Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Why not run.....Day 4

The run out of Alpine was kind of nice this morning. It was real damn cold though. When I left this morning, it was about 30 and it did not warm up until I got into San Angelo at 1:30. I had every piece of thermal gear on that I brought. AND I WAS STILL COLD! I managed to make the whole run in 2 stops, Ft. Stockton and Big Lake.

I don't know exactly what the problem is, but my starter has stopped working. It looks like I will be on the kick-starter for a while, at least until I get home and figure out what is going on. I have a feeling it is the cold jamming up the starter relay, or the switch got dirty. When I hit the button, there is no draw on the lights. That makes me think it is not the battery.

As far as the ride goes, the scenery is pretty, there is a very pretty desolation out here with the mountains and the mesas in the background. The loop that I made up through the davis mountains kind of rocked. The elevation is only about 6000ft, but it started making the bike run funny and use more gas than I am used to. Had a bit of a thought I was gonna run out of gas scare up in the mountains. Now I know that I can go right at 160 miles before hitting my reserve. I also discovered that I have right at 1.5 gallons of reserve. I ended up putting about 4 gallons of gas in my 5.8 gallon tank. All things considered, I really was not in danger of running out of gas. That is just the first time I have hit reserve in the middle of the desrt. about a mile after I hit reserve, I saw a sign that said I had 10 miles to go to Ft Davis. That was the most desolate 10 miles I have ever ridden in my life. When you hit reserve, you become very aware of how barren the landscape is........

On the whole, I have to say that this run has been work. Lots of work. Between the cold and the long stretches of straight empty highways, it has been eating my brain away very slowly. I am having a great deal of fun, but it has been an exercise in endurance. The days have not been very long, but they have not been easy miles, especially on the Ural. I am glad I am on it due to the whole kick starter availability, but the speed limit is around 75 to 80 the whole way. That beast is a beating at those speeds. In the summer or spring, I really want to do this run again with the R90. That will be a whole bucket of go-fast.

Here is the shot I got from the top of the mountain:

I managed to get the camera working on the way out of Alpine this morning. The angle really sucks due to the key cover on the headlight, but it is not as bad as it could be. The sound is horrid. Now I know why people put sound tracks on their videos. Since the road is pretty much straight, there is not much variation. The road is also kind of bumpy so there is an odd vibration. I don't know if I could sit and watch the video all the way through, but it is kind of interesting just in terms of scenery. I cut some of the interesting scenes together and put them up. Just kill the sound unless you find the sound of a riding lawnmower exciting.

I am going to try to get some more video on the way home tomorrow, and that will clear up the key cover a bit (no promises though). I only got a couple of pictures from the top of the Davis Mountains, here is a pretty good one.

Here is today's route:

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Oh well, time for sleeping.



Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why not run.....Day 3

I should actually be calling this the "Building Good Road Kharma" run. On day 2, I had lunch with a nice gentleman who is retired 1st Cav. His son is a chopper pilot with the 1st also. He was riding his Electra-Glide from El Paso to spend New Years with his son before he is deployed. He was a very nice guy, kind of made me wish I had brought Gary along with me on this one. Yesterday afternoon, I me two guys in the lobby who were trying to get a room at the hotel. They needed two beds, but all that was left was one. I went ahead and swapped with them since I had two beds. Went out for a beer with them in the evening. One was the CTO for a startup tech company in scottsdale, and the other was a partner in a capital investment company in London. Turns out that he stores a bike in LA and flies in twice a year for road trips. They were making a big loop through the Marfa area before heading back.

Today I made the big loop through the Davis mountains. I am kind of pissed that the video camera crapped out on me. I ended up getting NO VIDEO of the twisting road through the mountains. It was kind of a spooky ride I have to admit. 100 miles from nowhere, and very high stakes curves. I gotta do it again...... I saw the spot where you stop to see the Marfa lights. I was actually tempted to head back out there after dark, but we are supposed to drop to about 25 degrees tonight, and I don't want to be out in the desert in the dark for that much fun. Oh well. It looks like I am going to make the run back to San Angelo in the morning. I think I may detour through the hill country on the way back just for the hell of it. It will add about 2 hours to the ride but it will knock about 50 miles off the's all about the twisty crazyness up there. I actually just want to see if I can get some video that is not just long and straight. The only part about this run that is getting on my nerves is the 120 mile stretch of long straight road that just goes on for-freakin'-ever.

Here is the map for today:

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Why not run.....Day 1/2

Day 1 started off late due to the rain in Austin. I got out around 11:00. Unfortunately, I still got trapped in the rain from Georgetown to Llano. I could make a list of things I would rather do than ride in the cold and rain, but I don't have that much storage space here. By the time I made it into San Angelo, there was only sleep on my mind. The first leg is actually kind of nice. There is some pretty scenery. I am going to stop on my way back through and take some pictures. The run down to Alpine was interesting. Not bad, just interesting. After you get out of San Angelo, the speed limit goes up to about 80. That got kind of interesting on the Ural. It has a documented top speed of 81MPH, and the fastest I have ever been on it is 83 with the new gears. It was actually kind of creepy running in the long straight flat with the throttle at the stop, and the bike is slowing down on slight grades.

