Sunday, August 30, 2009

Truth in Advertising

From the fingerprints, this "switch" gets a lot of action.



'If the light stays on for more than 4 hours, call your erectrician..'

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Read and Learn Fellas

A husband and wife are sitting quietly in bed reading when the wife looks over at him and asks the question...

WIFE: "What would you do if I died? Would you get married again?

HUSBAND: "Definitely not!"

WIFE: "Why not? Don't you like being married?"

HUSBAND: "Of course I do."

WIFE: "Then why wouldn't you remarry?"

HUSBAND: "Okay, okay, I'd get married again."

WIFE: "You would?" (with a hurt look)

HUSBAND: (makes audible groan)

WIFE: "Would you live in our house?"

HUSBAND: "Sure, it's a great house."

WIFE: "Would you sleep with her in our bed?"

HUSBAND: "Where else would we sleep?"

WIFE: "Would you let her drive my car?"

HUSBAND: "Probably, it is almost new."

WIFE: "Would you replace my pictures with hers?"

HUSBAND: "That would seem like the proper thing to do."

WIFE: "Would you give her my jewelry?"

HUSBAND: "No, I'm sure she'd want her own."

WIFE: "Would she use my golf clubs?"

HUSBAND: "No, she's left-handed."

WIFE: -- silence --

HUSBAND: "sh*t."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sprinkles

The first week with students is in the books and it was the most tiring week ever. I'm worn out and don't feel well. But, a ride has to make it all better. Then we get a big monsoon storm Friday evening and the weather guessers say rain on Saturday. I try to go to sleep listening to the claps of thunder, watching the lightening streaking into my window, and watching the rain come down. Finally peaceful sleep comes at the end of a very busy week.

I'm awake at 4:30 planning to ride. I make coffee, let Pongo out and step onto the patio to check on the weather. Light wind, partly cloudy, humid, but cool. Looks promising. I prepare to depart and when I open the garage door it is raining. Well, raining is to strong of a word. It was sprinkling, but the reports I just read called for thunderstorms throughout the day and it is already raining. Leaving the garage open I return to the house to pour the last half a cup of coffee and return to stare at the sky and argue with myself about just riding anyway.

Hell, I won't melt and I really need the windshield time after the week I just had. I put on my rain jacket and head out. After three miles I'm stopping to put on the matching rain pants....sprinkling, I won't need the pants....or so I thought. Looking at the sky I need to make a decision if I should abort my planned ride and take an alternate shorter ride. HELL NO, I NEED THIS RIDE! Twenty miles later the rain has stopped and other than a few sprinkles here and there never returns. Great decision to just go for it.

After stopping in Fountain Hills for gas I head up to Payson, through Pine and Strawberry, and head to breakfast in Clint's Wells at the Long Valley Cafe.
The ride is uneventful and therapeutic in the true sense of the word. It is briskly cool and the threat of rain is there, but easing. The higher I go in elevation the better I feel about choosing to ride today.

From the time I left Phoenix until after I stopped for breakfast I only saw about a dozen bikes out and on the road. Three of those were at the gas station in Fountain Hills and they appeared to be trying to decide if they should ride or not. At the intersection with the Beeline Highway they turned around. At Long Valley Cafe two women rode up and came in. Then three bad ass biker guys showed up and sat at the table next to me. As I was eating one of them said really loud, "Look at this shit!" His friends turned, toward where he was pointing, and started to laugh. I turned and looked at two guys and two women walking toward the door. The two guys were in black wife beater tee shirts, bandannas pulled down to their eyes, wrap around glasses on top of their heads, chains hanging down and attached to their wallets, and biker boots. Both women were in matching OCC shirts and bandannas. As they walked in the biggest of the bad ass biker boys said, "Nice minivan assholes." They went out to the patio to snickers from most of the people in the cafe especially the waitresses.

The ride home was pleasant and only interrupted by a needed gas stop. The completion of the 250 mile ride made me glad that I didn't bail out because of the sprinkles when I was leaving this morning. I also stopped by Linda's before reaching home to look at a sprinkler head. Mmmmmm...seems like sprinkles were the theme of the day.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Just How Lucky Am I?

This is how Petunia looks after I opened the garage this morning and found the dash lights, radio and lights on. WTF is all I could think. How did I leave the switch on? I went to turn it off and it already was off. It wouldn't turn either direction and the lights wouldn't go off. I took off the seat and disconnected the battery.

