Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2020 by Pat Regan

Grinning uncontrollably behind my Covid protection, I entered this immense space. The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum draws you into an environment for the purpose of showcasing vintage machines. It is massive with open air between the basement and the highest ceiling 6 floors above. Between are balconies, catwalks and ramps serpentining between each floor. And everywhere are motorcycles. Amazing!

It’s overwhelming as you take it all in as a whole. They recommended taking the elevator to the top and winding your way down. The elevator is the centerpiece between four columns of motorcycles that you pass as you travel upward. And beyond the pillars of bikes is the entire history of motorsports. It was seemingly endless.

After the journey of ascending beauty, you are greeted at the top floor by one magnificent bike after another.

It’s fairly obvious that visiting this museum is a commitment. If you come here, be prepared to spend some good slow paced time winding around each display. 

From some of the earliest motorbikes, like this steam powered machine above to my personal favorite, the Brough Superior (below), this museum is a two wheel festival for the eyes!

Meanwhile, just outside the window is a racetrack where Porshes whip past around sharp curves. The roaring engines add a nice soundtrack to the whole experience.

It’s almost too much. Like visiting the Louvre, one can become desensitized to the individual works because of the sheer quantity of pieces. Each one of them would stop you in your tracks if you saw them anywhere else in the world. Being aware of this, and the fact that I may not get back here anytime soon, I made sure to savor all of it.

And so I will leave the rest up to you. I am posting all the photos I took.

It is just one phenomenal machine after another. They are all mint. Each one begging you to find a flaw. Everything here is clean and pristine. This place has everything. It was a genuine pleasure to be here. And there is a nice selection of Triumphs throughout.

That’s pretty much all I have to say. Let the photos do the talking. It was stupendous!

 

  

 

 

 

To wrap up this fine day some beautiful cars were served up like a digestif at the end of a monumental meal of magnificent machinery. Delicious!

New England

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2020 by Pat Regan

Labor Day was approaching and as usual I was planning for what was to come. The planning was a bit different this time. For 28 years I would be planning for the first day of school. This time I was planning a road trip. Though it still feels like I’m just skipping school, I have retired as a school teacher.

I decided I would head north. Though it’s a lot closer than many of my other adventures, I haven’t ridden much in New England. I marked some spots on my maps, chose a couple campsite locations, and headed upstate.

I crossed the Hudson River on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge between Catskill and Hudson, NY.

I stopped at a local farm for some freshly picked apples and corn on the cob.

Then I was off to Taconic State Park for a couple nights of camping. I assume by this diner sign that Taconic is derivative of this other spelling.

The campsite was thick with tall pines.

I cooked the corn over the fire and spotted a millipede spiraling on the picnic table.

The next morning I was off to the Norman Rockwell Museum. The museum was across the state border in Massachusetts.

It was great to be out of the city. A nice twisty road ran along this river on the way to the museum.

Inside the museum was an amazing collection of Norman Rockwell’s work. Making it more awesome was that I got in for free with my teacher ID. Shhhh. I told them I was just skipping school that day.

Downstairs they have a large room with all the covers from the Saturday Evening Post on three walls to look at as a short documentary about Rockwell’s life plays on the fourth wall.

My previous understanding of Norman Rockwell was that he was an illustrator that worked in watercolors. How wrong I was. Here on the walls of the museum were these amazing textured oil paintings. Look at the detail and brush strokes in the original painting below as seen in the above cover.

His self portrait is incredible. Below is a cropping of the full painting. The Dürer, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Van Gogh self portraits are small yet detailed along with the 7 self portraits of himself. Look at his glass balancing on the tilted book with the level liquid. It’s great!

The museum curator approached as I was looking at Rockwell’s Family Tree. She said the boy on top representing young Norman was actually a local boy who modeled for many paintings. And that he wasn’t a red head at all. She also mentioned the the male model used in the painting was the same man representing most of the men in the painting. She pointed out the thick bridge in his nose. That same male model is even the woman next to Rockwell’s self portrait as a clergyman. She also said that Rockwell was given grief about his choice for his founding father. He was asked, “Why didn’t you make the founding father a pilgrim?” He replied, “I prefer pirates.”

The details and manner in which Norman Rockwell captured this period of time and local lifestyle is remarkable. And as masterful as he was at capturing the fine details of each setting with his brushstrokes, it is the interactions and everyday experiences between the people that command a viewer’s emotional reaction.

I found myself smiling uncontrollably as I went from room to room looking at these fantastic paintings.

It was a great collection by a fine artist. I really grew to appreciate Norman Rockwell much more than I expected. Also on the grounds of the museum is Norman Rockwell’s studio. Unfortunately, due to COVID the studio was closed to the public.

Norman had sons that were also artists. There are a few surreal sculptures by his son Peter on display around the museum.

I rode to the nearby town of Stockbridge where Norman Rockwell’s family lived.

The town was much as it was when Rockwell lived here. You can see the two buildings behind my motorcycle in the painting below.

Most if not all of the buildings from the painting are still there. The curator also told me that the house on the far right side of the painting was the Rockwell home although it was not located next to the large white Inn. It was further down the street.

Many of the houses in this area dated back to the 1700’s.

On the way back toward New York I passed the childhood home of W.E.B. Du Bois.

I took Route 23 toward Hudson. A crazy splash of color blasted by to my right. I flew right past it but turned around to investigate.

The aisles within were crammed with colorful clutter. The lady inside told me menswear was upstairs. I said, thanks but I gotta go!

This old abandoned grain mill was huge. Red Mills Flour, Feed & Grain. It must be cool inside.

Then I arrived in Hudson. I was hoping to check out some paintings by Charlotta Janssen. I really like her work. She did a great series of the Freedom Riders that are on display at the Hudson Milliner. The combination of collaged historic text and imagery intertwined with a painted palette representative of patinated metals of the past, highlight her strong stylized portraits of these heroic individuals. Unfortunately, the gallery was closed, but even peeking through the window was a pleasure.

I stopped by a very cool motorcycle/coffee shop called MOTO, also in Hudson. It’s a good garage for gear and grub.

The next day I rode through Massachusetts on my way to Vermont.

Imagine a time when the people revolted in peaceful protest against their government. They surrounded the courthouse in town. In response, the government ended up sending in Federal troops to quell the “riots”. No, I’m not talking about Portland, Oregon. I am talking about Shay’s Rebellion back in 1787. Back then things got ugly and this was the site of the last battle.

The whole thing occurred because Massachusetts was charging more taxes than the British had. What was the point of fighting the British in the Revolution if the colonists would end up paying more in taxes to their local governments? This debacle resulted in a rethinking about the rights and power of states and of a unified federal government, leading to the creation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Right next to the monument was a parking spot on the Appalachian Trail. I hiked that trail for 4 days in New Jersey with no tent back in the 80’s. It rained like hell and I slept in an abandoned copper mine near the Delaware Water Gap. Fun. The trail runs from Georgia to Maine.

As Route 41 ended at Route 20, I saw a Shaker Village to my left. It wasn’t planned but this cool round building attracted me to pull in and have a look. The place turned out to be closed. A lady told me I could walk up to a rope fence to take a photo if I wanted. I did. Here it is. There were signs and instructions for tour busses in the parking lot so I guess this place fills up when it’s open.

I rode on up toward Vermont. I stopped one more time in Massachusetts to check my maps in front of this reconstructed 1753 house.

