10th Annual Northeast Spring Kickoff Ride

Yeah, it was chilly today, a little overcast here and there...probably what the forecasters mean when they say "mostly cloudy". Not a drop of rain and even a little sunshine here and there. Mid 50s most of the day, a little cooler than yesterday, but it's still April... A nearly perfect riding day...made absolutely great by 17 MIGs (six of them named Jim!) and friends that came along with me to make the 10th Annual MIG Northeast Spring Kickoff ride a complete success.

So, I got to the prescribed meeting spot very early to make sure I beat GimpKnee, who has a habit of arriving before me. Today I was first, arriving at about 8:30. I really don't remember the order, but between 9 and about 9:40 or so, I was joined by Jim "Long Island Jim" Noone (LI, NY) on his Marauder, Jim "Helfyr" Hathaway (Phila, PA) on his Venture, Mitch "RauderMitch" Holliday (P'burg, PA) on his Marauder and Mitch's brother Jim (central PA) on his C50T, Joel Sherman (P'burg, PA) on his beautiful green and black '99 Marauder (widely known to be the fastest and best handling color scheme ), Mike ("MikeF76") and his wife Bernadette on their Marauder (are we sensing a pattern yet?), JimG and Jimmy (central NJ) and their friend Lou on their Goldwing trikes, Bob "RThomse" Thomsen (Phila, PA) on his Marauder (with a stock seat--dude, get a Mustang!), Bill "Big" Eckert (NJ shore) on his Marauder, John "JD" Toth (Trenton, NJ) on his Intruder, Rob "Jacuzzi" Gianizza (Danbury, CT) on his Vulcan and his friends Rudy on his Triumph ST and Ed on his HD Road King, and Jim "GimpKnee" Alden (central NJ) on his Vulcan. To the best of my ability to remember, that's the most Marauders we've had on any MIG Northeast run ever (and the most Jims, too!). Including mine, there were 7 'rauders there. Not bad for a bike that hasn't been sold in 5 years.

There were many memorable moments, too many for me to completely list here. Several folks commented on how well this group of riders (many of whom were total strangers before 9:30am) rode together. Either Mitch or his brother Jim commented that watching the group file up and stagger as we went into and out of the curves was like "poetry in motion". This quickly became "poultry in motion". I think somebody was playing chicken. ;-) The view in my mirrors was amazing. On the straights and sweepers, I could see the whole groups stretched back behind me, with the two big 'wings clearly visible near the rear.

Jim "GimpKnee" Alden deserves special thanks for the outstanding job he did as our tail-end Charlie. You have my sincere appreciation for all of your help on this and many other rides we've done.

We covered about 155 miles today. The route consisted of some sinewy ribbons of blacktop stretched across the rolling hills of northwest NJ and northeast PA, spliced together with a few twisties, some in-town streets and even some fast forest straightaways. Our first breakstop brought us to a convenience store and gas station in the heart of Bangor, PA. There we met the local law enforcement. The chief of police rides and had to work on a Sunday, so chances are he would have been happier on a bike. I pity his poor partner who was stuck sharing the patrol car with him today. We also quickly found out that one bathroom isn't nearly enough for 16 guys and one lady!

After Bangor, we ran up PA 191 to the town of Delaware Water Gap. 191's a great road with fun set of mountain switchbacks coming down the north face of the ridge. Our next stop was a boat launch area on the Delaware where I got some nice shots of the line of bikes parked neatly next to the river (I'll get 'em posted soon, promise). I had called ahead for seating, so when we arrived at the Apple Valley restaurant in Milford, PA, they were able to take us quickly despite the Sunday crowds.

After lunch, we headed west further into PA and higher up in elevation. We then headed south on PA 402 for a brisk run back to the Delaware Water Gap and the end of the ride.

I'll try to post a more complete ride report tomorrow. For now, I'm exhausted and gotta get up at 0430. I want to thank each and every rider and passenger for coming along today. You all made this a very special day for me. I would welcome the pleasure of riding with any of you any time. I hope to see you all again soon.

Several hours of planning and researching the route - free A few tanks of gas to run the route twice before hand - maybe 20 bucks Having 17 MIGs join in the fun - PRICELESS!

Eric 379

Click here to see Eric's photo album of the event on Webshots.

Photos below courtesy of Jacuzzi 2313

NE Spring Ride 2009 NE Spring Ride 2009 NE Spring Ride 2009
NE Spring Ride 2009 NE Spring Ride 2009 NE Spring Ride 2009
NE Spring Ride 2009 NE Spring Ride 2009