Here is the map for the day. I will get some pictures up tomorrow. The only place that I could find wireless in town is a McDonalds. The coffee shop should be open tomorrow.....hopefully. I am also going to try to shoot some video on the ride up in the mountains.

View Larger Map



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Home again, Home again.....

Today was a very nice day. The weather was pretty chilly, but we had our cold gear. Basically, it was a quick loop through the hill country, and then the long way home. I will post a bit more detail after I get some sleep, here are some pics to distract you till then.

Stonehenge II:

Finally got around to getting a picture of Mike and I next to our bikes:

Here is the nice couple that took the picture for us. Opus and Rebecca. They are on a road trip from Seattle to North Carolina on an R100RS. Yes, two up.

Finally, here is our route:

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Surfing the cold front.

The goal today was to make it to Kerrville. Nothing fancy just get there before the cold front catches us. We ended up leaving Stephenville about 9:00 this morning. The weather wasn't bad, but we could see the front moving toward us. as long as we were moving, everything went smoothly. When we stopped for gas, or just to stretch our legs, we could see it catch up. We managed to keep ahead of the front all the way to Fredericksburg. We stopped and had lunch at Hondo's. When we came out, the sky was dark and the wind had picked up a lot. The 22 mile stretch of TX-16 to Kerrville was hell. We hit during the topsoil rotation period. 40+ mph winds blowing the dirt from one field , across the highway, to another. The wind was bad enough that the trucks were staying below 60 mph. In the end, we made it, we are alive.

Here is today's route:

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An exercise in random stupidity.

Today we ran from the nasty cold front coming in from the north. Originally, the plan was to go up to pops, then a bit of riding on Route 66. The nasty cold front is beating the hell out of OKC, and we are heading southwest. We made it into Stephenville, TX this evening.

Before we left Paris, we had to go and take a look at the Mini Eiffel Tower. It was a tower...of steel tubing.......and it was very Eiffel-ey.

Here is the pic of the bikes in front of the tower.

We also had to stop at the Paris Cemetery to see "Cowboy Boot Jesus". It turns out it was not exactly what I was expecting. If anyone has the urge to go see it, you kind of have to search for it. Enter the Cemetery from evergreen street, follow that gravel road past 3 intersections, and the grave is on the left. It turns out that the statue is actually a very large grave marker with a statue of Jesus carrying a cross. It just so happens that his robe is riding up on one side to show his cowboy boots.

Here is a shot of the statue:

The leg of the trip to Denton was actually not bad. Quite a bit more traffic than we would have liked, but survivable. The leg out to Jacksboro was horrible. The leading edge of the front was coming in, so we had about 25-30 mph cross winds the whole way. Once we made the turn onto 281 and headed south, it was actually kind of nice. The only real excitement was the rock that was thrown up by a truck in front of me. It hit my fairing hard enough to crack it, and then hit my left bicep hard enough to leave a small bruise.

Here is a shot of the crack in the fairing:

Looks like tomorrow, we will make the run to Kerrville, then spend the rest of the trip playing around in the spagetti bowl.

Here is today's route:

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Monday, October 20, 2008

The mid-life rideout......

My midlife crisis present to myself is a road trip. Like I need an excuse...... Dragging Mike along with me on this one. He is a road trip virgin. This is gonna be fun. Since this was the first day, I decided to make it a grind. We pushed a little over 300 miles today. I have to say, there is some gorgeous scenery out in east Texas. We have made the first leg of the Texas World Tour. Today we went through Palestine, Athens, and Paris.

I have to say, if you ever find yourself in Paris,TX the Hampton Inn is a very nice hotel. Mike and I actually got to meet the desk clerk that Vern and Glenn met when they stayed here back in June, and she remembered them. Like any self respecting Parisian woman, she wasted no time tempting Mike and I into a world of vice by giving us cigarettes while listening to stories about riding. I will not mention her name here, but if you happen to stay there, you can ask the desk clerk if she is the one.

It looks like the weather is not going to agree with us on the original plans to go up to pops 66. There is a massive cold front with rain and 30mph winds headed into Oklahoma on Wed. We could still make it to pops ok, but we would end up having to burn a day in Edmond, and delay our arrival back in Austin. We have a couple different ideas about where to go from here. We still have no idea where we are going to end up, you will find out tomorrow.....about 6 hours after we do. We are actually planning on being back in Austin Thursday night, or Friday morning. Still don't know which.

During the day you can click the "Where is Dave...." link on the right.....

Here is the route for the day:

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Have fun,


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Made it home again......

Today was the return trip. Woke up this morning and just decided that I wanted to bee-line home. I followed I35 to the TX95 bypass through Taylor so I could avoid the traffic and construction in Temple, but it was a straight shot home. Only about 230 miles today. I only stopped once in Waco for gas and lunch. The R90 only has about 120-140 miles before it is time to get off and stretch a bit. Today was a very nice ride. No excitement, no startling revelations, no grand epiphanies......just a bit of quiet time spent in my head with the hum of the engine. It still suprises me how soothing that drone is. I guess this one will be short, I will post a wrap up after I crawl in the shower, shave my head, and knock the road grime off.

Here is the route:

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Downhill run.....

