Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vintage motorcycle ad's.

I recently came into a large collection of photos and a small collection of 1972 magazines.  The photos present a huge undertaking, so I have chosen to take the easy route first and scan the car and motorcycle ads.

Looking at the photo above, I can only assume the rider and passenger were moments away from a ambulance ride given the wet conditions, tire quality (of 1972), the pivot points about to touch down and the sudden onset of power a 3 cylinder two-stroke engine has.  I'm also curios if this could be a action photo of a infamous blogger known to have had a Kawasaki two-stroke street bike?  If that were the case I'm sure they rode off into the sunset on the bike and not an ambulance...

If you are feeling nostalgic and wish to see a few more motorcycle and automobile ad's from 1972 you can watch the slide show below or visit my Picasa Album.
1970's car and motorcycle ads

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My First Motorcycle.

My first motorcycle.  The above image is a cropped scan of a Polaroid photo taken in January of 1980.  I'm astride my new 1979 Yamaha DT100 Enduro, and yes that's a smoke bubble visor.  The photo was taken at my grandparents farm. I would have been 11 years old, just a month shy of 12.  If not for this little green motorcycle, you probably wouldn't be reading this blog.  My father was responsible for me getting my first and second motorcycles.

I came to find this photo and many more while cleaning out my childhood home this past weekend.  My father passed away 2 days before Thanksgiving, he was only 67 years old.  I would like to tell you more about him, but for the moment it will have to wait.  I'm searching for a photo of him on a brand new Honda 305 Dream, when I find it I will tell you more about him.


Thursday, October 14, 2010


I recently purchased 3 DVD’s each with 4 movies on them, not just any movies, but classics like:  Forbidden Planet, Time Machine, Soylent Green, The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, Strangers on a Train and The Wrong Man just to name a few.  Since I purchased them it has dawned on me that there is no chance in hell that I will ever get to watch them, Because...

I have come down with a bad case of DCOD,  otherwise know as Digital Content Overload Disorder.  It seems that most of my free time is spent sifting through tons of noisy data looking for that one useful fact or funny video.  I just seem to lose focus... (It’s happening to me as I write this post, just way to many things going on at one time.)

In the morning when I boot up a computer I usually find something like 200-300 items (all the blogs I read+) waiting from me in Google Reader, 10-15 updated threads in ADVrider, a few worthy items in Facebook and two email accounts with about 20-30 emails (personal, work related and junk that passed the filter).  That’s just when I boot up, if I’m having a busy day I can easily have 1000+ items in Reader alone before I can look at it.  Of course I can’t leave out the DVR can I?  It’s now digital content also.  The DVR is always full with MythBusters, Dexter, GoodGuys, Warehouse 13, NCIS, NCIS LA, Gears, Extreme 4X4, Horsepower TV, Trucks, Muscle Car TV, Truck U, Two Guys Garage,  The occasional Movie (anything by Tarintino) and the list just goes on.  Did I mention eBay or Craigslist?  Nope, but let me tell you it take though they add a whole other dimension to the DSOD.

All of this Digital Content is of course on top of working for a living, household duties (grass, trash and cooking 1-2 a week), raising a young child (7 year’s old) and commuting 10+ hours a week.

I currently have 2 post for The Pizza Files, 2 post for ScootnArt and a couple of other digital projects cluttering up my brain.  I will try to unload and upload them soon, once that is done I’m going for a bicycle ride, I feel like I’m turning into one of the humans from the movie Wall-E...

I have got to reevaluate my Digital Content and hack some of it off,  I’m missing out on two much of the 2-way communication (no time to leave comments when I should because I have to much data to sift...).  I apologize to all my fellow blogger’s who’s blogs I read (yes I read them, really) but only leave a statistic in Analytics as proof I was there.  I know it’s the positive feedback that keeps one going.  I plan on doing better, and I might get to watch those DVD’s too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Falling leaf Rally, Crash testing the BMW G650 XCountry.

I attended the 2010 Falling Leaf Rally this weekend and partook in the GS/gravel road ride.  After Lunch in Bixby, MO 5 of us decided to take in a few more gravel roads instead of taking tarmac back to the rally grounds.  

I must say the part I like the best is my feet pointing toward the sky. It would seem I have a thing for low water bridges,  this is twice in as many months.  No harm done that a few zip ties couldn't fix. 

See you on the road or in the creek.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gateway BMW Open House

From Gateway Open House 9_11_2010
Gateway BMW, my local (and the Greatest) BMW dealer had a Open House this weekend, and as they always do, they put on a pretty good show.  Quite the spread of food and drink, the homemade cookies and pie are to die for...  Discounts galore, test rides and door prize's ( I never seem to win anything).  They also had entertainment this year in the form of Chris Teach McNeil, the U.S. Champion Freestyle rider.  Chris just happens to ride BMW motorcycles.  He sure looks like he has fun doing it too.  Oh, just in case you didn't know he has a day job!  He's a Latin teacher...  His web-site says he is a former teacher, but he told us that he now has a couple of employee's who drive his truck around the country and he just fly's in for the shows, that way he can continue to teach.

I thought this would be the time I walked away without spending any money, but it just can't be done.  I bought a chain cleaning brush, maybe you will see it in a future post.  I hope to upload Part 2 of the video by Monday night, so check back on my YouTube Channel.

See You on the Road.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Score is even, 1 and 1.

Not much to talk about lately, my family returned from and extended stay abroad recently and they have kept me busy.  Until today that is.  Today was my day off, the little one had school and my better half had plans.  I was off to ride the Creeks of Warren County with my Trusty GoPro HD Hero.  It was a Great day of riding, I put about 200 miles on the clock mostly on gravel and I shot 16 GB of HD footage half a 60 fps.  Well I filled up the 16 GB card but I only thought it was HD footage.  Turns out I shot 1200 5mp images 2 seconds apart and I found the main weakness of the GoPro HD Hero, it's archaic menu system.  Even though I studied the user guide the night before my ride I some how messed up when trying to change from 720p @ 30fps to 720p @ 60fps.  So until I can sort through all the images (should make an interesting time-lapse) I leave you with a teaser of 3 consecutive images shot at 2 second intervals, enjoy.  I guess I found the second flaw in the GoPro HD Hero, it's numbering system!  I have 5 sets of images all with the same number!


