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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

and Happy New Year

 2012 looks promising, another new-to-me bike to amble about upon (the V-Strom) and a fresh start in other important areas.   I hope 2012 is good to you and if it's not, keep your sense of humor, it will make all the difference.  Happy New Year, folks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!, etc.

My pal Gromit and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May the new year bring you lots of smiles, love, and great rides.

                                                    - Doug

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

My t-shirt saga in the last blog entry struck a note with a few readers who began to worry that soon I'd be riding naked from the waist up and just the thought of that left them horrified.  BobScoot said he'd be on the look out for another Bultaco shirt for me (thank you Bob) and my old VW engineering colleague and fellow blogger, Jac B. actually came through with a new shirt.  Thanks, Jac!

Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, Jac and I worked together at VW.  He moved on to other adventures while I continued to toil for das Vaterland.  We've kept in touch, more or less, over the years, especially since he started his own blog, Lehman Hill.  

Jac's work for Chrysler Corporation had him traveling through Phoenix so he called me last week and suggested we grab a burger together as he passed through.  Cool.  We'd not actually seen each other in person in about fifteen years so this would be a great chance to catch up on motorcycle stories that don't fit into e-mails or blog entries.  We met up at an Irish pub/restaurant in Tempe that was the favorite hang out of our late colleague and friend, Bob Wilson.  Bob lost his life early this year while riding his Moto Guzzi.  I think Bob would be pleased at our small remembrance.

Jac rides a pair of Kawasakis, a ZRX and a KLR650 but his work with Chrysler brings him into contact with the Harley-Davidson factory test guys just as my work did long ago.  Being a great guy Jac acquired a Harley Proving Grounds t-shirt for me.  He knew I need to re-fill my wardrobe and a hard to find H-D shirt would be just the ticket to start.

When we met up Jac presented me with this fine specimen of t-shirt-dom:

Fairly tasteful and subdued for an H-D shirt.  Jac knows my flair for style or lack thereof.  To a conservative rider like me, a '40s style pin up with most of her clothes on is preferrable to the usual flaming skeleton riding a chopper through the Gates of Hell.  I like to think that fellow riders could imagine me with a pretty girl, it's less likely that they could imagine me on a chopper.

On the back of the shirt is the nice artwork that makes the shirt more special than most H-D shirts:

When I got home I walked through the garage and casually hung the shirt by my Suzuki V-Strom.  The next morning I found what one might have expected from an H-D product:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Old T-Shirts Are Sacred

Few things in life are as comfortable as an old motorcycle t-shirt.  They have stretched where they should, get baggy where they need to, sometimes display stains of oil changes past, and generally present the rider as someone who has been around and doesn't give a rip or tear about fashion.  Most of my regular wardrobe is made up of shirts like that.  

My "good t-shirt" for riding advertises a BMW shop and dates from 1992 and thankfully has lots of life left in it.  But my BMW '49er Rally shirt from 1993 is starting to show it's age and has me worried.  A good bike t-shirt that fits well, is frayed in the right places, and shows it's miles in the faded colors is a noble thing.

A few days ago my friend Donson wrote this in recalling an old Triumph he crashed during his misspent youth:  “Sadly, a week later I had a pretty bad crash on it and pretty much totaled it, and I still have numerous scars........Both hands got in the spokes, broken front brake lever slashed across my upper chest, header burns on right arm, removed most of the skin from both shoulders and part of my back.  It destroyed my favorite T-shirt.  Had I not been wearing a brand new Yamaha full face helmet, I think I would be in Terminal Dreamland today.”

Donson's skin grew back, the Triumph was parted out but lived on that way, a new helmet bought, but a great motorcycle t-shirt was gone forever.   The loss of a favorite bike t-shirt is a serious matter and one that I'm certain regular readers here do not take lightly.  If you're not wearing a proper riding jacket for your own hide, at least wear it to protect your favorite t-shirt.

When my old bike shirts get too thrashed to wear in polite society (weddings, funerals, the occasional bris), I take them into the backyard and place them on the ground in a small stone circle made of used bricks gathered from the ruins of the original Indian factory in Springfield.  The t-shirt is laid out, main logo up, and always facing west. Why west? Amongst the brave pilots of World War I the phrase "He's gone west" indicated a final flight from which there was no return.

