I had heard about the Polar Bear Grand Tour but always thought of these guys in the same way I thought about the other Polar Bear Club, you know, the crazies that jump in the ocean on New Years Day. A few weeks ago my friend Wayne asked me if I wanted to take a ride to Cape May, the first meet of the Tour. I bit the bullet as they say and took a 100 mile ride to Cape May, a city at the southern tip of New Jersey, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Cape May is known for its Victorian gingerbread homes and beautiful beaches. As I approach Cape May I stopped in front of the New Jersey National Guard Armory for a few photos, I have always loved old military equipment and they have a few pieces in front of the building.
First meet up was on October 31st, it wasn't particularly cold, I took a solo ride down the New Jersey Parkway and arrived at the location around lunch time walking around admiring and photographing a few of the famous Cape May homes near the V.F.W. location.
I had no intention of signing up for the tour, I don't even own winter heated riding gear but then I saw a very old rider with a trike and on the back of his trike it says "Just a recycled teenager, 93 and still going", I figured, if he can do it then I can do it too, why should winter stop me from enjoying riding my bike.
A little later I meet Wayne (he rides a Triumph ST) and the rest of the Triumph group. I go inside and sign up for the tour. The Polar Bear Grand Tour consists of over 550 motorcyclists from all over the NJ, NY, PA, DE, and CT area who each individually ride to a designated destination each Sunday. Points are awarded for each ride. When we each reach the destination, we sign-in and write down how many round-trip miles we traveled to get there, there is usually a restaurant at the site or nearby where small groups will congregate. 24 Sunday rides are scheduled to the various designated check points throughout the 4-state area. Check the rules at the Polar Bear Grand Tour web site but basically if you accumulate 30 points by showing up, you get a badge and a free dinner at the end of the tour. You don't have to attend all meet ups to get the 30 points but there's usually a large number of riders at each meet up. I plan on getting my badge in April.
We leave the location and ride a few blocks to the Captains Cove Restaurant for a warm meal. The restaurant is located right across from a marina. There's always lots of fishing boats in Cape May.
After a nice meal we leave and start heading north but first is a stop for gas where I snap a picture of Wayne and his daughter turning into the gas station on the beautiful red Triumph ST. I have always loved the sound of the Speed Triple engine and his bike is my favorite color too.
My next stop is at the famous beginning of route 666 where I take a picture of the sign while the rest of the group waits for me. The sign gets stolen a lot, Wayne tells me, I wonder why?
Wayne knows the area well and we spend the rest of the day riding home through the back roads of southern NJ as he takes us through some amazing roads with the fall colors as a backdrop.