The Sport Scout has been on the road now since the beginning of October. 2 months as this is being written (early December). A lot of owners who have had their machines on the road for a while probably take them down for maintenance this time of the year. And that sounds like a good idea. There are a few things I need to take care of.
But I wonder how cold it will get before I have to stop riding. At absolute zero all molecular motion stops and so will I. In fact, riding will probably stop before I reach zero degrees F. Ice and snow might stop me, too, but the temperature is not quite there yet. This weekend the daytime highs were at 38, so as it got up to the 30’s on Saturday morning, I headed out to visit my local Harley dealer, who was having an open house.
There are actually several Harley Dealers near enough for me to consider local. (My definition of local being within about a 200 mile radius of my home.) This one is Lancaster Harley Davidson. The folks over there really like old bikes and sponsor a dirt track racing team, so I knew the Scout would be appreciated. It takes me a little over an hour to ride there, mostly at around 50 miles per hour on back roads.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania (USA) is in the heart of Amish country. If you have not heard of the Amish, imagine a group of people who decided to freeze time at about the middle of the 19th century and you’ll be close. They drive around in carriages, use animal power to operate their farm machinery and do not use electricity in their homes. A few miles north, I started to pass horse drawn buggies. The Amish have adopted some modern technology to their transport (like brake lights and turn signals), but I’m sure this was not by choice. Anyway, as I headed north and the tips of my fingers began to numb, I realized that I was not in the oldest conveyance on the road. I was a time traveler from the 1940’s, passing through the 1850’s!
Arriving at the open house, I chose a prime parking spot by the front door. There were only about a dozen bikes, but the parking lot and the adjacent field were filled with all manner of sport utility vehicles, minivans, and pickup trucks. The place was packed. It was like a mall on the day after Thanksgiving. Lots of black leather prominently featuring the HD logo was on display on the patrons, and being rung up at the counter. Obviously a successful event.
Downstairs were the two things I came for: free food and a display of old bikes. The oldest is currently under restoration- a 1911 Harley. There was also a somewhat matched pair- an Indian Powerplus and a Harley of similar vintage, both with sidecars. I munched my Swedish meatballs, and tried to decide which tub would hold more beer. I think the Harley would hold an extra case, ‘cause there is no upholstery to get in the way.
Of the old bikes on display, I liked the knucklehead the best. It would look great under my Christmas tree, but since the Harley designers of the time got all the controls backwards, it’s too dangerous for me to drive.
When it was time to leave, back to the bike and found a few old timers gathered around it. I’m getting better at starting it up, and used to it being a show for any onlookers. After a brief warm-up, I blasted off. Altogether a nice time and the people were very friendly.
The next day, I called Scott to see if he still wanted to ride. “Yes” he said, “but you’d better not tell me the temperature”. We’ll that was what I wanted to hear, so after promising the bride that I’d finish painting a room, hanging the Christmas lights, and other tasks later… I was out of there! Scott had his 101 Scout warmed up and in the driveway when I arrived. We headed out to “The Union Hotel” a bar favored by bikers, and a restaurant patronized by anyone who can find it.
The Union is on the east side of the Susquehanna river, just south of the Conowingo dam. It consists of two log cabins back in the woods. In the summer, especially on Sundays, the place is full of bikes. Today there were about a dozen people watching a football game and shooting pool. A couple of beers and a burger filled us up, and we chatted with a couple of the patrons braving the cold on their chrome steeds.
Scott likes to be home by dark. He seems to feel that this is for the best as his lighting system is off line at the moment. So we departed with the sun, and made it back home in time for supper (and chores in my case).
I learned two things this weekend:
1) Although there are fewer bikes on the road at this time of year, it seems that there are less cars, too. So it’s not quite time to put her to bed for the winter!
2) The HD on certain types of apparel stands
for High Dollar. So you’ll see me riding around, stylishly attired in my
old Carhartt suit and a couple of sweat shirts
Scout surrounded by Harleys