To my trusty t-shirt, my long suffering friend, revealer of travels, scarred and battered on the ground, I add a cup of premium gasoline or gas/oil pre-mix if the shirt portrays a 2-stroke bike or brand.   I set it alight with a spark made by striking a flint against an old iron connecting rod.  With a smack and spark the grand old t-shirt explodes into flames, often taking my eyebrows and arm hair with it, and thus begins it's journey into wherever it is that great t-shirts go when they die.

In the next life people often imagine that they will wear silken gowns or robes of white, I hope to be reunited with all my old motorcycle t-shirts, especially the red Bultaco shirt that is near it's end.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saturday Night Ride

Y2K Jet Turbine bike.  Sounds like a jet, smells like a jet, will empty your piggy bank like a jet.
When my buddy Keith was here our wanderings took us up to Scottsdale, AZ for the weekly car / bike gathering that takes place at the Pavilions Shopping Center.  It's not your typical gathering in that it's been going on for more than twenty years now and attracts sometimes a couple of hundred vehicles of all types.  Here's brief selection of what we saw during our stop there:

At the opposite end of the motorcycle spectrum, a Ural side car rig who's owner has a sense of humor.

A Factory Five Cobra Daytona Coupe.  The original Daytona Coupe has long been one of my favorite cars.

A well used Moto Guzzi 850.  Few bikes manage to look more old than an old Moto Guzzi.

If you can't be on a bike, this is a very classy ride for a Saturday night.

A little slice of motorcycle life.  Ah to be young again!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Plunge

Satellite view via GoogleEarth

Sunday I hopped on the V-Strom and went for my usual ride. It was the first time since probably March that it was cool enough to wear my leather jacket. I made my usual stop at Coolidge Airport, a former WWII military transit field. The airport was nearly abandoned, but is now coming back to life as a haven for interesting antique, vintage, and old military planes.  Photos from the field have turned up here a number of times in the past and probably will again.  I love the place.

The big hanger is one of the last of the old wooden WWII hangers that is still usable. It doesn't look this good at the moment, the photo is one I shot in 2010. The wood structure is in poor shape from age and storms so the hanger is slowly being restored now by people who value it's history and feel it is important to keep it around (it is).  Cost is $500,000 and work is proceeding as funds become available.

I almost always find something interesting to photograph out there, whether it's an airplane or some rustic feature of the old place. This time, out in the desert a bit and just off my usual path, I found the old base swimming pool or "plunge" as they used to be called in the old days. I'd never found it before because it required a bit of dirt road work to spot it amongst the tall desert brush.   From a distance the raised earthwork of the pool just looks like another desert "stock tank" for cattle, stock tanks are common around here.

Long abandoned now and behind it a rough stone building that I presume was the changing rooms for the swimmers, it was a bit of surprise to find.  It's fun to stumble upon something like that and imagine how it might have been in the 1940s during the war, people splashing about and laughing, B17 bombers or P51 Mustangs flying overhead while someone plays Benny Goodman records by the pool. Noise, fun, laughter, and the cloud of war hanging over it all.

The "castle" changing rooms aren't quite as impressive when you get some scale to them.  Anyway, so begins my winter riding season.  For the other photo geeks, the camera was my Oly E-PL1 with a Panasonic 20mm F1.7 lens. The hanger shot was done with my Nikon D90.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

V-Strom 1000: Better Than Expected

When I set out to replace my '06 Kaw 1600 Nomad I didn't plan on making it a mystery here but it sort of worked out that way, a small bit of fun with my twelve regular readers.

Yes, I decided on the 2006 Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 "adventure bike" despite the 30k miles on the odo.  The bike has been wonderfully cared for by it's previous owner since new and it showed when I looked at the bike.  It looked good in the ad photos and better in person. 

Better yet, the owner had added all the best farkles during his 5 years with the bike.  He had already added Givi hard bags, a Sargent custom seat, adjustable windshield, center stand, bar backs, fork brace, crash bars, the works or close to it.  Everyone loves to lavish a bit of money on a "new" bike but this one came with it all.  I've been hard pressed to find anything more to do than toss a sheepskin on the seat and call it good.

But for some small scratches on the right saddle bag and the usual boot wear on the black frame, the bike is spotless and needed nothing.  I did tell the seller, a very nice guy, all I could see to do was give the bike a good detailing  -- the wheels were dirty -- and I usually keep my bikes squeaky clean.  He looked a bit startled, as if I was nutz.  Keep quiet out there.

