3 month update?

Posted: February 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

In the past 3 months we have had some changes.

My son Nic has moved in,

Caryn has her own bike… an 86 Suzuki DR200.

Nic decided to get HIS own project bike… a 92 DR650.

AND we picked up a little beater gas mileage car… a 99 Escort ZX2.

I have went from being a contractor to a full time employee for the company I was working for.

And… the long term job I was working on in Birmingham has come to an end.

So, I am back out on the road, this is being typed up in Lake Placid Fl.

Nic decided he wanted a little world experience, packed up his car and drove to Alabama from NC.

The guy even had a job lined up before he left.

Caryns little DR is an Enduro, not road legal.

However it is giving her experience, both on and off the road.

Nic ran across a good deal on a DR like mine.

It is a project bike, but like Caryn’s bike… it is experience.

The ZX2, it gets about 3 times the fuel economy of our F250.

It is also a 5 speed, which can make almost any car fun.

We have been missing a manual transmission.

Once again, I am a company man.

Truck, tools, uniforms… it feels good.

The one thing I will miss is being home with my family… but the steady work is welcomed.

Life is good.


A continuation of last months post…
Nic has officially moved in and is working every hour he can get.

Looks like that with an exception of a week or so, I will be working a job here well into January.
Since I am working in one spot and not having to transport much other than myself and the contents of my computer bag… I have been commuting on the DR650.
While I have ridden a bit in the past few years… this is the first time I have actually commuted on 2 wheels in over 18 years.
I am taking this chance to get her set up for some weekend touring and maybe some adventure riding.
Ebay has supplied me with a couple of Wolfman tank bags, one is their original Explorer bag from 1998… yea, 16 years old and still going strong.
Wolfman, http://www.wolfmanluggage.com, makes some of the best ADV luggage out there.
The Mighty DR ready to roll.
She also has a fresh set of Shinko 244 tires front and rear, these are an inexpensive and rugged on/off road tire.
The difference is astounding, the Skinko 705 on front was old and starting to crack… the Dunlop D607 was just worn out.
The handling is OH so much better on the road, and I can actually take it on less stable surfaces without feeling like it is going to go tits up at any moment.
Last week I watched the odometer roll over 19,000 miles… not bad considering that she turns 22 years young this month.
Personally, I am loving commuting on 2 wheels again.
Weekend trips are great, but it makes me feel like the bike is more of a toy.
Having one for daily transportation… that is what it is about.
But I still plan on making a weekend getaway some time, just have to figure out where and when.

A 2 up bike is still in the cards, so Caryn and I are still searching for the right one.
I must say… I enjoy the search.
What has shocked me, is one bike that has entered the running.
The BMW F800S, which has an AMAZINGLY comfortable seat for your Tail Gunner of choice.
The Commanders perch is damn nice also.

Now… to see if I can raise the suspension and spoon on some gnarly knobbed rubber.


