Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Greeting

And a in time of great hardship
A star appeared, . . . Brighter than the rest,
Giving us hope that God is with us.
That no matter the depth of the darkness
God's love shines in the night

Monday, December 14, 2009

Many years ago during another lifetime, I worked retail clothing sales at a large department store chain. The chain's big sale event of the yet-to-arrive Christmas season took place near the end of October and afterwards we learned that our location in "rural" Licking county out sold all other locations in two categories: Men's flannel shirts and women's thong underwear. A strange juxtaposition of fashions, to say the least.

It really spoke volumes about Licking county and our location became known throughout the division as the flannel shirts and thongs store.

A few months ago I posted a local story that made international headlines about a man that was cited with DUI while driving a motorized barstool.

Well the motorized barstool is back in the news...

Motorized barstool sells for $1,125 on eBay

(Eric George, The Advocate)

NEWARK -- As the minutes ticked down toward the closing of an eBay bidding war for the motorized barstool that launched Newark into national headlines, the going price remained steady: $1,125.

The 37th bidder placed the winning bid on Dec. 7 and remained the high bidder until the close of the auction at 9 p.m. Sunday.

The starting price for the barstool, initially listed on Dec. 3, was 99 cents.

The contraption is a metal barstool with a padded seat and welded to a frame, equipped with a 5-horsepower engine, steering wheel and four tires.

It launched into notoriety after its owner, Kile Wygle, 29, was charged with driving under the influence after he crashed the contraption in March in Newark.

He pleaded guilty the next month.

A Licking County judge ruled in June any profit from the sale of the stool should go toward back child support. At the time, Wygle owed about $37,000. (from the (Newark) Advocate)

Twenty-five years ago it was flannel shirts and thongs. Now-a-days...

Ride Safe

Monday, December 7, 2009

I had a friend forward an email to me and in keeping with the holiday spirit, I post it here...

The text below the picture reads:

"Good news is that I truly outdid myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever.Great stories. But two things made me take it down.

"First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.

"Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard. "

After a little searching I found the posting at which is the address for the blog entitled " The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid. (probably not be the origin of the post.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Old Indians, Never, Ever, Die 2

On the 24th and 25th July 2009 the second Old Indian Never Die rally took place at Traquair House in Pebbleshire, Scotland. The Rally was possibly the largest collection of vintage Indian Motocycles gathered in Europe.

Jodie from Watermill pointed me to this video trailer from the forthcoming 1 hour long documentary from Watermill, due out in 2010.

If you like vintage motorcycles (who can't imagine themselves on a 50+ year old bike?), you'll want to keep an eye out for this video offering.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Thank You for...

... a Home that is warmed with love and passion, for one another and for life,

... a Job that helps to provide choices in life for what must be consider luxuries by some,

... Possessions that make living life easier and more enjoyable,

... People in my life with which to share my love and that share their love with me,

... the Understanding that for all that I am grateful, people are the most precious.


Let's Ride, er, I mean eat.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life is what happens to you

“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans…” I remember watching Johnny Carson speak those words after the death of his son many years ago. Turns out they're lyrics for a John Lennon song, one that I don't remember.

“Life” is what happened to my dear friends, Chris and Vicki Gargus this past Sunday. They were making plans and preparing for the upcoming holidays when they got the news that their son Tyler was killed in a shooting accident.

Tyler, a senior in high school, was killed with what was thought to be an unloaded shotgun inside the home of his 16 year old friend, Zach.

I do not possess the words to express my sorrow for Chris and Vicki. My mind bounces from thoughts about their loss and grief, to the all-to-real void now present in their lives and the lives of everyone who knew and loved Tyler, myself included, to required gun safety education.

Many will say that this is the reason we need to ban all firearms. I refuse to enter that debate. This was a stupid accident by foolish teenagers doing something they knew they had no business doing: playing with a weapon.

The same thing can be said for a lot of activities by children and teenagers. As adults we tell them, “Don’t cross the street without looking both ways.” “Always keep both hands on the wheel.” “Buckle your seat belt.”

Adults said these things to me and I’ve said them to youngsters. But there were still times when I disregarded what I knew was a smart thing. You have, too.