Hepco & Becker crash bars are an especially nice touch should I tip over on the road to Timbuktu or in the Dairy Queen parking lot.  The previous owner toured the western states with the bike and definitely used it properly.

The Givi detachable hard bags have plenty of room and are about the easiest I've seen for removing and replacing.

If the V-Strom has a negative, it's that I've found it difficult to photograph.  It's silver and black and the lines of the bike don't flow; it looks like it was styled by a committee.  BMW went for the full on military-industrial look with their adventure bike, the R1200GS, but the Suzuki seems trapped in the fractured landscape between style and function.

Never the less, the disjointed styling is redeemed by the 996cc 90° v-twin that makes near 100 horsepower, and while the the handling doesn't seem quite as trustworthy as my old Aprilia Caponord, the power makes up for it after riding the torquey but slow Nomad 1600.  The V-Strom easily stormed to and indicated 120 mph with nary a bobble and there was still power left.  Naturally, that run was done on a closed course with a professional rider...    Side note: plastic water bottles in RAM cup holders will bail out somewhere around 115 mph.

I feel good about this bike, it runs very well, turns a very respectable 48 - 52 mpg, and has more than enough dirt capability for occasional dirt road excursions.  Judging from the videos and pictures I've seen of people off-roading their VStroms, I'd say it's more off road capable than I'd care to be on a 500lb motorcycle.  I have added my Garmin GPS to the bike which will make finding each city's Dairy Queen much easier.

So will this bike stay around a while?  Who knows?  I like it a lot so far, I've put about 600 miles on it now and can't find much to not like except the seat height and I can live with that.  I just wish the V-Strom had come with an extra pair of jugs like that Harley.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Buying Swiftly

A few of blog entries back I wrote about selling my Kawasaki 1600 Nomad without really thinking it through the immediate ramifications of selling the bike.  I tend to be a little impulsive about selling my bikes and usually less impulsive about buying them.   So the big Kaw left just two days before my buddy Keith was due to arrive from California with his Honda VFR 750 and expecting us to go riding together after talking about it for 30+ years.

While I was waiting a few days for the deal to go through on the Kaw I scanned Craig's List with a hurried but eagle eye for just the right bike to snap up at just the right price on the day after I had cash in hand for the Nomad.  Normally I might spend a week or three browsing, e-mailing sellers, and looking at bikes in person, but plans had been made and I didn't want to disappoint my old friend by delaying the long planned trip.   Browsing bikes for sale on Craig's List is great fun, I even do it when I'm not shopping for another bike.  It's like looking at pretty girls except that you know you stand some chance with the bikes.   Here's some of the bikes that came into serious consideration:

I had a Kawasaki 1500 Drifter back in 1999 when they came out and it's on my list of all time favorite bikes.  This one looked promising but memories of lousy storage possibilities and worrying about patching tubed tires on the highway steered me away from my old favorite.

A Kawasaki ZRX1200 seemed like it would be fun and my old VW colleague Jac would like me even more.  But I suspected that while ZRX might prove plenty fast, the bike might otherwise not offer the panache that I was also seeking.

A Suzuki VStrom 1000 appealed because my brother had one and loved it, both sizes of the VStrom enjoy a great reputation for performance and longevity, but the 30k on the odometer still concerned me a little.  I'd rather have had it's classmate, the Aprilia Caponord, but I couldn't find one at a price I could afford or within a reasonable distance.

The object of my perennial moto-lust, the 2006 Triumph Scrambler, was located over in California.  Clean, unmolested Scramblers are not that easy to find unless you're willing to travel.  The miles were low, the pictures the owner sent showed the bike to be in great shape, the color was red and I like red bikes, and best of all, Keith could stop on the way over to AZ, put the bike on the trailer with his VFR, and bring it with him.
Sadly, as the deal heated up, the owner finally told me he didn't have the title in hand, it was with a credit union.  Ack!  No, I wasn't going to give him cash, take the bike, and then wait for some credit union to mail me the title after the seller paid off his loan.   I did a deal that way once with a friend and the bike sat in my garage, un-titleable for two months because of a credit union screw up.

yes, those are the real pictures from the ad

One ad for a Harley caught my eye again and again, apparently it came with options I'd not thought of looking for.  Who wouldn't like an extra set of jugs for their bike?

I bought a new Harley back in '86 and enjoyed the bike a lot and I've never discounted the possibility of getting another one.  I could be part of the gang again and dig out all my old black t-shirts, maybe become a 60 year old  prospect for a club. 

