This was posted on LD Rider to day and I thought some of you might enjoy it.
Steve Munden's post (reformatted) follows:
> By some miracle, I'm not working this weekend. The weekend's forecast
> is for gorgeous weather, sunny and high 70s. On Saturday we drove
> with our dog to the base of Mount Wachusett and then hiked to the top
> to cheer the Longsjo Classic bicycle race finishers. And today?
> Today we went on a motorcycle ride. Destination: The Vanilla Bean
> Cafe, Pomfret Connecticut.
> We started by swinging by a friend's house to see if he and his girl
> friend might be interested in coming along. Ellen (my wife) said that
> she thought that Bob's ST1300 was out of commission, and so it proved.
> Before leaving I offer to help him get it going again, or at least
> get it to the shop. But Bob's high-tech company recently was bought by
> a California outfit and he rejected an offer to go with them. He was
> on call 24/7 for the last 10 years, made a pile of money he was too
> busy to spend, and has a generous termination agreement. He's not in
> a hurry to do anything, including get his ST1300 running. We waste as
> little time as possible with them; a long ride beckons.
> Back on the road, the Garmin Etrex points the way to the Vanilla Bean,
> where we've been before. Now you have to realize what this means. In
> New England, roads are not straight, not even the superhighways, and I
> disdain the superhighways. So when you're on a road with the arrow to
> your destination pointing straight ahead, rejoice while you can.
> Within a couple of miles you'll come to a T intersection where you
> have a choice of going 90 degrees to the right of where you want to
> go or 90 degrees to the left of where you want to go. It will take us
> 45 miles to do the 30.5 miles from our house to the cafe.
> But I have a pretty good handle on the back roads to get to CT 197, a
> very pleasant road that'll take us most of the way to the cafe. My
> wife had an appendectomy last week and is still a little sore, so asks
> me to keep the speed (actually, the bounces on the rough
> pavement) down a bit. I sneer at this suggestion, reminding her that
> I am the veteran of a Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic,
> and that I therefore have Total Control.
> "You'd better," she responds menacingly. But in the event, she
> squeezes me approvingly every time I flawlessly execute a turn, so I
> conclude that I'm not jiggling her innards too badly. I should
> remember to tell Lee that another benefit of his class is affectionate
> squeezes from one's spouse. There are a lot of motorcyclists out on
> such a splendid day, and my oh-so-cool two-finger wave gets
> repetitive. I vary it with a little kid's wave which is not returned
> in kind, but they still wave, and nobody turns around to beat me up
> for unbecoming frivolity. The proportion of motorcyclists increases
> as we near Pomfret until probably 75% of the vehicles are two-wheeled,
> with the occasional Wing-based trike for variety.
> The little gravel parking lot at the Vanilla Bean is crowded with
> motorcycles, probably 30 of them, with more coming in than going out.
> True to national sales statistics, most of them are cruisers. I park
> my filthy Bandit among them, remove my faded Aerostich, and drape it
> over the windshield, making sure to leave the odometer visible. My
> wife watches my posturing and that of the chrome-and-tattoo crowd with
> equal amusement. We order our sandwiches inside and sit outside. A
> group of 10 Harley people, middle-aged men driving and wives riding,
> comes in after us and pulls a couple of tables together. They
> courteously ask for our two empty chairs and of course we smile and
> nod. Conversation periodically halts as someone pulls away from the
> nearby 4-way stop, straight pipes shaking leaves off the trees. After
> one such I say to Ellen, not overtly loudly but loudly enough for the
> next table to hear, "Dang! If you didn't look up, you'd think he was
> going fast." The women laugh. The men don't want to, but can't help
> Food arrives. It's good, and we watch the scene as we eat. Arriving
> from the north, the turn into the lot is a 180, onto gravel, and it's
> interesting to watch people handle it. Most ride through it
> effortlessly. A few paddle tentatively in the dirt. The lot is nearly
> full (they'd need 5 times as much room if we all came in cars) and
> there's a lot of waiting as people jockey into slots. Nobody guns
> engines as they wait. A considerable number of the women are riding
> their own; more are passengers. I see no men behind women.
> On a previous visit I heard a tableful of people talking about how
> many times they stalled on the ride so far. One noticed me
> eavesdropping and smiled rather shamefacedly at me. I winked and
> smiled happily at her, happy to see new riders enjoying themselves,
> and am gratified when she saw that I was not being critical, and
> relaxed. I study each person carefully to see if I recognize any of
> my recent students, but am not surprised when I don't; it's a little
> out of my regular beat.
> Defying the cruiser majority, an older man on a Burgman and his son on
> an SV650 drive in. I stroll over to ask his opinion of his Burgman.
> He says this is his 42nd bike and the best of them all. His son has a
> few scratches on the SV which he volunteers are the result of a
> tankslapper resulting in a crash at 70mph last week. He destroyed his
> full helmet but walked away, and now has a new appreciation for the
> importance of keeping the steering head bearings torqued to
> specifications. I come to a decision about a matter that's been
> bothering me for the last week. I'm going to try my first SS1k in a
> couple of days and have been wondering whether I should get the
> license plate should I succeed. Toughest riders? Not me. Last fall,
> when I visited my mother in San Antonio, it took me nearly three weeks
> to do the 6000 miles. (6000 miles Boston to/from San Antonio? Yeah, I
> got a little disoriented.) But today I decided to get it.
