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Submission Thursday: Balkanized, Part 2

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[Ed. note: Continuation from Balkanized, Part 1. If you haven’t read the first part by Matt Harvey, I recommend you do that immediately. Photos by Darjan Platinovšek –Antti]

Ivan and his new chums climb away out of sight and the burble of their engines dwindles to nothing. For a few seconds there is silence, not a breath of breeze to sully it as we drink in the landscape. Only a few seconds. We still have a good distance to go before we get to our digs just south of Rijeka with an hour and a half until sunset, just enough time to milk this road dry.

Pulling back onto the tarmac we resume the descent alphabetically, Audi first, BMW second, clear air in third. A few more bends and short straights and Darjan spots another lay-by, this time right on the apex of a sharp left-hander but with the promise of rewarding vistas. I slow as hard as I dare, mindful of the sticky master cylinder a few metres behind before easing the A4 over a lip onto an oval of gravel the size of a tennis court.

Aleš tucks in next to us as we reach for phones and cameras to scan the horizon and the islands in between and capture a few slices of the view. Shunning selfies, Darjan grabs his tripod from the trunk and declares it’s time for a group shot as I realize my right foot is resting on a boulder about 18” high. Rock Woollarding it is then! He sets the timer and jogs over to take position before the shutter clicks…

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Route 66 – Spencer, MO

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Not too long ago, I was making yet another run into Springfield, but had some time to kill on the trip back. I decided to veer off Highway 96 near Paris Springs Junction on N Highway, which is part of old Route 66. I have done this side trip just once before, and I had been meaning to swing by for a while. Just a mile or so from there, I turned right, crossed an old one-lane bridge, and found the old town of Spencer, Missouri.

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Submission Thursday: Balkanized

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[The following travelogue is a snapshot from a recent roadtrip in Croatia, and the penmanship and photography is by the inimitable Matt Harvey. Additional photos by Ales Zorko. -Antti]

We leave the highway at Karlovac about twenty minutes outside of Zagreb, taking the road south towards the Plitvička National Park. We’re a ragtag little convoy comprising a Croatian on a Kawasaki ER-6N, a wild, nomadic Finn and a Slovenian in a restored ’89 BMW 325i Touring with yours truly and another Slovenian in a 2004 Audi A4 1.9 TDi that has uprated brakes, suspension, sticky tyres and an engine remap. Like I said – ragtag.

It is the Sunday of the May Day holiday weekend, and so of course the roads are packed. While most of the traffic is heading home and therefore in the opposite direction, it still means overtakes are few and far between. The presence of the nimble bike up front able to radio back to the cars makes little difference; a stubborn native in a red van is slowing us to truly pedestrian speeds except on the straights where he boots it. The bastard.

Mid-afternoon and we pull over in Rastoke, a pretty spot with waterfalls and a bar perched on the edge of the river gorge. We stretch legs and take on fluids. “Don’t worry,” our Croatian host assures us, “It’s going to get better, in a little while.”

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Wagon Wednesday: The Lada Wagon that conquered USA

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A Lada station wagon is pretty awesome by itself. Especially the round-headlight 2102 ones, as they have the most simple and classic appearance of them all.

But one of the most significant ones, at least with Finnish plates, is this exact ochre one I photographed at the Classic Motorshow last weekend. The 2102 wagon, originally bought for two packets of coffee and driven by a brave team called The Hoponderos made it through the United States in one piece, and back to Finland. No mean feat.

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Roadside Attractions – Paris Springs Junction

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Not five minutes from Spencer, MO is the community of Paris Springs, located on a stretch of old Route 66. The weather was perfect for a quick drive – warm, sunny, clear – so I grabbed the dog and my truck keys and pointed old truck toward Paris Springs. I put a new K&N filter on it last week, so I wanted to see if it made any difference in performance, so it was a good excuse to hit the road. … Continue Reading

There and Back Again – A Personal Journey

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Where to begin with this post? There comes a time in life when you have to make a change. Sometimes, a big change. What follows is a personal story, but see if you don’t identify with some of what you read here. … Continue Reading

On The Road With This olelongrooffan: Let’s Go To The Folkston Funnel, Shall We?

