Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hidden Secrets

This is the first in a new series of posts. They will teach you stuff. Valuable, practical stuff. You may also find the knowledge amusing and can impress your friends with it.

Product-manufacturers do things to make our lives easier but, sadly, few consumers know about those efforts. They're secrets in a sense.

The first secret has to do with cars. There is something on the dashboard of your car which you've looked at a thousand times without knowing what it means. Or that it even means anything at all. And the knowledge could help you.

When borrowing a friend's car or driving a rental, you often wonder which side of the car the gas-tank is on when pulling into a gas-station. Its location affects the side of the gas-pump you pull up to. Getting out of the car to check this is a pain but there's an easier way. The car is telling you which side the tank is on, but are you listening?

On the dashboard, in the fuel-gauge, there is a symbol of a gas-pump. Next to that symbol is a triangle. What is the triangle for? Does it mean anything?

Yes! It points to the side of the car your gas-tank is on. Really! Now you instantly know, without looking outside, where the tank is and how to pull up to a pump. For example, here's a car whose tank is on the left (driver's) side:




For cars with tanks on the right side, the triangle points the other way.

Isn't this a fun little fact to learn?!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Back In Time

I found an authentic vintage top in my local thrift-store. It's from the 1980's and its exaggerated design appeals to me. Fashion should be fun.

The top was on sale for only five dollars. Or, as we say in New York, fie dollas. To keep this piece from being too overwhelming, I pair it with a plain skirt and simple matching heels.

What do you think?















Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cooperstown

Cooperstown is a charming little place in upstate New York. Everything there is devoted to the game of baseball. The national Hall of Fame is surrounded by stores and bars dedicated to baseball. The town has also some very good restaurants and hotels which is unusual for the area.

I enjoyed the weekend there. Here are some pics. Did you have fun this weekend?
















I was startled by this tangible reminder of our country's shameful history of racial segregation. An exhibit devoted to "Negro baseball leagues" taught me something new -- in the first decade of modern baseball (1880s), African-Americans played with white players. Only after they were mistreated were they hounded out of professional leagues, forced to start their own leagues which lacked money and respect. It wasn't until Jackie Robinson that they were allowed back in.











Friday, October 13, 2017

Another Trip!


In a few minutes I'm riding my motorcycle to Cooperstown in upstate NY. It's a 5-6 hour trip. Normally you worry about October being cold but it's still Summer-weather here in New York.

Tomorrow I'll visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. My parents took me there a half-century ago; I suspect the Hall may have added things since then. :)

While in the region I'll pop into nearby Oneonta, just to see what that town is like. I enjoy saying its name: O-ne-on-ta. Try it -- it's fun!

What are you doing this weekend??

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Motorcycle Trips


Now that I'm a grown-up and can do what I want, I find myself taking frequent long motorcycle trips. Why?

Here's an article that accurately explains the benefits of travelling on two wheels. Every one of its points is exactly true.

Click here

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Red Hook


Last February I discovered Red Hook, a remote area of Brooklyn that used to be a shipping port. After falling into disrepair over the past century, the town is being reclaimed by young people as a hip hangout. I enjoyed my visit to Red Hook and planned to return. Tonight I had the chance.

One cool thing about Red Hook is its quirky character. You never know what to expect from street to street; many of its sights are odd and amusing. I capture a few of them in the pictures below. My last post has more (here).

I found a terrific new restaurant called Red Hook Lobster Pound. Fresh Maine lobster prepared in dozens of innovative ways. Plus motorcycle-decorations!

Sometimes you don't need to travel far to experience something different.























Wednesday, September 27, 2017

There's Always Fashion

Lately it seems everyone is under more stress than usual. I don't discuss politics publicly but think we all need some fun to take our minds off depressing news. For me (and some of you) fashion is an answer.

I found two pieces recently which I love individually. Wasn't sure if they'd combine well, but figured I'd try and see. Here's the result.

Yes? No? Suggestions?















Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sixties Sensation

This may be my favorite dress ever. I found it at a thrift-store in Portland this week.

It's an authentic vintage piece from the 1960's in real silk with a liner. It has an embroidered collar and cuffs. Best of all, it has ruffled sleeves! The sleeves slay me.

Oh, and the color... pink! That's so Ally.

The dress cost more than I usually spend but (1) I was on vacation and (2) I had to have it. Had to! I picked it up, put it back, picked it up a second time, put it back and then ran to grab it before leaving the store. Has that ever happened to you?















Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Portland, Maine

As you enter Maine, a sign announces:

Welcome To Maine
The Way Life Should Be

That says it all, doesn't it? Maine is a wonderful place full of natural beauty and few people. Portland is its biggest city yet the place is smaller than my suburban hometown. I explored it Saturday and will definitely return.