It has been 10 months…

Posted: October 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

Since my last blog post.
A bit has changed, jobs, companies, states of residence.
I spent a couple of months up in New England, and now am down in the Birmingham Alabama area.
The Mighty DR has become my commuter vehicle, and should remain as such thru the end of the year.
I have to say, a motorcycle for commuting is a wonderful thing.
However commuting on the interstate blows goats for quarters.
In general, I hate the interstate… no matter what I am behind the wheel/bars of.
It is great for rapidly getting you from point A to point B… unless it is “rush” hour.
Then you are sitting in a slow moving parking lot with a lot of angry and impatient people in multi ton battering rams that tend to not notice the guy on the bike.
My current assignment is in downtown Birmingham, and I finally found a route that keeps me mostly off of the superslab and allows me a peaceful ride on the 2 lane roads.
Using a bike as a main vehicle instead of a weekend toy is a mind shift.
My commute is between 40 minutes and an hour depending on traffic, Generally thru 35 mph zones.
No matter the posted speed limit… it is 35 on average in actual use.
I cant imagine using some high strung bike that runs 70 mph in 1st gear for this duty… I would weep for its clutch.
I keep clothes at work, commute in my riding gear… since I dont have over gear yet, the over gear is planned.
It seems that people in full gear is still a strange site to people.
Not track leathers… just standard gear, textile and mesh jacket and pants, helmet, gloves, and boots.
Most people I have seen seem to prefer shorts, sneakers, and a T shirt.
I prefer to not have skin grafts.
Being around B’Ham is great, I have been to Barber twice… YOU need to go also.
There are a lot of bikes running around, a byproduct of being in the south.
It is October 22, and overall still too warm for my Transition 3 jacket.
I am not complaining.
With any luck I will be able to spend more time in this area… especially since I moved the RV down here with my family.
A household which is gaining an additional member when my son arrives in 2 days.
Nic, who is 18, has an interest in 2 wheeling it… with any luck I will be able to get him trained up and commuting as it should be done.
He has the ability, I just need to get him settled down a touch… he has already drug the sidestand of the DR cornering in a parking lot.
I am still cringing.

Life is good and only getting better… expect more timely updates.

Keep the greasy side down.


Where is the fun?

Posted: December 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

I remember being on 2 wheels as a kid, and what I remember is having fun.

Bicycles or motor bikes… I went out with no other purpose than to build the biggest grin that I could.

As I aged, bikes became as much of a tool as it was entertainment… then it became mostly transportation.

I lost the Fun.

It is almost understandable. What bikes today are sold as “Fun Bikes”?

We have racy sport bikes, “look at me” cruisers, touring bikes, learner bikes…

Where are the bikes made just to be fun?

When I first saw pictures and snippets about the Honda Grom a few months ago, my first reaction was “WTF is this… a glorified scooter?!”

But after letting it soak in, I get it.

It is a bike that is made to be… Fun.

Low powered, light weight, unassuming, unintimidating…

It isn’t made to take on a race track or twisting canyon road, load up and ride from coast to coast, park amid the chrome and loud exhaust at the local pub.

Its small and low powered, but it isn’t a scooter… hell, some scooters are 500-650cc now.

This bike was made just to be a Grin Factory.

Honda used to make bikes like this in the past, they know the blueprint for it… and have updated it for todays buyer.



Even if that person doesn’t know that they are a buyer yet.

This is the kind of bike that can lure people into the showroom and start them down the road of a 2 wheeled lifestyle.

Especially people who live in urban areas.

You live in town, work 5 miles or so away… and your commute is mostly on surface streets.

Maybe you take a cab, a bus, or the subway to work daily.

By bus or subway… you are spending what… $100+ monthly?

I could fill the fuel tank on that little bike for about $4.25, and from looking at the mileage reports on http://www.fuelly.com/motorcycle/honda/grom you could run at LEAST 120 miles.

Many places have free bike parking, others have reduced rates.

You may be able to park it in your living room nightly… as art.

Now, this little thing is not for everybody… it isn’t even for me.

However, for a few people out there… this little thing could be just the thing.

The Grom is not a small bike pretending to be a full sized bike.

It still has small bike dimensions, but for a small bike… it is roomy.

I am 6’4” 250ish lbs… and while it was cozy, it wasn’t cramped.

I could spend more time in the saddle of it than many full sized bikes.

I am not a Honda fan, or a small bike fan… but how could I not be a fan of a Grin Machine?


An excerpt…

Posted: December 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Zeke sat there, staring at the TV and rubbing his chin… thinking to himself.

I know some of this is real, but I really wonder just how far down the rabbit hole this all really goes.

Spectacular Tales, the show about people who say they can do some really cool and neat stuff, was just going off,

Zeke had seen and heard things in his 45 years on this planet, that he figured most others hadnt.

The cold spots, the voices, the things that moved with nobody else around.

And his heat and helping.

Daddy told him it was old magic, white magic, country magic.

