8 Ball In The Wind

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone, and here is a wish for a better New Year in 2013!!

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Winter Time

Well, the snow is here.  That fact will seriously limit my riding for a while, so it has come to the time for winter repairs.  Projects for this year arent anything major.  But they will still require bringing the bike into the front room again for at least part of the winter.  Taking care of leaks on both cylinder base gaskets, and a couple of more minor items is all for this winter on the bike.

Also, I have to put together some things to make a presentation to a group of people.  I want to try to get together a nonprofit group to organize a bike rally here in the mountains.  With a custom/chopper show, bike rodeo, swap meet/vendor area, live music, and even possibly having the town theater playing old "biker movies".  If I can pull this off, and get it organized, and running, I think it will be great.  A lot of hard work and effort, but great all the same.

It's going to be a busy winter, but hopefully worth all the effort.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter Doesnt Have To Be Downtime

Winter here in the Pacific NW doesn't always mean it's down time.  Unlike some parts of the country where they measure the snow in feet, we usually just get cold rain.  With a few inches of snow from time to time.  Riding in this may be cold, and miserable, but it still warms my heart to see bikes show up for a run, or even just be out on the road, while the weather is...shall we say 'less than perfect'.

There are even a few hardy souls that don't even let a little snow stop them from riding when they want.  I have one friend, that just bundles himself up like the character 'Kenny' from South Park, and rides rain or shine, snow or sleet.  He even jokes about screwing sheet metal screws into the tread of his tires to act as studs on compact snow and ice.

I don't bounce back as fast as I did when I used to ride on the ice and snow.  So I'll leave that to the truly hard core PNW riders.  Unless I don't have an option, then I am riding no matter what.  
Anyway, just a short shout out to all of you around the world that check out this blog from here in the mountains of what I like to call the Pacific NorthWET.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dream Chopper

If money were no object, I would have a bike that started out with a Sugar Bear frame, and 20 over Sugar Bear front end.  For a drivetrain I'd have a Baker Frankentranny, and a BDL polished belt drive connected to an S&S 103" P Motor.  Either a Hunt or a Morris magneto, a 19 inch Metzeler on the front and a 16 inch on the back.  A sweet set of 40 spoke lace wheels holding both tires. A set of Paughco 6 bend pullback handlebars, a set of 5 gallon fat bob gas tanks, sprung solo seat, 36" sissy bar, and a bobbed rear fender.

But, money IS an object.  Worse, it is more like an obstacle.  So, I will have to be satisifed with making slow modifications to what I have already.  What I have is a 91 Softail Custom; with a Baker F5K kicker on it that I installed a couple years ago when I had some cash.  Some friends and I fashioned a custom exhaust that is simply a curving set of straight pipes.  It still needs some adjustment, but it works.  I replaced the 21 inch front wheel with a 16 incher, and a cheap knock-off of a Heritage front fender.  A set of 12 inch mini apes rounds out the look as it stands now.  But I still have plans for her as time and money allow.

She has a Mustang seat and pillion that I eventually want to replace with an old style sprung solo saddle seat.  I say sprung, because the frame will be strutted, and eventually hard tailed.  I want to put a foot clutch and jockey shift on her (an 8 Ball shift knob of course).  When the exhaust is finished, I'll have it ceramic coated, and the final hard tailed frame powder coated in a two tone gloss and flat black pattern.  The tins will be gloss black.  I would love to have an old style Imron paint job, but even finding Imron anymore is a trick in itself.  Never mind the cost of it.  An airbrush portrait of the sexy Gypsy Rose Lee adorning the sides of the tanks.  All the other art is in a constant state of flux.  At least until I find an artist to work out the details with.

I am always appreciative when I get compliments on how Gypsy Rose looks.  Saying how she looks so "Old School" and all that.  To me she just looks "comfortable".  When I know it will be raining for an extended period of time, I mount the front fender on her.  Otherwise I keep it off and just enjoy riding her.  She isnt my "Dream Chopper" but maybe someday she will be.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My New Knucklehead

I didn't make it to the Olympia Toy Run today.  From what I have heard, the weather kept a good number of people away.  Still there were several 1,000 who made it.  The weather forecasters once again were overly cautious in their predictions, and the weather didnt turn out quite as bad as they had made it sound.  It was still nasty, just not quite AS nasty.
But I was busy getting my new Knucklehead used to his new surroundings.  I was supposed to get him sometime around Christmas.  But his mother began running out of milk, and weaning the pups early.  So, I got a call, and went to pick him up last night  He's a Lab mix.  With a little Pit thrown in, but he has Rottie markings.  Go figure.  He seems to be a smart little guy, even if he only turns 4 weeks old tomorrow on the 2nd of December.  So far, he has only left piles on the paper, but his puddles are getting closer to the target as the day wears on.
He's not much bigger than my foot at the moment.  The Mastiff isnt sure what to make of him.  I think she thinks he is a moving squeeky toy, or some form of kitty.  Since she has never been around a puppy that I can recall.  Our old, grumpy Catahoula mix tolerates him.  That is, as long as he doesnt try to crawl onto her blanket.  Then she puts him in his place real quick.
I am going to be interested in seeing knuckleheads reaction when I bring my 91 Evo into the front room to work on the top end later this winter.  That might prove amusing.
Catch ya on the road sometime...


