Category: Road Trips

September Road Trip Notes: Odds and Ends

September Road Trip Notes: Odds and Ends

In September, I took a road trip to mosey around a bit on the Bonneville. These are some of the notes that I jotted down about the peripheral odds and ends that helped to make my trip a success.


A few weeks before my trip, I’d added a RAM X-Grip mount to my bars and a Lifeproof FRE case for my iPhone. I do not have a powered connection for my phone, but actually found I didn’t generally need one. There were 2 times in which I did top off my phone battery with my solar battery out of my tankbag.

The Lifeproof FRE case I bought was nicely discounted at 50% off at Best Buy, thanks to price matching. That was a good deal – $40 well spent. There was an emotional hurdle for me to get over while riding through a short but pouring rain pocket. Seeing my phone on the bars getting wet felt all sorts of wrong. But the case works as advertised.

The phone with Google Maps gave better insight into things than the GPS did. The interface of my phone is second nature and highly flexible whereas the GPS seems a little more rigid. Often I used GMaps to find something, then used those results to navigate via GPS. I also used the phone to look for nearby places I might’ve saved on a map.

The phone would never be my only device for navigation but I found it tremendously helpful as a supplement. I don’t use apps like Rever to record tracks or any of that but I did look up some things on Roadside America. All in all, having the phone on the bars worked well.

I’ve been sporting a Dart flyscreen for a couple months now. I *think* it helps direct the wind a little better but now I can’t remember what it felt like before. I guess it must be working because I have no complaints about buffeting. Though I prefer the minimal look without the screen – it’s alright. It also gives me something to stick my EZ Pass toll tag too.

My anemic stock headlight bulb was swapped out for a nice bright LED bulb. I still think I may need some auxiliary lights but for now, I am certainly more visible and getting more light.

Riding along I was getting a flicker on my headlight. I could see it happening if I was riding behind a car or something that reflected my image. Then lost my lamp altogether. I didn’t hear the little light fan running with the key on so I pulled it apart and a little electrical tape did the trick to keep the connector snug. Let there be light! I did this while basking in the soft glow of the Love Butt in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The stock seat on the Bonneville is hands down, the worst motorcycle seat I have ever experienced. It seems unlikely, but that’s the case. For a cheap fix, I added an Airhawk to use on longer rides a couple months ago. I would not have been able to survive this trip without it.

The sensation of the air cushion is a little… weird at first and takes some tinkering to get the right amount of air in the cushionAnd it’s pretty fugly. But, it relieves the pain I get in my tailbone so I don’t care.

My luggage setup was just tossing my 2 Kreiga bags on the pillion seat. One US30 and one US20. Though I packed more clothes than I needed, I still don’t know if I could’ve fit my air pump and some other bulky odds and ends into the US30 to use a single bag. Having the extra 20 liters on top meant I could easily stow bottles of water and other quick-access stuff.

I love the Kreiga bags. They keep things dry, mount to any bike and hold a bunch o’ crap. The only thing I didn’t like is obviously you can’t lock them. I had my MacBook with me, otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have cared all that much.

This is stupid but, was tremendously useful. I picked up a tres-80’s brand new velcro wallet with a ring attached to it in a thrift shop for $2. Because I’m an idiot when at the gas station I often just jam my credit card in my side pocket after running it through the card reader.  A hundred miles later I’ll put my hand in my pocket only to find the card tenuously hanging in there.

Then comes the ritual of thanking the old gods and the new that it managed to stay in my pocket and didn’t go flying out along the road. I’ll then promise myself I that I won’t do that again, only to do it again. It’s like I have a mental block.

So… I clipped this junk wallet into my front jacket pocket. When I get off the bike to fill up, I pull the wallet out, letting it dangle, run the card through, fill up… if the wallet was still dangling – I know I forgot to put the card back in. This was the first trip in which I didn’t have to thank my lucky stars that I didn’t lose my credit card.

Having a modular helmet for the last few months has been great. It’s flexibility really shined during this trip. It made my roadside stalking-about so much more pleasant. I’m not apt to take my helmet off, that’s just my way. Being able to flip up the chinbar while taking photos, filling up, using the restroom, or grabbing a drink was so much better! Plus, interior sunshade for the win.