Cuts healed quicker, as did broken broken bones.

This was a reason he joined the Navy and became a corpsman, nobody questioned when he did a good job on the wounded.

It was hot over there, people didnt realize the boost in his body temp while healing… even tho it made him glow in that scope.

Rubbing his side, he pushed that memory out of his mind.

If folks like him and Daddy existed, what else out there was real?

Ghosts? Yea… he had experienced enough to know that they were out there.

Witches? Yep, there were a few of them out there… and a lot more that fancied themselves as such, but had no clue as to what a real witch was.

But what about the big bad beasties?
Were there really vampires, werecreatures, and all of the assorted things you find in a horror movie?

Beau, the grey muzzled old shepherd, snuggled down beside him.
Nobody would ever get the old pups real age, if his memory was correct Beau would be 31 this fall.

Zeke rested his hand on Beau’s head and closed his eyes.
The warmth flowed between them, healing and love.
And with that warmth running, they fell asleep together.

It was a sharp and blasting bark that jolted him awake.
Beau was crouched down with his tug rope, front legs stretched out on the floor in front of him, hind end up in the air… tail just a going.

Zeke scooped up the rope and chucked it down the hallway, the pup was after it in a flash… nails skittering on the hardwood floor.

Even tho he had just woke up, Zeke was exhausted.
He always was after “one of those” naps with his best friend.

It always seemed to help, he thought as he unwrapped a bar of it.
This one was a bitter dark with some chili pepper in it.
A little strange, but rather tasty.

The big shepherd came blasting back into the room, trying desperately to stop in time.
But, to no avail… he crashed into the couch next to the man that he loved like no other.
He would have to get used to the speed and strength of youth yet again.
Not that he mined, he felt that the occasional rebirth did him good.

Hopping back up and stretching his legs, the old aches and pains were gone… and he couldnt help himself, as he blasted thru the old house and out the back door.

He was a grown pup again, and Zeke didnt know what in life gave him more joy than that.





Posted: December 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Yes, another post triggered by the new motorcycle.

While the DR650 is down on power compared to the bikes I have owned since my teens, like I mentioned before… I am not missing it.

Something I am really liking is the simplicity.

1 carb, 1 cam, 4 valves… if needed, easy engine rebuild in the chassis.
Hell, if you want, you can punch a ’96 or newer DR650 out to almost 800ccs.

The kickstart is something I am really warming up to.

No, it is not as easy as flipping the choke, punching a button, and letting it warm up then riding away.

It makes me feel more connected to it.
Joe Blow is not going to walk up to this bike, start it… and ride it off.
It makes this bike MINE.
I go out and fire it up sometimes just to do it.

There will be some upgrades to it in the future.

Forks, shock, carb…

This thing is fun… F U N
I wouldnt mind another one or two of them.

The fact that I can do a major service to it and it takes an hour or so blows my mind.
No measuring shims and swapping them out, no synching a bank of carbs.

I can grow to appreciate the simpler things…





Posted: November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Mighty ZX11 has left for a new home and greener pastures.

This was not a spur of the moment choice, I had been pondering it for some time.

My wonderful wife Caryn has been watching me ride out on it and seeing me come back refreshed, and she has been starting to feel the slightest tingle of “The Itch”.

So… I took her to the high school parking lot with the Z, and let her idle it around.

Yes, just idle. 550+lbs and 140+ hp are not the suggested ingredients for a newbie to have a good time.

But, it showed her that she could pad around on 2 wheels and didnt have to drop it.

This boosted her confidence, and got The Itch going like mad.

I had some pondering to do now.

At this moment I cant afford to buy another motorcycle… and she is not going to be learning on the Kawasaki.

This provoked a nice bout of bike shop surfing.
We have hit up shops before, but she has never really looked in earnest.

This time, she knew it would be for her as much as me… and not just as a passenger.

I am a huge proponent of dirt bikes for beginners, newbies drop bikes… and these bikes are made to take a drop.

