Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Cold Sunday Ride

Another Sunday, another Polar Bear Ride but now winter is starting to show it's ugly face. Serious cold weather is upon us.  The ride was to Hopewell, only 45 miles from my house but after meeting my brother and the RAT group (Rider Association of Triumph) we did what motorcycle enthusiast do and did a ride after the ride, destination; Van Sant Airport in Pennsylvania, a little west of the town of Erwinna.
I pull my bike out of the garage at 8:15am and got my first taste of winter, a chilly 29 degrees (-1.66666667 degrees Celsius for the metric readers) but with a beautiful sky above me.  I suit up and hit the back roads of Jackson heading towards JB's Diner to meet the Monmouth County Kruizers MC Group for breakfast.  I stop to take a picture of the bike in front of a dilapidated farm house.  Farms are quickly disappearing from Jackson.

After gassing up and stopping by the bank for cash I arrive at the diner and meet the rest of the group already sitting down.  We have a nice breakfast and then go outside to wait for two fellow riders that were running late.  The diner is decorated with all kinds of rock and roll era paraphernalia.

While waiting for the others I take a walk to a nearby Chevrolet Bel Air and snap a few shots, I have a soft spot for the 50's and 60's cars and this Bel Air is in beautiful shape.

We leave the diner and head to Hopewell with Chris, "The Ground Hog" from the Monmouth County Kruisers leading us through some nice winding country roads.  We arrive at the Hillbilly Hall Tavern & Restaurant and meet the rest of the group who had been waiting for us.  My brother had met the RAT group earlier on and had driven up from South Jersey with them.  There's hundreds of riders out on this day even though the day had started cold but by now the temperature had climbed to the upper 40's where it stayed for the rest of the day.

Monmouth County Kruisers

The RAT group

We quickly decide the day is still young and we want to ride.   Some of the riders had never been to the Van Sant airport and the roads leading to it are nice country roads along the Delaware River so a plan is put in place to ride there, by now the group has grown to nine riders.  The airport is a big hangout place for bikers in the summer but now it's literally empty, we arrive to see one lone biker with a beautifully maintained 1990 Honda Transalp. I had never seen one up close.

Nearby I spot a Ford Thunderbird and I quickly snap a few glamour shots.  I have already said I have a soft spot for old cars.

The airport is known for the glider and bi-plane rides and in the summer there are usually hundreds of bikes lined up along the road leading to the airport.  I am going to shoot for a glider ride next summer, it must be exciting to soar along the Pennsylvania countryside using only the air currents.

We leave the airport and head south making a stop in Stockton for lunch.  We pick Meil's Restaurant and Bakery at the suggestion of my brother who had been there before.  It's a nice and cozy little restaurant right across from the Stockton Inn.  The food was very good, I had a mushroom soup and Country Smoked Ham & Baked Beans with Cornbread, I cleaned the plate.

Meil's Restaurant and Bakery

Stockton Inn

We depart Stockton and head home, each following the shorter route home since the sun was quickly disappearing behind the Pennsylvania hills.  I get home just before dark covering about 150 miles for the day.

Bridge across the Delaware River


  1. I have a soft spot for yellow planes (it's good luck to spot one). :)
    I don't know anything about the transalp, but I like it. Nice bike. And nice ride report! I'm envious, it looks like a very nice fall day for riding!

  2. Very nice trip down memory lane. :)

  3. Great pics of the cars, -1.....you must be nuts!!!! Auckland hit 27celsius ( 80 farenheit) on sunday...and summer is only just started. Nice read.

  4. Kari: I tried to get a pic of a yellow glider but didn't have the camera ready and photo came out bad, next summer I will get pics of the gliders. Honda should have continued with the Transalp but I guess there was no market for adventure bikes in the US inthe 90's. Now everyone is coming out with adventure bikes, possibly even Honda with the Crosstourer :-) I have already picked my next bike, Yamaha Tenere :-)

  5. Ken: Thanks, I just love cars from my younger years even though I didn't come to the US until the early 80's ;-) love the wings and chrome of the era.

    Roger: Thanks. I'm envious of your 27 Celsius :-) How's winter down there? I haven't used my heated liner yet ;-)

  6. You really take the Polar Bear serious ;-)
    Fantastic pics. Like the diner and the vintage cars.
    Ride safely through the cold season.

  7. Sonja: I consider it preparation for when I go to Alaska ;-) Also for my trip to Labrador sometime in the future. I'm glad you enjoyed the old cars, I love them.

  8. One added advantage to cold and clear weather is the great photo light early in the day. Some of the photos in the beginning of your post look so clean and nice!

    What was that on your plate in the food picture?

  9. Irondad: Yea, the day was beautiful ealier on then turned cloudy :-(
    Country Smoked Ham & Baked Beans with Cornbread

  10. George - great ride report. It's good to see the north east, I really like it there in the fall. I would love to ride there. I saw a Beemer in your group photo. It looks like many brands of bikes were there.

    I like the old cars too. I briefly had a '57 Chevy in high school.

    I was going to ask about the food too - thanks for clearing that up!

  11. Mike: We have all kinds of bikes in my group. My brother has a GS1200A. We are a very eclectic group ;-)
    Yea, the north east is nice in the fall but too many people live on the north east, very few empty roads.