You gotta watch this…. It is old, crusty, fuzzy, no where near HD, but it put onto video why I wanted to ride back in 1990.

1990…. the summer I owned my first motorcycle.  I’d picked it up in the fall of 1989, the massive EX 500 (Ninja) and had survived the winter.  I’m guessing the first time I saw that commercial was during the Daytona 200– so, probably around March.  Which means I’d probably been on the road in 35 degree temps, just waiting for it to be warm enough to ride for more than a few miles.  

We had just ‘survived’ the motorcycle tariff that had increased the import taxes on any motorcycle over 700 cc’s, so we were finally getting our VFR Interceptor back!  It wasn’t the powerhouse that we’d wanted, but it was back.  And, we were having to adjust to the fact that Honda wasn’t going to call their sport bikes ‘Hurricanes’ anymore.  Kawi kept the Ninja, but from here on out, we were stuck with letters and numbers, no names.  A shame, ’cause it was so cool to ride a Hurricane.  I have no idea why that made a difference, but it seems to have.  So, with all that, a weak Interceptor, a boring-no-update-no-hurricane-CBR, Honda decided to make up for it.

Yep, they gave us the RC-30.  At that point, in my humble opinion, that was the most impressive, track-to-showroom bike I’d ever seen.  Sport bikes were pretty new, still, at that time.  They had been around for 5-6 years, and had been sporty, but in 1990, they became racy– again, just my opinion.

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Now, I’ll admit that, in my teenage years, I was pretty opinionated.  I rode a Kawasaki, Ninja’s were the best.  Hondas? Yuck– they were just the big red company playing at bikes.  Sure they were well made, but they were so big and corporate…. 🙂  Well…teenagers….

Then, here comes that commercial– good music, good shots of people riding, doing the things I like, going places I wanted to go.  This was a time before it was ‘cool’ to wear leather and helmets.. but here comes a dude on a CBR600 or a RC-30, and a chick is waiting for him, to go riding, WITH LEATHERS!  

Its short, its 60 seconds– and I still love it!  It made me want to go ride the moment I saw it.  It makes me want to go ride every time I see it or when the song comes through my head.  I have no idea why it had such a great impact… maybe because, at 17, I lived in a place where, virtually, NO ONE was around to go ride with.  It was something to grasp a hold of and see that there are other people out there that dig riding the same way that I do.  Maybe its just because seeing a RC-30 on the road is way too cool.  Whatever the reason, good job, Honda.  It worked.  25 years later, I have an Interceptor.  And a no-name-CBR.  And I still want a RC-30.

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Bikes

Here we go!!  This was an amazing ride, the longest I’ve ever been on.  1,772 total miles from start to finish.  I went to my Eric’s place in Buckeye AZ (Phoenix area) and left from there.  Before we get to the trip, a big thanks to Beth, Kay, Steve, Mindy and Bob for seeing me off to the airport.  Huge thanks to Eric for the bike! 🙂 ..and picking me up at the airport…and all the mechanical work on the bike! Lastly, a quick list of the best items I used– Suomy Spec 1-R helmet (perfect!).  Sony Ear buds– helped with the wind noise.  iPod.. yeah, can’t go anywhere without it.  Google maps– siri didn’t do so hot.  AlpineStars boots.  Icon gloves and AGV jacket.  And, unexpectedly, Nike and Under Armor for the warm clothes I needed in ARIZONA!!!

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So, lets start with “pre-ride”.  Left Cedar Rapids on Saturday, in nice weather, landed in Mesa to a windstorm, gusting up to 69 MPH– right??  Couldn’t get off the plane for an hour, waiting 30 min for the wind, and another 30 for lightening.  The ride home had rain.  In ARIZONA!!  Right?!  Eric spent months warning me about the heat and the dry and the heat… and, the heat.  I was prepared for the heat.  I woke up on Sunday morning to….80 and cloudy??  Was I still in Iowa??  Bike prep day, get the master link on, gas in the bike, make sure the alarm is charged and plan the ride.  Then, the ride….

