Bike trip Northwestern Pa 9/15-16/2012

Dave Crippen (BMW R1150GS)
Frank Barber (Suzuki cruiser)
Bill Lewin (Harley FXR)

Nice ride up through the Allegheny National Forest to Bradford, Pa, a sparse area frequented by sportsmen.  Very nice scenery, lots of streams and woods.

We visited the Zippo Lighter Museum in Bradford and it was fascinating. Zippo has been making lighters for 80 years and still going strong. The museum is set up like the Rock & Roll Museum with lots of alcoves full of history. tTe owner once shut down production for months when he learned some of the abrasive wheels were failing sooner than expected and spent US$300,000 to create new ones that would never wear out. Conservatively, I think there were at least a thousand lighters on display, memorializing every person, place or thing famous for more than 15 minutes. Zippo will fix any lighter, anytime, for any reason free.  Found a book of lighters from Vietnam and there were hundreds of them with some great quips: “If I had a house in Hell and a house in Vietnam, I’d sell both”. “If I die in Vietnam, bury me on my stomach so the Army can kiss my ass”. Incredible photos, a real keeper.

Then over to Titusville, PA to spend the night in my buddy Frank’s cabin. Very nice place out in the middle of nowhere, about a mile of grass trail to get to it. Many creature comforts and very quiet. Frank has two “Quad” four wheel all-terrain vehicles one of which I got a chance to run around the woods. 480cc fuel injected engine, five speed. Very quick and seemingly stable in the woods. I asked frank how likely this beast was to stay on four wheels. He said he never tipped it over. So armed with that security I took off through the woods with Bil Lewin behind me.

I immediately noticed that the “quad” didn’t have any woods sense at all. The more the throttle opened the faster it went, disregarding all real or potential obstacles. Who was supposed to instill common sense into this beast?  Surely not me, a veteran of much off road riding in the 80s. As a younger dog, I had been known for a few competent if not inspired full throttle runs through the bush on dirt bikes. What could possibly go wrong?

What went wrong was a sudden onset of a deep gully after cresting a small hill at speed, enough room on either side but too deep in the middle. Too fast to decide, up the side of the right hoping I’d been living right. The beast that had never tipped before flipped me out the left side like a flapjack and came to rest on it’s side on my right leg, pinning me like a lab frog.  Lucky for me the ground was soggy and it just squished my leg into the bog but it was too heavy for my other free leg to push it off. So in the immortal words of Buckaroo Banzai, “no matter where you go, there are you are”. Finally, Bill came up behind me and pulled the thing off me. No damage done, just a few sore muscles.

Beware vehicles that have never tipped before.

Brief 1.5 minute YouTube video of all the above all at:

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