Motorcycle Ride to Baltimore, Maryland to celebrate the 200th year anniversary of one of my favorite African American Abolitionist Frederick Douglass made me feel proud.
Frederick Douglass was also a champion for women to vote during a time when black men were murdered for exercising their right to vote. He was one of the few men present at the pioneer woman’s rights convention held at Seneca Falls, New York in July 1948.
In 1818, Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Maryland. In 1838, he escaped slavery in Maryland only to return to Baltimore to create a prosperous African American community.
In 1890, Frederick Douglass bought his home at 524 S. Dallas Street in Baltimore, Maryland for $1,800.00. The five brick homes known as “Douglass Place” once served as rental properties for African Americans.
I was lucky to find a place to park my motorcycle in the alley directly in front of the house and take a walk in his footsteps.
There are more dealerships to sale motorcycles than schools to train individuals to become motorcycle mechanics.
Motorcycle riders purchase a motorcycle only to have a difficult time to schedule maintenance service due to higher rider to mechanic ratio especially during fair-weather rider season.
There is nothing more frustrating to a motorcycle rider than waiting days, weeks or months for a motorcycle mechanic to service their motorcycle to include waiting for parts or waiting for a warranty inspection.
In 2017, the number of motorcycles registered in the United States was around 9 million according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety http://www.iihs.org/frontend/iihs/documents/masterfiledocs.ashx?id=2145. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493052.htm, the median hourly wage for motorcycle mechanics was $17.15 and the median annual salary was $35,680. The top paying states for motorcycle mechanics were California, New Jersey, Washington, New Hampshire and Nevada. The states with the highest employment number of motorcycle mechanics were California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and New York.
It’s not too much to ask the motorcycle industry to start a motorcycle mechanic recruitment campaign starting at high schools in states with the highest number of registered motorcycles.
Motorcycle riders want qualified motorcycle mechanics to repair their motorcycle, so they can ride.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS it is worth it to INVEST IN A PINLOCK VISOR FOR YOUR HELMET TO SEE CLEARLY WHILE RIDING IN THE RAIN. It is dangerous to ride a motorcycle when your helmet shield fogs.
In 1994, Derek Arnold created the Pinlock system for motorcycle riders to see clearly. The Pinlock system uses a silicon bead sealant when the Pinlock visor is attached to the helmet visor to absorb moisture on the inside to allow clear visibility. The Pinlock inserts integrate with different helmet brand visors.
There are three different types of Pinlocks:
1. Push Pin – used with Pinlock ready helmets by inserting lens into the face shield
2. Three Component Pin – provides extra grip to a helmet that has an expanded version of the Push Pin system with integrated screws
3. Tear Off Pin – uses Pinlock insert lenses and tear-off strips for motorcycle racers. The Pinlock Tear Off Pins are only compatible with 2D visors.
There are three Pinlock levels for fog protection:
1. Pinlock 30 – universal fit for Pinlock ready helmet brands
2. Pinlock 70 – custom fit for specific helmet brands
3. Pinlock 120 – specific helmet brands for motorcycle racing or adventure riding
The more you ride your motorcycle across state lines, you will LEARN HOW TO READ THE SKY. Is the sky clear? Are the clouds white or dark ready to release rain?
PAY ATTENTION TO THE ANIMALS. I’ve witness for myself during my cross country motorcycle rides the old wives’ tale is true if COWS ARE LYING DOWN IN A PASTURE A RAINSTORM IS COMING…lol
ALWAYS PACK YOUR RAIN GEAR!!! It rains winter, spring, summer and fall.
ONLY YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING SURE YOU DRINK PLENTY OF WATER AND LIQUIDS WITH ELECTROLYTES TO HYDRATE to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion, which can lead to more serious health conditions, such as heat stroke.
Ride Safe and Ride Smart,
It’s a great feeling to visit four different states at the same time without figuring out how to clone yourself.
I rode my motorcycle on gravel with a beautiful view of seven (7) flags representing three nations Navajo, Ute and United States of America and four states Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The Navajo Nation owns these remote areas of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The Ute Nation owns the southwest corner of Colorado.
