Monday, December 19, 2011

My First Car.

I was blog surfing today and found something interesting on another blog. The blogger asked his readers to identify 2 cars in a picture that he posted. One of the cars is a Chevrolet Impala. The other car, well, there's a bit of a disagreement as to it's year.

To end this, I'll post pictures of my first car. I was 19, back in early 1980, when I purchased a 1973 Buick Riviera. The Rivieras built from 1971-1973 were the only boat-tailed ones. Earlier year Rivieras, such as those from '66-'70, had a fast-back with the long, slanted, rear window glass, but '71-'73 were the only ones to have the tapering, curved, rear glass of the boat-tail. The rear license plate on the 71s and 72's was mounted left of center. On the '73's it was center mounted. The grills were different on '71 and '72's, they were a bit more under-cut and sharper than the '73's. The '73 grills were a bit more vetical than the '71 and '72s. 1973 front bumpers were larger and heavier looking.

Gary, I hope this clears it up...

Gary, for even more information on Rivieras, there's always Wikipedia for Buick Riviera.

Edited 12-20-11 to add better pictures!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Favorite Five.

Some of my fellow bloggers have posted their favorite 5 pictures from 2011. It started HERE with Roger from New Zealand, and others have followed. You can see more pictures Here and Here.

I had a hard time picking 5 but here goes....

My favorite picture from this year was taken on a trip that John, my riding buddy, and I took out to Idaho. I snapped this one with the Tetons in the background. It was my attempt to be a little artsy...

The next 2 are from my solo trip to the west coast. The first one is a picture of a road sign on CA hwy 36, west of Red Bluff. That section of road was one of the things I HAD to see on this trip. It didn't disappoint me. Pushing a heavily loaded, over weight, sport bike through 140 miles of twisty roads, in 90 degree heat was tough, but it was worth it!!

This one was taken the day I passed through Yosemite N.P. A very sweet older lady asked me if I was taveling alone. She offered to take my picture for me. She was a sweet heart. We talked for quite a long time about all kinds of things.

I even have a few pictures just to show I have interests beyond motorcycles. This summer, Nancy and I got into kayaking. We spent a lot of time on some of the nearby rivers. Unfortunately, the computer that has most of my pictures in it crashed a while back, so my selection of kayaking pictures is limited. Even if it's not the best picture, it's what it represents that means the most to me.

The last one is from this fall when Nancy and I took a road trip up to the "northwoods" of northern Wisconsin. We were on a fall color tour that Sawyer County puts on. They mark some of the roads through the Chequamegon National Forest, and have a few different loops to drive around. We were maybe a week early this year to see the peak colors, but I really like this picture, it makes a great background!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Paul Bunyan ?

Tonight, the temps in my part of the world are 7 degrees F and headed lower, so I was passing the time catching up with a few blogs. Hey, if I can't ride, I can still read about it! That's when I noticed something that fellow blogger, George F., posted. It's a picture of Paul Bunyan that he took near Klamath, CA. I also have nearly the same picture...

George's picture is HERE.

And this is my picture. I took it this summer while on my trip to CA.

And if that isn't strange enough......
Another fellow blogger posted the same picture on both facebook and his blog. It's about half way down this page... CLICK HERE.>

How strange is that??????

George, I've got to ask, do you have a picture of the gold bears mounted on the ends of the bridge over the Klamath River?

Edited 12-23-2011.................
I went up north and stopped in front of Bulik's Amusement Center in Spooner, WI. I wanted to get a picture of Mel, the muffler man.

I did a little search and found that there are at least 5 more giant sized, fiberglass, "muffler men" in Wisconsin. I feel the need for a spring time road trip. More muffler man information HERE.

I also have a picture of the Indian version of the muffler man. He was standing outside the Chieftain Motel, in Carrington, ND. My riding buddy, John, and I stayed there on our way back from the Sturgis rally - Idaho trip this summer.

Monday, December 05, 2011

My Goldwing Vs. Pronghorn Antelope Story.. with pictures

I was catching up with the updates on some of the blogs I follow, and came across a picture of a trike with a huge camper shell mounted behind the driver, and 2 rear axles. I saw it on Trobairitz' blog. I have a picture of the very same trike. I took the picture sometime back around '99-'02. I looked through my photo albums, but couldn't find it. I did find this picture from my 1999 trip. What caught my eye in this picture is how young I look. I've aged since then.

From left to right.. Jesse, Garth, John, and me. Lyle is taking the picture.