It's called SLIME... and it's slippy, very slippy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm Back!

It's been a long eight weeks, but I was finally given my release early last week.  So I set to planning my weekend travels.  I decided to visit my father and of course there would be pizza.  Saturday I was up early, but didn't leave until after 10 A.M. due to a craigslist appointment (that way I had money for pizza and gas).  I took what would normally take about 2 hours and extended it to over 6.

The first stop of the day was an old church, there are no markers or signs about it.  I think that makes me wonder even more about it's history.  The first 100 miles were spent mostly on gravel and I found about 12 low water bridges.  I didn't get my feet wet until the last one just after leaving Frankenstein.  Yes I went to Frankenstein, MO and no I didn't take a photo. There was not a single sign to be found in the whole place.  After a good visit and good pizza I had a twenty minute ride in the rain heading toward the lightning.

Sunday morning I had breakfast with my father at The Brick in Moberly, my favorite breakfast joint.  My plans for the day were to eat at Taco Johns in Pittsfield, IL and sleep in my own bed a the end of the day.

As I approached my first gas stop of the day I decided to add two more destinations.  The first was the Haunted tunnel (so I'm told),  it passes under the BNSF railroad less than a mile from the Des Moines River.  The second was Sorrento's Pizza in Fort Madison, IA.  The tunnel passed through, but no ghost were seen, just some graffiti.  When I arrived in Fort Madison I found Sorrento's Pizza closed.  It had been over 10 years since I last had pizza there, and for some reason I knew they would be closed, but it didn't stop me from trying.  Finding no pizza in the Fort I crossed the river into Illinois and headed south towards Pittsfield and some Taco Johns.  My day ended around 9:30 P.M. when I arrived home.  My behind knew I had put a few miles on the clock, but I was still surprised by just how many.

2 Days.
3 States.
20 Hours on the road.
630 Miles traveled.

Not a bad start.

See you on the road.

P.S.  To those of you that recently attended the International Moto Blogger's Convention in Bend, I have been following along with all of your blog's and have lived vicariously through your eye's, I thank you for that.  I would have loved to have been there, but in the end it just wasn't meant to be this time around, next time...  I won't even start on those terrible roads in Oregon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

1986 Yamaha SRX6, one more kick start fantasy.

This bike is the one that really gets me down deep.  Although it was produced from 1985-1997, It was only imported to the U.S. for one year, 1986 (for more info see WIKI).  Yamaha states that 19,000 SRX6's were sold in the U.S.  That means there has to be one out there with my name on it, right?

This particular bike listed on Cycle Trader is located in Chicago, just a short plane, train or car ride from home.  It has only 1900 miles on the clock, that's equivalent to one oil change...  The asking price of $2800 is probably not far from the original sticker price.  They claim the bike has not been modified in any way and still has the owners manual and original two keys.  If I had $2800 stashed away I would be making the trip to Chicago this weekend.

If only I was out riding what I have instead of sitting in front of a computer lusting after forbidden fruit! Arrrrrgh!  Only 3...I don't know, just to many weeks until two wheels.

See you on the road.

No, seriously this one really has me ready to pick the apple and accept the consequences.  How bad can it be?  It's all because my first bike was a Yamaha.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2003 Honda Ruckus, more kick start fantasy.

Another bike that I have a thing for buried deep in the gray matter.  This 2003 Honda Ruckus has one day left for bidding on eBay, currently the bid is up to $710 (reserve not met).  It only has 3500 miles on it and other than a dent on top of the front fender looks to be in excellent shape.  This Ruckus is located about 450 miles from my home, so I easily pick it up and be home in a day,  and I know it would be a lot easier to hide in the garage than a XT500.

The thing I like about the Honda Ruckus is the unlimited aftermarket customization options.  Oh yeah it's got a kick start also.

I'm getting restless and a slow day at work doesn't help.  I just got to keep from clicking the "Place Bid" button.

See you on the road.

UPDATE 7/2/10:
Final bid on eBay was for $830.00, a price I might have been willing to pay, but the reserve was not met so it didn't sell.  The seller might have done better if he had been more careful listing the Ruckus, it was listed under Motorcycles>Honda>Other VS Powersports>Scooters>Honda.  In the last month $830 is a bit high for a 2003 Ruckus on eBay, the only ones to sell have gone for around $700.

Monday, June 28, 2010

1980 Yamaha XT 500

I have wanted one of these bikes since I first saw them in the 1981 James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only.  The one pictured above is listed on eBay and will end in 2 days time.  Do you think my wife would notice, if I parked it in the corner?  Currently the price is $1200 and the reserve has not been met, so luckily if it sells it will be more than I would be willing to pay.  If all the parts were there and it was just a little better condition...

Some of the evil henchmen rode XT500's of this very color scheme but they had one inch studs in the tires and the turn signals would flip around to become machine guns.  You can see the XT in the upper right of the movie poster.

See you on the road.

UPDATE 7/2/10:

The final bid was for $1274.  The seller lowered the reserve price on the last day.  $1274 is probably not a bad price, still more than enough to put me in the dog house for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Six more weeks.

I had my check up for my clavicle fracture yesterday and was given 6 more weeks for it to heal completely.  If I'm really lucky it may be good in about 4 weeks, but I was told not to hold my breath.  The Doc says that a clavicle typically takes about 9 weeks to heal, which puts it out to Aug 2nd for me.  I guess the problem is that with a clavicle there is no way to completely immobilize it, and I can attest to that, it moves around quite a bite and can be very uncomfortable because of that movement.  There is the option for a plate bolted up surgically, but because my break didn't really fit the need for surgery I'm sure my Insurance would have passed on the bill to me.  So either way I would not be making a summer road trip, as it is the time just isn't there, and if I had had surgery I would probably have such a large medical bill that not only would I not be able to afford a road trip, I would probably only be able to eat stale bread and water for the next 5 years...

