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Topic: Carpe Diem: Indian Summer in Appalachia  (Read 10676 times)

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garry
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« on: October 12, 2011, 09:11:48 PM »

After a good start to the riding season, my job ate my life in July and August. It didn't help that my wife and I were trying to get our house ready to sell at the same time. I really wanted to do a short trip to the southeast and ride some of my favorite roads, so I planned on extending my ESTN ride to include The Snake, etc. But work ate my life. Again. Had a fine time at ESTN though.

Days are getting shorter, leaves are changing, and the end of riding season is on the horizon. What's this? A weather forecast with SIX days of sunshine and warm temps (70s). That NEVER happens in PA. I considered it a sign from God to ride my motorcycle, work be damned! So I cobbled up a route, tried in vain to find a riding partner, and took off on a four day solo twisty fix.

Day 1 - Escape from PA

I left on a cold Thursday morning and rolled south on 119 all the way to Buckhannon, WV. 119 pretty much sucks in southern PA, but gets decent south of Grafton. Once in Buckhannon, I took 20 (a favorite) all the way south to Rainelle (jct 60). 20 is wonderful between French Creek and Diana (did it 3 times) and the rest can be good fun when traffic is light. Traffic was a bit hit and miss, but overall it was a fine start. Route 60 west of Rainelle is awesome to jct 41. I did that section three times too. 41 to Beckley, 97 to Pineville, then 16 south all the way to Marion, VA where I stopped for the night. 16 is big fun between Welch and War, and was especially nice between Tazewell and Marion. I don't recall the road being this clean and well-paved over all three mountains before. Great way to finish the day in the fading sunlight.


Gauley River in Prince, WV:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake-021.jpg



WV16 south of Welch:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake023.jpg



Bunch of photos from WV16 between Tazewell and Marion:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake026.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake030.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake034.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake036.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake039.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake041.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/WV16_panorama.jpg


Day 2 - The Snake and Friends

Another cold start to the day, but not a cloud in the sky. Ran 16 south to Volney as a nice warm-up, then hit the crazy twisty route 58 to Damascus (awesome road), then 133 to Shady Valley. Ran the length of The Snake (TN 421) twice with no traffic. Amazing. On to Roan Mtn, then a wandering route to Erwin, Rogersville, and finished the day in Norton, VA. I try to mix in some new roads on every trip and today discovered that route 606 from Pennington Gap to Appalachia is a pretty nice road. Recommended.


VA58 between Volney and Damascus. 20+ miles of twisty bliss:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake048.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake049.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/VA58_panorama.jpg



Natural bridge/arch between Damascus and Shady Valley on route 133:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake057.jpg



Bunch of photos from "The Snake":

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake058.jpg

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake062.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake063.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake065.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake068.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake070.jpg



Photos from Roan Mtn:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake073.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake087.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/RoanMtn_panorama.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/RoanMtn_panorama2.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/RoanMtn_panorama3.jpg




Day 3 - Kentucky Bound

Today would be all about Kentucky. The "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" (route 160) starts about 15 miles from the hotel, so it would "game on" from the get-go today. Had an even colder start (39) than the previous day, with fog in the valley. 160 is a crazy twisty road that runs up and over a mountain (VA/KY border). 160 offers 10 miles of tight twisties and I had it all to myself. So I did it three times with zero traffic. The KY side of TotLP ends in Cumberland where I picked up 119 for a shot over another mountain to Whitesburg. I hit lots of "new to me" roads on the way north to route 32. Parts of 7 were very nice as was 172. 711 was as good as ever and 173 didn't disappoint either, but route 32 is the real gem. I think it's possibly the most fun road I've ever ridden. Wonderful banked corners on good pavement with no traffic and nice views for miles and miles to Sandy Hook. Since I only get this way once per year, I did it three times, before continuing my trek north to Ohio (via 486, 1, 3, etc). As an aside, I took route 141 north southern Ohio (nothing special), but it was much better than the last time I was on it (STN National in 2008) when much of it was under water...

Trail of the Lonesome Pine (VA/KY 160):

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake092.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake095.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake100.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake102.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake104.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake106.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake107.jpg



On the way Whitesburg on 119:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake115.jpg



Another natural bridge/arch on KY 711:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake119.jpg



More KY scenery en route to Ohio:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake120.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake121.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake123.jpg



Ohio farmland on the way to Athens:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake135.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake136.jpg



OH141 last weekend:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake137.jpg


OH141 in June 2008:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/MotoPhoto2008/STN08/061508014.jpg

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake139.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/LonesomePine_panorama.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/KY_panorama1.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/KY_panorama2.jpg




Day 4 - ESTN Reprise

Usually the last day of trip (even a short one) is a bit of a letdown as my brain starts to shift into work mode again, but not today. The colors were especially nice, the roads were empty, and I had a great time ripping up most of the "Ohio Sampler" route from ESTN. I decided to bypass downtown Pittsburgh (Steeler game letting out) and took a bunch of back roads to get home from Ohio.The roads in southeast Ohio definately hold their own against anything I had ridden earlier in the trip.


