The Return to Highway 301!

April 29th, 2012

A sequel to the wildly successful first film.

Yesterday, I set out on another motorcycle journey up US-301. As I previously mentioned, I thought that writing a follow up to my first 301 photo post would be a good way start off after having fixed the site.

Since that first post, I’ve received a number of comments from people who remember traveling the route years ago, before the opening of I-95 lead to route becoming largely unused. Also, Georgia Public Broadcasting also did a piece about 2 years ago about 301. In the accompanying video, they show a picture of Robertson’s (which you’ll remember as the enclave of the K9 posse), and they highlight the Pineview Motel with a vintage postcard and a shot of the overgrown sign. There are a lot of abandoned service stations and motels on the road, so I was surprised to see the same two in their video.

At any rate, it’s been three years since that first trip, let’s see what has changed. Here we go–another trip up US-301:

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Stupid WP hacking

April 26th, 2012

Yesterday, I realized that my site had been compromised. It likely had been for months, but I hadn’t noticed. I noticed after posting a link on twitter about my site being back up, and checked it on my work computer.

The malware that was installed redirected users to sites at * and tried to trick them into installing fake AV software. For some reason, it didn’t appear to affect Firefox, but it redirected IE users. This is why I hadn’t noticed it before. I don’t use IE at home, but I have to at work due to the needs of our main software package.

Anyway, once I found this out I disabled the site. I didn’t have time to look into it last night. I started working on things when I got home today, and finally got things working. I hit a few snags along the way, but things appear to be up and running fine.

The virus infects almost all of the wordpress files and the database, so I had to do a complete reinstall, and inspection of the DB, then a re-import.

Anyway, after all of that, I think I need to turn my brain off for a while and continue my progress through DS9.

Expect a post this weekend. I’m thinking of doing a mini-update to my Highway 301 post, as it appears that those abandoned highway sections have been turned into official nature trails now.

Hey, this is a thing I used to do.

April 24th, 2012

I used to write stuff. I used to write stuff a lot. Leave a record. Document my journey. Shit like that.

That’s not really something I do anymore, and I think that’s bad.

It started with livejournal back in 2001. I only got an account after I found out there were “friends only” posts, and I wanted to see what my then-girlfriend was writing. Such noble motivation.

Anyway, I took to that pretty well and wrote a whole for about 5 years. Or, a what seems like a whole lot to me now. Then I moved over to my own hosted site. I thought it was cooler or something. I posted here semi regularly for 2 more years, then slacked off after I moved to Georgia, posting only a hand full more entries. (Though, I still get regular comments from people who find my Highway 301 post).

2 years ago, I stopped writing completely. I didn’t replace writing with anything else worth noting. Maybe playing more video games, watching more TV, and drinking more beer… or sometimes Jack.

During the same period, I’ve also spent less time interacting with friends, both old and new, who don’t live close by. I’ve played around a bit with Twitter, but certainly not enough to write home about.

Anyway, the point is, I think this is dumb. A lot has changed in the last two years, and I’ve said nothing about it. I’ve pursued little to no creative output. That’s lame.

I’m going to try to change that.

The 270 mile sandwich

April 25th, 2010

#6, add onions and dijon, with a pickle

There it is folks, the 270 mile sandwich.

The other day at breakfast, I was drinking out of an old reusable cup I had from Jimmy John’s. After I went to work, the thought occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten a Jimmy John’s sub since before I moved to Georgia in 2008. This got stuck in my head all day, and so I decided to find out where the nearest Jimmy John’s shop is located. The answer: Columbia, SC, roughly 130 miles away.

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Shakedown Cruise

April 18th, 2010

Well folks, it has been a long time. I’m still kicking, just not writing very much.

Recently, I picked up a new exhaust system for the motorcycle. Now, I’ve been trying to live on the cheap lately so that I can pay off some bills and get some more life into my savings account. However, I found a great deal on these pipes and picked them up for less than half of their retail price.