Now, Chris and Vicki have to pick up the pieces of their lives and continue on. They live modestly and did not have a life insurance policy for Tyler. How many parents actually do?

I learned today that an account has been created at a local bank to help the family defer some of the funeral costs. I dropped off my check this morning. If you want to send a gift, the bank information is below.

The bank representative I spoke with said that a list of donor names and addresses will be provided to Chris and Vicki so they can send their thanks.

Also below, are some links to both news stories and tribute websites that have sprung up over the past few days.

Life is, indeed, what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

County mourns tragic loss of Tyler Gargus (

Investigators Probing Teen's Shooting Death

Tyler Gargus Tribute Site

Facebook Tribute Page

The Park National Bank - Main Office
50 North Third Street
Post Office Box 3500
Newark, OH 43058-3500
740.349.8451 or 888.545.4PNB

Monday, November 9, 2009

Much like this past summer, autumn in central Ohio has been very cool and too wet for my preference. In years past, it seems like I have ridden almost non-stop up until December. But my memory may be playing tricks on me and choosing to only remember the great riding days and forgetting the rest.

At any rate, riding has been sporadic at best lately. Those few days where the weather gods have blessed us with sunshine and temps above 50ºs or so, have also been preceded with clear nights and morning lows in the mid twenties. And, while I have ridden many times in 20ish degree temps, my hour long morning commute in those temps leaves me chilled until at least noon. And quite frankly, I'm growing weary of being cold.

The long and short of it is, lately, there hasn't been a whole lot of riding.

So, instead of spending time on the bike, I have focused my attention on several items found on my To Do List.

One item on the list is to troubleshoot a plumbing issue that has plagued our kitchen faucet with poor water pressure. Our home is over 70 years old and while the many would say that being an old home, it has character. Well, it also has old galvanized water pipes.

I've done my share of plumbing before working with CPVC, black pipe and copper and every time I tackle a project, what should be a twenty dollar, 30 minute job escalates to 3 hours and costing much more. This job was no different, sorta. However, this time I found a product that made the task a lot easier.

Galvanized pipe corrodes from the inside out and what looks like good pipe will disappoint faster than comic book X-Ray glasses.

After finding a place where there was still good pipe, I plumbed both supply lines to the sink with copper and used SharkBite compression fittings. No sweating, no glue, and more importantly, no leaks.

The job was actually done sooner than I had planned and for just a little more than I estimated. The water ran so fast from the kitchen faucet, the missus decided we needed a new one. $250


I'm about half scared to start the front door lock project; by the time I'm done replacing it, we'll prob'ly end up with a new door!


Ride Safe

Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn Group Ride 2009

Our last group ride of the season was moved from Saturday to Sunday and it turned out to be a good decision. While the temps were about the same, Sunday brought abundant sunshine, something central Ohio hadn't seen in several days.

Last year, the last ride of the season ended with a deer crashed for two of our riders. This year's last ride of the season also held calamity for one rider.

13 riders left Newark about 1:30 and we rode south, following a meandering route with a destination of Nelsonville in mind. A 14th rider, Randy, would meet us in about 20 miles at an intersection in Thornville.

The autumn colors were just about at their peak this weekend and we've had only a little wind and rain to knock the leaves off the trees. With the sun shining and blue skies overhead, and the cool air rushing past us, it was the perfect weather for an autumn ride.

After about an hour of meandering through the country side between Thornville, Somerset and Crooksville, the group stopped for fuel just outside of New Lexington.

About 20 minutes after our fuel stop, we passed through New Straightsville, a small community in the middle of the Wayne National Forest a little south of Shawnee. Just outside of town, we turned onto OH- 595. As it often happens, I was near the end of the group with only Randy on his HD Softtail Classic behind me.

About a mile south of town after getting on OH-595, the road has a blind, up hill curve to the right. Gravel or cinders littered the inside of the curve so I moved toward the center line and kicked my right leg out to let Randy know about the hazard. However, a quick look in the mirrors told me my efforts were wasted. Randy was following a good 100 feet back, and with the blind curve, he couldn't see my warning.

I negotiated the curve and kept an eye on my mirrors. Just as I saw Randy round the curve, the road in front of me turned to the left and my view was obstructed. Near the top of the hill I slowed and at a driveway. I stopped. No Randy.