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Doubtful On Making The Toy Run

I just saw the forecast for the Olympia Toy Run Saturday.  100% chance of rain and highs in the mid 40's.  If I lived closer, I might still go even with the rain.  But riding 180+ miles in the rain (roundtrip, with a windchill of high teens to mid 20's) just to sit in a parking lot and get rained on until we ride through Olympia just doesnt even sound good.  But around here the only ones who believe the weather man are tourists and crazies.   So depending on what I wake up to on Saturday, I'll decide on whether I ride or not.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Olympia Toy Run

Well, next Saturday is the annual Olympia Toy Run.  A gathering of 15-20,000 bikes come rain, snow, or sun shine.  I am hoping that the weather this year will be decent, because it is an 90 mile one way run to Lacey, and making the trip on a cold wet day just doesnt sound like a lot of fun.
In the old days, there used to be big parties after the toy run, but I havent heard of any in many years.  But then, as we all know, things just arent like they used to be.
If the weather holds off to be at least halfway decent, a few of us will meet over at the Chevron here in Morton, and ride out about 8:30 and getting there in Lacey for the start about 10:00.  Then it is just a question of hanging out and waiting for the run to start.
I like being up towards the front, so I can get to the end and still watch all the bikes roll in after me.
We'll see how the weather is, and I'll try to post some pics.  But if it is pissing down rain, and 35 degrees, or snowing, I won't be going...Not this year.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Another Iron In The Fire

Well, I have been talking to a few people over the past several months about getting some sort of event for bikes put together here in this part of the state.  Economically, it makes sense.  Since most of the businesses here are struggling in an already economically depressed area, anything to help bring money into the region would be appreciated you would think.  Plus we have so many great places to ride to.  About an hours worth of riding will put you in the big city, or way back into the mountains where even the cell phones don't work.  God's own magnificent creations laced with twisting, climbing bike roads.  Three volcanoes, and a slew more mountains to visit and explore.
The are facilities that could be put to use for a bike show, vendor/entertainment area, and even a bike "rodeo".  Community service groups could make money from a "Biker's Breakfast", and even the local movie house has said in the past that they could run old motorcycle movies if a rally got started.  
So here is where I am...do I jump in and try to get people together and try to get something organized that will be a kick in the ass for the people here, and the riders in the Pacific Northwest...or do I just say it's too much work, I ain't even going to try?
Nah, that don't sound like me...I'll keep you posted on what I come up with, and what I am able to gt organized...if anything.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bike Survival Kit

After hearing that my next door neighbor had been missing in the mountains for the  past few days, I began thinking of what I would think was necessary to have in a kit incase I ever got lost, or broke down out in the middle of nowhere sometime.  There are a gazillion things people could pack along with them, but I am making my list up from experience, and training I have had with Search & Rescue over the years.  Plus, the fact it has to be able to be carried on a bike without taking up all the room in the saddlebags is another key factor.
Now since I figure a first aid kit as a separate item, I won’t go into what is included in that.  But a decent store bought one, along with an Ace Bandage, a roll of gauze, and a couple of feminine napkins (they make GREAT compresses), a tube of sunscreen and a roll of surgical tape should get you by.
Here is what I have included in a survival kit:
First Aid kit
6 inch Glow Sticks (2)
Spool of twine
Waterproof matches, full lighter, or flint and steel
Space Blanket
Flashlight & Batteries
Water bottle
Small tarp
While some of these things seem quite obvious, some may not.  So I’ll give a quick rundown on each item, and how they are used.  I am also quite sure, that if you think about it, there are a few things you could add to your own survival kit.  Try them, and see if they work for you.
First Aid Kit:  Like I said before, with just a few additions, a store bought first aid kit will handle most problems you’ll encounter. 
Whistle:  You know the kind.  The plastic, or metal, whistle your gym teacher used in school. They can be found in most outdoor shops.  When you are lost, hurt and can’t respond to searchers, a good loud whistle is worth its weight in gold.  The whistle will carry a lot further than your voice will, and its shrill sound is a definite attention getter out in the middle of nowhere.
6 in Glow Sticks:  Despite what you see on TV and in the movies, signaling to a plane or helicopter isn’t that easy.  Even if you are out in the open you may not get seen.  So you use one of the glowsticks, tied to about 6 feet of twine, and start twirling it like a lasso at arms length over your head.  Now you have just gone from being a small dot on the ground to a big round glowing object that stands out from the background even in the day time.
Spool of twine:  Use the twine to tie the tarp to your bike for a shelter if need be.  A 150ft long spool of twine is more than you’ll need, but still smaller than a 50ft coil of rope.  And, if you have to cut it later it’s no big deal.
Small tarp: Use it as a shelter to keep yourself out of the weather somewhat.  If you tie one end to the bike, you can tie the other end to rocks, or some other solid thing and you have a place to sleep that is fairly dry.
Knife:  Do I really need to tell you why you want this included?
Everything else on the list is so obvious as to why you should have it, I’m not going to waste your time or mine typing it all down.  It is just common sense, you want to stay as dry and warm as possible without always having a bunch of stuff weighing you down on the bike all the time.
I mean, think about it.  You go for a nice day ride up into the mountains, and end up finding some cool little road you never rode before.  Or you hear about some place that really peaks your interest, so you go check it out.  Then you break down, or worse, out in the middle of nowhere.  No cell service, and miles from the nearest phone.  Since no one knows for sure where you are, including maybe even you, it looks like you’re going to have to hunker down and overnight it.  Better to have a little something with you to keep yourself alive, and able to get the attention of anyone that DOES happen to come by.  Don’t you think?  I hope you never need it, but in this day and age, who knows what is going to happen.  So just take care and watch out for yourself.  If a little time spent putting a bike survival kit might keep you safe, I’d say it was worth it.  Wouldn’t you?
Catch ya on the road sometime…