Day 1, Monday, 4:54 AM local time (AZ)

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Getting a head start on the day to beat the heat.  Leaving at 5 am was the idea, so if I got in a solid 5 hours ride, its still only 10AM, and I could park if need be.  Pretty cool, that time of the day, I rolled out, followed the I-10 to the I-17.  I started to worry about half an hour in, because at 5:30 am, I hit some rush-hour traffic.  And it was warm.  But, fairly quickly, I got past that.  Once on the I-17, I was cruising north at a pretty good pace.  When I left the last of the Phoenix area, it was 6:09, and the bank clock I saw said 86 degrees out.  (Warm enough).  Funny, though… I think that was the last time I saw it over 85 until I hit east of Topeka– more on that later.

High road to Flagstaff!!  I stopped at 95 miles to gas up (since I wasn’t sure how often I’d see gas).  It was pretty cool– if you don’t know the terrain, check out Google Earth and see the mountains– there were times I was climbing pretty steeply up the mountain… I hit around 3000 feet and realized it was getting cool out.  I switched the bikes internal temp to air temp and saw it was about 65 outside– in ARIZONA??  yeah…  As I kept climbing, it got cooler, but stayed sunny out- a beautiful ride!  I wish I’d stopped to take pictures, because after the 4,000 ft mark, I came down into a valley, and with some clouds and smoke (managed burn) and the sun, it was very picturesque– but there were plenty of semis around, so I didn’t stop to gawk.

After the 5,000 ft mark, I realized it was getting more chilly– I hit a low of 59 at one point, so I stopped to put on my Nike zip up.  Let me take a moment to say that I’d brought that along in case it got cool while I was riding back in Iowa and Illinois!!  Yeah, in ARIZONA!!  Rolled into Flagstaff at 7:58 am, and gassed up again (total of 175 miles)  I was feeling sassy, but it was cool and cloudy at this point.  Since I was stopped, I took the time to roll out the Under Armor long sleeve shirt to go with the jacket… just about right, actually.  I rode out of Flagstaff and it started to warm up to mid/upper 60’s by time I was 40 or so miles out.

At this point, I’m feeling pretty good about the world and I started to see some signs for the “worlds oldest dated meteor impact” site– I remember it from Starman, so I thought “what the heck” and decided to play tourist.  It was only 6 miles or so off the road and I was 30 miles from Winslow, so I took the jaunt.  Road was cool, winding up to a building in the side of a hill.  Now.. be prepared.  You walk up a lot of stairs.  I walked up the stairs into the building and got in line– the girl at the counter was pretty quick and she justified my trip in one sentence:  “that is the most beautiful helmet I’ve ever seen.”  yeah, she’s right 🙂

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Next, I walked up some stairs.  Then came to an open area and no clear indication of where to go… through a door up more stairs, up more stairs, through a door, up some stairs. Then, low and behold, a crater.  Now, it was massive!  But, I don’t think I’d pay to use the telescope thingy just to see the rocks on the other side… they look like the rocks on my side.  But, I was a tourist, so I snapped some really bad selfies– I’m not a good selfie taker and this trip didn’t make me better.

On to Winslow.  I had to stop there.  If you don’t know why…well, sorry, its the Eagles.  Learn something.  As I rolled into Winslow, it started to sprinkle (in ARIZONA).  I stopped to put in my rain liner and rolled down the road to “the corner”.  Took some cliche pics and looked around, then went to find the Sonic, because it had an awning to hide my bike under while it rained a bunch.  Luckily, they had hot coffee… and didn’t care how long I sat.  The myradar app was rockstar for me, because I could watch and wait for the storm to pass enough to get in some miles.  I took a quick trip by La Posada, because I heard it was pretty cool, and it was a nice place– wishing I was staying there!