Now in Vermont there was a noticeable change in temperature, but a real nice ride up historic Route 7A.

Moose crossing can be something to be aware of when you get into Vermont. If you have ever seen a moose hop up on the road, it is quite a sight! I saw one in Idaho once and I pulled to the side of the road. Later, when I told a guy at a bar about my experience, he hollered, “You don’t pull over when you see a moose on the road, you just ride underneath ’em!”

Besides the chill in the air, another sign that Summer had come to an end was scattered about in front of a farm to my right. Pumpkins, gourds, and creepy looking scarecrows were all over the place.

Route 7A rolls through some old towns that date back centuries.

Manchester, VT would be the largest and nearest town to my campsite, where I would get food and supplies. It was a bit more crowded and touristy than the other towns I passed.

My campsite further to the north however was desolate. It was just me and a bunch of signs warning about the bears. Perfect!

The campsite itself was an individual plateau on the side of the mountain with ravines on either side. It would be very private, even if I weren’t the only person on this mountain.

There was plenty of wood from fallen trees all along the mountainside and with my saw and hatchet, I made good use of it. It was a cold night.

I really had hoped to go to Mount Washington in New Hampshire on this trip, but the cold nights here at Emerald Lake State Park had me rethinking things. My old sleeping bag may not cut it in these temperatures.

In the daytime the weather was perfect. I mapped a route to visit some covered bridges. I saw some of the bridges of Madison County once. I didn’t mean to. I was checking out John Wayne’s birthplace in Winterset, Iowa. Winterset happens to be in that Madison County from the book and movie.

Here in Vermont I was intentionally tracking down some of these old bridges of yesteryear.

This first one I went to is probably the hardest one to find. I had taken some screenshots of map locations so I could find my way even if I had no signal. Good thing, cause in these parts there were many times that my phone had no signal.

A sign on the front of this bridge reads: ONE DOLLAR FINE FOR DRIVING FASTER THAN A WALK ON THIS BRIDGE.

On my way toward the second bridge of the day, I made a fortuitous stop to look at my map screenshots. After pulling to the side of the road I noticed a sign, partially obscured by a large pine tree.

This was no ordinary pine tree. Besides being a a fine pine, hundreds of years old, this tree was the model for the Great Seal of Vermont. Over 200 years ago, this tree stood alone and was visible from the Arlington home of Thomas Chittenden, first Governor of Vermont. The tree inspired Ira Allen (brother of Ethan Allen) in designing the State Seal.

The next two bridges were just off highway 313 traversing the Batten Kill River.

This one had a rope swing next to it. I’ve been known to grab the rope in full riding gear, but not on this day.

This bridge below was especially nice with the lattice windows. Those criss cross windows are actually structural beams you can see from the interior.

The next bridge of the day turned out to be the most special of the day.

Now this bridge itself was not more spectacular than any other. It was what I saw when I mounted the bike that made it more spectacular. Something caught my eye. The road turned to dirt after crossing the bridge as you can see above. About 100 yards away the road came to a “T”. At the end of said road was an old white house with a strong oak tree in front. I went to have a closer look.

Unbelievable! This was Norman Rockwell’s house during the “war” years. He had moved up here after his time in Stockbridge Massachusetts. Some of his greatest work was done here! There was a plaque in front of the house, but it seemed like someone’s home. Then I noticed an art studio in back. Notice there is a ‘No Swimming’ sign on the smaller studio like the sign in the painting from the museum.

I couldn’t help myself. I rode down the driveway and peeked in the window.

A lady came out from a nearby house. BUSTED! She seemed a little put off by my presence at first, but it turned out she was very kind. She told me the place is an Inn now but she was too busy to help me. She was planning for some special guests that evening. Then she said, “Wait, let me call my husband”. Out of the main house comes Kevin. He couldn’t be nicer. Kevin took me into the studio and showed me around.

This was blowing my mind. Two days before I was disappointed that Rockwell’s studio in Massachusetts was closed, and now I had stumbled upon a private tour.

You can rent the room out above the studio. I think he said it’s $175 per night. Kevin said the studio was pretty beat up when they bought the place in November, but they fixed it up to its original look as best they could. He said Rockwell had a deer head there on the wall. They ended up being given another deer head from the same taxidermist that mounted Rockwell’s.

He also told me that the special booking his wife was working on was a visit from a woman who modeled for one of Rockwell’s wartime posters that I saw at the museum.

Rockwell built a studio for his children as well. (They became artists too). This little studio has also been converted into a small apartment that you can stay in.

Kevin also showed me the main house where the Rockwell family lived. He told stories about Norman Rockwell. He said Norman liked to booze it up when he first moved here to Arlington. He kept a stash of liquor in another studio he had down the road a bit. When his family found out about the secret stash they poured it all out in the Batten Kill River and Norman sobered up. Below is a framed photo of Norman Rockwell with one of his boys in the main house.

What an amazing coincidence to discover Norman Rockwell’s house here in Vermont. The Inn is now called Rockwell’s Retreat. I highly recommend a visit and I am sure staying here would be delightful. CLICK HERE to have a look.

The ride back to camp produced one more covered bridge and some other interesting scenery.

As the cold night approached I realized it would be crazy to ride north. I looked at the upcoming weather up there and it was predicted to be in the 30’s at night. I was having difficulty in the 40’s with the gear I have now. I was good as long as I kept the fire going, but it was rough in the middle of the night as I went to bed to the sounds of crying coyote.

In the morning this winged fella was having more difficulty warming up than I was.

Today I would enact my change of plans and head south to the Catskills.

I filled up for gas right next to the entrance for Stratton Skiing.

This night I would stay at a place called North/South Lake Campground near Kaaterskill Falls. I got a site on the edge of the lake with a decent amount of real estate.

They make you read about bear and COVID, then sign some papers before entering this place. So, as was the case each night, the food goes up in the tree.

This campsite is well kept. They even had a shower curtain divider between the sinks in the bathroom.

While looking for wood that night I came across a posse of slugs devouring a fallen mushroom.

In the morning a golf cart pulled up into my campsite as I was packing up. The sun was hitting the plastic windshield so I couldn’t see the driver. He pulled right up next to my firepit. Out climbed an old guy with with a lot of necklace looking things around his neck. But they weren’t clasped. They just hung there. I engaged old Jim in some conversation and in no time we were talking about UFO’s, Bigfoot and the local species of mushrooms, as one does. Jim then said, “I saw a fireball and I’ll tell anybody, cause I know I saw it!”. After a good talk Jim swept out the firepit and took my garbage bag for me. He told me he’s not supposed to, but he did.

Before the long trek home, I had a look at Kaaterskill Falls from a podium high above. I’d like to climb down to the bottom when I have more time.

When I got home, I ordered a new sleeping bag. Cold nights aren’t going to hold me back!

