Businesses Grow From Customer Review Sites

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Customer Review Sites are a necessary ingredient in any buying decisions. They alert consumers to faulty products, best buys, and wanted features. Many consumers have made seeking out reviews a needed part of the purchasing process. They are enabled to not only understand the products they are buying, but what to expect from various models and brands.

This not only applies to in-store and Internet products being purchased. It also applies to consumers traveling, go out for an evening, shopping for the best place to get a hair cut. Any type of service can be scrutinized and reviewed dependent on the buyer’s personal experience while receiving the service. Many of these review sites have changed from a simple review to now looking a lot more like consumer advocacy and reporting than ever before.

Businesses are also understanding the invaluable nature of these sites. As such, some bundle reviews and offer marketing firms and businesses the ability to buy them. Others provide ability for businesses to tweet good review directly from the site.

The focus of some sites to bundle reviews occurred because reviews affect business sales. The buying experience on the Internet is very different than in-store, and with many more consumers choosing to purchase online the power of the Internet is felt by all. This is especially true when considering the huge savings that exists on the internet.

In-store discounts are often very frugal, making online shopping sometimes preferred. Shopping from the comfort from your own home and having products delivered to your door is often reviewed as wanted or even necessary. The convenience on the Internet is something physical shopping malls, and superstores can’t compete with. Because of this, and needs to understand the customer, online reviews invaluable to businesses and product developers.

Real and virtual shopping have now converged into one sales market. Some consumers prefer online shopping, some internet shopping. In both cases reviews assist in making buying decisions. Online purchasing, however, does allow for the opportunity to buy used merchandise, which in some cases is preferable. Some businesses have also begun releasing products on the Internet first, or offering promotional coupons only available online to brought into the store. There are other times when some products will not be available at all in-store.

Some electronics are only available for download on the internet, or are promotional items only offered on websites. These items highly depend on reviews, and customers can read reviews before signing up for the free item or prior to downloading. This system allows all to affect the buying decisions of others with reviews, especially those comparing one product to another.

This allows for a more intimate and personalized buying experience. This is especially true as the difference between large and small businesses is leveled on the Internet. Anyone can be a success or a failure, and sometimes, reviews can lead to ultimate success or failure. Consumers may now find themselves communicating directly with their favorite authors, musicians or artists as business owners, across the board, become ever more aware of the potential and powerful results of customer review sites.

For more information regarding the benefits of consumer review sites, go to our home pages here. You can see pros and cons regarding products at http://www.myreviewreporter.com/Customer%20and%20Consumer%20Product%20Review%20Site.html now.

The Tattoo Shop
shopping review
Image by Stuck in Customs
I did a Google+ hangout last night where I worked on this photo. I took it just recently at the San Francisco PhotoWalk with Thomas Hawk. It was a great night… so many sights to be seen there.

As usual, I had two cameras with me. One was for quick street shots with a 50mm prime. The other had my 14-24mm (see Nikon 14-24mm Review) on for these sorts of shots. I find that if I want to be on the sidewalk and take a photo of the store in front of me, I really need this kind of lens to squeeze it all in!

– Trey Ratcliff

Read the rest, including some neat stuff about Google Ripples, here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Online Shopping Site Review

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I recently had the opportunity to take a look at a new and refreshing take on an established internet business model that promises to help their customers make faster purchase decisions on the latest hot products across the web.

The developers of this consumer product review and comparison site are focussed on the online shopping community. In particular, those who do not have the time to invest in searching for products online, finding the best product to meet their needs, identifying a safe and reputable vendor, not to mention the best price.

There are many of these sites available today and some of them are quite good. Others fall well short of providing useful information more often creating a maze of confusion due to their complexity and high volume of sponsored advertisements.

If you are like me, you prefer to shop with ease and simplicity where you are able to find what you want, when you want it, from a respectable vendor – at the best price available. This new site has a very simple concept. It provides what it calls product review spotlights that are generally limited to three or four items for a given product category. Each of the product comparisons that I looked at consisted of a single page providing links to additional products that may also be of interest to their visitors. What is refreshing about their approach is the simplicity and lightning speed of their site. These guys really seem to know what they’re doing!

In addition to product spotlights, I found comparable products with links to thousands of other items related to the spotlighted products. The site was simple to navigate and was noticeably missing the typical spider web effect often found on similar product review sites. And they do not bombard you with other ads or pop-ups. Simplicity appears to be their theme providing pleasant, fast paced, no-nonsense shopping experience. They even allow you to suggest product comparisons of interest providing a new twist to the personal shopper theme.

The layout of this site is straight forward and the main page states its purpose. Within the side menu bar they present a drop down list of product categories and featured products within each category. What I really liked was the fact that each featured product page has a similar look and feel with full graphics and text to describe the product or service. Anchors at the top of the page keep you grounded as you navigate through the different product listings.

The site states up front that it is focused on consumer trends – basically hot products. So if you’re looking for a vintage items you may want to look elsewhere as this site may not be for you.

From my perspective this site appears to present thousands of products and is currently focussed on information and software products. I did find several consumer electronics and health care products as well. It appears that the site is fairly new and adding products rapidly – all from respected online sellers.

In summary, I really like their approach and believe they will be a contender in the online shopping space.

Learn more about this great new Internet Shopping site at:

Click Here for the Best Product Comparisons & Reviews

Bryant Park, late Apr 2009 – 21
shopping review
Image by Ed Yourdon
The young woman here is beautiful, and I love the reflection of the keyboard in her sunglasses … but I gotta tell ya: the combination of grass and green-glow on the back of her laptop is out of this world. I have to admit that I used some color saturation to pump up the colors a little … but not much. This photograph made itself: I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, to point my camera in the right direction and push the shutter-button…

Note: this photo was published in a May 26, 2009 blog titled "Memorial Day Weekend Link Love." And it was published in a June 3, 2009 blog titled "THE NEW COMMENTARIAT." It was also published in a Jun 25, 2009 Romanian blog titled "Vom avea wireless în Craiova?" It was also published as an illustration in a Sep 2009 Mahalo blog titled "Bryant Young," at www-dot-mahalo-dot-com-slash-bryant-dash-young, even though it has nothing to do with the football player of that name….

