Archive for Bonneville

Eastbound 2016

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2016 by Pat Regan

After leaving Sturgis, I took the scenic route through the Black Hills. I went a little out of my way to check and see if these fellers were still OK.

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Crazy Horse seemed to be doing OK too, so I moved on.

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I took 385 South all the way to Hot Springs.

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Route 385 serpentines through the Black Hills and cuts across the outskirts of Custer State Park where herds of buffalo roam. On this day I saw one lone bison on the horizon above and one more on the side of the road before leaving the park’s grounds.

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The town of Hot Springs was quiet and the buildings downtown were made of local limestone.

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I saw an old vintage bike shop on the main drag. I stopped and had a look. The guys inside immediately excused themselves for starting Happy Hour a little early. I was coming from Sturgis so it seemed like normal behavior to me.

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The owner bragged that any bike in here could be started with one kick. Then he proved it on that old Bonnie to the left by the window in the photo below. Sucker was loud!

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The Mammoth Site is exactly what it sounds like. They unearthed a bunch of mammoths and other prehistoric creatures at this one time mud pit.

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They have built a large structure directly over the archeological dig where visitors can come and observe.

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Entire skeletons have been slowly exposed from meticulous hours of brushing away the old mud.

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A short faced bear like this one was dug up here as well.

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The guys at the bike shop in Hot Springs recommended I take 71 instead of continuing on 385. They said it’s a nicer ride. I can’t compare, but it was a nice ride.

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I took 71 to Crawford where I got a $50 motel room for the night.

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I’m always attracted to the forgotten places.

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I guess this was an old church. The piano is still on the stage covered in bird poo.

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Carhenge

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Carhenge is a sculpture just outside of Alliance, Nebraska. I rode through here a few years back but had no idea Carhenge existed. At the time I was preoccupied by a bird that had just committed suicide on my headlight and splattered all over my bubble shield.

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It was a cloudy day much as you might expect at the site of which this is an homage.

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And on this day, Bonnie turned 80. Normally that speedometer would be needling at 80 for the photo op, but I could not control the fact that I was approaching a small town. Gotta respect the small town speed limits. That’s where they get ya!

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I saw a sign for old Route 66 so I took it. This brought me to the home of the upcoming Testicle Festival.

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I was going to get off at the next exit anyway. And since none of my journeys is complete without a good, wet, hilly dirt road, here was my last opportunity. But there was something I wanted to see.

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The Holy Family Shrine is an architectural masterpiece.

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Though enclosed, you almost feel like you are outside.

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It is a beautiful, serene space built atop a hill that overlooks miles of Nebraska land.

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Then I crossed into Iowa.

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I took Route 92 directly across Iowa from West to East.

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I stopped for this ’73 Road Runner (above), but stayed on the road for this old classic (below).

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These landscapes really do look like Grant Wood paintings.

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A pleasant surprise along the way! Route 92 runs right into the birthplace of John Wayne in Winterset, Iowa! Below is the house where he was born.

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The courthouse in Winterset oversees Madison County.

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Yes, that Madison County. The one with the bridges. You could make a journey of just seeing the covered bridges. Many of them are miles down unpaved roads, so I did not explore too much on this visit.

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Across the Mississippi!

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As is often the case, once I cross the Mississippi River, I hightail it home.

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I woke up knowing it was going to be a rough day. In my mind I was going to ride through a massive storm and still complete the 700 miles still to go. I did ride into the storm. At one point I saw that 80 and 76 split. My original plan was to take 80 all the way. For some reason I thought I could cut through the storm quicker on a Southwestern route. It was not to be. That storm was moving to the east at such a pace that it was riding with me. I rode 5 hours in that beast of storm.

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The storm had been so bad that people actually congratulated me once I finally broke through and got to a service area. Really. Numerous people wanted to talk about it and one old guy even patted me on the back. I felt euphoric having blasted through that monster. At the same time I felt beat up, tired and puzzled by my will. It was like going into the day, I had something to prove and suddenly realized there was no need to go into that storm so aggressively. Perhaps a lesson was learned. That lesson was put into effect when the Interstate started winding it’s way directly into another storm. I wasn’t having it. I took the next exit.

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Route 75 south led me to Route 30, one of the nations oldest highways. This is an old Tollhouse from the early days before Route 30.

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I rode around a storm or two. Eventually I got back on the main road, but I was wiped out.

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I shacked up in Carlisle, PA. Once there I realized where I was. When you want to get from 76 to 81 going east, you have to exit here. The town is basically a truck stop.

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Tomorrow would be a simple ride home, so I checked out the local truck stop. A guy I met at the motel highly recommended the fries. I had a meal and a beer as I soaked up some of the local color. It was Karaoke Night. There was one fight but no one sang.

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Now, back home to the hustle…

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And the bustle.

 

Sturgis 2015

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2015 by Pat Regan

On the same day I crossed the Missouri River I would make it to Sturgis.

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Welcome to the 75th Anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally!

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This year at Sturgis would be the most crowded ever as the 75th Anniversary was predicted to draw over a million bikers!

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My Bonnie celebrated the 75th in style as the odometer made that turn which represented the 75,000 miles of America’s highways and byways that we have traversed together. Thank you Bonnie and Triumph for making one tough and dependable motorcycle!

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The Buffalo Chip

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I arrived at the Buffalo Chip before dark, set up camp and immediately met a guy named Moose. Good start. That’s my site on the right beneath the camouflage tarp.

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Alice Cooper

The first big show at the Chip would be the legendary Alice Cooper.

