Fair warning, this post will have some rather off-color language.  We'll start with a short open letter:

Dear automobile drivers,
Please put the cell phone down, pay attention to the road and get the fuck off of my ass.
Signed,
Motorcyclists everywhere.

Maybe it's just me, but it sure seems like car drivers so far this season are much more aggressive than I recall, and 95% of my frustration comes down to tailgating.  I don't get it.  Tailgating gets you nowhere faster.  It never makes the person in front speed up, it only frustrates the person behind and creates a stressful and unsafe situation for everyone involved, so just back the fuck up, or make a pass.  Seriously.

I have three stories so far from this season, all within the last month or so, of where more corrective action than necessary was needed to keep someone from following me too closely.

The first was a twit following me on the ramp between Alt 7 West and I-87 North during rush hour.  For those that don't know, this is a typically a stop and go situation and a jogging-speed bumper to bumper traffic flow on a good day.  This day happened to be a good day, and yet this moron felt it necessary to follow me by, I'd estimate, 6 feet or so.  Too close, even at that speed.  Tap the brake, no response from the driver.  Tap again and actually slow down enough to require them to brake earned me some cushion at first, but she was right back on me shortly after.  It took me having to actually turn my head around behind me, look at her and motion for her to back the fuck off before the ill-fuctioning brain in her head figured out she was having little regard for someone else's life.

The next story is a happier one.  Man and (I assume) wife were behind me on Rt. 4 between Machanicville and Waterford, he was driving a new BMW X5.  That's probably irrelevant but for some reason the type of car he was driving gave me cause to expect differently from him.  Again, he was following me way too closely considering I was still doing 5-10mph over the speed limit.  The only good thing was I had no one in front of me and could take my time slowing to a stop if needed.  I tapped my brake to flash the light at him and he didn't budge.  I then just let off the throttle entirely, slowing at a pace that could not have been mistaken as accidental to about 25mph, and then accelerated back up.  To my surprise, he decided it a good idea to maintain a following distance of something marginally better than minimally acceptable.  I was overjoyed!

The most recent, happening just yesterday, being Monday evening of Memorial Day weekend and heading south on I-87 just past the Twin Bridges, and I had a white Pontiac G6 no better than 5 or 6 feet behind me in 60mph heavily congested traffic.  To make it worse?  Katie was on the bike with me.  Not cool.  Flash the brake light... nothing.  Flash it again... nothing still.  I wanted nothing more than to just get hard on brakes and laugh my ass off as the incredibly dim driver proceeded to shit her pants - BUT - that was just too risky given how close she was and the speeds we were traveling.  In a best-case scenario, she would have slammed into the back of us just as her ill-functioning brain was able to process "Oh SHIT!", and there being any justice in the world, my giant club of a muffler would come crashing through the windshield and sufficiently smash her skull to the point of halting what minimal cognitive activity there may have been going in there, saving countless more lives this shit head will most certainly endanger on the road.  But instead, I turned around, looked right at her and just pointed for a second.  I'm not sure what it was about that, but she backed WAY off.  All I can figure is that I some how was then perceived as a threat to her, and she decided to stay away for her own safety - seriously, she was THAT far away after that.

So that must be the secret - just ride erratically, make threatening gestures and most folks will elect to keep some distance.  I'll give it a shot (seriously, I will), and if that experiment fails, I'll turn to the age old technique of carrying some ball bearings in my pocket and start awarding people the privilege of buying a new windshield.

Nah... I'll just keep doing what I've been doing, and if someone still doesn't get it you can always pull over and let them pass and cross your fingers that natural selection will take care of them down the road somewhere.
 
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Photo Courtesy of MJRPhoto.net
I must apologize for taking SO long to write up a recap on this event, but I have two good excuses:

1) Some of the photos used in this post I had to wait to get from Mike at MJRPhoto.net (be sure to check out his site for a lot more shots), and...

2) I'm lazy.

But, the good news is I'm here now and committed to letting everyone know just how great this event was.

Friday Night

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Group Photo (courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
Friday was the biggest day for folks getting into town.  Bobby and I met in Clifton Park and took the long way up, arriving in Lake George just before dinner time.  While checking into my motel, I saw Dave and the NJ crew rolling in with members from Long Island and the Hudson Valley as well.  We had a quick meet and greet in the parking lot of the Ft. William Henry where we hung up the banner, distributed t-shirts for those who bought them and checked out everyone's bikes.  This would turn out to be a rather small sampling of the number of people who would eventually show up.