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From Winslow, AZ, it was straight to Albuquerque. NM.  Great roads, great ride, some clouds and some rain at one point– rained pretty hard about an hour and a half outside of Albuquerque.  But the sun came out right after and I dried off pretty quickly.  Once in town, grabbed some gas and used my Hotel Tonight app!  (Colin Cowherd had that one right!).  Just ask for a hotel in the area and it finds one with rooms and good prices.  I stayed at a place called Nativo, because it looked cool on the pictures.  Bam, use google maps to get to it and I’m in the room.  They had a pool and it was 85 degrees, so I thought, sure, lets swim.

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Nah… brrr is a more correct word.  It was freezing!!  I had to swim a lot to make it worth the dip.  Afterwards, got dressed and stayed in the hotel to eat at the hotel bar.  Met some locals, discussed traveling around here and the like.  And I started my goal to have a ‘local’ beer in each town I stopped.  Good company and some good tacos.

Day 2.. I’m lazy and it was about 9am

I got up, drank some coffee and got loaded up.  It was sunny, but cool, around 65 outside.  It had rained over night and myradar said that I’d be chasing rain all the way to Amarillo TX.  Now, before we go much farther, I’d not brought a rain suit, just a rain resistant liner to my jacket.  Off we go!  I got about a half our out and it was chilly again, so I stopped to add a layer.  A local asked me about the bike and reminded me that the roads get slippery on the interstate when it rains– in Illinois, by this time of the year the roads are fine-ish when it rains.  Because we wash all the junk off the roads every week or so– not so much there, so good advice.  I rode for another hour or so and it was really looking cloudy out.  I found a place called Cline’s Corner.  It was a truck stop/rest stop/junk to sell stop.  But, it had a cafe with cinnamon rolls and coffee, so good enough for me.  At that point, I decided to let the rain head east without me and I’d catch up later.  I called Eric to tell him my feelings on his heat/dry in the desert.  He and I have been planning this trip for months, figuring out all the stuff I’ll need for the bike and the ride.  I mentioned before that he had been warning me about the heat, every time we spoke, he kept beating into my head how hot and dry it was in the desert.  How the air just sucks the moisture out of you and that I needed to take 2-3 frozen bottles of water because they’d melt in the first hour.  Drink, hydrate, and drink again– every time I get off the bike, drink more, because its going to be hot and dry.  “You hear me but you aren’t listening,” he said.   So, as I’m riding across the wet and rainy desert at temps of only 75ish degrees, I kept thinking about that part in Dumb and Dumber, where they think they are in Colorado but end up in Kansas or something… I said, “Hey, you remember that part?  –because that’s what I think every time I remember the ‘hot and dry’ lessons you were giving me.”  Yeah… its hot.  It was hotter in Iowa…that Eric is full of….

After my break, time to ride out– pretty un-eventful til I got to Amarillo.  I’d pulled into a Cheveron Station to get gas and check Hotel Tonight.  Found a hotel that was close by so I booked it.  Directions were by Siri, so she had me load on to the 40 and head east.  She drove me around a while (about 15 minutes) until I ended up in a residential area– what??  So I tried the directions again and she said I was there– unfortunately, the map on Hotel Tonight was slightly different from Siri and she took me to North Coulter street instead of South Coulter street.  So I used Google Maps to get back.  Found the place and it had just started to sprinkle as I parked!  Nice beating the rain!!

On my way in, I’d seen a hundred billboards for the ‘Big Texas Steak’ or something like that… first thought was, “I want a Texas steak”.  Second thought, “too many billboards to be good”.  I asked at the hotel desk and she said that Hoffbrau was a better steak house and closer, only 3 blocks away.  Hey, that’s good enough for me!  And, she gave me a coupon for a free dessert!