So for the rest of the summer I shall try to stay out of trouble and save my pennies for an even greater roadtrip in 2011.

See you on the road.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Is it toast yet?

Getting some time behind the wheel of PEL-8 (Adobe Premier Elements 8), I just need to be out riding collecting raw data, but that will have to wait for now...  I shot the video and photos this morning and had it edited by lunch, but when I used PEL to upload directly to YouTube only the first 18 seconds of footage would get uploaded.  So I spent several hours trying to get it to work, so that I could save a step and a few minutes.  In the end I had to do it the old fashion way of first creating an MPEG and then uploading it to YouTube.  Next time I will just go straight to the old fashion way. 

The video pretty much follows my vision.  I have very complex mental visions of  how I want things to look, but when I try to output those visions to bytes I seem to be all thumbs.  I'm pleased how it came out, but  I need to work on in-out timing and transition of the still images.

As I said in the video I'm getting bored around the house (I have run out of constructive things to do) so I decided later in the day to go for a walk and take my camera's below are a couple of images that would appear unrelated to motorcycles, but are they?

The first couple of images are what I will call  poor man HDR images, one infrared (Canon G7) and one regular.  I used 5 images that were shoot 2 stops apart and were merged in PSE using Photomerge-Exposure.

The last image is a single exposure made  with the Lumix ZS3 in sunset mode.

So what makes these photos moto related?  Well after taking the photos I took a tumble down the river bank.  Probably because I was protecting my left arm, the rest of me feels kind of beat-up.  I guess I will try to be content with being bored around the house for a couple of more weeks, lest I pull another stunt...

See you on the road.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A ride in the woods Part 2 the prequel and other stuff.

I was feeling better this weekend so I ended up doing some work around the house that I had put off  during the week so I didn't spend much time working on fun stuff.  I did finish putting together this video I shot the week before my small get off.  I was riding alone on a more difficult trail than the one that took me down.  I hesitate to state where this trail is, I rode it on my way to lunch and on my way home.  I didn't see any "No Trespassing" or "Private Property" signs on my way to lunch and there were no gates blocking the road, I'm just not sure if it is a public road or not.  It was an enjoyable ride and I'm glad I found it.

This video is the first video I edited with Adobe Premier Elements 8.  It works very nicely and I believe it will let me get out comes closer to my "Vision's".  Now I just need to get better bringing the time down.  I did have one problem,  I wanted to record a short narration track of about 20-30 seconds, but it crashed the program at about 10 seconds into the recording.  I finally recorded the track in another program and just imported the clip into PE.  I have some family video that I need to put together and then I will start work (pre-production & filming) on an epic moto docudrama that has recently been banging around in my head and also do a Redux on a short riding video I did last year.  When I get home today I will have a box from waiting for me, that will really give me the itch...

Connections,  I enjoy looking at maps on Google Analytics and the Feedjit list (lower right side of blog) to see where the people who read my blog come from and how they got here.  Last week I saw a hit from Salisbury, MO which is truly just a hop, skip and a jump from where I grew up (maybe 20 miles?).  When I was a kid Salisbury was home to the only motocross track I knew of and the Kawasaki dealer( a friend rode Kawasaki's, I rode Yamaha's).  I believe the track is long gone, but I think the Kawasaki dealer (Doug's Cycle Shop) is still there.  What really interested me was that the hit came via Wet Coast Scootin.  Just makes me wonder about the path they took getting here?  So Mr or Mrs Salisbury, if you visit again I'm from Higbee thanks for stopping by.

Enough for today, back to work.

See you on the road.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's all in the Laning! The aftermath.

I look a bit something like the photo above, just add 30 years.  Way back in the summer of 1982 I was riding Yamaha 125 and crashed it for almost no reason breaking my Left collar bone.  By today's standard I would have already had surgery to repair it,  but back then they just put a brace on and said good luck.

My recent fracture isn't all that bad so in the brace I am.  I get check up in about 3 weeks, so I suspect they will want me in the brace for about 6 weeks total.  The one good thank about the brace is that I can get both hands on the keyboard, doing this kind a thing one handed gets old quickly.  Back in 1982, a couple of weeks after that photo was taken I was riding my cousins Honda 70 three wheeler.  It had an automatic transmission, only a hand brake on the right side, so not having use of my left hand didn't slow me down at all.  Today I no longer have access to that little Honda nor a place to ride it, so it may take me a little longer to get back on the road.  I have a recumbent bicycle and I have been a little lazy about riding it lately, so I may have to get it ready so that in a couple of weeks when I get some pain-free motion in the left arm again I will have two wheels ready.

I will also have some time to go through the video I have already taken with the GoPro HD video camera.  I wasn't happy with a lot of the footage due to the camera shaking and the clattering noise coming from the camera shaking in it's housing.  I also shot some footage with the camera upside down only to find out my software wouldn't let me rotate the image,  so I  purchased a copy Adobe Premiere Elements.  I need to work at becoming proficient with it.  I will return to some footage I shot about a year ago and see if Premiere Elements will let me get a final edit closer to my original vision.  I must still learn that basic lesson of saving your work,  I had a just over ten minute video almost ready for publication, I went through each clip trimming the time slightly on each to get the total time under the 10 minute limit.  As soon as I got the time down I tried to record a short narration clip and the program crashed, off course I had not saved my work, so I'm back to the 10+ minute video, not the end of the world but none the less frustrating.

Hell is probably freezing over as I write this as I found and purchased a used Lumix ZS3( it's not a Canon??), it's all Bobskoot's fault. Maybe I will shoot some HD train videos while I'm healing.