Moving into 2010, the photo was published in a Jan 15, 2010 blog titled "Die Fußball WM live auf dem Laptop: Aber wie?" And it was published in a Mar 5, 2010 blog titled "Two Simple Ways to Make Every Action Count." It was also published in a Jun 27, 2010 blog titled " „Isch hab Rücken!“ – mit dem Laptop auf dem Boden sitzen." And it was published in a Jul 6, 2010 blog titled "7 Ways To Bump Your Frequent Flyer Earning Up A Notch." It was also published in a Jul 7, 2010 blog titled "Know Your Laptop’s Temperature Limits to Avoid Summer Meltdowns." And I just discovered that the photo was published in a May 26, 2010 blog titled "Memorial Day Weekend Link Love." It was also published in a Jul 9, 2010 blog titled "Links: Let Your Mind Wander, Credit Cards, Paranoid Collaborators, and More." And it was published in a Jul 11, 2010 blog titled "Modern Muses," as well as a Jul 20, 2010 blog titled "What Does It Mean to be a Nomad?" It was also published in a Jul 24, 2010 blog titled "夏の外出でパソコンを持ち歩く時に気をつけるべき9つのポイント,"which I think means "Summer Laptop" And it was published in a Sep 2, 2010 blog titled "5 Essential Web Marketing Tools for Small Green Businesses." It was also published in a Sep 10, 2010 blog titled "No mundo online." And, for no obvious reason at all, it was published in a Sep 30, 2010 blog titled "credit card programs, which is better, cash back (i.e. 4% on American Express) or frequent flyer miles bonus?" It was also published — again, for no obvious reason — in an Oct 13, 2010 "Credit Card Trends Daily" blog titled "Discover How To Maximize the Potentials of a Low APR Credit Card." And it was published in a Nov 1, 2010 blog titled "The Secret to Doing Your Best Work Effortlessly , as well as a Nov 2, 2010 blog titled "Thing 11: My Flickr Experience." It was also published in an undated (mid-Nov 2010) blog titled "Make Travel a Part of Your Life Again with Airline Miles Credit Cards." It was also published in an undated (late Nov 2010) blog titled " Make Travel Affordable and Easy with Airline Miles Credit Cards." And it was published in an undated (Dec 2010) blog titled "Are You One of the Millions That Could Benefit from an Airline Miles Credit Card?" It was also published in an Dec 19, 2010 blog titled "Airline Miles Credit Card Comparison," and it was published in a Dec 23, 2010 blog titled "Idée cadeau : Vivre léger."

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in a Feb 20, 2011 Polish blog titled "Prowadzisz fan page? Sprawdź, czy Twoja aktywność nie trafia w próżnię," as well as a Feb 20, 2011 Girl Log blog , with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in a Feb 22, 2011 blog titled "WNBA’s L.A. Chapter Presents Bookwoman Day On Saturday." And it was published in a Mar 11, 2011 blog titled "Top 10 Reasons to Work Online." It was also published in an Apr 1, 2011 Work At Home Careers blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in an Apr 4, 2011 blog titled "당신의 길을 가라." It was also published in an Apr 8, 2011 blog titled "Internet gratuit, c’est possible!", as well as an Apr 11, 2011 blog titled "Enola the Welder, Woman Welder at Heil Company." And it was published as an illustration in an undated (late Apr 2011) Book Drum website. It was also published in an Apr 25, 2011 blog titled "What Kind Of Blogs Do Women Love?" as well as an Apr 25, 2011 blog titled "Article Marketing Domination Review: The Definative Resource For Article Marketing." And it was published in an Apr 26, 2011 blog titled "„The innere Schweinehund does not live here anymore“." And it was published in an Apr 30, 2011 blog titled "MacBook Air battery better than advertised." It was also published in a May 4, 2011 blog titled "How To Keep Your Laptop Cool." And it was published in an undated (late May 2011) blog titled "8 Reasons I Love My Laptop." It was also published in a May 25, 2011 blog titled "i2011年夏モデルが出そろったので検討してみた."

Moving into June, the photo was published in a Jun 3, 2011 blog titled "3 Things I’ve Learned about Blogging – And Life," as well as a Jun 9, 2011 Marketing-En-Web blog, with the same caption as what I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in a Jun 13, 2011 blog titled "トップへデスクトップパソコンパソコン関連." It was also published in a Jun 17, 2011 blog titled "ノートパソコン使用時の姿勢の直し方を示した動画," as well as a Jun 17, 2011 blog titled "8 Personal Finance Basics to Tackle NOW." It was also published in a June 10, 2011 blog titled "The Real Social Life of Wireless Public Spaces." And it was published in a Jun 27, 2011 blog titled "„Isch hab Rücken!“ – mit dem Laptop auf der Wiese sitzen, as well as a Jun 28, 2011 blog titled "Taking your blog mobile: are you geared up?," as well as a Jun 28, 2011 Page i blog titled "Mac Book Airの販売は近い? 米Best Buyで販売一時停止." It was also published in a Jul 11, 2011 e-Portalik blog titled "Play: Więcej Internetu dla abonentów, nowe modemy." And it was published in a Jul 29, 2011 blog titled "Apple now has more cash than the US Government."

