Godsmack at Sturgis 2010

Guns and Roses at Sturgis 2010

Return to the Forbidden Zone. A Ride to a 50’s style hamburger drive in in the Garden State

Stewarts 1

As previsouly mentioned on this blog my HOG Chapter doesn’t go into New Jersey frequently even though it’s just over the Delaware Memorial Bridge (5 minutes from our sponsoring dealership). We mostly ride in our other two neighboring states of Maryland and Pennsylvania. I was scheduled to lead a chapter ride on Sunday June, 13th and wanted to do something different so I went back to The New Jersey Project. This time I would venture into Southern Jersey. You think of Jersey as being a northern state but the very tip of Cape May is just a shade north of Covington Kentucky. The Jersey Shore is about even in latitude with Wheeling West Virginia and is below the Mason-Dixon line.

I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do but eventually a two phase plan crystalized. Phase one would be to ride from Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson in New Castle Delaware to the Cross Keys Drive In in Williamstown, New Jersey. The Cross Keys Drive In was a Stewart’s Drive In from 1961 to 2008. It is an open air hamburger and root beer stand only open in the summer. They still serve Stewart’s Root Beer and you can get it in a frosty glass mug. There are 60 Stewarts locations and 38 of them are in New Jersey even though they started out in Ohio. Click this link to see more Stewart’s Drive Ins. They are really cool looking so click the link.

Stewarts 2

Stewarts 3

Stewarts 4

The ride from Delaware to the Black Horse Pike in Williamstown is easy and I know it well thanks to a former weekend job I had where I would drive there once a week to pick up an exotic dancer and drive her to her Saturday night jobs. From Delaware you cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge into New Jersey and get on the New Jersey Turnpike. You get off on exit 2 and follow Rt 322 East. From 322 take a left onto Rt 42 which is the Black Horse Pike. Keep an eye out for it on the right side. The Black Horse Pike is a busy divided highway so as we got close to the drive in we pulled the group into single file formation and just before the parking lot entrance we all pulled onto the shoulder out of traffic and then into the parking lot. I think of the shoulder as a motorcycle only turn lane. That way you don’t have a group of bikes all of a sudden come to a crawl on a busy roadway as everyone slows down to make the turn into a parking lot.

Phase two was derived from the travel books I bought last year about New Jersey backroads. Back Roads New Jersey features a chapter on Rt 553 and 555. Backroads of New Jersey features a twenty nine scenic routes and #29 seemed to work for me. I could take Rt 555 from Williamstown to hook up with the route in the book. After preriding the route I had to change it just a little to avoid going through the downtown Vineland.

From 555 South we took a right on 540 West. It is possible to simplify this route and follow 540 all the way to 49 and 49 into Pennsville and then cross back into Delaware but that’s not exactly the route we took. Route 555 and 540 will take you through one of the nations premier agricultural areas and the reason for New Jersey’s namesake of the Garden State. This area spawned three food related inventions that changed the way the world eats.

In 1858 Vineland’s John Mason invented the Mason Jar which created a vacuum in the jar giving cooked and pickled food a longer a seemingly infinite shelf life. In 1869 a Methodist minister from Vineland named Reverand A. K. Street asked Thomas Welch if he could produce a grape based substitute for wine to be used for communions instead of wine. He wasn’t keen on serving alcohol. Welch was a dentist and grape growing hobbyist. Welch gave up dentistry and developed a way to bottle the grape juice to keep it fresh for long distance shipping to churches south of Jersey. In 1896 Welch and his son Charles began a national advertising campagne to bring their grape juice from the church to the kitchen of all American households. Welches moved to New York and expanded the product line to include jellies and as they say the rest is history.

At about the same time Arthur Seabrook built a fifty-seven acre farm and sold produce throughot the Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York markets. He also had a son named Charles who took over the family business in 1912. At that time they had grown to a three thousand acre operation with a cannery and a cold storage plant. Seabrook helped Clearance Birseye refine the process for quick freezing vegetable and thus frozen food was available to consumers.

This area became a target during the revolutionary war because of it’s rich farmlands. The Americans would raid the farms for supplies to carry them through the war in Valley Forge. The British thought the farmers were aiding the Americans and they sent a party of their own soldiers which resulted in the battle of Quinton’s Bridge with forty American casualties. Three days later the British stormed the home of Loyalist William Hancock and bayoneted twenty militiamen who had taken the house and were sleeping there. The brick house is a state historic site and we passed it on our route. I have previosuly visited it on another chapter ride several years ago.

Before Rt 540 intersects with Rt 77 you can bear left onto Rt 711 and travel down a rural farm road that goes through a Rutgars University Agricultural center. There is an intersection that you zig zag on to stay on Rt 711 and then it will end at Rt 77. Take a left on Rt 77 South. Rt 77 will take you down into Bridgeton where you can take a right on Rt 49 West. Again, you could cut this ride short and follow Rt 49 to the Bridge, but we have more fun in store.