On February 2, 1848, the United States acquired the remote area currently known as the four corners from Mexico under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo for $15 million. The people living in the area had the choice to relocate within the new borders of Mexico or receive full civil rights as an American citizen. It is worth noting the land was initially owned by Native Americans before it was claimed by Spain and before Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821.
In 1912, the cement pad was built on site to officially mark the only place in the Unites States of America where four states meet at one point Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. In 1931, the cement pad was replaced with a brass disc marker. In 1962, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management poured an elevated cement pad around the 1931 brass marker. The monument was rebuilt in 1992 replacing the 1931 brass marker with a disc shaped plate. In 2010, the monument was rebuilt again with the same 1992 disc shaped plate.
The monument is located miles away from gas, food, and lodging. There are several campgrounds nearby the monument. Visitors are encouraged to bring water and hand sanitizer since there is no running water. There are booths surrounding the four corners monument to purchase jewelry, crafts and food directly from the Navajo and Ute.
You will have to wait patiently in line for your turn to stand or lay down in the middle of the four states or figure out creative ways to touch all four states with your arms and legs. Don’t forget to get a picture!
If you plan to ride your motorcycle to the Four Corners Monument, bring your kickstand pad.
As I ride my motorcycle through the streets of Gary, Indiana on July 5, 2017, I immediately notice poverty. Gary reminds me of a ghost town with vacant storefronts, boarded up buildings and houses and empty streets.
I’m excited for the opportunity to visit the childhood home of the late Michael Jackson and his siblings Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Randy, La Toya, Rebbie and Janet.
Joseph Jackson and Katherine Jackson purchased a two-bedroom home on 2300 Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana while Joseph Jackson was working at Inland Steel and Katherine working part-time at Sears in 1950. Joe and Katherine had 10 children. One of their children Brandon died after he was born. Joe and Katherine raised nine (9) children in their small two-bedroom home before the Jacksons became famous.
I pull up on my motorcycle to 2300 Jackson Street and park in front of the only nice house on the block. The black wrought iron fence surrounding a perfectly manicured lawn was locked to prevent visitors from walking up to the house. The small white house had security shutters on the windows to prevent criminals and visitors from looking inside. There are also security cameras installed on the house. The large granite memorial statute for Michael Jackson in the front yard with images from various stages of his career and some lyrics from his popular songs. On the side of the house in the driveway are donated bricks with some pictures of Michael and the names of family members. Behind the house is an alley. There are plastic flowers and handwritten graffiti expressing love and admiration for the Jackson family. Across from the alley is Roosevelt High School where some of the Jackson children attended. According to various news sources, the memorial statute for Michael was removed in October 2017 and in the possession of the family.
A childhood friend of the Jackson’s was there during my visit doing some surveillance on behalf of the family. He confirmed Joe and Katherine currently owns the home. The family is interested in doing something more Jackson family related since it is more like a Michael Jackson monument. He was taking pictures and sending them to Jermaine Jackson. The family is thinking about doing a Jackson’s family museum since Michael’s estate may not be interested in doing it right now and it’s important to honor the entire family and their efforts in music. He is a local designer that works with the Jackson family.
The Jackson’s achievements, music and legacy will live on forever.
Click play to watch the video below of visit to the Jackson family home.
The most common fatal injuries sustained by motorcycle riders are injuries to the head. The purpose of the motorcycle helmet is to help reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents. It was a pleasure hosting a motorcycle helmet clinic to educate motorcycle riders and passengers in the community.
Motorcycle riders adopted the use of helmets from the military, football, auto racing and space industries.
In 1918, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was established to oversee the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems and personnel in the United States. The first American Standard Safety Code was approved in 1921 and covered the protection of the heads and eyes of industrial workers. Many standards produced by ANSI in the 1930s promoted safety in work and home environments. ANSI based standards is essentially for auto race driving helmets adopted or endorsed for use by motorcycle riders. ANSI formerly adopted its present name after numerous reorganizations and name changes in 1969.