At the least look for some videos in the near future.

See you on the road.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's all in the Landing!

The video pretty much says it all. I performed a similar stunt about almost 25 or 30 years ago, with nearly the exact same results.

It looks like I will have some time to hone my video editing skills, and treasure hunting skills on eBay.

I'll update in a day or two, between typing one handed and the vicodin it's time to call it a night...

See you on the road.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A ride in the woods, May 24th, 2010

For the last few weeks is has rained more or less 24/7, at least it seams that way.  If the sun did shine I was either at work from sun-up to sun-down or I had family obligations.  That is until yesterday, I had a brief window of opportunity from 10am to 3:30pm.  What follows is short snippet of my journey.

The rain had stopped, the Sun was shining and I had the day off from work and family affairs. I went for 150 mile lunch ride via a couple of creeks. Give me a few days and I will post a longer version with a few more highlights.

See you on the road.

Note:  Sorry, YouTube just doesn't have a embedded size that fits my layout, so the video is best viewed on YouTube, the mgt

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Packing List: Survival

What does survival mean?  I'm sure it means differnt things to differnt people, Webster's II New College Dictionary says:

Survival n. a. The act or process of surviving, b. The state of having survived.
Surviving v. To remain alive or in existence.

So at the very least my packing list should help to keep me in existence.  I'm sure there are some in the world who can't imagine surviving without their iPhone and a double grande fat free mocha chino...something or another and others that would be content with a pointed stick and the occasional mud puddle.  Myself, I see someplace in the middle, probably leaning away from the pointed stick guy.  The following list is geared towards traveling alone on everything from the Interstate highway system to jeep trails / forest roads.

  1. Membership card of Road side assistance/towing (My 650 is still under warranty which includes road side assistance/ towing, otherwise I'm not sure if I would have it or not).
  2. Mobile phone to call for road side assistance (also see Packing list: Digital / Analog).
  3. Spot personal tracker, for worst case situation.  extra battery's, and people set-up to receive "I need help" message.*
  4. Basic first aid kit.  No chest-tubes, sutures, etc.
  5. Tool Kit (see Packing list: Fix and Repair)**
  6. 1 liter fuel bottle (with fuel in it...).
  7. Shelter, such as a tent and sleeping bag or bivy sack.***
  8. Food and water.  Including a Camelback with 1.5L plus 1L bottle, more if crossing Nevada.  Trailmix 1 lbs bag, and a handful of energy or granola bars (won't spoil and doesn't need cooking).  Bear bag if needed, not sure on that.
  9. BMW MOA Anonymous book.****
  10. Paperback book, to keep me occupied while I'm waiting for help to arrive.
There you have it.  Did I leave any gaping holes?  What would you add or leave at home?

*The Spot personal tracker has a couple of way it can help.  1. You can hit the help button and it will send a message to people of your choosing telling them you need assistance and your gps coordinates.  2.  You can hit the 911 button and they will send a search and rescue team to find you.  3.  If you subscribe to the tracking  feature and you use it, you family will have a good idea of where to search for you if you just don't show up.

**Tool kit,  being able to make temporary repairs and get to civilization is preferred over calling in SAR.

***I haven't yet decided if I will be camping along the way or not.  I'm not a gung-ho camper, but I might tent it every other day or so, if not I would probably throw in a bivy.

****If you're not a member of the BMW MOA you may not have heard of the Anonymous book.  It is a book of phone numbers listed by state, next to each number is a list of what that person is able or willing to do for a rider in distress.  It's a great thing to have.

Enough for now.  See you on the road.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gateway BMW GS Challenge.

Two weekend's ago (4/10/10)  I attended the Gateway BMW GS Challenge at Honz's Rouge Creek Ranch near Potisi, MO.  This was the second year for the event.  There were 36 spots available for $135 each, and included primitive camping at the Ranch, hot dogs Friday night, 3 catered meals Saturday, instruction by one of three highly qualified instructors, the GS Challenge at the end of Saturday and a off road ride Sunday.  I almost forgot plenty of helpers to help you pick-up your bike WHEN you drop it, R1200GS Adventures are very heavy you know.  Gateway BMW gives first dibs to those who bought off road capable bikes in the last year, and the rest are offered to the public on a first come basis.

Two of the instructors, Del and Jeff were from RawHyde Adventures, the other Mark was The BMW area representative and a instructor for the BMW off road school in North Carolina.  Each instructor had 3 to 4 helpers including staff from Gateway BMW and experienced local riders.  The participants were split into 3 groups based and riding experience.  I was in the middle group and Mark from BMW was my instructor.

Saturday morning arrived quite early after a restless & cold nights sleep in my summer sleeping bag (April is not Summer time!).  Breakfast of bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, fruit, pastries, juice, milk and coffee was ready at 7:15 A.M. and the riders meeting started promptly at 8:00 A.M.  There would be 5 differnt areas were we would practice things such as hill climb & decent, braking, tight turning radius, figure 8 and creek crossing.  All of the exercises would be performed at relative low speeds and would test your balance and clutch modulation or friction zone ("I love the smell of burn clutches in the morning" is on the shirts,  The big GS's all have dry clutches).

Our group started with a short ride around the property to warm up the bikes and riders, then jumped into probably the most difficult task of negotiating a small ditch, rocks, back and forth around 4 or 5 close spaced trees and up a small rise where we would get inline to to it again.  This first section required all of the skills we would learn individually later in the day, nothing like starting at he top and working our way down.

Next was creek crossings and braking.  The creek only claimed one victim, and then only as he was exiting the creek, so no hydro lock. The goal was to keep more weight on the back tire to help the front tire roll over any unseen holes or rocks, and to look where you wanted to go, the horizon.   Braking was to learn how the bike reacts on loose surfaces both with and with out ABS on.  With ABS on the bikes have an exaggeratedly long braking distance on flat surfaces and can literally run out of control on descents (A clip of why it's important).  My bike doesn't have ABS so no big deal, but the big bikes all do.