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Besides ripping through some of his greatest tunes, Alice rocked some classic covers like Break On Through, Revolution, Foxy Lady and My Generation. I hadn’t seen Alice Cooper in over 20 years.  It was an excellent show!

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Feed My Frankenstein!

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The last time I visited Sturgis I had only one regret.

I didn’t bowl a midget.

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On this visit there would be no regrets.

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I grabbed Samson by the ankle and whipped him down the aisle! He is funny as hell and tough as nails.

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I bowled a strike earning the honor of being raised above the Great Samson’s shoulders!

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Motorcycles as Art

Motorcycles as Art was a jaw dropping display of unpainted meticulously machined masterpieces.

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The show was curated by Michael Lichter the famous motorcycle photographer and included his photography along the periphery.

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The raw mix of vintage parts with modern tweaks and touches complimented each other to create what truly is Motorcycles as Art.

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The bikes were beautifully spaced out in this large hangar-like space.

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I was also fortunate to be here at a time when there were no other people around. It was great to leisurely check out these fantastic bikes.

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Twin Engine Motorcycle Dragster Stage Fright Triumph Bonneville Tiger T110 T120

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Excelsior.

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The next morning I got up to get a new pass for the day. Instead of going out of the gate and around to the box office, I decided to park the bike within the fence and walk around to the box office. When I returned to the bike there was this awesome triumph T-Shirt on my seat with a note on a business card.

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Then a guy called out. It was Danial James. He designed this bad ass Triumph shirt and left it there for me. So cool! Made my day!

We talked a bit. He said I should stop by their shop on Main Street and he wold hook me up with other Triumph stuff! Man, that was real nice.

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I understand overpacking and bringing all the cool stuff you like to have with you, but you gotta keep it tight!

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This dude’s bike is rad. It’s covered with all kinds of shit and if I’m not mistaken, he said he hadn’t changed the oil in 8 years. He was entering the bike in Thursday’s Rat’s Hole Contest. I don’t know how the bike did, but he won best beard and perhaps the tattoo contest as well.

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Besides the big stage with the major acts, there are numerous stages throughout the Buffalo Chip. Bands play and rotate all day and night.

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This Japanese band had a slick cool Western vibe.

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The Living Deads had a solid, rad, rockabillly twang.

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But of all the bands Mothership was off the hook bad ass. I will be keeping an eye on their tour calendar. If you like good solid hard rock n roll, I recommend you check this Texas trio out.

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And there’s the dancing girls! Some dance for tips!

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And some dance for corporate sponsors. Here’s The Jagermeister Girls.

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I knew Fox made motorcycle jeans but I thought they offered more protection. These are The Vape Girls.

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The Rat’s Hole sponsored various competitions throughout the week.

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This one had no registration fee and various awards for best bike in it’s class.

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The tank is the only thing Triumph on this bike below.

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I got to talking to these guys Eric, Shawn and Bernie. That’s Bernie’s bike with the skeleton and Eric’s bike is the chopper. I believe Shawn is their machinist. Anyway, the subject of the Grateful Dead came up and I mentioned I had gone to Chicago. Bernie asked if I got into all three shows. As I was telling the story about getting a rear blowout on the way and negotiating a ticket for the first night, Eric interrupted and said “and you got it for face value!” Bernie says,”How the hell would you know that?” Eric says, “I read it on the internet.”

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Later in the day I ended up riding right next to this dude on the bobbed out Triumph. We started talking as he rode to my left. I’m slobbering over his bike, but he really digs the new Bonnie’s too. Then he extends his hand. Hmmm, this was my first handshake while riding and I do believe it’s harder from the right. All formalities were taken care of cool and cordially without any signs of me thinking “I hope I don’t fuck this up”!

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The first year I came to Sturgis I pitched my tent next to a 6’4″ trucker from Wheeler, Texas. Everytime I have come here since, I make sure to track down Randy. Things are going well for Randy so he’s not driving those big rigs anymore. Randy is a great story teller and good company.

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Dee Snider played a great set. Like Alice Cooper, he did his own standards from Twisted Sister and Widowmaker but also some excellent cover tunes like Rocker, Real Wild Child and Rock n Roll.

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Dee Snider was opening for Godsmack. Between bands I noticed some lightning on the horizon. Mind you there was nothing in the weather forecast that called for any precipitation on this night…But this is Sturgis. And when it comes to the weather, the only guarantee is that there are no guarantees! As Godsmack began their set I felt one big drop hit me. I wasn’t taking any chances. I headed back to the tent. Just as I got there KABOOM! Heavy rain and hail came pouring down. I had my gear buckled down tight. I wasn’t sure my tarp would hold up under heavy winds but it was doing fine so far and I was enjoying having a dry seat under my vestibule while watching the storm crash down around me. I planned on staying dry under my tarp when I heard a neighbor in crisis. One of my neighbor’s tents was not faring so well in the heavy rain and this dude Richard was out there by himself trying to help out. I went outside to lend a hand. So despite my awesome shelter which kept my stuff dry, I got soaked anyway. No big deal. It was fun.

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My inner sanctum.

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Downtown Sturgis

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The bikes were lined up as expected and I was happy to join that line.

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Tons of bikes lined the street. This isn’t a show. These are the riders and Main Street is the parking lot.

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Indian Larry’s shop had a bike displayed along Main Street.

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Even the side streets are lined with motorcycles.

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I was doing laundry at the Buffalo Chip when I heard the sonic boom of a B-1 Bomber overhead. Lynn (who I met on the road) sent me this photo of the B-1 Bombers destination. It did a fly by right over Main Street!