Now since I got home from Sturgis I have only turned that switch one time. That was yesterday to check the mileage from the trip. I didn't see the lights on when I turned it off after getting the numbers or when I left yesterday afternoon. I took the switch out and because I'm hard headed I took it all the way apart to see if I could just fix it.

The problem is that small round thing in the center of the picture. It rides in the slot on the switch and appears to be needed to make the thing work. So, with all the stops for gas, water, and picture taking in the dead of the night coming home from Sturgis, Petunia chose to break down while sitting in the garage instead out in the middle of nowhere. Yes, I am lucky. Very lucky indeed. Well, except for the fact that it is a special order part and won't be here until Thursday. Hey, but I'm at home and not waiting for a tow truck.

While I'm at it, anyone ever wonder just how hot it is in Phoenix? Well, someone broke into my truck while I was gone. This is the third time in the past six months and I assume they are looking for the garage door opener that I never leave in the truck. Anyway, I ordered the window regulator and used duct tape to hold the window up until the part arrived. I did this on Wednesday afternoon about 4:30. These pictures show what it looked like Friday afternoon about that same time.


The tape effectively melted and let the window begin to slide down. That my friends is how hot it gets here in Phoenix.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sturgis Wrapup

While in Sturgis my thoughts were that it was just a bike rally and the only real difference was the location. Since being home I realize that IT IS the location that makes Sturgis what it is. The amount of roads to ride alone makes it more than just a rally. The people of South Dakota, in all the small towns, go out of their way to make for an enjoyable time. Having had the experience once doesn’t seem to quench the desire to want to go again.

My first trip to Sturgis was a learning experience. Listening to people who have been there and to their advice, while helpful, doesn’t prepare one for the actual experience. My first revelation was this guy trailering his bike there. I took several pictures, after he pulled out in front of me, and was planning on what all I could write about not being a real biker. But, it came to me that I didn’t know his story about why he was trailering. After watching the number of folks who pulled in with their bikes on a trailer I realized that they had experienced Sturgis before and knew more about it than I did. Those folks were a lot better prepared to stay for a week than I was. Grills, larger ice chests, more necessities needed for an extended stay are only possible with a vehicle larger than a motorcycle.

Camping out is still my preference, but I will be getting an air mattress. I’m getting soft in my old age. The Buffalo Chip Campground is another lesson I learned. They seem to way over book it, it is dusty beyond belief, they would flood the roads with water to try to control the dust, muddy roads and bikes don’t mix and many were dropped, the showers run out of hot water by 5 AM, in six days they never emptied the trash cans and they were all overflowing and people just threw the trash at them, the out houses are just gross and also were never cleaned in six days, and being as far to the back as possible is better. I would rate the Chip a D-.

The particulars of my ride to and from Sturgis are as follows;

3,197 total miles
1,343 going
545 while there
1,309 coming home

Gas mileage going was 29 mpg with Petunia not wanting to run
Gas mileage coming home after having her dyno tuned was 37 mpg
Gas mileage average, overall, for the entire trip was 34 mpg

I planned to make it home in less than 24 hours, but had to settle for 25

Beads!! Jerry beads or Madi Gras beads, whatever you call them, you need them

Friends!! It was fun, but would have been more so with friends to share the experience

It is really easy to see why people keep returning to Sturgis year after year. It really is more than just a rally. It is an Experience that needs to be lived. I’m already researching different campgrounds for next year. Start planning and saving now. It is only 358 days until the 70th annual Sturgis Bike Week.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig


Tuesday broke cool and partly cloudy at 4:30 for me. Rolling out of the bag I broke camp, loaded up Piggy, and was about to leave the Sturgis experience behind. Just before strapping on the brain bucket I had to stop and slowly look over what had been home base for the past five days. Soaking up the memories of this first Sturgis foray like a kitten lapping up that first taste of milk, it was over too quickly, but I felt it was time to go. Gassed up and on the road at six, I rolled through the downtown area at 30 mph trying to linger just a bit longer.

Out of town on 14A a great road to Deadwood and points south, but this time the road seems different. I only see one car and another bike pulling a trailer for the first thirty miles. I play keep up with the other bike to judge how Petunia runs with Piggy tagging along. Keeping up isn't a problem, but I get the sense that he isn't very happy with me and gets to a speed that I wasn't willing to match, so I just let him go. I have a noticeable uncomfortable feeling this morning sitting in the saddle. I just can't get comfortable and riding begins to feel mechanical as it takes some effort and not the usual free flow that I am used to. But I press on.