Today was the relaxing day. Absolutely no plan, no direction, really didn't know where I was going to end up. The real point of humor in the whole thing is that I ended up in the hotel that is immediately behind the hotel I stayed in Thursday night.

I started with the knowledge that I needed to at least be back in Texas by the end of today. I started heading east out of Norman, OK. Turned south on us377 in OK and started heading south. That is where I lost my mind. I ended up taking a wrong turn at Ada, OK, and ended up going southeast on OK Highway 3......whatever that is supposed to be. The road is actually gorgeous.....when you are not in a podunk town with a 20 mph speed limit. The most interesting thing that I noticed out there is that the casinos have taken over. I probably passed 15 casinos while on the road in OK. I am sure it does wonders for the economy, but I think it is kind of pathetic that I saw more large casinos in OK than I did actual industry. But I digress.....Once I hit Atoka, OK, I got on US75. Who would have guessed that Central expressway went all the way from a small town in Oklahoma to the middle of Dallas. I just kind of followed 75 back to 35, and turned north looking for a hotel .

I actually decided I wanted a beer in my hotel room. That means I needed to hit a hotel with a bar....... I headed for a relatively inexpensive hotel that might work out in Denton, where 35E and 35W meet. I get there to discover that it is closed. Poop. This is where the decision was made that I am sore and I need a hot This was the next hotel up the road, and here I am. I still have not decided if I am going to bee-line it home, or piddle extensively. Either way, I will update one more time when I get home.

Here is the route:

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Friday, September 26, 2008

All that way, and I got a Jolt cola......

I am a dork.....just a flat out dork. I rode 400+ miles to Pop's Route 66 and i froze up while looking at the selection of drinks. I got a Jolt cola.....I am a dork.

The ride started out fairly well, it was very cold this morning and pretty windy. I made it to the OK border at around 10:00. Here is the shot as I leave holy ground:

The first thing that I always see that lets me know I am riding in Oklahoma is the red dirt that washes over the road and leaves all of the bridges stained red. The big sign saying you are now entering Oklahoma is a big clue too......

The other thing that clues me in that I am in Oklahoma is the incredible amount of bug goo that appears on my visor:

When I finally called it a day at the Hotel, this nice little girl behind the gounter pointed out that my visor was covered with bugs......I can't believe she actually had the nerve to say something about it. After she got me situated with a room, she cleaned my visor for me. Now that is service......

I stopped off at the OKC BMW Dealership. There is actually a very nice dealership there. It kind of makes the one in Dallas look....dinky. The staff is very nice, and they have a great decompression facility. I have noticed that I am pushing about 120 miles between gas stops. Here is the bench in front of OKC BMW:

I finally came to understand how the very short stopping distance for a motorcycle is not really a benefit. I almost took a pickup up the tailpipe on I35 coming through OKC. The truck in front of me decided that it would stop short and I didn't have much of a choice but to follow suit. The pickup behind me, however, did not have a very good stopping distance. I have determined that the most disturbing sound in the world is anti-lock brakes doing their job heard echoing in your helmet. I managed to get onto the shoulder before the pickup went through the spot that I was sitting just before. He missed me by a mile, but I don't think he even noticed, he had his arms locked and his eyes closed. Wow. I am a lucky SOB. I love solo roadtrips.......they are so good at providing perspective.

oh well.....Here is the route for the day:

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Might as well go for soda......

So it is time for a bit of a "get out of town". Time to blow some of the cobwebs out from between the old ears. Started out early after work, took off around 4:30, made Waco around 6:30, and Denton around 8:30.

Here is the route:

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Not a whole hell of a lot of excitement today, really pretty boring. Fortunately, that is the point of this trip. No excitement, no plan, just ride till I am tired, and see where I end up. Basic idea right now is to go to Edmond, OK to get a coke at Pop's Route 66, then maybe head up to Tulsa to get a picture at Sam Kinison's grave. Don't know yet, just have to see where I end up. Either way, my brain will be drain-o'd....



Friday, September 19, 2008

Ok, so I am a dork

It turns out that the problems that I was having with the new transmission were just due to getting the new box broken in, and getting me used to actually having to shift the gears instead of just shuffling them randomly.

Now that I am riding the bike properly for the new gearbox, I am finding it much more responsive than the it was before. I also got ahold of one of the San Jose fork braces for the front end. It is possibly the best money ever spent on a motorcycle, other than gas of course. The purpose of the fork brace is to keep the fork legs in line during heavy braking, fast cornering, and general stupidity. I would not have believed that a simple chuck of steel between the forks would do things like......drop 10% off of my stopping distance. Now I don't get the lateral pull when I get on the front brakes as hard. It also changes the way the bike feels when I go into a corner. Before, the big corner on my way to work felt kind of mushyif I took it over about 30. It kind of had that "low tire" feel to it. Now, I have taken it up to 45 (the actual speed limit for both roads) and there is no movement at all. I am definately not inspired to engage in random acts of "squid-idity", but I certainly feel much more confident in the ability of the bike to make emergency manouvers, or sudden stops without wadding up.

