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I WANT PRETEZELS! – A ride through Pennsylvania Dutch Country

April 9, 2012


The Easter break gave me an opportunity to do a bit of riding.  I packed my bike and left Madison, CT for Delaware.  I intended to ride my Aprilia Futura but the weather was a bit cool and I decided to take the Aprilia Caponord.  The Caponord “Capo” is a fantastic Adventure Touring motorcycle.  It offers great protection from elements, an upright riding position and the ability to go off-road if you skills match the bikes capabilities.  Mine don’t.

Panniers packed, I tossed a leg over and hit the starter button.  I pulled out on to the Boston Post Road and headed toward I-95 South.  Just short of the exit I pulled into a Shell to fill the tank.  As I got off the bike I noticed the gas station across the intersection offered a .5 cent cheaper price.  Grrrrrrrrrr.  Whatever, I thought.  My helmet’s off and my gloves are too.  I put in my card and yanked out the fuel nozzle. 

As I fueled the bike, I noticed that there were something like six prices listed for fuel.  Cash, Credit, yada, yada, yada,   What I failed to notice when I started pumping gas was that the credit/debit price was a full .25 cents MORE per gallon!  WTF!  Not a great start to the trip. 

Traffic rolled smoothly through southern Connecticut and into New York.  As I got closer to the George Washington Bridge the GPS became overwhelmed and as I came to one critical intersection it was lagging so badly I made a mistake and wandered off route.  After a nice detour through the South Bronx, I was back on the correct route and almost immediately stuck in heavy traffic.


An opportunity for liberal use of high beam.


New Jersey Turnpike nearing my least favorite place in the world.


The spot where I broke down last year.  You can read about that here:


At just under 200 miles into the trip the low fuel light came on.  I got gas at a NJTP rest area, 93 octane premium was $4.05.  ONE price, no tricks.  Fantastic.  I arrived at my brother’s house in almost exactly four hours.  It was a fantastic day for a ride and the trip was easy.


The next morning we rode over to the local Farmers Market.  Next to a pair of Ducati Desmo RR’s parked together this is a seldom seen thing – TWO Aprilia Caponords in the place. 


The New Castle Farmers Market has been around for more than 30 years.


Get ready, get set, GO.  What amazing selections.  Readers, this might be normal to you.  However, after living in Vermont for almost a decade I was like a kid in a candy store.  What an amazing selection!




Local friends all said “get a sausage at Stoltzfus” so I did.




30 seconds later!


Local color.   “THIS WAY FOR THAT DERE”


What’s better than a sausage for breakfast?  How about hand made donuts. 






By far, by a quantum leap, the best I’ve ever had.  Ever.  I’ve never been a huge fan of donuts with filling – but – these were amazing.  The fillings were absolutely fresh and delicious.  If you ever get a chance – stop at the New Castle Farmers Market. 





My brother Mark, looking very happy.  He’s wearing an Olympia Jacket and KLIM pants with SPIDI boots.  Reviews on all coming shortly.



I want a smoker and some BBQ sauce!




And finally, a good dose of paranoia. “When the violent, unstable world we live in attacks……………….”  I need a Glock now.


With breakfast sorted we got ready to head out on the ride.  I need an oil change so that immediately followed breakfast.  Someday I hope to own a motorcycle that does not require body panel removal and quantitate technical theory application.  The Caponord is a little easier and the plastic bash plate is the only item that needed to be removed.  I drained the oil, changed the filter and re-filled the bike with full synthetic Amsoil. 

The bikes today were as follows:  A brand spanking new BMW R1200RT, a 2002 Aprilia Caponord and a 2006 Aprilia Caponord.





We took a moment to upgrade two SENA SMH-10 units to the new 4.0 firmware and a bit longer trying to figure out how to get the headsets to talk to each other.  I can’t say with any confidence that I know how to contact a specific rider in the group.  The units did eventually work and worked very well.

Today’s destination was Lancaster, PA.  I wanted to try and stop by the Hammond Pretzel factory.  Growing up I had fond memories of the big gold Hammond cans filled with hand made pretzels.  Needless to say if your pretzel experience is limited to boxes  of Snyder’s pretzels ya’ll should immediately visit their website or store and order up a bunch.  They are fantastic (having been voted #1 pretzel in Lancaster 21 years in a row!).

I know a ride report is supposed to have specific road info and maybe a map or two.  Well, today I was content to follow Dave on the BMW and let him pick the way.  Dave has the unique gift of riding a route once and committing it to memory.  So, pictures will have to suffice.  It was a beautiful day for riding.



Mark switched to a perforated Fieldsheer leather jacket.  Temps were in the low 60’s.  I kept needling him about being cold but he ignored me.  If I would had any common sense I would have worn my Gerbings rather than pack it in the Givi – as I was cold myself.


Absolutely perfect riding weather.




Amish baby rock star posing for pictures and a friendly wave.




Dave and Mark taking a break.  I rode the RT later in the day and really liked it.  The mirrors are fantastic.  Mounted down low inside the fairing, they offer a control level view of the road behind you and are completely vibration free.  Having owned several bikes that have useless  mirrors (Hello, Ducati are you listening?)  the RT was a revelation.  I liked the cruse control, brakes, and adjustable windscreen as well.  Having the engine weight down low makes the bike very easy to ride.  the controls are fantastically clear and the ESA is easy to operate.  I think BMW needs to look at Ducati’s system as it is dramatically noticeable when switching from mode to mote.  BMW is more of a subtle change.  Normal to comfort mode is virtually unnoticed.  I did feel ESA in sport mode a bit more.  As usual, fit and finish were fantastic.


One horsepower.


One kid power.




Heading back into the country.










We arrived back in Bear, DE after around 110 miles of fantastic spring riding. Everyone had a great time and I have a supply of Hammonds to take back to Connecticut with me. 


NEXT – KLIM Pant Review


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