2008 STN Meet and Eat

Saturday, April 19th

I had grand plans for this one. I was going to take Friday off work, and spend the whole day riding the twisties getting to Clearfield. Then I'd hook up with SLK50 Saturday morning for another big loop, then another one Sunday morning before the big lunch.

What is it the say about plans?

One thing led to another (though all good things), and I ended up not getting to leave until noon on Saturday. For the first time this season, the weather was warm enough to leave behing the heated gear. It was around 80 degrees when I left Elmer. Made a bee-line to Harrisburg via 476 and the PA Turnpike, and hooked up with 322. I had never been on 322 west of Harrisburg, but I remember Tankhead saying last year that it was a suprisingly nice ride. Indeed, while not a particularly twisting route, it was very pretty and much nicer than the slab. There was a lot of gusty sidewinds, but the weather otherwise was beautiful. It was great to just have the perforated jacket up top, and not the heated jacket under the lined leather jacket.

I wanted to make sure I arrived at the Days Inn before 6pm. I bought enough time doing the slab and 322 to do a little exploring as I got closer. I hopped off 322 at Reedsville, took 655 SE (nothing special) to 305 N to 26 N. 305 was great, and 26 had some really steep ascents/descents. Then it was a quick jog on 45 S to Marengo Road N. Marengo Rd was terrific, empty with nice twists and turns. Somewhere on this section my on-bike camera's lens cover got glued shut with dead bugs. Have to replace this camera with a better clamshell model.

The view from 26


Marengo Road

Marengo Road with Multistrada

After the delightful Marengo Road it was back onto 322, which by this point had turned pretty sucky. Fortunately it was only about 30 miles to Clearfield. I had neglected to program the GPS with the hotel info, just had me heading into Clearfield. Got turned around a bit once I got there - I saw Denny's, and then made a wrong turn onto 879 South. U-turned and 5 minutes later was pulling up at the Days Inn.

There were some folks there already, not a lot. I remember running into a few familiar faces - ST2sam, SLK50 and Cablebandit among them. Got to meet Chornbe (though some crap-ass MV Augusta was blocking the view of his luscious Sportster so it was hard to get a shot of it), and a bunch of new folks.

It was a very buggy day, as this VFR can attest to.

The "main" parking area at the Days Inn

The "overflow" parking

Some point later JETSET and crew arrived looking for crown.


"Caption this" contest

Oh dear lord


This Tuono sounded sweet...

...but not as sweet as Garry on his 950SMR

Around 6:30 I got a call from RDoug. He had arrived at the hotel hours earlier, and was doing a loop through Tioga county expecting to return for dinner. He was calling because he had gotten a flat tire in Renovo due to running over a branch. His mushroom plug kit was unable to close the pinky-sized hole in his rear tire. He was looking for any bike shop that might be open Saturday night or Sunday for an emergency tire repair. In the meantime, he managed to find someone to haul his bike back to Clearfield (for $250, 1/2 the price of the local tow operator's quote).

I grabbed the yellow pages, and Chris (Chornbe) started making the phone calls. Someone else was looking through his Zumo for tire places. Not surprisingly, we had no luck. We did manage to put together a few plans - tire "rope" repair kit, truck stops, or the nearest Harley place for a Sunday fix.

Chris (Chornbe) hits the phones

By 8pm hunger got the best of us, and SLK50, Cablebandit and I had some pizza delivered. I had hoped to repeat the in-room pizza party and bullshit session from last year, but that was not to be at this point.

Around 8:30 RDoug rolled up, and everyone got to work.

Always smilin'


Two tire ropes and a portable compressor did the trick. It passed the soap test and held air all night.

I headed to the lounge with ST2sam for a beer, and ended up hanging there until almost midnight. Chatted with ZZRRob, Garry, Googus, RDoug, and the pool shark :-)

Asleep before 1am.

Route for the way out to Clearfield (most of it anyway)

Sunday, April 20th

Woke up at 7:30 to a decent-looking day. Clouds, but no rain. I was figuring on just hanging around the hotel until lunchtime, since the only morning ride I heard about was with Garry and ST2sam. Nothing against them, but I'd be so far behind them it wouldn't be funny. The only thing I was going to do in the morning was to take advantage of Garry's very generous offer of a ride on his KTM 950SMR. I just took it up and down 879 a bit, but what a great ride. Sounds great with those Leo Vince pipes on it as well. Thanks, Garry!

Saw RDoug heading out for the careful ride home on his plugged tire. He made it within 12 miles of home before the plug let out "in spectacular fashion". He got it to a stop OK and had a neighbor truck him home. Whew.

You be careful!

Fortunately this is not the last known photograph of RDoug

Grabbed a little breakfast in the hotel lobby, and the weather started to look worse and worse. A lot of the folks I knew were leaving for home already, and I was doubtful many day-trippers would make the ride in the rain, so I made the decision to bail on lunch and book home before the rain started in earnest. Ha! I only made it as far as 322 before the skies opened up. I had put on the rain jacket before I started, but neglected the pants. So now I did the dance under the overpass.

The rain lasted about an hour and a half, really hard at times and often accompanied by misty fog. Took 322 all morning. Once the rain stopped, I started looking for alternate routes to add some fun to the trip home. Crossed the Susquehanna at Duncannon, and couldn't resist the sign for "Mountain Road" so off I went. What sign I should have been looking for was "Gas Station". I was about 10 miles into Mountain Road (aka PA325) when the low fuel light came on. This was pretty a desolate area for PA, and I was wondering how this would turn out. Mountain Road started out great, some good twists, and then straightened out completely. Completely. Ruler-drawn. Went past Harrisburg Reservoir, and not much else. I was taking note of every parked pickup truck with people around it (hunters? 4-wheelers?) in case I need to beg for gas. Fortunately I came into the town of Tower City with about 8 miles left until empty. Paid some ridiculous amount for gas ($3.59?) and got a snack.

My salvation gas at Tower City, PA

I had just passed the intersection of Gold Mine Road, so I doubled back and took this through Swatara State Park. Nice road! Some of the hairpins were grooved, but most of the road was just fun. 443 to 645 to 501 to 897 to 41 to home. Rain came and went during the rest of the afternoon, and it was pretty windy the whole time. I was not looking forward to the trip over the Delaware Memorial Bridge, but once again it was serenely still up there. Got home right around 4pm.

About 5 miles from home

My ride home (most of it)