Now that everything is back in working order and we are coming up on winter, it is time to start thinking about what I want to do toward the customization/frankenbiking of Athena. The original plan for this bike was to turn her into a cafe racer, with the ability to do real distance. I know the two sound mutually exclusive, but If I do it intelligently, it should not be a problem. The big things that need to be done are the clean-up of the fairing, painting the tank, getting the corbin /6 gunfighter solo seat installed, and the final touch will be upgrading the front brakes to dual disks. I don't see the brake upgrade happening in the near future, but it is worth a thought.

I will probably just break down and spray paint the fairing I have until I can get around to buying the parts and having them professionally shot.



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Well, poopie.

It looks like the transmission that got rebuilt is still having problems, so it is going back to mikey. That means another week or so without her. I will be hauling her in on saturday.....again.

well, poo.



Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yay!!!!!!!! The R90 is back.

I just got back in from San Marcos with the R90. New transmission, and a front fork brace. Everything is running very nicely. I am so happy, I am going to take her to work tomorrow. I will probably let the Ural sit for a couple weeks while I get to know her again. All I need to do now is figure out how to get the fork brace attached. The bolt holes are set up for a /7 fender, and I am riding a /6........poop.

Oh well.....


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

'Bout damn time, and all that......

My life since my last post, has been what we call in the computer industry, an MPCCF. For those people not used to acronyms, Massively Parallel Cascading Cluster F(ail). That is where a bunch of things go wrong simultaneously, and cause other things to fail in a chain reaction.

It all started with the trip that I had planned to blow the cobwebs out of my brain got sidetracked due to a mess at work that had to be handled. While getting everything sorted on that front, I noticed that the gearbox on the R90 was starting to feel a bit notchy. On the way to work one evening, 3rd gear let go on me. This called for a new gearbox. Just about the time I got ready to get the new box put in, I ended up getting sent out of town for work for a week. This culminated in 6 weeks of work without a day off. When all is finally said and done, I wind up getting everything done on the thursday before labor day weekend. I get the R90 dropped off with Mikey, and Kel and I get ready for the Labor Day Weekend escape. This time we are dragging along two of our friends.

The trip starts falling apart with one of the participants running into family problems the wednesday before we leave. One bike down, three to go. We end up with a trio of airheads heading for Fredricksburg. Two R90's and a Ural. We make it almost 30 miles before we discover that the other friend's R90 is not charging the battery. This can't be good. We end up writing off Saturday getting the battery replaced. Now there is a good battery, but it is still not charging to the highest capacity. It will only charge to maintenance levels if the headlight is off. Sunday is spend tearing through the charging system with a voltmeter checking all of the outputs, cleaning all contacts, and making sure all ground connections are good. At the end of sunday, we are getting 13.8v out of the charging system and all is good.

This brings us to the ride. Finally, I get to put more than 5 consecutive miles on the bike. We end up taking Hamilton Pool Road to 281, and then to Marble Falls. Have Lunch at the Bluebonnet Cafe, and then come home down 1431. We only pushed about 125 miles, but it was better than a beating (just barely). In the end it was a nice ride. I had lots of fun.

Here is the route. Sorry, no pictures.

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Time to start planning a trip for sometime around my b-day.



Friday, July 18, 2008

Doodie calls......

No, that is not a typo. Two of my co-workers are going on vacation, I am their cover while they are out. One of them is stuck in the middle of a steaming pile of poop of an issue. I am having to work this weekend to cover for him on the issue. It was hoped that everything would be cleared up before today so I could leave on my soda run. Unfortunately, I didn't get out of work until it was too late to leave, and I have to be local for a conference call tomorrow. This means I get to re-schedule the soda run till next weekend (weather permitting).

Since I am in town for the weekend, and Kel is off on her Band Geek Weekend (tm), I am going to do the only honorable thing. I am going to take my R90 out to San Marcos, the back way, and spank the nasty right on out of her. I have taken the Ural down those roads alot, and it tends to corner unreasonably well. I am curious to see how a bike that is set up for this type of riding handles it.

Being back on the Ural after riding the R90 for a month or so has certainly highlighted the differences between then. The Ural is actually a much more nimble bike. It turns in faster than I realized, and it takes very little effort to toss around. It almost makes the R90 feel like I am piloting a brick. The R90 on the other hand, is much more definate. It takes more effort to turn the R90, but it feels more precise. The Ural feels a bit more approximate "I think I will go kind of that way-ish".

Oh well, Time to go to bed.



Monday, July 14, 2008

Film from Brenham and Roswell came back finally

I am re-discovering the joys of film photography. With digital, you take the picture, look at it, post it, and forget it. With film, you take it, get home, get it processed, get around to scanning it, sort through the shots and then post it. With that delay, you get to enjoy the rest of your trip. When you get back you end up waiting up to a week to get the film processed. It gives the trip a bit of time to sink in, and then when you get the pictures back they are viewed in the context of the trip, not just a single day. The shots from Brenham were taken with a Ciroflex TLR. It is an old box camera from the mid 40's. It shoots 6cm x 6cm square negatives. The shots in Roswell were taken with a Speedgraphic 2x3 view camera with a 6cm x 7cm roll film back attached.

Here are the shots from the Brenham shakedown trip with Vern and Glen:

Here are some shots from downtown Roswell (the roll of the wind farms did not come out):

Here are the shots from our first day trip to Stonehenge II near Fredricksburg:



Friday, June 27, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 5, Made it home alive.