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Also on Main Street in downtown Sturgis there is a real decent little motorcycle museum.

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This museum is packed with vintage goodies.

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This Panhead was totally chromed out!

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Triumph was well represented.

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After seeing a woman in a vending booth eating a salad, I realized I had to do some shopping. One can not live on BBQ alone. I saw this guy with a classic do it yourself style chopper as I went to the grocery store.

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Then I stopped by the Uhl Studio shop to see Danial James who had left that T-shirt on my bike. You can click his name to read more about the artist.

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Danial was super cool. We talked about everything from motorcycles and riding to painting, Photoshop and technology. And how he partnered up with David Uhl to created Uhl Studios. I had seen David Uhl’s work before a few years ago at the Broken Spoke. Great stuff! True to his word, Daniel hooked me up with some beautiful Triumph shirts for Jillian and another for me with a Brando Wild One theme. I will be doing a separate post on Uhl Studios in the near future. Meanwhile link up with their site HERE. And some of the shirts are sold directly on the Triumph website HERE. Thanks again Danial!

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 Lukas Nelson

Lukas Nelson was the only early act I really wanted to see from all the days I was at Sturgis. Lukas is Willie Nelson’s kid and he rocks! Jillian and I got to meet Lukas when he played with his dad here in NYC.

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During Lukas Nelson’s set the Budweiser Clydesdales made their way across the amphitheatre.

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The Clydesdales weren’t the only celebrities to grace the grounds of the Buffalo Chip.

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This dude lives for Skynyrd! And tonight he had front row on his decked out bike with portraits of all the original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd beautifully painted on anything that wasn’t chromed.

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And Skynyrd did not disappoint, playing a classic set of their unique Southern sound!

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Lynyrd Skynyrd was by far the most crowded of all the shows at the Chip this year.

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In addition to the Jagermeister girls on the bar, there are the shot girls. You can have a shot of Jager poured into your mouth by this woman on stilts.

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Or if you find tall women intimidating, you can have a midget pour you one on the down low.

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Mount Rushmore and Deadwood

Riding around during Sturgis can be a little nuts. It is so crowded. Especially this year. But I figured I’d take a ride to Mt. Rushmore then return through Deadwood.

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The one stop light in Keystone was enough to back the traffic up for miles. Most of these guys gave up on letting the bike idle and cut the engines allowing the mighty hill do the work for them.

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I pulled to the side of the road for a look at Mt. Rushmore but didn’t park and go in.

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Bikes were darting around in every direction. Notice George in profile.

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In Deadwood a green girl on a green bike promoted this shop.

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Saloon 10, where Wild Bill Hickok was killed while playing cards. Deadwood actually burned down a few years after Hickok’s murder. This bar was built as an exact replica of the old Saloon 10.

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Uhl Studios

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David Uhl was taking a break from painting when I visited his studio in Deadwood.

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Here is a painting David Uhl made of Dale Walksler unveiling his Crocker. Danial at the other studio was telling me a story about Dale. He had an auction going on back in North Carolina at his museum Wheels Through Time. He was auctioning off the Crocker. It turns out however that North Carolina had a law which forbids anything to be auctioned with a value over $250,000. The Crocker is worth three times that much, so the auction had to be cancelled. However those who bought raffle tickets will have their money returned and they get to keep a print of the awesome painting seen below!

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I drew that same Crocker engine a while back from a photo I took of Dale’s bike.

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Headed back to the Chip!

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John Fogerty

Fogerty blasted out all the Creedence classics.

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And of course he played his solo hit Centerfield with his baseball bat guitar.

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The Miss Buffalo Chip contest was down to 3 contestants last I heard. The one in the middle was the crowd favorite.

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If you are up for it, you don’t have to miss the show to get a tattoo. There is a parlor right in the concert arena.

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This guy was forging interlocking hearts.

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Then came the big Rat’s Hole Contest where the big bikes compete!

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Evel Knievel’s truck, Big Red.

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I spent most of my time at the Buffalo Chip but I did stop by to have a look around at the Full Throttle Saloon.

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The owner, Micael Ballard was on hand to do some shots of their Sloonshine!

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Earlier in the trip I visited the world’s largest boot, today I would take part in the world’s largest motorcycle sculpture.

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They directed us where to  park our bikes and then we just waited for a photo op from a helicopter above.

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This is John. He and his wife Shannon were camping with a group next to me.

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And here is the shot from the air. I am at the crest of the bottom wave just to the left of the mermaid.

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Styx opened for The Guess Who. I never really like Styx. Still don’t.

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The Guess Who on the other hand put on a great show.

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The chick lighting a cigarette punched a dude right in the face for being too close to her bike.

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It was time to pack it up and hit the road. Richard (the guy I was helping during the storm) was have some electrical issues with his bike. Good luck with that Richard and hope to see ya at a future rally!

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Time to hit the road!

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Summer 2015 – Sturgis Bound

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2015 by Pat Regan

Plans change!

My original plan had me headed west from Chicago after seeing the Grateful Dead. Plans changed. I was exhausted and in my haste I realized I had not packed well for a cross country adventure. So, I went back home to NYC.

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No worries. Truth be told, I was having fun in NYC hanging with Jillian and friends. We went to a friend’s restaurant to celebrate Bastille Day!

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I kept setting dates to get back on the road and for one reason or another I justified a postponement. If it’s not too hot NYC can be a place to hang. Here is a situation of a guy who definitely paints what he sees. There are naked people in the sun all over his painting!

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This painter chose a shady setting with a less shady subject matter.

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Another cool thing about NYC is the things you run into. Here is a model shoot by Bethesda Fountain.

