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

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fat Tire Photo Moto

Yes friends, the news for which the world has been waiting with bated breath. No, not the new motorcycle land speed record of 360 mph set by Rocky Robinson or the 2008 MotoGP championship won by Valentino Rossi. Not even whether or not America will plunge headlong into a socialist workers paradise guided by "Dear Leader" B. Hussein Obama. Nope, the big news you've all been clamoring for is what bike I bought to replace the Gold Wing.

(sound of crickets chirping)

No doubt your keen eye noticed the picture at the top of this post and you've figured out already that I went from one extreme to the other, from the GL1800 Gold Wing to a slightly used Yamaha TW200.

So here's the logic in the choice: The Mrs. has been trundling around on the 50cc Ruckus having a fine time. I decided a simple bike that could be used to follow her about would do the trick for my needs for now. No need for a mega motor or 30 inches of off-road suspension travel. Basic is good. In this case, the Yamaha TW200gets the nod. Air cooled motor, 5 speed tranny, huge fat tires for soft surfaces, readily identifiable engine parts, and cable operated drum brakes. I might actually be able to fix this one myself should something on it croak. The TW200 is a relic of the 1980s that is still in Yamha's line-up. I'm a relic of the 1960s that is still riding. To me the TW200 is modern enough to do the job I need done. Sometimes old and known is a better choice than new and trendy when the going gets tough, ya know?

In this case, in addition to following Wife about on the Ruckus I also outfitted the bike with a large, homemade carrying rack and some soft luggage from adventures past.

I also outfitted yours truly with a new Nikon D90 camera to replace my trusty Nikon CoolPix 8800. Ta..daaa... "photo moto bike." Just the ticket for wandering about, on road and off, to look for suitable photo subjects. The Gold Wing was way more comfortable but dirt roads were an invitation to disaster and even the Aprilia Caponord, while decent on dirt roads, was a huge handful for my vertically challenged self when the going got rough. The TW feels minuscule compared to the previous bikes so for doing quick u-turns to catch a shot, the TW can't be beat. Turning the Gold Wing or the Caponord around quickly is sort of possible, just not something you want to do without some careful thought and zero mistakes.

I set out today to visit Picacho Reservoir some miles east of my little town. The reservoir was built in the 1920s and has pretty much silted up from lack of attention turning it into two square miles of marsh land. Wild life abounds there...when there is water in the reservoir. At the end of our Arizona summer I was hoping for maybe a large pool or two were some feathered critters might be congregating. I was looking forward to testing the new 300mm Nikon lens that arrived the other day. No such luck. You can see by the shot of the GPS below that I rode right into the lake. Except lake isn't really there at the moment. Maybe in the Spring it will be back and I'll visit again.

In the mean time, the lake and the dead, formerly sunken trees have a slightly otherworldly look to them that I didn't quite capture with the new camera. Going to take some practice to get a handle on all the widgets and tweedle points of the D90. More photos and wanderings to follow for sure though. I had a great time today even if reservoir wasn't there. It was nice to get out of the house and away from the town.

First proper photos from the new D90 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

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