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Jan 15, 2012 blog titled "Nice Credit Card With Cash Back photos." It was also published in a Jan 23, 2012 blog titled "アメリカの若者たちの間で“愛の証”としてパスワードを共有することが流行." And it was published in a Jan 31, 2012 blog titled "Where Do I Start? How to Stop Dreaming and Get Moving" It was also published in a Feb 3,2012 blog titled "WM3600Rがあまりにも優れているので前機種WM3500Rとライバル機種URoad-8000を比較してみた," as well as a Feb 3, 2012 Nice Online Learning photos blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in a Feb 10, 2012 Gizmodo blog titled "An Apple Patent for Displays That Optimize Themselves According to Your Surroundings." It was also published in a Mar 9, 2012 blog titled "How I Use Technology When I’m Traveling." And it was published in a Mar 15, 2012 blog titled "5 Reasons Not to Delete Your Emails." It was also published in a Mar 28, 2012 blog titled "Benefits of a Merchant Account for your Online Store." It was also published in an Apr 15, 2012 blog titled "5 FAQ about sunglasses," as well as an Apr 16, 2012 blog titled "E voi fate vedere il vostro profilo Facebook ai vostri figli?", as well as an Apr 19, 2012 blog titled "Googling Your Symptoms Will Make You Sick," and an Apr 20, 2012 blog titled "tSurvival Survey: What is your weekend prepping project?" It was also published in an Apr 30, 2012 blog titled "144 Places to Educate Yourself Online for Free," and it was published in a May 2, 2012 blog titled "Universities introduce distance-learning courses." It was also published in a May 24, 2012 blog titled "TWITTERFITTER – DEN NYE FEMINISMEN," as well as a May 31, 2012 blog titled "Escola virtual d’estiu Espiral." And it was published in an undated (early Jun 2012) Lurvely blog titled, with great imaginative creativity, "Photo by Ed Yourdon," as well as a Jun 1, 2012 Gigazine blog titled "節電でも最も利用を控えたくない家電は年齢・性別問わず「パソコン」." And it was published in what appears to be the home page of an undated (early Jun 2012) blog titled Social Blog Marketing. It was also published in an undated (early Jun 2012) blog titled "How to make money online by outsourcing data entry projects," as well as an undated (early Jun 2012) Colorado Springs Information Center blog titled "A Fresh Start To Finding A Job." It was also published in a Jun 21, 2012 blog titled "6 Little-Known Facts that Could Affect Your Air Miles." And it was published in a Jun 28, 2012 blog titled "Offenes WLAN in Zürich: Die Stadt will sparen und ein Netz wie in Bern."

Moving into the second half of 2012, the photo was published in a Jul 1, 2012 blog titled "Tlc: gli operatori europei vogliono adeguati ritorni sugli investment." And it was published in a Jul 3, 2012 blog titled "How To Run Your Blog While You Are on the Move." It was also published in a Jul 8, 2012 PolySquare blog titled (I think) "엮인글 주소가 복사되었습니다." And it was published in a Jul 19, 2012 blog titled "Jugendliche sind immer länger online," as well as a Jul 19, 2012 blog titled "Where to find free wifi at the London Olympics." It was also published in a Jul 28, 2012 blog titled "What You’re Actually Looking At When You Look At Facebook." And it was published in a Sep 2, 2012 blog titled "What Every Business Owner Should Understand About Article Marketing!" It was also published in a Sep 8, 2012 blog titled "Ask The Trainers: What Is Your Best Low (or no) Cost Marketing Tactic?" And it was published in a Sep 13, 2012 blog titled "Online-Shops: der Vergleich." I’ve discovered that it was also published in a Sep 5, 2012 blog titled "Online Reputation Management for Sex Bloggers." It was also published in an Oct 3, 2012 blog titled "Wat zoekt Generatie Y?", as well as an Oct 21, 2012 blog titled "Le paradox Facebook." And it was published in an Oct 15, 2012 blog titled "http://www.bloggingbistro.com/two-new-social-networks-to-try-recmnd-me-and-pocular/." It was also published in a Nov 13, 2012 blog titled "Varied Article Marketing Techniques to Try With Your Business." And it was published in an undated (mid-Nov 2012) blog titled "Legitimate Work From Home Jobs." It was also published in a Dec 5, 2012 blog titled "Ask LH: Can I Leave My Gadgets In A Hot Car?" And it was published in a Dec 29, 2012 blog titled "Work from home in your own online business."

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Jan 4, 2013 blog titled "Learn How To Make Your Article Submission A Big Success With These Tips." And it was published in a Jan 15, 2013 blog titled "10 erros comuns nos blogs." It was also published in a Jan 22, 2013 blog titled "Guest Post: New Year, New Career," as well as a Jan 25, 2013 blog titled "You Need Great Content If You Want Your Article To Succeed." And it was published in a Feb 8, 2013 Italian blog titled "Esserci o non esserci… sul web – 1^ Parte." It was also published in a Feb 10, 2013 blog titled "Making Long Distance Relationships Work." And it was published in a Feb 11, 2013 blog titled "Hack Like a Pro: How to Remotely Install a Keylogger onto Your Girlfriend’s Computer," as well as a Feb 16, 2013 blog titled "Lent Reflection: Focusing on Work and Rest." It was also published in a Feb 19, 2013 Finnish blog titled "Näin synkronoit Lumiasi Mac-tietokoneen kanssa." And it was published in a Feb 27, 2013 blog titled "Will MOOCs be the End of the College Campus?" It was also published in a Mar 1, 2013 blog titled "病気の発症にも影響!?情報化社会を生きるあなたが病気から自分を守るスキル“健康リテラシー”." And it was published in a Feb 27 , 2013 blog titled "Will MOOCs be the End of the College Campus?" It was also published in a Mar 22, 2013 blog titled "72% Of Professors Who Teach Online Courses Don’t Think Their Students Deserve Credit," as well as a Mar 23, 2013 blog titled "Když ovládnete svoji mysl, ovládnete svůj život." And it was published in a Mar 27, 2013 Dutch blog titled "MOOC’s hype of heilige graal?" It was also published in an Apr 2, 2013 blog titled "30 sources to keep you updated on business and marketing," and an Apr 3, 2013 blog titled "Blackberry Mobile Phones Technical Gadgets Providing Overwhelming Functionalities," as well as an Apr 4, 2013 blog titled "Job Searching Tips When Moving to Tasmania." And it was published in an Apr 21, 2013 blog titled "Zarabiaj na poradnikach internetowych!," as well as an Apr 25, 2013 blog titled "WO dynamisch masculien," and an Apr 26, 2013 blog titled "The Importance of Your Online Reputation."