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But here’s my favorite model. Jillian took me to see the new Whitney Museum before I made my way West!

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Donald Judd make for a nice frame.

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Time was passing quickly. If I was going to get any motorcycle adventure going I had to go. Now it was do or die. The coast to coast ride was out of the question. But I’ve done it 6 times and ridden 48 states already. At this point there was just not enough time for #7. But one thing I’ve always been determined to do was to go to Sturgis 75! Me at 50 and Sturgis at 75. It seemed like two solid numbers that had to be united!

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One last kiss and it was time to hit the road!

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And he’s off!

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So I am on my way. I couldn’t bare to take the same route as I did when going to Chicago, but I had to make time. So I took the Interstate but a different one than I had taken to see the Dead. At Harrisburg I shot north for my first night of camping at Clear Creek State Park. It was good to be back outdoors again!

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I heard about a ghost town in Northwestern PA called Pithole City. It was the site of the first commercial oil well in the United States. More oil strikes nearby prompted Pithole’s population to rapidly increase to 20,000. Within 12 years time the oil was tapped. That and some raging fires dwindled Pithole to a ghost town status.

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Here is a diorama of how Pithole looked in it’s heyday! Unfortunately for me there is nothing left but a small museum and impressions of some of it’s streets. Any evidence of it’s structures had long disintegrated or burned to ground.

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The next day I crossed into Ohio. I took Route 244! I felt I had taken this road before. 244 seemed real familiar to me. The site of this grand old house confirmed it. I zipped passed it a few years ago heading East and neglected to take a photo of it. Not this time.

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As I rolled through these old Ohio highways I realized there were no State Parks in the area. The only thing I could find was an off the beaten path private campground. In the past I haven’t done well at these types of places. Most are designed for RV’s. This one however had a great little tent spot right on their lake. It was like I was the only person there. So a thumbs up for Powell Creek Campgrounds.

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And here’s it’s namesake, Powell Creek.

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Last year I introduced Bonnie to Bonneville Dam in Oregon. This time around I notice a Bonneville Mill on the map. Or so I thought. My eyes aren’t as good as they once were. When I arrived at the mill I saw that it was actually Bonneyville Mill. It was still a nice stop on the journey.

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I guess they put these red and white tape strips on the chromed out oil tanks to prevent people from taking selfies.  I am not really sure why they do it. Anyone out there know?

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On this night I was headed to Johnson Sauk Trail State Park to camp for the night. I had stayed here a few years back. It’s a really nice wooded campsite and only cost $8 for the night. On the way I saw some vintage machines in a nearby town.

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I was taking photos of these beauties when a garage door open and a guy rolled out on a Bobcat. His name was Lynn and he invited me inside to see his man cave garage. Super cool! Inside he had it decorated with all sorts of automotive antiques. Also inside was this rare 1957 GMC Suburban. Beautiful!

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We hung out and talked for a while. Turns out Lynn is headed to Sturgis too. See ya at the Chip Lynn!

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And here is the campsite. Hammock heaven!

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Someone didn’t finish their meal.

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One of the coolest things at this park is an old round barn stable a farmer had made in 1910 for his Angus Beef herd.

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I love riding cross country but for one thing. Storms. Further north there was a monster of a storm. I headed south to try to avoid it as I moved West. Unfortunately I still caught the tail end of it.

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I finally crossed the Mississippi River a lot further South than I had planned.

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As I entered Burlington Iowa, I figured I would have to change all my plans and set a new route West. It’s strange after leaving NYC I kept seeing the Statue of Liberty. There was one in the middle of a river in Harrisburg PA and here was another in Burlington Iowa.

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Also in Burlington is Snake Alley the once recognized crookedest road in the States by Ripleys Believe it or Not.

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I decided I could go North and resume my original plan. I was going to ride around this giant storm. On my was along the Mississippi I stopped by an ancient Native American mound site. They can be found up and down the Mississippi River valley.

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Then came a genuine treat to my detour. If you’ve read this blog you know I love to visit places of historical significance. But this next stop would take me to a site of significance that wouldn’t come for another 300 plus years! Welcome to Riverside, Iowa, future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk.

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I moved North through Clinton, Iowa. I passed through this town once before to try some Flava Flav’s Fried Chicken only to find out it had already gone out of business.

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I crossed the Mississippi again and headed up it’s East coast for a bit.

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After a crazy day of zig zagging in all directions I was wiped out. Tonight I would get a hotel in Dubuque, Iowa. In the morning as I was packing up the bike, I noticed that my kickstand was glistening. Then I noticed a drip stain under the bike. Uh oh, something was leaking. Not cool.

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I’d keep riding and hope it was a minor issue. I would then go to a magical place just outside of Dubuque. If you have seen the movie Field of Dreams then you know what I mean.

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The movie set is kept in pristine condition just as it was in the movie.

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Kids play baseball on the same field where Ray Liota emerged from the cornfields as Shoeless Joe Jackson outfielder for the disgraced 1919 White Sox team.

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Also on this day Frank Dardis one of the ghost players from the movie was in attendance.

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I continued on up the river but that oil drip was really started to worry me.

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On this night I would camp out at Frontenac State Park just outside of Red Wing MN. I bought a quart of oil to keep it topped off as it leaked.

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I figured in the morning I would go to a Triumph dealer in Minneapolis, but when I started up the bike that drip was nearly a pour. It was really spewing out and I couldn’t figure out the source. I also couldn’t loosen  the cap to put more oil in. Luckily I caught Coach Ken as he was pulling out. Ken is a super nice guy, former teacher and football coach who happened to have a huge screwdriver that helped my pry that thing open. Thanks Ken.