That was back in my carefree, do-rag wearin', nothing-can-happen-to-me, pre crash, days. That all changed in 2006, when my Goldwing was struck by a Pronghorn Antelope. Yes, it hit the Goldwing, and hit it hard enough to bend the left front brake rotor and toss me to the highway. It happened on the second day of our annual trip to the Sturgis rally in SD. We were only 30 miles from Sturgis.....
We were riding staggered, about 5 or 6 of us, with traffic behind us, and 1 more bike behind me. I saw the lead guy in front pointing off to the right. I looked right and saw a large antelope on a rise, quite a ways off the road. What the guy in front didn't see, was another antelope run out into the road from the left ditch, almost hit him, do a U-turn, and head back into the ditch. Everyone else saw it. We just started to let off the throttle and reach for the brakes. That's when a 3rd antelope decided that if others could run onto the road, so could he. This one wasn't successful. He plowed into the left side of my front wheel. I tipped over onto the left side and rolled down the highway. I remember how time slowed WAY down as it happened, like slow-motion. I know it was over in seconds, but I distinctly remember having 5 thoughts while it happened.

1. "oh crap, this isn't going to be good"
2. "man is that thing ugly"
3. "roll, don't slide"
4. "damn, am I ever going to stop rolling"
5. "you've got to get out of the road, there's traffic coming"

It takes longer to say them than the whole crash took.

I remember making a mental note of how I felt as I was getting up. I was wondering if I was going to feel pain and fall down. I walked out of the road, sat the shoulder, and lay down. Everyone in our group was either a cop or fireman, or a retired cop or fireman. Someone called 911 and before I knew it, a couple of Mead County Deputies was there. Once they figured out that we were ALL cops or EMS, their personalities relaxed a bit.

What follows are some pictures of me, post crash..................

This was my un-helmeted head that bounced off of SD hwy 34 at the Hereford junction. The photo was taken after the E.R. visit, and between bandage changes.

My left leg that was "protected" by blue jeans. The jeans offered about a tenth of a seconds worth protection in the crash. I'm lucky that I rolled and didn't slide.

My left wrist, 3 days later...pinky side..

And thumb side...

My left knee...

This was my head, 3 days later....

I didn't get any pictures of my right big toe nail. Somehow, when I dumped the Goldwing, my right big toe hit the pavement so hard that the nail turned black by the time the ambulance got to the hospital in Sturgis. In the E.R., the Dr. used some type of electric probe to burn a hole through my toe nail. The relief was instant! I had a male nurse in the E.R., he was an Iron Butt rider and owned a Kawasaki Concours, he was pretty cool. I was treated and released in about 3 hours. Back at camp, the guy that was behind me at the time of the crash, told me that I bounced real good, and that he had locked up his rear wheel and skidded past my head. Missing me by inches. He skidded his bike all the way across the on coming lane and off the left side of the road. He skidded into the back of my trailer.
I spent the next day at the campground waiting for my girlfriend to come from WI to pick me up.

I went back to the crash scene on my trip out to pick up my Goldwing from the Honda dealer. I found the skid mark and the dead antelope. I picked up a few of the clean bones as a souvenir.

5 years later, and the road rash on my left knee, left wrist, and head is still visible. It's OK, I wasn't pretty before.
The really stupid thing is, we had just left a gas stop about 10 miles back, in Union Center. It was at that gas stop that I decided to take off my gear, after all, we were only 30 miles from the campground. So, I put my full face helmet and mesh over-pants in the trailer, and slipped my gloves off and had them under my thighs. What could go wrong?
I saved the Firstgear Meshtex jacket I was wearing at the time of the crash and kept it in my closet for a long time. It sacrificed itself in the crash, but where the jacket covered me, I had no bumps, bruises or road rash.

I am very lucky that I survived. If I had hit face first, or smacked my head a little harder, I could be in a totally different world now. Or dead!

I have since become a solid believer in ATGATT, but I still support your right to choose whether or not you wear a helmet. I also believe that a person riding without proper gear is a fool.

Friday, November 25, 2011

40 Years of Motorcycles

I thought it might be interesting to list the motorcycles I've owned over the years. My love affair with 2 wheels started early.

My first motorcycle was a Ruby red, 1971, Honda, SL-70 K-0. She was lightly used and in great shape. This is not an actual picture, but mine was just like this, but maybe not quite as mint as this one.
I owned my little Honda until about 1977? I wish I had kept it. I would like to find another one and restore it back to like new condition.

In the fall of 1979 I was working full time in a gas station/convenience store. I was working with a guy named Bret. He told stories about riding to California on his motorcycle, and I think I wanted to do that too. I had graduated from high school the year before, and was ready to see the world. I purchased a brand new, 1980, Harley-Davidson, XLH 1000, Sportster. It was brown with a brown seat, and cast wheels. I still have the receipt. I never did tour on it, and my girlfriend at the time wanted nothing to do with it. Oh well, I got the cruiser desire out of my system early! I sold it around 1984?