I put them on the motorcycle a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t gotten a chance to rejet the carburetors until this past Friday, which I had off from work. I got the carbs back on the bike on Saturday, but didn’t have a chance to give the bike a shakedown cruise until today.

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A Trip to Hilton Head Island

May 25th, 2009

I woke up today without much of a plan of what I was going to do. After waking up, and doing a few things around the apartment, I noticed that there was actually sunshine outside. It wasn’t unqualified sunshine—there were dark clouds in part of the sky, and the forecast for the region called for thunderstorms to happen—but it was sunshine all the same.

It didn’t take long for me to hatch plans for a ride. I hadn’t really given my new speakers a test, yet. Nor had I really tested the highway pegs on a longer ride. After thinking about where I’d like to go, I decided I’d take a ride up to Hilton Head Island. Hilton Head is about 94 miles away from Statesboro by back roads. I checked the weather radar, which indicated I might hit some rain or thunderstorms along the way, but I didn’t care. It was time to go.

Above is the route I took. With the exception of US-278 approaching Hilton Head, it’s all quiet two lane back roads. There were many stretches where I didn’t see another vehicle, or anyone at all, for a half an hour at a time. The map is clicky, so you can look at the route more closely if you like… or change it into aerial photos, or…. well, you know the drill.

This photo is from after I had already crossed into South Carolina. I pulled over to try to get a shot of how conflicted the sky looked. I don’t think I really captured it, but the sky was always a mixture of clear blue and dark & stormy. On the way to Hilton Head, I hit a few pockets of really really light rain… while directly under blue sky. Usually just the windshield and the front of my shins would get wet. Everything would dry out within ten minutes each time.

Much of the trip was through quiet, abandoned back roads such as this one. I pulled over here to try to get a shot of a wild turkey in the road, but he ran away before I got the camera out. I was greeted by some other friends though….

There was a whole family of armadillos on the side of the road. Most of the pictures didn’t come out right, including the one of the armadillo-guy who came right up to my boot to say hello. These were the first live armadillos I had ever seen (being from Connecticut, and all) and apparently they were strange ones. There were 5 of them out together, in the middle of the day, and one came up to say hello. According to what I’ve just read, this is not usual. Maybe they knew that I didn’t want them for their tasty pork-like flesh. I prefer tofu.

A couple of shots of the beach once I made it to Hilton Head. I was the only guy walking up and down the beach in jeans and boots. Beach wear and bike wear don’t correlate too well. Who knew?

The temperature was about 79 degrees with a gentle breeze. It would have been a nice day to hang out there, if I had been properly equipped. Instead, I just got some strange looks.

Before heading back, I grabbed some dinner at Giuseppi’s Pizza and Pasta, a restaurant decorated with a whole bunch of Pittsburgh sports memorabilia. There’s Steelers stuff, Pirates stuff, Pens stuff, and even some Pitt stuff. Apparently the owner was originally from Pittsburgh. I felt under dressed, having only my Buc’s cap to offer. Next time I’ll have to be sure to wear a jersey. At least I was able to get an Iron City with my pizza, though!

After pizza, it was time to head back. This photo, taken about here, shows that the sky was still a mix of clear and dark. Since it looked like I might be headed into some stormy weather, I decided to stop and put on the rain lining for the jacket as well as the visor for my helmet. While I did hit a few pockets of very light and brief rain, it was dry most of the way.

All in all it was a good ride. The speaker system gets high marks for its performance through out the ride. Both music and spoken stuff comes through pretty well. On the way up, I listed to the most recent episode of This American Life. It was almost entirely comprehensible, save a few short phrases here and there that were lost to the wind. Music comes through fine all the way up to 70, even on busy roads. I didn’t go much faster at any point in the ride, nor do I usually go any faster anyway, so it’s a win.

As it turns out, though, my 3rd G iPod only lasts about 3 hours on a full charge these days. for the last hour of my ride, I had to hook up the iPhone instead, which has a much more limited selection of music on it, currently.

All in all: great day, and a great ride.

