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?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Party's Over????

I knew it had to happen sooner or later. It started yesterday, and quit last night. This morning, it looks like this outside my front window.

All is not lost yet, the city hasn't brought out the salt/sand.....yet. The forecast for later this week includes some high 40's, even a shot at 50 by mid-week.

Maybe it's not all over?

If it is over, the oil has been changed, the Sta-bil's been added, the battery tender is plugged in. The bikes are resting.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Maybe the Last Ride of the Season?

At about 11:30 today, I was sitting around the house when John called. He asked me if I had checked the air in my tires yet. I told him, "no", and asked him if I needed to do that. Was I going somewhere today? He said we'd be leaving my place around 1:00.... Funny, I was just thinking of going for a ride.
I rolled the 2 bikes out into the driveway and gave them a quick wipe down with spray polish. I fired up the air compressor and checked the tires. I decided to ride the FJR, it was low on fuel and I could fill it on the way home.
A little after 1:00 John arrived. We took a quick look at the WI gazetteer and planned a loop.

View Larger Map

It's about 120 miles long through Wisconsin farmland and glacial valleys.

We stopped in Plum City and had a snack. Then again at the scenic overlook along the Mississippi River, just north of Pepin, WI.

A few barges headed south.

Johns '09 H-D Electra Glide Classic, and my '06 Yamaha FJR.

We were back in Prescott by 4:10.

Tonight, the weather man on tv said that the highs later in the week would be in the low 30's, with a chance of snow by next weekend. This might be the end of the season.

I hope not!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Motorcycle for Every Day of the Week!

I follow a few motorcycle related blogs, and the list keeps growing. On one of the blogs the author asked a question, "If you had unlimited funds and could have one bike for every day of the week, what bikes would you choose?"
That blog was This One.

So, I searched the internet for images of bikes I'd like to own. Most of them are older bikes. Here's my list.

I'd keep my 2009 Kawasaki ZX-14.

I've always thought that the Honda CBX was an awesome bike, so it makes my list.

Next up would be a bit of nostalgia for me. I'd like to reacquire the first motorcycle I owned, a ruby red, 1971, Honda SL-70. Mine looked just like this. Well, maybe not as pretty.....

In keeping with my youth... I was a big fan of Cafe Racers, so this would bring me back...

I'm still not done with my past. This would be a tough choice. I know it's 2 bikes but I just couldn't decide which....
A modern, Evo engined, Sturgis
Or the ultra cool, old school, XLCR,
Both are the right color, and both have minimal chrome. Just the way I like it. Sorry, but I can't pick just one.

Not all the bikes I like are old. This would be a lot fun on the weekend out on my 40 acres...

My last one would be a Goldwing. I'd have another one if Nancy could ride again. I sold the one I used to have when she had to give up riding. We really enjoyed traveling!

So, there's my list of bikes. It's interesting to see other people's choices.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Dulono's Pizza First Thursday, November 2011

Unless, by some miracle, the roads are still clear and the temps are above 35 degrees, last Thursday, was the last "first Thursday" of the season for me. The weather was perfect, it had warmed to the mid 50's during the day. The turn out was light. I expected more people given the warm day.
John and I got there around 4:30,and there were maybe 15 motorcycles parked in the area.

We parked in the street to avoid getting blocked in like last month.

We went inside to eat....

When we finished...

We went back outside, there were probably 40 bikes around, and the numbers kept climbing. I think it topped out at around 90-100 bikes. There were many that I hadn't seen before.

1922 H-D...

I got home about an hour and a half after sundown. The temps had really started to drop. This was the bank clock down the street from my place.

It was a fun way to spend a few hours in the evening, and get some riding time too!