After braking we were onto figure 8's.  2 rows of 2 cones about 10-15 feet apart and slightly staggered.  Left 180 degrees around the first cone, right 180 degrees around the second cone, then left , right and end of the line again.  The goal is to turn you body the way you want to go and use your bum for balance.  Just don't look at the cone,  because just as riding on hard surfaces that's were you will go and you will need help picking up your bike.

Hill climb and decent was next.  The goal was to carry just enough speed to make it to the top of the hill with out becoming air born or losing traction.  If you stalled the engine going up we learned how to use it to get us back down the hill in a controlled manner.  For the decent it was important that ABS be off so that you could control the bike.  The hill looks much tamer in the video, the first time you approach the decent it looks vertical from behind the bars, same with the way up.

We ended the instruction literally riding in circles.  Riding in circles at steering lock is one thing on flat even pavement and something completely different on a uneven rocky dirt surface.  The later requires modulation of brakes on down slope and modulation of the clutch on the up hill slope.

After the last of the instruction it was break-time, while the instructors and ringleader Honz set up the Challenge course.  The Challenge was on a volunteer basis, but would test all that we learned and some that we didn't.  Of course there would be prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd valued at $200, $100 and $50 respectively.  After having spent the better part of the day moving slowly in the hot sun wearing full riding gear I was slightly delusional, so of course I signed up for the challenge.  The course set and instructions given it was time to send the riders in one at a time.  I was about a third of the way down the list of 15 riders, so I had the advantage (disadvantage?) of seeing several riders complete and not complete the course.  The runs were timed and judged.  The lower the time the better, but if you put your feet down in the technical areas or fell down you were penalized,  If you did something spectacular you were awarded, based on audience approval.  You stared out at the top of  the steep decent, then down to right turn and over several logs, next through an area of large rocks around a large mud hole, then you had a choice to make go through the 30 foot mud pit or around it.  If you went around it you would lose points, but if you went through it all bets were off (the one rider who choose to go around it ended up crashing into mud pit).  Tight circle around a cone was just as you exited the mud pit.  After you made it around the cone it was unknown...  our group never made it down this path during the day as one of the other groups all 12 bikes stuck in the trail.  It turns out it was a rocky wet marshy mess, basically you were running down the middle of a muddy creek bed with several turns ending in a climb up a muddy bank onto the road.  A short sprint down the road and you entered the bottom again through some very large rocks.  At this point you have a choice to make, take the dry path and make a sharp left and climb the hill you started at or take the wet path and have a gentler turn to the hill.  Finely it was my turn, It seemed like I had been sitting in the sun waiting forever.  As I watched Leo give me the countdown things around me just faded away, I don't recall seeing any of the spectators along the course, the only thing I remember was thinking "GO, GO, GO!" and the course it self.  I kept the bike on two wheels and made through the course with out indecent, it felt like I was going quick, but when I look at some of the video it looks quite slow.  I did the best I could and was quite beat afterward.  At some point near the end one of the guys from the shop came up to me and said "You had a great time through the course", I got a little excited and thought I might have a chance.  It would be great if I placed.  After everyone had completed the course it was announced that they had a winner, but that they also had a tie for 2nd and 3rd and that once the tie was taken care of they would announce the winner.  I was not one of the riders in the tie-breaker and my hopes of placing were dashed. It was decided the tie-breaker would be settled my clap-o-meter and that the riders would rider the G450X demo bike (it's been through the ringer a time or two).  A short course down the hill, through the mud pit and back up the hill was set.  The second rider went through the mud pit twice and a pone climbing the hill gave the bike a toss to the ground, sort of rock start style.  The crowd loved it and 2nd place was his.  It was then time to annouce the winner,  "Out of know where, the dark horse, only had the bike for 6 months, with a time of 2 minutes and 11 seconds... Art Wheeler".  I was shocked, but it did feel good.

As good as it felt to win, I have to say the guys on the R1200GS Adventures deserve more credit than I on my diminutive G650 XCountry,  They have my respect.  I don't know if I would have even taken on the class if I was riding a 1200GS.

I was told that all of the riders who did the challenge were invited on a trail ride later after supper.  Speaking of supper it was again catered by Liz Huff and included chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, hot rolls, and baked apple crisp, of course it was delicious.  It would be challenging, and if you had a big bike you would only want to do it with knobbie's.  As much fun as it sounded I declined, I was absolutely exhausted from the instruction and being in the sun all day.  Later that night while we sat around the bonfire, I drinking my annual beer (I won so I had to celebrate), the guys from the afternoon ride rode into camp.  The tales they told both made me wish I had gone and glad I didn't.  Little did I know at the time...

I had hoped my annual beer would help to put me to sleep, it had little effect, and 6:30 a.m. rolled around quite fast.  Sunday's options were;
1. Pack up and head home.
2.  Take the gravel road ride to Bixby, MO (The center of motorcycle heaven, both street and dirt).
3.  Take the gnarly trail ride to Bixby, MO
I choose to pack-up and take the gravel road ride.  I wanted to get a feel for the bike with a touring load, plus I would have help picking it up if I had a tip over.  We had to meet up at the Micky D's in Potisi at 8:00 a.m. with the bikes and body's fueled and ready to go.  I also stocked up on water and fig newtons for the ride, a little hydration and energy never hurt anybody.