I made it back to Austin alive at around 5:30 Thursday evening. I left Lubbock at 9:30 in the morning. 400 miles in about 8 hours. My butt still hurts. I can honestly say that 400 miles in a day is the max on that bike. The riding position is not as conducive to super long rides, but the suspension and the seat are a lot more comfortable than the Ural. Here is the route back:

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I actually had quite a nice ride. The new bike is definitely a different beast than the Ural. The handling is much lighter, more acceleration, and a lot less in the way of braking. It takes a very strong hand to reel in that thing from 40 mph or more. I also need to look into decreasing the vibration from the pegs and bars. When I stopped for gas, I would also pick up 2 small bottles of water, and hold one in each hand until I could feel the bottle. That helped the swelling go down so I could get the gloves back on. The vibration plays hell with my arthritis over time. If I can kill the vibration in the feet and hands, I think I will be up to 600-800 miles a day on that bike with no problem.

The ride back was very barren, since it was in the middle of a weekday, there was very little traffic. That plus the fact that I was spending a lot of time out on back roads in the middle of nowhere, it had that very isolating feeling that I love about riding. When I am doing the long distance solo runs like this, it is very comforting to be all alone with that quiet hum of the bike. Being all wrapped up in the gear, and then being wrapped around the bike is very comforting. Then you add in how the bike moves in response to your body movements, you start to get a very connected feeling with the bike. It sounds odd, but in some of the gentle sweepers, it almost feels like the bike is just another piece of gear that you put on, and you are flying down the road lust dipping a shoulder slightly when you see a curve coming up. It is very......liberating.

I think the trip back was a good bit of brain Drain-o after the excitement of the past couple days. Once I get a bit of rest, I will throw a recap of the trip up here. There is a lot of stuff to digest.

Vern and Glenn decided to continue the adventure on their own to Hot Springs. I am proud of them for pushing on. I am looking forward to seeing the pictures and hearing the storis from the rest of the ride.

Tomorrow we drop Kel's bike off with Mikey to get the tranny done.

Ya'll have fun now, Ya'hear......


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 4, End of the Line

Day 4 started out quite nicely, it was a nice leisurely ride across the desert to Clovis, NM. That is when we noticed that Kel was hanging back a bit further than normal. Come to find out that her bike won't go into 5th gear. No grinding or whining, just won't stay in 5th. We decide at Clovis, to limp her bike back to Austin to get the transmission rebuild under way. We stopped at Muleshoe, TX at a McDonald's for lunch, and then continued the long limp home. In the small town of Anton, TX (and I mean small), the tranny finally let go. It started to whine. We managed to coast to a little burned out convenience store.

See picture here:

We ended up getting a tow into Lubbock and got a room at the Raddison. As of today....Day 5, we found a towing company in Austin that was willing to come and pick up the bike and Kel to take them home, and I will be taking off in the morning to head for the house.

Vern and Glenn are going to continue the trip to Hot Springs, AR. They are taking the camera so we can at least look at some pretty pictures. I guess this is where it ends.......I will toss another quick update when I get into Austin tomorrow, but Dodging Oklahoma has died with the rattle-grind of vintage BMW transmission bearings. Oh well.......


Monday, June 23, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 3

So we burned a day in Roswell. Tomorrow is another fairly long day heading for Dalhart, TX. Yes, I know.....back into Texas, but it is the smoothest way to get to Dodge City, without going through Denver.

The day in Roswell was fun, we slept late, almost 8:00. Went down to the local cycle shop to pick up some supplies. Also stated picking up some spares that we ended up forgetting. oops. We ended up going to the Roswell UFO Museum, and just about every other alien themed shop on main street. Actually, everything on the 3 block section of main street in Roswell is alien themed. We just puttered around town and played. I got my picture taken with an alien, I will get some pics posted. We also met a couple from Darwin, Australia. They came over to California, bought a couple Honda ST1300s, and are spending 3 months touring the US with the intent on selling them just before they head back. They have already put about 15-20,000 miles on the bikes, and they are only a couple months into it. Their next stop is in Texas. I pointed out the spaghetti bowl around Fredericksburg and wished them well.

Here are the Pics from Roswell. Kel had the camera, so i am linking to the pics on her page.

Other than that it was a fairly lazy day.

Roswell Comfort Inn TPI (Toilet Paper Index) 120 Grit



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 2

Getting up and out of Abilene was actually fairly well. This time we were aimed at the longest day of the trip. We scheduled about 320 miles. From Abilene to Snyder was a very smooth run, no real excitement. After Snyder we turned north to Post, TX. At Post, we stopped for lunch at a little bbq place. The odd thing was that they did not have bbq on the menu. After we made the left on US380 headed for Roswell, NM. Shortly after making the turn, we went through th wind farms. basically a few hundred acres of huge windmills.

After another hour or so we made it to the New Mexico border. Of course we stopped to get a picture of the bikes at the state line sign. Within the first mile, I remembered why I am not fond of riding in NM.....the wind. We went from a 5 mph headwind to a 15 mph crosswind in less than a mile, and fought it for close to 100 miles.