The Ducati Multistrada, another cousin to the VStrom and the Caponord, had the exotic appeal of all Italian bikes.  I pondered it long and hard and worried that I wasn't up to the exotic shop prices for Ducati service and repair work.

And so it went, bike after bike looked at and the the possibilities discarded based on a clue in the pictures or an e-mail from the seller.  But the batch above made the final consideration for one reason or another, none of which were necessarily logical.  

Oh, there was a 2001 Kawasaki Concours that I liked and it had lots of farkles but the pictures in the ad were all upside down and it seemed like too much of an omen or at least and indication that seller might not be into paying attention to his bike.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Honda VFR At Sunset

Dumb luck meets a little knowledge.  My buddy Keith arrived last Wednesday and we've been wandering about a bit on our bikes.  We stopped at Coolidge Airport at sunset on the off chance there might be an interesting vintage plane or two still sitting out.  Keith parked his '95 Honda VFR 750 and walked over to look at the old wooden hanger, one of the last of it's kind in the US, a relic now of WWII airfields.  Coolidge Airport was a transit field during the war and old photos show B17 bombers, P51 Mustangs, and other great planes of that era filling the field as they made their way east and on to the European theater of war. 

I happened to "see the shot" of the VFR when Keith parked his bike, red bikes and sunset are always a winning combo, the light was just right, I had a 20mm f1.7 prime lens on the Olympus E-PL1,  and managed to not to shake too much for the 1/10th of a second shutter speed. The shot is actually a little soft from a bit of shake but I think the softness works with the light.

The light changes very quickly once the sun is on the horizon, a minute or two later it was effectively dark so my photo of the old hanger has quite a different look to it as the camera struggled with the white balance from the fading sunlight mixed with the artificial lighting on the hanger.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Casa Grande Motorcycle Swap Meet 2011

Why do people put OBO?  Why not just say
how much you really want for it?
 Sunday was my third time visit to the Casa Grande motorcycle swap meet and it was definitely worth the $5 to get in.  The turn out in vendors and people was smaller this year and there seemed to be more junk and fewer bikes, maybe a sign of the weak economy which is even weaker in Arizona.   From a browser's standpoint it was thin pickin's.

I'd thought to refill my threadbare wardrobe of motorcycle t-shirts but couldn't even find a proper Bultaco t-shirt worth buying.  The event is predominately a Harley thing and but in the past there's been a smattering of Brit bikes to add some interest.  Even a Norton t-shirt would have been welcome.  There was a booth this year for BMW adventure rentals and it seemed a little out of place.   

I didn't even take that many pictures but here's some shots of the high points.

One man's treasure
While I tend to focus on the cool bike stuff there might be to look at, meeting and talking to the people is still half the fun.  A lifetime around bikes has taught me that I'd rather be around scruffy motorcycle people any day than people wearing suits and ties.   I was snapping photos of some stuff in one booth (not the one above) when one of the young guys hollered "$5 for a photo!"  I looked up from the camera and said "Of you? You gonna take your clothes off?  I can sell the picture for more money if you take your clothes off."  His looked flustered, taken aback; his buddies busted up laughing while he mumbled something about meaning for the bike part picture.

I forgot to ask the year and model on this knucklehead.  Perhaps one of you H-D riders will know and I'll add a proper caption.

Same H-D, different view and in black & white.

I like to imagine the story behind some of the bikes and parts.  I'm guessing this story didn't have a happy ending.  A big grind moving forward, then a quick 90° as the bike went further over.

An H-D saddle bag has given it's all.

Accessories on a well worn Kawasaki 1500 Drifter

Bikes in the parking lot were as interesting as anything in the swap meet. Here's a Kawasaki who's owner has a sense of humor.

The '70s era choppers seem to be starting a small revival.  The perverse part of me thinks that looks like a fun ride but not for very far.

Speaking of rides, I've solved the "replacement bike" problem I created for myself.  No, it's not a chopper, not a Harley, not a bobber, not a cafe racer, not a Gold Wing or Italian bike, and not a Brit bike (although I tried to make that last one happen to no avail).  More to come as soon as I have proper pictures.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Got High At The Motorcycle Swap Meet

So I'm walking through the annual motorcycle swap meet here in our little town and I'm taking pictures, browsing the junk, and generally enjoying the day. As I walked past a large ladder jutting into the sky from one of the vendor booths I hear someone say "Hey Bultaco man, you wanna climb the ladder?"  As I was pretty much the only one around wearing a red Bultaco hat as opposed to the usual H-D doo rag or Viet Nam vet hat everyone else seemed to be wearing I figured it was me that was being called out.  I looked at the ladder then at the guy next to it. He was selling a device called MonkeyRack or some such thing, it allows you to cantilever a large extension ladder off of the back of a truck or utility vehicle. "Why would I climb that" I said eying the 20ft extension ladder poking the sky. "You could get some good photos from up there!" said the fellow.