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Salmon Poisoning In Dogs


It is that time of year again, the fish are running, and I spread the word about the dangers of Salmon Poisoning to your dogs.  I wish I knew a few years ago what I know now...I probably wouldn't have lost my Bertha Butt like I did.  Believe me, it is a horrible way for a dog to die.

Salmon Poisoning In Dogs

Salmon poisoning in dogs is from the ingestion of certain kinds of raw fish that contain parasites that are toxic to dogs.  If you suspect that your dog might have come in contact with these parasites, contact your veterinarian immediately since thus condition can cause death.

Salmon poisoning can be fatal.  It occurs when a dog takes into its mouth (not necessarily even consuming or swallowing anything) certain types of raw fish such as uncooked salmon or trout.  Salmon and other types of fish that swim upstream to breed can be infected with a parasite called Nanophyetus calmincola.  The parasite is harmless but many are infect with an organism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca that is the cause of the poisoning.  If you suspect that your dog was wandering near a stream or lake with wild fish, or their remains, or if the ate garbage that may contain fish, tell your veterinarian.
The disease is most common west of the Cascade mountain range of the Pacific Northwest.  Treatment is effective using a combination of a dewormer and antibiotics.
Generally clinical signs appear within six days of a dog contacting an infected fish, with death occurring within 14 days.  Left untreated, there is a 90% mortality rate in dogs.
Symptoms are severe and include:

*lack of appetite
*swollen lymph nodes
*bloody diarrhea

Your veterinarian will diagnose salmon poisoning by taking a stool sample or they can use a needle to extract liquid from a lymph node.  If the parasite’s eggs are detected or even suspected, given the risk of this illness, treatment will start.
Treatment includes an antibiotic and a dewormer to help with the parasite.  If your dog is dehydrated then intravenous fluid will be needed.  Once treatment has started there should be an improvement within 2 days.
REMEMBER, YOUR DOG DOES NOT NEED TO EAT THE FISH!!  Simply getting the slime from the fish into their saliva can be enough to cause infection.  If you suspect your dog has been in or near water with wild fish, bathe them, and watch them closely for symptoms.  REMEMBER, THERE IS A 90% MORTALITY RATE if left untreated.  Even if your dog is lucky enough to be among the 10% survivors, it is likely to have severe kidney damage and other serious health issues for the rest of its life.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lil' Blackie

Have you ever had or ridden; a bike that was just sweet as hell to look at, wicked fast in a straight line, but could become just plain wicked going down the road?  I used to have one.  A chopped ‘70 Norton Commando, that I called  “Lil’ Blackie”.

At least that is what I named her when I first bought her and brought her over to a friends garage to get her up and on the road.  But when I was riding her, I was usually too busy trying to keep her on the road to call her much of anything. 
When I bought her, it had been an impulse buy.  I had run across an ad for a “mostly complete” Norton chopper and two “parts bikes” that was only a few miles from where I lived in rural Washington state.  At the time, I had some cash burning a hole in my wallet (and I have a weak spot for Nortons) , so I called the guy.  

I took a buddy’s truck and took a look at it.  When he rolled up the garage door, the first thing I saw was that long springer front end seeming to stretch way back to a set of drag bars.  There wasn’t anything else in the garage except the boxes of parts against the back wall.  The guy was showing her off to her best look.  Her stance was nearly perfect.  Long and black with that springer glistening in the front.  I was already on the hook, and unless I saw something that scared me off in the next couple of minutes, she was going to get loaded up and hauled to my friends garage where I was going to get her back on the road.  As I unloaded her from the truck back at Cowboys farm, I was a happy camper.