While traveling West on 49 you have to keep an eye out for a left hand turn toward Hammersville. This is Rt 667 but I don’t think there is a sign saying so. This is truly a backroad and I wouldn’t believe you if you told me you saw a car on this road. Again you are traveling through farmland. Rt 667 becomes 658. Follow 658 through Salem. Salem is run down. I was talking to a biker from New Jersey back in the Mike’s Famous parking lot and he advised me to not stop in Salem. At the time I had never been to Salem and wasn’t sure what he meant. When I rode through and saw the run down condition of some of the homes I got the picture. As you travel through this region the landscape changes from farmland to marshy coastal plains. We took a left on Rt 630 which takes you to Finn’s Point National Cemetary and Fort Mott. Fort Mott is really cool and I recommend you take the walking tour and check it out. The view of the Delaware River is cool and there is a great picnic area complete with bathrooms and a playground.

Fort Mott 1

Fort mott 2

Fort Mott 4

Fort Mott 6

Fort mott 7

Fort Mott 5

Fort Mott 8

The Forbidden Zone Staff

This location is a very strategic point to protect the harbors up the Delaware River. At this location the river narrows and there is an island in the middle. Fort Mott is part of a three fort system that was designed to protect the river from invasion. There is Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island in the middle of the river and Fort DuPont in Delaware City on the Delaware side of the river.

Fort Mott 10

Fort Mott 11

Fort mott 12

Fort Mott 13

From Fort Mott take Rt 630 out but bear right onto 632 and follow that back to Rt 49. Take a left on Rt 49 and then bear right on Rt 551 South Hook Road. South Hook will become North Hook and leads you to Interstate 295. Take 295 South and be careful as you merge with highway traffic, especially if you are with a group of bikes. Interstate 295 South will put you on the Delaware Memorial Bridge. We always use the right hand toll booths because hardle anyone else uses the right side. That has got to be the longest row of toll booths of any road I have ever seen. There must be twenty of them. Once you get throught the toll you do have to battle your way back across to the left lanes to get on 95 South. That takes us home!

Heading Home from Fort Mott

American Custom Tone Flex System For Harley-Davidson Exhaust

This is an interesting product that appeals to me. First off it is a modification to the stock exhaust pipes so it is cost effective and it will appear to the authorities that your motorcycle is still equipped with the stock exhaust system that meets EPA standards. Secondly it is adjustable. You can change it from the full baffle system that is equivalent to stock sound, to a medium baffle system that adds a little rumble to completely removing the baffles for full thunder sound from stock pipes. Very convenient for switching back to stock sound before a DMV inspection. The company appears very customer friendly. You can order your tone flex system and send them your pipes for a core exchange/credit after you install your new ones leaving you with zero down time. If you prefer, you can send them your pipes and wait for them to come back with the tone flex modification. Full satisfaction guarantee. If you find this interesting check out their website at www.AmericanCustom.com

Rock N’ Rev Festival at Sturgis 2010

Chrome vs Skill

After having spent the majority of my weekend helping park bikes for a large dealership event at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson I have come to the following conclusion: Hundreds of motorcyclists own amazing machines but they don’t know how to ride worth a damn! They should have their motorcycles taken away! I am amazed at the lack of riding skill demonstrated by the motorcycle riding public. The majority of bikers need to learn how to maneuver their motorcycles at slow speed. Any novice can ride a motorcycle in a straight line at highway speed. Unfortunately many so called seasoned riders haven’t developed the skill to do much more than that.

My HOG Chapter provided the volunteers who directed riders into a grass field where they were to park their motorcycles for Mike’s Famous Biker Weekend on July 16th -18th in New Castle, DE. There were a variety of bikes including some sport bikes. Most motorcycles were Harley-Davidsons. Riders of every denomination on every type of motorcycle demonstrated poor parking lot skills! I would say less than ten percent knew how to handle their bikes properly! Young ladies on powerful sport bikes seemed to be the least able to control the friction zone. The old guys were just plain scarey. I don’t know how they have been riding for so long. One old timer told me indignently that his Sportster wasn’t a dirt bike! If you can’t make a tight hairpin turn, swerve or stop your motorcycle in an emergency you should stay home and practice until you can. Your life depends on it! Furthermore you should be able to ride on a variety of terrain such as wet pavement, gravel and soft grass.

The fastest way for you to gain the skills I speak of is to order the Ride Like A Pro V training DVD and practice the skills demonstrated on this fantastic learning tool. You can order the Ride Like A Pro DVD’s and the new book at www.Shop.RoadCaptainUSA.com

I hope that someday we stop seeing riders wobble in and out of parking lots with their legs and feet all spread out like airplane landing gear. Please take some of that money you plan on using for chrome this year and put it aside for a MSF Rider course or other training tools such as the above mentioned DVD. The Ride Like A Pro DVD costs $29.95 plus $2.95 S&H. Click the below button to purchase using PayPal.