Remembering 9/11

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2020 by Pat Regan

I’ve been in NYC every September 11th since before it happened. I would be in the classroom teaching. It’s the beginning of the school year. A busy time for teachers. Preparing, planning, and setting the tone for a new school year was the focus this time of year. But on that morning, someone came to the door. “Did you hear?” I can’t remember who it was, only the panic in their voice. “We have the TV on in Woo’s room!” Mr. Woo was the school’s technology teacher. He had a TV in his room. I had a few minutes before my first class. Whoa! Something hit the North Tower. No one was sure what had happened. There was a huge, jagged break in the iconic vertical lines of the tower. High up on the building by Windows of the World, thick black smoke streamed into the sky.
I had a class at 9:00. I went back to my room. Then I heard the commotion. People were yelling and running about in the hallway. The kids were reacting. I had to keep them calm. Then someone burst in. We got the news. My first thoughts went to my old girlfriend. She worked on the 86th floor of the South Tower. Between classes, I ran to the TV. I saw what had happened and I had to get back to class and remain composed. Everybody was upset. The kids were confused. I tried to explain what was happening but keep everyone cool. Inside I was anything but. More cries and updates to the classroom resulted in the news of the falling towers. When the class was finally over I called my old girlfriend. She answered. Thank God! Her story is phenomenal. It’s her story. It’s remarkable. I am so grateful that she is able to tell it.
Since that day I’ve never been to the memorial downtown. I have seen the lights from afar, but I have always been too busy preparing for school to go down there and see the lights. Tonight that changed. Now I had the time. I am retired.

Northeast Pennsylvania

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2020 by Pat Regan

I packed the bike heavy again to test my gear and needs. I headed back to Pennsylvania. First I rode north up the Palisades Pkwy, then hung a left on route 6. Somewhere along the way, I missed a turn. I was now on route 17 for a while going north into NY. I saw route 42 south and on a hunch, took it. I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. In Port Jervis at the Hawks Nest. This is a part of route 97 that runs along the Delaware River. It’s the path I took on my first cross country adventure in 2008.

This time I wasn’t going as deep into Pennsylvania as I had in June. I have always wanted to check out Steamtown, the National Parks Service museum for old steam trains. In the past, I was always in a great hurry either escaping the city to go West, or too exhausted on my way home to stop in Scranton, PA. So, I booked 4 nights of camping at Lackawanna State Park. The park is about 20 minutes north of Scranton.

I got my usual late start and arrived just in time to set up my new tent in the dark. I needed some food and wood. There isn’t much in the immediate vicinity of this place. Fortunately, I found a lonely grocery store that was still open. In the parking lot, a BMW enduro bike had pulled up next to me. This dude Dean was riding it. He goes off-road. He said there were trails you could take all the way to Maine. I asked about camping. He said you have to be discreet. No big fires. Gotta look into that.

Back at the state park, the campsite was on a hill and it was difficult to judge the right spot in the dark. My first spot was a lousy lumpy location. So in the morning, I set up on the driveway.

On my first day, I rode around to get my bearings. I rode into Scranton for a bit. A bunch of birds flew by just in time for this shot in front of the Scranton Electric Building. 

Scranton is called the electric city because it had the first continuously running electrified streetcar system in 1866.

I visited the old Scranton Iron Furnaces.

This is a historic site that preserves four stone blast furnaces that were built between 1848-1857.

They made iron rails here for the trains until 1902.

After Scranton I rode south for a while then I wanted to find some supplies. I was looking for some propane gas cans. I went to Walmart. They had some huge ones but not the kind for camping. I checked Dick’s Sporting Goods too. Nothing. After that, I got some groceries and headed back to camp. There were fewer people at the campsite now. A guy named Sal rolled up in a pick-up. He said he had a Bonneville too. He mentioned his bike came with straight pipes when he bought it.

The next morning I could hear Sal coming. He pulled up and we talked a bit. I happened to mention the lack of propane cans in the area. He said he lived in Scranton and would check if he had any back at the house. He also mentioned that Billy Joel has a cool museum showing his motorcycles in Oyster Bay on Long Island. I’ll have to check that out. But today, I was off to a different motorcycle museum.

Bill’s Old Bike Barn

Today I was headed for Bill’s Old Bike Barn. On my way out of the campground, I saw a Bald Eagle soaring above. Always a good sign.

It was about 70 miles by Interstate but I was taking backroads. 29 South did not disappoint. Nice twisty road. Then came Bill’s. A great museum!

My new helmet is going to be fun for photos.

Only 5 bucks admission! Bill’s wife Judy proudly proclaimed this as I entered. It’s been the same price since they first opened. She also introduced Bill, her husband, and namesake of the museum.

Motorcycles everywhere…but so much more!

Within this enormous space, Bill had built his own town, Billville.

Traversing the museum is like a walk down the street in an old town.

As you pass the music store you will find this fantastic motorcycle made of musical instruments.

An A. J. Stevens bike outside the cigarette shop.

Everywhere you look there is something to see. It’s an amazing collection.

I walked into this room set up like a cantina (below). Judy was sitting inside watching FOX news. She asked where I was from. When I told her New York City, she was excited to tell me that the bar in this room was from the 1938 World’s Fair in NYC. The year Bill was born. Then she shared the troubles of enforcing a mask rule in the museum. She says some people get upset about it. One guy screamed at her saying he was a Vietnam Vet and then spit on the floor before leaving just because he was asked to wear a mask. Judy said her attitude was, “Why don’t you just go out back with a 357, I mean we’re talking life or death here!” Well put Judy. But then she said, Bill is 79 and she can’t get him to keep his mask on either.

A fat little Cushman.

A Velocette.

Check out the chain on this Peugeot.

There were a few nice cutouts in display windows.

The Billville Fire Dept. Behind me is an actual fire engine.

There was more to the collection out in the back.

A Rolls Royce pick up truck.

A Whizzer shop.

There was a dentist’s shop and a hairdresser.

Judy is serious about the mask thing.

An Elvis Room.

A Billville Harley shop

The Coca Cola barn.

A Triumph from the teens.

They had a gift shop.  I asked about a T-shirt and Judy said all shirts were $20. Bill had bought a bunch of boxes of shirts and they were all “NOS”. I had to ask, “New Old Stock”. Then I saw this Kawasaki patch. I had this patch when I was in the 4th grade. I remember buying it at a place called the Postermat on 8th Street in NYC. It was on one of those carousel display cases with two buttons that you could push to make it go around in either direction. It was remarkable to see the patch again. It brought me right back. Timewarp! I had sewn it on my jean jacket myself. I thought it was so cool. Now I have it again and it feels just as cool.

I took Route 11 north along the Susquehanna River on my way back. Passing through Plymouth, PA was like going back in time again.

On my way back along the Susquehanna, I also saw a huge Golden Eagle perched on a tree overlooking the river. It was a good day!

This night was chilly. I thought I heard something behind me. I was the only camper at any site to my left or right. It was just woods behind me, and something was moving around back there.

I went to have a look, and check out who I found. Mr. Skunk. I followed him a little, but this was the least blurry shot I got of him in the open.

The next day I was headed for Steamtown.

It’s always cool to come across a tank parked along the road. This tank is in Clark’s Summit, the town where I had been getting my groceries. It was on the way to Scranton.

STEAMTOWN

I was excited to be here. I have always wanted to check it out.

In fact, I was so excited that I left my key in the ignition with the power on.

Of course, I didn’t realize it until I was a good 15 minutes into the museum.

A volunteer named Brad was really knowledgeable about the trains. Because it wasn’t crowded Brad walked along with me and told me all kinds of interesting things about Steamtown.

He said steam engines would spend about as much time in the shop as they did out on the rails. Technicians would crawl in the pits with a ball pin hammer and bang on everything. They knew the sound it should make and could hear if there was any type of damage to a part.

There were exhaust chimneys in each bay because they kept the engines running while they were in the roundhouse. And the only light they would have back then was from the windows.

