Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Givi PLX35 Cases Mounted on a Zx-14.

I took the time today to mount up the color matched Givi PLX 35 side cases on my Zx-14. I started the project by watching videos of the installation on the Twistedthrottle.com web site. They have a nice 2 part video of the installation on a Kawasaki Zx-14. It was a pretty easy job. There are 2 brackets that attach under the rear tail cowling. I had to cut a square notch out of the under tail plastic. It was a pretty easy cut with a Dremel tool and a Roto-Zip bit. I went slow and used the included paper templates. I think it turned out ok! There are 4 more brackets that attach to the muffler and rear peg hanger. A total of 8 mounting points, 4 on each side. I had to think about one of the attachment points. I was supposed to mount a bracket to the stock license plate holder, but I removed that big, ugly, extra chunk of plastic, shortly after I got the bike. So the bags now attach to the bracket, but the bracket's not bolted to anything.

Here's a shot of the mounting frames, the 6 brackets, 2 bags of hardware, and the bracket for the license plate mount. The frames are removable from the bike using 8 quick release type fasteners. When you take the frames off, all that's left on the bike are 6 small brackets.

This is a shot of the left side of the bike. You can see the 2 brackets. The lower bracket, pointing at a 2 o'clock position, is attached behind the muffler mount. One at the top, pointing about 3 o'clock, is attached behind the peg/muffler hanger.

Sorry, Photobucket lost my pic..............

This is one of the brackets that required cutting to mount. It's scary to cut into your bike, but it wasn't really too bad. Left side...

Right side... In this picture you can see the bracket that is supposed to attach to the license plate mount. Now it floats, but holds the bottom rear attachment points of the frames together.

I know that this picture might be tough to figure out, but it's taken from the right side, looking down along the swingarm. It shows the position of 2 of the brackets. One behind the muffler hanger bolt, and one behind the cast aluminum hanger/ mount.

The only thing about this set up that I didn't like is, I lost the use of the hand hold to lift the bike onto the center stand.

Picture on Photobucket gone AWOL!

Here are a few shots of the bike all put back together. The bike is dirty. I got caught in a downpour the other day and haven't washed it yet.

Now I have to mount up a new set of Michelin PilotRoad 2's, change the oil, and I'll be set to ride off to the Sporttouring.net meet in Custer, SD in 2 weeks.

I've been thinking that I might make this the long trip of the summer. I know that John won't be able to get away from work this year like he has in the past. So this years Sturgis run will maybe be 10 or so days. If I want to get some seat time this year, I may have to do it alone.

I started making a list of things I want to see. Some of them are..
The Pacific Ocean from Northern CA
A redwood forest
CA hwy 36
The Oregon coast
Rachel, NV
4 corners
Hwy 550, and Hwy 34 through Rocky Mountain N. P. in CO
Hwy 12/Lolo Pass, Arco, and Atomic City in Idaho

That's a few of the items on my list.

I've been spending a lot of time on the RoadsideAmerica.com web site. It's a great resource of odd things to see on a road trip.

Microsoft street/trips has my route at about 4200 miles in a loop from Custer, west, and back to Custer. Add another 1500 miles for home to Custer and back, That's looking like 3 weeks+ to me.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Root Beer and Hail.

The weather around the Minneapolis and St. Paul area has been pretty crappy lately. We've had tornadoes level some areas of  town, and the local news has been predicting rain all this holiday weekend. This morning my friend John calls me and says' "If I don't get a ride in soon I'm gonna go crazy". I told him that I had nothing I needed to do, and that he should come on over.
 We decided to go for root beer. 100 miles from my place in Prescott, in the small town of Augusta, WI, is a little, old fashioned, drive-in restaurant. Tep's Drive In. We had been there for root beer once before, but no one thought to bring a camera. We tried to go back again at the beginning of last year, but they were still closed for the season then. This time we were better prepared, we had a camera, and they were open!

We parked in a spot serviced by a car hop, but we ate at a table. Both John and I ordered the same thing. We each had a bacon cheese burger and a root beer, and we split an order of chili cheese fries.

I almost forgot to take the required blog food photo! I remembered after the first bite.

After lunch, we stopped in front of the Augusta High School to get our picture with the school mascot, the Beaver. This is not just an ordinary beaver, it's is huge!

We then headed back on Hwy 10 to Mondovi, WI, then down WI 37 to WI 35 at Alma. We gassed up in Alma and took WI 35 back to Prescott.

