Monday, 12 July 2010

Two Brits and Two Questions....

I stayed in a B&B last night not far from Newburgh where OCC are located. Almost as soon as I turned north on the Taconic State Parkway, there was another bike behind me and as the guy went passed me, he pointed to something on his leather vest – a Union Jack flag! We pulled over to discover that we were both British, riding the same road at the same time. He had recognised the number plate (licence plate) on my bike as being from the UK. We couldn’t talk there as it was a busy stretch of road, so we rode 60 miles together and pulled off for a coffee.

Let me introduce Ian Tyrrell to you.....









































He was born in Nottingham in the UK and moved to the US about 12 years ago and has stayed ever since. Ian now lives in Baltimore and was riding to Williamstown after having left at 0530 in the morning. Ian was riding a Vulcan as is VP of the Maryland Vulcan Riders (www.mdvulcanriders.org).

We sat and chatted for a while before moving on and going our separate ways. It was good to meet you Ian.

I have a question for you. I have seen stars fixed to the outside of houses and garages like the one in the photo below. It has been bugging me all day, trying to work out what they are for, or what they represent. Can anybody answer this?..........





















As I rode on I reached a place called North Adams in Massachusetts and just south of this is Mt Greylock, so I rode to its summit, which is at 3,491 feet is the highest mountain in Massachusetts and the highest I have been so far on my tour. At the top is a monument to the war dead from the people of Massachusetts and I suppose it is quite fitting that this memorial should stand on the highest piece of land in the state.


























The keystone above the entrance door is a very striking eagle....





















Inside the monument is a large inscription that reads “Those Immortal Dead Who Live Again In Minds Made Better By Their Presence”. I like the way that America honours its war dead, probably more than any other country I have visited.



This is the view from the top of Mt Greylock looking towards North Adams.





















Next I went to Florida. Not the one in the southwest, but Florida in Massachusetts. There is a railway line here that dates back to 1877 and I wanted to check it out where it passes into a tunnel. I easily found the tunnel entrance and noticed a sort of mist near its entrance. I quickly grabbed my camera and got a shot of it – it was both cool and a little bit spookyat the same time. Maybe ghosts from workers who may have died building the railway hang about here.... you might be able to see the mist better if you enlarge the picture by double-clicking on it.....




























Nearby sat a pile of dead railway sleepers....





















I rode back up the hill to Whitcomb Summit, where there is a motel which is where I am staying tonight and where I type this from. It isn’t a great motel, but the view is spectacular.....





















There is a statue of an Elk nearby so I took a walk to photograph it.....





















Now to the second question I want your help with. Many of you will know my bike was recently painted with portraits of mainly 40’s and 50’s black and white movie actresses (see this link for pictures). My bike has never had a name, so I think it is now time it had one. I have been thinking about what to call it and I have something in mind, but before I commit to this, I want to give you, my readers, the chance to think of a name. Who knows, I might use a name that you suggest! Let me have any ideas you might have....

15 comments:

Arizona Harley Dude said...

I believe that blue star represents the Dallas Cowboys football team. Some love them enough to disgrace their whole neighborhood with that thing I guess. Personally I don't like the Cowboys...could you tell?

FLHX_Dave said...

Awesome so far. I have been following your trip here, just have not put my two cents in. I loved the ride through Cape Cod...I need the GoPro...I need it!

Awesome picts Gary. Awesome adventure!

Now for names...pfffttt...I dunno. That's a personal deal there, but I'll put in a couple.

"Flicka" (you have chicks in flicks on the bike. Old West Cowboys like this name for horses. It was a popular childrens book back in the 40's which also was adapted into a movie)

"TourWhore" (mwahahahahaha....whatever, but that's what you are doing now ain't it?)

"Black-Union-Jack" (Uh...I think I like this. Black Bike, Black Sheep, British Flag nickname...yeah, I like the way that sounds. The rebellious Brit that took over the U.S. one road at a time.)

FLHX_Dave said...

I forgot about your first question. The Star...probably just a decoration. Some people put stars on their house to signify they have someone serving in the Military or have had a family member killed in combat. Civil War significance I think...now you have me curios.

mq01 said...

there seems to be many stars popping up recently, similar to shells and beach themes. i think it ties in to the nautical theme but personally im not sure how.

about your bikes name, i think thats hugely personal and so i will sit back and enjoy hearing all about it :)

Doug said...

The star has been a popular "folk art" decoration for all sorts of things in the US since the 19th century. A single star like that could also be used as a "Service Flag" representing a son or daughter in the military. Or it could be some errant Texan that has not figured out that the S.F. 49ers are a better team. :-)

Motorcycle Philosophy said...

