Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle


fire in the sky

Over the road

I’d called an end to the workday and had started a fire to fend off the coming chill this evening and was sipping a beer as the fire got rolling. Then I heard sort of a growl and thought I’d check the stove, as it can make noises when it’s drawing well.

After hopping the fence

I got up and then I heard a different sound, the clear burn of open propane flame and I knew a ballooner was right above the cabin. Down low on the creek it was a quickly cooling evening even though it had been 60+ just an hour or so ago. I stepped out on the back deck to scan the sky and it was apparent that my neighbor Allen Lawson was landing in the road as he was making tender pulses of burn to land rather than larger ones to make it ‘over’ the hill into Stanton, Salee or Pardo’s bottom fields.

I grabbed the camera and took the shot above then went out to see if this was going to be a ‘quality’ set down or a mess since the road is about as wide as a balloon and there is new barbed wire fencing there which cannot be good against the light fabric. He is a good flier, and the wind is dead, so when I get to the road I watch him drop on the wrong side of the fence and with the help if his ground crew, he burns & hops over the fence like a deer and drops the whole kit smack on the safe side of the road.

Packing Up - Sis & Steve

Course by then, even as sparse as people are out in the middle of the Mark Twain forest are, we got a block party going. Sis has ventured out from down the road, her husband arrives home from work, and Mike and his wife have also arrived. We all help bag the chute and Allen books a demo at the high school next week, then we all go home dinner.

Now, with a crowd there Allen cannot help but mentioning the “incident” last year where I had to ride bitch on his KTM ’cause I had poured ancient gas in the Beemer for a test ride and it had crapped out down at the bridge. Thanks Allen 🙂 no need to let a good story die a quiet death.

That’s how we roll down here. It was a good and adventurous day, and a very lovely and talented lady got recognized by very few by winning a Grammy for the best new artist. Ms. Esperanza Spalding

Allen, wife and daughter 🙂


Waiting for godot? or valentine smith?

One day I stumbled into owning a motorcycle. I loved the bike but it was no fun on longer rides and it went too fast too quickly. Sensing death I sold it and bought my current ride. The clouds of impending death parted, the sun shined thru and I thought a motorcycle vacation would the thing to do.

..what? ..

Traveling on a bike is usually a solitary experience rather than with a troop of scouts or family, or a troupe of musicians in a van. It would be similar to a solo canoe trip in terms of serenity but with occasional exposure to the irrationality of people.

None of this is of importance to anyone, but … I made the not unusual mistake of opening my mouth one day amongst a group of riders and in no short amount of time someone had begun blogging about “The Rufus Method” as though it were the spiritual equivalent of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. All well and good as far as I’m concerned, but it’s obvious this blog is a series of posts that must build thru a crescendo of tension with a final and climactic ending. Thusly the posts did build intensity to a soft forte, third movement, and then, and then …


That’s right, nada, zip, zilch. So an attendant readership is forced to (metaphorically) zip their gumpy back in their pants and go home. Sheesh 🙂

Obviously, reports of Blogger Death are later found out to be exaggerated, the wheel of life still turns around, and things are as they are, so at some point in time the aborted subject will be completed in fantasticus fashion.

Anyway, I did take that vacation. Bourbon Street in New Orleans is major fun especially for a musician. I quickly developed some simple rules, not because they are GOOD RULES, but because they are good for me. No need to chisel these damned things into stones or debate them with burning bushes.

1. When I returned from that first trip I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation. That was not supposed to be the result. I’ve finished many a long evening playing drums, and although tired I was not beat to death, there was a renewal of spirit. I have never again gone on “vacation’.

2. I am a bad tourist. I mean to do or to see something just to say you saw it seems kinda superficial in its intent. Other than that it’s like I have ADD or something. I can be bored in 10 minutes, easily. Don’t get me wrong, I do touristy things, but I have no idea when the mood will strike, so to plan for stuff is a waste of my time.

3. I generally dislike restaurants. I hate when the waiteress comes over 6 times to ask “Is Everything OK???”. I don’t like air conditioning so I LOVE eating outside, that’s one reason I like Mexico. I’ve been known to spend an hour searching out that hole in the wall place where locals eat.

4. Don’t look for adventure, it’s just like hookers, which are everywhere. I’ve never been anywhere you couldn’t stumble across a hooker 🙂 Same with adventure, or unexpected totally cool stuff. Like my second trip to our south coast. I skipped NOLA and stayed east of Ponchartrain and rolled into Pass Christian and asked about motel rooms; “Downtown is probably full up.” I found a room at a small place next door to the swank hotel. Next day I’m holding down the beach with a mega-Long Island Iced Tea soaking sun and sea breeze. The beach fills with babes in bikinis doing all sort of cute babe things, there’s even a few guys out there taking photos. Hmmm. The hotel next door is hosting the Miss America contest. You can work out the details from there.

