Angelo and I, along with our friends Joel, Ival and Chet used to do Americade every year.  I use that term loosely.  We did it roughly 3 years in a row from 2006-2008.  The first year was an absolute blast, but the fun factor dropped off each additional year due to persistent poor weather, the chore of riding among large groups of riders (droves of old dudes on big touring bikes in twisty bits are not fun) and generally just getting a little burnt out on the whole thing.
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Joel and Angelo heading out on some Harley Demos at Americade 2008.
2008 was a record low.  The weather was the coldest, cloudiest and rainiest we ever had.  Aside from going to the vendors (big whoop) and going on the boat cruise (bad food, out in the cold and waaaay too long), there was nothing we did that we even had to pay for. We did the Harley demos which are open to the public and started an un-guided tour through VT, but Joel had an unfortunate get off and broke some bones.  With him in the hospital, it put a damper on the rest of the week (Thankfully Joel has healed up great and is riding again).  As a group, after this last year and deciding that there wasn't much any good, we began organizing private group rallies in places like Joel and Ival's cabin in Southeast Ohio, the Finger Lakes in NY and the Catskill mountains.  They've been fun, and the riding much better, but I think we're all starting to get a little sad sap about the "good ol' days" of Americade, mixing with lots of new people and taking advantage of some of the events Americade has to offer.  Joel has recently sent out an e-mail asking how we feel about it.  Originally I was mostly opposed, but after more thought, talking it over with Angelo and perusing the website, it seems this is an event we'd all like to give another shot at.  As long as the weather can hold out, I think we should make out just fine.

For those that don't know, Americade is largest touring rally going.  Now, we all know how I feel about "touring" bikes, and that is a drawback of this event, but luckily it's only when riding in groups.  Stay away from that and you're golden.

Probably the biggest draw for us is the demo rides.  Americade brings in a slew of manufacturers which offer demo rides on all kinds of bikes, not just touring barges.  I've taken demos on a V-Strom 1000, M109R (which I had totally sideways, talk about an overactive rear brake), Honda VFR800, BMW R1200S, Ninja ZX10R as well as others, I'm sure.  And when you're not riding, you're free to sit on whatever you'd like and generally BS about bikes and riding.

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Angelo and I at a stop off during an un-guided tour in 2007.
Another nice thing about Americade is the un-guided and self-guided tours.  By choosing these, you're able to stay out of the big groups and the typical parade-pace of the ride and enjoy the roads and scenery on your own schedule.  The only part you need to plan for is that the un-guided tours include a lunch stop with door prizes and other "fluff", but the food is generally good and gives you a chance to mix with other riders and check out some bikes so they're worth doing.

The last big plus is the seminars - This year Lee Parks will be there and I look forward to hearing what he has to say.  Vendors, despite my snide comment above, are actually pretty good and with one of the locations being indoors offers a good place to be if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Sprinkle in some random door prizes, bike shows, good meals with good friends and I think we can make this a good event using what we've learned from past experience.  Another improvement over previous years is the inclusion of an "al la carte" package, which essentially includes everything in the full admission except the miserable boat cruise and knocks almost $30 off the price of admission.  It's like getting an un-guided tour for free.

If we do this, I'm sure it will happen in a similar manner to past years where Joel, Ival and Chet will get a room near the Lake George area while Angelo and I will ride up each morning the 40-50 miles.

Americade 2012 is June 5-9 and preregistation starts Feb 1.

 
We've had an unseasonably warm winter so for in the Northeast (figures that I don't have a bike in commission to use right now), and although we haven't had any snowfall that has lasted more than a day or two here, morning dustings are getting more and more common and I'd expect that February is going to hammer us.  I'm sure mother nature is all pent up at this point.

I already ride all year here in New York when bike function and road conditions allow, but I've been giving thought to being able to ride in all weather for some time now.  I know it's not for everyone, but suiting up and heading to work in a snow storm on a 2WD Ural sounds like a blast to me.  Or perhaps find a set of studded snow tires for a Can Am Spyder.  I'd barely be able to justify owning a car anymore.  Bliss.

