

crab decks too

Listed as the southernmost destination in the Upper Eastern Shore chapter I felt like this would be a first good trip to try out from the book. It wouldn’t be too close but it was a fairly short ride for us. The Sandbar at Rolph’s Wharf in Chestertown is really on the Kingstown side of the Chester River. I wouldn’t call this a tiki bar but it is definitely a sandbar! It’s on a little marina beach at Rolph’s Wharf Marina behind their swimming pool. The ride is a straight shot from Chesapeake City down to Chestertown on Rt 213. Bang a right on Rolph’s Wharf Road and follow it to the wharf. It’s an easy ride!

The Sandbar on the beach in Chestertown

If you want to ride to a casual waterfront bar this is a super cool place! Boaters float right up to the beach in bathing suits and mosey on up to the bar and/or grill area. Their kids and dogs play on the beach in the water while Mom and Dad enjoy a cocktail and lunch. Several bikers will come and go while you’re there. Adirondack chairs with umbrellas line the beach. Picnic tables are spread out on the sand lot and a stage is set up for night time entertainment. The coolest thing about the bar is - it’s really a boat! They converted a boat with a big hole in the bottom into a bar!

Diana at he sandbar

the bar is a boat!

This place is not about the food. They serve steamed shrimp, crab cakes, hot dogs, burgers and other things but the food isn’t that great. I tried my first fried oyster sandwich and Diana got a chicken salad sandwich. My first bite produced a deep fried oyster shell! Both sandwiches were on rolls that were so dry they crumbled apart. The atmosphere and comfortable breeze on the beach was so relaxing we didn’t want to leave even if the food was disappointing. I wouldn’t take anyone here for lunch so it is not good for HOG Chapter rides. But it is a unique destination worth discovering. It’s a great place to ride to if you like to stop for a cold beer and try to chill out on a hot summer day. Definitely an awesome place for boaters!

A Hot Anniversary

Saturday July 7th was our 5th wedding anniversary and the final day of our celebratory Fire on the Mountain Trip. It was supposed to be the hottest day and as expected it was. We had ridden up Skyline Drive and stayed in Winchester, VA overnight thinking that was a pretty good way to stagger this trip and leave the shortest amount of riding for this final day which was sure to be a scorcher. The Travelodge offered a continental breakfast in the lobby. Between the breakfast and the swimming pool this was a decent place to stay and the rates were very affordable.

We started the day by going down to the lobby for bagels and orange juice. The news was on and reporting that with the heat index the temperature would be 104 degrees! For a few bucks we could have just stayed another day and swam in the pool but we usually stick to our plans being the overly organized anal couple we are. So we rode home where there were no more cool mountains and forests to protect us from the heat. We did some expressway (but not Interstate) riding and some back roads, but it was like riding in a convection oven the whole way home.

We stopped at a Dairy Queen just north of Frederick, MD and stayed inside for icy drinks for about 20 minutes enjoying the air conditioning. It was still early and we are not sure if they were officially open for the day but they served us as if they were. Our second stop was the Royal Farms in Gamber, MD and again we stayed inside to enjoy the air conditioning and ate lunch. We stop here so often if feels like a second home away from home. I think we should have also planned our next stop at a place with indoor seating but we stopped at our usual Wawa and stood outside in the blazing heat for our third rest popping inside to use the restroom twice before hitting the rode. I kept wetting myself down in the bathroom using the sink like a bird bath. Diana soaked her doo-rag in the sink and wrapped it around her head still dripping with cold water. We would have been smart to take another rest before reaching home, but being creatures of habit we stuck to our normal resting points, this being the last one. As we got closer and closer to home the feeling that one more minute out there in the heat was going to drive me mad kept increasing.

Somehow we arrived home without suffering heat stroke. We put the bikes away, unpacked and checked in with the cat. She was pissed that we left her for so long, but got over it quickly. We had a great trip, enjoyed celebrating our country’s birthday and our 5th wedding anniversary and were back home… it was a good feeling to be home again. Especially with the air conditioning cranked up!