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I walked down and the guy said if for one, sit at the bar– cool enough.  There were two guys sitting and talking with 3 chairs between them, so I sat down.  Found out they were both traveling salesmen, one from Dallas and one from Tulsa.  So we talked about kids, colleges, good choices on colleges, beers, football (mostly Big 12), steak and Pat Green.  I mentioned that I didn’t have time to make it down to Waco to George’s but I’d do it one time and Dallas guy said he was friends with Pat Green!  Knew him and saw him play in bars in Dallas in the ‘old days’ 🙂  He gave me some places to stay next time I was through NM and told me to check out Palo Duro Canyon.  Then I got my steak.. wow, and yum, and I didn’t eat the dessert. We also discussed the fact that all the trees were pretty short in Texas– dunno if it’s like that everywhere, but I felt like I was looking at miniature trees everywhere! We all finished and I rolled out the door, back to the hotel– here is the funny part, I walked a block up, then turned toward my hotel (two blocks down) and saw the Cheveron station I’d stopped at when Siri sent me on my wild goose chase– yeah… 30 minute round trip for 2  blocks!!

Day 3– left by 9 and good thing!

I left at 9 because I needed to stop at a bike shop to get some rain gear.  I found a Honda dealer and they had some in stock.  I had looked at myradar before leaving and no matter what direction I went, it was wet– and really wet.  But, I wanted to check out the canyon and I had time.  I headed south-east, which was out of the way, but worth the trip.  I was just about to the park when I thought I saw it and took some pictures– yeah, it wasn’t very deep where I was at 🙂  Went into the park, looked/rode around and had some fun, but then it was time to hit the road– it was 11 and I still hadn’t gotten towards Dodge City!

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I rolled north and stopped at a town called Pampa TX.  I hadn’t hit any fast food yet, but decided to hit the McDonalds to soak up their Wi-Fi.  When I came in, I ordered my meal and was about to pay when I heard a guy yell out “hey, wait!” — he came over and was the manager– said “Sorry about that, but you have a really cool bike.  I saw you were wearing boots and a helmet and I crashed once on a bike– that stuff saved me.  I got your lunch.” –Cool, right?!?  I wouldn’t have heard that with my Accord…

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Rolled out of Pampa, with my rain pants on, but not the rain jacket (it blocks all the wind, so I wait til the last minute to put it on).  I was about an hour north of Pampa when I could see the rain, it was coming hard and fast.  I stopped, put on my jacket, and it started to rain hard!  Luckily I was dry.  But, it was super windy!!  And it was windy all the way to Dodge City.  It was my least favorite day of them all, riding-wise.  One thing I kept laughing at were all the ‘rivers’ I passed over.  Grass…grass…trees… rocks… a creek… oh, wait, the creek was the river.  Nice 🙂  When I FINALLY got to Dodge City, I was tired and beat and cold.  And my Hotel Tonight app wasn’t working, neither was google maps or siri, so I rode into town to find a McDonalds– their Wi-Fi always works 🙂  Hotel Tonight had one hotel in town for crazy high!  So I found a Super 8 and was good to go.  I asked what was going on, and she said it was Dodge City Days, and everyone was in town for that and the Rodeo.  Ok.  She pointed me to a local sports bar for a good sandwich and off I walked (I was done riding for the moment).

The guy there was great, the food was great, place called Bad Habitz or something like that.  He said it was worth hitting up the rodeo, so what the heck.  He said they had parking for bikes so it wouldn’t fall over, so I gave it a shot.

Here is the cool bit, I rolled in, found a spot and headed to the ticket booth– and the sky just cleared up.  I’d seen clouds and nasty all day, and boom, blue sky and a slight breeze.  It was a perfect night!

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The arena was super muddy!!  The guys were just covered in mud whenever they hit the ground, but the event was great– he said 6 current or previous national champions were riding that night. And the fireworks were pretty cool too!

Day 4– rockstar sky!