The next fun thing about NM roads is that they are long and straight. Really long, and really straight. Tatum, NM was the last town before Roswell. That means exactly 72 miles without a town, totally barren terrain, and the occasional idiot driver. I am thinking of naming that particular stretch of 380 "The Destroyer of Hope". It is an interesting thing. You see a log straight road in front of you disappearing over the horison, and it doesn't move. Eventually it seems to be getting closer. It must be a hill. As the crest of the hill gets closer, it is very easy to delude yourself into thinking that there will be something to look at on the other side of the hill. When you get to the top of the hill, you see the same road stretching out to another hill. When you get to the top of that hill, there is another. This repeats 4 times on that stretch of road. by the time you get to the 4th hill you don't dare to think that there is anything on the other side of it. When you get there, you realise there is something.....a curve.

Here is the route:

View Larger Map

We made it into roswell by about 4:30 or 5:00. Immediately unloaded the bikes, and went to the restaraunt next door to the hotel, and had dinner and a couple drinks. Shortly after we get back from dinner the storm starts. 35-40 MPH winds started a dust storm. The dust storm triggered a rain shower. We got some pictures of the dust storm. I am putting the link to the pix up on fotki, the thumbs are below.

Bedtime for Bonzo,


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 1

The most interesting thing about starting a road trip is to see where the brain drain-o takes effect. This time, it happened in the little town of Lometa, tx. When we hit Brownwood for lunch, it only felt like a few minutes, not like an hour long ride. The new bike is shaking out quite nicely, it goes like hell. after hitting the hotel in Abilene, it was straight to the pool. Soak good, vibration bad!!!!! Today was the short shakedown run, give us a chance to get in and get whatever we don't have. Tomorrow is going to be the bear. Probably around 300 miles to Roswell, NM. Then we get a day off to tour roswell.

Evening edit: There should be a rating system for hotels to be used by motorcyclists to guage the quality of the toilet paper. This is very important after a ride. I would give the Comfort Suites in Abilene, TX a rating of 80 grit.

Feed then bed.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Can't sleep, wanna go now, wah

I am officially at the point where I am too excited to sleep. The bikes are loaded, tuned, and pointed the direction that we are going. According to the weather forecast, it looks like we are ging to be riding in the rain tomorrow. Not thrilling, but I don't care......just.....wanna.....go. WAH!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Double super-duper poopie.......

My final shakedown ride before the trip was a bit more interesting than I had bargained for. I felt an odd pop under the seat as I was headed home. When I got there and started mounting my bags, I noticed that the rear sub-frame had snapped. The rear sub-frame is the section that holds up the rear fender, the top shock mounts, and the seat. No handling problem, but certainly needs to be fixed. Fortunately, this is a problem that is fairly common on old airheads. That means Mikey had a spare rear sub-frame sitting at his shop waiting for me. After work, I head down to pick up the part and swap it out. On the way down, my jeep is starting to act funny. I pull off the highway to check it out, and the right front brake seizes up. Smoke puring out from under the wheel well and all......on I-35. I have had this problem fixed by "Just Brakes" 3 times now. This time, they could not get a tow truck because it was 5:00 on a wed, so they did the next best thing. They sent a guy out with a jack, tools, a new rotor, caliper, and pads.....and he fixed it on the side of the highway. And the craziest thing was that he was actually cheerful about getting me moving again.

Now the bad part about this is that I would not be able to get down to pick up the frame section. I just want to say up front that I have the best wife ever. Kel went down to see Mikey and pick up the new sub-frame and brought it back while I was getting the jeep roadworthy. Now, here I am with my bike but back together, and the best wife ever sitting on the couch getting her music together for the trip. Who could ask for anything more.......



Thursday, June 12, 2008

Finally starting to get used to the new bike.

So, here I am, two weeks on the new bike. I have new tires and rear shocks. I have adjusted the front brakes so they feel a bit better. I also switched the turn signals to the other handlebar. I think I am starting to get used to the bike. I have put about 200 miles on it, and it is starting to feel comfortable. I think it will take a bit to get my riding position shaken out, but that is to be expected. I am figuring that about 3000 miles in 10 riding days, should get me used to this bike fairly well.

We have now hit the point in the trip that Kel enjoys, and I tolerate. The packing. I have all of my clothes, most of my spares, tools, and most of my gear either packed or gathered. The hard bags are ready to be mounted. I have a a minor tune-up left to go, then we roll.



Saturday, May 31, 2008


I made it home with the new bike without breaking it this time.....

I think the R90 (Athena) is going to take a bit of getting used to. I sit about six inches higher than I do on the Ural (Eyegor). The bars are about 8 inches narrower, and the engine is almost twice as powerful. It actually feels kind of twitchy, but I think it is more me than Athena.

As you can see from the pictures, I have not gotten the paint job, or the bags mounted yet. Next weekend I am putting a set of progressive shocks on the back, so I am waiting till then to mount the bags. As far as the paint job, I would not get everything back in time for the trip, if I went to paint now. I don't mind riding the "Frankenbeemer" till then.

Oh well, here are a couple pics, Hope to have some more when it is light outside. TTFN


Sunday, May 25, 2008

crash update......