"Now you're talking" I replied. So I secured my two cameras a little better, crawled up into the bed of the pick up truck and prepared to head skyward on the ladder of death. "It's gonna sway a little" he said. He wasn't kidding but what the heck, the worst that could happen was that I'd plunge to my death at a motorcycle event and there are worse ways to die. Besides, the roll away tool chest in the back of his truck would probably break my fall. So I grabbed onto the ladder and started up, careful to place hands and feet firmly and not look about too much.

I suspect the sales guy thought I might give up part way when he said "If you get to the top, ring the bell." No problem as the swaying ladder rang the bell all the way up. He probably didn't suspect that the dumpy old guy with the cameras was also a former hang glider pilot who's flown places like Glacier Point in Yosemite.  I'm not especially afraid of heights as long as I've got decent equipment. I thought the ladder thing looked decent, it was painted red and hooked to a truck, that seemed like a good sign. Firemen do this stuff all the time, right?

Half way up I stopped to adjust my Nikon so it didn't clunk the ladder. I heard someone below me say "More balls than brains." He might be right, I have a crazy streak and it's not as wide as it once was but it's still there.

So I got to the top, got an arm securely around the ladder and shot a few pictures of the event. 20ft down below the swaying ladder I could see a few people looking up, no doubt hoping the guy on the ladder would plunge to his death and they could tell their friends about the cool thing they saw at the swap meet.

I half expected a crowd to gather and begin yelling "Jump! Jump! Jump!"

The blue tent is the Hells Angels booth. You'd think it would be red and white.
After I got a few shots with the camera the swaying of the ladder became a bit of a concern -- thoughts of buckled aluminum danced in my head -- so I headed back down. I thanked the fellow for the nice photo op and showed him the pictures on the camera's display screen. He seemed pleased.

Anyway, it was fun stuff and livened up an otherwise rather dull event. More pics of bikes and such to come.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Acting Impulsively

I did it again.  With little thinking involved (and I'm usually much better about that) I stuck an ad on Craig's List for my 1600 Kawasaki two or three weeks ago.  I'd sorta kinda been thinking about moving the bike along since I wasn't really in love with it.  Nice bike, very nice, but something was lacking.  I put 2000 miles on it though.  So with too little cogitation involved I placed an ad with a couple of pictures.  Made very little effort to write something wonderful or even use a nice selection of pictures and link to more as I usually do.  Minimal selling effort involve.  No trades, no checks, bring cash, take bike.  And I priced the bike Kaw at $500 more than I paid for it.  Maybe something will happen, maybe not.  Whatever.

Naturally the ad got an immediate reply from a scam artist which was duly deleted.  A couple of weeks went by and I'd practically forgotten about the ad.   Then I got an e-mail from someone who seemed pretty interested.  Wanted to come look at it at 9:30 the next morning.  Drat, that means getting up early.  Blah.  Okay, fine.   I promised myself I wouldn't negotiate on the price, if the bike was going to go it would go for the asking price or stay in my garage; I sorta kinda decided that I didn't really want to sell it anyway.   So the buyer came out, loved the bike, didn't test ride it, never even made me a lower price offer.  After the usual paperwork mumbo jumbo the bike rolled off with it's new owner and left me feeling somewhat regretful for a change.  Hmm...  Not sure that was the thing to do.  I'd just painted myself into a corner motorcyclely speaking (I made up that word).

My old friend Keith, over in California, and I have talked about taking a ride together for over thirty years now but have never done it, mostly because Keith didn't have a bike.  In a fit of familial responsibility he'd sold his last bike, a 750 Norton, back in the '70s.

Then all these years later Keith went mad (with some prompting from me) and bought himself a '95 Honda VFR 750, not exactly the typical re-entry bike for a rider returning to the sport at the age of 65, but buy it he did and ride he is and having a grand time.  He says it's quite a bit faster, more comfortable, and with better brakes than his 1970 Norton.  Uh, yeah.  He's a bit like a Rip Van Winkle awaking to find that the world has changed in forty years.  Fortunately he's a cautious, methodical guy and has done well easing back into riding.

