The Back Roads Less Traveled

There is nothing quite like being able to stand on your front porch the 1st day of May and feel the real heat if the sun. The kind of heat that radiates on your skin just like a mid-July ride when the wind cools the sting. Blasted tease, it was! Left my bottom lip all puckered and pouting when the sun disappeared behind the trees. I chuckled at myself when I whined “Oh..come..on…really”. Ah! but it is close and time to plans some rides.

Back Roads I like to travel the back roads. Being able to slow down and enjoy the open scenery that the bike allows. Unsheltered and free to the ride. Taking in all the sun, sights and smells. May is by far the best smelling month on the calendar. The buds, blossoms and blooms coming out of their slumber circulating sweet natural scents of their nectar. Mmm… Yes! I’m in love with Mother Nature’s perfume. I’m also in love with the hidden beauty of Mother Nature too. The kind that you can only find off the beatin’ path. The roads less traveled. The secondary, sometimes even unmarked roads. There is no telling what is hidden nestled in the mountains of this great state that is yet to be seen or found. But for this post, its just where the motorcycle can go.

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If it weren’t for getting off the beatin’ path I would not have found that Hidden Valley Road is right here in WV, (can I get some carrots with that), and that Big Toe was actually named after a guy while mining, hit his big toe with a hammer…..did you get a mental picture? lol I did. And like this time on a state-route-back-road I came across an old barn that reminded me of a time in my childhood I had long forgot about. When my baby sister and her girl friend, one Sunday, were playing with matches in Grandma’s barn. Betcha can’t guess what happened. They got out, the horse was saved but the chicken was fried. She was teased for years “…fried chicken on Sunday at Grandma’s.”.

Man, how I appreciate being able to hop on Clyde my Peanut (my motorcycles name), and freely roam around this beautiful country, as I choose; to parts unknown. It just speaks to my soul. I have to thank a Veteran for that! And I do, every chance I get. Especially a WWII Vet. That very war was the definitive turn to our free society that we have known for the past 70 years. AND the reason I can venture out, explore and ride free. On May 2, I had an exceptional chance to thank a Veteran. We were invited by our friends Hogs and Heroes, Chapter 1, to ride up to Clarksburg to pay tribute to the Veterans coming home from visiting their memorials in Washington, D.C..

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Honor Flight Huntington (http://www.honorflighthuntington.org/ ) provides a day of honor and recognition to our Veterans for all of their sacrifices during the wars. Several organizations around the area, Boy & Girl Scouts, ROTC, Patriot Guard, and Hog and Heroes just to name a few that were there to Welcome Home our military Veterans. The look of surprise on their faces and the heart felt gratitude was awesome. Just the ambiance of the party, of both the Welcome Home and the Arriving, was moving all together. Thank you! …my Veteran, my Hero, and my Friend.

So after all the visiting, the stories and tears, we decided to take the back roads home. Many to choose from and it was getting a bit late; so Route 19 was the way we went. As I was enjoying my ride, thinking to myself…This soul food! Beautiful! Peaceful! …it hit me ‘Sometimes everybody just needs to get out a hit the back roads less traveled’. Get back to the right of things. Do a little Sunday driving. Pick a road, a destination, a place you’ve not been…yet. You don’t have to plan it. Just go. And enjoy it!

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Now let me introduce you to Route 19 South, from Clarksburg to Flatwoods. It offers beautiful scenic views with just the right amount of twists and turns, stop offs for refueling your tanks and stomachs, for the adventuring motorcyclist in us all. For those of you that like an ice cold draft, on down the road a few miles from the city limits, Maurice’s can serve you right up. Make sure to tell’em we said Hi! If ice cold draft is not what you like; how about some ice cream? We all scream for Ice Cream! Poling’s Dairy King is open for the season.