OH 555 aka "Triple Nickel":

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake146.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake149.jpg



OH 260:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake153.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake157.jpg



OH 537:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake159.jpg



OH 255:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake170.jpg



PA 231 (I think):

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake186.jpg



PA 136, crossing the Monongahela River:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/TheSnake189.jpg



OH 78:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/OH78_panorama.jpg



Somewhere in Ohio:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/OH_panorama.jpg



Somewhere in PA:

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/PA_panorama.jpg



I really would have liked to have shared the ride with someone, but then I wouldn't have taken nearly as many photos. It's kinda weird not talking to anyone for four days aside from a few sentences with cashiers at restaurants and gas stations. I managed to log almost 1600 miles over the four days and aside from the cool mornings, couldn't have asked for better weather. This trip was one for the books: possibly my best moto trip EVAR! At least until the next one...
« Last Edit: October 12, 2011, 09:19:18 PM by garry » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2011, 09:25:52 PM »

WOW - looks like a fantastic trip with that combo of twisty roads and sunny skies.   Thumbsup

I enjoy 3 or 4 solo days and with camping and cooking for myself often go a full day or two without talking to anyone.  Kinda strange the first time you say something aloud after keeping it all between the ears for that long.  
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2011, 10:37:59 PM »

Oh my gosh Garry, what a splendid trip and beautiful photos. Drool Thanks so much for sharing.
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2011, 09:47:58 AM »

Looks like a great trip - thanks for all the pics of tasty roads, natural bridges, and the autumn trees.   Thumbsup
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2011, 09:48:49 AM »

Here's a map of the route. Had to zoom out to get the whole thing. If anyone wants details or the Garmin GDB file, I'd be glad to send it via email...

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/KentuckyFourDay.png
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2011, 09:51:46 AM »

Confarnit!  Angry3 It's been waaaaaaay too damn long since I've been down there  
Absolutely beautiful pics  Clap
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2011, 09:52:12 AM »


Here's a map of the route. Had to zoom out to get the whole thing. If anyone wants details or the Garmin GDB file, I'd be glad to send it via email...




PM Sent!  Thank you!   Bigok
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2011, 10:01:57 AM »


WOW - looks like a fantastic trip with that combo of twisty roads and sunny skies.   Thumbsup

I enjoy 3 or 4 solo days and with camping and cooking for myself often go a full day or two without talking to anyone.  Kinda strange the first time you say something aloud after keeping it all between the ears for that long.  


I've done this a number of times but I talk and sing to myself so damn much (in the confines of my helmet, of course) that I don't get that strange feeling when I actually encounter a human. You should try it, it works  Bigok
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2011, 10:16:01 AM »

Great report and pics, Garry!  Your off-the-bike shots OF the bike are really nice!  There's definitely some calendar material in this report!   Bigok
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2011, 10:24:43 AM »


Great report and pics, Garry!  Your off-the-bike shots OF the bike are really nice!  There's definitely some calendar material in this report!   Bigok


Traffic was so light that I could park in the middle of the road and take photos pretty much anywhere I wanted. I'm pretty quick at the "hop off the bike, take a couple photos, and jump back on" thing. No removing helmet or gloves. I know the 2012 calendar submissions are coming due, so I was scouting for photo ops the whole trip and paying attention to where the good light was, etc. I also got to practice U-turns and emergency braking for the photo ops as well (which is why I don't take many photos when riding with someone). I took about 180 photos and pared it down to the 50-something here. That's a lot of stops on a 400 mile day (with only 11 hours of daylight).
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 10:26:15 AM by garry » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2011, 11:20:55 AM »




Traffic was so light that I could park in the middle of the road and take photos pretty much anywhere I wanted. I'm pretty quick at the "hop off the bike, take a couple photos, and jump back on" thing. No removing helmet or gloves. I know the 2012 calendar submissions are coming due, so I was scouting for photo ops the whole trip and paying attention to where the good light was, etc. I also got to practice U-turns and emergency braking for the photo ops as well (which is why I don't take many photos when riding with someone). I took about 180 photos and pared it down to the 50-something here. That's a lot of stops on a 400 mile day (with only 11 hours of daylight).


You had me at "Traffic was so light"  Inlove
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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2011, 12:46:36 PM »

Great report and beautiful pictures. Make me sad I didn't get the chance to venture down into those parts of the country this year. Those fresh paved tight sections of rt16 are some of the sweetest sections of road I've ever had the pleasure to travel on two wheels.
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2011, 02:35:26 PM »


I know the 2012 calendar submissions are coming due, so I was scouting for photo ops the whole trip and paying attention to where the good light was, etc.