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So this olelongrooffan is certain my fellow Hoons are trying to figure out what this image of some random rail cars has anything to do with the happenings here in the Hooniverse. Well, as I hope my fellow Hoons have most likely figured out by now, this olelongrooffan ventures out on a regular basis to see if I can find some, what I think is, cool stuff to share with my fellow Hoons. So far, although with some exceptions, all seems to be good. Hope the same can be said today. So if my fellow Hoons don’t mind some longrooffan ramblings and the reason these rail cars are featured “above the fold” feel free to click on through.

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Weekend Edition: 2014 Turkey Rod Run Road Trip: And Out Of Naples

IMG_2644 So one of the perks of my new gig, one that was unknown to this olelongrooffan, is that after six months employment, I was awarded two weeks paid vacation. The caveat is that those days of vacation needed to be used by the end of the calendar year. As I run the customer service division of my company for the new home communities we have in the southwest part of the Sunshine State and the snow birds having been fleeing the northern part of this great country in droves to my part of this world, my skinny white butt has been spread pretty thin. However, last week during my performance evaluation (four exceptional and four outstanding, thank you very much) I was chatting it up with the British monarchy I work for (Charles, Diana and Henry) about my workload for Thanksgiving week and they all agreed that my taking off for this coming week would be a great idea and to have fun. Well as I had planning on spending Thanksgiving weekend at the Turkey Rod Run at the Daytona International Speedway, this olelongrooffan thought I would road trip it up there trying to avoid Eisenhower’s Interstate System. If my fellow Hoons are so inclined, click on through to ride along with me and see some of the sights I saw on Saturday. … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Road Trip: Kinsley, Kansas – “Midway USA”

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In 1939, there were two concurrent World’s Fairs being held in the United States: the New York World’s Fair, and the Golden Gate International Exposition a continent away in San Francisco. That April, the cover of an issue of The Saturday Evening Post depicted two cars, each emblazoned with “World’s Fair or Bust,” passing each other in opposite directions under a fictional signpost marking the mid-point between the two cities. As it turns out, that imaginary signpost would have been located on U.S. Highway 50 just outside Kinsley, Kansas. The county seat of Edwards County has been promoting itself as “Midway, USA” ever since, but without managing to attract much national attention.

Fast forward three-quarters of a century. My close friend Rusty — an old co-worker and riding buddy of mine who relocated to Colorado years ago — suggested we get together for a motorcycle ride; the only problem is that he lives 620 miles west of me. I suggested that my wife and I should meet him halfway. A quick check of Google Maps indicated that the halfway point between his house in Pueblo and mine in Kansas City was within three miles of…Kinsley, Kansas. Even living less than 4-1/2 hours away, I had never heard of Kinsley. But once I learned of its long reputation as THE half-way point, kismet demanded we meet there. Not long after, under a cloudy June sky, we did.

What we found there was a quirky, threadworn small town whose acme had long passed without ever quite realizing its potential. But thanks to my equally quirky and optimistic traveling companions and the town’s genuinely sincere citizens, plus the great excuse for plenty of miles on sparsely populated rural roads, it was definitely worth the trip.

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Hoon On The Road: Over Some Rivers and Through the Woods

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When I first made my plans to drive up to Darrington, I wanted to take the scenic route. I read a few years ago about a road called the Mountain Loop Highway, and I’ve wanted to drive it since then. It’s called a loop because the full run will take you around the mountains and back, but most people are referring to the stretch of highway between Granite Falls and Darrington. I don’t spend much quality time with the Focus anymore, so for one weekend I parked the truck, grabbed my wife’s keys, and hopped in the first car I ever financed. What follows is a short review of our time together. … Continue Reading

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