But you prefer to rest and refresh at a state park, hop off 19 toward West Milford to Watter’s Smith State Park. The 1700’s farm of Watters Smith was bequeathed to the state for preservation. The farm offers a museum, tours, hiking, swimming, bird-watching and cabins. Check the website out for calendar of events and things to do. http://www.watterssmithstatepark.com/

After enjoying 19’s fluid twists and turns for about 9 miles, in the quaint little community of Good Hope is Frankie G’s. To the left, hugging a curve in the road, is a big pull off parking lot. You can top the tanks off while recharging with a hamburger and fries, pizza, hot dogs or pick from the numerous other items on their menu. As your leaving Good Hope, a picturesque canopy of trees hugs you goodbye; bidding you a warm farewell…comeback again feeling.

Don’t forget to smell the air of the country. Clean and filtered by the green plush trees of the countryside.The next 6 miles offers rolling green landscapes of the working farms and the narrow winding pavement, bordered by ageless oak and maple trees and blossoming red-buds and honey-suckle and our native rhododendron, beautiful beyond belief.

Not hard to just get lost in the country but if you do, stop by at junction of 19 and Mcwhorter Rd, you can wet your whistle and take a tinkle at the Jane Lew Junction Bar & Grill. Jane Lew has several options for gas and food and even has an Inn. Flying Hot dogs, a truck stop, 7-11, Dollar General and several other amenities in and around this beautiful tiny town.

Lively farms are of plenty on this next stretch just short of Weston. A few turns to kick up the G’s in the seat and put a smile on your face. But careful now, if BBQ is what you fancy, don’t pass up The Hickory House.

Now Weston is not just your average dot on the map. Weston has some fine, deep history with in its confines. Some known, some unknown. The TALA, The Military Museum, the 1st Chapter of Hogs and Heroes Foundation, 1376 Riders Group and many, many more places and organizations.

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One of my favorite watering holes is Bryan’s and Brent’s Place, 229 N. River Ave. Check’em out. They feature all your favorite whistle-wetters (alcohol) and tunes like the Davisson Brothers Band (http://davissonbrothersband.com/).

Also check out the list below of websites to visit for more info on Weston.

http://www.mountainlakescvb.com/

http://www.stonewallcountry.com/

http://www.cityofwestonwv.com/

http://www.stonewallresort.com/

Continuing on 19 south the Stonewall Jackson Resort is open to the public with it’s 4-Star accommodations and its breathe taking views of the Stonewall Jackson Lake, the trees and mountains. It really is beautiful.

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About 8 miles on down the road stop by and say Hi to the good folks at Linda’s Restaurant in Walkersville. And if you need a fill up Tri-lakes is where you’d be. While your filling up, check out their made-to-order menu. Between you and me…they have the best homemade pepperoni rolls next to Grandma’s! sshh…

When your back in the saddle, hold on, sit back and enjoy the curvy pavement hugging the foothills of the mountains. Twist and turns that’s sure to delight. Winding river, waterfalls, camping swimming and more, their all up next. BUT most important….enjoy!

Falls Mill, one of my favorites, has a hand-drawn water well with fresh, clean well water, waterfalls, fishing, restrooms and even an overlook. Hop off the beast for a minute, stretch your legs some and take some pics. Just an awesome place to check out. Just ask Lissy, my daughter. She went over the falls at the age of 7. Scared then, loves the place now. I found an interesting website about the place that a local property owner has. Here’s the link: http://www.thomassmith.us/FISHING/

Just up the hill on the other side is Historic Civil War Bulltown and Burnsville Lake. Bulltown offers camping, fishing, museum tours, re-enactments, boating and much more. This is just one of the many place we go to cool off in the summer. http://www.lrh.usace.army.mil/projects/lakes/bus/

Now here’s a cooler thought, coming into Heaters there is a Christmas Tree farm. Every year, the 1st of December; we make a day trip to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. Yeah…making memories right there!

Well we are about to the end of my Route 19 introduction. Flatwoods is just up ahead. Where you can shop at the outlet stores, eat at the many restaurants, check out the antique store, roll a bowling ball down a lane or venture to Wally-world. Yep, they have a Wal-mart. http://www.flatwoods.com/

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the journey so far. Imagine doing it on a motorcycle. Oh, hell just do it! Get out and ride. Make a destination, known or unknown and explore the open road. Check out the small towns hidden in the Wild Wonderful West Virginia mountains. Smell the air, capture some pictures, get lost in the ride, and feed your soul.