Fearing the worst, I made a U-turn and headed back down the hill. Randy came into view within seconds. It looked like he was upright, but then I realized that he was on the wrong side of the road and his front wheel was parked against the outside guard rail.

He'd gotten whopper jawed on the gravel, and when the rear wheel found traction again, the bike promptly laid down on its left side and slid across the opposing lane. He was OK. His leathers, gloves, and helmet protected his hide and noggin. But the bike was a mess.

The guard rail that kept him and his bike from falling into a 50 foot ravine had crumpled the front fender up against the wheel. Somehow the slide across the road broke his handlebar clean off between the mirror and the triple tree. His grip, clutch lever and switches hung from the cables.

The two of us and a passerby that stopped got the Harley off to the side of the road and pointing down the hill. Randy's cell phone went dead as soon as he tried to use it, so I got on my cell and called his roadside assistance service while he took stock of his bike. He pried the fender away from the wheel with a little effort and then looked at the handlebar.

After a few minutes, Randy had a solution in mind. He jammed a stick into the open end of the handlebar and left about 5 or 6 inches sticking out, onto which he jammed his grip, clutch lever and switches. A bungee cord and black tape held everything together. A lot of black tape.

Roadside service called back about an hour later to tell us that it would be another 2 or 3 hours before they could get any help to us. By that time, another rider from the group, Randy's neighbor, Charlie, rejoined us and we decided that together, the three of us would try to make the trek back home.

Charlie would take the lead with Randy, riding one-handed, in the middle and me protecting his rear. If we stayed away from the curvy roads, and Randy used his left grip just for the clutch lever, it might turn out better than expected.

And it did turn out well. Randy and Charlie made it home without additional incident. We parted company when we each were about 15 minutes from our homes. Randy's Softtail will soon be on the repair schedule at the dealership and we'll try to figure out how to break this last-ride-mishap habit the group seems to have gotten itself into.

Ride Safe!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Harley-Davidson shuts down Buell

Well, this may not be much of a surprise to some but it is an eye opener.

This info from the Buell.Com Q & A page...

Why is Harley-Davidson discontinuing Buell after the recent new product introductions, racing success and new brand efforts?
The Company made the decision to discontinue the Buell product line as part of its strategy to focus on growth through the Harley-Davidson brand.

What will happen to the Buell motorcycles currently in dealer inventory?
Buell dealers will sell remaining motorcycle inventories. There will be no more Buell motorcycles produced.

Why should I buy a new Buell when you are discontinuing production?
The innovative features and overall quality of Buell motorcycles provide an outstanding ownership experience. The Company may be discontinuing the production of Buell motorcycles, but they are extremely exciting motorcycles to ride and own. The Company will continue to provide normal warranties on new motorcycles and provide parts and service support. Buell motorcycles offer an overall value proposition that is very compelling.

How good of a deal can I get on a new Buell?
See your local Buell dealer for his remaining available inventory and prices.

Will I be able to get financing for a new Buell?
HDFS will continue to finance Buell motorcycles. Please see your dealer for details.

How will I get my Buell serviced?
Will you honor my warranty?Authorized Buell Service Providers will provide warranty, service and repair work. And Harley-Davidson expects to be providing replacement parts and service for as many years as required market by market. Of course we will honor all of our warranties.

What about Buell racing and privateer Buell race teams?Will there be contingency programs like they have had in the past?
Buell will continue to supply parts to dealers to support racers who want to go racing next season. However, the racing support program and contingency will be discontinued.

Are any of the brand’s models going to be available as Harley-Davidson models?
Harley-Davidson has no plans to produce Buell motorcycles as Harley-Davidson products.

Will Harley-Davidson be using any Buell designs or incorporating Buell technology into the H-D product line?
Buell has introduced many advancements in motorcycle design and technology over the years. Harley-Davidson will continue to benefit from that knowledge going forward and it’s possible that some of this technology will find its way into a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

For other questions related to Harley-Davidson or Buell, please see your local dealer.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The music was playing in the sanctuary. The mothers had been seated, the groom and his men were standing at the front of the church and the bride's maids and maid of honor were just starting their slow procession toward the preacher.