For the most part, her drive train was that of a stock Norton Commando.  With the exception of having a right hand side jockey shift.  Up front was a waaay over stock springer that was quite “springy” as I found out the first time I rode her.  I also found out the hard way that she had too much trail, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  The frame was a variation of the Amen Saviour frame style that was popular for some reason on choppers in the 70’s and early 80’s.  If you don’t know what was so ‘different’ about that frame style, let me tell you about it.  Probably 95% of the frame looked like a cool raked rigid frame.  No swingarm, no shocks, nothing that didn’t need to be there.  That is, until you got to the back where the axle passed through the frame.  Instead of having the axle plates welded to the frame, they were welded to vertical springs that were housed in tubes at the rear of the frame.  This was meant to give a little rear suspension.

On a bike with telescoping forks, like a Triumph chop I had a few years before, it worked fairly well.  At least enough it could be dealt with.  Even with a springer front end, it worked ok.  That is, as long as you were on a pretty smooth and straight road.  Since the rear axle was independent of the frame, when you would lean into a tight turn, the rear axle tended to try to remain perpendicular to the road.  Which could make for a fair bit of excitement if you need to suddenly make a hard sharp turn.

So Lil’ Blackie not only had springs on her rear axle, her front was mounted in an overly long (and more than a bit flexible) springer front end.  I found out on the first ride I made on her that the trail was off by a couple inches, so she turned with the ease of a toddler going bowling.  She looked bad ass sitting still with that springer on.  But it tended to flex a bit, and would “hop” the front tire like a pogo stick if the pavement wasn’t nice and smooth.  She was a city bar hopper, and probably wouldn’t have been too bad on the freeway.  But on the old, uneven twisting back roads where I lived, she was a scary bitch.

After I had her all together, and the motor chugging in that way only an English vertical twin does, I had to take her for a quick test ride.  Now I have owned and ridden Nortons before.  So I knew all about having a right side shifting transmission with a 1st gear up, 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear down shifting pattern.  
I had even ridden a jockey shift before.  But that had been a left hand side, tank mount set-up, with a foot clutch.   Still, it felt really weird to pull in the clutch lever with my left hand, then take my right hand off the throttle and reach down behind my ass to grab the shifter knob, make the shift, reach back up to the throttle and let out the clutch again.

I killed the bike a couple times trying to get rolling down the driveway.  Then again, when I went to pull onto Orting-Kapowsin Highway.  Having to make the turn onto the highway was an experience, as I took almost the whole road to make the right turn onto the road, and had to turn left almost immediately to turn onto 288th St.  Both times it took a lot of force to get over the issue with that springers trail.  Taking the whole road and a bit to make the turns.  
But I was on 288th St now, and wouldn’t need to make a turn for about 3 miles or so.  I spent the first mile or so just getting used to this new way of shifting until it began feeling a bit more comfortable.  That’s when I dropped her all the way down into 4th gear and grabbed a fistful of throttle. 

Lil’ Blackie’s pipes sounded great, as her throttle response was quick for an old Commando.  We were flying down 288th St, and I tucked in behind the drag bars enjoying the ride.  About then we hit a stretch of road that had settled, leaving ripples and dips and chuckholes and patches all along the road.  Suddenly I think we were flying, or at least trying to.  Between the rear axle bouncing up and down, and the front tire merrily bouncing around, I wouldn’t be surprised if half the time both wheels were off the ground at the same time.  The front tire caught hold of a crack in the road and pulled hard to the right.  I was hanging on to the drag bars for all I was worth, letting off the throttle and using the Norton’s rear drum brake to slow down a bit as we skipped across the road together like in some perverse polka.

Once I got her down to about 30-35 mph (she didn’t have a speedo) everything seemed to mellow out again.  As long as I kept her just putting along on that old road she was fairly sweet.  But if I tried to give her some juice, she turned into some sort of mechanical bucking bronco trying to throw me into next week.
I finally made it to Meridian Ave, and had to fight her to not take more than the road had to make the turn.  Since Meridian was a state Highway, it was a bit wider, and much smoother than 288th had been.  I brought her up to about 80, and just flew down the road with no trouble at all.  That is until I had to slow down for the light at 304th.  That is where I had planned on turning around anyway, so when the old Norton rear drum brake finally got me slowed down enough, I swung into the parking lot of the gas station at the corner, and rolled back through it the other way.  The parking lot being so much wider than the road, I didn’t have any trouble getting turned around.  Getting that “chopper flop” on the front wheel fixed was definitely going to be a top priority.  As well as replacing those springs on the axle plates with normal axle plates, to eliminate her wanting to dance around the road.

