Saturday, May 09, 2015

A Ride with ScooterInTheSticks

Tuesday this past week, I met and rode with one of the moto-bloggers who was a pioneer in the world of moto-blogging and an inspiration to me to disregard conventional wisdom.

What wisdom you wonder?  The belief that one needs to "put away" ones motorcycle when Winter comes, to await with impatience, the coming of Spring and warmer riding conditions.

Steve, of ScooterintheSticks, and his wonderful photography.....inspired,...nay, demanded that I find my way out of streets and roads barely clear of snow and try and defy the weather gods to pursue the bliss that is motorcycle riding.

Steve, appeared on my moto-blogging reading radar soon after my first Winter after I found out about motorcycling.  I'd been trapped in my neighborhood by a rather heavy set of snow falls, with no plowing by the city, and been reduced to staring bleakly out the window at the white stuff that formed my prison.

It was, a dark time.

Then along comes Steve and his scooter, with marvelous pictures of his steed on snow.  I figured, hell he can do it, why can't I.

The rest is pretty much history, I went from digging a path out of my usually snow-bound neighborhood out to the main roads to one day discovery the joy that is sidecar riding.  I went from dreading bad weather reports to hoping for snow in the forecast.  I went from taking unsuitable equipment into "interesting" areas (that's adventure's definition right?) to finding a way to explore to my heart's content with the increased ease and security provided by three wheels.

All this, from the gentle nudges of blogs like Steve's and others; but mostly Steve.

He recently wrote rather kind and undeserved words about the "Chang Effect".   Please do not let his written eloquence fool you, I'm just a guy on sidecar rig, just minding my own business.  One must feed the hunger that is motorcycling, bad weather or not.

But onto the afternoon and evening I met up with Steve this week.  Like I said, it was Tuesday after a long day on the road driving from Brownstown, MI where I'd visited my sister-in-law and her family.

One note about Pennsylvania, it's got some lovely state roads, with scenic views of wooded hillsides and picturesque towns, at least in the areas I traversed on my may to the town of State College.

Almost at 5:00 PM, I pulled into the motel's parking lot, and there was Steve in his riding gear.....a shiny and freshly washed, Vespa nearby, waiting for me.

Once I got checked in to the motel, and Scarlett rolled off the trailer, it was time to ride, and by the motorcycling gods, ride we did!

It took bare minutes for us to leave State College behind and enter a slightly confusing set of country roads, all nicely paved and tree lined.  The fatigue of riding over seven hours sloughed off me, as if blown off me by the wind as Scarlett warmed up and roared after the Vespa.

We rode,  Steve with elan, and Scarlett and I with enthusiasm on roads that included several curvy sections with noticeable drops and climbs which led me at times to whoop with joy at the sheer fun of the riding.  The Pennsylvania roads were two lane, narrow roads lined with thin trees on both sides with sometime sharp curves hiding the road ahead and adding to the thrill.

Lovely were, the sections with sharp dips and steep climbs, they felt like a roller coaster ride to me and Scarlett.

Farms and ranches whizzed by as we rode along.  It seemed as if Steve was determined to cram as much of the surrounding area into this one ride as was possible!  The smells of the Pennsylvania countryside enhanced in my mind the beauty that is the countryside in this part of the start.

We stopped for a bit at a point in the Black Moshannon State Park and discussed vital issues of the day while we sought good camera angles on our two iron steeds.  The sound of the nearby creek running by, the dull low frequency sound of frogs desperately trying to find a mate and all too brief views of Bald Eagles made the setting serene and scenic.  Such was the power of Steve to conjure up a great photo-op location.

 The master at work at the Black Moshannon State Park

On we rode, up the local mountain roads which while perhaps not as tall as Colorado's majestic mountains, did provide very beautiful views of the valleys below.  We dove down from these mountain summits, enjoying the delightful curves and steep descents which nearly convinced me that we were flying.

The time came though, to return to town, this time the nearby town of Boalsburg where Steve led me to Duffy's Tavern, the local hot spot for adventurous K-Bike riders (Hi Jack!) and probably Amish matrons in seek of the wild side.

Sorry for the slight blurriness, it's hard to get a good picture of 
Steve as he'd rather be the one behind the camera

During a delicious dinner, we further discussed such grave events as retirement, the lure of the road, the perils of riding on snow, what we thought the future held for us and what we could do about it. We got to know each other a little better and once again I made the pitch to Steve about how useful it'd be to have a URAL sidecar rig in his life.

 Bottom line, we both agreed we've been fortunate in our lives, to have the options we now have to debate.

We talked about mutual friends, families, and future riding plans....what else is there right?

Too soon, darkness shrouded the streets outside and it was time for Steve to go home to his wife Kim with her dinner and for me to ride back to the motel.

We said our goodbyes, and parted ways on the way back onto the main drag in Boalsburg.  The ride back to the motel was uneventful but I was mindful of previous postings by Steve and Jack Riepe of the good chance of encountering deer while riding on the country roads of Pennsylvania.

A great ride, great eats and great company.....does it really get any better?

Thanks Steve!


Canajun said...

Great post. It's always so nice to meet up with people who you only knew through the printed word and the occasional photograph.

Trobairitz said...

Very cool that you had a blogger meet-up with Steve. I've always enjoyed his blog as his photographs are so beautiful.

I like how the blogger meet-ups always seem to be like meeting old friends we've known for years but just haven't seen for a while.

VStar Lady said...

How nice that you got to meet up with Steve again and ride with him over the roads he writes about.

RichardM said...

Nice history lesson. And nice that you had the opportunity to ride with Steve again. The PA back roads are still a mystery to me. I don't see how anyone found their way around pre-GPS.

Steve Williams said...


It was great to have the opportunity to see you again, ride together, and talk about things over dinner. You underestimate the power of your words when you characterize yourself as just a guy with a sidecar mind his own business. You're that, but you have ideas and beliefs. It's words about those that fuel "The Chang Effect".

I wish we had a day to ride. There are far more exciting and beautiful places to explore but we did ok for the short time available for darkness fell.

I look forward to the next time we can ride together. Maybe I'll get the Vespa to Denver!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

redlegsrides said...

Canajun, it surely is nice....

Trobairitz, these meetups are the icing with a cherry on top....

VStar Lady, the scenery is quite nice...but he needs some snow-capped mountains to complete it.

RichardM, thanks...I believe I could get quite lost without GPS in some of the areas he showed me.

Steve, thanks again for the guided tour of the PA roads in your area. Now, to get that Vespa to Colorado!