Moving on, the photo was published in a May 1, 2013 blog titled "Here’s More Proof It’s Time To Switch To An Online Bank." And it was published in a May 2, 2013 blog titled "Veränderung durch Digitalisierung der Entwicklung." It was also published in an undated (mid-May 2013) blog titled "10 Reasons To Start a Travel Blog." And it was published in a May 15, 2013 blog titled "Does your PR Agency Know How to Connect?", as well as a May 16, 2013 blog titled "The Best Financial Software." It was also published in a May 22, 2013 blog titled "Women Manage Credit Better Than Men, Study Says." And it was published in a Jun 2, 2013 blog titled "Twitter rende più facile modificare il nostro profilo," as well as a Jun 5, 2013 blog titled "Medium is a platform for writers, not readers" and a Jun 5, 2013 blog titled "私なりのGoogle検索順位をアップさせる方法." It was also published in a Jun 11, 2013 blog titled "Leren van online studeren," as well as a Jun 12, 2013 blog titled "Higher Ed, Listen To Your Facebook Fans." And it was published in a Jun 27, 2013 blog titled "子どもができたらプログラミングを習わせたい ," as well as a Jun 27,2013 blog titled "After 10 years, Google purges Blogger of all "adult" sites." It was also published in a Jul 8, 2013 blog titled "Aantal flexwerkers gestegen," and a Jul 12, 2013 blog titled "Online Jobs for Your Teen This Summer," as well as a Jul 22, 2013 blog titled What I like best about being a Spotter….," and a Jul 20, 2013 Slate France blog titled "LES RELATIONS À DISTANCE FAVORISENT L’INTIMITÉ DANS LE COUPLE" and a Jul 22, 2013 blog titled "Как организовать поиск работы в Краснодаре." And it was published in a Jul 26, 2013 Selmicro blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in an undated (mid-August 2013) blog titled "Get Your Name Out There With These Wonderful Tips." And it was published in a Sep 10, 2013 blog titled "Students Battle School Districts Over First Amendment Rights On Social Media."

Moving into 2014, the photo was the first of my Flickr archives to be published — in a Jan 1, 2014 blog titled "The Evils of Social Media." It was also published in a Jan 10, 2014 blog titled "スモールビジネスを選択する判断基準 10のチェック項目." And it was published in a Mar 13, 2014 blog titled "Outil B2B : le troc entre professionals." And it was published in a May 1, 2014 blog titled "What gives a website game-changer status? Or, how to have a website that sells." It was also published in an Aug 12, 2014 blog titled "More sunlight exposure reduces risk of shortsightedness."

Moving into 2015, the photo was published in an undated (mid-January 2015) German blog titled Jugendliche und Datenschutz in Sozialen Netzwerken

In this episode of Kids Eat and Review Candy, Kaylee use the Barbie Cash Register with the AppTastic app to scan all the candy she has. The Barbie Cash Register allows you to use an iPod app to create a fun shopping experience. Check out this video to see Kaylee demonstrate the Barbie Cash Register, the app, and of course – eat lots of candy!

More Shopping Review Articles

Hunting Product Shopping And Review

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There are many hunting products on the market, and people generally find it hard to choose one from another. These hunters are from tight hunting communities, and they generally rely on hunting product shopping review sites to let them know if a particular product would be a good buy for the type of hunting that they want to do.

These hunting product shopping and review sites might reserve a section of their website to discuss a multi-tool that you are considering carrying with you into the woods. You might wonder whether the tool would rest comfortably in your pants pocket or if you would have to fix something up to where it could hang off of your belt.

The product might lead you to have several questions that would have to be answered before you committed yourself to buying it. You might wonder what the multi-tool features are on the product, because you saw it advertised in a magazine, but did not have time to read the whole thing. That is when people find hunting product shopping and reviews very helpful.

By taking the time to visit the Internet websites that offer hunting product shopping and reviews, you will be able to hear all of the good things about a certain product from people that have actually purchased them. You will also be afforded the opportunity to see the negative reviews as well.

These user input reviews will allow you to an arena in which you can use the information to form your own opinions about the comments that are made. The negative reviews might be misleading, because they only cover minor comments about how the color runs off of the product onto your pants, or that someone thinks its too bulky to be considered for pocket use.

The hunting products shopping and reviews might provide you with useful information about a product that you might use as a survival tool. One of the features about a harness system, is that can be used as a backpack, but it contains components that can be strapped on, that you can carry water to use in hot climates, and food to nourish your body when you are away from home.

If the review let you know that the food storage and water bottles have a tendency to come loose after a short time, and that the cool water temperature can not be maintained in hot climates, then you could make a quick decision on whether you think that would be a product that you would want to buy.

If you saw a product with an amusing name, would your opinion of it drop slightly? After reading a hunting product shopping and review article about that product, you may just end up thinking it is the greatest thing you have ever saw. You come to the realization that if you had read about this type of hunting product shopping and review sooner, you could saved yourself numerous trips up and down a tree. You are thrilled now to know that this tool will help you fetch any type of article you drop.

Some hunting products shopping and reviews might cover a sensitive area that you do not feel comfortable talking to anyone about, but are very comforted to see it discussed in detail through a product review. Bladder relief when you are in a blind has been a troubling thing for hunters for a very long time. When you see such a great review that is honestly written by someone that has used it, you know that you will want to buy one, and will not have to discuss all the features with anyone. Since you know you can wear it under your clothing, you feel nobody will know you are using it anyway, and that is a very good selling point for some people who prefer to keep things like that private.

James Brown writes about GI Joe’s discount codes , DicksSportingGoods.com coupon and Bass Pro Shops discount codes

German Valley WV (2)
shopping review
Image by D.Clow – Maryland
Friday
Entry One

Flew out of work, the fleet flight of Friday before a holiday weekend. Everyone cracks a smile upon stepping out of the concrete and glass coffin of the corporate work week. The motorcycle is quickly gassed and loaded, I leave Washington DC at three-thirty, vowing not to check the time for the rest of the adventure. Adventure, the American adventure of the open road is what I seek. The road, my cameras, and escape.

Right turn off of 15th St. NW and I’m motoring past the Washington Monument and the White House. Harleys and clones are already lining the Mall for the annual Memorial remembrance that is Rolling Thunder. I’m soon over the bridge and on I-66 west. I plan on avoiding major highways when at all possible. Preferring scenic byways to drab highways. 66 is a necessary evil to flee the DC metro area as quickly as possible. At the start, 66 is a good quick run, for awhile anyway. Loads of Rolling Thunder riders are heading in 66 eastbound.

