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

Monday, December 27, 2010

On The Road In 1979

San Joaquin Valley, 1979
Found this one when I was rummaging for a different picture.  My old business partner Chris and his wife, along with someone from my distant past.  Of more interest are the bikes, of course.  Brand new matching 1979 Suzuki 850's fully equipped with the best add-ons of the time: Vetter Windjammer fairings, Bates saddlebags with chrome bag guards, matching top boxes, and 24" tall padded sissy bars for the pillion persons.   Great bikes.  I still have a soft spot for the Suzuki 850.  

Later in the day we'd get popped by a nice CHP officer who took exception to us doing 80 mph on a winding country road on warm, wonderful day.  After we stopped he looked us over and said "Looked to me like you were doing 65."   "Yes sir" we replied,  "We were doing 65, sir!"  "I thought you'd see it my way" he said, and went on "You look like nice people, I don't want to take you to jail and spoil your day, but slow down."  He wrote us up for 65 mph in a 50 mph zone and we gladly signed our tickets. 

Oh yeah, someone stuck a WWII airplane in the roof of a gas station.  Post WWII roadside marketing at it's best.

update: The airplane is still there.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Saturday Wanderings

It's getting a bit chilly in the mornings, at least by AZ standards, and I'm getting old and soft, so I hadn't planned on riding the bike out to Coolidge Airport this past Saturday morning.  But the Mrs. had her heart set on going yard sale'ing Saturday morning so I did the honorable thing and rode the bike so she could have our only car for her own adventures.  I had suggested she take her scooter rather than our car but she exclaimed "I won't have room for anything if I buy something!" Exactly.

So I rode the bike to the airport and it wasn't that cold, in the low 40s, but it was the first use of my leather jacket this Fall/Winter.  Not bad, December 4 and still comfy.  And I rode home in shirtsleeves. Wonderful afternoon riding weather makes memories of the blistering Arizona summer heat fade away.

At the airport I got to see P-51 Mustangs fly in and out this time.   Great fun.  Even better, it's a rural airport and a very low key gathering so photographers are allowed to stand out near the runway as as long as we stay at least 100ft back from the pavement.  Most stand a bit further back because zoom lenses have all the reach needed and no one wants to be a bug on a P51 prop.

North American P-51D called "Stang"

It's really a great experience to be able to get so close to the planes when they are taking off or doing a fly-by, very much like the olden days of bike racing in America when crowds at a race track could get right down on the wall to watch the races.  All wonderful, at least until something goes wrong.  Most things worth doing involve some risk.

Amongst the planes flying in this month were two P-51D Mustangs, a Rearwin Cloudster, a Beech "Staggerwing", an Aero L-29 Delfin jet trainer, a North American T-28C, and a Twin Star twin diesel powered composite speedster from Germany.


1965 Aero L-29 Delfin from the old Czechoslovakia

Someone was talking to the owner of the L-29. The Delfins are not real pricey as jets go and the owner of the one above was said to have grabbed it in a down market for $45k. Then, as with other "good deals" like a used Ferrari, Chris Craft boat, or super model wife, the maintenance bills started to arrive.  I'm guessing motorcycles are dirt cheap compared to owning and operating any vintage aircraft beyond a Piper Cub replica.

A couple of more favorites from the day:

North America T-28C.  US training aircraft c1960
1944 Beech D17S also known as "the Staggerwing Beech"  This plane represented both speed and class in the 1930's.

The rest of the photos from the morning are here.

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"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