The Your PNC Rage center. Also, blog theft.

May 24th, 2009

A couple of years back I wrote a post about my experiences with PNC and their overdraft fees. I thought the point of a debit card was that you couldn’t overdraw. I was wrong. Whatever.

What is more interesting is that my blog seems to become something of a water cooler for PNC rage. It started slowly. Eighteen months after I wrote the post, it received it’s first Anti-PNC comment from someone who I did not know. Two months later, another appeared. Then just two weeks after that, two more appeared. Since then, I get a comment posted on that blog post every so often.

Some how, this became your PNC Rage Center. Guess what is the #1 google hit for “fuck pnc bank“. That’s right, it’s me.

Interestingly, while researching this post, I found out that some other site has blatently stolen my post and posted it as their own. WTF? The site seems to just steal and repost blog items without attributing them. For what purpose, I have no idea. There don’t seem to be any advertisements on it. What’s the point here?

There appears to be no way to contact the people who run the site, and whois information just shows a generic godaddy thing. You can ‘register for account’, so I tried signing up with a back up e-mail address. At any rate, I object to people taking my posts, reposting them, and claiming copyright.


Motorcycle Music!

May 24th, 2009

Recently, I’ve been bitten by the “must modify the motorcycle” bug. A short while ago, I added crash bars and highway pegs—they both look good and are functional for long rides. I have also been looking for other ways to make my longer rides more enjoyable, and came across the Kuryakyn Air Master fairing setup. It’s a pretty Batwing fairing set up for metric bikes complete with audio system and storage. The stereo is really crazy; it accepts input from a 3.5mm jack, sd card, usb port, and Ipod direct control hook up. Nice 5″x7″ speakers. While it’d be great to have, $2400 plus the cost to get it painted to match my bike (as I think I’d want to do) is probably not a reasonable expenditure for me.

Instead, I found the Sound of Chrome system, also from Kuryakyn. Almost every review I read about the setup was positive, and I was able to get it for $280, new, including shipping on eBay. After trying to be responsible for a while, I finally pulled the trigger and bought it.
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I’ve done stuff today.

April 25th, 2009

So far today I:

Got out of bed around 9:00 AM. (On a Saturday, shocking!!)

Walked a beagle.

Cooked an actual breakfast. I used a pan and the stove and everything.

Performed surgery on my laptop (had to take the entire thing apart to replace the touch pad and to clean out dust).

Took all of the accessories off of the Shadow. Because I then..

Washed the bike, and gave it two coats of polish.  I hadn’t washed it last since sometime in the late fall, probably.

Reassembled the bike and admired its shinyness.

Made pizza dough.

And I did all this while rocking out to a shuffle of songs on the iphone that would have made The AntiDJ circa 2002 very happy.

Later tonight there will be pizza baking, possibly a movie.

Tomorrow I may go all folksy and ride to Vidalia for the Vidalia Onion Festival. I’m not sure how great a whole festival planned around the might sweet onion will be, but I live in fucking Georgia—what else am I going to do on a Sunday?

Highway 301

April 20th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon I decided to hop on the bike and ride North up U.S. 301. On my drive to and from Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship game in January, I took US 301 to US 321 before hitting I-77. What I noticed about these roads was that they were both pretty empty as far as traffic goes, and, especially in the case of 301, it was clear they were once major through roads.

Before I-95 became operational in the area sometime in the 60s or 70s, US 301 was one of the major, if not the most important, North-South routes from Florida all the way up to north of D.C. In Georgia and South Carolina, this is clearly seen in the sheer number of motels that line the road. Most of these buildings are shut down, and those that are open mostly seem to cater to more permanent residents these days. There are also a large number of closed up rest stops, service stations, and other business around the route. For the most part the road is in very good repair, and the traffic is very light, which makes it an ideal route for a ride.

I decided to grab my camera, hop on the bike, and ride a little bit over the border into South Carolina. The farthest north I reached was Allendale. From that point, I turned around and stopped along the way back to capture some of the sights of the decay I saw.
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