1900>800, and Most Others.

Hey Kids,

I don’t mean to be crass or to put anyone off, but it needs to be shared.strat

After traveling around these past winter and spring months, living within the limits given, and enjoying the easy going ride of the 805cc Suzuki motor.

But there is nothing like straddling atop 1900cc, twisting the throttle, feeling the power, feeling the roar of the twin-V Yamaha engine; and knowing you’re the king of the commute.


Post 3-156


Hey Kids,

3500 was the number I believe I heard. 3500 cyclists. That’s how many riders were to participate in today’s event.

Every year, riders chosen by qualification and lotto converge onto the small town of Lewiston, Utah. Each is there to ride their choice of multiple courses ranging from 27 miles to 100 miles.

There is no race, no trophy, or even a way to judge their performance against any other. They do it just for the fun of it. Some dress up in fun costumes, others are as professional as an Olympic athlete. Actually the only thing they share is that they are all women.PART_1496529003754

I also participated, but not as a rider. Obviously. But instead I volunteered as course marshal. I rode along with the many riders who chose to ride the 100 mile course. I followed along, I blocked traffic, checked on riders pulled off to the side, and played cheerleader- minus the pom-poms. There are worse things than spending all day on my motorcycle, being a watchdog over 3500 women, and enjoying the backroads of the Cache County farm country.

And although I volunteered for this duty to show support for my wife and daughter who were part of the 3500 riders and expected nothing in return- I accepted the $20 of gas money offered.

Gas money is gas money, you know.


Post 3-154

Dressed To Roll

Hey Kids,

The resurrection of the Yamaha has begun.

I removed the front wheel and took it, with the replacement tire, to the shop for pick-up tomorrow. I hate it when I wait until everybody else is also trying to get their bikes ready, I feel like such a fair-weather motorcyclist.

Hopefully I’ll get the new shoes, pass inspection, and be able to pay the registration fee so I can marshall the bicycle event this Saturday.

Most of the other marshals will be from the local BMW riding club. I think I saw a couple of Ducati’s last year, but the Japanese cruisers were sorely misrepresented. In fact only one bike out of the 20-30 marshals was a Harley Davidson. Not that I don’t appreciate it when they are under-represented.

I notice the BMW group dresses differently. They wear real motorcycle gear. It’s very Euro-style and it has become their thing.

The sport bikers wear their tight leather outfits, usually in some bright or highly contrasted color scheme.people-brando

But the cruiser group tends to dress trashy. The have their leathers, bandanas, leather, and then put the leather on top of that. It’s like they dress-up each weekend for the SOA convention. Although I’m not opposed to the thug look, I don’t participate very well. I have no chaps, no leaver jacket or vest, and no chains (attached to my wallet or otherwise). I just done my helmet, wear my work boots, and then whatever jacket the weather calls for. Fromm 100 to 10- it’s all the same but the number of layers I wear around my body.

I’m not a biker, per se. I don’t run guns or drugs. I don’t watch for rival colors. And I don’t swear no allegiance to a group, color, or patch. So I don’t try to dress up like I do. I just like to ride my motorcycle. That’s it.

But one of the things that I like about the motorcycling group, is the idea that you can just do your own thing. Dress how you like, ride what fits you, and don’t care at all about your fashion.

I ride a bike. And tomorrow I should be back on my big bike. 1900cc’s to push me down the road as fast and as far as I dare to go.

Want to join me, just pull up and let’s ride. Just don’t call me ahead of time and ask what I’m wearing.


Post 3-151

Flip Flopper

Hey Kids,

I used to always consider myself a cold weather person. The times I’ve been knee deep in a cold river, flicking ice from the rod line guides, and brushing snow off of my hat has happened more than once. In fact, I always considered the start of fishing season to be Labor Day, the unofficial last weekend of summer and the beginning of the fall and winter seasons. It ended on Memorial day in May.

I’ve noticed that others also wear that Cold Weather Outdoors Person medal with equal pride. If the mercury drops below freezing, a silver star is deserved. Below zero and a gold star is in order. And only a few people will be out there to earn it.


I wonder why no one else is here??