Alas, I'm sure it is not to happen for a number of reasons.  For starters, I'm not sure that my wallet or my garage will have the capacity for a slippery surface-capable machine for sometime.  More importantly, my lovely girlfriend has made it quite clear that there's no damn way in hell she's getting in a sidecar, much less when it's freezing cold out and snowing.

Oh well.  I can dream.  In the meantime, I'll just watch videos like this one while the snows falls outside my window:
Feel free to hang around the site a bit - I've added some verbiage around the Choosing the Right Bike section.  Still a work in progress but at least there's some pretty pictures.
 
I'm trying not to go more than a day or two without a blog post or at least adding some content to the site, so with that in mind I have three, yes three, bits of news for you guys.

A) I finally (has it been long enough to say "finally"?) purchased my own domain name.  This site now lives at www.allseasonrider.com , so update your RSS feeds, favorites or whatever.  If you're too lazy to do either of these things, don't fret - if you try to access the old website, it will automatically forward you here. Expect a nice and tidy new contact email address as well, something along the lines of yourmom@allseasonrider.com.

2) Content-wise, I've a little something to keep you busy looking through some of my old track day photos. I haven't had the ability to do a track day in quite a while but the photos are good none-the-less.

B) I had my meeting today with the owner of a local riding school to discuss being brought on as an MSF Rider Coach.  The trek to get this certification will be long but I think rewarding.  The next step is to audit a class to be sure I like it and then I can start an internship to work towards my certification.  As expected, I'll make updates here as to my progress for those that give a rat's.
 
Alright, folks, you're getting TWO posts today!  I know, I can't believe the luck, either.

The reason for this is an incredible new product I just caught wind of (I admit I'm a little behind the times...).  The product is from Ross Nanotechnologies and it is a superhydrophobic coating - and if you can believe  it, I didn't make that word up.  The product is being called "NeverWet".  Rather than try to explain what it means and it can do, let's have this video do the hard work for me:
As you can see, if this stuff lives up to the hype, we're looking at something that will revolutionize nearly every industry I can think of - I'll let your imagination run wild with ways it can prevent corrosion, icing, staining, and more on just about any surface, it seems.

But what we're always interested in is the possible (probable?) motorcycle applications.  Think of a bike that never gets dirty or muddy, or that can be cleaned to a shine with just water and requires no dry time.  Raw aluminum will never corrode or need to be polished on a regular basis.

Even better, think of the gear applications.  ANYTHING with a waterproof zipper can be essentially waterproof - soft bags, jackets (leather or textile), boots, etc.  Spray some on your helmet visor to keep it from fogging up and to keep road mist from limiting your visibility.  The possibilities here are just endless and I'm looking forward to what comes of this.  Check more videos of NeverWet in action.

They say that NeverWet should be available to consumers early this year.
 
With my 1125 lacking any kind of wind protection and my S3T halfway taken apart in my garage, I've not been getting too much riding in this winter, which is a shame given how warm the winter has been so far.

But fear not - luckily for me I live on a street full of gear heads and one of my neighbors just picked up a 2009 Kawasaki KLR 650 for a song.  1,700 miles and even has a new set of beefy knobbies on it.

I was surprised when he hopped off and handed me the bike to run up and down the street some - I was not surprised that I took him up on it.  No gloves, no jacket, no helmet.  Love it.  (kids, don't try this at home).

It felt incredibly light and a little too "tippy" for my taste, but then again I haven't ridden a dirt bike since I was 14 or 15.  As gutless as it was, it should have plenty of power for the trails and can even hold a good highway pace if you want to cover some distance to find the real good dirt.

They are also easily farkeled to all hell, which I'm sure the owner will be doing.  That is, if he decides he likes it.  This guy goes through toys like no one else I know and it's perfectly conceivable that this bike will be gone before spring.

He told me I'm welcome to borrow it any time - I may do just that sometime just to see how it does on more than my street.  All I know is it felt good to hop on something and run it through the gears, and it has me thinking about something new for the stable... Maybe that Ural Patrol will show up sooner than anticipated...

In other news, I think since the last time I've posted I've added a few pages to The Fleet for some of the other bikes I've owned, if anyone is interested.  Also, you may be seeing some ads on the pages as well - my goal with these is to make only enough money to cover the expense of buying my own domain name in the near future, not to get rich.  With that in mind, I'm trying to keep them as subtle as is reasonable and not appear too "spammy".  If anything has a spam-tastic feel about it, please let me know and I'll adjust it.
 