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~Riding Amy~ Next Destination Unknown

Warmer Weather and Time to Ride

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Raise of hands to how many of you could not wait for this break in the weather. I have both hands up! I was getting antsy for warm weather. As my folks would say, “I was chomping at the bit”. Ready to get my ride on. With warmer weather finally making its arrival we have many riders wanting to get out and ride. Taking on the open road with nothing more than the machine and some gear provides thrills that no car can offer, no matter how much horsepower it has. And I like that!
So for some it could be the first ride of the year. Pulling their bikes out and dusting them off.
However, no matter how eager we are to hop on and go, there’s no getting around the fact that riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car. So one thing to keep in mind is safety. And that was the very thing my Husband was thinking about the other day when he was faced with a rear flat tire. I’ve yet to experience a flat tire but this is my husband’s experience.
On the interstate with my 15 year old son on with him, he said for a split second he felt the bike go cushiony then it began to wobble. An experienced biker he knew immediately what to do.
Knowing he had motorist behind him he let off the throttle, keeping the bike straight as possible, turned his blinkers on, and move to the side of the road; away from oncoming traffic. Thankfully it was a flat that could be remedied with a can of fix a flat.
It’s a scary thought when you are the one operating the motorcycle and having a passenger, I can only imagine how scary it would be to be the passenger. It is an all too real experienced that my son can put under his belt and learn from. I can learn from. So that little scare prompted me to do some googling. I came across many great sites offering info on motorcycles and flat tires. One of those sites I thought I’d share. http://m.wikihow.com/Handle-a-Tire-Blowout-While-Riding-a-Motorcycle
Another one that is more of a safety check list but is great to follow, as my husband and I do, is the MFS (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) inspection system called T-CLOCS. It stands for “Tires, controls, lights, oils, chassis, stands.”
To be safe you have to give your bike the look over and make sure that its road ready.
Now that the initial flat tire issue was over it was time to take in the festivities at the Maple Syrup Festival in Pickens, West Virginia, always held the 3rd Saturday in March.
I found it interesting that it takes about 45 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. We got our tummies full, listened to music and checked out the vendors.

The end of March leading into April had some pretty good storms. But Easter weekend turned out to be beautiful as I spent it with my family in Ohio.
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Then on the 11th of April we headed back over to the little town of Pickens, WV for their 10th Annual Spring Pickens ATV Poker Run. The weekend was beautiful for the 40 mile run. Hundreds of people came out to support this towns event to help raise funds for the communities up keep.
We were dirty, muddy and tired when we got home but it was a blast.

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This past weekend we met up with some of our friends from Hogs and Hero’s Foundation for a leisurely ride down to New River Gorge. On the way a bear cub ran across the four-lane in front of us, making its way up the hill as we passed. Of course no one has their camera out cruising at 65 mph but it was exciting none the less to see the little thing. Momma was no where to be seen so I’d say it would be safe to assume she made her way across and was on top the hill waiting. We stopped at Visitors Center to look around and then we rode down the winding one way road underneath the bridge for some pics and then back up the other side.
We tried to check out the Harley shop while we were there but as you know it on Sunday it was closed. Everytime we go to a Harley-Davidson Dealer, I try to pick up a couple poker chips. Maybe next time.
We have been on some great rides but I especially enjoyed this one. Maybe it was the sun. Maybe it was the first real ride of the season and I had been on edge for a good ride. Maybe the wonderful group we rode with. Or maybe it was the BEAR. Yeah, it was the bear and all the above.

So this past month has been eventful and fun. That’s the way to start the season. And as it starts to get warmer, more and more events will take place and that means more bikes will be out on the road. I love riding and I love my friends and family. So I’m going to do my best to make sure that everyone at my house stays safe by regular safety inspections and wearing their protective gear. Until next time…

~Amy

Something POSTIVE and WELL WISHING

I check in with a few pages on Facebook every now and again. Mostly to search for any upcoming rides, events or functions, I’d like to take part in. Once in a while a post will catch my eye and I’ll take the time to really read it. One certain post from an enthusiastic lady who just got her motorcycle endorsement, stopped my search. She was asking for safety advice and continued to explain that she was ‘kind of’ forced to get her endorsement over the weekend. She no longer had a car (for undisclosed reasons), bad credit and her job was too good to lose. She did, however, have a motorcycle and did state she had her permit a couple times several years ago.