OK....I went to check on the new baby. So far, we have a new headlight bucket, valve covers, and instrument cluster ready. The parts have come in to fix the carburetors. All we are waiting on now is the new set of handle bars that go with my fairing. Once we get that done, the bike will have the fairing and saddlebags, and ridable for the trip in late June. I will have to ride with the dented tank, and the fairing won't match the paint job, but I can take that. There is not going to be enough time to get the new tank and fairing back from the painter before it is time to leave, so I am keeping the dented tank, and we are not going to paint the fairing until the tank is ready to go on.

I have decided to name the bike Athena instead of Artemis. After getting tackled by a deer, putting the bike back together, and still wanting to take a 3000 mile road trip on it, I figure the Greek Goddess of "Heroic Endeavor" would be more appropriate than the Goddess of hunting.

I got a few more miles on the Ural this weekend, but I got called in to work, so I couldn't get too far afield. Hopefully, tomorrow I can go somewhere interesting. Probably not very far.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Well, I got my new bike on Tuesday. A BMW R90/6. After picking it up, Kel and I hit chili's to have dinner. Then on the way up the access road to head home.....I hit a deer. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the deer t-boned me. Basically, he came out from under a bridge on the access road at full speed, crossed the lane, and ran face first into the side of my headlight housing. Total damage on the bike......1. headlight : Gone 2. Instrument cluster : Gone 3. Tank : Big knee shaped dent 4. Right side Carb : Gone 5. Both valve covers : Gone. Total damage to me.... 1. Big bruise on left shin 2. Sore left shoulder (matching set of weather predicting shoulders now) 3. Stiff and sore all over. My bet is that the real pain will set in in the next day or so. Oh well, here are some pics, I will update as I get more. And hopefully of the new bike without the deer strike damage.

Have fun,


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brenham Bed and Breakfast

This weekend was the shakedown ride before the big loop this summer. We got to throw out some miles, see how the bikes are running, get some fun in before taking the bikes off line for maintenance.

This weekend was just a short run out to Brenham, TX. Basically, it was an 85 mile ride out there, putt around town, and 85 miles back. I got to swing by the BMOA Rallye out in New Ulm, TX. This was a gathering of vintage European bikes. Lots of old Triumphs, BSA, Nortons, and BMWs. This was the first time Vern got to see field games at a rally, it was humorous..... I think the highlight was "Riding The Plank". A 20 foot long 2X4 is laid on the ground, and you have to ride from one end to the other without falling off of the board. More than one bike went down. The big one was a fully dressed out and loaded BMW R100RT. When that bike fell off the board, it went straight to the ground and threw the rider about 5 feet to the side. All of the field games run at low speed, so he wasn't hurt. Neither was the bike. It was funny, nonetheless.

All in all, it was a nice relaxing ride. I have decided to pick up a more distance friendly bike. I am picking up a BMW R90/6 with hard bags on Tue. It should hold up a bit better on long distance rides. I should go from a 350 mile day to a 500-600 mile day. I will post pictures once I get them.



Saturday, May 3, 2008

Texas Ural Rally Days.......

Let me start off this post by saying that I am a dork. A really, really big dork. We capped off the weekend at the local KOA for some butt parkin around the campfire. Come time to leave about midnight, put on my jacket, and the inside of my jacket was cold. Hmmmm.......I was really warm a few minutes ago......did we just drop 20 degrees in 2 min? No kidding, move away from the fire, it is cold. Only about 50 degrees. Start coming down the highway and I notice that I am getting a bad shimmy from my front end. That was when it dawned on me that it was DAMN COLD!!!!!!!! Uncontrollable shivering does bad things to the handling on motorcycles. The next thing we see is Dave rolling down the access road access road heading for the truck stop to buy a sweatshirt. That way I can hit the highway and get to the hotel. Turns out the the truck stop is one exit before the hotel. Now that I have feeling back in my hands, I can actually post.....

Started out the day with breakfast at the Czech Stop in West, TX. Had some kolaches. If you have never actually been inside it, it is a gas station with a bakery inside. There are even tables......3 of them. We end up sitting out with the bikes and eating breakfast. If you think having one Ural is a conversation starter, try sitting in a group of 7. After breakfast, its time to head for the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco. We pull in at Wal Mart for something or other, and one of the bikes is running a bit funny. Turns out that the right carb is loose.....way, about to fall off the bike loose. On most bikes this would just be funny, but on a boxer twin, it would be pretty freaking hilarious.....followed by biblically tragic. With the cylinders poking our the sides of the bike (over your feet), and the carbs hanging on the back of the of the cylinders next to your shins. If one of those falls off while you are riding, it will take an act of god to get you unscrewed. The only thing holding the carb up at that point is the throttle cable and the fuel line, and the fuel line is a lot shorter and something has to give...... Fortunately we caught it before it dropped. I know we always joke about parts falling off of Urals, but I have never heard about anything that important trying to eject......

