~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Orbit 6: I'm Still Here

In the movie "Papillon" when the protagonist anti-hero played by Steve McQueen finally escapes Devil's Island and is floating out to sea on his raft made of coconuts in lashed together burlap bags, he shouts back at his tormentors and the world "Hey you bastards!  I'm still here!"  I kind of feel like that sometimes.

That has little or nothing to do with this blog entry except that I'm still here after six years of blogging.  If I've learned anything about blogging on this, the 6th anniversary of Forty Years On Two Wheels, it's that any blog entry containing the name "Steve McQueen" always gets lots of hits.

To celebrate this 6th anniversary of 40on2, besides once again working in Steve M's name into things, I decided to do a little photographic look back on the bikes I've owned and ridden since I started the blog.  If it were not for the bikes, there would be no blog.

You can click to see the archived version which usually looks a bit nicer:

In 2004 when I started Forty Years On Two Wheels I was trundling around on an '03 Kawasaki 1600 Classic.  It was a nice, ridable, metric cruiser with a decent sound and good road manners.  Above parked outside of the old Catholic Church in Florence, AZ. 

Late in '04, a fit of late middle aged madness overtook me and I bought an '01 Aprilia Falco.  Hot, sexy, addictive, but too demanding of a mistress for me.  Photo above parked outside of a now defunct B&B, also in the very photographable town of Florence, AZ

The Falco got swapped after only a month for the much saner but still tons of fun '02 Aprilia Caponord which I rode quite a lot.  Sold it in late '05 to pay for a wedding.  Above, parked outside a shop in Tubac, AZ

In 2005 I thought I might go touring again so the Kaw 1600, which had been languishing in the garage while I consorted with the Aprilia, got sold and replaced with an '05 Honda ST1300.

In 2006 I missed the blue Aprilia Caponord and as my friend Shane had a spotless, red, '03 Capo sitting in his garage a deal was struck.  Lovely, lovely bike, but the demands of job and life caused it to sit too much so I sold it.  Still sort of regret that. Photo above on a side street in Florence, AZ.

In '07 the ST1300 left, too uncomfortable for 2-up work since I'd gone and married.  I know others would disagree but the ST just didn't work for us so it left and was replaced with a 2002 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing.  Wonderful bike.  Amazing motor.  Above, the big 'Wing, parked at a rest area in the Salt River Canyon of Arizona.

As retirement approached, late in 2008 I began to confront the ugly reality of a paycheck that would be cut by 50%.  Retirement can be scary, even if it's well funded, and mine isn't.  So bright red Caponord got sold to a fellow in Washington and the brighter red Gold Wing got sold to a Doug up in Canada.  In a fit of common sense I made different riding plans and downsized to a Yamaha TW200 which could also be carried on the back of our motorhome.  Gadzooks, was that plan ever stupid on so many levels.  The motorhome is gone, the TW200 is gone.  I may be ready for a 200cc bike as my regular ride someday but this ain't the day.  Photo above on a dry lake bed east of Casa Grande, AZ.

So along came the '03 Kawasaki Concours in 2009.  Fine bike but I rode it only a little.  It really didn't suit what has become my habit of doing only 75 to 100 mile rides at a relaxed pace.  Too much bike for too short of a ride.  Photo above at the visitor center at Saguaro National Monument.

Later in '09 the long legged Concours left and was replaced by the '07 Kawasaki 900 Classic LT.  Like it's 1600cc big brother I was riding when I started 40on2 in '04, the 900 is a ridable, usable bike.  Photo above behind the old WWII hanger at Coolidge Airport.

So into 2010 the 900 Kaw has survived.  It might have had a short stay, as so many other bikes have had, but my wanton bike buying and trading over the last 44 years of riding has left me with less than buckets of cash on hand and now I'll have to make do with less bike than I'd really like to ride.  No real regrets though.  If I'd have not bought all the bikes I'd have missed all the fun.  If I had maybe put all that motorcycle money into something sensible like a 401k I'd have only seen it vaporized by the greed of others.  The plundering, blundering bankers and government charlatans cannot steal my memories.

As a serial bike buyer and seller -- and I don't know what else you'd call buying nine bikes in six years -- it seems that the buying and selling is as addictive as blogging.  So I'll ride on into my 7th year of blogging on the mid-sized Kaw and continue now to focus more on the photos than on what bike is under me.  Photo above, out riding with friends, a diverse group of three.


FLHX_Dave said...

Serial Buyer....mwhahahahah! Most serial 'anything' are white dudes about our age...scary huh.

Well, all experts, in any subject, have had to get around...you have been around so that makes you an expert. Alot of guys can talk about bikes and what makes them good and not so good. How many can do that from experience alone? See...there yah' go.

Oh crap, this is a long ass comment but now you have got that damned Willy Nelson song in my head;

To all the BIKES I've loved before
Who travelled in and out my door
I'm glad they came along
I dedicate this song
To all the BIKES I've loved before

To all the BIKES I once caressed
And may I say I've held the best
For helping me to grow
I owe a lot I know
To all the BIKES I've loved before

The winds of change are always blowing
And every time I try to stay
The winds of change continue blowing
And they just carry me away

To all the BIKES who shared my life
Who now are someone else's RIDE
I'm glad they came along
I dedicate this song
To all the BIKES I've loved before

Ride on Doug!

Jac Brown said...


We fellow readers are happy that your blog survives, not just for the motorbike stories, but because we enjoy the way you tell them. Keep looking at the world sideways and sharing it with us on the blog.

As for the bike, what a nice collection. Very diverse, even within the 6 years of the blog.

I can't help but notice almost longing for your former Capo's. By the way, the one near me got away. I hope you can get and keep a Capo again some day.

One request. Please contact and council our friend Bob. He is much newer to the bike thing than you, has a similar money challenge, and seems anxious to understand and taste a wide range of bikes. Email me for his contact info, if you don't have it.

Geoff James said...

Congratulations on 6 fabulous years Doug. As it was your blog that I discovered at the end of 2009 and it was also the one which encouraged me to try blogging, I owe you a special debt.

Roll on your next 6 years!

mq01 said...

im glad you decided to keep the blog going doug. its much like hanging around a bbq or campfire with friends after a good day riding, we cant help but talk and share and enjoy with one another, its part of who we are are.

ps, sorry if you recvd 2 comments from me, my kitten is trying to help me write :)

mrs rc said...

seems like you've gone pretty much full circle here

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