5. Something is alive.

The weekend before my first trip I loaded up the bike with all my travel gear for a test ride. I went 30-40 miles and pulled into to the same Quick-Trip I always stopped at for the customary coffee and Dolly Madison powdered donuts. I caught a smile and then a nod from folks walking in and out from the pumps while I checked my travel bags. I went inside, got my stuff, and the clerk says “Where ya headed?”. I look up and “Memphis, to visit my brother” jumps out of my mouth.

“I’ve never been there, but I hear it’s a fun place” he says. I smile in response and add “It’s ok, but I always enjoy the scenery and people around here when I go thru”. He smiles and hands me my change, we trade ‘have a nice day’ and I go outside to enjoy the road food. There are more smiles and parking lot conversation with the patrons. I light a smoke while I have a nice chat with Rod Serling.

He explains what has transpired; something about the Cowboy Mystique .. riding off into the sunset and how it brings out a something in other people – a hope? an aspiration? a simple joy of the moment? “It could be many things, unique to each individual, but a common thread that sews us all together.” he says.

I rode home.


Liz & Li’l Jimy – adventure girls

Their mother just grins like the Cheshire Cat any time I mention their activities, but both of the girls are a spitting image of her, so it should come as no surprise that I am the odd one out. They are the beauty of my life, her two children, they wouldn’t harm a fly, and can charm an Eskimo into buying ice cubes.

Liz was the firstborn and probably a typical baby up ’til about age two. By then she was ramblin’ around on both feet and talking like a Maine sailor. Then Li’l Jimy came along and I had three redheads to care about. I shouldn’t have worried though ’cause if Jimy wasn’t asleep or at mom’s breast, Liz was there to nurture her. She taught her how to talk, how to behave at tea, and how to act in any situation. By then Liz was a first-order princess of the highest, proper of demeanor, smarter than any audience, and a damned snappy dresser.

Li’l Jimy followed Liz around like my old pet duck for the first year, crawlin’ and squawkin’ as hard as she could to keep up, but it wasn’t long before she found her feet and and her voice. Since then those two have been joined ‘at the hip’, although by now Li’l Jimy always seems to be a step ahead of Liz. They run the local fields and woods, know all the farmers and have a fondness for Jenkins and his goats.

Liz with Li'l Jimy at the controls in Sequatchie, TN

They ignore the divide between boys and girls.. if anything can be done that means they can do it. They’ve been helping me in the shop for years and can take anything apart and put it back together. They could both read, write and do numbers before they started school. ‘Course we’ve taken them to the library in town two times a week for years so I suspect they’ve read their way through it as well as the encyclopedia we have at home.

Age 10 & 8 today, they are scary-smart and more capable of things than even I can imagine. I don’t worry about them per se but they are beginning to shock adults that don’t know them.

Like last weekend when the three of them went over into Sequatchie, Tennessee with the Everett family to watch them race motorcycles. They had a great time and are making plans to do it again this summer.

After they got back and the girls were asleep, Jane showed me a picture one of the spectators had taken.

She said “You know how Li’l Jimy is always one step ahead?” then she just grinned like that Cheshire Cat. 🙂

I knew they wouldn’t be content to be spectators !


htrbbq3: Pie to Die For!

I rolled into Ava at 2:00 in the afternoon on a perfect August day, the first one we’ve had in about 5 weeks.

local stopped to wet a line in Beaver Creek

Temps had finally climbed to the mid 80’s so it was cozy warm and without any humidity so the days ride had been one of the best. So I picked up a Busch single and headed the five or so miles out of town to suck a beer and check out the creek. One of the local boys was taking advantage of the day by attempting to snag a fish. I hollered ‘howdy’ and sat down to watch and enjoy a cool brew and marvel at the days ride.

It is 243 miles of typical Missouri two-lane between HiTech’s ranch and my little cabin on Swan Creek. Between the two is a roly-poly, curvy-swervy ribbon of road as fun as any New Jersey roller coaster. On advice I’d taken 95 south to get to 76 it made a big improvement in the route. You go thru Mountain Grove which is one of those older town with a proper ‘square’ in the center of town, It has a bandstand and several veterans monuments. It seemed like a nice little place then I saw the wall mural. The picture does not do it justice ’cause when you walk down the side walk it looks better from 2 feet, so good your tempted to just walk in and order a cherry phosphate!

Mural on the square in Mtn. Grove

The square in Mtn. Grove

Launch point for Saturday ride

Anyway, back to the event itself. It may have been a bit of disappointment to HiTech since the expected 75+ folks did not show up, but those few who did had an exceptional time on Friday and Saturday. Jeff and Julian and Passad and Moses did represent the St. Louis/Rolla contingent, but the rest of the guests came in from far coastlines and far flung parts of the midwest. So Friday was TotalRuckus day with a bunch of custom scoots around and custom folks to talk about them. From what I saw a Little Ruck is a great frame to experiment with.