Back during WWII, families hung the "Blue Star Flag" indicating their son was overseas fighting a war. I've heard the flag is making a comeback, this could be the same deal.

Axel said...

I am guessing here: has somebody living there been awarded a Silver Star? The Silver Star is the third-highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy?

As for the name for your bike: Errol - for Errol Leslie Flynn (20 June 1909 – 14 October 1959), an Australian-American film actor known for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films and his flamboyant lifestyle.

Eve said...

Hi Gary
Running into Ian was just great. I have a feeling you'll come across many characters along your way that you will find amazing. The memorial is beautiful and the misty tunnel awesome. If you get up early in the north and ride you will see some amazing sights with fog and sun.
The stars are just a fad. Someone came up with it a number of years ago. You find them in Primitive art shops and now everywhere. One person hung one out on their house and now everyone has them!! I believe I have one too....yep I do! hahahaha! I have seen some MASSIVE ones too.
I wish I could come up wit a great name for your bike. I'm usually very good at this kind of thing, but I've come down with a horrible cold from my travels to NY, and my head is stuffed full of everything but ideas. If it clears in time, I'll pipe in.
Ride safe my friend.

Eve said...

Ok I've got a name and it's short and sweet and not extremely creative...the head cold thing...but here it is, Holly. Short for Hollywood.

iansolley said...

Its the best thing about biking - you will always meet someone to talk to on the road.

Radar said...

Gary,

As for AHD's explanation, that would only be true if blue and silver colors are involved.

I don't recall a formal explanation of it, but American's have always been fond of the star symbol. It is core to the many versions of our flag (one each for every state), reflects the honor of those who have served, and our undying pursuit of independence, freedom, and happiness.

Like architeture, it will be interesting to see the evolution of the star as you travel across the country. Here in Texas, you will find rusty or "vintage" versions of the star prominantly displayed - after all, we are the Lone Star State!

Geoff James said...

Gary:

Maybe "Betty", Lauren Bacall's nickname. Has quite a nice ring and a link to one of your pictures.

However, I'm the last person you should take notice of as my Honda Blackbird was very politically incorrect. I called her Grace Jones (as in black bird). I'll leave now.....

biker baby said...

You see it in TX on most of the houses...TX is the lone star state. It represents ALL of Texas and stands for unity as one for God, State, and Country.

Axel said...

Just remembered that I wrote a post on bike names, starting with the question of its sex, is it male or female. Here a link to my thoughts and a collection on what I found on the web. http://wp.me/pSdns-1X
Still like Errol, if "it" is a she, I like Eve suggestion: Holly. Looking forward to your very personal choice.

Gary France said...

AHD – I think I could just about tell.... LOL

Dave – Thanks! Glad you are enjoying reading about my trip. Get the GoPro – it is a great little camera. I have something in mind as a name, but I don’t think my ladies will like being called TourWhore, however tempting that might be! I will think about the other suggestions....

ABOUT THE STARS – Randy Williams from Santa Barbara sent me a link to a website that gives a comprehensive review of what the stars mean. This is http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/lifestyle/x1578449846 and it is worth a look – there are all sorts of reasons in there. Thanks Randy!

mq01 – The stars are beginning to grow on me....

Doug – LOL. I am not sure who you could possibly be referring to when you say errant Texan....

Steve – The way it was used to show your son was fighting overseas was / is a terrific way to show support. I have been reading your blog about the Alaska trip. Wow, that was some ride and the pictures and what you have written are inspiring!

Axel – see “About the Stars” above, for a good explanation. I can’t give my bike a man’s name, that just would seem right....

Eve – I have already met many people – a British accent and a licence plate from the UK are great introductions! I laughed at what you said about you having one of the stars. Sorry about the cold. Holly is a good suggestion. Let me think about it some more....

Ian – I totally agree

Radar – I think AHD was blinded by the love for his football team! I like the star on houses. I might need to get one for my house in the UK as a reminder of the tour. I will keep a look out for different versions in my travels.

Geoff – I read a book recently about a couple who rode across the US and the bike the woman was riding was called Betty Boop, which I thought was a great name. I roared with laughter when I read what you called your bike – the people I was sitting nearby when I read it must have thought I was crazy!

BB – I have never really understood the Texan flag with its lone star. It seems like Texans might like to consider themselves as separate and different somehow? The Texans I have met seem very proud of their state.

Axel – I think mine is female, especially with all those actresses painted on mine. I enjoyed reading your post about bike names. Thanks.