It was about here that I realized my key wasn’t dangling from my chain where it should be. Shit! I ran back to the bike. Sure enough, I could see that the light was on. I figured, good, but I wasn’t going to try to start it. I would just go back and enjoy the museum.

Down below you can see another volunteer that works on trains. This train is the original color green for a Baldwin train. Brad said it was the only train in the roundhouse that actually runs. He said it was only used in the Baldwin yard so it was never painted another color as most engines would be once sold to a railroad company.

Every train here is researched and brought back to its original look.

In another part of the museum, they have a cutout steam engine so you can see how these monstrous machines work.

Outside in the yard, they had some rusty old beauties.

This is an old train from the Canadian Railway that operated in Vermont back in 1914.

See those white wheels. They would actually replace them by heating them up. Then the white part would expand and they could remove them. A  new one would be heated and placed on the rim. As it cooled it would compress around the wheel.

This rust bucket below is also from 1914.  It’s another Balwin made for the Brooks-Scanlon Corporation.

I asked about this one. It’s an old rotary snowplow that would lead the train on a Long Island line in the 1800’s.

And so I headed back to the bike. Now was the time to see if Bonnie would start. I sat down, turned the key, hit the starter, and…”click”. Not the sound I wanted to hear. I had mentioned to the ranger on my way out that I may have a problem. The ranger was real nice. He said they might have one of those jumper cable machines. He radioed to see if they could find it. While I waited, I asked about the job. Most of the people there are volunteers. This guy was a park ranger. He said it’s a lot of work and a 7-year waiting list for job applications. Wow. I had no idea.

Well, it turned out the jumper machine was locked up in a tool shed and that the mechanic with the key was gone for the day. Luckily I parked at the top of an incline because I needed to do a push start. I hadn’t done one of these in about 10 years or so. I gave myself a quick reminder tutorial from a YouTube vid then gave her a shot. First try, no go. The second time she started right up when I popped the clutch. The bike really wanted to take off as I had her in second gear. Probably could have done it even smoother in third gear.

Now it was Friday night. The weekend campers were arriving with their carnival of lights. As I was sitting by my fire having some dinner, Sal pulled up again in his pick-up truck. He had two cans of propane in his hand. How nice. I asked what I owed him. He said, “pay it forward”. Thanks Sal.

As I was getting ready to pack things up the next morning, I encountered another act of kindness. My neighbors came over with a plate of bacon. Mmmmm. I hadn’t had bacon in a long time. It was delicious.

I had a smooth ride home. I knew I packed too heavy. When I got home I shed a good 10 pounds from my bag. The next trip should be even smoother.

Happy July 4th!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 4, 2020 by Pat Regan

The months have been moving along without much riding time. This COVID shit has been a real bitch. In NYC we were hit hard. We did what we had to to keep this virus at bay. It seems to have worked. It’s been a weird lonely time. I am a man who appreciates solitude, but this has been a bit much. When NYC was getting slammed, I didn’t ride. If something bad did happen, I didn’t want to burden a hospital because I wanted to ride.

At 7:00 pm each evening we celebrated our health care workers. Every day I would hear the fire trucks from my windows as they roared their sirens in solidarity down by the hospital. The rest of us would applaud and scream. I played my bongos out the window.

One evening I masked up to have a look. I felt I didn’t belong there, but it was amazing!

This delivery guy was waiting anxiously for a good 10 minutes before the FDNY let him pass.

Throughout the epidemic, I had a friend who posted stuff like this. And he is right!

Once the hospitals cleared out, I took some rides. At first, it was crazy out there. People in NYC had forgotten about traffic. You would have to look ahead as you do when you’re scanning the horizon for deer. People would dart out into the road completely unaware of traffic. It was understandable. NYC had come to a standstill. Times Square was a ghost town.

A lot has gone on in the city which I’ll get to later. But first…

I knew I had a 4 day weekend between the regular school year and summer school, so I booked a campsite deep in the northern mountains of Pennsylvania. I got my bike inspected and was on my way.

There is a problem with inspection stickers on the new Bonnevilles. The forks have a porous surface. The inspection stickers are made for a smooth surface. So I noticed on the way that my sticker was gone! Oh well. Same thing happened last year. I am going to have to attach the next one with a bit of Gorilla tape.

It felt great to be on the road despite the fact that I knew there were storms ahead. I did have to change my desired route. The storms were heavy up north where I wanted to be. So I made my way east then headed north when the rain passed. I was prepared. In fact, I was overprepared. I packed as if I were going cross country. I wanted to test out some new equipment.

I bought a new SW-Motech bag. It’s just like the old one. The only difference is, as I read the installation instructions I realized I always had my lower compartments on backward. This bag is discontinued. But after 100,000 miles with the old one, I knew it was a great bag. So I went searching and found one on eBay in Germany. Nabbed it! I have a waterproof duffle loaded atop the bag. Like I said, I am trying out some new gear.

I stopped for gas at this place on Route 6 that had this old weathered totem pole out back. While there, I thought I saw a shortcut on what looked like a good twisty road. I made a left and followed two Halliburton trucks. After whipping around these beasts hauling strange looking generators, the road was what I expected (as far as twists and hills). It was fun. But it wasn’t the shortcut I saw on the map. It was a completely different road. I waisted over an hour going in the wrong direction, but I was able to test the extra weight on my bike as I pushed the limits.

As is often the case, I got to the campsite later than I would have liked. It wasn’t dark yet, but I had a lot to unpack. My neighbors to the left really spread out. Their car and chairs and table were way over on their side by their firepit. But their tent was parked right next to my firepit. WTF.

This happened once when I was in the Smoky Mountains with my brother. We went off to ride the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway. When we returned someone had put their tent right next to our fire. They were already inside the tent. Me and bro had a good ol’ time telling sick stories well into the AM about some of the more unsavory characters and experiences of our lives. Our neighbors were packed up and gone at sunrise. And fortunately the same would be true of my new neighbors. The next day, I had 2 sites to myself.

My neighbors across the road were a nice couple with a cute 5-month-old pup named Maggie. They had a Ram Promaster that I was interested in. You may have seen in a previous post that I have all the specs and diagrams to see how my bike would fit nicely in one of these vans.

The one I am eyeballing for myself would be a bit shorter. The one you see above has the extended rear. They make 3 sizes. The one I want would end just behind the rear wheel.

To be outside without a mask on was liberating. The city is so packed with people, you don’t think twice about putting a mask on like you do pants. Out here it’s easy to forget. (Not your pants, but the mask). I went down to take a shower and forgot my mask until I saw a reminder on the bathroom door. Later in the day, I hopped off my bike and walked into a store and the cashier asked, “Can you please wear a mask?” Of course, I just forgot. COVID is not just a NYC thing. In fact, it is now worse in most other states. Up here in the remote mountain area, it’s easy to forget.

I rolled through Wellsboro toward my first destination of the day.

I was headed toward a site that I long wanted to see. The Kinzua Bridge.

This bridge stood strong for over a hundred years.

In 2004 a tornado plowed through, tearing down a sizable length of the bridge leaving twisted steel strewn on the ground between the existing spans.

It was an engineering marvel when it was built.

It’s still a magnificent structure.

When I arrived at the bridge there were only about 5 bikes including mine in the parking lot.

