Sunday, September 8, 2013

Appalachian Getaway

I recently did a ride to Stokes State Forest in the NJ Kittatinny Mts. to do some hiking and camping. The weather forecast for the weekend was Sunny and clear -temps in the upper 70's. Low 40's at night.

The ride up to Sussex County was done on the slabs to save time. Parkway to 287 to 15 to 206. Trip time between 2-3 hours.

The first order of business upon arrival at Stokes is to grab a Park Map. Along with my AT map I determined which trail head to begin at,  I Permethrin'ed my clothes and backpacked out on foot to hike a portion of the New Jersey Appalachian trail which is the bottom red line in the pic below.

The entire Appalachian trail -from Maine to Georgia is marked by "Blazes" -two inch by six inch white rectangles painted on trees by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. These are to keep hikers from wandering off the trail and getting lost.

On Saturday morning I hiked Northbound on the trail to reach High Point State Park. (between 8-9 miles) I Camped off the trail there & Hiked back down on Sunday. In the event I failed to reach my objective before nightfall, there are shelters on the AT (2 on this portion) where you can pitch. If you cant find the shelter in time you're stuck camping right off the trail somewhere which is more fun anyway.

 Sunrise Mountain. 3-4 hours away in the distance
Elevation of the NJ section of the AT varies between 1000 to 1800 ft, terrain is steep and rocky at times.

 In the evening I was awakened by the sound of coyotes howling at 2am. One was close by and I could hear another in the distance calling back. If you have never had the opportunity to hear that sound before, just picture the sound a dog would make if it was slowly being murdered by a woman who was slowly being murdered adding a little mountain echo for effect. Its quite unnerving. Yes NJ has coyotes. and they are in every county. Pop. around 4-5 thousand. After I fell back to sleep from that weirdness, I was awakened by the abrupt yet cool sounds of owls pretending to be Eddie VanHalen. Owls will call and answer each other too, except they will mimic each others calls which makes for fun listening.

Found a nice clearing on the ridge to make camp

39 Deg. on the ridge Hiking thru the morning fog
View from my bedroom

 You're Not alone!  Fresh steamy bear shit on the trail.
Stopped at a shelter and read the log book. Yesterday a thru hiker saw 3 bear on this section of trail along with 2 rattlesnakes??!!

Equipment List :
Tent (Catoma Lone Rider)
Sleeping bag (Zero degree mummy)
Bed Mat
Back Pack w 3.0L water bladder
Map, Compass (Suunto w declination adjustment)
LED Headlamp (70 Lumens w red light)
Food (Mountain House freeze dried), water, Energy bars, spoon
Bear Spray
Permethrin tick spray (discarded before hike)
Small Binoculars
Thermal long sleeve, Hoodie, extra socks
Toothbrush/tooth paste/Napkins for toilet paper
MRS Pocket Rocket cooking stove and fuel
Zippo Lighter
G-Shock watch w stop watch/compass/altimeter/temp sensor
Military tactical vest
Whiskey (Jack Daniels in a soda bottle)
All wrappers, plastic bottles etc. burned in fire each nite to deter bears

On the return hike down from the summit, I ran into this chap.

He's been hiking the Appalachian Trail for the last 3 months. His start point was in Maine, June 1st and he's headed to N Carolina. Stay tuned for my next blog post and interview with him. Laters, Shane

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tips and tricks for long haul riding

After doing a bunch of long trips, here are a few things that I've learned along the way that can make a long ride more comfortable, safe and enjoyable. Not everything here may work for you so- to each his own.

Led brake light flashers

Lets face it, the more miles you travel, the more cars you encounter, the more your risks increase.
Led brake light flashers pulse when you apply the brakes making your stopping action visible to others six times per brake pull, greatly reducing your chances of getting rear ended. Sure you may look like a rolling discotheque, but its better than getting rear ended by drunks coming home from one.