I called a shop in Red Wing knowing I couldn’t make itand they said they could take me right away. It was just 10 miles away but with all that oil dripping I was afraid it might grease my rear tire and take me out. The problem could have been anything from the filter to a crack in the engine block. Lucky me, it was the filter. It ruptured. I was in and out of the shop in 15 minutes. Amazing! A big thanks to John at Red Wing Motorsports!

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Then I could resume my real purpose for being in Red Wing. I was there to see the worlds largest boot!

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The next stop is a place I’ve wanted to visit for a while. The Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota. The Runestone is a tablet discovered in Kensington that dates back to the 1300’s with Viking writings on it.

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In the museum are also some creepy dioramas.

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Outside they have some old homes, a school, a church and some cabins that were moved from their original locations.

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The creepiest display of all was this one with a stuffed dog on a carpet. But it was good to finally see the Runestone.

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I zipped across Minnesota and camped out at Roy Lake in South Dakota.

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I got a beautiful spot right on the lake. Very nice.

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From here I had one last stop before Sturgis. I wanted to visit Sitting Bull’s grave. So I crossed the Missouri River and paid a visit to one of the greatest Native American leaders of all time.

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Sitting Bull’s grave overlooking the Missouri River.

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Now it’s Sturgis time!

What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2015 by Pat Regan

The Grateful Dead

It seems that the Grateful Dead and I are both celebrating our 50th birthdays this year. When I first heard about the 3 final shows the Grateful Dead would reunite for, I readied myself at the computer and clicked away being repeatedly rejected as the 3 nights quickly sold out. I soon gave up hope of participating at this final event on July 4th weekend. Then in April my good friend Brian offered me a Sunday night ticket to the last Dead show ever in Chicago (or anywhere else for that matter) as a birthday gift. Thanks B.

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July 4th weekend came around and it was time to get to Chicago. Many of my friends were headed there from various places. Some of them were flying in, some rented a car then would fly home, but no one was road tripping in both directions between NYC and Chicago. So I hopped on Bonnie and headed west.

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I hadn’t time to plan or pack properly. I tried to pack as if I were going on an extended journey. I tried. Immediately I began to realize I had left things behind for a long trip. Whatever, I was going to Chicago regardless. Nothing was stopping me. Then POP! My rear inner tube blew! I’ve always wondered what happens in such a situation. In this case, it turns out it wasn’t that bad. I heard a muffled poof and felt a jiggle. Then it felt like bumps in the road. But when I pulled over I saw my rear flat tire. I called AMA for help. They are a reliable service. But while the operator put me on hold to check for places in the area, this guy from the Indiana Toll Road Service showed up. His name was Dennis and he was super helpful. Before the AMA operator returned to the call, Dennis had already dispatched a tow and called his wife to check the size of an old tire he had in the garage. He said I could have the tire and his wife would bring it to the place where I was being towed to. Thank you sir!

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It turns out my tire was fine and I just needed a new tube. The tow truck came in a short while and the bike shop was in the nearby town.

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Tragedy averted. The truck brought me to North End Cycle, a fully equipped bike shop and showroom.

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My inner tube had completely exploded! They had my size in stock and I would be on my way toward Chicago in a little over an hour.

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Besides a large showroom of new and used bikes, North End Cycle had this classic police trike in the back.

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Back on the road. Another 200 miles and I rolled in to Chicago!

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Because of the blow out I arrived in Chicago much later than planned. At this point all my friends had gone to the show already. I found the hotel where I would be staying this night, dropped off my bags, parked the bike, hopped on the subway and headed to Soldier Field.

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I had no ticket for this night and I had a lot of company in that respect.

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Folks all over the surrounding area of the stadium walked around with their fingers raised hoping for a ticket into the sold out show.

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People everywhere were looking for tickets.

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That dude on the left is holding up a wad of cash instead of a finger.

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I figured there was no way I was getting into the show this night.

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Then as I approached one of the tunnels into the stadium I heard someone offering someone a ticket for $250. Then he quickly went down to $200. The guy rejected the offer. I walked up and said that I just rode in from NYC and would love to see the show. He said “New York City! Do you know AJ?”  Uh, no. Then he offered me the ticket for face value! YES! I was in!

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Amazing! I met up with my friend Gral and more than 70,000 happy people to see the end of an era.

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There was some question about Jerry Garcia’s replacement. Those huge shoes were filled by Trey Anastasio from the band Phish. Trey took on the task with the enthusiasm of a kid in a candy store and did an exceptional job.

JULY 3, 2015, SOLDIER FIELD, CHICAGO

Set One

  • “Box Of Rain” (Phil Lesh lead vocals)
  • “Jack Straw” (Bob Weir and Phil Lesh lead vocals)
  • “Bertha” (Trey Anastasio lead vocals)
  • “Passenger” (Bob Weir and Bruce Hornsby lead vocals)
  • “The Wheel” (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby vocals)
  • “Crazy Fingers” (Trey Anastasio lead vocals)
  • “The Music Never Stopped” (Bob Weir lead vocals

Set Two

  • “Mason’s Children”
  • “Scarlet Begonias” (Trey Anastasio lead vocals)
  • “Fire On The Mountain” (Bruce Hornsby lead vocals)
  • “Drums”
  • “Space”
  • “New Potato Caboose” (Phil Lesh lead vocals)
  • “Playing In The Band” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Let It Grow” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Help On The Way” (Trey Anastasio lead vocals)
  • “Slipknot!”
  • “Franklin’s Tower” (Phil Lesh lead vocals)
  • “Ripple” (encore, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh vocals)

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I bumped into Rob, a guy I hadn’t seen in over a decade. And coincidentally he had sold my other friends extra tickets for Saturday’s show! Woo Hoo! I was good for all three nights!