I was hoping to ride all the way to Route 666 today. It’s a twisty little road in the Allegheny’s. But I have to admit, I got lost on the way to Kinzua too. In the town of Port Allegheny, Route 6 hangs to the left. I happily rolled along forward on Route 155 almost to the New York state border before realizing I was going the wrong way. I was hoping to nab a Route 666 t-shirt, but not on this trip. I could have made it. But it would have been dark by the time I got back to camp, so I skipped it. I actually started heading west but turned around by this old automotive scrapyard.

There was another site I was curious about back in Coudersport, PA. Nearby Coudersport is Cherry Hills, State Park. This place is considered the darkest place in Pennsylvania. Folks go there specifically for stargazing. It turns out that Coudersport also holds claim as the coldest part of Pennsylvania. And it is here where you find the Ice Mine.

There is a pit that was dug here by miners looking for silver. For some unknown reason, ice forms in this pit.

No one knows why? Not only that, the ice generally forms in the summer months but not in the winter. I was told that if I had arrived last week, I wouldn’t have seen any ice at all. But here it was. Very strange.

Even the Discovery Channel has come here to investigate, but no one can tell why this phenomenon happens.

They had a Bigfoot too.

I headed back to Mansfield. I was craving Chinese food. I also went to Sheetz to fill up the tank and get some beverages. The kid behind the register carded me. He actually wanted me to hand him my ID. I did. He grabbed it and touched every surface of that card. He was scrutinizing it like something he had never seen before. He called his manager over. I was getting pissed at his manhandling of my ID. I don’t know this punk. And now he is going to hand it back to me. It turns out that the confusion was about my license being expired. Shit. I didn’t even realize it had expired back in April. How does one renew their license in the time of COVID? I don’t know! But with no license. No inspection sticker. This is as close to an outlaw biker as I have ever been.

After getting the grub and drinks I headed back to camp. The Chinese food wasn’t very good. Well, at least one of the dishes wasn’t. The beef in the orange beef was chewier than bubble gum. Fortunately, I had a chicken dish too. It was OK. As a result, I woke up hungry, but I was in luck. My neighbors invited me over for breakfast. I brought my own silverware that I have had since I was 9 years old. It’s a handy Boy Scout 3 piece set. This was the first time I had sat at a table with company since March. It was strange to be talking to someone face to face but it was nice. Thank you Lars and Beth.

After breakfast, it was time to make all my gear fit back on the bike. My neighbors were curious about how that was going to work. It took me a lot longer than them so they never got to see that it was possible. I am definitely making some adjustments before my next journey to scale things down a bit. Everything was strapped down and ready to go. I reached for my key. No key. Earlier in the morning, I hooked up a USB extension under the seat. You need a key to take the seat off. I was wearing my shorts at the time. My shorts were packed deep in my bag. I wasn’t leaving just yet. UGH!

It was a long journey back to NYC. I stayed on Route 6 all the way to the New York border. I got a little wet on the way but rode through it. I thought about camping out another night in Harriman State Park near Bear Mountain. Then I got an alert on my phone that said severe storms were headed toward NYC. I checked my radar. Whoa! They weren’t kidding. I was on the edge of this monster when I got wet earlier. I wasn’t getting wet anymore. I headed south to make my way around the storm. It took a while, but I stayed dry. As I continued east I saw a rainbow in the direction of the city.

That rainbow turned out to be smack dab in the middle of the city as my friend Steve’s photo will attest.

And then, when I finally got to the city there was more celebration. It was a fun little journey and great to get away.

Back in NYC, there has been a lot of change in the last few months.

COVID 19 blew up here. I was teaching. I work with students with special needs. It’s a very hands-on job. My kids love a high five in the morning. Behaviors were the first thing to change. I was washing my hands all the time. But still, a great deal was unknown. The mayor eventually closed down the schools, but not before a great many were exposed. In that last week, I was interacting with teachers who had it. The number of people getting sick was through the roof. Everyone was scared. Then the city shut down.

As much as I wanted to go out there and document this historical event with my camera, it just felt wrong. The images of NYC empty! It’s like a science fiction movie! But I stayed put. Most everybody did. And we brought the numbers down.

My first time out with the camera was for the 7:00 celebration of caregivers.

Then it was time to ride again. I posted once in April. I took a short ride, but people were off. They got used to not worrying about traffic. It was dangerous! I nearly hit a kid on a bicycle.

The masses had been in isolation for months. People had adapted to life at home. Many spend the day consumed with television. For some, like myself, the TV has been their only companion. Then on May 25, that television companion shared with us a nightmare in broad daylight. Millions witnessed the murder of man. The murder of yet another black man at the hand of a white man. The murder of yet another black man at the hand of a white police officer. It was graphic. This man had his life choked out of him with callous indifference to his suffering and pleas for help. It was horrible. His name was George Floyd. The masses around the country broke free of their COVID hibernation and fear to say, enough is enough. The authorities were not prepared. Leadership for the most part has vanquished to the shadows. You can’t be indecisive in a crisis. People hit the streets. Most in peaceful protest. Some with raging fury. And others took advantage and robbed local businesses.

Then the city boarded up. Here is the Empire State Building.

Here is Macy’s. There are usually hundreds of people here constantly hurrying about. Now one homeless lady rests under Macy’s massive awning, the roof of her newfound home.

Across the street, this guy looks for a room with a better view.

Soho, where much of the looting took place transformed. The boarded-up businesses became canvases for local artists.

You may remember Jillian from previous posts. She made this WEAR A MASK sign.

I rode around the city to see some other street art. Below is a tribute to George Floyd by Fumero.

Over in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, most murals have remained the same.

Usually, the murals change in early June but the festivities for this year were canceled.

The only new addition was this giant tapestry.

In Queens, there were some new additions at Welling Court. CRASH and DAZE returned to their wall. DAZE collaborated with BG183.

CRASH collaborated with Joe Iurato.

I rode past this monument of Teddy Roosevelt that the Museum of Natural History has chosen to take down.

And now as NYC tries to slowly re-open it is not without its sense of humor.

NEW YORK TOUGH

Yesterday, I rode over to Brooklyn to get a new inspection sticker. This time the guy just handed it to me so I can put it on properly myself. Afterward, I went downtown where there were two events taking place.

Outside of the courthouse on Centre Street, a Black Lives Matter mural was being painted. It looks great!

Down the street next to City Hall is an occupy movement.

Below is Tweed Hall. Headquarters for the Department of Education.

This area is not as attractive as the mural, but equally visual.

It’s a mess.

Some are here for a good cause.

But it’s also infiltrated with junkies and lost souls.

There are some who go around yelling at people taking photos. These folks have quickly replaced one repressive regime with another.

And lastly, before heading home I rode up on the sidewalk for one last shot on St.Mark’s Place.

 

New World Ride

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2020 by Pat Regan

I rode the other day. I had an errand to run. I had to pick up a piece of art that I bought from a gallery downtown. Normally, I would think nothing of taking a nice long walk down to E12th Street and picking it up. But that was then. I figured the greatest way to distance myself was on the bike. You can’t beat the protection of a mask under a face shield.

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The streets were fairly empty, at least from vehicular traffic. People are another story. Pedestrians are walking into streets oblivious that there ever was such a thing as traffic. They are like horny deer at dusk in the springtime, dangerously darting into the street!