After a brief pre-ride talk 20 bikes lined up behind Ringleader Honz and we were off.  It didn't take long for the group to figure out that the GRAVEL roads were only letting Honz enjoy the ride (in Missouri gravel = limestone and limestone = white chalky dust, lots of it).  I was in the middle of the pack and my Hi-Vis stich had lost it's Hi-Vis.  At a rest stop it was put to a vote and we decided to take the un-marked, not on the map roads, more dirt less gravel.  We finally ended up at what Honz called the impassable pass (the trail from the night before) , apparently it becomes impassable for the big bikes with even the mention of rain.  Luck for us it was sunny.  The trail leading us to the impassable part put to use the knowledge we learned the day before, lots of tight weaving between trees and rocks.  We staged the twenty bikes at the precipices to the impassable portion and Honz talked us through it one at a time.  We all made it through unharmed, even Tilly the enduro dog (see video).  The trail ended just a stones throw from the Rouge Creek Ranch, so most of the group called it a day, myself included and went our separate ways.

I can't thank Bob Honz and the guys at Gateway BMW enough for putting on this event, it was an absolute blast!

I do feel a little bit guilty about winning the GS challenge, being on the smallest bike and all, but not guilty enough to forfeit my prize...

All the photos of me in this post were taken by Marilyn Roberts, she has many other photos from the event at the following Link.

Sorry the video clips just don't fit the layout of the blog, it's better to watch them on YouTube .

See you on the road, or off.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two minutes and eleven seconds.

I was away this weekend with 50 or so like minded people.  The photo above doesn't really say much as to what was going on.  I will explain the title  when I have some more time, but if you want a better idea of what I did follow this link and keep your eyes open at about 47 seconds.

See you on the road or off.



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Packing List: Digital / Analog

I present you the Digital / Analog packing list.  Keep in mind it's for a 6,000 mile trip over about 2 weeks time.  It sounds simple enough, but I assure you I will make it overly complex.

  • GPS - powered by bike.  NUVI 500*.
  • Paper Maps - 1 for each state to be traveled in plus, regional maps and printed detail maps of select areas.
  • Cheaters - so that I will be able to read the paper maps.
  • Cell phone - with wall charger, 12v charger and 12v adapter for bike.
  • Laptop - in protective case with power cord.**
  • Postcard stamps - yes I buy and mail postcards during my journeys.
Data Recording:
  • Laptop - also see Communication.
  • Paper and pencil - doesn't get much more analog than that.  Small note book in tank-bag for taking notes during the day.
Image Recording:

  • Small camera -  to be carried on person for impromptu riding photos.  Must be able to fit in gear pocket, and be able to operate with gloves on.  Canon G9.
  • Infrared Camera - because I like to take IR photos.  Canon G6 or Canon S5IS
  • DSLR - for better quality photos and more control.  requires at least 2 lens, 3 filters/holders and timer/remote.  Canon XTi, 50mm f1.8 mkI, Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-3.5.***
  • Video - GoPro HD Hero, appropriate mounting bits and pieces, extra lens covers.
  • Accessories - appropriate battery's, chargers and memory cards for all recording devices.  Gittos tripod, Manfrotto Magic arm with super clamp and camera mount.  QR plates, cleaning cloths, Small bag or backpack for hiking.
This is where I complicate things.

* On previous trips I have taken a small hand held GPS (Garmin eTrex Legend Cx), It's a nice back-up to have, but is it really needed?  It runs on AA battery's, so if I brought it I would need another charger and even more extra battery's, unless my IR camera is a S5IS, it also uses AA battery's.  So if I bring a Canon S5IS, then I can bring the eTrex, right?  I really want to bring the eTrex, as I like that the display can be set to show data fields of your choosing, for example; altitude, time of day, speed, heading etc.  My new Nuvi shows only what it deems necessary.

** Laptops are HEAVY and do I really need one?  Will the world stop turning if I don't have a computer with me?  Will any body miss me If I don't answer emails for 2 weeks?  Laptops carry a lot of personal information, that if ending up in the wrong hands can do much damage or worse it can be destroyed in an accident.  I really like my laptop, it has lots of memories stored in it, so I think I will lock it up while I'm gone.  But I would really like to have a computer with me to update friends and family of my journey and to back-up my so maybe I will look for a netbook, that will let me keep up with friends and family when in a hotspot and back-up images, videos and words.  I doubt it will handle Photoshop or video editing, which is good as I won't spend all night trying to get the perfect cut on  that crashing video...

*** Photography,  I just feel that I need to bring it all, but on the bike I would have to leave all my clothes and tooth brush at home in order to do so.  I have been struggling with whether I should bring my DSLR, I hope to find my self in situations that no other camera suffice to get the shot.  On my last journey I used it only a couple of times over a two week period, but no other camera  would have gotten the shot's.  If I don't take the DSLR and I find my self in that one situation where only it will do, it will haunt me forever.  So in the end the DSLR will be along for the ride.  Maybe I can leave the G9 at home, but I will need to find a small camera that can be operated with gloves on and that takes great photos.  The G9 and the DSLR share a battery charger/battery's so anything new will introduce another battery charger and battery's.  Ideally I will find a Canon G7 or G9 to convert to IR then I will have only one battery charger for the three still cameras, Compact Flash for the DSLR and SD for the rest.  Simple enough, right?

Well is that overly complex enough for you?

See you on the road, if I get my sh*t together.


Friday, April 2, 2010

I rode today, but...

See I do ride the bike once in awhile.

See you on the road.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kitting out the 650 part 1.

May I present the long awaited video...

I just get tired watching it. Sorry for the LONG video, in the future I will do my best to keep them shorter. Here is a list of all the modifcations done to the bike in the video.
  • Wunderlich windscreen.
  • TourTech 20mm bar risers.
  • Ground clearance increased 1 inch, every little bit helps.
  • Garmin Nuvi 500 with Ram Mount and hardwired for power.
  • Spot personal tracker with Ram Mount.
  • Tooltube and home made tool rolls.
The Wunderlich windscreen went on quite easily, but then I did have some virtual help from those who have already installed one (link).

The Tourtech bar risers were another matter altogether.  The Tourtech risers were about $40 cheaper, about half the cost of the next compatible set of risers, but it turns out they were exponentially more difficult to install. If I had to do it over I would probably go with the more expensive, easier to install bar risers.  There is a bracket (handle bar lock?) on the right side of the headset that will not allow the new longer bolt to be inserted, or at least not with out copious amounts of foul language and bleeding knuckles.  In the end I won only to have to remove them because I forgot to put Blue Loctite on the threads...