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Dinner at King Neptunes (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
After the little schmooze session, it was off to King Neptune's to hang out and get some food and beer, and we all had plenty of both.  We more or less took over the back patio, forcing quiet couples to find someplace else to be all cute and crap.  After the sun went down, and we were still waiting for our food, Dave decided things were a little chilly outside so he carefully constructed a pile of napkins next to his chair and lit them on fire.

While we were there, more and more people strolled in, some expected and some not - one of them being a friend I hadn't seen to spoken to in years whom I knew from working at Gil's Garage when we were in high school and college.  Small world.

Eventually, the last two to show up that night were Rich and Drew, the former being my roommate for the weekend.  They had a late start and refused to take the slab in - kudos to them.

At this point, I walked Bobby back to my room to get his gear which was locked inside.  He lived in Saratoga so wasn't staying over in the Village.  The bar had emptied out and it was just 5 of us left when I took off, and I considered just heading to bed in preparation for the next day, but I decided to go back and have one more beer before calling it a night.

Well, let's just say that Rich was able ensure the night ended with Irish car bombs.  We were a bit hurting the next morning!  Everyone else having left, he and I ended up closing the place that night.

Saturday

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Getting ready to ride (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
Today was about RIDING.  Well, first it was about breakfast with Drew and Rich at the Pancake house, but after that it was about RIDING.  I don't know where everyone came from, but we had a TON of bikes show up Saturday morning, including Hammer and Liz who are more or less Hudson Valley Buelling Royalty.  Everyone kind of walked around and got to know each other for a while and decided on which ride they wanted to do.  In an effort to avoid a massive parade session through the mountains, Dave and I encouraged people to form small groups and ride that way.  We ended up having two separate groups that did the Big Lake Loop (myself leading one, and Dave leading the other) with about 7 or 8 bikes in each.  A little more than I wanted to lead, but we were blessed with having good riders who were ok with doing some miles that day.  I think there were at least another 7 or 8 bikes that did some of the shorter rides, and more still who just decided to hang around town.  Mike and I estimated afterwards that we probably had around 25 bikes show up - not bad!

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Our first gas stop in Ft. Ticonderoga
Everyone seemed to really enjoy the rides on Saturday, my group included, which was good news considering I hadn't pre-ridden any of the routes after making the route sheets.

Despite some slow moving cars and getting us a little lost, we had a great morning with picturesque scenery and fantastic roads.  The route took us through Keene Valley on our way to the summit of Whiteface Mountain, which is some of the prettiest roadside views in the entire Adirondack park.

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Our ride group at a stop just before Whiteface. Not pictured is Drew who took off ahead to test out the range on his communicator, and Mike who took the photo (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
After a quick stop to pee, it was a short 13-mile ride to the summit.  I felt a little guilty that it was a $10 toll to get up to the top, but once there it was clear that it was worth it and the guys seemed to agree.  We actually had caught up to Dave's group here, but wouldn't see them until we were back in town that night.

I have a few good shots from Whiteface, so I'll just put a little gallery here for your viewing pleasure:
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Riding down Whiteface (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
From here we took a quick ride down the mountain and into the next town for lunch at an A&W and a much-needed extended break, but not before Mike hung back to get this great shot of us heading down the mountain.

From here it was a lot of great scenery, slow drivers mixed in among some fantastic roads and a gas stop here and there.  The grand finale of the ride was hitting Rt 8 between Brant Lake and Lake George, and then also having a second shot at Rt 9N into the the village, which was ruined by a slow driver that morning.  Not so this time!

We made it back into town around dinner time after 280 miles or so.  Most of our larger group decided on dinner at the Adirondack Brew Pub, but a smaller group of us elected to get some Pizza at Capri instead and met up with them later.  Turns out this was a good decision as the food and service seemed to be sub-par at the Brew Pub.

But that wasn't going to ruin our day as there was beer to be drunk and crap to give away.  Dave had scored some "sponsorships" for this shindig and had a t-shirt, two gas cards, a battery tender and the banner to give away.

Back to Neptune's for a long-drawn out bullshit session and bragging about stories of awesome rides and fantastic crashes.  It was an earlier night than expected for all, but a fantastic time none-the-less.

Sunday

Sunday was another morning started at the Pancake House, but we managed to have a much larger group this time.  After that we all hung out in the parking lot of the Ft. William Henry long enough to say goodbye and get people set up on good routes to head home.  Everyone had pretty much taken off by noon save for Rich, Drew and I.  We headed back to our room, packed the bikes up and I rode with the two of them through VT into Bennington since it was more or less on my way home, anyway.