The guy from the gallery was running a little late so I rode around LES a bit. The battery could use a good charge anyway. As I was riding up Avenue A, these teenage kids were riding bicycles alongside me to the right. You know, a posse of dirt bike punks zipping about. Suddenly, one of the kids hangs a sharp left cutting in front of me in order to make a U-turn in the middle of a two-way avenue! He never thought to look. I missed him by inches. Inches. It really freaked me out. It was so close.

As I continued down the avenue passing Tompkins Square Park, I noticed a memorial on the corner. It depicts a tally of those afflicted, written on a mirror along with some American flags and knick-knacks. The slogan that sadly states a truth for today is displayed, “Stay 6 feet apart or be 6 feet under”. As of today, the New York death toll hit 15,000. 15,000 people are dead from this virus in New York alone. Having just written that, it seems stupid to continue writing about a day out on the bike. But we have to continue. Whatever it is that we do. It is essential to keep a sense of normalcy. 

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So, I hopped back on the bike and headed to 212 ARTS. This groovy gallery promotes the type of art I really dig. The art of the streets. I have been visiting 212 ARTS for years. If you have followed this blog you know I love Urban Art. 212 ARTS specializes in the urban art of today along with the great graffiti pioneers of yesteryear.

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I was here to meet with Marc Leader, owner of the gallery, so I could pick up a piece by artist Adam Fujita @ADAMFU. Because of the virus, Adam Fujita’s show at 212 ARTS had to be done virtually. It’s really cool though! Check it out HERE.

thebushwickcollective_93364756_523455501869888_1940753072366954642_n.jpgBeing here in the gallery was the first time I was having a face to face encounter with someone since this thing really blew up. It is weird. I entered the gallery. Marc was masked up as was I, and we carried on as we normally would. Marc wrapped up the piece as we talked shit about art and such. Then with a nod instead of a handshake, I was off. My new work of art was strapped down with a bungee net and I was ready to head home.

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I am always psyched when I get my hands on a new piece of artwork. This time, however, was extra special. Adam Fujita decided to make a limited edition print from the piece I had purchased. So tomorrow, 4/23/20 at 7pm EST at 212arts.com, a print of this wicked cool work of art will go on sale. @212arts

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How cool is that! I am usually the one with a print if I am lucky enough to get one or be able to afford it.

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But this time I have the original. It’s exciting.

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It has been crazy getting about in this city. Getting supplies on foot is an unwelcome adventure. Getting this artwork on the bike became a near treacherous adventure. It could have gone so wrong. Had that kid made the left turn a second later, we would both probably need emergency care. The hospital is one place you do not want to be right now in New York City!

I made it back home unscathed, with my new artwork to keep me company. A risky ride, but the bike can’t just sit around either. We have to do whatever it is that we have to do in order to seize the day.  That brings us to another Adam Fujita piece in Queens from better days.

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Take good care everybody.

 

First Ride 2020

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2020 by Pat Regan

We have warmth!

A warm spell came upon the Northeastern parts of the US so I got a New Year’s ride in. This ride is similar to one I took back in November. A nice ride north paralleling the Hudson. I rode the Palisades Parkway up to Bear Mountain Park hoping to go all the way to Perkins Tower at the top, but that road was closed for the Winter.

Unlike my last ride, I stayed on the west side of the Hudson and traveled north up to the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge before crossing back over.

As I was going through Beacon again I figured I would check out Ron English’s Popmart again. That three-eyed guy was flat on the ground last time I was here. Good to see him upright. It looks like he’s riding my bike.

I was pleased to see that there were some new things in the shop. There were a number of Artist Proof prints and a few limited editions that weren’t there a couple months ago.

The display above had at least one new addition. That little piggy on the left wasn’t there in November.

I am guessing we will see this fella in an upcoming painting. There are plastic dinosaurs running down his spine and it’s painted with a pink and green pseudo camouflage pattern.

This sign is actually a detailed painting however the details are obscured. You can sort of make out some body parts.

This clever display was also new.

For years I have been making papier-mache masks with my students. I use a cellulose paste as a binder. It is a powder that I mix with water in a blender. After it settles it’s a slimy mess and I have always told my students it is elephant snot. It’s been a running joke for many years. And now I can show them my source. Ron English has a number of these outrageous retro-looking grocery signs about the shop. Elephant Snot $12.99 a bucket.

On the side of a building in a nearby park in Beacon, a large Ron English banner of a camouflaged deer hangs.

This is the old Matteawan Station. It once served the Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad. It now houses apartments and commercial properties. The building was built in 1869 with a third floor added soon thereafter. The last train rode the line in 1993.

It may have been a nice day to ride, but you can still find piles of snow that had been plowed and there was plenty of ice on the side of cliffs as I rode around.

Something I really wanted to see on my last journey was Bannerman’s Castle. The problem was that I didn’t know where to stop and it was getting dark. So this time I pulled into some private driveways, no good. I pulled into the parking lot of a catering place overlooking the Hudson, but it was a bit too far north. Eventually, I just pulled over to the side of the road and walked back up the highway. Bannerman’s Castle is on an island in the Hudson River.

Francis Bannerman VI bought the island in November 1900. He owned a military surplus business. He had this castle build to house his arsenal. The castle, clearly visible from the shore of the river, served as a giant advertisement for his business. On the side of the castle is written, “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal”.

There are numerous structures on the island including what looks like the foundation of an old bridge, maybe a ferry landing. If you would like to have a better look at it from the mainland there is a place to pull over just south of this spot I chose. The road goes back down to sea level and you can walk north along the railroad tracks for a better view. I didn’t have the time on this day. They also offer tours to the island. Click Here!

Although this weekend brought warm weather, we can expect more cold in the coming months. So if you can’t get out and ride but you’re still itching for motorcycle experiences, I have a recommendation. Dale Walksler from Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC has an online TV channel. He shares over 400 videos in the archive and discusses the process as goes through his vintage rebuilds. They also produce a new show each week and get these beautiful pieces of motorcycle history running and riding again.

For a one time price of $7.95 you become a member for life and have complete access.

I visited Wheels Through Time back in 2012. I met Dale and his son Matt. Very nice, friendly people.  https://mybonnie.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/wheels-through-time/

I look forward to returning.

 

International Motorcycle Show 2019

Posted in Uncategorized on December 13, 2019 by Pat Regan

This past weekend was the International Motorcycle Show here in NYC.

I toyed with the idea of going all weekend. Then Sunday afternoon I decided to hop in the bike and make it happen. So I headed over to the Javits Center.

It wasn’t too cold this day. Not a bad ride at all.

Parking is weird around the Javits Center. It’s posted No Parking Anytime on most surrounding streets. But I finally found a spot between a few tiny cop cars.

In the background below is a new structure called the Vessel. It has stairs and platforms spiraling upward. It is nestled into a new NYC neighborhood called Hudson Yards. Hudson Yards is built over the old train yards that flowed from Penn Station toward New Jersey near the Hudson River.

On to the Javits Center and the bike show.

This year the show was downstairs.

The big dealers were prominent as you walked in. Suzuki and Kawasaki sitting right up front as you enter.

They say, ‘The 1973 Legend Returns’ with this Kawasaki Z900RS. A good looking bike that has a nice retro vibe.

Harley Davidson seems to be toning down it’s appearance. There is a whole lot less orange. Like practically none. It’s a good look.

Fun for the whole family!

Or for riding solo. This set up was funny because it came with fans to make it feel like wind is blowing at you as you fake ride.

The only orange I did see was in a strange new Harley display. The world of electric bikes.

This is Harley Davidson’s new electric bike line.