About 10 miles from Prescott, it started to rain. It was a light rain at first. 5 miles from home it was a down pour, with dark blue-black skies and strong winds. John and I passed another motorcycle rider going our direction. I felt sorry for the guy. There was no windshield on the cruiser style bike, and neither the driver or passenger had on a helmet. The driver was using his left hand to shield his eyes from the heavy rain. Abot 2 miles from home the weather changed again. Now the skies cleared and the sun was shining. As I made the last turn to go home, I noticed hail on the side of the road. John stopped at my place to stretch and dry off a bit before heading home to St. Paul.

As soon as we pulled into my garage, Nancy came out to check on us. She told us we had just missed the hail. She managed to snap a few pictures during the storm.

2 Very nice hail pictures gone AWOL........

It turned out to be a good ride. 225 miles round trip. It would have been nice to miss the rain, but I'm just glad I missed the hail!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thank You Fedex!!!

This morning, before I was even really awake, the door bell rang. When I peeked around the corner and looked downstairs, all I could see was a box at the door. The Fedex man had been here! It's like Christmas when he shows up. I had ordered a set of Givi PLX-35 saddlebags and liners for my big green Kawasaki.. I had ordered the matching candy lime green inserts and the mounting kit for the bags a while ago, but I had to wait a little bit and let the checkbook recover before I ordered the bags.

15 minutes, and 14 little screws later...... they're color matched!!
Maybe this weekend I'll bolt up the mounting kits.

I also have made hotel reservations for the Sport-touring.net meet in Custer, SD. I'll be there June 13-16, or maybe longer. I'm not sure how long I'll be gone.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Some Old Pictures from Sturgis 2005, and a True Story!

I haven't been able to do much riding this last week. The weather has been cold and rainy. Temps have been in the 50's. I was looking at old pictures in my computer and found a few from the Sturgis rally in 2005.
  That was the year my girlfriend, Nancy, drove out to Belle Fourche and met me for our last day and night of the rally. The next day, most of the guys I was with were going to pack up and head home. Nancy and I were going to ride further west. We really had no plan, but there were a few things I wanted to see. My friend John and his cousin Paul were going to be with us part of the way.

Here's the group. From L to R...
Garth, Jim, Deb, Scott, Sara, Carl, Julie, Larrie, Lyle, and me. I'm not sure where John is? Maybe taking the picture?

One of the activities we try to take in during the rally is the Thunder Run. It's a guided motorcycle ride from Ellsworth A.F.B., through the Black Hills, that ends up in Sturgis. The line up for the ride is on the tarmac at the base. While lining up, you can have a photo op in front of  a B-1B Lancer.

In the photo, Paul, John, me, Garth, Lee, Gabi, and Lyle. Click the pic for a larger view.

At the end of the ride is a presentation by the Mayor of Sturgis and the Base Commander. Afterwards, there's usually a fly-over by one of the bases B-1B's. The fly over is so cool! If you're no on the ball and don't see it coming, you won't hear it until it's on top of you and headed away. I've been caught unaware a few times. It scares the crap out of you. The B-1B comes in low, buzzes the crowd, pulls up steep and hammers the throttle. It's awesome!

After the rally, Nancy and I headed southwest. We spent the first night in a KOA cabin outside of Fort Collins, CO. At the end of the next day we met up with Paul and John in Grand Junction, CO. The next day we took  I-70 west into Utah and got off at exit 214. We followed hwy 6 to 128. We took 128, which follows the Colorado River, all the way to Moab. From Moab we rode 191 south to 163 into Arizona. Paul broke off from the group and headed for home in Flagstaff. John continued with us until we left Zion N.P.

These pictures are from along the way...

I know I have more pictures from the trip, but I think I was just transitioning from film to digital that year.
On that trip we went through Bryce Canyon and Zion N.P. We also rode Utah hwy 12 from Escalante to Torrey. Id rate that ride a 10+ !!

I know the story that follows will seem odd, but both Nancy and I were there and we both recall exactly the same things....

