Saturday, April 24, 2010
As I was walking across the site something moved...I prefer not to see anything but me moving when I'm in abandoned cemeteries but sure enough, there's a new resident:
Just a King Snake, a constrictor and not poisonous. He wasn't pleased to see me though and when I tossed a small pebble in his path so I could get him to stop and let me take his picture he actually coiled up and struck at me. This being Arizona I generally keep a safe distance from snakes as we have quite a variety of rattlesnakes here so Mr. Snake missed me by several feet.
After posing for me he crawled back into his home down in a grave. Goodness only knows what he has for wall art down there.
Arizona is much in the news this weekend with the passing of a strong anti-illegal immigration law and it's signing by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.
The sign above is one I spotted on a ride a few years ago, it was outside a park in Madera Canyon here in Arizona about 20 miles north of the US/Mexico border. Imagine if such a sign was put up by the government at the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway or outside of Yellowstone Park. People would demand that government address the problem immediately. Putting up a sign to warn citizens wouldn't be considered an acceptable solution.
Maybe the government could just put up signs on the back roads that say "Speeding motorcycle riders may be encountered in this area." If that is acceptable for dealing with illegal immigration and drug trafficking in public parks it ought to be acceptable for speeding on public roads too.
To get a better idea of what illegal immigration is really all about here in the Southwest take a few minutes to read this article in the Tucson Weekly: Following the Amnesty Trail.
Monday, April 19, 2010
When my wife and I got married in 2005 she knew little about motorcycles except what she'd experienced during our very brief courtship. After it was too late and we were hitched I set about corrup....I mean educating her about motorcycles and motorcycling in general.
As part of her continuing motorcycle education, for Christmas I got her a little stocking stuffer in the form of a DVD copy of the old Marlon Brando movie "The Wild One." No doubt most all of you have seen the movie at some point or another so I'll spare you the re-telling. If you have not seen it you should. It's about 50% responsible for the image that still pervades motorcycling today.
I hadn't seen the movie in decades and then that would have been on grainy, late night TV. Watching it again via the Blu-Ray DVD player and on the big screen TV the movie proved to be better and more fun than I remembered. The black and white cinematography was just so very good in some scenes.
Yes, some of the dialog and scenes seem corny now: 50's hipster cliches, stilted dialog, and what we now would see sixty years later as stereotypical characters. It was still great fun to watch, great fun to try and pick out the brands of bikes, the types of riding gear used or not, and also the undercurrent of...dare I say it? Lust! No wonder movie goers were wide eyed and slightly scandalized in 1950.
I snipped out a bit of a scene that I thought was one of the best in the movie even if not one of the most famous. "Johnny's girl" comes to terms with her first motorcycling experience and I'd like to think not unlike the way my wife did. Ok, just dreaming a little on that last part. So I submit for your clicking and approval, a bit of 1950s Moto lust
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
I should have ridden further than I did but I stopped by Coolidge Airport, something I do frequently, and this time I stumbled upon the Coolidge Lion's Club pancake breakfast and fly-in. Coolidge Airport is off the beaten path so not a lot of people outside the immediate area even know it exists. It's a WWII era field that was a transit stop for military aircraft moving across the USA. During the war it hosted pretty much every sort of airplane that the US put in the air. These days it's growing in popularity with warbird owners because it's outside the Phoenix metro area so air traffic and flight rules are easier to live with.
The Lion's Club even is not a huge event, not even close, but there were a handful of very nice airplanes to be seen. Sadly, I'd eaten breakfast before I left the house so I had to pass on the pancakes.
A few more pictures here.
Oh yeah, got my camera back from Nikon. Big smile.
Monday, April 05, 2010
I've never won a really cool prize, at least not until last week. I did win the school science fair in the 5th grade when I built a transistor radio inside of a matchbox and later in life I was the fastest in Army Basic Training at reassembling my M-14 rifle but that's pretty much it for being a big prize winner. Come to think of it I was that close to inventing the iPod Nano, wasn't I?
Over at Ed Youngblood's MotoHistory.net Ed runs a contest each month to see who can be the first reader to identify some obscure make of motorcycle from an old picture. When dealing with actual moto-history experts B.S. doesn't get me very far and a photo of the casting marks on a crankcase half isn't enough to tip me off to the ID of most machines.
Apparently many others out there are more studied in the esoteric corners of motorcycling history than I am because there seems usually to be a winner of the MotoHistory contest in a matter of minutes. Often the fellow provides a complete explanation along the lines of "Ah, that would be the '21 Singlemayer 243cc Popinjay Twin, the side valve model. Only three were built, one finished 7th at the 1922 Duchy of Grand Fenwick TT; that example was red, the other two were teal with beige striping. The two teal examples are presently owned by Illuminati Museum in Clydebank, Scotland, and TT bike is currently undergoing restoration at the well known Von Erstwhile restoration concern in Vogelscheiße, Germany." Some guys apparently have a motorcycle Wikipedia crammed inside their head. Mere mortals have not a chance and I'm definitely mortal. However, I do remember pictures.
Well friends, Ed finally put up a picture of a bike that I semi-recognized AND I must have clicked on the page right after he posted it AND the bike is so odd that I saved a picture of it that I found a while back while browsing the web for purposes unstated. Happy convergence!
So upon seeing the photo Ed posted and then realizing that there was no winner yet I feverishly fired off an e-mail to him declaring my dead certain knowledge of the name (the photo I saved used the bike name for the file name) of the fairly obscure pre-WWII German motorcycle. Wonder of wonders, not only was I right, but I was first in. Yes I won and the the prize is nothing less than an official "MotoHistory Know-It-All Diploma." In my world that's cooler than my 1986 H.O.G membership card.
Ed's blog is here, so cruise on over and see for yourself what the obscure bike is. Read beyond the first few paragraphs and you'll learn a even more about actual motorcycle history as opposed to my stories which are only mostly true.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Time Machine: 2006 Triumph Scrambler 900. (photo borrowed from www.advrider.com ) Continuing on with my current fascination for the new...
Gold Wings are known to be sensitive to wobble in the front end, depending on tires, head bearing issues, and other factors, so when my '...
The water temp gauge on a bike tells you how hot the engine coolant is but what about the rest of the bike? How hot does the gas tank get? ...
In olden times when one wanted to ride off road you didn't always have a specialized bike for it as we do now. You simply turned off the...
I decided to put out a few more photos from the vintage bike show while I slog through the bulk of them. Here's one of my favorite bik...
"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence
An Important reminder from the past:
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison