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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

But Before We Go (to OBX), How 'Bout a Tax Weekend Ride?!

I was just sitting there minding my own business, daydreaming about the ride to OBX Bike Week on April 21, and out of the blue Denise sent around a last-minute email to see who wanted to get together for a little ride, destination unknown.

Hey, I'm always up for a "destination unknown" event, so I signed up along with a few other willing participants. After a flurry of messages, and a little route suggestion work by Chip, we agreed to meet at Battley's Harley Davidson, in Gaithersburg, Maryland for a starting point, with the general idea of heading into West Virginia and from there, south into Virginia.

Charlie and Linda were down in Roanoke, Virginia, at the Blue Ridge Bike Fest and tried to entice me into dragging everyone down there at some point, but that would have meant an overnighter. I decided to let Charlie judge the BRBF bikini contest all by himself. He's up to the task, Linda assures me, never missing a key detail.

Some of the bikes at Battley's...That's my new Big Blue in the front!

And the lineup: Sol, Chip, Loretta, Paul, Denise, & Chuck. Jeff was still shopping and missed the photo op.

And off we went...

From Gaithersburg we hit 270, Northbound, but ran into yet another DC traffic jam, so we detoured onto much more scenic Rt 355 into Frederick before turning west.

Monocacy River

Cowboy, flirting with the girl right alongside in traffic. And busted by Denise...she's fast on the camera!

Chip and Denise, aka Runway Model

...and to 340 southwest which got us into Charles Town, West Virginia. Or more accurately, to Longshot's Billiards where the crowd consisted almost entirely of us. Somehow, Longshot's wasn't the high point for the trip, and seems to have escaped being caught on film, and if you know Denise, that's a small miracle. Not even a Potty Shot to prove we were there. 

Away we went, heading south to Winchester, Virginia. This entire area is just one big Civil War historical site, and every crossroad seems to have a historical marker of a battle. If you're a buff, riding in this area, you'll be constantly distracted and wanting to stop along the way. I highly recommend it. That makes for a great day of riding too. I've done it many, many times.

Crossing the Potomac on Rt 340 near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. That's me on the left riding Big Blue.

Winchester! We're holding up mail delivery and traffic hamming it up for the pictures!

Jeff and Loretta, on the center bike


Like a homing pigeon, Chip got us to Piccadilly's Pub in WIhchester for beverages. Turns out this was a great biker hangout, and a good choice. As this day, and the next, unfolded, it also turns out that Chip knows the precise location of every biker-friendly bar in the civilized world. He could easily write a book on the subject. 

Piccadilly's: The stories are just getting good...

Cowboy and Loretta!


Chuck and Paul, telling lies......

....and more lies. Jeff, Chuck and Paul go back 40 years!

Sol...with "the look". He's zeroed in on something. A woman or food....

Cowboy, being instructed on how to use a SmartPhone.....Or playing dumb.

Group shot, and my favorite photo of the weekend....

From Piccadily's we made a management decision, and decided against running further west, instead trusting Chip's homing instincts to get us to Payne's Biker Bar in Leesburg, Virginia...And away we went. Chuck split off near Leesburg, riding the Grape (his Fat Boy) home to see his day-old granddaughter! Congratulations to Mom, Daughter, and Grandpop!

Payne's. Somehow, I never knew the place existed. I was definitely missing out on some fun!

Payne's is a TOTALLY cool bar. I'm mildly embarrassed to say that in all my years of riding and living in the area, I never knew it existed. The frickin' floors probably date back to the Civil War! Hell, this was probably a hangout for an 1%-er outlaw horse club in the pre-motorcycle era. Veterans of Col. Mosby's crew, maybe.

We hung out there for a while, laughing it up and Loretta resisted all efforts to have her picture taken on, or near, the pole. At least not while standing. There was even money raised to help her with the decision and she turned it down flat. Now ya gotta admire that kind of resolve! I'm here to tell ya, there was no room for negotiations in that "no". She wasn't budging.

Loretta again, and this is absolutely the closest I could get her to that pole. 

And back home. We split up, with Sol and I running back into DC and the rest of the crew heading back across the Potomac via White's Ferry, to the Maryland 'burbs. But we didn't get away without agreeing to meet for a rematch the next day....We just had to do it again.

Sunday, 4/15

We decided on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge area for the Sunday ride...The weather was unseasonably warm....mid-80s in the waterfront seemed like the perfect backdrop for a day on a Harley. We met at Annapolis Harley Davidson, and started the ride from there. I rode my Softail Custom Sunday, giving Big Blue a rest.

Right about here, it's appropriate to mention that two other crews I ride with were also going into the same general area, maybe hitting some of the same spots we'd stop at. Timing was uncertain, but it seemed like a great idea to get three different crews together for some laughs. Then I had a moment of clarity, remembering that the aforementioned three crews were BIKERS! Getting three groups in one place at one time would prove to be near impossible, so I forgot about it, deciding to have a good, stress-free day instead.

So off we went, sans Loretta, but with a couple other riders, Arron and Tim. Now these two guys ain't nearly as cute, but she couldn't be persuaded so...... And we still had Denise!

The rest of this post is just a collection of pix...they speak for themselves. All I can add is that is was a great day, and if you look at the route map at the very end, you can see the territory we covered. 372 miles of fun for me on Saturday and Sunday, and a great warmup for OBX. Did I mention it's even more fun on a Harley? And with some really great people? No? I should have...I have some awesome friends. If you don't have friends like mine, I think you oughta go out right now and find yourself some...

On the road...probably on Rt 2

Rt 2 Running south towards Galesville, MD. That's me, on the left.

Thursday's for Seafood and Drinks! in Galesville:

I ordered a crab cake from Thursday's and got a HUGE crab ball...

Chip and Denise

I got in on it...


Donna, our barmaid. I'm sure I have a picture of her face somewhere.......

Tying up the boat...The subject of much discussion at the bar....

Sol and Tim!

Apehangers was next, which was a solid hour ride from Thursday's. During some of this leg, Chip pushed the average speed up a few extra notches. Sol reported he had to run 90mph to catch up dropping a little behind!

ApeHangers Bar, Bel Alton, Maryland

Just a word or two about ApeHangers. It's one of the few bars where there's actually steps so the girls don't climb up on the barstools to dance on the bar. And there's a horizontal rail up top so they have something to hold onto. Now if you're wondering if this is a fun bar, just stop reading and pick up Better Homes & Gardens.

And then a little further south to Newburg, Maryland to Gilligan's Pier and Tiki Hut! This place is crawling with bikes, street rods, and cigarette boats tied up to the pier. The place runs on hi-test, 100 octane, just like everyone who goes there. Awesome scenery too!

Gilligan's Pier

Sunday Group Shot

Chip and Jeff, with sore fingers....

The crew again...that's Sol's Sporty.

The weekend route....372 miles for me, and one hell of a ride. 

And from Newburg, a nice hour ride back to Alexandria, Virginia. Sunburned face, and a smile that lasted until....well, hell, I still have it!

OBX next for me....stay tuned.


PS I just read over this post, and it's a little choppy, far from being a literary masterpiece, but I'm publishing anyway. I'm sure even Steinbeck took a few shortcuts, right? If not, fuck it, he should have...