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Happy Trails Blog

  • Daily Grind, Somebody Has To Do It

    Dateline: Virginia to Washington, D.C. By “moto” photojournalist Douglas Graham

    Click on photos for larger images

    Versys parked on Dutchman’s Creek Road north of Lovettsville, Virginia

    Although I travel a lot, as a photojournalist covering national politics I also spend a lot of time in Washington. Sometimes weeks at a time bouncing from the White House, U.S. Capitol, State Department, Pentagon, Smithsonian, etc.

    I thought I'd give a glimpse of my daily commute, because I found myself marveling at what a nice trip I've had to get to work this past week. Its an adventure ride each day! Most people heading to Washington get into their car and sit in traffic for up to two hours on a good day. I’m pretty lucky as you can see from the photos.

    Views to the north west across the blue ridge into West Virginia along U.S. route 690 north of Hillsboro Virginia

    Tollhouse Road almost into Maryland

    From my house in the blue ridge mountains of Virginia I take about 15 miles of dirt roads up and across the mountain and then north down the toe into Maryland and across the Potomac River. The road is a mixed bag of fire road, improved dirt and a touch of one lane asphalt. Sometimes I take a little longer route and follow the Shenandoah River north to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia across the Potomac and into Maryland. Once in Maryland I take the MARC train from the Brunswick Station to Union Station in downtown Washington.

    Stoneybrook Farmers Market in Hillsboro has the best coffee and the nicest people you will ever meet

    The whole trip takes about 1.5 hours door to door and I always leave really early so I can relax and shoot photos along the way if I feel the need. I also stop at the farmers market in Hillsboro, Virginia, to have coffee and breakfast. Nicest people on the planet run the market called Stonybrook Farms and they have the best coffee, hands down, on the East Coast. You can’t often enter a store and hear your name from the proprietor and know they really are glad to see you.

    Brunswick Maryland train station with the MARC train pulling in to pick up passengers headed for points east terminating in Washington, D. C. at Union Station 

    I’m pretty lucky as far as being a D.C. commuter, since I never really have to deal with the traffic gridlock because of the train. Yes, it can be a long day if I’m working downtown but as a newspaper photographer every day is a long day. Its just part of the job and no day ever repeats itself.

  • Pannier Questions

    Pannier questions....Tim received extensive feedback from a customer who rode 5,200 miles of dirt roads across America with Happy-Trail panniers. For Tim it was a good experience answer pannier questions and a beneficial exchange. There were many things the customer liked about his panniers. He liked the finished look they gave his bike, found them surprisingly waterproof in the worst of downpours, easy to pack with excellent loading capacity, light ... and great to use as a table when he wanted to stand and eat along the side of the trail!

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  • Preparing for Adventure Team RawHyde, Dakar 2011 Update 12/30/10

    To all of our adventure oriented friends, The Dakar rally - eagerly awaited by the world; and especially by 20 anxious RawHyde Adventurers is nearly at hand.   Over the next two and a half weeks we'll be updating you all as much as we can from Argentina and Chile as we follow the worlds greatest motorsports event.  What "Mt. Everest" is to mountain climbers... The Dakar is to motorsports enthusiasts. its simply the "Ultimate" thing to do....   We are thrilled to be here and we hope you'll enjoy coming along for the ride. Five members of Team RawHyde are now in Argentina and more are arriving daily. The RawHyde "Advance crew"  has been in country for the last 3 days and have been involved in staggering amounts of paperwork and bureaucracy and delays and B.S. As many of you know we have shipped our own support truck from California to Buenos Aires - and the process of doing so has been a collosal pain in the butt.  We learned today that although the truck has arrived in Buenos Aires area, its still in the ship... and the ship is anchored in the Rio Platte (two miles away)  and won't be brought to the pier for another three or four days.  It's a frustrating delay but certainly not the end of the world. We have spent the last two days working with the freight forwarder, customs broker, shipping line, and other bureaucrats to try and get our truck "off the boat".   We are learning that the word "Adventure" can have many definitions, and one of them is dealing with Customs agents" in a foreign country.  Anyway more on that later. In the few idle hours that have been available to us we've prowled the streets of Buenos Aires checking out the preparations for Dakar which are happening all over town.  The picture above shows the construction of the starting podium over which all of the competitors will ride on the morning of January 1st.    More on the pomp and circumstance later as well. Now for a quick change of topic - the title of this e-mail is "preparing for adventure" and the crew has been talking among themselves about how our packing lists have changed in just the last few years.  It used to be that leaving on an "adventure" required precious little.  We would bring clothes, maps, guide book, camera & film.  That was about all we used to need.  Now  it seems that our electronics outweigh all the rest of our gear combined.  One member of our party (a man and wife) admit that between them they have 27 pounds of clothing and 32 pounds of electronics. The photo at the very bottom of this e-mail shows the collection of electronics that just one other member of the crew (Kevan) and I have brought with us.  Computers, GPS units, Short Wave radios, video cameras, ipods, ipads, iphones etc etc - not to mention all the chargers for these devices....  funny how things we didn't even know about a few years ago are now indispensable parts of our adventures. One note... we have radios for some of our crew in this photo... OK -   You'll hear from us soon...  till then Happy New Year. Jim Hyde

  • Italian Police Motorcyle Drill Team

    Check this out! It was 1950, a gentler time when suits and ties were the norm at an event like this. Not to mention amazing riding... how long did it take them to practice this!