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The next day I moved to my friend Jake’s Hotel at the Langham. This joint was first class! Thanks Jake!

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Happy 4th of July!

On Saturday we left early and headed toward the stadium.

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Grant Park is between the hotel and Soldier Field. The Art Institute of Chicago is within the park much like the MET in NYC.

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Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate is aside the museum. Commonly known as The Bean, it reflects the city and all who approach it.

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The crew.

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Also in the park is the beautiful pavillion designed by Frank Gehry.

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We brought a nerf football. B Fox nabs a long toss from Elks.

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Today there was time to do the whole scene. On the south side of the stadium is the parking lot where the Deadhead equivalent of a tailgate party is taking place. This is what is missing at any other event that has taken place in Dead reconfigurations or solo acts in the past twenty years. This scene is strictly Grateful Dead.

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Chicago was truly welcoming to the Grateful Dead fans. Security was present but unnoticeable and people freaked freely!

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This motley medly of friendly folk surrounded the stadium.

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Pin Heads!

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Captain Jack!

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This dude was super proud to have ridden his bike down from Saskatchewan, Canada!

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These ladies were offering ecrutrements as a little extra flashy accessory.

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I’m Uncle Sam. That’s who I am!

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The parking lot grill offering yummy kabobs!

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I bumped into this girl who had done a cross country trip of her own which she proudly displays as a colorful tattoo on her arm.

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People of all ages prepared for the big July 4th show.

Old…

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…and young.

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Of course people drove their old buses to the show.

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This camper was hooked up.

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They offered me a seat and a bottle opener as I passed.

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You will see your share of cool old cars too.

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And the vanity tags which say, “Please pull me over!”

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It would not be a Dead show without a Hare Krishna pass by.

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The files of people calmly flowed closer and closer to the stadium.

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On this night, I didn’t need my ticket. I had one, I just didn’t need it. As I approached the stadium someone threw the door open at gate 5 and started waving people in. So I entered Soldier Field unimpeded. Between the Doric columns from the original 1924 facade and the 2003 renovation The flocks flowed for a second night of good times!

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JULY 4, 2015, SOLDIER FIELD, CHICAGO

Set One

  • “Shakedown Street” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Liberty” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Standing On The Moon” (Trey Anastasio lead vocals)
  • “Me & My Uncle” (John Phillips cover, Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Tennessee Jed” (Bob Weir, Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby lead vocals)
  • “Cumberland Blues” (Trey Anastasio, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby vocals)
  • “Little Red Rooster” (Willie Dixon cover, Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Friend Of The Devil” (Phil Lesh lead vocals)
  • “Deal” (Trey Anastasio and Bruce Hornsby lead vocals)

Set Two

  • “Bird Song” (Phil Lesh lead vocals)
  • “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)” (Trey Anastasio and Bruce Hornsby lead vocals)
  • “Lost Sailor” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Saint Of Circumstance” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “West L.A Fadeaway” (Bruce Hornsby lead vocals)
  • “Foolish Heart” (Trey Anastasio lead vocals)
  • “Drums”
  • “Space”
  • “Stella Blue” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “One More Saturday Night” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “U.S. Blues” (encore, Bob Weir lead vocals)

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This dude climbed the lamp post like a monkey and swiped a few of the Steal Your Face banners hanging along the road.

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I lost everybody I was with at this show, so I took the long walk back on my own and snapped some night shots.

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This is it! The last show ever. But it’s more than that. It is the end of this scene that only happens at this event. An era in a place where even the grumpiest folks wear a smile.

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JULY 5, 2015, SOLDIER FIELD, CHICAGO

Set One

  • “China Cat Sunflower” (Trey Anastasio and Bruce Hornsby lead vocals)
  • “I Know You Rider” (Tossi Aaron cover; Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir vocals)
  • “Estimated Prophet” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Built To Last” (Bruce Hornsby lead vocals)
  • “Samson and Delilah” (traditional, Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Mountains Of The Moon” (Phil Lesh lead vocals)
  • “Throwing Stones” (Bob Weir lead vocals)

Set Two 

  • “Truckin'” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Cassidy” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Althea” (Trey Anastasio lead vocals)
  • “Terrapin Station” (Phil Lesh and Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Drums”
  • “Space”
  • “Unbroken Chain” (Phi Lesh lead vocals)
  • “Days Between” (Bob Weir lead vocals)
  • “Not Fade Away” (The Crickets cover; Trey Anastasio, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby vocals)
  • “Touch of Grey” (encore 1, Trey Anastasio, Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby vocals)
  • “Attics of My Life” (encore 2, Trey Anastasio, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby vocals)

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The fireworks on this night were phenomenal!

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We were sitting high, so the explosions were right before us!

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So much fun was packed into a solid weekend with 3 fantastic shows and great friends!

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Instead of flooding out with the masses we watched the 70,000 people slowly filter away corralled by the gentle touch of the hired security.

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And then it was over. At least for most of us. We all packed up and headed to or respective homes. Most of my friends flew home. I packed up Bonnie and did a solid two days of riding back to NYC. My boy Gral however went to Gibson’s Steakhouse and had one last GD experience. Nice one Gral!

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The ticket stubs to my first show March 7, 1981 and my last show July 5, 2015! In the middle is the first night of the weekend. The mail order tickets were printed from designs of envelopes people had sent in, (a Grateful Dead tradition).