Forty five miles from Newcastle, Wyoming I catch up to the bike with the trailer on two lane winding roads. We encounter two trucks pulling trailers and it is slow going. Finally he pulls out and the trucks close up to prevent him from getting between them, so he flies blind to pass both of them. I'm riding in second gear creeping along watching and waiting to make a move. Finally I can see around them enough to make a move and the first asshole moves over the yellow line to block me. I pull back behind him and as soon as he comes back into the lane I shoot out again and am next to him before he can react. A short while later I encountered some fog and it had cleared considerably when I felt it was safe to stop for a picture.

My only real issue on the ride home happened just after stopping for gas and a bite to eat in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Getting back on the highway Petunia wouldn't move. I'm talking about entering the freeway and having her slow to 15 mph and not budging. I realized that the harder I twisted the throttle the only response was the grip turned. All the way around it turned and I pulled on it and it came off in my hand. I stuck it in my jacket and twisted the nub and was off again. I was past Denver until I could find a place to get some super glue to put it back in place and then took an hour having dinner while it set up.

I was very fortunate the entire ride home skirting the weather. It sprinkled a bit in Denver, but being warm it felt good and I didn't bother with rain gear. Between Pueblo and Colorado City in Colorado I came by after a huge storm. There was standing water out in the fields, running water in the gullies, and hail along the edge of the highway and median. There was enough hail that people were stopping to play in it. Leaving Albuquerque, New Mexico at 9 PM the sky began to light up with a brilliant light show and a few sprinkles. I had seen this before and stopped and put on the rain gear. The lightening began to grow more intense and I started to plan on stopping. But, it appeared there was an opening in the weather and I pushed on. There were never more than a few drizzles and the rain gear was all for nought.

I was at the Arizona border just after 12 and stopped to rest. I slept for about 90 minutes and was going again. Just before Winslow, Arizona I began to see trees canopy over the road. I blinked, talked, and even tried to find a radio station, but had to settle for a Denny's for coffee and a Grand Slam.

I was at home, safely, at 7:05, 25 hours from the time I left Sturgis. I took a four hour nap and started unloading things and getting ready to get back to normal. Today I am tired and while I should be at school I think I need to get a few things done here at the casa. Funny how things quit working when you're gone for a few days.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday in Sturgis

Sunday was damn hot up here in Sturgis. That and the horde of people still flocking to the Rally is amazing. Leaving the Chip this morning there were another 60 or so campers/motorhomes that arrived after 8 last night. They don't allow them in after sunset to prevent damage to things they might run over in the dark. Sunday night I went to see the Credence Clearwater Review concert. The ladies' tops were disappearing before it was over. Unfortunately I wasn't close enough to get any pictures. There was almost nobody at the Saturday evening show, but Sunday it was packed. Toby Keith is tonight and I'll bet it will be packed and rowdy to the max.



It was 61 degrees this morning, but with the humidity if felt a lot colder than that. It started to warm up around 11 and has been pleasant. Even the little bit of rain felt good. I rode over to Wyoming this morning to see the Devils Tower National Monument. It is supposed to be about an hour from Sturgis, but I found a longer route and round trip was almost three hours.





Next, I headed down to the Custer State Park. This park has some great, if not on the verge of scary, motorcycle roads. There are five single lane bridges that have been blasted through the mountain with a width of nine feet. Some of the road isn't much wider than that and there are many miles without a center stripe. The problem being I was going up the hill, on the outside, with no guard rails and the folks coming down the hill had a tendency to think the entire road was their lane. There were a couple of really close calls. I was following a couple of bikes from California and at one scenic stop they commented about it and decided to turn around and go back down instead of continuing on the outside.





Inside the park as I rounded a corner I saw a sign for buffalo burgers. A barbecue right on the side of the road. There were quite a few folks that also had the idea of sampling buffalo burgers. My review of buffalo is it seems dryer than beef and a bit tougher, but was really pretty good.