  We had passed through Caliente, NV and the sun was low, but there was still a lot of daylight left. We were headed west on 93 and going to go up 375 to Rachel for the night. About 10 miles up 375, things started to get weird. The road behind us was fairly straight, ahead of us was the pass over the Pahrangat mountains. As I was steering the Goldwing I noticed white lights behind us in the mirrors. They looked like headlights, except they were WAY too far apart. It looked like they were 20 feet off the side of road, on both sides of the road, one light on each side, and maybe 1/4 mile behind us. I saw the 2 lights in both mirrors. It was really strange. There was no other traffic, we passed by no houses, no street lights, and there was no noise, but the lights were there in the mirrors. Nancy saw them too. The lights followed us over the pass, around curves, never getting closer, yet never moving out of my view. A few moments after the road straightened out, Nancy yelped. She said that it felt like she had just had an electric shock in her thigh.
   We stopped on the side of 375, just north of Groom Lake Road. It was also while going over the pass that it went from dusk to pitch black. The kind of darkness where you can't see your hand in front of your face. While we were stopped we heard the sound of cows.  We had seen the "open range" signs when we entered into NV, but hadn't seen any cattle until I got my big police Mag-light out the Goldwing's trunk and lit up the highway. We had stopped right in the middle of a heard of black cows. They were so black that even shining a bright light on them they were hard to see. About all we could see were eyes all around us.
   We must have been there a half an hour when a car came up 375 from behind us.  It was occupied by an older male. He asked us if we were going to Rachel, I told him we were. He said, "I'll see you there". Both Nancy and I thought the guy seemed kind of odd. We waited for his tail lights to disappear in the distance. We mounted up and continued on our way. When we pulled into the parking lot of the only open business in Rachel, the Little Aleinn, the man from back down the road was getting out of his car. We watched as he walked over to the passenger side door, he reached in the open window and pulled out an uncased, pump shotgun. While we stood there, he racked the shells out of the gun, put he gun back in the car and pocketed the ammo.
   All of us went into the Little Aleinn at the same time. He started a conversation with someone inside about being stopped by the "damn Highway Patrol".... I wasn't really listening to what they were saying. The conversation eventually got around to us, the new strangers in town. The man asked us if we were on vacation, and where we were from. He eventually asked the question that I knew I didn't want to answer. He asked what I did for a living. I didn't tell him that I was a Deputy Sheriff. I told him I worked for the county, plowing snow and cutting grass. When we asked if there was a place to sent up a tent for the night. The woman behind the counter told us to set up anywhere in the grass next to the parking lot. That was the only night I've ever slept with my Glock under my pillow, and that was the only time I've ever been "carrying" while on vacation.

The grassy area next to the parking lot and next to hwy 375.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. After we got home Nancy noticed a small rough patch of skin in the same spot she felt the shock. To this day, almost 6 years later, there's still a 1/4 inch square patch of rough skin on the thigh. It has never gone away, or gotten bigger... Weird!!!  Her Dr. had kind of glanced at it and said it was nothing. It couldn't have been a bug bite or sting. She had on heavy textile over pants, over a pair of jeans.
I think she should have an x-ray or ultra sound of her thigh done????

Thursday, May 05, 2011

1st Thursday at Dulono's Pizza in Minneapolis

Tonight, John and I went to Dulono's Pizza in Minneapolis for 1st Thursday Bike Night. I met John at his place in St. Paul and from there we drove over to Dulono's at Lake Street and Garfield Ave. John rode his FJR and I was on my Zx-14. We were there early enough to get a good parking spot on the street across from the parking lot. The weather was nice, except for the 10 minutes of rain we had when we first got there.

We walked around and checked out the lot full of diverse motorcycles. Including this 650 Yamaha with a hard tail and a springer fork.

A nice Honda CBX.

1976 Yamaha RD-400

Kawasaki GPz-550

A very nice custom Honda 750/836 big bore kit done Cafe style.

After checking out the bikes for awhile, we went inside and got something to eat. What else would you get at a pizza place?
A medium, pepperoni, sausage, and onion pizza and 2 pops came to just under $19.00. The pizza was very good!!

We went back outside and walked around the bikes some more. This black and gold Suzuki Hayabusa caught my eye. I'd hate to have to clean that. It was sharp though.
We left there about 7:30. John got off the highway in St.Paul, and I continued back to WI. It was a great way to spend an evening.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sport-Touring.net National Meet in Custer, SD

The best thing about my early retirement is the ability to make and change plans at a moments notice. I have not committed myself yet, but I've been thinking a pre-Sturgis trip to South Dakota is required. The Sport-Touring.net web site is having a meet in Custer, SD. It'll take place the week of June 15th.
 If I attend, I'd probably leave home on Sunday the 12th and maybe ride only half way the first day. If I rode the entire 650+ miles the first day, I'd probably not feel like doing much riding the next day. I'd arrive in Custer later in the day on Monday the 13th. I could ride the Black Hills on the 14th, 15th, and 16th. Then head for home on Friday the 17th. Or maybe stay later?
I've always been interested in the Cold War, and have wanted to tour the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site near Wall, SD. This trip might be the perfect time to do that. Click for info!!!
 I've got some planning to to...