Many people posted or responded to her initial post with their advice. From knowing your motorcycle, always being a defensive driver, to taking it slow and easy, ride with God and always having someone ride along with you. The majority of the replies were informative and offered great advice. A couple were borderline sarcastic and one, was just down right uncalled for. No need to repeat it here. I just hope she looked passed the ‘troller’ to the messages that were most important. I mean, after all, FB thrives on drama…and there was only one negative remark, right?

I didn’t have to respond to her post. There was already very knowledgable advice given from other riders. So what was I to add that would make her adventure any safer? I don’t know…

But I knew that if I didn’t at least put something remotely ‘positive and well wishing’, it would bother me for not reaching out. Not as if I had to ‘right the wrong’ that some self-absorbed-ignorant-bobble-head felt so pressed to say. Because it did bother me that someone would be so inconsiderate to someone they may share the road with. Or maybe to back up the liberation that riding provides to so many of us. Or maybe to just introduce myself and say Welcome! Either way I just wanted to reach out to her.

I thought back to when I first got my motorcycle license, the things that I learned in the MSF class and the things I’ve learned along the way.
Her experience maybe different from mine. And the path she’s about to embark on may have more twists and turns than mine ever did or will. This chic like every body else will have, has or had a different adventure, will have, has or had traveled a different road, and will have, has or had a different ride. I do mean that metaphorically and literally. What works for one of us may not work for all of us. And to speak the ‘I’ve been there done that’ cliché is only to put ones self in the same playing field as the one its spoken to. Not to play the same game.

So what could I add to the quality of her ride, road or adventure? Sound advice? Not sure really.

But I do know, I’m here, a motorcycle rider myself. I share the road with many. I know my limits and I push them. I know my motorcycle and I do learn as I go. I meet friends along the way. I’m passionate. And I will always extend my hand to a brother or sister of the open road. I will fall. And when I do, I pray, I did all I could to avoid it. If anyone else is involved, I pray, that we walk away. AND that I will ride again. So new rider or not, we all have riding in common.

AND so to my new wind sister something ‘positive and well wishing’.
I posted this….:

‘Awesome! Congratulations on your new adventure. And Welcome to the Open Road, Sister. Enjoy your ride, know your limits and know your motorcycle. Shiny side up…Rubber side down. Check out my post…. https://ridingamy.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/something-postive-and-well-wishing/ ‘

Irish-Pi Day Celebration

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On Thursday the SUNSHINE came out of hiding and brought its warmth with it. Oh how it felt so good after the cold spell we’ve had. And what was the first thing I did? You got it! I opened the garage and pulled my peanut out. Yes…yes…yes! I was going for a ride. I get all excited when after long periods of PMS (Parked Motorcycle syndrome). It had only been a month but that was a month ago and too long.

We’ve rode several times this winter but this was the warmest day by far, and I was taking advantage of it. I figured on just riding down to Ireland, WV to check out the Irish Spring Festival activities and come on back. The festival kicked off last Sunday and has had different activities all week, including a parade on Saturday. Wasn’t sure what was going on for Thursday but it sounded good to find out!

What an awesome ride to Ireland but not a car in sight. Huh, guess Thursday didn’t have a schedule of activities…must of missed the flyer. I just couldn’t see how that was an issue seeing how the road continued ahead and there was plenty of gas in the tank! So I rode south on Rt. 4 to Sutton. Small little town snuggled in the hills. I went through town, across the bridge and on up to the dam. Just to check out the view of the lake. There is a playground, pavilion and a restroom facility at the base of the dam. Access to the other side provides fishing, boating and swimming in the warmer months. Across the croissant shaped, greenish/blue lake you can see the remnants of a campground and another little beach area. Really, it is one of deep WV’s beautiful areas, less visited.