Overall, I don't think we could have been happier with how this event turned out.  We had perfect weather, no squids, no wrecks, no tickets (but a close call!), or breakdowns.

I want to give special thanks to those from the Hudson Valley crew to planted the seed for this idea.  Thanks to Dave for doing so much of the legwork on getting the word out and supplying t-shirts, banners and bonfires.  Thank to Mike from MJRPhoto.net for taking time out of his ride to get some really great shots.  Last but not least, a big thanks to everyone who was able to make it and make this a really great time for everyone.

There seemed to be a strong sentiment to do this again next year, so stay tuned!

For now, I need to go scrape all of the bugs off the bike...
 
My mini-vacation in the mountains starts in about 10 minutes.  See everyone up there!
 
I guess my last blog post didn't take, so we'll do this again.

I've made a few updates to the ADK Buell Rally page to reflect some new info.

First, the Friday Night Meet and Greet will be at King Neptune's Pub at 8:30.  See the Rally Page for more info.

Next, I've added route sheets for all but the VT ride as I've heard the roads are pretty beat up there and I don't anticipate anyone trying it.  Please print these out ahead of time for the ones you'd like to do.  I will have some copies with me, but probably not enough for everyone.

Lastly, the meetup to head to Lake George from the Albany area has been pushed to 3:30 with a 4:30 roll out.  Same meeting place, just a new time.

Looking forward to everyone coming up!
 
Bear with me on this post as I'm trying out a new app to be able to do this entirely from my phone...
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Together for the last time...
Last weekend was my last ride on the Buell. I left around 9:00am and headed for Maryland to drop it off to David, the new owner. The first half of the ride was very bittersweet, thinking of all of the memories on the S3T and how much I would miss it.

The second half, however, reminded me of all the reasons I decided to buy the Sprint, haha. I was feeling much better about my decision once I got to my destination, despite any affinity I still have for the Buell.

Once I arrived to David's house, the riding didn't stop. Out of his impressive collection of now 11 motorcycles, among them were three which he so graciously allowed me to sample.

I apologize for the lack of photos, I did take some but they are gone from my phone for some reason.

The first was a Triumph Thruxton - classically cool looking machine that was almost alarmingly heavy-handling, but I'll be damned if the noise that came out of those twin arrow mufflers wasn't a hoot, making the bike a blast to ride.
Next up (I'm doing these out of order intentionally) was likely one of the rarest bikes I've ridden to date - a 1997 Moto Guzzi V1100 Sport. It handles just like what you'd expect a 90's era hand built Italian sportbike should(well, that is), with a tractor of an engine mounted the wrong way, tossing you off the side of the bike every time you blipped the throttle. Totally cool
The last, but certainly not least sampling was David's mint and tastefully carbon-ized Buell S1. I've never ridden a bike that was such a kick to the chest as this one and I loved it. So much, in fact, that at the moment an example of one is the strongest contender for an eventual second bike in my garage. More importantly, it also affirmed in my mind that I like it as a tuber better than my S3, another tid bit that helped to comfort my decision to sell it in the first place.
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Nice toilet paper!
After riding it was a night of Russian beer, home made margaritas, lamb chops, bratwurst and Star Trek. A good and very late night.
The next day was a wake up to blueberry waffles made by David's girlfriend (I always seem to eat well on Buell trips...), some quick goodbyes and off to the airport to get the rental car and drive home. Washington DC, as it turns out, is a giant PITA to get out of if you're heading north. I think my GPS overheated!
So now, with the Buell but a memory taking up the empty space and disconnected battery tender lead in my garage, my attention is turned entirely to the shiny, new bit of English engineering, and I have a few new things for it.
First up is I wired up the GPS to the bike permanently on the switched power source that was originally intended for the factory heated grips.
Next was the install of some GenMar bar risers (I got mine off of eBay). An inch higher doesn't feel like much sitting on the bike, but going down the road it helped with wrist pressure a lot. As an added bonus, it moved my head just enough to get it into smooth air, so I may not need to do anything with the windscreen.
Skipping around a bit, last week I installed my Tank Slapper tank protector - it's as invisible as anything could be and offers much more protection than a typical tank guard. Install took a few tries just to get it positioned well, but the process itself was very easy.
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Look carefully, it's there
The biggest change to the bike was mounting my Givi top case. Yes, it's very ugly, but it's equally as useful in both cargo capacity and a makeshift backrest for the misses. The model I have is a bit dated, but it holds 2 full face helmets or my work laptop perfectly.
Besides that, I did the first service as well as adjusting the throttle and clutch cables which has made shifting and braking much smoother.
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Quick mock up, all geared up for a long trip.
That's all for now - a couple other goodies on the way that I'll post up once I have them.
 