Cruise control/Throttle paddle assist

Someone told me to get one of these throttle assists before my trip and Thank God I heeded their advice. Guess what your right wrist will feel like after holding a throttle open for eight hours? Forget about jerking off with that hand for a while. On a side note, an O ring or electrical tape in the gap between the grip and the throttle sleeve OR pushing your grip in further will help by causing the throttle to hold open. Works great on cold mornings as you can set your throttle so the bike doesn't stall so you can "pack up-while she warms up". There's a bunch of throttle controls on the market. Do a search.


Yes we've seen some guys wear them and you think- "why bother?"  Dont you want to hear the cool sounds of your machine?"  Well take a guess what you will be hearing when lying in a bed/tent after 8 hours of riding????? Thats right, forget about jerking off AND sleeping now. The sound of your engine will ring in your ears for hours as you lay there unable to fall asleep. FORGET FOAM EARPLUGS. I started using them only to have them constantly creep out of my ears. Buy the gelatin /wax ones that press into your ear. They dont come out and they dont let anything in. You will suddenly realize how much sound gets in thru your nose though.
Side effects include vivid dreams of the girl on the box.


Oh dont be such a pussy, motorcyclists have been wiping their asses the "traditional" way for years. Well guess what, if one is fortunate enough to have the consumer convenience of our free market society, ,and God gave you a brain, then take advantage of those things. On a long trip, showers can sometimes be days apart. Inevitably on your ride somewhere, you will have to take a massive dump in some roadside bathroom from all the Vienna Sausages and Potted Meat Product you have ingested along the way. When you're done, use some baby wipes and you're fresh as a daisy for the next 300 miles or next shit stop which ever comes first. If you opt for the "traditional way", stray dogs, stray women and even your own nose will eventually determine that an Afghanistan of stench is wafting from your nether regions. I currently use the "Himalaya Gentle" wipes after switching from the "Columbian Gold" brand  Remember: the Afgahnis dont use toilet paper. Not only have WE evolved enough to use it, we have discovered an additional way to further clean that Harbinger of Sorrow completely, so that the world can be a more peaceful place for all. Its in the Bible.

"Its not traditional" "I like the feeling of the wind in my face" They look gay" Well have you ever heard of buffeting????? Its what happens when an 18 wheeler passes you at 75 mph and then gets in front of you. Nothing like the feeling of being in a losing pillow fight at 75mph. Windshields work. They wouldn't put them on bikes and cars if they didn't. They reduce wind fatigue. After 8 hours on the road your neck will thank you along with your ass for the Strawberry scented baby wipes.

Get Gas Take a Piss

But I dont have to piss....... Well guess what? After you get back on the road from your quick gas stop, you will find yourself pulling over again after only 20 minutes to piss. After this happens to you for the 10th time it sucks and is an inconvenience because now you have to pull over, take your gloves off, take your..... well you get the picture. GET GAS TAKE A PISS so you can keep on riding.

Shane Von Cycles

More to come..............

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cool interview with Neil Peart of Rush BMW rider

Many of you may not know this, but Neil Peart- infamous drummer from the band RUSH, is an avid motorcycle touring rider having racked up over 200,000 miles on his various BMW's. He even takes his BMW out with him on tour and travels from gig to gig.
He has also published a book entitled "Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road" about the ride he took from Canada to Mexico following the tragic 1997 death of his wife and daughter. Check out this interview with him.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

England to Russia on motorcycles

Check out this ride report from the ADVRider forum.
These guys head from England all the way across Russia
taking mostly dirt roads across the continent.
One excursion lands them accidentally at the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone!
An exciting journey through rural Europe. Check it...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

1950s Italian Police Motorcycle Drill Team

Oregon to Argentina! ADV Ride Report

Check out this crazy ride report from Ulyses on the ADV forum. He rode from Oregon to Argentina on a 2008 Honda XR650L all the while dodging near death, dog bites, accidental overdoses, sketchy border crossings, sickness, questionable boat crossings, accidents and some of the coolest fellow overlanders he meets along the way. Hang onto your seats,- its a wild read!
ADV Rider.Com

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Symphony of Shrapnel- Dominics' blog

Check out this blog from my friend Dominic
"Symphony of Shrapnel"