> It's a nice conversation piece, and will impress the crowd here. One
> of the problems with all the new cruisers -- and all the cruisers here
> are new -- is that the odometer is an lcd screen, and so when the
> key's off you can't see the mileage. I do sneak a few peeks as riders
> arrive and depart. Some of the bikes have mileage into 4 figures.
> That's why I was so careful to leave my odometer visible.
> (I have 93000 miles on the Bandit. It's a 5- digit odometer so it'll
> turn over to zero this year. I tell people that I intend to ride it
> another 5 or 10 thousand after that and then sell it as a low-mileage
> I can't tell one cruiser from another, but judging from the t-shirts
> of the riders, they're all HD. The damn chrome is so dazzling in the
> sunshine that I can't even read logos. I can't tell one sportbike or
> tourer from another either, but they're more subdued so I can read
> Ninja, a Kawasaki W650 that's very elegant, the occasional Triumph,
> some Wings. You put all the dirt on all the other bikes together and
> it wouldn't make a difference on mine. Sigh. I musta been hiding
> behind the door when the cleaning genes were handed out. MY dishes are
> clean and I shower every day (when I'm not lost on my way to San
> Antonio) but my vehicles never get washed, and I don't get a haircut
> very often either.
> I really like it here. Everyone is enjoying themselves and feeling
> comradely and tolerant of others whose interests don't match theirs
> except for the common ground of two wheels. I look down on the butt
> jewelry and they look down on my filthy Bandit but we smile and hold
> the door open and share chairs. I think back to the woman in my ERC
> last Friday who showed up in full leathers with back protector on a
> BMW K1200 something or other, who asked part way through the class
> "How many gears does my bike have?" She'd fit right in. Some would
> smile behind her back -- I would -- but someone would know how many
> and tell her, and answer her other questions too.
> About half the riders in this no-helmet-law state wear helmets anyway.
> I'm not the only one wearing a full suit but bare arms outnumber
> covered ones by a large margin. Skinny cuss that I am, I actually
> find the 78-degree dry sunny weather to be cool at motorcycle speeds
> and keep the main zipper fully closed on my Aerostich. There's nobody
> here under 20, and few under 40. The squids have a different
> gathering place, evidently. Last night I was reading a classic about
> gun shows and the people who inhabit them
> (http://civic.bev.net/shawnee/gunshows.html) and it occurs to me that
> something very similar could be written about a gathering such as this
> one. There's Alan in scuffed leathers who holds forth under the tree
> about cornering techniques and hanging off and suspension adjustment.
> Turns out his bike is a Suzuki GN125 and he scuffed his leathers
> falling in the parking lot last week. Terry, the quiet guy listening
> without comment to Alan, was a three-time national champion in
> flat-track back in the 70s. Jack, with the fiercely-decorated Harley,
> describes his 7 trips to Sturgis with this bike, but the odometer
> reads 439 miles. Keith's on a rather plainly appointed cruiser but he
> built it himself. Rose, the woman on the K1200 who doesn't know how
> many gears it has, is the center of a group of admiring men.
> Their wives notice her cleavage as much as their husbands do, but
> their comments are different. Throg, the black labrador retriever,
> pees on one of the more garish bikes and wanders off, satisfied. The
> owner of the bike is aghast and immediately pulls to the side of the
> building where there's a hose. Throg's owner, if he's around, doesn't
> let on. Chuck, the 7-year-old, has his eyes bugged out with all this
> machinery and will grow up to be motogp champion in 15 years.
> When we're done strolling and listening and talking to the Burgman
> rider we head back to the Bandit. It's surrounded by eye-hurting butt
> jewelry and I hope that they noted the odometer as they dismounted.
> (You will note that miles are my only claim to distinction in this
> crowd.) At least they didn't disdain the parking space near me. I
> turn the bike around before Ellen gets on because I don't ride two-up
> often and in the gravel, footing is rather loose.
> Nobody has dumped it that I saw and I don't intend to be the first.
> On the way to the cafe I had a good idea of where I wanted to go to
> get some good curves in -- as good as they get in this part of the
> state, anyway -- but on the return I just follow the gps arrow for the
> first part of the ride. Ellen knows this trait and as I make a turn
> onto a completely- undistinguished road which happens to
> (temporarily) go in the direction of the arrow, I hear her say "The
> adventure begins."
> But I combine local knowledge with gps direction, and we get home with
> no head-scratching this time. Last time, when we came to one of
> those famous Ts where I wanted to go straight but had to decide
> whether to go 90 degrees left or 90 degrees right, Ellen leaned over
> and said "I know you're lost." We pulled into the driveway with 89
> miles on the clock, which we did in only 3 and a half hours. Jack,
> the Sturgis veteran, would be proud. I'm pretty pleased about it
> myself. And our dog certainly appears to think we've been gone
> practically forever. I believe I'm almost ready for that ss1k.