Raising the ride height was fairly quick and simple, especially the front, loosen the Allen head bolts and slide the fork tubes down.  But raising the rear did require that I purchase a new Allen head socket and a 27mm open end wrench.  I had the proper size Allen head socket, but the socket part was to big and would get stuck before it reached the bolt.

The Ram Mount for the GPS  is on a long arm (leverage) and it likes to move a lot , so it may get moved to the handlebar/hand guard if it looks like it's making contact with the windscreen.  The Ram Mount for the spot was the easiest of all, it can also do double duty as a camera mount.

I had intended to have the tool tube be in the time lapse video also, but before I new what happened my visualizing things turned into a completed and mounted tool tube.  I still need to paint it, make a tether for the cap and make a wrench to open it that can be stowed under the seat or in the tank bag.  The cap can be much harder to remove than you might think.  I conned my mother into making the tool rolls for me and they turned out very well.  I told her I could make some money if she would make some more, but she declined.  The rolls are made of heavy cotton canvas, we went through a whole box of needles sewing them

When I bought the 650 last September I also had the dealer install several items to make the bike more long distance and off pavement worthy.  Those mod's include:
  • Hepco & Becker Pannier Racks.
  • Hepco & Becker Engine Guards.
  • Barkbuster hand Guards.
I also installed the following items right after I purchased the bike:
  • SW Motech rear rack.
  • National Cycle F-15 Tour windscreen.
The SW Motech rack allows quick change of several adaptor plates, currently I have the adaptor to mount a Givi Monokey top case.  Although the Givi is not suited to off-pavement riding (way to big), it is great for the daily commute.  The National Cycle F-15 Tour Windscreen looked good on the bike, but it had 3 flaws.  First it was terribly noisy, no matter how it was adjusted it put the wind right at my neck knocking my head around.  Second it projected out in front of the head light and even during the day it had distracting reflections, and third it crack later the same day it was installed.  So it when back to where it came.

Thats enough for now,  I need to get busy

In the future look for the following topics:
  • Packing list - Digital / Analog.
  • Packing list - survivel.
  • Where am I going to put all the crap I think I need to carry with me?
  • Last but not least I might actually ride the motorcycle.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tandem Scooter Racing!!

For the rest of the story head over to Jalopnk.

If you are unaware of Jalopnk, it's mostly about cars, but as you can see the occasional 2 wheeler shows up.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

In the meantime...

I really do have a video in post-production and will soon be posting it here.  I have just been busy with family and selling my surplus stuff on eBay, in order to pay for the mods to the bike.  In the meantime enjoy this teaser...

Yes she already knows counter steer, so it won't be long before she is really riding.

See you on the road.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Packing list: Fix and Repair

Updated 3/3/10.  While reading a Ride Report on I came across this post (link), go about halfway down to see the photo off them fixing a tire, and it hit me Ground Cloth that's what I forgot, or at least one of the things I forgot.

Once I start down the path of planning a trip my brain just won't shut down.  Just to give you an idea of how fast the clock is spinning in my head I present to you the following list that spewed out of my head moments after routing a 3000 mile westward trip (Link) and a 2000 mile eastward trip (Link), more on that mileage in a later post.

Packing List:  Fix and Repair

Spares / Misc:
  • Fuse's.
  • Head light bulb.
  • Throttle cable (because I have one).
  • Clutch cable.
  • Tubes, front and rear.
  • Master link (for chain).
  • Key's, bike and any locks concealed on bike, accessible without tools or at most tank bag tools (see below).
  • Small spool of wire.
  • Duct tape, electrical tape.
  • Rags, towels.
  • Nylon straps.
  • Quart of oil.
  • JB Weld.
  • Zip ties, zip ties, zip ties, zip ties, zip ties, zip ties etc.
  • Ground cloth, X 2.  To keep from loosing those little bits and pieces your bike won't run without.
 Tire Repair:
  • Tubes see above.
  • Patch kit - patches, glue, cleaner.
  • Valve core.
  • Valve stem fish/tool.
  • Tire irons 2-3.
  • Axel wrench.
  • Support stand (bike has no center stand).
  • Air - compressor, CO2 or hand pump.
Tool Kit:
  • Mostly useless factory tool kit.
  • Metric wrenches.
  • Metric allen wrenches.
  • Pliers - needle nose, channel lock (med), locking and wire cutters.
  • Screw driver - phillips and sloted bits.
  • Metric adjustable wrench.
  • Volt meter & test light.
  • Flash light with extra battery's.
  • Chain breaker.
  • BFH, just in case...
Also in the Tank bag:
  • Multi-tool
  • Locking knife.
  • Flash light.
  • Cheaters, so I can see the tiny bits and pieces.
The worst part about this list is that I'm sure it is not complete.  I know that I won't need or use any of the items listed above during my 12 day 5000 mile adventure,  but I will most likely be in desperate need of the one thing not on the list, if only I knew what it was.

So am I obsessing,  right on par or crazy for traveling unprepared?  Do keep in mind that I will be traveling alone on the lesser traveled roads where people may be few and far between.

Now for something completely unrelated.

See you on the road.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where to go?

One of the things I do to pass the mid-west winter is think about where I would like to go in the coming spring and summer.  Usually I start getting out my planning supply's in January.  Those planning supply's consist of a atlas, maps, yellow highlighters, motorcycle magazines, a list of BMW rallys, travel books (National Geographic's scenic drives, Road Trip, etc) and Roadfood (the essential guide to eating your way across the US, everybody has a copy right?).