It really shows in the details  Thumbsup

throw in the fall colors and this takes the usual garry trip report up another notch  Clap


This trip was one for the books: possibly my best moto trip EVAR! At least until the next one...

now dat's whut I'm talkin' about  Bigok
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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2011, 03:11:15 PM »

Wow. Just...wow.  Clap Clap
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« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2011, 04:00:26 PM »

Awesome pictures, Garry! Looks like a great ride.
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« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2011, 04:07:00 PM »

Great pics and report, Garry! The colors and light are really something, have me wising I was there.... next time, hopefully.
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« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2011, 07:20:01 PM »

About how many miles did you do each day?  You came pretty close to me when you drove through Rogersville.

Did you camp or stay in motels?
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« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2011, 08:07:52 PM »


About how many miles did you do each day?  You came pretty close to me when you drove through Rogersville.

Did you camp or stay in motels?


Days 1 and 3 were pushing 450 miles. Days 2 and 4 were more like 350. I stayed in motels all three nights: Magnuson in Marion, Holiday Inn in Norton, and the Budget Host in Athens.
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« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2011, 05:24:10 PM »

Beautiful!  

Thank you.
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« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2011, 07:36:34 PM »


WOW - looks like a fantastic trip with that combo of twisty roads and sunny skies.   Thumbsup 


+1  That looks like fine Calendar material!!!
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« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2011, 07:50:52 PM »

Great ride report Garry, thanks for the awesome pics!
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« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2011, 07:09:35 PM »

Fantastic report and pics! Thanks for sharing. PM sent.
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« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2011, 12:55:10 PM »

Great report and pictures. Your route south was almost the identical the route that I traveled to the Dragon this summer.
The northern part was a little different because of living in Central PA.
I have used some of you routes in the past and always have a good ride.
I would like the details and will send you a PM.

Tony
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« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2011, 02:08:11 PM »

Dude you've got some serious magazine-worthy shots there. Take it from a 30 year graphic arts and photography veteran.

Really fine photos there. Color is gorgeous. May I ask what kind of camera/basic specs?
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Years Contributed: '08, '09
Motorcycles: KTM 950 SMR / KTM 530 EXC
GPS: Southwestern PA
Miles Typed: 5676

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« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2011, 02:19:22 PM »


Dude you've got some serious magazine-worthy shots there. Take it from a 30 year graphic arts and photography veteran.

Really fine photos there. Color is gorgeous. May I ask what kind of camera/basic specs?


It's easy to take nice photos when the scenery is nice :-) Seriously, I just go "ohhh, that's purty!", slam on the brakes, yank the camera out of the tank bag, and snap a quick photo in Auto mode with my Canon P&S.  It's a much abused A570IS. Nothing special. Not even a polarizing filter.

That said, I do pay attention to light, color, and texture when riding solo and am always on the lookout for nice photo ops. I probably get one RR worthy photo out of every four I take. That's why I hardly take any photos on group rides: no one could stand riding with me given the number of stops I make and the "slam on brakes for a photo" thing.

All those shots were cleaned up in Photoshop using the wizards to tweak levels, color, and sharpness. I manually played around with shadow/highlights and vibrancy (maybe too much saturation on some shots).

If anyone would like a full size version to use on their desktop, just send me a PM with your email address.
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2007 KTM 950 SMR
2009 KTM 530 EXC
http://www.motoroads.net
ConPilot1
Seven Pupils In My Eye
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« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2011, 02:24:41 PM »




http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i150/garrysimmons/Moto%20Photo%202011/TheSnake/KentuckyFourDay.png


Well damn straight I got that saved to my hard drive.  Thumbsup
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brockep
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Motorcycles: 03 FJR
GPS: West Des Moines, Ia
Miles Typed: 270

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« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2011, 07:39:29 PM »

Amazing photos.  Calendar material is an understatement.  I have gone to the western US for the past 3 years but this report has inspired me to head East!  Trip planning begins today.
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garry
Bleeds Orange...
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Years Contributed: '08, '09
Motorcycles: KTM 950 SMR / KTM 530 EXC
GPS: Southwestern PA
Miles Typed: 5676

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« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2011, 08:49:10 PM »


Well damn straight I got that saved to my hard drive.  Thumbsup


I could send you the GPS file if you want. Just PM me with an email address. There are better ways north through KY, but I did some exploring this time...
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2007 KTM 950 SMR
2009 KTM 530 EXC
http://www.motoroads.net
SuperHans
Liberal Pinhead
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Years Contributed: '08, '10
Years Supported: '11
Motorcycles: Warpig
GPS: SEPA
Miles Typed: 4784

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« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2011, 11:30:38 AM »

Nice pics. Thumbsup
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