Niki and I were near the sanctuary doors just out of sight of the participants and congregation waiting for the proper time, when I leaned over to her, gave her a peck on the cheek, and said, "If you want to change your mind, it's not too late, yet."

She beamed up at me and with a sparkle in her eyes, shook her head. "I'm not changing my mind, Daddy."

"Then let's make an entrance!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Mad Rush

There has been lots of activity on the home and work fronts over the past several weeks.

My company's business tends to increase during economic down turns and this current business climate has shown evidence of that. Not that I'm complaining. Right now, busy is good.

We've increased our modest work force by about 20% and that means additional PCs and work areas setup along with all the behind the scenes "stuff" to make it all work. Plus, a couple of the positions we filled are in an office in Pekin, Illinois. That work requires one day travel and a day of setup.

Unfortunately, I'll be caging it to Pekin unless I can figure out a way to load Lady up with computers, monitors, and a laserjet printer. That trip comes this Sunday and Monday.

And then comes the week long sprint to my daughter's wedding Saturday, October 3rd.

I learned pretty quickly in the wedding preparation process that my sole responsibility during this time was to simply write the checks and provide plastic, in the form of a credit card. I am, of course, a man, and a man simply cannot grasp the intricacies and nuances of wedding planning. At least that's what I was told early on. (I think my creative use of duct tape over the years sealed my fate on this count!)

I scheduled vacation time the week leading up to the wedding and since my participation so far was limited to signing my signature, I just knew that the last several days of prep would allow me some quality riding time. But no.

It will be my duty to run errands picking up this and paying for that because I'm off work and no one else scheduled vacation time... and, of course, I'd do anything my daughter.

So be forewarned... After this is over, it's time for some time on 2 wheels. Just as long as my throttle hand hasn't cramped up from writing all those checks!

Ride Safe!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Talk how?

There are just a few more hours before it is ....

September 19th every year

Now, if I could figure out a way to get a 3 cornered hat over my helmet, I'd ride as a pirate, too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

As I write this this, I noticed the clock on my desk is telling me it is 5:02am EDT. Now 5:03am. I'll leave the house on my commute for work at about 6:00am. By that time the temperature outside will have dropped another degree or so. Right now, it's hovering around 52º F and I am debating in my head if I should wear long thermal underwear. The trip is an hour long and I really don't want to be an ice cube until mid morning.
I had a friend remind me recently that, back when we were kids growing up, back before global warming was a problem, our summers used to be really, really hot. Nowadays, August in Ohio feels more like August in northern Ontario.
I'll nix the long johns, but chaps are a definite must this morning.
Ride Safe!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Live On. Ride On is a campaign for LifeLine Ohio to help bring awareness for organ donation in the motorcycle enthusiast world. It's a good cause and I've had a link and banner on the blog for a couple of months, now.

Organ donation is a topic a lot of people don't want to talk about. To do so, forces one to acknowledge ones own mortality. And some of us don't do that easily.

The link takes you to the Live On. Ride On web site where you can learn more about them. There's only one thing I don't like about the site. It's a minor thing, really, but I wish they'd change it.
The photo they have on the site is a great shot of a deserted highway snaking into the distance with incredible scenery and vistas on each side. The photograph is quality work. But the road is not in Ohio.

Anyway, Live On. Ride On is going to be at some central Ohio events promoting their cause and I thought I'd share them with you.

Flat Track Races Sunday, Aug 16Beulah Park, Grove City, OH
We will have a raffle, Live On. Ride On. patches & t-shirts!

Summer Slam Saturday, Aug 22 AD Farrow Co Harley Davidson, Sunbury, OH

Ride Safe!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Traffic Camera Update:

Across the country, communities have installed photo enforcement cameras for both speed and red lights, all the while chanting the mantra, "It's all about safety, it's all about safety." This may be true. But the financial windfall realized by virtually all communities that install cameras can't be easily ignored.

The small community of Heath, Ohio installed cameras in June of this year and started mailing out citations in July. Over 10,000 citations! And at $100 a pop, those fines would generate in one month nearly 1/8 of the city's general fund.

The people cried foul (especially those with multiple citations in one day!) and the city started it's chant. And then something unexpected happened.

