Article By: Panhead Frank
Originally Published In The September 2014 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Gypsy Tour is a ride which leads up to the Big Mountain Run and this year’s ride did not disappoint. We rode some of the best roads that Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia have to offer! The two-lane roads that wind through the mountains are incomparable to other places and provide supreme riding. The idea of the Gypsy Tour is not a poker run or a race for time, it’s just a casual ride through the mountains of whatever geographic area the BMR is being held, basically wherever we may be on the map. The route is planned in advance along with each night’s destination where food, camping and if we are lucky enough, entertainment are provided. Riders can travel the Gypsy Tour route with other likeminded folks or just explore and make up their own route before ending up at that evening’s endpoint. All in all, the Gypsy Tour makes you the gypsy, go where you want to go and make your own adventure on the way to the BMR.
My personal trek this year began on Tuesday afternoon when I met up with some riding brothers in Parsons, West Virginia. We rode on to Philippi, WV where we picked up a crew and moved on to meet up with more riders at Triple S Harley Davidson in Morgantown, WV for the Gypsy Tour kick-off party. Triple S threw an awesome party with a rockin’ band, great eats and a nice place to camp. A pretty fierce storm rolled in that night and proceeded to blow our tents away, luckily we were able to duck under the pavilion for shelter and a good night’s sleep. The next morning the gypsy tour everyone was dry, packed up and ready to head out for a couple days of great riding.
The Gypsy Tour took off from Triple S with a great assortment of killer bikes including Panheads, Shovelheads, Evos, Twin Cams, Sportsters, some Jap bikes and even a Triumph joined the tour. We tried to keep the entire tour on two lane roads because you can eat miles on interstates anywhere in the country, but that’s not what this trip is all about.
The first day we ran roughly 170 sun soaked, excellent miles; however, the main pack of riders got separated in the mountains of Pennsylvania. I was with one pack while RJ stayed with the other. We quickly got back together after an SOS call came from RJ saying Chris’s tranny quit and they needed the Cycle Source van (driven by the Great Delton Rhoades, “Jipe”, as we call him) for pick up. We found a rendezvous spot and loaded up Chris’s 1949 Panhead. This gave us all the opportunity to see Chris ride on the back of Matt the Wrench’s bike to capture some great images from the day’s journey! We stopped for some terrific grub at a little joint called Walat’s in Pennsylvania. After lunch we pushed on to Buck’s Indian Museum tucked back in the mountains on Route 50 outside of Romney, WV.
The crew at Buck’s Indian was more than hospitable as they opened up their Indian Motorcycle Museum to us. Buck’s Indian has the greatest private collection of vintage Indian motorcycles you’ll ever see. They had an amazing cook-out for us, a super place to camp and even opened up their garage for us to do some much needed tranny repairs. While at Buck’s, several more riders from around the country joined us for the second part of the tour. Most of them met up at Nick’s Cycle and came down from New Jersey. The next morning we left Buck’s Indian around 10 and ran some of the best roads WV has to offer, mostly on Routes 50 and 220. That day’s riding ended at the BMR site in Tucker County, WV. This year’s Gypsy Tour was epic and everyone had a great time, in part because we all took some unplanned wrong turns, which only added to the adventure, including myself who helped make the map, but we ended each day at the designated meeting place. We made new friends, caught up with old ones and most importantly strengthened the brotherhood.