Portland has a surprisingly youthful vibe with lots of cool places on Congress Street. The city is lauded for its vibrant food-scene; it is second only to San Francisco in restaurants per capita. Everywhere you look there's another restaurant. They are extremely diverse: I saw Cajun, East African and various ethnic cuisines, along with a vegetarian place where I got a delicious lunch (chives dumplings, asparagus tempura). A clueless patron near me got angry the waitress wouldn't serve him a lobster-roll. "That's not meat, is it?" he insisted.

Not all the food is haute. The famous "Italian hero" was invented in Portland in 1903. Portland and Maine consider the sandwich to be their pride and joy. I tried it at the site of invention, a deli called Amato's (named after sandwich-creator Giovanni Amato).

Portland has lots of good shopping in vintage and vinyl-record stores. I found a delightful pink dress from the Sixties which I'll display here soon. As I bought the dress, a macho male cashier tried to bond with me over motorcycling (I was carrying my helmet). As I was leaving, he asked: "That dress for your woman?" Life is full of awkward moments...











Monday, September 18, 2017

Drumbeats


Ripe acorns, when they leave home, fall and hit the skin of camping tents. Plummeting onto that taut surface, acorns sound exactly like drumbeats. Sitting in my tent this weekend, I was treated to a percussion concert, conducted by the wind. It was rapturous.

Motorcycle-camping is, I discovered, fun. Arduous but fun. There's less comfort but you adjust to the hardships and even take pride in the effort. Making a cup of tea in the morning isn't flipping a switch; it's a 15-minute ordeal that starts with building a fire from scratch. Drinking that tea is satisfying because of the effort required.

Being in woods, especially at night, is calming. Quiet is punctuated only by sounds of nature (e.g., the splash of a jumping frog). Civilization's noises are conspicuously absent. I liked the quiet. After this positive experience I'm going to incorporate camping into my future motorcycle-travels on a regular basis.

There is, of course, a learning curve. An experienced camper advised me to bring tiger-repellant in case of an attack, but I spotted no wildcats. I guess, as Pee-wee Herman famously said, "there are some things they don't teach you in school."















Tuesday, September 12, 2017

More Adventure

My next motorcycle trip will combine two fun things -- camping and good food. On Friday I'm riding up to Portland, Maine; on the way there, I'm camping overnight in a state forest in Andover, Massachusetts (Harold Parker State Forest).

Portland was named the "Foodiest Small Town in America" by Bon App├ętit magazine. It has also been featured in The New York Times as a superb food-destination. Portland is the biggest city in Maine and has the greatest density of restaurants of any city in the country. It's where foodies go to eat.  :-)

The only scary thing about the trip is the weather -- the forecast is thunderstorms. Riding a motorcycle and pitching a tent in the rain will be rough but I'm gonna go anyway. Sometimes adversity makes the most cherished memories. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Livin' Large


It's inspiring to see humans travel over 200 mph on a motorcycle. And watch them lean so deeply into curves that their knees scrape the road. It's inspiring to see people face and meet a Herculean challenge. That's why I went to the racetrack this weekend.

I saw Superbike racing displaying the best riders in the country. The experience is palpable as engines roar like beasts and bikes zoom by in a blur. It was a wonderful trip with beautiful weather and good company.

I was joined by Charlie, an old family-friend who rides a Honda Valkyrie. Charlie is full of stories and humor, the perfect travel-companion. We rode five hours to southern New Jersey to reach the track.

Days like today are not only fun, they make me want to become a better rider.

P.S., I actually took the first picture above. Isn't it amazing? One of my best ever, I think.



















Thursday, September 7, 2017

Vintage

I love vintage pieces with retro-styling. I found this 40-year old dress in a thrift-shop, hiding behind a pile of boring clothes. The wide feminine collar and interesting skirt-pleats attract me, as does the color and fit.

For me, dressing in pretty clothes is transportation to a happier place. A land where I can explore and express myself. Does it do that for you, too?











Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Motorcycle Racing


On Friday I'm riding down to South Jersey to watch professional motorcycle racing: Superbike and Supersport competition for MotoAmerica. The races will be held at New Jersey Motorsports Park -- which, coincidentally, is the racetrack where I took my FZ-1 a while back. During those sessions I hit 140 mph and leaned deep into curves, but my feats were nothing compared to what pro racers will do on their top-of-the-line racebikes. They'll exceed 200 mph and drag their knees at incredible lean-angles.

There are ten pro competitions this year and South Jersey is the closest one to me. What many people don't know is that races are more than just racing; they're wild parties with vendors, beer-gardens, cool t-shirts and fans who love to talk motorcycling. It's fun just to be there. Plus, there's visceral thrill from the thunder of race-bike engines screaming at their limits.

Yes, I'll bring my camera. There WILL be pictures!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Holiday Weekend

Here in New York, we had a lovely three-day weekend. How was yours?