The city of Heath issued a statement saying that the cameras were installed for safety and that they just wanted drivers to slow down, And then they said that all drivers in the month of July that received multiple citations would have all but one dismissed with just a phone call.

Maybe the officials in Heath really did have the cameras installed for safety reasons. It's not really about the money.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Heath, Ohio, a community adjacent to Newark is smaller but has a high traffic area. Recently they installed 10 new traffic cameras for both speed and red lights. The cameras were in place for a month sending out warning letters. The grace period is over.

The little demons have been recording violations for 4 weeks and nearly 10,000 citations have been issued, including to one driver, a resident of the city (Nerkites call them Heathans) that received 6 in one day, on one trip.

Everyone is getting pretty jerky about the cameras, especially area merchants and the city leadership is on the hot seat because the cameras are about safety, not money - even though the potential take for 1 month of fines is about 1/8 the city's annual budget or about $800,000.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A few days after returning from the trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota, I noticed the parking permit the attendant had wrapped around my handlebar. I was thinking about whether to remove it or leave it on since it is good until the end of this year.

Chances are I'll not return before it expires so I had decided to cut it off and save it with the rest of my memorabilia from the trip. But just as I was about to get the scissors, something caught my eye. Now I think I'll keep it on there just for the heck of it...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"You get what you pay for." How many times have we heard that phrase? We usually hear it (or say it) during a discussion of some inferior product that failed sooner than we expected.

Yet, the idiom is true both ways, for high quality products as well as no quality products. I am testing it again myself in regards to motorcycle tires.

In about 22 months of riding I have watch Lady's odometer turn past 28,000 miles. Not too bad for an Ohio rider where there is only about 6 or 7 months of riding weather. But like many riders in less temperate climes, I ride all year, as long as the temps are above 25ºF and there's no ice or snow on the roads.

In the course of those miles, I replaced the original rear tire, an IRC brand 170/80 15", at about 18,000 miles. I put on a Dunlop K-555 of the same size and had to replace it this week after about 10,000 miles.

The K-555 cost around $120 and the tire I replaced it with is a Metzeler ME880 at a cost of about $175. I'm hoping I can get at least 45% more miles from a tire that cost about 45% more.

We'll see.

Of course, the trade off with a longer lasting tire, is a less sticky rubber and less traction. But since Lady is a cruiser that spends more time on interstate highways (my daily commute) than on a grand prix road course, I should be OK.

Ride Safe!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

After two and a half days of hard riding and one day of sight seeing, John, my traveling companion, and I finally made it to Gillette, Wyoming where we met up with the 20 riders and 12 bikes that had traveled from California. Our destination for the next day was Spearfish, South Dakota by way of Devil's Tower.

John knew this area pretty well, and was coaxed into leading the group. It was a task that he later admitted was extremely nerve racking, making sure everyone was still together and that his speed (usually 4 or 5 mph over the limit) wasn't too fast for the group.

We made a loop around the formation and then meandered to Spearfish, SD where we checked into our hotel. This would be home base for the next couple of days.

We visited several historic towns, places I call "show towns", including Deadwood, Lead, and Keystone. I label them "show towns" because several times a day actors in 1890 period costumes stage gun fights or will fire their six shooters to get tourist attentions.

Saloon No.10 in Deadwood is an establishment of some notoriety. Wild Bill Hickok, the town's lawman, was murdered there while playing poker. In his hand he held a pair of aces and a pair of eights, what became known as the dead man's hand.

Even though our visit was nearly 2 weeks before the Sturgis Bike Rally, motorcycles were everywhere. One that caught my eye was this custom paint job honoring the US Air Force.

And then there was this piece of chrome we saw at the Rapid City Harley Davidson dealership.

Oddly enough - or perhaps not - the bike's owner is from Ohio.

Mounted on the front of the forks is a chrome plaque dedicating to bike to his brother.

John, myself and Kenny, from the California group took the time to visit Mt. Rushmore...

And the Crazy Horse Memorial...

Then, just like that, it was time to head for home.

The weather for the return trip was dominated by a Canadian high pressure area that kept temperatures cool, barely reaching 70º F. The first day of the return trip was sunny but cool. The subsequent days of our return we rode at the edge of the cold front that brought the cooler temps and didn't see the sun again.