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Fare Thee Well

George Washington Slept Here…No Really!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 18, 2014 by Pat Regan

When I took Bonnie in for service in NYC, the guy at the shop really wanted to clean her. They said it would be a mere 85 bucks. I said I got it. I cleaned poor dirty Bonnie for the first time in months once I got to Maryland. Mother nature decided she needed a second rinse.

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On Wednesday I visited a long time neglected gem in history. In the photo below is an aerial view of the College Park airport. This tiny strip is the oldest continuously used airport IN THE WORLD!

That section within the circle is one of my old stomping grounds. When I was younger me and my crew used to hang there. It was a fun spot. There was an old bridge for the B&O railroad that crossed a creek at the end of the runway. We would bring some brews, watch planes land and take off, and wait for the trains to come by. There were these 5×5 wooden platforms that extended from the sides of the bridge. It was a huge thrill to run out to the platform and stay there as these long, large, loud, clamoring trains raged by. Or, if the trains were traveling slow enough we would run along side, grab a ladder and climb to the roof, jumping from car to car like in the Wild Wild West! Nowadays the DC Metro runs through there. A great many things have changed down here in Maryland.

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One positive change is that they built a museum to recognize this airport which has given so much to aviation history.

The College Park Airport was established in 1909 for the Wright Brothers to train members of the United States Army Signal Corps to fly their biplane. Below is the Wright Brothers plane in College Park being prepared for flight using a launching rail.

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A diorama in the museum of the airport as it looked in the early 1900’s with that same B&O railroad passing by. Civilian aviation began with Rex Smith Aeroplane Company as seen below.

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The museum houses a number of planes that have flown from the airport over the years.

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Below is another photo of the Wright Brothers plane flying over College Park.

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The first machine gun ever fired from a plane occurred here in College Park.

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An old ticket for a motorcycle/air show. When is the next one?

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There were many notable firsts that took place at the College Park Airport. I mentioned a couple already, but there are more. The first woman to fly in an airplane in 1909 with Wilbur Wright. In 1911 the first Army flying school was established here. The first bombs using bomb sites were dropped here in 1912. In 1918 the first regular air mail service was established here. The first successful flight of a helicopter took place here in 1922.

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For more about the airport, CLICK HERE.

After the airport I headed back to my dad’s. After looking at some childhood photos I asked dad to take a photo in the same place with my motorcycle in place of my tricycle.

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I took a walk down by the creek beyond my dad’s neighborhood. Along the way is the Adelphi Mill. It’s the oldest mill in the DC area built in 1796.

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Another old hang out for me and my friends were these rocks. It was a great lookout high above a curve so you could see anyone coming from either direction (which is important for a good hangout). Notice the carved heart in the center of the rock. It was there since I was a young boy.

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Here’s looking up at those same rocks.

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When I was little we would catch frogs and toads in this swamp.

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On the way back to the house I stopped to take this photo in order to say Happy Wednesday to some friends. This is more of the change I mentioned. The street near my dad’s is full of humps now. The road is only about a mile long and has 6 or 7 humps.

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Mount Vernon

They say George Washington slept in many places, but this is the place he called home. Welcome to Mount Vernon. When I arrived, the guy at the ticket booth told me it was the busiest time of the year because of the DC cherry blossoms. In order to go inside the home you have to get a timed ticket. He seemed surprised that I got a slot for the 4:10 admission. I think riding solo helped me slip in early because I heard a group next to me get a ticket for after 5:00.

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I had about an hour and a half to walk around the grounds before having to get in line for the main house.

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As you look across the Potomac River from Mount Vernon you can see Fort Washington in the background.

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For any fans of the National Treasure movies…I think this is the entrance to those vaults where Nicholas Cage kidnaps the President.

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Or maybe it was this one. This is actually the family vault where George Washington was originally buried.

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In his will however he gave orders and plans to have the family vault moved. Below is his final resting place.

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There are many buildings surrounding the estate of Mount Vernon. This is a basement to store linseed oil and mixed paint.

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Recognizing the possible consequences of losing trade with England, George Washington raised quality sheep and was prepared to make his own wool fabrics as well as other necessary produced items like hemp for rope.

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Washington even had a smokehouse for his plastic meats.

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When I saw the sign for the Spinning Room, I raised an eyebrow. No it was not a place George would go to wait it out after a night on the town. It had something to do with those sheep.

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Mount Vernon keeps a live blacksmith in the shop.

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The men’s slave quarters. The original building burned down in the 1800’s. This is a recreation.

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Now I got in line to go inside. Unfortunately they don’t allow photography on the inside.

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Since they have a NO PHOTO policy, I cannot show you the inside. You will have to visit the Mount Vernon website to show you.

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After visiting the house I went to the museum and education center. Like the house, no photos in the museum. But you could take photos in the education center. Here is young George the surveyor.

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My dear Jillian’s father is a collector of many items of historical importance. He donated this Indian Peace Medal to Mount Vernon.

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It was a good visit. I don’t think I had been to Mount Vernon since a class trip in Elementary School.

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I saw a patriotic potpourri of American flags in the store on my way out.

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As I rode down the road away from Mount Vernon I exited when I saw a sign for Fort Hunt Park. In the park were the cement ruins of some old gun turrets.

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Across the river from Fort Hunt one can get a direct look at Fort Washington which was also visible from Mount Vernon.

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On my way home I rode through Arlington Virginia. I thought the cemetery might be open, but it wasn’t. So I went to the memorial for the USMC, the Iwo Jima sculpture.

