Sunday, December 1, 2019

Boy Are We Glad We Did NOT Ride

CT Bears braved weather (in a car) traveling to Montgomeryville Cycle Center.
From left: Captain, CT Blogger, Grumpy and Pogy.
Polar Bear Motorcycle Blog, Polar Bear Grand Tour, ride drive to Montgomeryville Cycle Center, Hatfield, PA, Dec. 1, 2019.

By: Chris Loynd
Photos by: Grumpy

As the week progressed the forecast worsened. Saturday afternoon we decided not to ride. A wintry mix was forecast to change to all snow, then rain, then back to snow with accumulations ranging from one to six inches. Timing looked dicey as well. For us Montgomeryville is a three hour destination one way. Even with an early 8:00 a.m. departure, there was no way we could get there and back and be sure to beat the sleet, ice or snow. Rain is bad enough. But motorcycles are pretty dicey in snow and near impossible in sleet and ice.

Captain and Pogy felt they should support our host Montgomeryville Cycle Center and the Grand Tour by driving despite the forecast. By Polar Bear rules, we get just one point for driving, and can use that option only thrice for any points at all. As you can see in the previous blog posts, Captain, Pogy and Grumpy have already burned one of their car rides with last week's very rain drive to Hillbilly Hall.

Captain offered to navigate his all-wheel drive Subaru to Hatfield and back again. Grumpy and I invited ourselves too.

On the ride down, we were wondering if we should have been on our motorcycles. We saw only a drizzle or two as we neared Montgomeryville Cycle. Ninety-nine percent of the trip over was on dry roads.

Captain's piloting skills were holding up pretty well, but his navigation was stymied by a faulty Subaru computer. He'd had it to the dealership weeks before. But the fix didn't take. Grumpy was riding shotgun and with his cell phone backed up the Captain. Pogy and I did our best not to be backseat drivers. Pogy did on occasion remind Captain to watch the road and not the faulty GPS.

We were a bit baffled by Captain's decision to take the parkways to the George Washington Bridge, but he was driving his car so we kept our mouths shut until well after we were too far along to change Captain's mind. We made it to I-287 okay. Then there was a debate and subsequent vote about how soon to turn off and head west to Pennsylvania. I-78 won out, over the Captain's choice, and Grumpy guided us toward a Delaware River crossing.

After crossing the Delaware, Captain refused to turn right, despite being a stalwart conservative Republican. He finally relented to the third request, but we missed the scenic covered bridge. Nevertheless, the scenery of this slice of Pennsylvania is delightful: rolling meadows, fieldstone houses, simple country farms and opulent three-car-garage mansions.

Still in all, we made good time, arriving at our destination about 10 minutes before 11. The wonderful folks at Montgomery Cycle already had a hearty and free lunch set out for us. They offered a very tasty beef chili, fried potatoes, fresh fruit, pastries and coffee. The chili was spicy and sweet all at once. It was perfect for motorcycle riders, er, um, polar bear car riders, and especially appropriate for such a cold, gray day.

As we were eating the rain outside became steadier. Other bears were arriving by car. When we exited a little before noon there were just three intrepid motorcycles in the parking lot.

Grumpy guided Captain back toward Connecticut, now ignoring the Subaru's intermittent GPS in favor of his own memory and cell phone. We were still debating if maybe we could have ridden our bikes. But before we reached the Delaware River, Grumpy noted the ice building up on the car's outside mirrors.

Entering New Jersey the weather took a quick and severe turn for the worse. On I-287 we were down to 40 mph carefully picking our way through a couple inches of slush and then snow in an ice storm with moderate to heavy traffic. Yeah, we would have never made this on motorcycles. We hope that those who decided to ride had shorter – and more southern – routes home.

For all our teasing, Captain held the Subaru between the lines, negotiated some slippery lane changes and only cut off one irate driver. That happened toward the end of our ride in the never-friendly, ever-heavy, Connecticut I-95 traffic. He had plenty of room to merge by the way. Connecticut breeds irate drivers like it garners taxes – in ever increasing orders of magnitude.

Despite the weather we had a great time together. We discussed the world's problems, without solving any. We enjoyed some locker room humor and funny stories, some of them actually not heard before by us.

Here's hoping we get a few more decent weather weekends. We need the points to earn those coveted Polar Bear rockers.

Captain piloting, Grumpy capturing the moments, the GPS computer stuck somewhere in New Jersey.
Ice build up just beginning on our drive home.

Montgomeryville Cycle Center also had a canned food drive.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Driving in Rain to Hillbilly Hall

CT Bears in Hopewell, from left: Grumpy, Captain and Pogy.
Polar Bear Motorcycle Blog, Polar Bear Grand Tour, ride drive to Hillbilly Hall, Hopewell, NJ, Nov. 24, 2019

By: Chris Loynd
Photos by: Grumpy

A few of our guys braved some solid and steady rain – in their car to have some lunch and sign-in. I did not join them, it was my wife Cynthia's birthday. I don't have anything more from my guys than the photos below.

Cynthia celebrated with a 5-mile run in Waterbury and then lunch at a nearby winery joined by her children and their significant others, Annie's husband Sean and Trever's finance Kenzie.

Lost and Found Polar Bear Vest

CT Bears in Vineland, after breakfast, from left, Marco, Fonz, Grumpy, Pogy, Captain, Anonymous Ed and CT Blogger.
Polar Bear Motorcycle Blog, Polar Bear Grand Tour, ride to 5 Points Inn, Vineland, NJ, Nov. 17, 2019.

By: Chris Loynd
Photos By: Grumpy, CT Blogger, Bernie Walsh, Gary Rosen

Our guys left for Vineland with an Early Departure Protocol (EDP). The idea, especially on these longer rides, is to get there early, eat and then sign in at 11:30. Fortunately DeThomassi's was on point with a beautiful buffet breakfast. Our guys made really good time, so by the time I showed up they were already done with breakfast and waiting for sign in.

I say "our guys" because I went down the day before to spend a bit of time with my folks in nearby Wilmington, Del. I did not at all mind that when I showed up at 11:15 everyone was done with their meal. Mom had already treated me to a delicious scrapple breakfast before I set off on the just-over-an-hour ride to Vineland.

At sign-in, Grumpy told our Flight B Leaders Joan and Amy the amazing story of his disappearing – reappearing polar bear vest. He'd lost it on his drive to Daytona last March. He was packing his truck and loading his bike and accidentally left his vest on the truck then drove off. He recreated his vest by ordering a new embroidered vest and then working with our Flight B leaders to get replacements for every patch and pin. Polar Bear Chairman Bob Hartpence even had to find a couple from his archives at home.

Then this summer I saw a Facebook post in a Connecticut motorcycle group. It was Grumpy's vest, found along the walkway on an expressway bridge near Grumpy's home. It must have flown off when he accelerated down the on ramp. As soon as I saw the post I drove out to retrieve the vest and gave Grumpy a call. It was dirty and a bit worse for wear. But it was his original. He cleaned it up as best he could, moved over some of his replacement pins for ones lost from the original and is wearing it again today.

After hearing this amazing story, Amy said, "Well then, give me my s**t back!" I laughed until I cried.

Our Flight B Leaders. Amy, left, "Give me my s**t back!" Grumpy, center, and his recovered vest. Joan, right.
I made it in time for a cup of coffee before sign in. All our other CT Bears were breakfasted and done.