I headed back to the garage at a much more relaxed pace.  I knew what I had to do to make her “perfect”, or as close as I would ever need her to be.  When I rolled back into the driveway, I was getting used to how she handled, but still didn’t like it.  So I was planning on stripping her down to the frame, and having a friend replace the springs with axle plates, and to get another to help fab up some pivot arms to alleviate the chopper flop.  But that was going to have to wait, as I had a Dr’s appointment the next day, and that was to prove a life changing visit.

The Doc dropped a bombshell on me that next day.  I had a brain tumor, and couldn’t drive…and no way could I ride a bike again.  Since I didn’t have the money for all the medical bills that were coming, and I couldn’t see leaving what could have been such a sweet ride just sit, I sold Lil’ Blackie.  I sold all of my spare parts, and only kept one bike, my old Norton P11A ‘Lola’.  But in the end, I sold her too a few years later.  It was several years after they removed the brain tumor that I had recovered from it, and recovered from the side effects of the surgery.  I always knew I would ride again, and eventually I was back on two wheels where I belonged. 

I often wonder what happened to Lil’ Blackie, and if someone had taken the time to fix her properly to tame her wild ways.  I’ll never know, but somehow I think, or hope they did.  She would have been one hell of a sweet chop to ride after they did.

Catch ya on the road sometime…

Getting There

Heading to a buddies with a BIG compressor this weekend.  That should fix the tire situation.  Hoping to get the tire and wheel back on the back by the end of the weekend.  I'll feel a hell of a lot better when I have Gypsy back together so I can ride her until I tear into the top end in a couple months.

Well, gonna post a nice long one here in a bit, so...

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Well THAT Didnt Work!!

It's been about a week and a half since I swapped the tires on my rear wheel.  I have yet to be able to get the beads to set against the rim all the way around the wheel.

I have tried everything I can think of.  Even using a ratchet strap and compressor.  Finally got desperate enough to try using starting fluid inside the tire to pop the bead into place.  You can see below how well that worked.

As you can see, it didn't "pop" shit.  I guess I am just going to have to take it to my favorite Indy Bike Shop on Saturday when I head down there with a couple friends.  If you have any ideas how to get this sucker on there, I'm more than interested.  Going on two weeks being down is already driving me nuts.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Burn Baby Burn!!

With way less than legal tread on my rear tire, I knew its days were numbered.  When it developed a goose egg sized bubble on the sidewall after a 15 mile stretch of 80 mph 'plus' on the freeway coming home from a run to Vancouver, I knew it was time.  A friend had brought over and given me a nearly new 16 inch Bridgestone rear tire, and the stage was set.

I just couldn’t see simply swapping out the tires.  What fun would that have been?  So I decided to burn off the last of the tread on the tire.  If the bubble popped, all the better.  Either way, this Dunlop Wide White Wall was going up in smoke.

After putting out the word about what I was going to do, a couple of friends dropped by to enjoy the fun.  The first attempt was pitiful.  The only place I had available to do this was in my semi-enclosed carport “garage”.  The concrete slab was so smooth that when I locked up the front brake and let out the clutch, the bike just slid right across the floor.  Can’t smoke a tire that way.  So we stacked a couple bags of concrete against the front wheel.  I locked up the front brake, let out the clutch…and Gypsy just pushed the concrete across the floor like it was nothing.

We were just getting too much traction.  So I poured some rubbing alcohol on the tire.  Chris poured some more on the slab around the tire.  Then both T and Chris braced themselves between the concrete bags and a work bench.  The third time was the charm.  I was just too focused on making sure the bike didn’t roll forward that it was about 10 or 15 seconds before I looked down.  All I saw was a few wisps of bluish smoke.  I looked up at T and Chris disappointedly.  Only to see them both looking behind me and grinning.  I turned my head to look back behind me and saw a thick white wall of smoke boiling out into the alley and building up into the air.

Now we were cooking!!  I kept on the throttle, turning now and again to look back at the growing smoke cloud behind me.  I so wanted to pop that tire.  But, after about 40 seconds had gone by, the heat from the exhaust was beginning to get a bit uncomfortable.  I wanted to pop the tire, but not at the cost of thrashing Gypsy’s motor.  I just couldn’t afford any major problems with her just now.  So I eased off the throttle and pulled in the clutch.  After a couple seconds of smooth idling I shut down the bike, and walked around to check everything out.

The tread was gone, and the rubber was still bubbling where the tread had been.  Chunks of it were missing, and I knew it wouldn’t have been too much longer.  But it wasn’t worth the risk to me.  So I will just have to kill the next tire when it’s time comes.  By then, Gypsy will be about ready for a complete overhaul anyway.  Until then, I’ll just get her ready to ride to Chicago and back next summer.  Although, I am still not sure if I’ll replace the shocks or not.  Or if I’ll just strut her instead and find a cheap sprung solo seat.  I’ll figure something out by then, either way it'll be good.