It’s a solid-looking machine, but I am not sold on the electric bike thing.

I see however that there will soon be a new generation of folks on these silent two-wheelers. They had a small rider course to test out the Zero, another type of electric bike.

Mosko is a brand I wasn’t familiar with. I checked their stuff out. It’s nice. But It’s expensive!

The clothing and the bags are built tough and waterproof.

It’s the Mosko bags that first caught my attention. At the end of the Summer, I hope to go on a grand adventure so I am interested in quality gear. I love the giant bag I have, but it is beaten up and old after 100,000 miles. As durable as this gear is I think I would get the new version of my same old bag over this. I use the SW-MOTECH Speed Pack. It provides more packing space and is about 200 dollars cheaper than the gear below. Plus it makes an awesome backrest.

As you walk about there are vintage and custom bikes on display here and there, like this 1974 Norton 850 Commando.

I’m a sucker for reflections in unusual places like in this old Husqvarna tank. These are tough old bikes.

I did not know however, that Husqvarna is still cranking out bikes. They have reasonable price tags as well.

There are always interesting bikes to be found along the main aisles at the Javits Center.

Each year customized bikes can be found atop oval-shaped J&P Cycles carpets. This hardcore Bonnie conversion had Mad Max metal spikes on each tire.

This Harley Forty8 looked ready for adventure.

Below, this Bonnie looked ready for some off road action.

Jesus was prominently displayed on the fairing above this J&P carpet.

There is generally a spot for some vintage beauties at the show as well.

This bike called the Little Skinny was beautiful.

Both the bike and the paint job were works of art.

This monstrous customized BMW was on a rotating platform.

There was no sign of Triumph Brooklyn or Ducati NYC this year. But in a far corner of the convention center was Yamaha.

And in the far corner of Yamaha was the Yamaha TW200.

I have had my eye on this bike for a while.

As I dream of more days on the road in my future, I can imagine this bike on one of those racks that hangs above ground from a tow rack.

It’s lightweight, tough and street legal, but built for the unpaved road as well. It was good to sit on it and get a feel for it.

The last time I looked up as I left the Javits Center, none of those buildings were in the background. That is Hudson Yards that I spoke of earlier. Just like that! An entirely new, state of the art, modern neighborhood has appeared from the rubble of former warehouses and train yards.

I don’t dig these three-wheelers, but I like a nice paint job.

So all in all a good day at the bike show.

The temperature keeps dropping as December rolls along, so my bike may be parked for a while. One can hope for those freaky warm fronts. Meanwhile, Santa keeps me company as he rides around my place for the season. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everybody!

Ron English’s Beacon Popmart

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2019 by Pat Regan

I thought about riding on Saturday. I let the cold talk me out of it.

There is an art event I really wanted to see, but it’s far away. I guess ‘event’ is the best way to describe this place in Beacon, NY. It is a shop created by the artist Ron English.

The cold can easily talk you out of going for a ride, as it did Saturday. The cold was debating with me again this Sunday morning as the temperature was in the 40’s. It was scheduled to break 50 by the afternoon. Putting my reasoning aside, I put on my big boy pants (lined with Kevlar) and decided to go for it!  Well…I was right. It was chilly.

I am posting this photo below to declare that this pump at the Pip Stop on the Palisades Parkway is a biker friendly pump. People who ride appreciate this. The handle lets up easy so you can slow it down for a focused fill of the tank. No splash. No mess.

With a full tank, I was ready for the long haul. On this ride, I was reminded of a chart that was recently posted by someone I know, (Thanks Doc). It is a motorcycle wind chill chart. I was doing 70mph and it was just under 50 degrees. So the temperature I was feeling was just above freezing. I would estimate about 36 degrees. By the time I got home, it would be below freezing.

One thing that convinced me to take the plunge was my heated grips. This is my second cold-weather season having the heated grips. This was my first time using them this season. They were invaluable, but I have no fairing and I did not install the flyscreen I got, so the frigid air was blasting my chest and arms.

But I was determined. I was on a mission. I was going to Beacon, New York, to see Ron English’s Popmart. More on that when I get there. Meanwhile, I had to make some miles. I rode North up the Palisades Parkway then crossed back to the East side of the Hudson River, just past Bear Mountain. I did a little U-turn for this shot.

I pulled over at a small town called Garrison where you can see West Point Military Academy across the river.

There were numerous sites I had marked on my map before taking off, but due to the cold and time, I decided to skip some things. I figured if there was enough time I could catch them on the way back.

There was one thing that caught my eye that I had not marked. It looked like a castle on a mountaintop. It’s something you would commonly see along a river in Europe, not New York? But there it was.

Castle Rock was the estate for the former president of the Illinois Central Railroad, William H. Osborn. It was built in 1881. See it? Above the headlight, on the mountaintop. It remains a private estate, so no visitors.

I stopped for one more shot along the way at this quaint little home.

From there I was headed to Beacon. When I got there I turned off the highway to go through the center of town. Beacon is a lovely place. It is one of those towns that has had a revival of sorts. Many of the old industrial towns along the Hudson River have been given a new life inspired by the arts and interest in the heritage of our country. Main Street is lined with 19th-century buildings bustling with activity.

But my purpose in Beacon was beyond Main Street. I wanted to see Ron English’s Popmart.

And when my chilled body finally arrived. It was CLOSED.

However, a sign in the window said it would re-open at 2pm.

So I went back to Main Street, had some lunch, and looked about. A roaring river rips through Beacon.

Blah Blah Blah! Nuff said!

It was now past 2 pm so I headed back to the shop. It was OPEN!

I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The place was shabby. Desolate. Unkept. It bothered me that this sign was laying on the ground. I noticed it when I stopped by earlier but thought it would be resurrected when the place opened.

Inside, however, it retained a magical aura. It is kitschy.

There were these fantastic displays along the surrounding walls of the shop.

Many of the items for sale in the Popmart consisted of plastic models designed by Ron English.

A lot of Ron English’s work ‘sticks it’ to corporate America and corporate advertising. He reinvents force-fed pop culture. These models are cool, but not my taste.

I love Ron English’s paintings. He often paints bizarre characters and settings in a hyper-realist manner. His paintings aren’t being shown here. They are for galleries around the globe. I can gaze endlessly at some of his paintings. Related to his paintings was this surreal landscape display with ape-like creatures standing within.

The last time I went to a Ron English gallery show to see his paintings, I realized he must have made large models to paint from. Here was a prime example. Plastic creatures were melted, glued and painted, to create these otherworldly scenes.

In this corner of the shop were camouflage deers. Another theme in his paintings.

This bubble gum machine triptych was another display containing some of Ron’s characters.

Resting in the lap of this Mouseketeer is a note left by David Arquette thanking Ron English for some recent artwork.

A few life-size creatures were sitting about as well.

Within the helmet is one of Ron English’s Star Skulls.

I asked if this machine below was functional. Some of Ron English’s early work involved the defacing of cigarette billboards like the BREATHE image that was placed over a Marlboro ad. The girl who worked there made a call. Not for sale!

Ron English has re-imagined a great deal of advertising imagery, like these cereal boxes below.

There were a great many things for sale, but nothing really caught my eye.

The only thing I thought I’d be taking home was this Rick Griffin inspired pin.

Then I noticed that billfold display by the window. It was similar to a display I used to leaf through endlessly at a place called the Postermat on 8th Street when I was a kid.