I keep the ubiquitous two fingers down to the side salute to fellow bikers out for extended stretches of time. In my experience, HD guys return the acknowledgement about 30-40% of the time. No big deal, some animosity exist though between different bike cultures. Motor-ism two-wheel stereotypes. However with the Rolling Thunder guys there is a noticeable increase in response, perhaps due to no longer just one biker acknowledging another, but a patriotic sharing of support and remembrance for those left behind, POW-MIA.

Traffic worsens further out 66 and I come up on a full HD dresser. Screaming Eagle back patch worked in with POW-MIA covers his vest and is topped by a “Run for the Wall” patch. I keep back a pace and we adopt the natural offset positioning of multiple riders.

After some 66 backup, stop-and-go, we strike up a staccato conversation in the pauses of the traffic flow. Where you been, where you going, see the rain coming? I tell him I’m headed out to the mountains, Skyline Drive and West Virginia. He says he’s just in from there recently, was in DC for Rolling Thunder for the day and will be coming back in on Sunday again. His license plate is obscured by luggage, so I’m unsure of his port of origin.

Later on we part ways and my thoughts turn. Of my parents friends only my step-dad was drafted for Vietnam. Luckily, for us, he only went as far as Ft. Hood, TX, and came back with some good stories about army life and venturing into Mexico (at least the ones he’s shared with me). I think about all the life he’s lived since then, all his experiences and joys. Thinking about what all those who didn’t return gave up, lost, when they didn’t come home. The loss felt by those who loved them, families that have a name on the Wall.

Rain is sprinkling before Manassas. Enough to cool you off but not enough to get you worried yet, at least for a bit. Whooooo. Then come the big drops. I head off the ramp to gear up with the rain paraphernalia under the gas station pavilion. Finally get it all on and get strapped back up and out pops the sun and the rain stops. Too funny. Now I have wet clothes on under the raingear. Rain gear now keeping the wind out that would dry me. I motor on as more rain is promised on the horizon.

This brings up a point about rain. People always ask, “What do you do when it rains and your on the motorcycle”. I reply simply, “I get wet”. Duh. Rain riding has never bothered me. On the straight highways it’s no big deal. Just give more cushion to the cars in front of you. Drive like grandma on the exit ramps.

My turning point is finally reached. Off of 66 west and onto 647, Crest Hill Rd. at The Plains, VA. Crest Hill Road is my first slice of motorcycle heaven to be had this weekend. I’m delighted to find that the squiggly line I traced out on the map when planning this trip has translated so well in reality. The road is still wet from the passing rain clouds, and I give a small rabbit and then a chipmunk a near death experience. My first of many animal crossings this weekend. The road is fantastic. A mixture of hilltop road and tree lined canopies that create forest tunnels. Speed limit is 45mph, 55-60 feels comfortable on most parts. Keeping an eye out for a hilltop barn to photograph that I’ve seen in my minds eye, lit by the sun breaking through the clouds and backed by the mountain vista. No luck on any of the barns actual placement to fit the mental picture I have framed.

Crest Hill Road and Fodderstack Rd is a long stretch. I take shots of a church and other buildings along Zachary Taylor Highway. Fodderstack gives more of the same as Crest Hill, just a narrower road. The asphalt is of my favorite variety, freshly laid. Washington, VA is a tiny town of historic bed and breakfasts. Local wineries appear to be an attraction here too. Right after Washington the rain returns while I’m in route to Sperryville. Then it really starts to come down, a full on summer thunderstorm. Visibility is down. Road and parking lots soon resemble rivers. Rain drops of the monster variety explode on the pavement, and you know it hurts when they hit you.

I quick soaking circuit of Sperryville confirms there are no local hotels. I duck into a barn shaped restaurant to wait it out. My drenched gear takes on bar stool and I occupy another. There’s a few flying pigs about. The bartender get me a hefeweizen, and recommends the angus burger. Locally raised and grass fed, we exchange jokes about my passing the burgers relatives on the way in.

Don’t freak about the beer. I have a one only rule when riding. It was followed by a meal (best burger of the weekend!), several coffees, and this bar top journal entry.

Somewhere along Crest Hill road I decided to keep the cell off for the weekend. In addition no tv, newspapers, internet, or e-mail sound like a good idea. Of course I now am studiously avoid eye contact with the two beautiful plasma’s above the bar.

Entry Two

Hazel River Inn, Culpepper, VA, has the coolest street side seating in town.

The downpour let up at the Shady Farms bar in Sperryville and due to the deficiency in local lodging I quiz the bartender for options. Over the other side of the mountain, the opposite side of Skyline Dr via 211 is Luray with lots of motels, but I want to save the mountain for the morning. The waitress suggest Culpepper, there being a Holiday Inn etc.

Stepping outside the sun has broke through the clouds again. Enough for some shots of Shady Farms Restaurant and a bridge. Heading down 522, the Sperryville Pike, I keep an eye out for photo ops to catch the next morning as I’ll be rerouting back through. Following the mantra of Dale Borgeson about tour riding in the US, I aim to avoid large chain establishments, whether they are restaurants or hotels, and explore the mom-and-pop local variety businesses. I have a dive-ish roadside motel in mind, Culpepper comes through with the Sleepy Hollow Hotel.

Before check in I ride through downtown historic Culpepper. It’s a cool place. The Shady Farm bartender had recommended the Culpepper Thai restaurant. I see it but don’t visit, still full from the meal earlier. Cameron Street Coffee looks like a great place, located in an old warehouse. Unfortunately their closed for the night.

Shower and changed, room 102 at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel. I hop back on the bike, refreshed and dry and ride through the warm night air back downtown. The coffee at the Hazel River Inn comes with a sweet fudge confection on the side. The peach and blackberry cobbler with vanilla sauce is divine.

The reconfigured plan for this getaway is to shed. Shed worries about the job, career, housing, and relationships. My motorcycle is therapeutic. It’s 600cc’s of Zoloft on two wheels. The road lifts my spirits. This wasn’t supposed to be a solo run, and there are stretches of road where I feel the emptiness behind me.

The cobbler is finished and I can hear the sound of a band doing their sound check. The banging of the drum requires investigation.