Catch ya on the road sometime…

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stubborn Tire

I pulled the rear wheel off my Gypsy Rose, then with a long screwdriver and pry bar got the old tire off.  The new tire went on without too much difficulty.  Except I am having a pain in the ass of a time getting the beads to close up to the rim.  I'll get it...just not tonight.  Heading off to bed, to get ready for a long work week.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Smokin Off My Tire

Just having a bit of fun with it before I change an old worn out tire for a new one.  A couple of my grandsons even came over to watch Papa smoke his tire.  Their mom said she could see the smoke a block and a half away.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bubble Bubble Tire And Trouble

We had a great ride yesterday.  Even if things didn't go quite as planned, it was still a good time.  With the BBQ we rode about 100 miles down to attend running out of food before we even got there (may next time they'll figure on having more than 200 Burgers), we had to change plans on where to eat.  No drama, just shot up Old 99 to Billygans and chowed don on some great grub and good drinks.  

Afterwards we rode up through Longview and stopped at Castle Rock at The Past Time for a little something to wash the road dust from our throats.   Since one of the guys on the ride had a tire he was going to give me to replace the bald one I was running, he took a look at my tire to make sure it was the same size.  Afterwards he said at least the tire "hadn't started to bubble yet."

About an hour later, after running at 80 or better up the freeway and then about 60 down the back roads home, another friend of mine showed me the bubble on my rear tire after we parked at the Bucksnort Pub here in Morton.  The wife and I made it home safe, but I just shook my head thinking about that tire blowing going down the freeway at 80...with everyone else following behind us.  Chalk another one up for my watchful Angel.  I must be getting close to the limit of my share of luck.  Because I know I'm not bullet proof.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Saturdays Run Route

Here is the basic route for Saturdays Sept/Oct. Birthday/Anniversary BBQ and Run from Morton to Vancouver and back.

Run Route

I am sure, there may be some deviation depending on if we start really getting behind schedule, or if we somehow get ahead of schedule.  Because I know damn well we won't be ON schedule after we leave Morton.  It just never seems to work out that way, and since I only wear a watch when I am at work, I doubt I will ever be right on schedule beyond start time.

If you can make the run tomorrow, great!  Even if it just means meeting up with us down in Vancouver for a face to face meeting!
Either way, or if you can't make it, have a great weekend anyway.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sept/Oct. Birthday Run & Party

Getting things ready for the annual party for all our friends whose birthdays are in September and October.  Damn, there is a lot of you!!  Anyway, this year we are adding a bit of a twist to the party.  For those who ride, we're throwing in a couple hundred mile run down to Vancouver and back to help celebrate Columbia Motorcycles 68th birthday, and Robins 60th.  So we're riding down there, enjoying their BBQ, then heading back for our own BBQ and little bonfire.  Due to the EXTREME fire hazard in the area, I wont be having one of my famous bonfires, but a small one since there is a burn ban in effect.  So basically if the neighbors dont bitch, everything is a go!!

On the way down to Vancouver, one of the stops is the liquor store in Rainier, Oregon (strategically placed right off the bridge into Oregon) to get a few bottles of MUCH cheaper booze than in Washington.  Add to that what Apple Pie we still have, and I will bring down the shot ski, it may get 'drunk out' Saturday night.  It sounds like a real good time will be had.  It usually is!!

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Westport Run

Yesterday we headed off on a ride to the coast.  Making a 220 mile round trip to Westport for lunch.  When we left Morton, the roads were wet, and the skies grey and gloomy, the hills shrouded in fog.  But before we had even gone ten miles we could see blue skies, and soon we were out under them for the rest of the day.  

We stopped at Rainbow Falls State Park for a few minutes along Highway 6 before heading out towards Raymond.  Highway 6 is a decent road.  A two lane with just enough twists to be fun as it weaves through the foothills.  Heading out to Raymond before jumping onto Highway 105 and rounding the north side of Willapa Bay.

Then we followed Highway 105 up through Tokeland, Grayland, and into Westport.  We swung dont to the fishing port and parked the bikes in front of a nice little cafe, and had lunch at a sidewalk table.  I tell you what, when they called the burger I had a 'Big Catch', it wasn't an exaggeration.  It was all I could do to eat all of it...and I barely even ate the fries it came with.  But, damn, it was delicious!!!

We made a couple of stops along the way after we ate.  But mostly we jsut putted back the way we came.  Enjoying the scenery, and the comradeship of riding together.

It was after dark, and under a full moon when we finally rode back into Morton.  A nice enjoyable day riding with some friends.  I have another trip about the same distance next weekend, rain or shine...I hope it turns out to be as good.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Westport Bound

After several of us have had rough news this past week, a group of us are getting together and heading out for a good ride.  Heading down to Westport on the Washington coast.  The route there and back is chock full of good bike roads, and I havent been to Westport in a few years.  I got to make sure the batteries are all charged up in the camera, it looks to be a sweet ride!!

