Rider’s Block

The end of what is considered by most motorcyclists in Ohio to be “riding season” is typically heralded by the kiddos returning to school.  But for those of us who absolutely love to ride – who own a motorcycle as more than just a fashion statement – September, October, and November can be filled with extremely rewarding rides through the beautiful autumn backwoods scenery of the Buckeye State.

In 2012, I’ve seldom been behind the wheel of my Explorer.  I ride to work nearly every day, rain or shine, but because riding has become so routine, I don’t take as many long rides as I used to.  In the last week, the realization that winter is coming has hit me hard, and I’ve been turning a ton of miles on my FJR.  The weather forecasters – you know, the profession with absolutely no accountability, and very little accuracy – are predicting a huge storm next week, with low temperatures and a bit of the white stuff, so I want to make sure to get my time in before things get crazy.

A couple days ago, I took a very satisfying trip to the Big Muskie Bucket:

Dismantled in 1999, the AEP dragline “Big Muskie” was built by Bucyrus-Erie in 1969 at a cost of $25 million ($158 million in 2012 dollars).  It was the largest single-bucket excavator ever produced in the world.  Its 220 cubic-yard bucket is a crazy sight to see, stand beside, and lie down in.  The machine itself was breathtakingly enormous, and while I was growing up, the eastern parts of Ohio were dotted with these behemoth draglines and power shovels stripping land away, revealing giant coal seams.

Highway 78 from Caldwell to McConnelsville is an outstanding stretch of road.  Excellent blacktop, beautiful scenery, extremely light traffic, and sweeping curves make the ride a wonderful experience.

Out of McConnelsville, 376 is a nice road too, and though the blacktop isn’t as nice, Buttermilk Rd through Blue Rock State Park and State Forest is a scenic stretch as well.

Whether it seems like it or not, hard riding takes a lot out of a rider, so I haven’t had much energy to write this week.  Next week when I’m snowed in, I’ll have plenty more time and plenty less to talk about!


P.S. Happy birthday mom! I love you!


~ by hamiltonjacobs on October 26, 2012.

3 Responses to “Rider’s Block”

  1. I don’t remember Big Muskie as much as I remember seeing the Gem of Egypt and the Silver Spade. Those were massive machines. I remember my dad taking me to their locations to just watch them dig. Fun times.

  2. I’m with you Brian – the GEM and Silver Spade were more our neck of the woods, along with the Mountaineer. There were a bunch of draglines around, as well. Good times, growing up where we did, when we did. Now, not so much…

  3. […] written about my affinity for old things, including my enthusiasm for vintage motorcycles and mining machines of a bygone era. No less frequently than once a year, I visit McConnellsville, Ohio to stand in awe […]

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