Entry Three

I found Brown Bag Special in the cellar pub of the same restaurant I was in. On my way to the door the noise of the sound check floated up the stairs and directed my feet downward. Brown Bag Special opened the set, appropriately enough, with “I drink alone”. The ol’ man, Big Money, would have loved it. Drink alone started off a Big Money Blues trifecta to include “The Breeze” and “Mustang Sally”. Then they made the mistake a lot of bands make that have a great lead guitar player. They let him sing. The lead guitarist karaoke sucked his way through a Tom Petty hit. He was so off key in his singing it made you appreciate the guitar solo’s all the more for the relief they provided. Thankfully the regular singer soon resumed his duties and the night went on. More good stuff from the band.

Freebird
Folsom Prison Blues
Cheap Sun Glasses

“can’t you see, can’t you see, what that woman, what she’s done to me”

Off to bed now at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel with the ghost and shades of dead hookers and overdoses past.

150 miles today.

Saturday

Entry Four

Morning breaks on the Sleepy Hollow Hotel, a hot shower and I’m back on the bike. A quick stop downtown to shoot the Hazel Inn, then it’s back on the Sperryville Pike. More stops to capture some sights seen yesterday. Mr. & Mrs. Pump. The open mouth caricatures are an accurate representation of the current gas cost and the pumps eating your wallet.

I keep telling my daughter that her first car, college car, will be a hybrid. She thinks they are ugly. The bike isn’t so bad, averaging around 40mpg. At about 180 miles on the tripometer I start to look for a refill, although I’ve pushed it to 211 miles before.

A quick left in Sperryville on 211 and up into the mountain, Blue Ridge Mountains and Skyline Drive. Heading up the mountain I get the first bite of the twisties I’ve been craving. The fee at the gate to Skyline Drive is well worth the price. Great scenery and fantastic views. The only drawback is the 35mph speed limit that is well enforced by the park rangers.

I shoot some self-portraits at Pollock Knob overlook. They’re funny in that with all the scrambling and hurrying to be the camera timer, then trying to effect a relaxed pose. I’ve also broke out my old friend this trip, the Lubitel 166, a medium format, 120mm film, twin lens camera. I’m like Jay-Z with this camera, I have to get it in one take. There is no digital review after the click for instant gratification. As a fellow photographer it’s “Point, Push, and Pray”. I’ll be interested to see the results. Not that I’ve left digital behind. Carrying both cameras, I’m an analog/digital double threat.

After the self-portraits and some dead tree shots I’m about to pack back on the bike and leave when I meet the preacher and his wife. He offers to shoot me with my camera and I return the favor with theirs. Conversation flows and in a ‘small world’ moment it turns out that he works for same Hazel family that owns the restaurant I was at last night for his Monday thru Friday job. I get a friendly “God bless” and I’m heading south on Skyline Drive. I make several more stops and break out the cameras again at Big Meadow.

There is a gnarly dead tree in the middle of the meadow. It has burn damage at the base, either the result of some wild fire or perhaps a controlled burn done to maintain the field. I spot and shoot a few deer, they probably won’t turn out as they’re to far away for my lens on the D100. I shoot a bunch of shots of the tree with the D100 and then totally switch processes with the Lubitel. The picture setup with the Lubitel takes about a minute-and-a-half. Manual zoom, i.e., walking back and forth to get the framing I want. Light meter reading. Then dealing with the reversed optics of the look-down box camera. It is fun though, to switch it up, change the pace and the dynamics. Just one click though, hope I caught it.

It’s a long but enjoyable ride to the south end of Skyline Drive. Unless you really like slow cruising I would suggest picking which third of Skyline Drive you’d like include in your trip and leave the rest. I drop off the mountain and into Waynesboro. Finding Mad Anthony’s coffee shop for a late breakfast. I overhear that it’s around noon. The Italian Roast coffee is good, in fact, it would prove to be the best coffee of the trip.

One of the pleasures of traveling by motorcycle is that it’s an easy conversation starter. People ask you where your coming from, where you’re heading, ask about your bike, tell you’re about their bike or the one they wish they had. One of the peculiarities of these conversations is that if the person even remotely knows of anyone that has died on a motorcycle, they will be sure to share this fact along with details. These stories usually involve a deer, a car pulling out, or someone taking a corner to fast. The conversation goes something like this:

Stranger“nice bike”
You“thanks”
Stranger“my cousin Bob had a friend that hit a deer and died on his bike”

Short silence.

You“yeah, deer are dangerous, got to be careful”

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve held variations on this conversation many times. Luckily this isn’t the conversation I have with the owner of Mad Anthony’s. He’s a former sailboat instructor who now finds the same release and head clearing on his motorcycle that he used to get from his sailboat.

This brings to mind the same wave – don’t way dynamic that occurs between sail boaters and power boaters, very similar to the sportbike & HD crowd.

The proprietor is a coffee guru, we discuss roasting (my Italian roast was just roasted Wednesday this week). We talk about the good and the evil of Starbucks. We’re both in agreement that they over roast their regular coffee, but I think their foo foo drinks are tasty. He has in his shop both the Bodum press and the Bodum vacuum coffee pot that I got my mom for x-mas. A shameless plug here, the Bodum vacuum coffee pot makes the best home coffee ever. It’s also an entertaining crowd pleaser, no joke.

Leaving Waynesboro the plan was 340 northward to 33, then into Harrisonburg, VA (home of the Valley Mall and JMU). 340 proved to be boring so I jumped on 256, Port Republic Road, for a better ride to Harrisonburg. I don’t know if the coffee wore off or if I was just worn out. I pull over at Westover Park, pick out a spot of grass, and take a good nap in the sun.

I had my motorcycle bug handed down to me by my step-dad. My kindergarten year of school we moved right at the end of the school year. Rather than switch schools at this inopportune time my Dad stuck me on the back of his Honda and rode me to school and back again for the last month or two. Even earlier than that I have a great photo of me in 1973-4 sitting on his chopper with him. Me in a diaper and him with his long hippy hair. The wild side of the Reverend indeed.

Refreshed from my nap it’s back on 33 westbound. Heading out of the Shenandoah Valley and Rockingham County is more glorious twisty roads and the George Washington National Forest. GW is a beautiful tree canopy lined road with a river off to one side. Franklin, WV is the destination, a return to the Star Hotel.