Motorcycle riders wore leather caps made of sheepskin or gabardine leather until T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence Arabia suffered a fatal motorcycle crash and Hugh Carins lead the development of the motorcycle crash helmet in 1935.
In 1953, Professor C.F. Red Lombard submitted the first patent for a motorcycle helmet.
Snell Memorial Foundation has independently tested manufacturer’s helmets since 1957. Once a helmet is Snell certified, the manufacturer cannot make any design changes. Any structural modification made by a motorcycle rider such as drilling holes, paint, glue, adhesive stickers or solvents not approved by the manufacturer may make the helmet ineffective and automatically invalidate existing Snell certification because it could affect the performance quality of the helmet. Snell Standards are the toughest testing and performance standards in the world. Snell examines, revises, updates and republishes many of its standards about every five years.
In 1966, the National Highway Safety Act (NHSA) required states to pass mandatory helmet laws in order to receive Federal highway funding.
In 1967, the U.S. Department of Transportation was established to help maintain and develop the nation’s transportation system and infrastructure.
In 1970, Congress amended the Vehicle Safety Act to expand the definition of motor vehicle equipment to include “any device, article or apparel…to safeguard motor vehicles, drivers, passengers, and other highway users from the risk of accident, injury or death and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was established to help reduce the number of deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motorcycle vehicle crashes on the Nation’s highways.
On January 4, 1974, the U.S. Department of Transportation declared Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 (FMVSS-218) for motorcycle helmets.
In 1975, Congress withdrew the requirements of the NHSA and many states repealed mandatory helmet laws.
On July 6, 2012, President Barack Obama signed into law a new two year transportation reauthorization bill, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which modified the definition of “motor vehicle equipment adding the term “motorcycle helmet” to the description of regulated items.
Motorcycle helmets sold in the United States must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard FMVSS 218. It is a violation of some state laws for motorcycle riders and passengers to wear unsafe novelty helmets with affix stickers perpetrating manufacturers certification labels that do not meet FMVS 218.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires motorcycle helmets manufactured after May 13, 2013 to include the phrase “FMVSS No. 128 on the certification decal with the manufacturers name or brand name and the word certified to make easy for riders and law enforcement to identify non-compliant helmets. Prior to May 13, 2013, the label requirements of FMVSS No. 218 consist of the letters “DOT” on the rear of the helmet. As of this date, there are no regulatory limits on the age of motorcycle helmets that may be used to comply with a state motorcycle helmet use law. Motorcycle riders and passengers can wear helmets with “DOT” made prior to the May 2013 label change requirements.
If you are planning a motorcycle ride crossing state lines, check the current helmet laws.
As of 2018, there is no helmet law in Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire. Alabama, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington require all motorcyclist and passengers to wear a helmet under universal helmet laws. Partial helmet laws states of Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming requires motorcycle riders to have medical insurance coverage.
Higher insurance premiums for motorcycle riders that wear helmets in states that do not require protection because helmetless motorcyclist in most cases are uninsured at the time of serious injury or fatal accident. For example, the state of Michigan requires motorcycle riders to have at least $20,000 of medical benefit coverage on their motorcycle insurance if they plan to ride without a helmet which would likely raise insurance cost. If a motorcycle rider is uninsured or under insured, their treatment cost is often funded by state public health programs.
A high number of motorcycle crash fatalities has shown motorcyclist wearing sub-standard motorcycle helmets not intended for highway use providing little or no head protection resulting in high cost to tax payers.
When shopping for a motorcycle helmet check for the following labels to certify the helmet meets or exceeds FMVSS 218.
• DOT prior to May 13, 2013
• FMVSS No. 128 after May 13, 2013
• Snell inside the helmet.
• American National Standards Institute (ANSI) inside the helmet
• Manufacturers name on or inside the helmet stating model, size, month and year of manufacture, construction materials and owners information.
Make sure your helmet is a good snug fit and it can stay on your head after fasting the chin strap when you shake your head from side to side and up and down.