Cold weather always means less people. And the colder it gets, the less people there would be and that’s always a good thing. Just last December, I fished in and around the ice sheets on a high elevation lake. Why? Because open water is kayak-able water. I spent the day alone on the water and couldn’t have been happier. Cold, but happy.

Even riding the bike, I’ve declared with pride that there is no “too cold”. I’ve proved it, at least down to 8°F. My saying has been, “So long as there’s no ice, I’m riding.” And I still stand by that.

However this summer, having already experienced the warm weather to our south, I think I might be more prone to embrace the warm weather this year. The motor runs better. The tires grip better. The kayak glides better. The fish bite and fight better.The sun feels better. Shorts and t-shirt fit better. And the flips flop better. 

Yes I’m a warm weather guy this season. The red rock desert will see more of me. And I just might stay like this for a while.

At least until Labor Day.


Post 3-117

Equal but Bigger

Hey Kids,

When we returned to town last Sunday evening, a new bike had been purchased over the weekend. Parked under the carport, its paper plates still smelled of the sharpie used to write the expiration date of the temporary registration.

Finally today, I got the occasion to walk over to check out this new playmate to the motorcycle sandlot. A white 2000 Yamaha Road Star 1600 hard-cased bagger.

I stood admiring the look and the lines of the bike when its owner wandered out of his apartment. I’m sure he needed to see why I was out there creeping on his bike.

I let him know that I liked the bike, asked some questions, and complimented him on his fine purchase. All this set him a little at ease.

“Those are my bikes over there,” I told him, thumbing at the pair of bikes resting in their own spot under the aluminum roof, a few sections down. This seemed to change everything and suddenly I had street cred.

We spoke a little longer and it seemed to get his juices flowing for a ride. He looked up to the dark clouded skies. Standing in my riding jacket and seeing my helmet resting on the back seat of the bike on which I had just rolled in, he trusted me when I suggested he should go. It could be hours before the next rain session.

He agreed and rolled out for a country scoot.bigger

We had nothing in common but the name on the apartment complex and a love for the two-wheeled people movers. That usually is enough to be buds in the parking lot and equals in the eyes of the motorcycle gods.

Well, almost equals. I have TWO bikes and an extra 300cc on MY Yamaha.


Post 3-115

Right Tool, Right Now

Hey Kids,

The right tool for the right job. It always makes a difference. What could be a miserable job, when tackled with the right tool is easy- maybe even enjoyable.

Today called for rain. Lots of it. The morning was a balmy 51°at daybreak but the weather report warned about being led astray. An evil cold front was to roll through about mid-day.

Believe it or not, it was true and right on the money. The clouds darkened and the moisture fell.

By quitting time, the rain really opened up. But my motorcycle and I weren’t scared.

In my saddle bags resided my rain gear. A few minutes of donning the newly acquired Frogg Toggs and the rain rolled off of me like the back of a duck. I also wore the full face helmet so I didn’t have to worry about the feeling of 1000 bees stinging my face (how rain feels with an exposed face in rain at any speed over 30). It was nice, cool, and refreshing, despite the looks of pity from the cagers.

I had the right gear for the road conditions today. *Pats himself on the back*

Although when I think of right tools for the job, I usually and immediately think of working on cars. Others may have different ideas but it’s what I did for so long with all the wrong tools. I learned. Here are a few examples I can testify make a difference.perfect_tool

A spark plug socket instead of a long socket. Or a short socket with an extender on it.

A harmonic balancer puller, or any puller for that matter, over a hammer and two screwdrivers.

A flare nut wrench over a standard combo wrench.

A pneumatic or electric lug wrench over a star wrench.

American made over China made; any tool.

A volt tester over moistened finger tips.

What’s something you know that makes a difference?


Post 3-089

Curves Ahead

Hey Kids,

The back and forth of the weather continues its tennis match. Yesterday it was full rain gear in pounding rain drops, bordering on snowflakes. Today it was sunny, warming into the lower 50’s. A cold breeze blew from the north but if shielded from it, one could feel the seasonal strengthening of the sun’s rays.IMG_20170328_220507

The bike can tell the difference too. The motor pulls stronger, and revs wind up faster, and the exhaust growls a little deeper. I can lean a little steeper into the turns, twist the throttle a little harder on the take-offs, and relax a little deeper into the seat. I can imagine cruising the mountain roads already.