I Start by looking a the Rally list and old magazines to get an idea of where I might want to go and when.  Once I get an idea then I start to figure the mileage and time it would take to get there and back.  If it falls into the amount of time-off I can get in one block I will load the yellow highlighter and start sketching out a route.  Next I go through Roadfood to see if I need to deviate my course in order to eat something really good.  Finely I look for places to stay and other oddity's I might like to see.  You would think that at this point I would be requesting my time-off from work, but actually I often just start all over.  For example last year I was going to go to Nova Scotia, Canada and ride the Cabot trail, eat some bugs (lobsters) and maybe some pizza on the way out and back.  I even had my time-off scheduled.  Then a week before I was going to leave I scraped the whole plan and decided to go to the mountains in New Mexico and Colorado.  I had a really good trip eating green chile's and getting rained on at 10,000 feet (it rained...stormed everyday).  Last year was an extreme example, normally I will have it nailed down if I can even take a trip and where I'm going by March or April.  This year things are different, my work situation is new and I had to request vacation time for this summer in January.  I really don't like to be nailed down so early in the year, July just seems so far away, how can I possibly know what life will bring between now and then.  I had about one week to do what I typically do in 3-4 months.

I have picked a destination and a date for a summer road trip, but before the big reveal, the photos above. The top photo is of dinner prior to being steamed alive at the 2002 Down East BMW Rally at Hermit Island, ME.  The second photo is of Split Rock Lighthouse near Two Harbors, MN taken on my way to the 2002 BMW MOA rally in Trenton, ON Canada (the last MOA rally I attended).  The third photo was taken near Ophir, CO on my wanderings last summer.  The fourth photo was of the Oregon coast taken on my way to the 2001 MOA rally in Redmond, OR.

It turns out that the BMW MOA Rally will be in the same location it was 9 years ago, Redmond, OR (the photo above was taken in the Deschutes Nat. Forest with the sisters filling the background).  It also turns out that the available vaction time corresponds with the rally, so it looks like I will be heading to the west coast this summer with the MOA Rally being the pulling force.  Of course things can always change, well not my time off, but everything else.  Now that I have two dots on the map it's time to get the yellow highlighter out and try to connect the dots.

I also have a new decision to make that I have never had to face in the past, I have to decide what bike to take.  In the past I have dreamed of this problem for many years, but in 1998 after becoming a family man, I pretty much wrote it off. Because I have a loving wife I'm now faced with this delima.  It would seem like a no brainer to take the G650 X Country (the new bike), but it's untested in long distance riding, where as my 1996 R850R has been there and back.  The 850 is set up for the long haul with a Russel Seat, Aeroflow screen and BMW system cases.  I know that I can literally ride all day, really ALL day with the seat and wind screen, and I can pack way more junk than anybody should need in the hard cases.  The 650 on the other hand is in desperate need of some kit, it has a stock seat, an untested Wunderlich windscreen (still in the box, at least for 2 more days) and no luggage.  I have a master list of the mod's and parts needed to get the 650 ready for the long haul and I have 4 1/2 months to get it done.  Worst case I have to take the 14 year old tried and true 850, how bad can that be.

I will try to update the kitting of the G650 X-Country.  Man I got a lot of work to do...

See you on the Road.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BMW Santiago Boots.

I had been on the look out for a new pair of motorcycle boots for a while as my current boots were 10+ years old and had somewhere beyond 50,000 miles on them. I had a few requirements, first was Gortex lining, or equivalent.  Second was to be a bit more off road worthy with out being full-on MX boots.  Three different boots readily fit my requirements, Sidi Discovery Rain Boots ($325), Gaerne Balance Oiled Boots ($360), and BMW Santiago Boots ($360).  All three boots had waterproof linings.  The Sidi and Gaerne boots had three buckles and external plastic shin guards, while the BMW boots only had  buckles above and below the ankle and Velcro closures at the top. The BMW also has a plastic shin guard, but its laminated between the outer leather and inner lining.  The Sidi boots were leading the pack mainly for the price and the positive comments about them on, but in the end it was the BMW boots that won out.  I had had a good experience with my BMW boots over the past 10 years, no leaks and comfortable.  The Kicker was the final price,  do to some savvy shopping and timing I, em Santa was able to purchase the BMW Boots for only $235 plus tax.  A deal that I couldn't pass up, I paid more 10 years ago for the boots I'm retiring.  Because I signed up on the BMW XPLOR site I got a $100 off BMW apparel over $300 and my dealer was having a 10% off holiday sale, hence the price I couldn't pass-up.

Some of the features of the Santiago Boots include two adjustable buckles one above and one below the ankle.  There is a metal cap on the front of the sole that is replaceable.  The toes of each boot have a rubberized coating and the left boot has a extra layer for the shifter.  There are hard panels over each ankle and shin with corresponding padding underneath.

So far my experience with the new boots have been some adventure vacuuming (to which they might be overqualified, the jury is still out) and a short trip to the gas station (45 min trip to the 1 mile away gas station).  I will try and post an update after I put a few more miles on them, hopefully they will holdup as well as the boots I'm retiring.
Photos are of new and old for comparison.
See you on the road

Sunday, January 24, 2010


First phalanges non-displaced fracture of the third digit.  Other wise known as a broken toe.  As with the last broken bone I acquired, there isn't much to be done with a broken toe, except to add a little wobble to your walk.

At this point you have to be asking your self how in the world does somebody break a toe?  What progression of failures must occur for a toe to be broken?
1.  Not wearing the proper protective gear.
2.  Lack of situational awareness.
(Not a complete list, just the highlights)
In-fact when my right 3rd digit slammed into the corner of the stair case, I was neither wearing the proper protective gear nor situationally aware of my surroundings.  I believe I was wearing a pair of socks and my skives.  I was also attempting to walk and talk at he same time, and everybody know that in it's self is a most dangerous activity that should be avoided at all cost.

Since that fateful moment one week ago I have vowed to fully embrace ATGATT.  My family on the other hand think I might be going off the deep end.  Eating, sleeping or just lounging around the house it's ATGATT!

See you on the road.