Here are some stats for the trip:

Totals miles: 3,396 miles
Longest day: 622 miles
Average per day: 450 miles
Food: $148.00
Fuel: $206.00
Hotels: $258.00 per person

Spending a week with friends on 2 wheels: Priceless

I had only one small issue with Lady. During the return trip, one of the riders to my rear moved up beside me and asked if I had lost my cell phone. Knowing that my cell phone was packed away, I answered, "No."

Forty miles later I stretched out my left leg and started to place my foot on the highway peg when I realized the peg was missing. That was no cell phone! That was my peg!! Should have used blue Locktite!

I'll replace the peg this week, but if anyone finds a large Kuryakyn ISO peg near the 25 mile marker of I-80 in Iowa, drop me an email.

Finally, a couple of thoughts about a trip like this...

1) Like Irondad said to me before I left, "enjoy yourself."


2) Like Peter Fonda said to the Wild Hogs at the end of the movie, "Lose the watches."

Ride Safe!

You can see the entire album by clicking the slide show above.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It is obvious now, looking back at some of the pictures posted by the riders that started their trek in California, that the best part of the trip was the west coast. But I didn't have 2 weeks to dedicate to the trip. I had only 1 week. So I made the best of what was available to me and spent my week traveling to Gillette, Wyoming to meet the 12 bikes and 20 riders near the end of their trip.

To get there, it was a mad dash on interstate highways, mostly, over the course of three days. There's a whole lot of country side between Columbus, Ohio and Cactus Flats, South Dakota and most of it looks the same. The wind farms west of Des Moines, Iowa were interesting, having never seen one in person before. But the scenery was painfully similar for nearly 1,000 miles, no offense to Indiana, Illinois, or Iowa.

The most exhilarating part of the trip was riding through the worst thunderstorm ever in Sioux City, Iowa. You know the weather is bad when cars start pulling over to the shoulder!

Afterwards, the skies turned blue, the sun came out, and we motored on to I-90 west. We traveled I-90 until we arrived at Cactus Flats where John and I toured the Badlands National Park.

The route through the park took us about an hour and a half including several stops for photos of vistas and desolation. When we exited we were just minutes away from Wall, South Dakota, our destination for the night. We had the entire next day to travel 100 miles to Gillette, WY and meet up with the rest of the group. Some sight seeing was in order.

On the way to Sundance, WY

The Sundance, WY city jail. The locals said it was the jail where the Sundance Kid was held but since he and Butch Cassidy died in Bolivia in 1903, this wasn't the same one.
We hooked up with the California riders later the third day in Gillette, WY, about 40 miles away. It was good to see my friends, hear their stories, and tell a few of our own.
After dinner and a good night's sleep we headed for Devil's Tower.
To be continued...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home, Safe and Sound

I'm finally home , safe and sound after 3,394 miles to Gillette, WY and back. What an incredible trip, a great learning experience and an absolute blast.

I'll have stories and pictures as soon as I find my card reader - arrrrgh! - but for now just one word of advice: make this trip with good friends. You'll want someone to share the "ooos" and "aaahs."

Ride Safe

Friday, July 10, 2009

More pics from my homeward bound friends...

Somewhere near Mount Rainier.

I bet they'll welcome the warmth of the Midwest after experiencing the cool beauty of the Pac Northwest.

I leave today sometime around 3:00pm and hope to get most of the way across Indiana before calling it a day. The distance we need to travel sorta dictates when we leave. If I could be on the road right now, I'd would. But, I need to complete some last minute work at the office.

So, my neighbor John and I will leave this afternoon. The bad thing about leaving at that time is the rush hour traffic in Indianapolis and driving into the sun from about 7:00pm on. I never thought I'd say this, but it's good that there is a high probability of precipitation in Indiana this afternoon and hopefully the clouds will keep the sun out of our eyes.

My Facebook friends should look for blurbs each day. Everyone else, I'll be back in 8 days.

Ride Safe!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More pics from the road...

Someone said they had big trees in northen California...

The Oregon coast

Kelli says this picture is of the Oregon coast but I kinda doubt it; the sun is shining! Her posts to Facebook say the weather is improving for them which means warmer and dryer. My outlook always improves when the sun decides to shine.