But that will have to wait. There’s still 10’ of snow on those mountains. And this good weather will turn into pouring rain again by Thursday.

Spring is definitely the season of give and take. It’s a time to remember the past trials and to consider the promise of the future. By mid-summer, I’ll have forgotten about the cold rides, the slick road paint, and the freezing rain. Every day will be easy riding and warm sunshine.

It’s not just the weather outside that’s changing. I feel a spring of my own. I’ve traveled some dark, cold roads and now I go back and forth. Some days I feel I’m on top of the world, and then there’s others where I feel I’m in the depths of despair. If you ask me, however, the days are trending warmer.


Post 3-087

Aaand they’re Gone

Hey Kids,

The First day of spring was a few days ago. Monday actually. It was 73°.

We went on to set a new high temperature of 74°on Tuesday.

My fairer weathered brothers and their motorcycles crawled out of their winter hibernations and we enjoyed the new season’s sun and the warmth. I broke out the lighter jacket and relaxed on the turns, knowing that ice had zero chance of waiting for me on the blind curves.


The Scene leaving the office today.

So today, being Thursday, it snowed.

And again I find myself alone on the road, among the fluffy snowflakes and the temperatures falling back down to 34.


Post 3-082

Weather or Not

Hey Kids,

Yesterday was 62 degrees in the early afternoon. There was snow on the ground before we went to bed. Give it two days and we’ll be back up near 60. Thus is springtime in Utah.

As a motorcyclist, this is the time of year I have to watch the weather like it’s interesting. Conditions can change hourly and the conditions during the morning commute are irrelevant in regards to what they might be for the evening commute.

There has been a few times I failed to watch the weather and have been caught in an afternoon snow storm. The windshield on the bike has caked over with snow and my glasses have fogged up so thick I could barely see.Motorcycle-Snow-Sculpture

I’ve learned it’s imperative to keep the tires in the tracks in the snow made by the cars ahead or feel the bike try to slide out from under you. And to ignore the people who honk at you for going so slow around the turns. So far, however, I’ve always made it home.

It’s a challenge, but I’d have it no other way.


Post 3-066

Spring Fun

Hey Kids,

It’s a battle I’m destined to lose.

On occasion I’m victorious but when I lose, the price is greater for me.

I’m talking about the ride home on the bike vs. the spring weather.

On these spring days where winter hasn’t let go and summer is raising it hand for attention, the weather going to work is not always equal to the weather returning home. When I leave I have to be prepared anything. Cold fronts, thunderstorms, and even snow can happen.

From my desk, I’m able to pull up the radar image from the local news channel. I can see the storms rolling in from the west. The colors will tell me if it’s rain or snow coming and how much. I can zoom in for a more detailed look. Depending on the time I remember to check this view, it can give me a great advantage. The challenge comes when the incoming storm is timed exactly with the ride home.


Today’s Storm

My route home leads me directly west right into the face of any incoming weather fronts. At about half way and leaving the residential route, I turn north around the mountain point that divides my working county and my living county. The gravel pits release their bellows of dust and dirt with the always accompanying violent winds and the storm has the opportunity of a T-bone shot. It is at this point that the risk of getting caught looms greatest and my timing calculations either gave me enough time or not.

I’m a gambling soul and I find I like to push my luck and look for the edge of the radar blips and try to slip around the point of the mountain, make the quick broad side run, and slip under my covered parking spot right as the wet weather begins.

I’m pretty good at it. But not always.

Rain is not anything that cannot be dealt with, provided you wear your rain gear. But where would the victory be if I did that? No when I get caught by the rains, it’s wet and miserable. If it snows, it’s wet, miserable, and slippery dangerous. Lightning storms are all that, as well as the thrill of Russian roulette in wondering where the next bright flash will strike and counting the seconds until the clap of thunder roars. It’s all part of the fun.

It’s said that, in Utah, if you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes. The ride home is about 25. Sometimes the funnest 25 minutes all week. Sometimes not.


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