Nearly 80 on Saturday, and we'll be riding through the foothills and out to the coast.  It'll be nice to smell the salt in the air, and the wet coastal land again.  After spending half my life that close to the salt water, the smell of the beach becomes a part of you.  Yeah, it's looking to be a good ride!!

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Route (So Far)

The more I look at it, the more I wonder if there is ANYTHING worth checking out after a quick stop at Wall Drug, in the town of Wall, South Dakota.  Well, at least between there and Milwaukee anyway.  From Milwaukee it is a more or less straight run south to Chicago, so that isnt a big deal.

Between Morton and Wall, there are several things to stop for a few minutes and scope out.  Some even thought provoking maybe.  But for a guy like me, who is from the land of green forests and mountains, the great plains have never had a great draw to them.  Too flat, and not enough trees.  I like National Forests, but National Grasslands just never have really done anything for me.

Maybe since we'll be talking it fairly easy the first couple days, this offers a great reason to grab a fistful of throttle and just hunker down behind the bars.  The more I look at the maps, I just don't see anything worth stopping for, except gas and grub.  So maybe the upper plains will just be a blur as we do some low level flying.  Me with my 22 year old 80 incher trying to keep up with my brother and his 2 year old 96 incher.  Might make for a good chase.

I haven't been in Minnesota since the 70's, so I haven't got a clue what is there outside of some fuzzy memories of mostly flatland with a few small forests.  If any of you happen to know of any worthy places to stop, I would appreciate the suggestions.  I know if I had the time, and some extra cash, it would be worth the extra two day round trip to ride to Hell, Michigan.  Been wanting to ride 'The Highway To Hell" for decades now.  But, maybe I'll save that for another long run.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Missing The Oyster Run

There are just some days when you know things will work, and other days when you know it wont.  No matter how much you want to get something done, if doing it screws you up for something bigger and more important later than it just aint meant to be.

That's the way things are with this years Oyster Run.  Just getting back to work this week put me into that place between that big ass rock and that steel hard spot.  I have a run coming up in a couple weeks that I have organized, and that I am going to lead.  But if I had headed off this weekend to spend the weekend in and around Anacortes like I wanted.  Well, then I would have been stuck when it came down to getting things done on the 6th.

I simply dont have the money to do both, and still get the bike torn down and go through the top end this winter to get her ready to ride to Chicago next summer.  Everything else is coming up secondary to the Chicago Run.

So I will miss out on being a part of the 30,000 bikes parked in downtown this year.  On going to another righteous barbecue with friends.  Just so I can take the wife on her 60th birthday run on the 6th, and not cut into the fund for the Chicago Run.

Always have to make choices in life.  This one wasn't so difficult.  There is a difference between running on a shoestring, and shredding the shoestring down to its last thread.  

So, to anyone going to the Oyster Run this year; I wont be there on Sunday.  Have an oyster shooter, and raise a glass in my memory.  Hoping to be able to party with you next year with some great stories to tell about  making the Chicago Run.  

So see ya next year, on the fourth Sunday in September.  I plan on spending the whole weekend.

Catch you on the road sometime...

They're Making A Movie

They started filming a movie here in Morton...er, I mean Creechville today.  The film crew will be filming around here for a month according to the newspaper article I read.  It'll be interesting to see what sort of flick it is.  From what little I saw getting filmed this morning, it sounds like a bit of a strange one to be sure.  A 'dark' film.  It should be kind of cool to see it on the big screen in the future.
That's Cary Elwes being chained to the spar pole by the cops.

Well, it may be grey and gloomy out, but I am going to head out and take a little ride.  Helped a Brother celebrate his birthday last night, and I want to let the cool air clear the last of the spider webs from my head.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Time Doesnt Change Allegiance

I didn't realized that this hadn't been published
Until I found it still as a draft tonight.
This is from almost a year ago...
After I had been at the local watering hole.
With a Brother washing away the road dust. 
When some jive yahoo from here in town
Began running his mouth about people...
And places that he hung out at...
30 years before.

One of which was a small biker bar
Called the LOOP Tavern...
Where I happened to tend bar back in the day.
I don't ever remember seeing this guy there...
But I did know some of the people
Whose names he was so proud he knew...
This guy didn't have a clue.

I am  somewhat surprised at how fired up I got tonight by some idiot trying to impress me with his name dropping.  He seemed to think that naming people from almost 30 yrs ago would impress me.  Even after he was told both by me and an old riding brother of mine that the people he kept  talking about were the absolute wrong people to be talking about to me.  This idiot just didnt seem to understand, that it doesnt matter if it is  30 years later, bragging about hanging around a rival club is NOT the way to impress someone, and name dropping is not the way to try to impress me.  Certainly not after being told that the people he was talking about were "persona non grata" in my book.  What is it about people, who think, just because they know the names of people from an area that that means they are welcome in the general community of bikers?  Anyway, I must offer my deepest appreciation to my road brother T for keeping me from getting into a situation that would have no doubt led to  me ending up in jail.

