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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Before The Storm

I couldn't stand not riding, the heat and life events have conspired to keep me off of the bike for nearly two months now.  So despite the fact that the thermometer said it was 110° outside I figured "How bad could it be?  It's almost sunset, it will cool off to 108° soon."

I grabbed my camera, put on my boots, helmet, and gloves and hit the road.  It didn't seem all that hot, you do get used to the heat to some small amount if you live here in Arizona.  And after 5 minutes or so I remembered why I don't ride when it's well past 100° outside.  I settled for a quick turn down a graded dirt road to look for a place to take a sunset shot of the Nomad 1600 without an excess of civilization clutter in the background.  That's getting more difficult to do around here despite the wide open spaces. 

I stopped, grabbed the camera, and set about making a few pictures of the bike with the sunset as the background.  Caught up in my creative efforts I didn't notice the dust storm moving in behind me.   If you watch the national news you know we can get some serious dust storms here in central Arizona, dust storms as bad as anywhere in the world so they say, and I've been caught in one before while in the car.  It's like driving in a heavy, reddish-yellow fog, only the lane divider line visible next to you.  Smart people stop and pull over.  I'd hate to have to do that on a bike, even breathing would be risky.

When I realized I was about to get caught in a real mess I grabbed my gear and didn't even take time to buckle my helmet or put my gloves on.  A mad dash home got me there before I was totally dusted, a light coating of Arizona desert tan was all the bike and I got.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Cryin' Shame

2001. Riding Highway 1 in California.
This is by God America and everyone is entitled to use their motorcycle as they wish, wash it or not, ride it hard, stick decals on it, paint it with a rattle can, or just ride it until it's a proud old worn out warhorse.  But even in America, land of the free, home of the disposable everything,  I still believe there is no excuse for being neglectful of good motorcycles.  It's just wrong.

A few weeks ago when I pulled into the parking lot at the local Safeway grocery store here in our little town, there sat a ratty old 2001 Kawasaki Concours.  The electric blue paint was faded, black parts were gray, the clear windscreen was hazy and the surface crazed from sun.  The bike was a beater.  Clearly the owner had no interest in covering the bike when parked and the Arizona sun had taken it's toll on the machine.  I thought to myself "I had one just like that, heck, in this little town that might even be my old bike."

A closer inspection revealed that in fact it was my old bike, my 2001 Concours that I'd carefully ridden, polished, looked after, and enjoyed on a long trip through California back in 2001 and ridden on an awesome ride that covered most of southern Arizona in just one day.   Some cretin had the blue Connie now, didn't care about it, and instead of it being a sharp bike worth maybe $3000, it was just an old beater worth maybe $2000 tops.   $1000 drop in value just because the owner or owners just didn't care.  Worse to me than the damaged value, because money isn't everything, was the sheer lack of respect shown for a good bike.   But wait!  Maybe it was just worn out from eight years of hard use?  I checked the odometer.  No, the machine had only gained about 2500 miles since I sold it in 2002.  2500 miles use but 100,000 miles of sun exposure and neglect.  What a waste of a nice machine.

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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