My LL Bean convertible pants are the jam. They’re so lightweight, quick drying and have zip-off legs. I probably could’ve skipped taking 3 other articles of clothing because of these pants. When space is a premium, dropping a pair of jeans out of the mix makes a difference. I have them in black and feel like they are tidy and stylish enough to sit down in a restaurant without feeling like a total hobo.


Thanks for reading. Safe travels, friends!

Roadside Snapshots: Take Two Cows and Call Me in the Morning

Roadside Snapshots: Take Two Cows and Call Me in the Morning

Along with dinosaurs and my favorite, the Giant Chicken Army, cows have to be one of the most abundant roadside animal statues.

I saw two more big ladies of note while road tripping in September, both in Pennsylvania.

The well-loved big cow of Wilkes-Barre. She’s just up the road from the dilapidated big coffee mug.

This big mama stands outside of the Turkey Hill Experience.

A fine roadside specimen. Plus, there is gas and ice cream right there. But I suppose if you’re lactose intolerant, those two things may always be together. ::ba-dum-dum-tsss:: Try the veal! Ooooh, awkwaaaaard…

Pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before but, why, why, why do they have to make those milkbags so veiny?! GROSS!

Rambling Along on Virginia 56

Rambling Along on Virginia 56

After visiting the old Rockfish post office, I picked up Virginia 56 and followed it for about 30 miles. Aside from being a nice little wiggler, the sights along the road were just the type of thing I was hungry to see.


It’s the Devil’s Road!

Now, that might seem a little strange based on the pictures that follow. On the surface, they’re nothing but decay – remnants of better times. But, I see these old places and to me they feel like they still have a flicker of fight in ’em. A quiet confidence. Though abandoned or falling apart, they get to return to the earth at their own pace. They soldier on through time, going down with the ship versus being forced into strip mall submission.

As a person from a place where there is little visible history, I wonder if these structures become touchstones for the people who live there? Just think of all the hopes and dreams that tread across their floorboards.

The Tiny Old Rockfish, Virginia Post Office

The Tiny Old Rockfish, Virginia Post Office

One for the tiny post office files. This little gem has been starred on my Google map of stuff to do for quite a while now. In September, I stopped by for a look:

US Post Office
Rockfish, Virginia 22966
Est. 1914 Closed 1974

Each photo that I’ve seen of the little post office has a different saying on the chalkboard outside. During my visit, it said, “If you fear something enough, yer askin’ fer it. – Grandma Walton”

Seemed fitting to me.

The Old Rockfish Post Office
Rockfish River Rd
Shipman, VA 22971
Google Maps

Apparently I Have A Giant Lobster Antenna

Apparently I Have A Giant Lobster Antenna

While puttering around the house on this rainy morning, the notion of posting some of the photos from my most recent road trip flittered in and out of my thoughts. That idea was swirled between the need to do laundry, buy dog food and have another cup of coffee.

Needing to buy dog food. Now, there is an unquestionable purpose and benefit. The dog has to eat and you have to feed it. The result is a happy dog and a happy person. The same can’t be said about sharing the dumb stuff I take pictures of while I’m out riding my motorcycle. There isn’t a direct need nor benefit.

What’s this thing, this compulsion to document and share? What purpose does taking a picture of a giant lobster and then showing you serve? None, really. And yet, it’s like an automatic behavior. At least the picture snapping part, as evidenced by the thousands of oddball photos on my iPhone.

This morning, I read an article in The Economist’s 1843 magazine: Japan’s pioneering street photographer about Daidō Moriyama. This quote, in particular, stayed with me:

He still prowls cities at the age of 79, although he now prefers to use a compact digital camera, snapping unobtrusively from waist-level. “We perceive countless images all day long and do not always focus on them,” he says.

It got me thinking about all of the things I like to take photos of – the whimsical, the artful, the goofball, the nostalgic and fading moments of our continuously hardening society. When people say to me, “you find the craziest things,” with regard to the 5-foot lobsters of life, it seems strange to me. Those things are right there all the time! Why don’t some people see them?

I suppose that while some of us are focused on buying dog food, our antennas just don’t pick up on those other signals. “We perceive countless images all day long and do not always focus on them.”

Maybe my riding and photo-snapping is a gentle reminder to myself to try to remember to see. See the things that make me smile, make me laugh, that keep youthful feelings in my heart.

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