Woke up to Thursday and it was beautiful outside!!  Deep blue sky, no clouds, no breeze, upper 60’s for weather.  I loaded up my bike, got everything strapped down, got my coffee, started it up to warm up…… and saw a nail in the tire.  Crap.  I thought hard.  I went to O’reilly’s to buy a can of Fix-a-flat.  My theory was that if it popped out, I could just fix it and be on my way…. right?  A phone call from the voice of reason reminded me that it was a Very Bad Idea… so, off to the Honda shop I go.

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Hey, can we plug this– no.  No real surprise there, couldn’t do it at bike shops I worked at.  A new tire it was.  At this point, let me talk about the dealership== rockstar quality all the way around!  Dodge City Power Sports, I think– I showed up there 15 minutes til they opened and they came right out to ask what I needed.  We debated the nail, checked for leaking (it leaked 😦 ) and they said, “we have a tire that fits”.  Ok, lets do it.  But, great parts 2 and 3, they gave me a deal (didn’t have to) and they had me back on the road by 9:45– great service and fast turn around and I totally appreciated that!!

Now, its about 10 am when I’m finally getting the hell outta Dodge City.  I looked at the map and thought I had a good plan.  The roads were great, no wind, sunny skies and you couldn’t ask for a better day to ride!!

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I’d pretty much made up my mind that I was going straight home that day (594 miles by Google) so off I went– made one wrong turn, followed the wrong highway and ended up in Hutchinson KS– not bad, but added a few miles to the trip.  I went straight north til I hit I-70, then 100 miles to Topeka.  All through that trek, the wind never picked up and the temps stayed around the mid 70’s– again, perfect!!  Stopped for gas a few times and even got to take off the inner liner of my jacket about 10 miles from Topeka!!

At Topeka or around there, it finally got over 86 for the first time since I left Phoenix– right??? Yeah… I don’t know but I’ll refer you to the Dumb and Dumber part again– I’m sure its never hot in the desert from what I saw 🙂

I hit I-35 at about 3:30, and was feeling like a rock star!  Gassed up and rolled north– at that point I felt like I was home already.  I know where I was, knew what’d see, and the trees were normal sized again– the rivers too!  I hit 36 and the sign said 157 to Hannibal– Really?  I’m the same as home!!  I rolled along 36 till someplace outside of Macon.  I gassed up and checked the map– 144 miles til home!!  I wasn’t stopping again til home!!  I climbed back on and kept heading east.  When I saw the “Quincy- 35 Miles” sign, I was pretty happy!  Once back in Illinois, the only thing I could think was, “you made it this far, no speeding tickets!!!”  Luckily, traffic kept me normal speeds and I made it home at around 7:45 pm.  Phew…. 621 miles that day!

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Overall, it was a great trip!  I’ve never done anything like that, and all joking about the weather aside, I had the absolute best luck as far as temps went the whole ride!  I should have been looking at high 90’s up to 108– and I didn’t see any of that– I heard 3 people at the Dodge City Rodeo tell me that it should be 115 there, not 70.  Everyone I met along the way was great, and that was good luck too.  From all the ways a trip can go bad to the ways it can go good, I landed on the ‘good’ side.  Even the nail in the tire turned out to be ok– what if I hadn’t seen it?  Or they didn’t have a tire?  Or I was stupid enough to ride after I saw it?  Yeah… ugly is a four letter word.

Made it home safe and sound and I’d do it every year if I have the chance.

One note– I have no idea how fast you hafta be going on some of those NM-TX interstates to get pulled over, but I was doing mid 80s a lot, and getting passed like I was on a bicycle.  I hit 90ish following a guy in a truck, just inside TX and he was pulling away from me like I dropped an anchor.  Funny stuff.