I stayed at the Star a few years prior when they first re-opened the historic Star Hotel. The owner, Steve Miller, is a great guy, friendly and conversational. I told him I’d be back again, but it’s been a few more years than I thought. Late lunch at the Star is pesto grilled chicken on ciabatta bread with roasted red peppers. Not the type of fare one might associate with West Virginia, but people have misperceptions about everywhere. Steve promises a prime rib later at dinner tonight to die for.

So that there is no misunderstanding, in as much as the Sleepy Hollow Hotel was a dive, the Star Hotel is a dream.

Dump the gear in the room back on the bike for some roaming around. I head back to explore a river road I passed on the way in, Rock Gap. It’s a gravel affair and I follow it back a little ways. Photo some river shots. Down further there is a large cliff face with some college aged kids de-gearing after a day of climbing. I’ll try to stop back in tomorrow and shoot some climbing action, as well as some fly fishing.

I pick up a bottle of Barefoot Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, and drop it off with Steve at the Star to keep for later. I’ll enjoy that bottle later tonight from the 3rd floor front porch. South out of town I head, into some very secondary roads. I shoot an old decrepit cabin that would be right up Bobby Sargent’s alley. I put it in the metal folder for a possible future model shoot location, along with the river spots I’ve seen.

There are a couple more stops on this little ride. Once for what appears to be a feral chicken, and then for middle of the road stare down with a young doe. She’s camera shy though and is off before I can get a shot. Sportbike probably isn’t the best conveyance for nature photography. The pavement stops and gravel begins, I motor on. Rick & I once spent a full day just about on gravel roads, crisscrossing the back country around Cumberland, MD. So I’m comfortable with the less than ideal riding surface. A few miles on the road dead ends at a pair of chicken houses (source of the feral chicken’s ancestors perhaps?) and I turn around and survey the valley I’ve just ridden through. I have to stop the bike and soak in the scene. A picturesque farm is nestled in the corner of the valley, up against the hills. I meet some inquisitive cows, along with the farmer and his wife.

It seems that when you are in WV and you pass a sign that says “snow removal ends here” that the already suspect road conditions are going to quickly deteriorate and will soon resemble somewhat more of a logging road. I motor on through some back country, no houses, no farms, just mountains, steep roadside cliffs, and wicked gravel switchback curves. The part that gives you the willies are the downhill corners where the road grade is slanted to the outside of the curve and to the drop below. Yikes!

I creep along where a four wheeler would be much more functional. Although I still hit it a bit in the straights. Pavement arrives again and I’m unsure of my exact location. I follow the chicken farmers directions and soon discover myself back in Brandywine, intersecting the same stretch of 33 I rode on my way into Franklin.

Back at the Star Hotel it’s a shower and fresh clothes before heading down for dinner. Downstairs I find the prime rib to be as good as promised.

Entry Five

How beautifully staged is this. Barefoot on the 3rd floor patio, wine to ease the back and the ache in the knee.

205 miles today, the last 30 after check in, just to explore.

Sunday

Entry Six

Out early in the morning. I find no climbers at Rock Gap, unsure of the hours they keep. Out of Franklin on 33 west, looking for another squiggly line I had seen on a map. Bland Hill Road name is a misnomer. A single lane country road winding through German Valley. I got a few shots of German Valley from the 33 overlook before turning on Bland Hill. Now I find myself in the same location I had shot from above.

The road cuts through some open pasture land and I meet some cows standing in the road after rounding one bend. They’re pleasant enough, if in no particular hurry to cross, and don’t mind posing for a shot or two before meandering on. People talk about the danger of hitting a deer, a cow would really ruin your day! Off of Bland Hill and on down into the valley. I come up on the rock formation I had seen from the overlook previously. It’s not Seneca Rocks, but a formation of the same ilk. I get some more photos, then onto German Valley Road. I’m still staying at the Star, there is no real destination today. It’s relaxing to stop as much as I like.

German Valley Road puts me back on 33 west and not long after I’m ordering breakfast at the Valley View Restaurant. Dale Borgeson warns of places that advertise home cooking, but that’s about all you see in these parts. There are a fair number of cars here and that’s usually a good since the food will be alright. Hell, even the Army could make a good breakfast. It all works out and it’s a hell of a deal, for toast, two eggs, hash browns, bacon, and coffee.

From 33 I hit 28 and turn off on Smoke Hole Road, just because it’s there and looks interesting. Boy, what a find it is. Combining the curvy one lane country road with nice wide smooth pavement (gravel free in the corners). It’s great. Smoke Hole Road turns out to run from 28 across the Seneca Rocks National Forest to 220 on the other side. Going west-to-east it starts out all curves and hills, then ends by winding along the south branch of the Potomac. There are lots of fly fishermen here enjoying the catch-and-release section of the river.

Up 220 to Petersburg, I run into some Ducati guys at the gas station. We swap riding info and I’m soon on 42 north towards Mayville. Hanging a left when I see a sign for Dolly Sods. I’m back on secondary roads and I soon pass another prophetic ‘no snow removal’ signs. It’s gravel the rest of the way up the mountain til it breaks out on top at Dolly Sod.

I’m real happy with today’s roads, as both Smoke Hole Road and Dolly Sods were unplanned ‘discovered adventures’. I do some rock scrabbling at Dolly Sod and enjoy the cliff top views. A fellow tourist snaps a shot for me an I hike out well past the distance that the casual tourist and families go. Shot some more shots of the rock formations with both the digital and film camera. Do some more self-portraits. I then sit down to relax in the sun with the cliff side breeze steadily blowing and update this journal.

Entry Seven

Well, fellow traveler, if you’ve made it this far I am duly impressed. I thank you for your perseverance. The rest of the day was spent riding without incident. Just more fantastic roads. You don’t have to be an explore on par with Lewis & Clark to find great rides in West Virginia. Just be curious in nature and unafraid to leave the beaten path. Drop off the numbered roads and take the route less traveled. Soon you’ll be in your own undiscovered country. Blah blah blah.