I headed home on the interstate. Not to cheat the ride of miles but to make up on time. The kids evening activities being JAM PACKED full of dance, track, dinner and baton, starts as soon as school lets out. Zero time to waste and no time to pout. Well, I’m going to pout a bit. But I will be smiling doing so. I got to ride today! It sounds funny to say something like that, as if I just got my first car and the novelty hasn’t worn off.

Today the Nerds and Irish are having a celebration of two different kinds. Locals are celebrating their Irish heritage and Math Nerds are celebrating Pi Day.

March 14, is the ultimate Pi Day, in honor of the irrational number pi (3.14). But if your memories of math class are a bit foggy, let me explain. (I had to do a little homework to remember myself cause I’m only half nerd)  Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. If you divide any circle’s circumference by its diameter, you’ll always get 3.14. As an irrational number, pi can only be expressed as an infinite, non-repeating decimal (3.141592653…). In other words, it goes on forever without repeating. So, it’s a lot easier just to approximate pi as 3.14. But this year’s Pi Day gives us special reason to learn a few more digits. Today we can celebrate the first 10 digits! That’s because the third and fourth digits are “15” and it’s the year 2015. So if you write the first ten digits it in date and time format, you get: 3.14.15 9:26:53. As in March 14, 2015, at 9:26:53 a.m. Well, I missed my chance to celebrate Pi Day at  9:26:53 am…I was getting ready for a parade. But today is indeed the Pi Day of the century since it wont happen again in our life time, not until 2115!

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Now rain or shine the Irish Spring Festival Parade must go on. Line up was at 12:30 and it was raining shamrocks. Most were prepared for the rain with their raincoat and umbrellas. But I figured I’d save on money and get my weekly bath. My girls were dancing to an Irish jig and being a parent volunteer, I dressed in my green get-up and walked along side of them. Not many more of these days. So I try to cherish them. It was an awesome sight to see so many festival goers standing along both sides of the road, despite the rain.

They may have waited to see their party participating, or for the sweet handouts, could have been people who grew up in this small community, ones that still live here and/or the surrounding areas, or maybe a family military veteran on the dedication wall brings them out. Whatever the reason, both sides of the road was filled. And it brought so much life to this little part of central West Virginia.wpid-2015-03-14-14.43.49.jpg.jpeg

Safety is a responsibility

Having your endorsement sets you apart, puts you in a different class. Much like having your CDL’S or Concealed Weapon permit or even a hunting license.
You can throw in there, a high honor degree, a leader, policeman, fireman, military and a pilot . A mom, a dad, even a long-lost Sunday school teacher.
What I’m getting to is that these roles are held by people like you and me. Whether it’s an endorsement, a license or permit; a degree or a title. Society sees these individual classifications as something of high regards.
Ok try to put this into perspective.
You see the doctor for an ailment. The school bus driver to transport our children safely. An actor to portray the character with passion. The singer to make music with feeling. A painter to define the piece with color.

Whatever aspect we hold, it is entrusted to us to continue the territory with due diligence and a level of responsibility.
And so it is the same for a motorcyclist. There are certain responsibilities and expectations we must uphold to be in our class as a motorcyclist. As an operator, an owner and enthusiast. We owe it to our selves, our family, our friends, to the ones before us, the ones after us and to the ones that set us a part from others.
A policeman will wear his vest to protect his asset and peruse what he was trained for. The driver will wear her seat belt to protect herself and drive coherently. Just like I will wear my gear when I ride and follow these crucial safety tips.

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~Amy

Nifty Links

Thought I’d share these few Web sites.

Certainty Store has many items from cup holders that attach to handle bar’s to candles. Check ’em out.
https://m.facebook.com/certaintystores

Travis Tritt…. whoap! whoap!
One of my favorite times of the year happening right here in the wild wonderful state of West Virginia.
Link to tickets, pricing and camping options. Check the rest of the site out.
http://www.wvmountainfest.com/?page_id=971

Triple S Harley-Davidson
Morgantown, WV
Calendar of events
http://triplesharley-davidson.com/m_default.asp

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~Amy

Looking to upgrade

I had put a little over 10,000 miles of riding on my bike. I had got my money’s worth out of it and it’s still going strong. Gained the much-needed experience before thinking about going bigger. Meaning all those miles I have ridden offered different scenarios, different exposures, various predicaments, and many challenges. All hurdles that I had crossed made me a better rider. I had acclimated my self to the V-Star to the point where the obvious left me under-estimating the power of a bigger motor when asked to move it.