Motorcycles are interesting machinery.  They do so many things.  They go from point A to point B (and maybe C, D, E, and F).  They inflate our egos, they make us feel like we are 16 and sexy again, they look great, and sound awesome.  They let us feel like we belong to an elite group; there just aren’t that many of us out there.  The get us out on the road, in contact with the elements, heat, cold, wind, rain and sun.  But, when the rubber meets the asphalt, mostly, they are fun.  And, that’s why we have them.  We justify purchasing a motorcycle for the value, the savings in gas money, the ease of parking… but those are just excuses.  We buy motorcycles only because they are fun.  I’m not breaking any codes here; if you don’t ride and you don’t realize motorcycles are fun…. well, just keep watching Sponge Bob.

Today, I decided to ride my bike for the one reason it was made– to have fun.  How do you have fun on your bike, Chris?  Well…. let me tell you!  Today, I took it to Lake Argyle, over by Colchester IL.  There is nothing more fun that riding winding hilly roads with very little traffic.  Now, if you haven’t been to Lake Argyle, you really need to go.  If you’ve been there, then you know– and you need to go back!  

It has some real problems, and you’ll see them pretty quickly– the road is two way and narrow, its got a million blind corners and entrances, it can have gravel in the corners, or dead grass or sticks… it requires a lot of concentration to ride it.  And patience.  

However, it is beautiful.  You enter the park, and (now) it has been completely repaved with asphalt.   You see some trees, some camping areas, some playground equipment and parking lots… then your first nice corner down a hill to another corner at the western tip of the lake.  From there, a nice jaunt along the dock area, you can see all the way across the lake and you are thinking, “what a nice day for a ride, or to paddle a canoe.”  Then, you hit a really nice uphill lefthander that really makes you think about what gear you should have been– because, especially if it was your first time, it was probably the wrong one.  Up the hill, and a quick right hand turn full of dead grass– watch out!  Yeah, make sure to brake early and often.  Then, you really start to have fun! 

The trees along the road form a nice canopy for you, so its sun and shade all along it.  The corners are super tight and the straights (a) rare, and (b) short enough for you to not get too stupid.  At that point, its on.  You are right, left, right, up hill, left, down hill… you get the picture.  It’s awesome.  It’s beautiful.  Its a little crazy.  And, it requires you to not be stupid.

When you first look down the hill, you are thinking you are the worlds greatest road racer.  your ego assures you that you can, and will, do anything on this road.  No worries, you are fast, awesome and gifted.  Yet, Argyle will remind you that it isn’t so true.  You aren’t Miguel Duhamel or Tony Stewart.  

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s been years since I’ve been around it, and years since I’ve had a bike, so I have some rust.  Brake too early, wrong gear; too high or too low.  I brake late, I’m in the wrong seating position, I didn’t move fast enough, then I’m worn out.  But, as you ride it, you know… doing it right only means you don’t really go any faster.  A guard rail at any speed isn’t fun.  Or a ditch, a tree, rocks, a lake or cars.  So, yeah, its fun, it has to be done, its beautiful and I’ll be back again soon– but you come out thinking “yeah… I’m not a road racer”.  Ego has been reminded that it can’t always go Mach 3 with your hair on fire.

It was the most fun on a bike I’ve had in a long time!

A few interesting side notes.  1.  I’ve picked up a fan club!   A little girl and her brother saw me at my first stop and waived as I went in and out of the fishing area; I waived back.  Then, when I was at Casey’s later getting a drink, they saw me and said, “are you the guy that waived at us??  Hey, he’s the guy that waived at us!”  

Side note 2.  My helmet gets as much attention as my bike.  So, they are both doing their primary and secondary jobs. (be fun and get attention, protect my head and get attention, respectively).  A lady walked by and said “I’m not staring, I’m just checking out your helmet; cool!”  Then a guy pulled up in his car, looked at my bike and said, “Whoa, thats hot!”  (unless he meant the mini-van behind it…I’m going with my bike)

Side note 3.  People can’t help but state the obvious.  A guy walked by and said, “Hey, you need a new back tire.”  Yep, I know.  

What a great day to ride!  

