Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thunder in the Valley, Johnstown, PA

Howdy, Campers......

Welcome to my tour of the 9th Annual Thunder in the Valley: Johnstown style. Things this year sure were a lot wetter than they had been for the last several years. I spent three out of four days at this year's rendezvous and managed to get wet more than once, even though I had rain gear. But then, on the other hand, I was only 35 miles from home so it really didn't make a difference.

All of the pictures were shot on Friday and Saturday. Thursday, was dedicated to demo rides. Even though the weather was nasty I did get to ride an 1100 Yamaha and the new Kawasaki 900cc Vulcan.

On Friday, my riding buddy, Tug, and I were lucky enough to get at least one demo ride in even though we had to do it in a down pour... Damn lucky we had rain suits. My ride Friday was the 2000cc Kawasaki Vulcan. Due to the weather conditions and the fact that we were not on dry, open roads, I was not able to use the Kawasaki to it's fullest potential. At 2000cc this bike needs open road, otherwise you never get out of third gear.

Now, if you enjoyed Thunder in the Valley, you're just gonna love the Johnstown Folkfest. It's held over Labor Day weekend, September 1 to 3rd this year, and it won't cost you a penny. To see some of the performers from last year's Folkfest visit our blog issue for September 2005. If you want to see who this year's performers are, go to

Felix and the Hurricanes, a local band, starts to warm up the crowd early on a wet Friday afternoon.

Custom bikes were on display everywhere. Unfortunately, most are way out of my league.

Unable to borrow one of NASCARS jet driers, the Ball of Steel boys do their best to dry out the wet asphalt with their version of a quick dry machine.

Despite the weather, the crew prepares the bikes for the first show of the day.

Take stuff out, put stuff back in, take stuff back out, this was the order of the day for the vendors on Friday.

The damp, nasty weather kept the crowd small in the early hours of the afternoon, but by 2 this area was rocking. In the background you can see the Johnstown Inclined Plane at 72 degrees of angle this is the world's steepest vehicular inclined plane.

Another local band, Billy and the Inmates, get the crowd rocking in Central Park, in beautiful downtown Johnstown, PA.

On display in the Cambria County War Memorial, was the Snap-On chopper built by the boys of OCC. This was one of only two OCC bikes on display at this rather large, and prestigious biker gathering. Not much of a showing, most people were hoping for more. Oh, well.

My riding partner, Tug, checks out the Snap-On bike.

A Yamaha R1 gets its turn on the Dynojet machine.

You have no idea of what this bike sounds like when she's wide open.

Now you may think that this woman's smile is due to the fact that I'm taking her picture. Unfortunately, this is not true. She's really watching the twelve guys trying to repair the electric starter on a Harley that's sitting along the road.

Now I know you've heard a lot of BS on tv about how to build "old school" choppers. Well, boys and girls, this is how it's done in real life. Now I wish I'd never sold my old Triumph hard tail, don't care if it was a rat bike.

Another nice looking, custom chopper.

U. S. Military Vets M/C. Just one of the many veterans motorcycle clubs in attendance at Thunder. Does my heart good to see fellow combat veterans enjoying life.

Bikers come in all ages, and sizes, and rides. This kid took first place in his age group during the biker kid contest held in Central Park.

Stars of the Ball of Steel show - Beau, Brandon, and Preston - taking a second to get their thoughts together before going out for the first performance of the day.

Inside the Ball of Steel. Better him than me.

Upside down in the Ball of Steel. Once again, better him than me.

Ball of Steel.

One and a half bikes out of three. Not a bad shot, considering.

Took this picture crouched under the lip of the landing ramp. Life is good sometimes.

Look ma, no hands. Sorry, just had to say that.

After looking at this picture several times, I've wondered what the people walking on the midway behind this ramp must have thought when seeing this bike come flying through the air.

I'm trying to convince my business manager, the queen, my wife, that I really need a side hack like this so I can carry all my camera equipment when I go out to a meeting of the tribes.

Last, but not least, this is one way to burn a hole in your tire, to say nothing of burning a hole in your wallet.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Coalport Street Fair, Plus

This medieval looking tower is a climbing wall at Camp Conshatawba, the local Girl Scout camp.

This picture, taken in South Fork, shows two Norfolk Southern helper units preparing to hook up to the train on the left. The helper units are used to pull/push trains thru the Allegheny Mountains, including the Horseshoe Curve area.

A fresh lemonade hits the spot at the 9th annual Coalport Street Fair.

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center was in Coalport with reptiles and raptors.

Red-tail hawk - Buteo jamaicensis

Veterans from the Coalport VFW Post lead the Coalport Parade.

This beach scene float was right at home in the heat and humidity of the day.

Not all of the excitement was on the street. This is the lead singer of a band playing at Bar 53.

We each have our place in the food chain.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Route 286 Indiana County, PA

Jimmy Stewart Memorial stands in front of the Indiana County Courthouse in Jimmy Stewart's hometown of Indiana, PA.

Indiana County War Memorial on the west side of the county courthouse.

Golden dome on top of the old Indiana County Courthouse

The next 9 pictures were taken along Route 286 in the Starford area of Indiana County, PA. After ten or fifteen years of admiring this place, I finally stopped and took pictures this week. Even though I pulled up to the front door on my motorcycle dressed in black, I was shown great hospitality during my visit. This place is beautiful. The photographs speak for themselves.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Little Something Different

An accident between an Amish buggy and a van near Nicktown.

Close-up of the buggy. It's unbelievable but no one was injured, including the horse. All's well that ends well.

Don't know why I ever bought this thing, but it was only 5 bucks.

Instrument panel, 1998 Yamaha Virago.

Wind chime in the shade garden.

I have no idea what this is. I just take pictures that strike my fancy.

Bumble bee on rhododendron.

Robin has triplets - The newest babies in the neighborhood!

Storm brewing.