In there amongst many blank pages were some large prints of English’s iconic kitschy characters with hefty price tags. There were a couple Star Skulls. There was a Rainbow Elvis print. Then I saw this amazing print below!

Generally, I don’t really do the clown thing. But I totally dig this series Ron English did of kids smoking. And here was one of those limited edition signed prints for sale at a fraction of what those others were going for. Kids with blazing stares, drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and having a smoke. With palettes of red white and blue, it represents all that is wrong and I think it’s great!

I thought we could roll it up and I’d be on my way. The girl behind the register had only been working there for a couple weeks. I asked if she had a tube since I was on a bike. She wasn’t sure. So she made a call. Is she calling Ron? I didn’t ask. Whoever it was, told her to grab any tube around the place. We found one. But when we pulled the print out of the sleeve from the giant binder, I realized it was on very heavy stock paper. I was psyched at the quality but this was not going to roll. It was too stiff. It would have to travel flat. It’s an unusual size. 14 1/4 X 19 1/2 inches. It should bungee down to the back of the bike. So we grabbed scraps of cardboard and tissue paper along with some plastic and duct tape and wrapped her up.

I got the print packed snug and strapped to the bike. Time to go. It was later than I expected.

Someone painted RON ENGLISH IS A HACK on the side of the shop. Maybe he did it himself.

If you would like to know more about Ron English, watch this documentary. He’s a trip!

I stopped to have a look at a pull-off along the Hudson River. Some dude was checking out my bike. He said he likes the straight twin engines. I suppose his accent was Russian. He wanted me to take his photo with my bike. I was in a hurry and wasn’t taking my helmet off. It was a scene. I couldn’t really see him through my bubble shield as I snapped his camera. They must be terrible photos. Sorry. Then he took some shots in my reflective bubble shield. It does make for a cool photo. But I had no time to waste. The sun was dropping fast behind the mountains and I had a long way to go.

I rode along trying to ignore the discomfort of the dropping temperature. I was really getting cold now. That bad cold where your body temperature is affected. I was going to push through and go all the way home, but there was one more thing I wanted to see in Yonkers, NY. The artist FUMERO recently painted a mural to honor the life of Jef Campion.

Jef Campion AKA ‘Army of One’ was an artist, a first responder firefighter at the WTC, an anti-war activist, and a caring humanitarian.

This mural FUMERO created represents all those aspects of Jef’s life. Jef’s firehouse was stationed in Yonkers.

Jef was a champion for the rights of children. He volunteered endless hours at the Ronald McDonald House.

As an artist, Jef’s red handstamp was becoming an iconic site throughout the city along with his powerful statements with the cutout of the grenade boy from a Diane Arbus photo.

No one really knows why someone decides to end life on their own terms. But that’s the choice Jef made. Jef’s friend and fellow artist “Screwtape” Carl Paoli made a movie about Jef. I first met Jef and Carl in 2012 after the closing of an Adam Dare show in Brooklyn. They were introduced to me by Aimee Becker who sadly passed recently as well. Aimee is also featured in this film as she was photographing this team of dynamic street artists. Have a look at the film Carl made. It is a touching tribute to a great man. We Are An Army of One from Carl Paoli on Vimeo.

Check out Carl Paoli’s site as well. carlpaoli.com The last time I saw Carl, he handed me a few stickers he made promoting the idea that Banksy is a collaborative effort between Shepard Fairy and Mr. Brainwash.

Spread the word!

The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride 2019

Posted in Uncategorized on October 3, 2019 by Pat Regan

Last weekend was a blast attending the Easy Rider Live event and the Indian Larry Block Party. This weekend was Jillian’s birthday weekend and was packed with more fun as well. I will start with Sunday’s event since it’s most directly related to riding.

Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride NYC

This year I decided to partake in the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride.

“The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride” is a global motorcycle fund-raising event, raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health programs on behalf of Charity Partner, the Movember Foundation.

Folks who participate get dressed up, ride a classic-style bike and fundraise for the cause.

Friends, family, colleagues and even a guy I met on a cross country road trip chipped in to help. Thanks again to all of you who lent a hand with your donations. I appreciate you!

After a fun but exhausting Friday and Saturday, (which I’ll get to later), it was time to dress up for the ride. I sported a white shirt and tie with a black sweater-vest and a subtly plaid green Burberry jacket.

I signed up with Team Triumph Brooklyn for the ride. My bike is being served there as I write this.

The photos above and below are the Triumph shop in Brooklyn where they opened up early for coffee and donuts before meeting up with the 600 or so riders in Manhattan.

The Ride

The meeting place to begin the Gentlemen’s Ride this year was Peck Slip Plaza.

A long row of NYPD bikes lined the street awaiting their role as escorts for the ride.

Peck Slip Plaza is an open area just north of the old South Street Seaport and south of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Folks got suited up in all kinds of dapper designs and prepared for the ride.

Jillian joined me down at the plaza in a Burberry dress of her own. And my Bonnie sported a mustache on the headlight.

These officers were admiring this old Harley with a sidecar…

…so much so that they hopped in for a photo op.

Dad proudly displays the badges from many sidecar clubs as he and his boy await the start of the ride.

There were all kinds of bikes, but predominately Triumphs.

A Royal Enfield and a Vulcan.

This vintage Honda was in mint condition.

This guy goes by the name The Suited Racer. Jillian obliged with her own mask for this shot.

A Distinguished Triumph Thruxton with a wicked wheel shadow.

Cute pup on a Vespa.

This is Marcos from the Ducati shop in Manhattan. Ducati NY has put together this copper beauty that Marcos would be riding at the day’s event.

Members of the UPJET crew were in attendance. I didn’t know about these guys but Jillian did. They represent NYC mopeds and other dumb bikes. (Their words).

And away we go!

Jillian was on photo duty. So these shots on the road are all hers. We crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn then headed to Queens.

We stayed predominantly on the major artery highways as we rode about town while police held back traffic.

From Queens, we crossed the 59th Street Bridge and back into Manhattan.

It was great having police escorts because we didn’t have to stop for any red lights. Sometimes as we rode through the city streets I’d glance up, see the red color and have a strange feeling of caution. Like, Oh shit! Did I ‘F’ up? Did I run the light? Then I’d remember that it’s cool! And it is! It’s sooo cool!

They closed off the FDR Drive all the way uptown.

We’ve been seeing this bike about town recently. It’s got a Japanese Zero sort of vibe.

This guy below had that nice Gulf Racing Team color scheme going on his tank and helmet.

Rocking the hot red leather pants on a Triumph Speed Triple. Yowza!

A gentleman on a vintage BMW.

It was fun whipping around along the West Side Highway!

Tweed panniers? OK!

Check out the whiskers on the passenger in the Ural sidecar.

We cut into the city and stopped on 59th Street near the Plaza Hotel.

Then we headed back to our original starting point at Peck Slip Plaza.

This guy was shooting film with an old box camera. We also met a guy with a 1954 Nikon taking photos.

This BSA Gold Star was purchased by Triumph Brooklyn.

The guy in the red vest is the owner of that Japanese style bike we keep seeing. It was at Larry’s Block Party last week too.

It was a great day. I didn’t know what to expect. If you know me, you know I like the solitude of the road. I’m a Solo Lobo. But I got to tell you, this was a lot of fun!

Thanks again to everyone who helped out.

So that was Sunday! I mentione