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I remember the summer of 1994, I was working at Midwest and Richard told me, “you can take the most intelligent person in the world and put them on a Sea Doo and they become an idiot. Doctors, professors, lawyers…it doesn’t matter,  they start that thing up and all their brains stop working.”

I am afraid that can happen to experienced riders getting back on a bike…. prime example!  I have been riding this bike for a week and have done nothing other than oil, zip ties and rear brakes.  After my clutch pivot bolt came out on the highway, Eric reminded me that I had broken every rookie rule I had ever written or said. So…I guess it’s time to take my own advice and pay some attention to maintenance this weekend. I guess that’s what rainy days are for!

True story.  I remember heading to Colorado at the end of the school year in 1989.  I spent that summer working on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm, trying to save up enough money for a new motorcycle.  I came back to Kansas City in August with $2500 in my pocket, and I spent 1 day going to three or four different bike shops looking for the one I wanted.  Found it at the last one– a hot, cherry red Kawasaki that was one year old with about 2,000 miles on it.  All I saw was awesome!  It cost me $1,900 and it was all mine!!  I rode the wheels off that bike.  Went through many tires, mirrors, turn signals, chains and oil filters.  A great time was had!  I put around 25,000 miles on that bike and sold it about 4 years later, in October-ish of 1992.  I went through that winter without a ride, but in February of the next year, I got a job in a bike shop, and I didn’t go without a ride til 2009.  I had tons of demo bikes, bought a CBR600F3 somewhere in the middle and at the end, a CBR600RR.  That bike was great, it was my first real ‘project’ bike.  I bought it crashed, fixed it up somewhat, then someone ran it over.  That’s when the real fun began!  I took it down to the frame, changed out the brakes, put on braided steel brake lines, steering damper, exhaust, power commander, new tires and all new body work– it was really awesome!  I ended up selling that one in November of 2009 and hadn’t had one since.  

I’ve often thought that, when I’m riding, the world looks brighter, more vivid, more vibrant… more outstanding!  Something about everything is better, more enjoyable, more outstanding, and more exciting!  I don’t know what it’s like for anyone else, I guess it’s difficult to debate frame of reference; “how amazing does the world look to you?”  Right?!  

Walking away from a bike in the winter is easy, “I’ll pick one up next spring”–that’s an easy excuse.  Then one year turns to two, turns to three… and all of the sudden, you aren’t a rider anymore.  You’re someone that talks about “used to riding”.  You grow accustom to the way that the world looks, acts, feels, and smells.  

Then, something happens.  For me, it was hearing enough awesome stories about a motorcycle trip out west and back.  I though, “wait, I remember how that was!”  In my opinion, there is nothing more fun than waking up on a Saturday morning, grabbing your bike and just heading somewhere.  No agenda, no plan, no design, just riding til the end of that road and turning left.  Or right.  Or where ever it looks best.  Find that tree that grew up through a Hodaka, ride around that lake, follow that river road, end up at some greasy hole in the wall burger joint.  Yeah, its times like those that I’ve missed.  

I started this week out thinking that it was time to start looking for a new ride, something to do, something to have.  I figured I’d spend the rest of the summer trying to find that ‘right one’.  But, then, Tuesday happened.  I found myself looking through endless pictures on craigs list and found a bike that I immediately saw in my garage.  BAM!  It was like a smack to the head, I saw myself on a bike again.  It’s been years since I really thought that or felt it.  It was all over right then and there.  I’d gone from looking casually at bikes to being determined to find one.  I am relentless.  The rabbit holes I chased were something else.  At 16, it took me one day and three dealerships.  At 40, I spent a week, looked at THOUSANDS of bikes, searched online from Chicago to Kansas City to St Louis to Peoria to Des Moines.  My eyes crossed.  I found bikes that were destroyed, painted with Krylon, tanks mashed, fake ads, people that lied about model  years, and salvaged junk that was only good for scrap.  After a few misses on the phone, I finally found the bike I’d get.  I dunno what it is, after all the blues, greens, blacks, and yellows, I ended up with something that didn’t look radically different from my first bike (scroll down a few stories and you’ll see that old hot rod).  Black and red.  Honda– right?  How could it be anything else.  I tried really hard to make it a Ninja, but when it all came down, I picked a solid Honda CBR929RR.  I suppose its fitting that its the ‘younger brother’ of one of the most awesome and revolutionary bikes ever made, the CBR900RR.  She has some work that needs done, some body parts to replace, some brakes to change, but the engine and chassis are sound.  It runs great!  I’m pretty certain, if someone wanted to do it, it’d break the speed limit in 1st gear 🙂  But I don’t know anyone like that.

