Sunday, July 29, 2007

Destination Washington

Saturday we thought it would be good to ride to Washington since we hadn't been that way in quite some time. I am referring to Washington, NC, Little Washington or The Original Washington and not that place much farther north. There was a thirty percent chance of afternoon rain, it was already in the high eighties with the normal oppressive humidity by 10:30 am.

Our city of approximately 10,000 residents is located in northeastern North Carolina on the beautiful Pamlico River. We are proud to have been the first city in America to be named for General George Washington, the future first president of the United States. In its infancy, Washington was a regional shipping center because of its strategic location at the junction of inland and coastal rivers. The shipping heritage is evident in some waterfront commercial buildings from that era. The architecture in the large residential and commercial Historic District captures later phases of Washington's history and development. Main Street in Washington's Historic Downtown is flanked by 19th & early 20th century commercial buildings punctuated with ornate brickwork.

It's about a forty five minute ride from New Bern to Washington on 17 North. There's a fairly rough section of road about half way from Vanceboro to Washington but the Ultra seemed to take it in stride. We did remember how rough it was when we rode the same stretch on the Sportster. The only other road issue is the draw bridge leading in to Washington. The bridge grate tends to give your bike that mild wobble feel and they have patched some spots with steel plating and bolts through the grating. Keep a sharp eye out for that especially if it's wet.

We parked at the waterfront when we arrived in Washington. I wish New Bern had developed their waterfront like they have done here. It's a beautiful stretch of the river with both private and public boat slips, picnic tables, benches and restrooms. In New Bern we have the Sheraton like a squatting giant blocking the river view.

A great place for a summer stroll. There are lots of events held here throughout the year.

Main street shows the style from years gone by and reflects the laid back life style that I, and many of my friends, enjoy. You almost expect to run into Andy or Barney.

No visit to Washington would be complete without a visit to Bill's Hot Dogs. If you want ketchup with your dog then you're out of luck 'cause it's mustard, onions and chili. The chili is something you have never had unless you have eaten a Bill's hot dog.

As usual things were quite busy on a Saturday. They have an assembly line process that would make an efficiency expert proud.

We grabbed a couple with mustard and extra chili along with a couple of drinks and headed back to the water front to have a picnic lunch at one of the tables that the city had so nicely provided.

There was a gift shop across the street and we dropped in for a look around. After seeing some art work I applied some effects to one of the photos I took of the waterfront and the picture to the left is the result.

Debbie wanted to head to Williamston after lunch so we hit 17 North once again for the 20 minute ride. After a stop in Williamston we headed back to New Bern. The road north of Washington is literally lined with miles of farm land and the crops of tobacco, soy beans, corn and peanuts. We were listening to the radio when they mentioned some thunderstorms in the New Bern area but things were clear between Williamston and Washington. I felt it was time to accelerate our forward progress.

As we hit the Craven/Beaufort county line near the fire tower things started to look a bit different. I started thinking of places to get in out of the weather: there is the store on the left before Vanceboro and there is the store in Vanceboro that has a shelter. As we neared Vanceboro the storm appeared to be worse to the west so I decided to continue on. So far just a small amount of rain that was no bother and the temperature had fallen to the low eighties. Then the wind picked up a good bit and the slight drizzle increased. I remembered the rest area and as we passed that I remembered the store in Askins but I passed that by as well thinking we could make it. We had just passed the Wildlife store and I felt we had it made when the bottom fell out with only three miles to go. It's hard to believe that seventy three degrees can be cold on a late July day but trust me it happens. Even with the rain it was a good ride and we have plans to return to check out the restaurant near the waterfront. Washington is well worth a trip and there is much, much more that you will find interesting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The Onslow Vietnam Veterans Memorial Motorcycle Ride will occur on September 22nd, 2007.

The Onslow Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation
(a non-profit organization) was formed to raise funds & construct a suitable tribute to honor those brave men & women from all branches of the Armed Forces who served their country in Vietnam.