Always with the new content!  I've just finished adding a new page in Ride Reports for some old Americade photos from when Angelo and I used to take the whole week off from work to attend along with Joel, Ival and Chet.  Those days are past us now, but the memories live on and the spirit of the event in our own home-brew bastardized events such as Angelocade and Ohiocade (photo albums coming soon).

Enjoy.

Oh, and in other news, I may have an opportunity to become an MSF-certified rider coach - details to follow!
 
see my gallery for more photos
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Poughkeepsie Train Station
Driving 65 miles to the train station at 4:30am in a snow storm doesn't sound like a great idea, but it was necessary in order to get to New York City on a reasonable budget for the day.  Minus the fact that we're in the middle of drunk-driver prime time, I was navigating the slippery snow covered roads while dodging deer which would think nothing of getting all up in my grill in a rear-wheel drive sports car.  I've gathered that you've already assumed that just by reading this I made it safe and sound, and you'd be right.

I got to the train station with plenty of time to spare.  From here it was an uneventful ride to Grand Central Terminal as the sun rose over the Hudson Valley.  A 30-minute brisk walk in the snow through Manhattan over to Javits completed the commute to the show.

Now, as this post is rather lengthly, I've used my fancy-schmancy newbie blog-writing prowess to put this little "read more" link right here, so if you want to read on, click it and you'll be as happy as a clam.

 
I've finished my entries for my 2010 road trip, so you can read the story start to finish now.

I also added pages in The Fleet which cover my 2002 Buell S3T and my previously owned 1964 Sportster.

If you see any typos or error, shoot me an email and let me know.

Now it's time for some shut eye - early to rise to tomorrow for the NYC motorcycle show.
 
Nothing of any real substance to post blog-wise, but thought it prudent to share that I'm working on expanding the site a bit.  Currently in progress, I'm updating the new Ride Reports section.  There you'll find an artsy fartsy little essay I wrote last year that may make some of you question my sexual orientation, as well an in-progress report on my coast-to-coast trip I took in 2010.  I'll be finishing that and adding more rides in the days and weeks to come.

I've also included a new section called The Fleet, which now contains a lack-luster listing of all of the bike's I've owned and which I hope to eventually have photos and backgrounds on each.

If you think I might have something you want, check out my personal classifieds section.  I don't expect for this page to stick around but we'll try it out and see how it goes.

Eventually I'd like to also add some pages where I can share my 2 cents on motorcycle touring, try to make a journey of any distance or duration more enjoyable for you, and generally envelop myself in my own narcissism while I pretend anyone actually gives a hell about what I have to say about anything.

Something you can surely expect in the near future is my coverage of the International Motorcycle Show in New York City this weekend.  Expect lots of photos and opinions on new models.

Until then...
 
You think I'm joking.  I spent last night watching the The World's Fastest Indian while giving all of my leathers a good rub down.

For those of us living north of the Mason Dixon, there are at least a couple of months where it's too cold, too windy or too damn snowy to ride with any regularity.  If you're anything like me, it only takes a few weeks of purely relying on 4-wheeled methods of transportation before you find yourself sitting on the bike in the garage and spitting all over yourself trying to make engine noises like a toddler.  Time to do something productive.

Leather.  You look good in it.  She looks really good in it.  And... it saves your ass.  It also goes bad if you don't take care of it.  So do yourself and your skin a favor and give it some needed attention during the off-season.

There are exactly 47 gazillion different products you can use on your leather (I know, coincidence, right?).  Pick one that looks good and use it, this isn't rocket science.  Most types will offer some level of waterproofness, some might renew the color or give it a nice strawberry scent, but what they'll all do give your leather some softness and subtleness back.  If left to its own devices, your second set of skins will dry out and crumple into something your girlfriend's cat will find purr-fectly soft and absorbent.  Not a fitting fate for your ol' buddy that prevents you from getting a skin graft after showing off in the canyons a little too much.

The bottom line is you've got nothing better to do (otherwise you wouldn't be reading this drivel), so go get yourself some leather lotion and get rub-a-dub'in.  Just don't let your wife catch you.