Out of Dolly Sod and I find myself on 32. Rough calculations put the dirt road travel around 25 miles for the day. While we are on stats, here’s today’s animal road count:

1 rooster
1 dead fox
2 cows
8 chipmunks
7 alive
1 dead
3 dead possums
1 squirrel
1 dead blob (undistinguishable)
No fearsome deer
1 dog

I guided myself today by a rather non-descript map put out by mountainhighlands.com

Leaving Dolly Sod on 32 puts me in Dry Fork and back on familiar 33 west to Elkins. I cruise around Elkins on the off chance I’ll run into a guy I know named Dallas. Now all you need to know about Dallas is the following:

I don’t know his last name
I once gave him a hair cut with dog grooming clippers
I know he works at a bike shop making choppers

You figure the odds of me finding him, near zero.

If your curious it wasn’t the first time I cut hair, albeit the first time using dog shears. In Korea I cut in the latrine for a cut or for a 6 pack. Everything was barter in the Army. We had a cook that would make you a great custom birthday cake for a case of beer or feed you food out of the back of the chow hall at 3am when you staggered in drunk from the ville for the promise of a future round to be bought. Korea stories could fill another journal.

Anyway, out of Elkins and south to Beverly. Scott, if your reading this you were on my mind as I went through town, never forgive, never forget.

So far I’ve only tried to write about the positive food experiences of the trip without throwing anyplace under the bus. C&J in Beverly however, served only barely functional burgers and the vanilla shake was of the worst chemical prefab variety. There are some things that I am stuck on, good vanilla ice cream is one. The others that I’m picky about are beer, whiskey, steak, cheese-steak, and coffee. It’s just so disappointing when something you usually enjoy turns out to be sub par.

After C&J it’s 250 east to 28, which heads back towards Seneca Rocks and Franklin. It’s a good haul through the Monongahela National Forest. A road of the scenic variety, with good twisties up the mountain and through the scenery. These type road have become quite a common occurrence here in WV. Back in Seneca Rocks and 33 east into Franklin. I never shoot Seneca Rocks, the light is never right, number one can tell you how I get about my light.

The Star’s restaurant is closed on Sunday, dagger, so I shower and head into Franklin by foot. About Franklin, WV. It’s a nice little town, quiet and sleepy. No bars other than the VFW that I could see. Everybody I’ve met and spoken too has be pleasant, friendly and conversational, both here in Franklin and elsewhere in WV. I’m sure there are a variety of characters much as anywhere, this is just my observation from the tourist level.

Following last night precedent I grab another vino from the Shell station. The Star being closed is a dilemma; I’m in need of a cork screw (having borrowed the restaurants the night before). I wander back down to the hotel, wine in hand, and past the hotel just a bit til I meet an old man sitting out front. I explain my situation, wine without access, and he says he’ll sell me a corkscrew. He goes in the house, shortly to return with the necessary implement in hand. I figure I have it for -4 or maybe rent it for a one time use for . That proves unnecessary however, he says just to take it, and keep it for any future need.

The sole booking for the hotel tonight, I’m like a wraith as I glide through the halls. On the front porch with my bottle of vino in hand. I have some cheap cigars I also picked up and there’s nothing to do but kick back and watch the sunset.

It’s been a great trip. Somewhat lonesome at times. The lack of someone to talk to surely let to the length of this journal. It was a trip to getaway, to reflect. There was no great revelation or anything, just time to get to know yourself. The road gives you time to think. I know who I am and I like being me. I know what’s missing.

I’m resolved to take more bike trips in the future. It’s definitely my preferred way to travel and vacation. Motorcycling is the way to go.

Tomorrow I have my route generally planned out, more scenic byways for a winding route home.

Miles today, 240.

Monday

Entry Seven

Just a short postscript. 20 miles east of Washington DC, on 66, the chain popped off the bike. It’s never easy.

ZamZuu Review – MLM Secrets to a six Figure Income

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ZamZuu Review – The right way to grow your ZamZuu network marketing business.

ZamZuu is a hot topic these days, so I am going to do a ZamZuu Review for others who are looking for information on this company. I am not a distributor with the company. This is a third party ZamZuu Review. The company has changed it’s name for YTB to ZamZuu and it is doing things a whole lot better. ZamZuu distributors are given their own personal website that they can share a link with others to do shopping. There are many perks for being a distributor with the company. It was very smart to setup up a shopping network where you can shop and receive commissions on purchases and cash back. The shopping portal is enormous. They have some of the top stores in their portal from Kmart, Staples, Sears and so much more. What’s so smart about the whole concept is that we are in age where people prefer to shop online instead of actually going out and shopping at the store. So this will really attract a lot of people to the company.

Lets see if you can make money in this ZamZuu Review

To join the business you pay $ 250 for the preliminary payment and you required to pay $ 50 a month for your website and back office. As a distributor you can earn up to 50%-60% off of sales through your website. This is a very exciting company to join. You and your family and friends already shop online, so why not encourage them to shop through your website and you can earn income. You also want to bring other distributors into the company because that’s when you can start to earn extra bonuses.

ZamZuu is a spinoff company that was YTB. The company is not a scam it’s a legitimate company.

Let me get straight to the point. ZamZuu is a good business and you can also make a whole lot of money. If you don’t have the right training to learn how to generate visitors to your website you aren’t going to have a lot success. Let’s be honest, your friends and family are going to be buying but is it enough to bring you commissions every month. Whether you’re a distributor with ZamZuu or another business it is all the same, you can not have success if you do not have training and leads.

Let me provde the formula for success to grow your business.

1. You need to build a list through funnels and a personal website. When you build your list you must integrate an email autoresponder so that you can grow your own list.
2. Marketing funnel – Your funnel brings prospects in and qualify and filter your leads so you are only left with serious qualified leads
3. Funded proposal are going to provide you cash flow on auto-pilot.

This is the Formula that you need to build a successful ZamZuu Business.

This ZamZuu Review was designed to provide others the answers whether ZamZuu is a legitimate company. Most ZamZuu distributors will not have any success with the company because they will not be giving any training on how to sponsor distributors. To learn how you can generate a large number of leads for your ZamZuu business visit Theresa Jordan’s MLM Success training.

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