BMW R1200GS Motorcycle Trip Reports

Trespassing Treasure (Pennsylvania Ghost Towns)

Since this is audit season, here is an important disclosure: This Ride Story is actually a Drive Story. The trip was so interesting, however, that I’ve decided to write it up and present it here anyway. It all got started when I bought a copy of Pennsylvania Ghost Towns on the way back from my “Pennsylvania Grand Canyon” ride with Buzz last month. It pointed me toward a couple of intriguing-sounding destinations in the vicinity of Lancaster and Reading. My wife Nancy also became intrigued and decided to join me.

Lost Again in Pennsylvania

This past Sunday I set off to follow one of the routes described in Back Roads of Pennsylvania. Out of its hundreds of interesting-sounding routes, I picked one in south-central PA that looked like it would fit well with the time I had available. The route began in the tiny berg of Montsera (not terribly far from Carlisle) and wound its way to Floradale.

Low Water and Haunted Houses

Ever wonder what’s at the bottom of a lake? Yesterday, I hopped on the trusty R1200GS and headed off for the general vicinity of Hanover, PA. In the process, my route took me by a number of lakes, most of which were well below their normal levels thanks to the lack of rain for the past couple of months. I even walked across one lake, as described later. I also found an above-average number of interesting old houses, some of which are almost certainly haunted. And others of which weren’t even there the last time I passed through! They seem to have appeared as Halloween approaches. We report, you decide…

The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

It was time for another Buzz & Rick motorcycle adventure. Perusing Backroads of Pennsylvania, I read about Pine Creek Gorge–more commonly known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Since it was near the midpoint between Wooster, Ohio and Catonsville, Maryland, it became the central feature of our trip. (And, no, I’d never heard of it before, either!) With my general suggestion that we ride Route 6 in North Central PA, Buzz laid out four days worth of intriguing routes, including one for me to get there from Catonsville and another for my return.

Freshly Oiled Roads in Pennsylvania

Yes faithful readers, in Pennsylvania the local highway department occasionally decides to oil the roads–the paved ones! Fortunately, they put up signs to caution hapless motorcyclists of this practice, which is generally accompanied by a fresh coat of “chips” (i.e., fine gravel) for maintaining the roads without the bother of actually paving anything. No problem in practice, but kind of weird all the same.

“Ghost Towns of the Upper Potomac”

On the way home from my ride with Neil Peart, a few weeks ago, I stopped for lunch at the Penn Alps restaurant. Their gift shop had an interesting-looking book titled Ghost Towns of the Upper Potomac. I bought a copy, and almost immediately started planning a ride to visit the remaining towns mentioned in the book–and to search for any evidence of the towns that no longer remain.

The (Missing) Bridges of York County, Pennsylvania

This trip report covers last weekend’s ride North from Baltimore into Pennsylvania, in search of Gifford Pinchot State Park and a slew of little stream-side roads. Once more, I semi-randomly plotted out a course using MapSource, selecting any road or area that looked interesting. I haven’t added them all up, but I would guess that the route encompassed at least 100 different roads, and never more than a few miles on any one of them. That’s the trouble with a GPS: I never could have undertaken such a goofy route with just a set of written instructions.

Oh Shenondoah…

After all the drama of the Neil Peart ride story, I’m hesitant to post a normal, regular, plain ol’ ride report. But here it is, nonetheless.

Following a nearly 3-week layoff from riding, two weekends ago I decided to find roads that followed the course of the Shenondoah River as closely as possible. I pressed MapSource into use and plotted a route along anything that it said was a road. More on this subject to follow!