A few years later, the motorcycle bug would bite again. This time it was a 1985, Honda, Nighthawk 650. I put a Tracy Vortex fairing and a back rest on it. It was a fun commuter bike. After I sold it, I had life get in the way of riding for a few years.

It wasn't until about 1997 or 98 that I got into riding somewhere other than back and forth to work, or around town. I purchased a well used 1985 Yamaha Venture. It was on this bike that I made my first trip out to the Sturgis rally in SD in 1999. I have been going back every year since then. Not so much for the "lifestyle" but for the great roads in the Black Hills. I thought it was a great bike. My then wife, didn't like the passenger comfort. I had to upgrade in 2000. The Venture's on the right. I'm standing closest to it.

In 2000, my now ex-wife, came with to Stugris. I was riding a new, left over, 1998 Honda Goldwing. It was a nice bike. I could really rack up the miles in comfort. I know it's not the best picture..

New girlfriend=new bike, so in the summer of 2004, I traded in the '98 Goldwing for a 2003, Jupiter Orange, Honda Goldwing. Wow! what a bike! I was hooked on long distance travel. That same summer I bought a Bushtec trailer, and had it painted to match the bike. That bike has been all over the western United States.

On the road trip to the 2006 Sturgis rally, I hit a Pronghorn antelope with that Goldwing. The insurance company fixed it, but it took the repair shop 6 weeks to do it. I knew that if I didn't get back on and ride something soon, I might be spooked and the antelope would win again.
So, I bought a 2006 Yamaha FJR-1300. I thought the Goldwing was a mile maker, wow, is the FJR an easy bike to ride all day. I found my self taking the FJR everywhere. If Nancy wasn't riding with me the Goldwing was in the garage.
There it is in 2007, fully loaded for a 3 week trip, parked across a deserted stretch of hwy 6 in Nevada. I rode out to Nevada, attended an FJR rally in Park City, Utah, and met up with the guys at the Sturgis rally on that trip.

In 2007, I thought that a dual purpose bike might be fun. I picked up a 2001, Kawasaki, Super Sherpa. I rode it some, but not enough to justify keeping it. I sold it late in the fall of 2011.

In 2008, Kawasaki updated their little 250 Ninja. I picked one up. It was somewhat of a dissapointment. I couldn't get used to the high reving engine after years on large touring bikes. It would make a great commuter bike though.

Over the winter of 2008-2009, Nancy's doctors told her that her riding days were over. She had a heart attack in 2006, and has an issue with a bad back. In the spring of 2009, she told me that if I wanted to get rid of the Goldwing and get something else, It was OK with her. I think I was out the door before she finished the sentence.
I traded the '03 Goldwing and the 250 Ninja for a 2009, Candy lime green, Kawasaki, ZX-14.
If the FJR is quick, this thing's unbelievable! So smooth, ergonomics that are OK with my 51 year old, over weight, body. A set of Givi side cases and it's an instant cross country ballistic missile!!

So, I'm down to 2 bikes. The FJR and the ZX-14. Both are great bikes. I've thought of selling the FJR, but everytime I ride it, I fall in love again. There's no way I'd get rid of the ZX-14 either. At least until my body protests the ride!

My 10 bikes, covering almost 40 years. What bikes have you owned?

PS.... If you look close, you'll notice that the FJR picture, and the top Zx-14 picture were taken near the same spot on Hwy 6 in NV, 4 years apart. of March 2012 I'm up to 3 bikes in the garage. I bought a 2008 Yamaha Wr250X. I bought it from a guy that used it as a commuter bike. It only had 1516 miles on it...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Not Done Yet!

In this part of the country, if you don't like the weather, just wait a day or two. I guess it's true. I managed to burn through half a tank of Sta-bil treated, non-oxygenated premium today! I didn't want to be gone too long on this sunny Thanksgiving Day, bit I couldn't let the day pass without a ride.
I brought out the FJR, grabbed the camera, and put on the gear. I tried to ride to places I hadn't been to in a while.

The usually lush green valleys are now drab gray-brown.

I rode to the little town of Elmwood.

Main street Elmwood..

Elmwood is the self proclaimed "UFO Capital of Wisconsin" and home to "UFO Days", held the last full weekend in July.
There's clearly evidence of alien activity....

After Elmwood, I headed further east, deeper into WI. I made another stop at a wayside rest that over looks the Chippewa River, north of Durand.

I headed back towards Elmwood, by way of county back roads. I passed through the unincorporated village of Eau Galle. Right in the middle of town is a small dam and power house.

Don't you just love small towns....

I was on the way home and spotted this. It looks like a later 70's Honda 450 2 cylinder, that's been converted to an ATV?????

Not a bad way to spend a few hours on a Thanksgiving Holiday.

I wonder if I'll be able to ride to Minneapolis for first thursday next week?