If your helmet takes a hit or drop on the ground, it should be replaced immediately because the expanded polystyrene (EPS) inside the helmet absorbs the energy of an impact spreading the forces throughout the helmet material, which is used to protect your head and brain. Although the helmet may appear normal, the inner EPS foam may have lost absorbing capability and may provide little or no protection during a motorcycle accident. You may consider contacting the manufacturer to request having your motorcycle helmet x-rayed by a professional to confirm if the inner layers of the helmet are still in good condition.
I enjoy riding motorcycles cross country and I prefer to patronize motorcycle dealerships that enjoy interacting with people to produce a positive and safe outcome on the open road. I asked Indian Motorcycle owners in a Facebook group “What dealership in your area provides outstanding customer service?”
Below is the list of dealerships recognized for outstanding customer service by Indian Motorcycle owners:
I’m excited to see California State Route 79 after exiting Interstate 8 because it is the gateway to the historic mountain town Julian, formerly attracting people from all over the country searching for gold during the short-lived Gold Rush era 1869-1870.
Today, most people visit Julian for Apple pie! Mom’s Pie House is a popular choice to stop for an apple pie. Abby the Bear is standing next to the welcome sign waiting for the opportunity to take a selfie to post on Instagram using hashtag #abbythebearjulian.
There are so many flavor pies made from scratch to choose from and a small ice cream selection as a topping. I chose the traditional apple pie with vanilla ice cream. APPLE PIE A LA MODE YUMMY!!!!
Apples were introduced to Julian in the 1870s. Apples in Julian are in short supply due to the drought. A lot of orchards are closed for visitors to pick apples in late August during the ripening season. Some of the pie makers in Julian have their own orchards, which are not open to the public. The tourist market pressure for Julian Apple Pies requires pie makers to purchase applies from orchards within and outside California.
Miner’s Diner is another popular spot known for the display of old toys, candy and soda bottles or to grab a burger and old fashioned milkshake.
Julian is a great place to visit for individuals that enjoy history, nature and outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, horseback riding. Perhaps a visit to a few places not too far off the beaten path such as the Oasis Camel Dairy to purchase camel milk soap or a visit to the California Wolf Center to increase awareness of this endangered species or spend the night to stargaze and make a wish on a shooting star.
As I ride my motorcycle on California State Routes 79 and 78, I can’t help but notice dry land and CAL FIRE signage warning of fire danger. Residents of Julian are currently divided about preserving the last historic volunteer fire department in San Diego County. San Diego County cut funding and pulled a paramedic and fire engine after the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District voted to stay independent. Fire prevention and safety is the responsibility of residents and visitors to preserve the history and culture of Julian during this divisive era.
If you decide to visit Julian, stop by the Chamber of Commerce inside Julian Town Hall for information on apple orchards, historic sites, dining, hiking, camping, wineries, breweries, activities and events.
The Tail of the Dragon was on my Biker Bucket List since 2005. On Monday, June 27, 2016, I finally build up the courage to slay the Dragon’s 318 curves in 11 miles on the 2016 Indian Roadmaster Motorcycle.
I had a difficult time falling asleep the night before. I spent most of my time reading news articles on the internet and watching videos trying to prepare myself mentally because I do not like riding through the mountains on roads with twists and turns and the spontaneous reaction of my heart to switchback and hairpin turns and yellow warning signs changing speed limits and pictures of wild animals.
I wake up early ready to conquer my fear of the unknown and to ignore the rumors and myths about the Tail of the Dragon. I stop by the Tree of Shame refusing to leave any motorcycle parts behind with my signature claiming no gain with lots of pain.
I pick up a Dragon Tail Sword to strike before I get on the bike.
The starting point of the Tail of the Dragon is at the Deal Gap Motorcycle Resort in Robbinsville, North Carolina and ends in Tennessee on U.S. Route 129.
I’m so glad I had my sister Porsche Taylor with me to provide positive words of encouragement to accomplish this intimidating goal since she knows I’m not a fan of twisty roads with blind spots.
If the Tail of the Dragon is on your biker bucket list, ride your ride and keep your eyes focused on the road.