Four days until I leave for Gillette, Wyoming where I'll meet up with them. Can't wait.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Don and Kelli are the sweep riders of one of the two groups of six bikes, bringing up the rear so to speak. Kelli has a mobile device and is providing pics for those of us not fortunate to make the trip or even ride at all.

The Golden Gate Bridge

The streets of San Francisco

At one of the meetings prior to their departure, the riders were strongly encouraged to maintain the same riding positions. That way you become familiar with the riding habits of those around you. So any of the riding pictures Kelli takes will probably be of the back of Curt and Sharon's heads.
Curt and Sharon are the riders that ran into a deer near Marietta last year. No deer on these streets, though. They did swap their half helmets for full face models. A wise decision, I suspect, plus they have a really cool bluetooth intercom. I love toys like that.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Picking up the 12 bikes from the San Jose HD dealer. The adventure begins...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The 12 bikes for all of the riders on the California trip left Ohio yesterday in the back of a semi trailer. The 21 riders making the trip from California to Ohio will fly out this Friday. I plan on leaving Ohio on my ride Saturday, July 11th and will meet them in Gillette, Wyoming 3 days later.

The preparations for my portion of the trip are progressing. I added highway bars and foot pegs so I can stretch out my legs on the highway. I added a couple of sockets to my tool kit and need to buy one turn signal bulb and a spare head lamp bulb for the "just in case" bag. I also purchased a tire repair kit with CO2 canisters also for the "just-in-case" bag

I should probably replace my front brake pads before I leave. Having a set for when I might need it is not the same as having new brake pads installed.

The do/need to buy list is down to just a few items:

Cup or bottle holder
Cargo net
Map pouch for the tank
Cramp Buster wrist rest

I'm trying to temper my excitement and anticipation of the trip with careful planning. There was a time when I would say, "Let's just go; if we need anything, we'll buy it when we get there." But things are different in this economy and when travelling on a bike.

And that feeling persists... Have I forgotten anything?

Ride Safe!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

All but 6 of the 54 miles I travel to the office is four lane, limited access highway. The remaining 6 miles is under construction and should be complete in about 8 or 9 months. This will make my commute the fastest is has ever been. And one of the most boring, too. You just don't "see" as many things at 70 mph as you do at 45 or 50. I suppose you have to take the good with the bad.

My multi-lane travels are pretty sedate compared to some of the horror stories I hear from other metro areas. Traffic isn't as congested and drivers aren't as oblivious to their surroundings in Columbus.
There are exceptions, of course and I've learned that entrance ramps are the most dangerous sections of travel during my commute. Most of the time drivers are just cruising along content to stay in their lane. But entrance ramps, where drivers must merge into existing traffic, can be a jumbled mess.

Almost without exception, if there are a string of cars entering the freeway, one of the drivers will be impatient about his merge. Believing the car in front of them isn't accelerating fast enough, they will move not only into the first lane, but will try to take a second lane as well.

These are the drivers I always watch out for on my commute. They will only take a micro-second to survey the traffic in the second lane and chances are they won't see me. This scenario happened to me a few days ago.

The driver of an older red Ford crossed into my lane by about a foot and I was in his blind spot adjacent to his rear door. I beeped my horn - I'm seriously considering getting an air horn - and accelerated until I was abreast of his door.

In this instance, I had at least one thing going for me: he had his window rolled down. The sound of my horn along with the sight of my blurred image must have scared the crap out of him because he immediately retreated into his lane and hit the brakes.

I'm sure he didn't see the angry look on my face or hear me shout, "What are you doing!!!" But he did stay on my six about 6 car lengths back until my exit came up 12 miles down the road. Serves him right. Better for him to soil his pants than occupy my space.

I have approximately 11 or 12 ramps on my commute and fortunately attempts on my life only happen about once a week. And even though they are never intentional, hurt is still hurt and dead is still dead. My travel time is about an hour before the morning and afternoon rush hours or my encounters might be more frequent.

Still, I wouldn't give up the 2 wheeled commute for anything. For me, there is no better way to start or end my work day. Even though I have to contend with what Lucky from The Great Motorcycle Pizza Tour calls zombie drivers.

Now how is it they get rid of the zombies in the movies???

Ride Safe!