A great time was had by all. Good food and an icy keg of Cream Ale from the Little Yeoman down in Cabool, tons of BBQ and sides from a most excellent host (and Diane too!), lot’s of talk and thoughtful late night conversation. A gold star goes to the pie lady down the road who brought peach, blackberry and heavenly blueberry pies wrapped in a real flaky crust !!!

HiTech's new hairdo, Paul from Denver

So I had a great time and was set to leave Sunday morning, then things started to happen. Funny things starting with the starter bendix. So I unpacked the bike, then more evil stuff started to happen, and an hour later I gave in and got a beer and said ‘screw it’ and spent the day with Paul and HiTech while we all recovered from the weekends events. So I rolled on Monday morning, and when I pulled to a stop at the end of the gravel road and slipped the tranny in neutral light came on I smiled. It too had failed to work on Sunday, but today the motorcycle gods had smiled approval on my journey and fixed it! I had a great ride that day


Travel or Tour?

Have scooter, will travel

Since the 1st of July I have essentially been busy camping out on the motorbike. Two weekend camping trips and the rest of the time has been spent camping at a house I’m helping to remodel with no A/C and lots of outside work in 90+ summer sun. I am officially one whipped puppy. When you are on the road you upset your circadian/sleep cycle, eat differently at different times, don’t sleep in your own bed, etc. which can take it’s toll. Someone I know has a sig line that reads:

Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a rest

So I’m taking a rest today and will lay down some thoughts on a subject which has been a popular discussion during the last few weeks. Among bikers it is usually stated as “How many miles do you ride each day?” but that isn’t a fair question because it doesn’t broach the subject of “How do you like to ride?”.

A trip to New Orleans from my house is about 550 miles which can easily be done in one day of traveling or trying to cover ‘X” distance. It would make a long day of riding (10-11 hours) and you sure wouldn’t stop and see much, and you’d be tired that evening and maybe next morning. Course I’m a hell of a lot older today than I as way back then 🙂

If I were to tour to NOLA I would take two days, wander all sorts of small roads and communities, see all kinds of cool stuff, meet some people and have bags of fun. 250 miles a day is fun and relaxing and casual and I would not be tired on arrival.

There are places (or destinations) where you just need to burn miles like thru the great plains, Texas, the desert southwest or Big Sky country. Maybe they can be done at higher than normal speeds as that makes a big difference. I remember the days before the Double-Nickel fondly.

No matter what that day’s ride is going to be, I start early, stop at least every 100 miles or each hour for a break. I have a drink on the handle bar and some type of trail mix/nut/fruit stuff to munch while riding, and fruit or cheese in the cooler. You can spend a lot of quality time in the saddle and cover lots of miles but most folk who try to do long term consistent high mile days find that on day two or three their mileage has dropped almost 50%, and each succeeding day loses you an additional 10%.

So riding a bike like we’re talking is a skill that you can practice to suit your style and pace and “what” that days ride is really about. Be aware of your sleep and rest, eat well, stay hydrated, and take your breaks.

A tired and cranky rider is NOT a safe rider, so enjoy each ride safely, as part of each ride is the next ride.

Keep the shiny side up.


Turing test results

Glamour shot at Shadow Rock Park

Powersite Damn on White River

Well, a couple of hours after I got back from town HiTechRedneck called me. “I’m 10 minutes away!” So I put a couple of brews in the freezer and walked out to the Scoottaashack to wait. Big smile on her face and she said “What a nice little road ya got from town” 🙂

This was around 5 o’clock Saturday evening so we went inside to have a few brews in the AC to slough off the ride and wait for the evening cool off. A few hours later we were out on the deck (a bit lubed up and well fed) and spent the evening listening to music and normal bullshit. I have tons of music she’s never heard so she piled on some new inputs.

After sleeping a bit late Sunday morning we got ready for Touring Taney County. So we road little one lane backroads up the creek then up MO 125 to Chadwick. That left us 16+ miles from lunch in Forsyth, but to get there you have MO H to traverse so I insisted she take the lead. This is a really curvy 55 mph road, not dangerous twisty’s, just fun and fast curves one right after another, and it makes

The crew from Harrison, Ark

for a very refreshing 20 minute exercise. Lot’s of 🙂 coming across the table as we sat at John’s Frosted Mug over lunch.

Then it was off to Powersite Dam for a close up view of Lake Taneycomo and Bull Shoals Lake on the 25 mile leg over to MO 125 and down to Protem at the Arkansas state line. