Monday, February 21, 2011

Strasburg by Twisted Roads

Prologue:

According to an ancient Chinese proverb (which may have been spawned on the city desk of a US newspaper in the 1920’s), “One picture is worth a thousand words.” This is one of those enduring bromides that just seems to drip wisdom and sense. The truth of the statement regarding the photograph depends on the subject of the picture, and who took it. A bad picture can be rescued by snappy text. But bad text can never be revived by a bad photo. And a good photo just makes bad text look even worse. That is why nervous writers like myself brush our teeth with gin in the morning as part of the creative editorial process that paints a series of pictures in the minds of dedicated readers.

I like to think I write the kind of stories that seduce the reader from paragraph to paragraph. But there are times when I am inclined to let the gentle reader relax between transitions by looking at a picture that is unique, odd, sexy, or just interesting. This is tough to do as all my photographs look like shit. My pictures suck so badly that they would stick to the surface of a waterfall... A really big waterfall... Like Niagara Falls. Many other motorcycle blog writers take great pictures. It is something they like to do. I am inspired by pain and aggravationto take shitty pictures. On most of my motorcycle rides, I arrive at our destination having chewed through the strap in my helmet, dripping sweat that kills the grass by the side of the road.

Above: The YouTube video at the end of this blog was taken using this tiny Apple iPod Nano. It has limitations, but it was a snap to edit on iMovie, barely taking longer than an hour. This is the screen-side. Photo by the author.

Competition from other riders for reader attention got hot for a bit with the advent of moto-video. Yet moto-video is very different from carefully composed still shots. It is generally taken from cameras mounted on a helmet or the handlebars, and which simply records mile after mile of a run. Now unless a rider is skirting the rim of the Grand Canyon, riding the Road of Death in Bolivia, or racing through the back alleys of the whore district (Reeperbahn) in Hamburg, Germany, there isn’t a lot to see. When it comes to straightaways, sweepers, and country roads, we all have a story tell — and that little video camera seldom gets the job done.

Above: The camera side of the Apple iPod Nano. US Quarter Dollar coin (now worth 6 cents) provided for scale. Photo by the author.

I have no interest in buying one of the current handlebar-mounted cameras. Then fate brought me to an Apple computer store one day last summer, and I got to play with an iPod Nano, which as the approximate size of a short stack of business cards (a stack of about 10). It was $175, held 400 songs, eight hours of prerecorded video (movies), and a few hours of movies you could take with the onboard camera. It had no options for zoom or anything else. According to the salesperson, a hot little cookie named Chrissy, this tiny device could take remarkable movies that would almost download themselves onto my MacBook, and through iMovie, would allow me to stabilize the video, adjust the lighting, dub in sound, and play with some surprising special effects. She then showed me sample video taken by the iPod Nano. It was astounding. (It was also taken by a team of experts, under ideal lighting conditions, and edited by a Hollywood studio.)

The $175 flew from my pocket.

I had an idea for a radical concept: Twisted Roads TV. This would be a monthly video program that would go far beyond the standard moto-video. It would be a chronicle of select destinations, with pertinent interviews (of some surprising figures in motorcycle circles), with related footage. In my initial concept, I thought to use one or two of these iPod Nanos to simplify the editing, to reduce costs, and get double the usage out of the camera/devices. I also intended to combined the video with a decent story lead-in. Today’s blog episode is my first initial experiment in this direction. The video is primitive... Shakey in places... And the limitations of the iPod Nanos (no longer offered by Apple in this configuration) became obvious in the shooting and in the editing. (The iPod Nano cannot be used by the rider on the road.) Yet from little acorns, mighty oaks might grow. (Another stupid bromide.)


Strasburg — By Twisted Roads

It was the kind of clear, summer day on which you were absolutely compelled to ride... But the conspiracy of heat and humidity would see to it that you wouldn’t ride far. A ride would seem cooling as long as you were moving, and unaware of the moisture being sucked from your body through your mesh gear. You have to stop sooner or later, and unless you are by a place where the lake is remote, the beer is cold, and the women undiscerning, then you will be compelled to retrace your steps, probably in worse heat regenerated by stalled traffic. Pennsylvania is one of those states that gives the impression that a good time for many is sticking their thumbs up their own ass, while tap dancing. It has no seashore. The mountains that are close are table-sized and crowded. The mountains that are far are home to more bear than deer, and your chances of running into a deer are much higher than finding a joint with great topless dancers.

Yet those of us who live in the southeast corner of the state are blessed with options. World-class beaches are only three or four hours away in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Better still are the tiny, dead-end roads that lead to shore communities famous for their three-stool bars and great seafood. And if one is determined to find a relative coolness under the trees, or the solace of open farmland drenched with tradition, the Amish fields of Lancaster are 40 minutes to the west. It was there I pointed the business end of my K75. My destination would be a familiar one — The Strasburg Rail Road — on Rt. 741, in Strasburg, Pa. It would be cool here in the sense that it is home to some of the greatest technical transportation marvels of the late 19th Century. Yet it is an atmosphere of sulfurous coal smoke, clouds of steam, and trickling streams of boiling water — located in the heart of Amish cornfields, that follow the contours on interconnecting valleys.

Above: The unique and picturesque switch tower overlooking the siding at the Strasburg Rail Road, in Strasburg, Pa. This photo, which does not suck, was taken by Leslie Marsh.

I had some company on this run. My riding partner Dick Bregstein was joined by a posse of John Clauss, Bobby LeBoutlier, and Jay Scales. (Clyde Jacobs would turn up later at our destination.) These guys are all better riders than I am, but each thought the idea of fooling around with making a video in and around these ancient, bellowing trains would be a pisser. Bregstein, LeBoutlier, and Scales are of the BMW “R” bike persuasion. Their machines each sport twin horizontal cylinders, whose basic design would predate by a year one of the locomotives we’d see today. The aroma of burning coal is like the scent of quim to these guys, who work the throttle with one hand and stoke the boiler of their bikes with the other.

Above: Two massive locomotves awaiting restoration at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, across the street from the Strasburg Rail Road. Photo by Leslie Marsh.

John Clauss rides a vintage BMW K100, which is a K75 with an extra cylinder. Clauss’s bike sports the OEM full fairing, which was the predecessor for the stock K75’s sense of homeliness. If Clauss’s bike were elected prom queen, the other kids in the class would dump pig’s blood on it. (Clauss knows this but refuses to throw in the towel.) On the other hand, Clyde Jacob’s 2004 BMW K1200GT is one of the most beautiful and impressive motorcycles ever to roll out of Bavaria. I will own one some day.

The ride to Strasburg was uneventful, and fast. It was the expressway (the US-30 bypass) most of the way. But this stretch of mini-slab is surrounded by cornfields, cattle, and barns with silos. Picking up Rt. 741 in the town of Gap, we were compelled to share the road with Amish buggies, tow-headed kids chasing hoops with sticks, and the occasional plow — crossing the road drawn by four of the biggest draft horses, or mules, you have ever seen.

————————

I had a interesting experience on this road the week before. An Amish family was selling pulled pork, barbecued chicken, and potato salad by the side of the road (on trestle tables that had been carried in open wagons). I am partial to the local non-carbonated, home-brewed root beer peddled by these folks, and saw bottles of it on ice. I downshifted my K75 and managed a tight 380-foot U-turn over to their stand. Pulling right up the table, it was my intention to get a sandwich and a bottle of root beer without getting off the bike.

Then I saw her.

Amish women have the reputation of either being boney-assed, or for being no-fun Pennsylvania Dutch noodle-eating versions of American Gothic. The person standing in front of me was unquestionably one of the most beautiful ladies I have seen in my entire life. She was tall, willowy, tanned, and her body was accented by the stark lines of her dress and apron. I couldn’t see her hair for her starched bonnet, and she was wearing heavy-framed glasses. I had a suspicion that whatever she put on would only make her look better as it came off. And for the second time in my life, I lost my ability to speak with a woman.

“Can I get you something?” she asked with a smile.

I simply nodded and looked down at the trestle table.

“Can I make you a pulled pork sandwich? All of the ingredients are fresh from our farm.”

Watching her lips frame the words “pulled pork” nearly caused me to lose consciousness.

“Yes, pull thar pork like taffy,” I thought, though I simply nodded.

“It comes with potato salad.”

“I'm not surprised,” I replied, unable to take my eyes off her face.

“Can you carry a plate of potato salad while riding your bike?” she asked, tilting her head slightly.

It was then I realized how stupid I was about to look juggling a sandwich, a plate of potato salad, and a bottle of home-brewed root beer on the gas tank of my K75.

“I’ll park it and come back,” I said. I rolled it back to the road under power, slipping the clutch. It didn’t take me 3 minutes to get the stand down and waddle back.

“That’ll be $4.75,” said a man’s voice.

The woman was packing up stuff in the wagon. She was bent over a basket lined with a plaid cloth, but I swear she was smiling, and trying hard not to laugh.

This guy was smooth-shaven, as lean as a rail, and as blond as elm wood. I’m told that the Amish are pacifists and "Dutch." But he looked like he’d be perfectly comfortable in a Waffen SS uniform, and equally at home with the idea of kicking me in the balls. I suspected I was not the first guy on a bike to pull up for pulled pork.

————————

The boys and I pulled into Strasburg Station without fanfare. We were early and the first train of the day had not yet been assembled. Nearly everyone has seen a traditional steam locomotive. Whether it is in the book, “The Little Locomotive That Could,” or an old black and white western on TV, or Frank Sinatra in “Von Ryan’s Express,” everyone has an idea of what one of these things should look like. Yet at least one of the guys in our posse had never been here before, and the look on his face was priceless when #90 rolled out of the maintenance shed. The tolling brass bell, the hissing of the valves, and the metallic shuffle of the drive rods is captivating (to a guy), who realizes that this machine, weighing 175 tons, can pull 40-50 freight cars at speeds over 50 miles per hour. It’s one thing to see something like this in a movie or in a documentary. It’s quite another to be standing 8 feet away when this rolling steel mill taps into a line of standing passenger cars. (At one time the Pennsylvania Rail Road owned 598 of this particular model.) This locomotive is a Decapod, one of two operating in the world today.

The Strasburg Rail Road is one of my favorite short (40-mile) warm up runs. But I think I’ll let my video tell the rest of the story.


©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011.

50 comments:

Charlie6 said...

Jack,

A very nice video, you should see if the RR will pay you for trying to push business their way.

May I recommend, for future video tours, using the camera angles near the end of this video. Perhaps more of an upward point angle by the camera as opposed to seemingly looking down from above.

Good also to hear the voices of your fellow riders, and not a single note of derision from any one of them...must be true friends.

dom

Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
This was nice; good footage of the locomotive, but as I recall there were several real hot-looking women at the train station that day. I'll bet you could have increased readership with some pix of them instead of your decrepit, mumbling riding buddies. By the way, what happened to the video you shot while practicing your 90 degree lean in the VIP room at the strip club? Did you ever get your dollar back?

Steve Williams said...

Talk about pulling aside the curtain.

I watched the entire video in rapt excitement over the Decapod, the sound of steam, and the clanking of the bell and remembering the trains running along near Pittsburgh.

As I was watching I became aware that there were a lot of old guys on the screen. And Mr. Riepe (wow, what an accent) did not once trot out the battered baby seal look.

Still, a fine video. I want to ride that train. And you removed me of the half dozen or so videos I have started but never finished.

Jack--you done good. I look forward to more.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Cantwell said...

Jack,

I have nothing but nice things to say about this post...

Great post!

There.

Cheers,
Michael

BeemerGirl said...

Great video! You narrate your video in the same tone as I read your regular writings. Hilarious!!

Looks like a great day and a great way to see the PA countryside. I always enjoyed the coal locomotive in Utah and the Cog Railway in New Hampshire. I think No. 90 needs to be on my list.

Great video and looking forward to more TR Reality TV!

-Lori/Steel Cupcake

Jonesy said...

Jack, I continue to learn from you! Kudos!!

RichardM said...

Enjoyed the video. As with most videos, the audio is a challenge. You could either use a camera with a separate audio input or record the audio on another device and combine them in post.

I love the sound of steam engines. In 1976, an engine with a few dozen or so cars travelled around the country to celebrate the bicentennial and it sounded wonderful when running at full speed.

As Steve mentioned, I was surprised by the accent and the tone of your narration really does sound like your blog posts. I look forward to future videos!

Richard

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Very little forethought went into this production, and that will not be the case in the future. The capabilities of these now discontinued iPod Nanos are amazing, but their limitations require too much advance planning to really get the best results. Better equipment is required... And I would probably meet with the folks at Apple to determine which was the most compatible stuff to use.

Finally, I am not as fat now as I was in those pictures, but there was a number of ways to improve my own appearance. This was a day in mid-July and the temperature was in the mid-90's.

The purpose of the exercise was to experiment with doing moto-videos that focused more on the destination, than on the ride. You, Chris Luhman, Beemer Girl, and Bobskoot have made some interesting moto-videos. But in many cases, you guys were off the beaten track, on the verge of death, or setting some kind of a record. I am compelled to focus on other things.

And I am inclined to play with this.

Thanks for your input... It was very valuable, as usual. And diplomatic too.

Fondest regards,
Jackl • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

There were three segments taken of women walking around, unsuspectingly modeling their crash frames. The guys taking the shots didn't realize that their personal dialogues and reflections on the crash frames were also recorded. Then there was the question of publicly displaying young mothers, walking around in skimpy tee shirts, to the masses. For the first time in my life, I took the high road.

I had to eliminate all of the stuff from camera 2 as there was no way to download it without destroying Bobby's music collection.

We'll get better sat this next time.

It's time to start thinking about our next run to Strasburg.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

Please read the comments I posted to Charlie6 to get the lowdown on this. What is missing from this video are the guys riding the train, the train cutting through cornfields, Amish buggies waiting at the railroad crossings, and kids riding the miniature steam train loop. They were all of the camera I couldn't access.

I have said 10,000 times (and with great pride) that I am from Jersey City. The famous Jersey City accent sounds like Leo Gorcey (Dead End Kids and the Bowery Boys) except with gusto. If you would like to hear me in a professional capacity, I was interviewed on NPR's all things considered last spring. That interview can be heard at:
http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=125866582&m=125867274

I consider the video a success if it made you want to ride the train. I suggest you do it on a nice weekend late this spring. Take the scooter and I'll meet you in Strasburg. We can either stay in a motel in Lancaster, or at the house, and also tour the salt marshes of Delaware. Your Vespa will get a workout.

That train ride is a pisser.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Cantwell:

You will be shocked to learn I have a three minute clip of you gping over your bike, and running it up, before depating for home on yoir last visit down here. You'll see it incorporated on Twisted Roads sooner or later.

Please call me as soon as you read this. Things are afot for the summer.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Beemer Girl/Lori/Steel Cupcake:

Thank you for your kind note of encouragement. Please look at the comments I wrote out for Charlie6 and Steve Williams for the most complete background on this strange video. Video is a challenge for fatties in transition. I look like ten pounds of shit in a two-pound bag, but that can't be helped for the moment. On the other hand, I do sound like a chapter out of a Sam Spade novel, as part of my birthright. That does tend to amaze people.

I have ridden the cog railway on Mount Washington. It beats this one hands down for drama — on a rare clear day. Yet the cog railway was never built for freight, and the Strasburg Railroad is pure history. It is a hard day's ride on the slabs north of Front Royal, but on the way to Bloomsburg. I may be riding an Amish loop for Twisted Roads readers during Rally week. This would be part of it.

Thanks for readng my tripe and for getting a laugh out of the video.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jonesy:

You're the only person on earth I'd know who would admit to that.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M:

There were a lot of limitations to using the equipment we had. I have a few ideas for the future, but again, my efforts for video are based on the initial cable production of Wayne's World, Party Time, Excellent.

I just love treans. There are at least three steam operations with two hours- ride north, south, and west of here. And while I would love to drive one of these things, the hellish work conditions in July would kill me.

I am delighted that my Jersey City accent is bringing so much joy into the world. Thanks for reading my tripe and watching the video.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

olimpiu said...

I'm a cameraman employed by a Romanian TV station for more than 10 years. Great story, but the video is not so steady as I wish. The angles are not very different, and the sound needs some help.

iPod Nano doesn't seem to have a steadyshot built in. Maybe the Kodak Zi8, or Panasonic HM-TA1H was a better option. However, your cameraman should try to get closer with the camera to get a better sound ad improve his video by making it steadier. Finding some spots to rest his hand and keep the camera still, sometimes is not easy, I know!

Good Luck!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Olimpiu:

My camera people were drunk, and could not be trusted to keep a hand on their own ass, let alone anything steady. Plus, they are vindictive people and tried to make me look fat and shapeless. They also altered the sound to make me come across as speaking through a hollow tube.

And do you know why they do this? Because I ride a flawless K75. The world is filled with small people... But I am not one of them.

Thank you for your suggestions. And thank you for reading Twisted Roads.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Reipe:

Are you aware that you look as if you have two asses, with one in front, in most of these video interviews?

Sincerely,
Karl Heimer
A Real BMW Rider
Spandau Prison

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack • reep • Toad:

The next time you make a video, why not expand your credibility by using puppets? You could pull a sock over one hand (to be Dick Bregstein) and use a pillowcase over the other to be you.

Did I win a prize or a box of cookies or something?

Sincerely,
Go Fuck Yourself
Hutton Street, Jersey City

Bloom said...

Dearest Jack, Always a pleasure to see you... even if it is merely a video image. I thoroughly enjoyed the blog and the Twisted Roads Tv. You never fail to impress us with your imagery.
Butt, I must ask, who were you referring to when you said "Nothing prepares you for the thrill of having this massive behemoth roll by"?

xoxox PattyCakes

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Patty:

Oh, are you asking for it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Conchscooter said...

Nice job of imitating my accent. I was quite surprised (and flattered). Borrow it any time preferably without attribution.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jack,

Happy memories of the first class carriage. Too bad it wasn't with you, but you're right no better way to see the countryside than flat on your back getting a first class ride. Give my love to Dick's (bregstein).
kisses
Foxy Destiny.

Steve Williams said...

Mr. Riepe: I listened to your NPR interview and I have to say your voice presented in it's official capacity has confused me even further. It's like finding out Superman is really Clark Kent... or something.

The Strasburg Railroad sounds like fun as well as the salt marshes in Delaware.

I'll have to weigh my railroad options -- 130 miles to Strasburg, or 60 miles to Orbisonia and the East Broad Top Railroad.

So many places to ride.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks
Follow me on TWITTER

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

Most people sare amazed to discover that I actually was a viable presence in the business travel sector for 35 years. I got dozens of calls from folks who read Twisted Roads the day that NPR interview was broadcast. They wanted to know if I had a "serious" or "normal" brother.

Swing yourself onto the saddle of that Vespa, head over to US-30 (The Lincoln Highway), and ride to Strasburg. We can spend the night at the "Caboose Motel," where every room is a converted railroad caboose. (The place looks like a real shithouse.) Then we can do the salt marshes.

I can introduce you to some of the posse, and you can then blog about the "burden of riding with well-intentioned kooks." We could even do a joint blog, (your version versus mine), which should cause your credibility to evaporate on the spot.
Look what meeting me has done for Michael Beattie at Key West Diary. (He is now the most hated man in Florida.)

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

bobskoot said...

Jackie:

that was a very impressive video for content. You must know a lot about trains & their history. Sorry for chiming in late, I noticed this post yesterday, but I wrenched my back and when I got home I didn't bother to turn on my laptop, and at work I had to wait until lunch to view your masterpiece.

You amaze me. Just a few months ago you didn't know a thing about video editing, and now you are a producer.

I really liked those locomotive chugging sounds. I'm surprised you had enough AIR in you

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Chris Luhman said...

A good first video Jack. As others, I was surprised by the accent. It's funny after reading someone's work for so long, you get their "voice" in your head. Then you hear them in real life, and they don't match. Funny.

Remote mic is your friend as is a steadycam of some sort. Small cameras are notoriously hard to hold steady.

Looking forward to the next vid.

-Chris @ everydayriding.org - year round riding in Minnesota

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

You and the other photographers possess a level of skill and and expertise with which I cannot to match. That's why I experimented with the iPod Nano. Everything on the video came in a net package, called iMovie, and it was a highly intuitive editing process. The editing process, which is really crude in my hands, didn't take more than a couple of hours (and it looks it).

Granted, this is an idiot's level video that was as much of an experiment as anything else, but it is opening the door for potential. I love trains and I have been to the Strasburg rail museum about 200 times in the past 5 years.

I would like to make some interesting videos when the occasion warranted it, but I doubt that will be anytime soon.

How did you manage to wrench your back? Picking something up? Bending an odd way? It doesn't take much to put your back out... But it can really hurt like hell for a week or two.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chris:

Like I said to Bobskoot (and others) this is not my forte. I didn't have a plan nor a real objective other than to have a little fun. This video has more flaws in it than my therapy group. But I do think I could put together something that was more destination oriented in the future... Now if the snow would only melt so I could hit a destination or two. (Not a problem for you.)

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

PS to Chris Luhman:

I once briefly dated a woman from Boston. She said we were through and I ask why. Her response was that my accent clashed with her outfits.

JR/TW

Chris Luhman said...

LOL! It was a good first video. You'll improve with practice.

Yes, the snow needs to melt, and soon.

PS: great break-up line btw.

bluekat said...

Love the train! Must be awesome to see and hear it in real life. My father in law would be in seventh heaven to be there, and go for a ride. I agree with another poster...nice to hear your voice. Nice video!

I think I could give you a run for your money in the u-turn department. :)

Orin said...

Well done, Jack! An excellent first effort. This being the first time I've ever heard your voice, for some reason I was expecting you to sound different. But then, when I worked in radio, every listener I ever met in person said something to the effect of, "you don't look the way I pictured you."

You don't need an Apple-branded video camera to use iMovie; just about anything on the market at the moment will work. You might want to hit a big-box electronics store like Best Buy (whose salespeople are NOT on commission). Just about all dedicated video cameras have anti-shake capabilities, so your videos turn out steady as a rock, no matter how inebriated the videographer might be.

I look forward to more Twisted Roads video.

__Orin
Scootin' Old Skool

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Orin:

I'm delighted you liked my little performance... But I am told I sound exactly like I look, which seems to be the personification of an animated bag of laundry.

I did try one other camera. I used a Nikon CoolPix (about 4 years old), which will give me 90 minutes of video. However, while the video files jumped to iPhoto, and then downloaded into iMovie (where they appear in the library), they do not not play back when cued.

I have a special talent with computerized stuff, which I why I use Apple equipment. That talent is that I can press one or two buttons, before shouting, "This fucking piece of cocksucking bullshit is pure ass-wipe and I fucking hate it." You see, the machine has to do all of the work. I can be trusted to hit "Click/Install." That's it.

Bobskoot told me of the fucking purgatory he goes through to edit video stuff. As bad as this video of mine is, I never read one line of instruction. I was able to dub over stuff, micro edit scenes, add sound effects, and play with simple effects. It took 90 minutes to wade through hours of clips, and come up with my little cartoon. I could be dangerous if I read the book on this. And there is a book. It has 400+ fucking pages. I may read it before I die... But don't bet on it.

I m going to do more of this, but it is going to be a lot better.

Thanks for taking the time to watch the show and to write a review.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear BlueKat:

I am delighted you liked the little show. The encouraging comments made by others have inspired me to try this again, under different circumstances.... Maybe with a real plot, characters, and a punchline — as well as something to see.

This railroad operarion is only one train aspect of Strasburg. The Pennsylvania Railroad Museum is across the street, with more tham 100 locomotives under one airconditioned roof. Fifteen hundred yards to the north is a model train layout on display, that is half the size of a football field. And a mile away is the National Toy Train Museum.

This place is heaven for train buffs.

I once did a U-turn that is still the subject of conversation in my riding club. You could have moored a dirigible inside that turn.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chris (Luhman):

My next video will be even less to the point. LOL!

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

bobskoot said...

Jackie:

You are not going to believe this but . . . on boxing day we purchased a flat screen TV. We decided to get the cutting edge new technology instead of the plasma and back lit florescent LCD's. We went for an LED at triple the price, motion flow 120Hertz bla, bla. Anyway, this Flat screen has been sitting in the hallway since Dec 26th when we brought it home in our WRX. Now nearly 2 months later it was still in the sealed, unopened box. I decided to take the first step and try and lift my 400 lb CRT big screen all by myself when I twisted the wrong direction and heard a snap . . . then I was stuck and could not lower it to the floor. I called for immediate help for some chairs to prop it on, so now it sits in the middle of the living room propped onto two chairs. We have another flat screen in the kitchen so now we don't use the living room anymore until we get some help to get it out of the house.

After this episode I realize that I am not as young as I thought I was, and certainly not invincible so I am not touching this TV anymore and will wait for my son-in-law and his crew to remove it for me, hopefully within the next couple of weeks. The Sony LED replacement can be lifted with two fingers on each side.

I hope to be back to normal by the weekend, but no riding as temps are going to record lows tomorrow, and too much ice/frost, and perhaps a skiff of snow.

We still have to get rid of our 2,000 lb piano and throw out a couple of chairs and get a new TV stand before we can really set up this TV properly. It could be wall mounted but I am not sure I want to look UP at it

One thing that bugs me about the GoPro HD sports camera is lack of remote control. I have been looking at these.

http://driftinnovation.com/

they come with remote control, and LCD screen for viewing your videos.

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack -

That was great! As you know it needs a little work but still a great first effort! I could not have done it as well and probably would not have even tried. Do it again. What is your next episode going to be. Lil Dickie getting rear ended? I can hardly wait.

Sincerely,
Clyde Jacobs

Anonymous said...

Jack,

Very well done, considering who you had to work with.

Big Jim

Anonymous said...

Jack,

I'm what insomniacs call a light sleeper, consequently I spend a great deal of my night surfing around the net looking for entertainment or knowledge. So you can imagine how delighted I was to stumble upon your Blog.

Brilliant! I've read through back to June 2010 and I'll have to start rationing soon I won't finish them too soon. Not only I'm I an avid motorcycle guy but my present ride is and will be as long as I can find parts, a 1990 BMW K75S. By far the best bike I have ever owned. Also, I too can spot a sweet young thing at a thousand paces so don't be thinking you are the only one with that gift.

I live just north of Toronto so maybe I'll get the chance to say hi to you at one of the BMW meets in Penn. some day.

Keep it up sir,
Chris

John said...

Jack,

You continue to get my bike wrong. It is not a vintage K100, it is instead the mighty vintage K1100RS. That is 100cc more than the K100 and 350 cc more than your bike. I well known BMW guru has been heard saying "That is one of the best bikes BMW has ever made." My bike is however the same color as yours, the best color for a motorcycle, Mystic Red. This is so when the blood gets dumped on it during the prom it blends in and people hardly notice.

Yours truly, one of the cameramen, John Clauss

P.S. I WAS NOT DRUNK! (just a little woozy from the heat)

sgsidekick said...

Man, you sound....OFFICIAL, in that NPR interview! But I've actually met you, so I know the truth! Liked the written piece, loved the video. I subscribed, just in case you DO make more. Take care!

motonomad said...

Jack,

Loved the video, but can't help wondering why Bregstein insisted on fondling himself throughout his interview segment.

MotoNomad

Stacy said...

Jack,

You've succinctly summarized my exact feelings toward the majority of "handlebar POV" moto-videos: unless the ride is somewhere spectacular, the video is just like any other vacation video or slideshow: boring to everyone other than the person who shot it.

As a result, I'm really looking forward to Twisted Roads TV because I know you'll show us some interesting stuff.

red said...

Great writing!

I used to do a lot of service calls in Amish country here in Indiana. I saw lots of beautiful Amish women. =]

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Red:

Thank you for your kind note. I am delighted that you liked the piece and could relate to the circumstances. I took a look at your blog and liked the all moto content. I will be adding it to my "Destinations" list.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Stacy:

Sometimes a stretch of moto-video provides a great view of incredible scenery... And sometimes it is just a lot of passing pavement. I'd rather see a destination, the points of interests, and something about the folks on the run. While this little experiment of mine was very primitive, the response was good enough so that am going to explore it further.

Thank you for reading my blog, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

CraigInSTL said...

Jack - loved it! Can't wait to see more. Will be out there to ride with you this summer - if your club allows a HOG member to ride along - as a very good friend is relocating to that area. Please keep doing videos. And using a few seconds of footage of the ride itself isn't a bad idea.

Nikos said...

Jack
Excellent video +++++++
No 90 is one big ball of meat - makes my beloved dwarf Double Fairlie look like a fairy in comparison.

Kind regards from the Ffestiniog Railway west of Stoke upher Trent, N

Classic Velocity said...

Dear Jack,

I go ride for a week and it seems like you jump into hypermode with posts. I am a bit behind, but I learned of yet another great short trip that I have not yet taken. I also enjoyed the video. Are there more episodes ?


ps: I toolk the video of my Dragon run with my phone after my camera quit, so equipment is not the key, its the content. Cheers

Jerry "Bull" Quinn said...

Jack, Jerry Quinn here. You knew me and my sister from a Catholic grade school in Jersey City. My sister was in your class and I was in your sister's class.

The point of my writing is to suggest a great ride. I have done it on my 2009 Harley Heritage softail.
We now live in Tennessee. We're about Thirty-miles outside of Nashville.
Have you ever heard of the "Cherohala Skyway" and "The Tail of the Dragon" at Deals Gap North Carolina? The Tail Of The Dragon has 318-curves in 11-miles. Checkout the links!
http://www.cherohala.com/
http://www.dealsgap.com/
http://youtu.be/vFjcMHXzE84
regards,
Jerry Quinn.