I never imagined this would be so hard.

Yes, I've known all along how attached I am to my Buell and that given the choice I'd rather keep it, but I'm getting way more upset over the though of selling it than I had imagined.

The buyer lives in Maryland and the plan is to ride it down to him tomorrow and rent a car to come home on Sunday.  Today I have been working on the Buell a little - changed the oil, put the tail bag and tank bag on and got the GPS back on it for the trip.  Spending this quality time with it all while knowing that it will soon be gone from my life is really taking its toll on my mood.

I don't know the reason.  I've long said that the S3T has been my most favorite bike; that if I was forced to choose one bike I've already owned to keep for the rest of my life, the S3T would be it without even thinking about it.  Even with the shiny, new Triumph in my garage, I think I still feel that way.  Maybe it's because I popped my REAL long-distance touring cherry with the Buell.  Maybe it's because for whatever intrinsic reason it just has the most personality of any bike I've ridden.  Maybe it's just simply because it's so god damned good looking.  Whatever the reason, I've really bonded with it in the short time I've owned it, and while I know it's just a machine there's a very real and significant attachment to it.

I'm sure this will all be easier, merely a memory once I'm back home and the Sprint is the only bike in my garage - out of sight, out of mind.  But that's of little condolence at the moment.  I know that it's going to a very good home, a genuine Buell and Tuber enthusiast, a guy who buys bikes and pretty much doesn't sell them.  It still doesn't make me feel better about it.

Maybe getting another Buell in the garage will be the ticket - perhaps that X1 Cafe Racer project I've been thinking about?

What it all comes down to is that the Sprint is a better bike in nearly every regard (except weight, lol), but I just haven't bonded with it yet.  Now, I know it's unreasonable to bond with a new bike in the week I've owned it, but that doesn't change where my head is at.  I'm sure some garage time and lots of miles will change that, but until then I'm just going to feel a little empty, I guess.  I suppose I should start planning for lots of both in the coming months.

Or maybe I should just tear up this guy's check and tell him I'm not coming.
 
Well, with a new bike comes the need to make it your own, so why wait.
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First thing's first, the little plastic clips that connected the straps which hold pannier lids from swinging down are junk and let go if you look at them funny, crashing my nice painted sidecase lid into the muffler or the swingarm, depending on which side of the bike you happen to be on.  Neither of, which by the way, are made out of pillow and pixie farts, so a little reminder is left of what happened.  The remedy was a simple one - $1.97 spent at the hardware store to get a pair of those threaded master link chain deals and now I have fail-safe measures to keep those lips where they're supposed to be.

Next up is the tank protector.  I picked up a clear one at the dealership when I bought the bike and while it looked okay there, it looks like hell, now.  It's not sticking well and I know it will get all dirty under there, so off it will be coming in favor of a Tank Slapper unit.  The Tank Slapper uses a clear 3M vinyl, but unlike typical adhesive-backed vinyl, this stuff is actually removable and reusable and costs less.  It will also cover the back and sides of the tank for total protection from belt buckle and legs/knees.

Electrical accessories are the new black it seems, and thankfully Triumph doesn't leave you stranded with options.  There are 4, yes FOUR accessory outlets on the bike for your charging pleasure.  The first is a Powerlet plug behind the side fairing near your left knee which is always on.  The second is a 2-pin plug under the seat which is switched and there are two more 2-pin plugs behind the front fairing, one switched and one not.  The plugs come with a male "blank", so a few bucks spent on pins and grommets and I can make working connectors out of them.  The two switched units will be for my GPS and heated gear controller while the two unswitched plugs will be left alone for now.

Speaking of GPS, I picked up a pretty slick Ram mount ball which will replace one of the clip-on mount bolts and put the screen in the perfect location for me.

And speaking of handlebars, I also picked up a set of GenMar bar risers which will bring things closer by about an inch.  I may keep them on, I may not, won't know until I try it, though.

Last but not least will be installing a Givi mounting plate for my top case.  It's actually kind of a shame - the stock luggage rack is rather nice looking, and I was trying to conjure up ways to keep from covering it up or drilling holes in it, but it's just barely too small to mount the Givi lugs directly to it.  There is a aluminum rack you can get that saves from drilling holes, but it's prohibitively expensive comared to the $60 universal plate that I scored on Craigslist for $15.

I think that's it for now, I'll try to remember to post photos up as I do things for your viewing pleasure.