I have had better nights, but I thank the road Gods for such good Brothers.

Planning a Big Ride

Have you ever started out planning some big ride, with just your destination as the only sure thing about the run?  Then as time goes on you start thinking about other places along the way you’d like to check out.  Even if it’s just for an hour or so to be able to get a good stretch, and see something you’ve always wanted to see.  Well, that’s kind of what I am dealing with now.

I have a ride to Chicago I am planning for next summer.  That was originally going to be the only set place.  Ride there the fastest, shortest way.  Then I could spend a little extra time with family I haven’t seen since the mid 70’s.  But as time went on, I started looking at the map, and seeing some places I have long wanted to go just off the main road.  Besides, long freeway based trips tend to bore the Hell out of me.

So, instead of making a hard 2 day ride on Interstate 90, I will be taking a more leisurely pace along a few other roads.  The plan is to head east from here in Morton on US Highway 12.  Easy enough, since US-12 is only about a three block ride from my house.  I’ll be heading east on US-12 then climbing up and over 4,500 ft White Pass. 

The eastern half of Washington state lies on top of several layers of basalt that are several hundred feet thick.  And where rivers and Ice Age glaciers carved away the rock, it brings to mind old western movies.  It is along two of these rivers, The Columbia and the Snake, that I plan on riding into Idaho.  Hopefully the damage from this year’s fires will have had a chance to recover in both eastern Washington and Idaho.

After crossing the Snake River into Idaho at Lewiston, I’ll have to make a short side trip to ride the Spiral Highway (probably my favorite road in the Pacific Northwest) once or twice before heading east again.  Still staying on US-12, riding up into the mountains and onto one of the best stretches of motorcycle road in the country.  

I just have to remember to top off my fuel tanks in Kooskia.  Because there isn’t another gas station that I know of until you get to the Lolo/Missoula area.  That’s close to 150 miles. That may not seem like too far; but it is mostly on a climbing, twisting, remote mountain highway.  So, I am planning on carrying an extra can of gasoline bungied tightly onto the back of Gypsy Rose.

I had a photo that a friend emailed me from US-12 going up Lolo Pass.  I loved that image.  All it showed was a close up of a highway sign.  I am sure you have probably seen one just like it a zillion times.  Just the normal “S” curve sign.  The part I liked, was the little sign below it that read; “NEXT 60 MILES”.  In the background you could see the road disappearing around a curve, with nothing but tree covered hills as far in the background as you could focus.

The plan calls for an over night stay in Lewiston.  Then riding up over Lolo Pass to Missoula, MT.  From there, jumping onto the freeway to make-up a little time before stopping at the Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument.  Then onto Sturgis and Deadwood to find a nice quiet place to camp for the night.

So far, that is the extent of the plan for this trip to Chicago.  When my brother Ed and I reach Chicago, I have a few things planned (gotta catch a CUBS home game at Wrigley field), but not a lot more planned on the trip itself.  The basic route is laid out.  Going from South Dakota through Minnesota to Milwaukee (Hmmm, isn’t there some big motorcycle museum or something there?) and then down to Chicago.  The route back is totally up in the air.  I think at last count I had four different ways back.  Including just hitting the freeway the whole way back (OK, all together now…”BORING!!”).  Some of the possible sights on the way back are; Glenwood Canyon and Glenwood Springs, Colorado (where Doc Holiday is buried), the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, Dinosaur Nat’l Monument, Glacier Nat’l Park, the Bonneville Salt Flats.  At this point who knows which way we’ll be coming back.

The whole purpose for this trip is to be a warm-up  run for a trip I want to take in 2014 or 2015.  I have never been through the deep South, and my old ship is in Lake Charles, LA.  So I could go walk her decks again, see some friends outside of ‘Nawlins’ face to face, and keep heading east.  The primary destination is  the Smokeout in Rockingham, NC.  

Once again, the itinerary on the way back is going to be very flexible.  Outside of laying some flowers  at the Reiman Auditorium in Nashville (hey, to me it is Hallowed Ground, and a MAJOR ‘bucket list’ item) I haven’t a clue which way I’ll be going.  Just going to focus on one thing at a time here. 

First things first as they say.  I want to ride back into Chicago to take my Dad’s ashes home.  I also want to ride the streets where motorcycling first got into my family’s genetic code.  It’s been roughly three score and 15 years since my forefathers began riding Harleys, Indians, Hendersons, Excelsiors, and God only knows what else along the streets of Chicago’s ‘South Side’.  That’s what this ride will be truly about for me.  Not just taking Dad home, but connecting with my history in a deeply personal way.  I honestly think that my Uncle Marty will be smiling down on Ed and I when we ride our Harley’s up to his gravesite and pay our respects, and bring his brother home.  I just hope my straight pipes don’t wake the dead.

Catch ya on the road sometime…