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And lastly, on the other side of the great cemetery is the memorial dedicated to the Air Force. An appropriate end to this post having started with the very beginnings of the US military in the air at College Park.

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5 Years

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 17, 2013 by Pat Regan

This week marked the 5th anniversary riding the Triumph Bonneville. Now the winter has passed and a new season of great riding weather begins. That’s me below with my second Bonnie on the anniversary date last week. The first one (’07) was stolen on Memorial Day in 2009. It was quickly replaced with this ’09 model in June. She is still riding great with over 52,000 miles on her. When the ’07 was stolen it had just under 18,000 miles on it. Do the math. 5 years…70,000 glorious miles.

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Recently however not a whole lot of miles have been tipping over on that odometer. It’s been cold and I’ve been busy. First a trip with my girl to Paris kept me busy. Paris is awesome. We saw a few fine machines around town.

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This mean looking BMW was parked on the sidewalk.

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This BMW was one of many motorcycles and scooters parked on the streets of Monmartre. You have to give credit to those who ride in Paris. Rush hour is wild. Cutting lanes in Cali is kids play compared to the moves you will see in this city.

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I’m not sure what bike this is. It’s got Bonnie style.

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The Eiffel Tower adds an orange glow to the headlight of this old Vespa.

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We saw this Thruxton on the way to the D’Orsay Museum. It had some nice extras. I was really eyeballing those side mirrors, but after some recent tight spots in NYC I think I’ll keep my mirrors between the bars.

When we returned from Paris we had an opportunity for a ride about town.

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We rode over to one of the few undeveloped spots along the East River. It won’t be undeveloped for long. What a view!

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Calvary Cemetery in Queens is a serene spot with an unusual view of the city.

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On to Brooklyn we had a look at some vintage bikes.

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Then to Williamsburg for some fish tacos and delicious drinks at the Surf Bar.

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Ended the ride with a sunset in Manhattan.

Then Bonnie sat idle again as we went to Florida. In Florida the only riding I did was on this baby below at the local Goodwill.

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Instead of a bike we opted for this little Smartcar.

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That little sucker is fun to drive. It’s like sitting in an 80MPH amusement park ride.

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Back in NYC! The weather is showing signs of warming up. It’s time to get Bonnie inspected and registered. Jillian and I rode up to Cycle Therapy for an inspection. While waiting we checked out some of their bikes upstairs.

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Bonnie passed inspection. We rode back downtown during rush hour. I pushed it. It got a little crazy at times. On my back was my girl. Cool, without worry. She said if it gets too scary, she’ll just close her eyes and hold on tight. Nice.

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I sign out with some random shots from around town.

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I don’t usually include scooters here, but this Vespa with a sidecar is hardcore.

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Floyd Bennett Field and Dead Horse Bay

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2012 by Pat Regan

I have been out of commission for a few weeks with a leg injury. No, not bike related. I am just getting too old to play basketball with high school kids. Tore my right calf bad. Fortunately I could still ride to work, but could not walk around for adventures. On one of those trips to work, Bonnie hit a milestone. She turned over the 40,000 mile mark. Beyond the odometer and across the street (in the photo) is the home of Kaufman Studios in Queens. The Marx Brothers made their first two movies here and more recently Kaufman Studios has wrapped up filming for Men in Black III.

Well, with the leg getting better I decided to ride over to Floyd Bennett Field and Dead Horse Bay. I posted about Floyd Bennett Field before, when I attended the annual Pow Wow there. This time I went back for other reasons. As I looked at the area on Google Satellite, I noticed some of the buildings had holes in the roof. That can only mean one thing! It’s empty and waiting to be explored. The Restricted Area and No Trespassing signs confirmed my suspicions (not that I noticed them at the time). Shhhh.

These buildings seem to be old barracks for the one time airport. Nowadays there are Marine reserves to the left and an NYPD helicopter training facility to the right. These barracks may have been home to Coast Guard Aviation or U. S. Naval Reserve Aviation, both of whom used the base in the past.

I was able to date when people once roamed these premises as I opened a newspaper. It was December 1976. In the movie section I saw such films as Carrie, The Silver Streak and Marathon Man along with various adult flicks from the old Times Square days.

This bird nest was the only sign of life in the building these days.

Next I visited an old pump station. Inside were two large engines used to pump water throughout the area, plus some other rusty bits and a baseball.

I pulled the dipstick out of this monster below. The oil was fresh as if it had been poured in yesterday.

Then I approached the power station with massive generators inside. I chose not to climb in (there was a lot of activity in a nearby building), but I did snag some shots through various windows surrounding the place.

From Floyd Bennett Field I headed over to Dead Horse Bay. It’s just across Flatbush Avenue from the old airport. Dead Horse Bay got it’s name quite literally from the old glue factory that used to be here. Before cars, everything in NYC was pulled by horse. When those horses died they would be carted off to this place and turned into glue, glycerin or fertilizer. The land itself is atop an old landfill. On the southeast corner of the island where the beach is, there is a breach in the landfill exposing glass, ceramic and rusty treasures from days gone by.

Did I mention…Dead Horse Bay is haunted by old soles.

This old rusty can sat defiantly upright as the tide rolled in.

Unfortunately the tide was high while I was there. I must return at low tide with waterproof boots. I imagine with each tide new treasures are unearthed. This could become a habit.

I returned to Dead Horse Bay to see it at low tide.

It was so windy on this day that I skipped the Belt Parkway and took the full length of Flatbush Avenue back to Manhattan. While crossing the Manhattan Bridge I snapped this shot.