After endless phone calls and discussions of bikes Keith and I made plans to actually go for a ride together after all these years, we'll ride some local stuff here in Arizona and maybe up north to visit my friend Dean at his bunkhouse.  So Keith will be here from California this coming Wednesday with his VFR and I don't seem to have a bike at the moment.  I gotta move fast.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Old Town, Empty Street

Just a simple shot from a ride to the old copper mining town of Globe, AZ back in May. Yesterday I finally washed the dust storm off of the bike, checked the tires, and got ready for the beginning of riding season here in Arizona.  Hopefully there will be lots of riding this winter and lots of photo opportunities.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Special Place

How far would you go to make your motorcycle riding friends feel welcome in your home?  Stock up on their favorite beverage (or hide yours)?  Push aside the rubble in your garage to park their bike?  Throw a clean sheet over the ol' leaky air mattress so they can sleep in style?  Up in northern Arizona my friends Dean and Pam went a little further than most of us do. 
The veranda on the main house that was a cabin

A few years ago, semi-retired (Pam still works) and with more time and energy than money, Dean and Pam decided to expand the one bedroom cabin on the property they bought at the end of three miles of dirt road.   First the cabin was expanded a little, ok, a lot, to make room for them.  Then large verandas and decks were added so they and their and friends could enjoy the views.  A workshop was needed, and finally they decided to add a garage where their motorcycle friends could park their bikes, and oh yeah, a little bunkhouse style set up so guests could sack out after a long ride.  But being work-alcoholics, or at least highly-motivated, they sort of got carried away.  No fat checks were written to contractors, either, they did the work themselves.

Just a little spot for their motorcycle friends
Rob rides in from SoCal
 One idea followed another and more was added to the place, a private room for couples, then another. I asked Dean what his plan was and he said "I don't make plans anymore, I just do what I feel like doing."  Pam told me they wake up in the morning, one of them has a new idea, then they start building, feeding off of each other's energy and enthusiasm.  My kind of couple.

Dean rides in on his new BMW K1600
The shop got bigger than planned and also got equipped with motorcycle tire changing equipment, a welder, and a full compliment of tools. Dean is one of the original founders of San Jose BMW so you'll note a strong BMW influence on the place.

Pam's exercise room.

An exercise casita was added because building and landscaping the place themselves apparently wasn't enough exercise. 

Yes, they really built it all themselves, two people in their 60s did it because no one told them they couldn't and because life and friendship is about doing, not just talking or watching.  

Only rarely was a contractor brought in, mostly it was just the occasional friend or friends to help with painting or tasks like setting huge beams that were not safe to do alone. 

Community kitchen and living room in the bunkhouse.
Couples get first dibs on the private rooms.
Gromit and I arrived late and shared a hide-a-bed
in the workshop.
 No ramshackle desert dwelling, what has become known as MC B&B is nicely finished and far better than would be expected for something built by two people with no construction experience.

The 3 miles of dirt road to get there is easy in a car,
a little more challenging on a bike.
Having met Dean and Pam on-line via the Motorcyclist Cafe forum several years ago, I finally got around to visiting their place last weekend and meeting them in person with my Corgi pal Gromit.  I finally had to see for myself what hard work, determination, and stubbornness built just for their friends.  I must shamefacedly admit we took the car.  There's no one around the vast 40on2 estate anymore to watch Gromit for me so off we went in the car for the weekend.

Gromit fit right in.
The whole place is "off the grid" and solar powered.  Dean did all that himself too.  After Pam and Dean showed me around the place for the first time all I could say was "I don't know what drugs you guys are on, but I want some!"

Sun tracking solar panels power the place

View from the bunkhouse deck at sunset
The place isn't really a B&B in the normal sense of the word, it's Dean and Pam's private slice of paradise for themselves and their friends.  There is no sign out at the road where the pavement stops, the place is not for rent, it's just a private escape built in the name of friendship by two seemingly ordinary people who are not so ordinary.  I count myself as honored to be their friend.

Friendship matters more than brands.

You can read Dean's six year long "build thread" about the place here.  I'm hoping to head back up there next month, this time on my motorcycle.  Dean promised to let me ride his new BMW K1600 and how can I pass up an opportunity like that?

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