Visiting a relative, I was asked to move his motorcycle as he was on the backhoe moving a steel pipe. I hopped on and fired those horses up. Oh boy, the rumble was sooo sweet. I LIKED IT! As I had always like that sound. But at that moment I was in control of the thunder. Yeah, He must have seen the excitement on my face because he motioned for me to take it out the road and without hesitation, I did. That short ride was enough to make me realize just what I had been missing. That very evening I started looking for what was out there. I had an idea what I was looking for but wasn’t sure what all was available with what I was looking for. I’m 5’2″, so seat height was a factor. Motor size was another. What could I handle comfortably and manuvre flawlessly. Style was another. I had already knew I’m a cruiser kind of chic. Price, not too much but what was a fair price? The only way I would truly know what was a good fit for me; was to get on them and test ride as many as I could. And I did. Friends, relatives, demo’s, for sales and two dealer test rides. I spent 4 months actively researching, looking, scoping out, asking questions and test riding. Yeah, I was pretty certain I knew what I wanted.

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I fell pretty hard for a custom switchback. Mmmm, too much sweetness to list. But not for sale.

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This 1700 Soft tail Deluxe was a beast. Just too heavy, too big and too much for comfort. However the smoothest ride of all.

wpid-2015-03-02-23.32.57.png.png This Lady Dyna Lo was a nice ride. I could had been happy with her but I passed her up and the Hubs quickly grabbed her. Just wasn’t what I was looking for.

I continued to look for something that just felt right. In my efforts I sailed with a 72, I got the kidneys beat out of me by a nightster, I danced with a couple 883’s, I ventured with a Vulcan, valeted a Victory and all I have to say about the Iron is that It Is a Clunk of Metal. 

At this point in time I was just going on my gut, the ride, the feeling and the fit. I knew I could handle just about anything but I wasn’t looking for just anything. I was looking for a click. A fit. That just right, ride.

Bill told me about a buddy of his he worked with, that had a couple of bikes. He wasn’t wanting to sell but if I came down and rode one I liked; he might consider.Bill had told him that I was unsuccessfully looking for that ‘ONE’ bike and had not found one I was satisfied with. We drove the 4 hours away to check out these bikes. I was told what he had and became curious.

We pulled in and three bikes sat in the concrete drive. Still in the 4 bay garage sat three more different bikes. Man, this guy was wanting for nothing. If he wasn’t really wanting to sell, I had little chance of bargaining. A pretty purple Suzuki 805cc, a metallic red 1100 V-Star and a 100 yr Anniversary Edition HD sportster. The colors were tempting but the sportster held my attention from the beginning. A little conversation and then the test rides.

The V-Star was what I expected, just a beefed up bigger version of my 250. The Suzuki reminded me of the Victory. Nice ride but that was it. Now the 883 Hugger was what had my attention from the time we pulled in. I took it out and immediately I was gonna turn back. Disappointed was an understatement. I sat at the stop sign contemplating too long when I see Bill on the Pretty Purple bike pull up next to me. Amused at his confidence on such a stylish, flashy ride; I smiled. Then he asks in a Fran voice “Does this color make my butt look big?”. I belted out a laugh that for some reason made me feel lighter and of course happier. He said ” Come on…” and took off. I followed forgetting about the disappointment I once had and just enjoyed the 10 mile ride.

As I expected no bargaining. He had a price set for all three and wasn’t willing to budge. But to give him credit he was more than reasonable with the prices. We compared the different attributes of each ride, swapped stories, had a late lunch and made the sale.

With only a thousand miles, its first service, 4 seats, extra grips, caps, lights, HD Screamin Eagle Factory upgrade, 3 sets of exhausts, detachable windshield and a full tank of gas I rode this peanut home.
Let’s just say that after my test ride it just had a je ne sais quoi about it.

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