The land has been acquired (adjacent to the Beirut Memorial). Over a million dollars has been received with nearly a million more in pledged commitments (total cost is expected to exceed 3 million). With only a few permits left to obtain, groundbreaking is hoped to begin later this year. The design consists of a gazebo over a reflecting pool & fountain encircled by a glass wall inscribed with the names of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

In support of this worthy cause a fund raising motorcycle run will be held in Jacksonville, NC on Saturday, September 22nd, 2007. The event is open to everyone & all types of motorcycles. Line up & registration will begin at 10:00am along Montford Point Road (next to the Beirut Memorial). Ceremonies will begin at 11:30am & the ride will pull out at about noon (please plan to be there early enough to complete registration & find a place in line prior to the start of the ceremonies). The Onslow County Sheriffs Department will escort the event. Parade permits have been obtained that will allow the motorcade to proceed thru the city limits unencumbered. The procession will travel east on Hwy 24 to Hwy 172. Camp LeJeune has granted special permission for the event to travel Hwy 172 through to Sneads Ferry. It will then proceed down Hwy 210 & on to Hwy 17N. The run will continue up Hwy 17 ending at New River Harley Davidson where the participants will be greeted with food, drink, music, prizes & camaraderie. Donation for pre-registered riders is $15 ($20 day of event) & $5 for passengers. All proceeds go to the Onslow Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation. Save time & money by using the pre-registration form. Don't forget to order your commemorative T-shirts (quantities are limited).

It is hoped that the event will continue annually, transforming into an annual Memorial Run after the construction is complete. Let's show these heroes they are not forgotten!

For more details go to:

Debbie has already sent our money in and we are looking forward to seeing you there!!

Friday, July 13, 2007


I know you've all seen our more unfortunate two-wheeled brethren, whether for economic or legal reasons they choose the alternate method of powered two wheeled transportation. Some of the individuals ride the moped or scooter by choice since it is a great way to get around and very economical. Others have no other option for powered transportation due to circumstances beyond their control or caused by their lack of control. All of this is well and good. In this great country and in the great state of North Carolina it is wonderful that one can obtain an alternate mode of transportation and still utilize our public highway system. I draw the line when an unlicensed vehicle can run 45 miles per hour on the bypass.

NC law states: You must be age 16 or older to operate a moped on North Carolina highways or public vehicular areas. A driver's license is not required, and the moped does not have to be registered, inspected or covered by liability insurance. A motorcycle safety helmet is required by law when operating a moped on North Carolina highways. A moped cannot have a motor of more than 50 cubic centimeters, an external shifting device or have the capability of exceeding 30 miles per hour on a level surface.

Anyone over 16 with a helmet can ride a 50cc or under, powered vehicle on the highway at 30 miles per hour or less. OK I can go along with that even without any training because a good bicycle can hit 30. I have seen several of these "mopeds" clicking along at 45 miles per hour or so. These are larger scooter type bikes that weigh considerably more than a standard moped and at 45 can cause significant damage and injury if involved in an accident. What these faster "mopeds" equate to is a small displacement motorcycle and should be treated as such. I took the appropriate motorcycle training to be a safer rider and fellow motorist. I have a yearly safety inspection performed on my Ultra. I pay insurance to cover myself and damage I may cause to others.

So here we have Bubba, cruising along at 45, the chin strap on his black-with-orange-flame helmet flapping in the breeze. With not a care in the world. He's not required to have a license, insurance, a yearly safety inspection or to have the vehicle registered but there is a license plate mount under the tail light. Worst of all he is not required to have any training that pertains to safely operating on two wheels or a permit with limitations while you learn. He is responsible to know what maximum sized engine can legally operate and what the maximum speed should be as a moped. If Bubba causes you, your wife or one of your children to wreck then you got zip, nadda, zero.

One more instance of how law abiding citizens follow the multitude of rules and regulations while Bubba is blissful in his ignorance. Hey New Bern PD and Craven County Sheriff! Why don't you use your radar devices to get some of these guys off the roads. I'll bet you get some of them for DWI at the same time or maybe for a second time. Or does that only apply if you have a valid drivers license?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fourth of July Ride

Where does a group go on Independence Day? The Cliffs of the Neuse State Park of course.