    Click to watch

     

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  • Big Nasty Hill Climb Dual Sport Ride sponsored by Happy Trails

    Route from Boise to Big Nasty Hill Climb

    This was a ride we did in 2010 from Boise to watch  Big Nasty Hill Climb.......Welcome to the Big Nasty Dual Sport Ride sponsored by Happy Trails products at www.happy-trail.com.

    This ride is for Dual Sport and Adventure Bikes only. On the ride you will encounter city streets, dirt roads, two track roads and paved roads. Please be advised that this is an enjoyable ride and not a race. You need to ride with caution and be expecting oncoming traffic at all times.

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  • Follow Ken Hunter on the Trans America Trail ...

    Re: My trip from Elko Got about 1000 miles so far. I'm just south of Memphis were I will be visiting a friend tomorrow. Rode through an area hit by a tornado a couple of days ago. No houses destroyed but lots of trees down, roads and bridges washed out. Got around them all and had a little excitement crossing one flooded area. Ever try standing on the seat in the middle of a muddy washout while moving? That's what I tried to do when confronted by a water moccasin making the same crossing at the same time. It certainly increases your intensity as well as your speed. Motorcycle boots are snake proof...............right??????????? (Ken's SPOT on June 2)

  • BIG DOG ADVENTURE NEWS – May 29, 2010

    DATES ANNOUNCED – AUGUST 13-15, 2010 The BIG DOGS will be “Riding the Roof of North America” August 13-15, 2010, based in Ridgway, Colorado. Coveted Invitations for the 2010 BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE will be mailed to veteran DOGS in early June. If veteran DOGS have riding pals who are men of quality and want to get them on the possible Newbie DOG Invitation List to join our elite fraternity, now is the last time to do it. SAVE A TREE – BE A GOOD DOG All veterans of the BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE fraternity in good standing automatically receive an Invitation via snail mail each year.  If, for a myriad of reasons (wife/job/no-job/sold the bike/medical procedure/class reunion/girlfriend/don’t want to scratch new bike/birthday/wedding/court date for divorce/mistress/making too much money/grass to cut), you won’t be able to accept your coveted 2010 Invitation, be a good DOG and drop us an e-mail note next week and ask for a “pass” this year, save a tree, and make room for a possible newbie BIG DOG on our Wait List for an opening and Invitation.  While you’re at it, tell us what trails through life or around the globe you have been following since we saw you last. BMW GS 30 YEAR BIRTHDAY PARTY The famed BMW G/S and GS models have been out there circling the globe for 30 years, and gave birth to the BMW GS “BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE.”  If you want to read a good history of the models, BOB’s BMW has an excellent history on their website at http://www.bobsbmw.com/featured-stories-gs.html While you are on the site you might notice that one of the original BIG DOGS will be the featured personality at BOB’s GS/Adventure Day, July 24, 2010. If you are a veteran DOG or a wannabe DOG, drop into BOB’s BMW on Adventure Day, schmooze, and make Bob happy: purchase your new GS that day and get a “Go to the head of the line for an Invitation to the BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE,” according to BMW DOG inside rumor monger Mr. WOOF.   2009 BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE REPORT UP ON INETRNET The 2009 Reunion Ride is up on the web at www.horizonsunlimited.com/bigdog under “Past Events.”  Thanks goes to the DOGS who provided the entertaining pictures and Web guru Grant Johnson from Horizons Unlimited for keeping the DOGS alive on the Internet. BIG DOGS TACKLE BAJA 500 Three veteran BIG DOGS are set to tackle the world famous Baja 500 Race! David Rutherford, Ed Hockensmith and Marc Lee are entered as #501X under the name TEAM BIG DOG.  These three team members met during the BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE and decided to tackle the treacherous Baja 500. www.mattsnook.com/baja500/ is where you can find their tails, errr, tales!  GO TEAM BIG DOG! CALL FOR ENTERTAINING BIG DOG ADVENTURE EXPLOITS If there are BIG DOGS with an entertaining story and pictures for the evening show during the BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE 2010, step-up and let us hear about them.  The evening entertainment is “open” for wild adventures. HAPPY TRAILS 2010 BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE FLAG CARRIER Adventure Central, the Happy Trails Company of Boise, Idaho, has signed on to carry the BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE flag for the 2010 event. Founder and Principal of Happy Trails Motorcycle Products, Tim Bernard, was pictured in two media publications after the 2009 event sitting in the rocks above the 10,000 foot level of an ugly Rocky Mountain Pass. He was “resting” and helping other riders, but the picture was worth 1,000 words, so got good media play.  Bernard has vowed to return and bolster his reputation as being a “wild rocky rider,” and stay away from cameras.  To see why Bernard and Happy Trails are known as Adventure Central, you can find them on the Internet at www.happy-trail.com and for an interesting blog and news try www.trail-dust.com . BMW OF DENVER REMINDER BMW of Denver reminds riders to call ahead and make an appointment if prepping your adventure motorcycle in Denver before the BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE.  It’s the busy season.  Better yet, visit their website and make an appointment to purchase a new BMW GS for the 2010 event, again with a rumored Invitation to the 2010 BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE if you have the “ride stuff.” www.bmwofdenver.com. VIETNAM EXPEDITION – NOVEMBER 8-20, 2010 – USING BMW COPIES! We have a limited number of openings left. This is not a packaged motorcycle tour, but an expedition along much of the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the Vietnamese side of the border and some riding along the Chinese border.  The BIG DOGS will be self-sufficient as a group, riding 650 cc former communist army motorcycles that we have had re-conditioned, copies of BMWs used during the War.  November 8-20, 2010 is the set dates. Not a tour for the meek or mild wannabe adventure rider, so Harvey Milquetoast need not inquire.  This expedition is for the advanced adventure rider, the serious adventurist seeking to test and push his personal limits with fellow BIG DOG extremists in one of the most remote and dangerous jungle areas in the world. The expedition is a “one-time” event.  For details and a possible Invitation write bigdogbmw@yahoo.com and in the Subject Line put “Vietnam Motorcycle Adventurist Expedition.” END