Now, I also need a bike to use on the street… run to the store, go to work, take a trip.

This puts us in the dual sport category.

As a 6’4″ 240lb guy… the big DS category.

In the affordable range we have a Honda XR650L, Kawasaki KLR650, and Suzuki DR650.
New, these are in the $6-7K range.
Also out of my price range.

SO… I put my ZX11 up for trade for a 650cc+ dual sport.
It took a couple of weeks and weeding thru emails, but it finally happened.

My 36,000 mile ZX11 was traded for a 17,000 mile DR650.


Now, we had the bike for her to learn on.

Compared to the ZX, the DR650 is a much more suitable learning tool.
150ish lbs lighter, 100ish less hp.
But, the seat is a bit taller.

Compared to a dirt bike, it is a heavy pig.

With the ZX, you can ease out on the clutch and take off at idle… on the DR, you have to gas it and slip the clutch.
In that respect, take offs on the ZX are easier.

But, that is about all that is easier on it.

Today we took it to a parking lot, time to get some feet wet.

We started off with some easy drills, first up… coasting across the parking lot.
This showed her how it balanced and the sensitivity of the brakes.

Where we were had upper and lower parking lots, connected by a nice downhill run.

Next up, was coasting down from the upper parking lot to the lower one.
More speed, more braking, and now some turning added in.

3 trips down the hill and we decided that she was ready to try it for real.
First things first… she had to start the bike.
Yes, I bought a kick start only bike. :D

If I remember right, she started it on about the 4th or so kick.
Trust me, these are not easy bikes to kick start… there are tutorials on YouTube explaining how it is done.
And now that these things are 20 years old and no where near factory fresh… they all seem to have their own quirks about starting.

With the bike running, she headed off down the hill.
Clutch out at 10mph, the bikes idle speed, and down into the parking lot.

I was excited!
So excited that I charged down the hill to congratulate her.
Imagine my surprise as she rode around the lot and right back up the hill.


BACK up the hill I trotted to see her turning around up there.

Down and back up 2 more times.
No stalls, no falls.


We called this a success story for today.

Tomorrow, we shall try flatland starts and stops.


Now, to the “Rediscovery” part of this entry.

The last low powered bike I owned was a 1978 Honda CB400T Hawk.
Not this one, but a twin to it.



 Similar weight to the DR, but with a 400cc twin but with about 20 hp less.

I last saw that bike back in 1987.

Since 1994, I have only owned 1100s… the lowest powered one had the engine out of a 1127cc GSXR.

There was a part of me that truly expected to be seriously disappointed while riding the DR, 400ish lbs with around 45 hp.
But something happened on the express train to Dullsville, this Bush Pig was putting a grin on my face that I have not experienced in decades.

I was rolling thru corners at least as fast as on the ZX.
Gearing down before the corner, pinning the throttle on the way out, and banging shifts at the top of each gear.
All the time not getting much over 70mph.

Treat the ZX like that and you are either going ass first thru the trees when the rear tire brakes loose or nose first thru them when you cant slow down for that next upcoming curve.

I was beating on it, whipping its ass from turn to turn… and having more fun than is legal.

I rediscovered something that I lost when I got into monster liter bikes.

Riding purely for the fun of riding.
No fear that I was going to have a slight lapse in attention or talent and The Beast was going to rip my head off.
No fear that if I actually “used” the bike a nice officer was going to shred my license and stuff me under the jail.

No Fear, Only Fun.

The roads around here are ill suited for actually using a Road Eater like the ZX.

As great a bike as it is, it was a bike for me as a youth.
I am no longer that person.

I can be happy and satisfied knowing that my bike isnt the fastest thing out there, I no longer have something to prove… to myself or anyone else.

Now, the only thing I have to prove is that I can have a great time.

Honestly, this is the most fun I have had on 2 wheels since I was a teen.

And guys, Fun is one of the keys to staying young.