I have been up and down both streets in Sturgis and seen everything there is to see. I have ridden about 700 miles of the great scenic roads they have here. Because of those reasons I am pulling up stakes and coming home Tuesday morning. This has been a great experience and I am thrilled that I have had it. But, there is only so many times to ride the same roads in five days. I wanted to wait to meet Iowa Harley Girl, Joker, and the Blackstone group, but I've done everything that I can do. That and traffic here is insane and leaving later in the week means that that same traffic will be with me all the way home. So, the Holy Grail of Motorcycle rides is coming to an end for me. Would I do it again? Never. Never until next year because it is an experience not to be missed. Start planning now for next year and remember the first time is a learning year. I can't believe how many things I didn't consider when coming up here. But, that is also part of the whole Sturgis experience.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sights of Sturgis

I got a refill and will post Saturday evenings doings.

I stopped at an establishment in downtown Sturgis for a cool beverage because it was warming up and these two lovelies were tending to the needs of weary travelers. Easy on the eyes and the beverage was ice cold. Life is good in Sturgis!





Next I went to the Sturgis museum and saw sights like these old beauties.






On the way back to the bike I ran across these two hawking water. There was a crowd, but I didn’t see anyone with water. I stopped in at the Full Throttle Saloon before reaching the Chip and pulled an embarrassing bone head move. They were so full they were sending bikes into the arena. As I was turning in to stop a young lady backed up in front of me and I grabbed a hand full of front brake and landed on my ass. Of course there were about 300 people witnessing this marvel of riding skill and I got a standing ovation. Welcome to Sturgis newbie!


Later there was a lady wandering around in nothing but a cowboy hat. News of her spread like wild fire and the guys looked like ants swarming toward honey. Even the old guy next to me took off to go see her. His return brought proclamations of her beauty and nearly perfect titties for a woman about forty and complaints that he couldn't take pictures because his wife wouldn't understand.


A bit later it was off to the amphitheater for the evenings show. First up was a group called the Classics of Rock made up of four guys who used to be in the Alice Cooper band, Earth, Wind and Fire, and two others that slip my mind. They spent as much time hawking their CD as playing. Besides the bands there was live entertainment all around us at the venue. You could take your pick of guy and girl, girl and girl, 2 girls and a guy, but when 2 guys started it was quickly broken up and they left. Chuck Berry was supposed to start at 10:30 and there were people up on the stage doing an insane "Check, check, 1,2,3......," until 11 and then it was announced that it was a Tina Turner Tribute group. I went back to the tent and went to sleep. I did learn that I need to take my camp chair to the next concert because standing up for four hours isn't for me. They also allow motorcycles to ride in for the show and folks park and sit on them during the shows.

Sturgis Report

All is well in AHD land. The ride up had it's share of trials. I was still having fuel and top end issues in the mountains and a freezing rain crossing the Rockies wore me out. But, I pressed on and that might cause this to run a bit long and I don't know when I'll get back up here.


Day 2 was windy beyond belief on the ride into Sturgis. That and Petunia wouldn’t get out of her own way. Hell, even semis were passing me going uphill! But, I arrived and set up camp in low 70s temperature and a 20 MPH wind. The guy in the next camp, from Tennessee, came over to help me get the tent standing. The right picture is standing in front of my tent Friday evening and is here for reference.

I wondered around the Buffalo Chip to scope things out and went back to Sturgis to find something to eat. After dinner I walked around for a while, got some shopping done, and went back to camp. AT&T Wireless uses a third party provider in Sturgis and having been burned in Alaska, I wasn’t doing that again. The Chip is supposed to have wireless, but I couldn’t make a connection. I’ll try tomorrow to try to get this posted.

I was beat and went to sleep at 8:30 with the sun still up.


Saturday I was up at the crack of dawn, in a very cool high 40 range and went looking to see when the Power Commander guys would be open. I got there at 8 as they were opening and explained my problems to them. They assured me they would have Petunia running like new in short order. It took almost 2 hours. The problem was at 3000 rpm the air/fuel ratio was 17/1.



From there it was time to ride the wheels off her to see just how well she was fixed. I headed to Spearfish to take 14A South down toward Custer. This is a beautiful road that is a great ride on a bike. At the junction of 14A and 85 I ran across the first mishap I’ve see. Three bikes were down, the cops were on scene, and everyone was awaiting the ambulance. I decided to go to Mount Rushmore instead of Custer and took Highway 224, which is the long way to get there.





On the return to Sturgis I was on the same highway as coming into town. This time Petunia ran like she was supposed to run and the gas mileage is a whole lot better than before. I will ride her again tomorrow before I proclaim her fixed.

Well, that takes care of Friday and Saturday morning/early afternoon. I'll stop for now because the cup is empty and the twisting road is calling. You'll get more later.