  • Getting Away… never as easy as you think

    Well, Dave and I are on the road… Hwy 395 south of Bishop along the Eastern Sierra Mountains. On our way the the Rawhyde Rally.

    Saturday I found the trailer with standing gas on the floor from a cut O Ring (on tank QD fastener) on the 1150 GSA. This is a common occurrence so in March/02 I’d bought spare O Rings from Big Twin and had them in my KLR pannier. After unloading the KLR and the GS, I repaired the fitting, then hosed the trailer down and scrubbed it out. The next news was from Sherry… the Motor Home fridge was off and the freezer defrosted! The night before I had thought about plugging in the land line but I was just too tired. And anyway, the fridge would be fine with propane so no problem. Well, now it was a problem … it turned out that when the propane was filled the tank valve didn’t get turned back on. I turned it on. I dropped Sherry and Booker off at Costco to buy road supplies and went to Big Twin to get spare O Rings to carry with me. Fred suggested I update to the new metal style (the plastic fittings get brittle and break). I said “Gimme 2 so I’ll have a spare.” Useph cashiered me out and those two fittings and two clamps were over $80! I coughed and Useph said “They have the BMW logo on them”. We laughed. We all know what a logo does to the price. On top of everything else I was fighting intestinal problems all day. In the middle of everything we were doing I would suddenly say: “I gotta go” and I really meant it. To make matters worse, Sherry was laughing at me! By the end of the day, thanks to a lot of help from Booker and Sherry we were repacked and all set to go. Sunday started watching the sun come up as I soaked my tired bones in the hot tub. I went to work for a while, cleaned up the office and got a few last things done… then home to breakfast. Thanks Sherry. After breakfast Church, and then off to get Dave with the first stop Fred Meyer to gas up. No gas … data network was down. So off to the Maverick, filled up with no problem and even got one of their cards for discounts! Picked up Dave and we took the back over to Walters Ferry and Sommer Camp Road to Hwy 95. Dave Driving. I checked the weather for Death Valley. It was heading to over 100 degrees so we decided to bypass that part of the trip. With the forecast showing HIGH wind going south for Tuesday we decided to get to Rawhyde earlier and ride from there. We planned to have dinner with a high school friend in Yerington. With 56 miles to go we pulled off in Fernley to catch 95A and get gas. Getting out we discovered a shredded left front trailer tire! So dinner was off. We went to Tom’s (Sherry’s brother) in Fernley where we changed the tire and then went to dinner at the famous Mary & Moes’ Wigwam in Fernley. With a new tire ($122) we traveled until after midnight, stopping at Chalfant Ca. alongside the road for the night, and pulling into Bishop this morning. We’re now on Hwy 14 headed south. Thanks to the Happy Trails staff for all your help in getting the “Road Show” on the road. Tim

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