Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Bridges (and Babes) of Frederick County!

One of those beautiful, August Sundays showed up today. These days absolutely must be taken advantage of at nearly any cost, as the odds of having free time and fabulous weather simultaneously are very low. Given that, Wife and I decided on a multi-purpose moto-day.

Our geocaching has been getting more and more successful as we go along, so we wanted to get a little farther from home to find a target cache today. Along with that, I had designs on checking out the multiple covered bridges in Frederick County. There are 8 in Maryland, 3 of which are in the County and not far from one-another in the Thurmont area North of our home.. It seemed like a good combination of activities to fill up a day so - motorbike, Garmin GPS, map, Wife, and I took off North on Rt. 15.

Our target cache was just North of Thurmont, off Roddy Creek Road. The person who hid the cache made sure to allow for a nice little place to park - which also happened to be right next to the first covered bridge of the day. Viva Convenience! We parked and un-geared here, and fired up the GPS. It led us through the adjacent woods onto private property (which the cache owner assured was kosher with the property owner). We had to go directly through the woods as we found no path (until we found the cache, which is usually the case for us). But... in short order, the cache was located and captured from it's clever location about 20 feet up a tree, attached to a nifty but very inconspicuous string-and-pulley system.

Inside the container was a myriad of goofiness to sift through. We signed in as evidence of our success, and returned to the bike. (We did get a little disoriented on the walk back - funny, as we were carrying a GPS unit. But we were able to retrace our steps to get back).

Right near the bike was the first of today's bridges, the Roddy Road Bridge. It spanned a little creek that we found small trout and some interesting mystery fish swimming around in. The bridge itself is in terrific condition for being built in the 19th century. (All of the covered bridges we will come across this day are as such. They are in use as traffic bridges, so they are kept up accordingly).

A few pics, and off to bridge #2, the Loy's Station Bridge. The ride there was great. The backroads around this area are full of fun but predictable turns and curves - nothing to jump out and surprise a rider, especially when rolling 2-up. A short gravel stretch here and there maybe. The roads were nearly devoid of cars - another plus today.

Bridge #2 was a longer bridge over a bigger creek. Another photo stop with a chance to get the jackets off for a few minutes and enjoy the breeze.

(In photos, these bridges all look the same, but each one is set in a different background, and each is just as interesting as the last). Speaking of interesting - a beautiful day, with the sun shining and the breeze blowing, and nothing to demand your attention otherwise, is a perfect opportunity to take a step back and appreciate the scenery. Sometimes, even the luckiest guy can forget that some of the best scenery in the world is actually sitting on the motorbike right behind him. I'll stop here to pay tribute to my funny, wonderful, superhot Wife - a smile and a body like this could cause a car to miss the bridge altogether and end up in the creek!

Pics and wife-ogling complete, we went off to bridge #3. More nice, bendy roads and little rural neighborhoods go by. We stopped for some water at a fuel station (the day, however nice, is a little warm in gear, so there was some sweating). Re-hydrated, we located the Utica Mills bridge. Some lucky homeowner had this one literally in his front yard. Lucky bastard.

All targets achieved, we mounted up and returned home. Our "Bridge-Loop" (which I will remember and ride again) had taken us right back to Rt. 15, and one left turn put us back on the road back to Frederick. Waiting there were sandwiches and ice-cold watermelon, and an afternoon of relaxing before the impending work-week. We had a great day together. Sometimes we sell ourselves short with laziness, but our ride showed that when we get off our arses and do things together, it's a total blast.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some updates...

I haven't had much to write lately. My new position doesn't afford me the scheduling latitude I once had, so some of my recreational riding time has been eaten up. Plus, since I've been treating myself unkindly (poor eating habits, lack of sleep), I've been pretty tired. I am working on this.

The V-Strom has proven itself to be a juggernaut. In just 3 months, I've accumulated 10,000 miles on it! (500+ miles weekly in commuting alone). It has yet to give me a complaint. Some bikes would take years to rack up that many miles.

It's also been upgraded. With the sale of my beloved DRZ400SM, I was able to spend some cash on the DL. So... it got the long awaited Caribou luggage, and some nice Givi engine guards. I am regretful, to an extent, that I used the little DRZ to do this. I miss it, it was a lot of fun. But it was limited in it's use. In the future, I will replace it with another like machine that's set up for real off-roading.

Some recent photos:

If you've been considering either farkle, both are highly recommended. The cases are bulletproof. I actually tipped the DL over (because I'm graceful) on one of them and it held the machine up without a scratch. The rack is nice, but the paint/powdercoating is a little flaky. I will write Caribou with this little gripe, but it wouldn't keep me from purchasing them again.

The engine guards are solid. There is a rattle/buzz from the joining point in front of the exhaust header in front of the motor. I have isolated it, and I'm coming up with a plan to rectify it. But rattle aside, I feel confident that they will help save my motor should I decide to toss the DL one day.

More to come when something interesting arises, but not much right now. However, summer is getting short, and that means big riding season is here for me. Autumn is riding heaven. Cooler temps and low humidity. I can't wait.