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It’s just what I needed.  I’ll have some fun replacing a part here and there, cleaning, polishing and getting the oil changed.. mostly, I’ll have fun riding.  The ego is a funny thing– it doesn’t go dormant… it sits there and prods you, reminds you in the middle of the night, “it’s time to ride.”  And, so it is.  It’s time to ride again.  

Everything is vibrant again!

A million years ago, I went on the hunt for my first bike– more on that another time– and it was quick and easy.  One day, 3 bike shops, bang, I was rolling.  Today, 14 years later, it’s taken me days of hunting, thousands of pictures on eBay and Craigslist.  My eyes are crossed, my brain hurts, and my fingers are tired of typing and swyping.  

And it’s right there– the one I want is right there for the taking…Money in hand, insurance taken care of, buyers remorse suppressed, desire to ride high… and yet, I have to wait til Sunday.  As luck would have it, something came up on the sellers end.  Can you believe that!  Meh, life happens.  I just want to ride 🙂

It’s amazing the difference in view that the world takes on when I’m this close to having my bike.  I’ve gone with out a ride at different times, but never a dry spell like this since I was 12!  Almost 4 years with out a bike; far too long.  The view from behind a faceshield will be a welcome one, I can’t wait to have that back.

Hopefully, a nice long story of a purchase, a ride, and some time waxing a nice, new ride!

Well, I think I’ve found one that I want. Working out the details between myself, the owner, the bank, and a ride up! If all goes according to plan, and it’s like the pictures say, I could be back in the saddle again tomorrow! This will be a long day…. I have no patience and would like to be on the road right now! 🙂  more to come.

I’m often amazed at the world.  Prime example, it isn’t hard to read a title, and the year of your bike is right on the frame in big numbers. It’s all over your insurance card. Yet, when you post an add on craigslist, twice in one month! – You still have the year wrong. As Eric says, I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night!

Second rant: if you are going to change the body work on your bike, don’t do it with a hammer, duct tape and/out Krylon. It isn’t hard to do a good job, and don’t think you can shop at better than the guys at the factory. It’s amazing the poor, battered bikes that are out there…

If craigslist got paid by the click, I paid this month’s rent already… motorcycle shopper dot com, here I come!

I spent a lot of time yesterday cruising through craigslist and eBay…. endless sea of bikes available to me. I found the one I really wanted. But now am wondering if it’s a scam. A beautiful ZX9R, great shape!  Left two texts with no answer, called the number and either got disconnected or hung up on…I dunno, I’ll try back once again today.

Now, Eric says it’s time to look at the cherry ST1100; it’s a 40 year old man’s bike and I’ll get more miles out of it…  he’s right!  But, I can’t pull the trigger on that. I want to be excited about the bike I buy. Today, practicality has no taste. I want bold flavor!  If it tastes bad next year…well anything can be fixed with a “for sale” sign.

So, I’m starting again today. Let’s see what’s out there. What looks good in my garage. That’s half the fun!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here; time to get going again!

The title serves two purposes…the first sound of thunder is me finally starting something with the old Harley. Second, that’s the rumble of a V-twin I’m on the hunt for; I’m Super Hawk shopping. So, for fun, I’m going to try to keep posting my progress.

Short for today,  I’ll be back soon!