After the repairs, we made it to the museum. For those who don't know...the Texas Ranger Museum has nothing to do with baseball. It is actually a pretty neat place. 80% of the exhibits are guns......"Here are the guns used by each ranger through history", "Here are the guns recovered from Bonnie and Clyde".......Here are the historical guns of the earliest rangers. After the museum, we went to eat at this place called Crickets. Food wasn't bad, service was survivable. After food it is back to the hotel to get a bit of rest and then head out to the campground to hang out around the campfire, and setup the circumstances for the opening of this post.


The Great Ural Weekend.....

This weekend a group of Ural riders in TX are meeting in Waco. I got to meet a few of them tonight. Great bunch of guys. I understand how Kel feels when she rides with us now. I had the only solo bike there (without sidecar). Most of the people are camping, but I am staying at a hotel......with an in-room jacuzzi. actually, i am on my way to the bubbles now.....bbye. I will post again, with pictures, after the ride tomorrow. (edit) Ok, so the jacuzzi sucks. Very little hot water. The only thing worse than no jacuzzi is a COLD jacuzzi. There will be a discussion with management over this.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The merry band of idiots and the devil's backbone

So, we decide that there must be riding. I am definitely in need of Brain Drain-o (tm). How do I choose to clear my brain.....? By pulling a 6 bike chain to and from the Devil's Backbone. First off, I have to say that the name sounds menacing. People hear about it and talk about the number of deaths each year on it. This quickly conjures up visions of the blacktop of doom. Since I went to college in San Marcos, right at the bottom of the backbone, I had a bit more realistic view of it. I tried to warn everyone appropriately that it was not that bad.....unless it was windy. The whole stretch of road is only about one mile long, but it is along the top of a ridge with canyons on both sides. This can lead to some horrid cross winds. There are also deer in abundance. The big thing about the backbone is that it is not scary the first time through. The second time through you think you have it nailed and want to go fast. That is where you realize that all of the turns are decreasing radius turns, that are blind, with deer, and up to a 500ft drop off....on BOTH sides of the road. The nice thing about the backbone is the trip to it, not the backbone itself. From Austin, there is a lot of very nice twisty road that goes through some small towns. There are a few spots where you could collect some trees if you are not careful, but overall it is pretty much sweeperville. Here is the route:

View Larger Map

The running joke through the whole trip was that we were a WWII re-enactment group. There were 6 of us. Me on the Russian beast, Kel on the BMW R90/Sidecar, Glenn on the Kawasaki, Vern on the Goldwing, Gary on the Harley, and Laura on the Suzuki. For the next ride I want to pull our friends with the BSA and the Ducati, and we can have the full cast of WWII. Quite possibly the defining point of the trip was when we stopped in a parking lot to make some adjustments and the Harley was parked on a slope. The kickstand was pacing downhill so when we went to leave, Gary could not reach the ground on the uphill side of the bike. This put him in a position where he could not get leverage on the Electra -Glide. Kel's monkey had to go over and push the bike off of the stand so he could get it moving. No, we will not ever let him live that down. The Glide was what he got for wrapping his old 1400 Intruder around a cow. I guess there is a learning curve on those big Road Sofas.

We made it back in one piece, got a couple pictures, had some awesome mexican food at this little restaurant at the junction of RR12 and RR32. The pictures are included below....I know they suck, but I took them with my phone. Deal with it.

Time to get ready for my next run to the Ural campout in Waco in two weeks. This will be the first time this many Ural riders have gathered in one place in texas in a long time....ever I bet.

Have fun,


Sunday, March 23, 2008

going mobile

finally got a data plan on the cell phone so I don't have to take the notebook with me when I travel. I should also have a sattlite tracker soon. I will update as soon as I get the link to the track site set up.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Unseasonably warm........

Basic high school math here..... unseasonable warm weather + a merry band of idiots = housework getting put off till the next rainy spell. Actually, we had a good excuse...Vern got a new bike. An 85 Goldwing. Of course we had to take it out and see how it was going to handle on all of the different kinds of roads that we tend to ride. All of one weekend. Granted, we only killed off about 300 miles this weekend, but in the grand scheme of things, that was actually pretty good. Vern is learning a new bike, and Kel is training a new monkey. This has to be a fairly light weekend. We are jokingly referring to it as a "paper mache'" butt weekend.

Saturday we added another bike to the line, a friend from work. We went to San Marcos through Wimberly. Had to go and get some of the best cheap Mexican food I know of. A little place in San Marcos called Mana's. We got to let Vern see the twisty stuff on RR 12 on the way down, and try out the straight line cruising coming back up TX 21/US183. Now that he knows it works, we shall never take that road again......long and straight........painfully straight. Here is the map......

View Larger Map

Sunday was a little bit more exciting. Vern got his confidence up on the oldwing, and Kel's new Monkey got down to business. We decided to do Hamilton Pool Rd out to 281 and then 1431 back to Austin. I thought Kel's monkey was going to giggle himself to death. He was all over that chair moving weight to balance out turns. Having a good monkey actually brought her cornering speeds up to where those of us on 2 were going. He now has a new title....he is now the PFM (Poo Flingin' Monkey). We made it to Marble Falls just as the Bluebonnet Cafe closed, so we hit the River City Cafe instead. Not bad food, but the Bluebonnet it ain't. Here is the map for Sunday.

View Larger Map

Hopefully, next weekend I will be able to schedule a solo go away. I need some one on one time with Eyegor......