8 Ball In The Wind

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…

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


My job started back up, and i am trying to get things together for a 60th Birthday Run for my wife.  Plus a couple of friends are trying to set up a run to the coast for lunch.  It'd turn out to be about a 300 mile day.  Sounds great, but I got a nail in my nearly bald rear tire, and just haven't had the chance to but a plug in it yet.  That's on the list for Friday.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

On Friday evening I took this pic looking up the valley towards Mt Adams.  With the naked eye you could see Mt Adams, but in this shot I took with My phone, it doesn't really show.  But the hills on the other side of the valley are visible now.  If you look REALLY close in the gap between the ridge just above the trees in the foreground, that is where Mt Adams is.  I can ALMOST see her.  The fire is still growing and out of control.  Hopefully they get it under control soon.  That is some awesome riding in that area.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Well I thought I would ride down to Randle, and try taking a pic of Mt Adams since that is where the 2,200 acres wildfire is at.  Normally, coming into Randle there is a beautiful view of Mt Adams.  And I have taken it's picture before from alongside the road coming into town. 

Just to the left of the distant ridge in the background is where Mt Adams usually can be seen.
Instead of seeing the mountain about 40 miles away, you can barely see the ridges only 3 miles away.

There are 4,000 ft and higher hills covered in that smoke.

The smoke is covering the mountains completely.

You can't see the hills surrounding Randle due to the thick smoke.
So you can imagine how surprised I was, to not only NOT see Mt Adams.  But to barely see the ridges only about 3 miles away, just amazes me.  

I have a friend who is leading a ride through the mountains on Saturday.  She is hoping it'll just be a bit hazy.  But I know the area she will be taking everyone, and it is right through the heart of the area the smoke is filling.  There is probably a good 50 mile stretch of road weaving through those hills...(you know, the ones all shrouded in the smoke in these pics.)...I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to ride through 50 miles of smoke down narrow, twisting, and rough mountain roads.   But hey, that's just me.  And by Saturday they might have actually gotten some containment by then, or the winds might have shifted.  Either way, I don't think I'll be riding up that way to hook up with them.  If it weren't for the wildfire and all it's smoke...I would in a heartbeat.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Smoke In The Air

There are several wildfires on the eastern slops of the Cascades, and a couple in the mountains themselves.  One, called the Cascade creek fire, on the south slopes of Mt Adams, is about 50 miles away from here in Morton.  But the smoke is still filling the valley here.  This valley is only about 10 miles long at most, but you cant see the hills on either end from here in the middle because of the smoke.

It gives everything an eerie tint to it, and even has turned the sun red.  Not a great day to go riding, but with the way it is getting cold at night, I don't think there are going to be a lot of great riding days left.  So will be getting into the ride every chance I can mindset.  At least it is only smoke, and not thick clouds filling the valley.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Memory Of...

In memory of those who; were murdered while doing their jobs in the Twin Towers, those murdered while working in the Pentagon, murdered aboard the planes, and murdered while performing their duty trying to save others.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Thunder Road

Went out for a ride to see a friend today.  Ended up helping him repair his flat front tire.  He had a pin hole in his innertube, and after we got it fixed and back together, we had to give it a test run.  We had just gotten back to his place, when my wife called to say we had company.  So I got ready to go home.  About then in rolled a summer thunder storm.  All the way home, it was raining.  Thunder crashing, and with no front fender, I got all the oil off the road.  But hey, it FELT GOOD.  
The first rain in about a month and it took a hot humid (near 90F) day and brought the temps down to the mid 70s.  Although I had to wipe all the oil from the road off the tank because I don't run a front fender during the summer, and oil was splattered all over the tank...and me.  And I loved it!!

The dinner bell is getting rung, so I am out of here, and going to chow down.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Suppose I Gotta Do It

I was talking with a buddy of mine, and thinking about what he said.  I had the oil tank drain hose come loose and get cut by the drive belt dumping the entire contents of the tank onto the belt and rear tire.  Needless to say, my rear white wall turned black.  Even after washing it good in the early spring, there was still enough oil and crap on the belt and inner primary that it ain't white anymore.  So it looks like I am going to have to break down and actually WASH the bike and tires again.  Give it one good clean and shine before I ride it this fall and winter.  
Yea...I'll get right on that..sure thing.

Catch ya on the road sometime...