The first portion of the journey would take us through Trenton, Phillips Crossroads, Sandy Bottom, Moss Hill and to Seven Springs where the park is located. We let the GPS guide us since we had chosen a back road route that kept us just south of Kinston.

Pat and Ray joined Chad, Lynn, Debbie, and me for the trip. Five Harleys cruising down the back roads of eastern North Carolina on the Fourth of July in perfect doesn't get much better than that. It was an hour from New Bern to the park and we arrived at about 10:45.

The park is quite impressive and has much more to offer than we expected. Even the fence is designed with the outdoor rustic experience in mind.

We checked out the museum and then headed to the actual Cliffs.

The Cliffs are a very short walk from the main parking lot and the view is simply amazing. Those of us in New Bern take the Neuse River for granted since it doesn't appear to change much day-to-day. But here you can see the way the river alters itself on a regular basis. This looks like one hell of a water hazard on a golf course. In reality it's one fantastic get back to nature experience.

If you look carefully nature will provide surprises at every turn.

There are several trails in the park and all the trails are worth a look. This trail leads to the river from the main parking lot. The scenery at the rivers edge is worth the walk.

The canopy that the trees create near the rivers edge is impressive. During the walk down you are in what I believe to be a climax forest due to the absence of pine trees.

Climax Forest – a forest community that represents the mature stage of natural forest succession for its environment.

This view is from the rivers edge. The area at the top right is where the main parking lot is located.

Green is considered one of the additive primary colors. The perception of green is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 520–570 nm.

I'm thinkin' 565....

The lush green foliage is almost over powering.

Huck Finn and Swimin' Hole comes to mind for some reason.

The trek back to the top.

Just when you think you've seen it all at the park you realize there is a lake. How about a grassy beach?

There are numerous places to enjoy the scenery and access the lake.

There are even peddle boats for rent.

We left the park and headed to Goldsboro via Mount Olive. We stopped for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's in Goldsboro and then followed Ray on a back road run to New Bern by way of Snow Hill and Fort Barnwell.

This was one of those perfect trips that you will remember for years to come. The park is a destination that I highly recommend. We have plans to return soon, have a cook out and rent the peddle boats. The roads we took on the trip usually have light traffic and the scenery is quite enjoyable. Our round trip mileage was 178 miles and the Ultra is now getting 42 miles to the gallon.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Weekend rides

I installed some Kuryakyn adjustable foot pegs to compliment the rear foot boards on the Ultra. This allows Debbie to move her feet about a little when we are on the longer trips. She can also assume a highway peg position by resting her heel on the pegs as well. Time to try them out!

Debbie and I left home Saturday and headed in to Pamlico County. We took the Tunstall Swamp Road to Aurora instead of highway 55 to avoid the traffic. I was a little low on fuel when we got near Aurora so we decided to gas up. We decided to run to Chocowinity by way of highway 33 and then pick up 17 South back to New Bern. We stopped at Hardees in Chocowinity for a break and some iced tea and then it was back to New Bern. A great afternoon ride of about two hours and Debbie gives the new pegs an A+.

I guess we were looking for an easy ride Sunday and some lunch so Chad, Lynn, Debbie and I decided to head to Oriental. M and M's is our normal stop in Oriental but today we tried a new place, the Oriental Steamer Restaurant and Tavern. It's a bit pricey for lunch but very good seafood, lightly battered and not overcooked.

With a mild nautical theme and a quite good selection of beers I feel that we may be back.

No matter how many times we go to Oriental I can't resist a shot of the bikes at the Town Dock.

Could this be in Venice?

Part of the fleet preparing for the morning.

We stopped in at Paddle Pamlico in Oriental. Paddle Pamlico is the areas premier Kayak dealer. I think we may rent a couple in the near future and see Oriental from the water. The daily rates for the tandem models are quite reasonable. I bet I find an excuse to take some pictures.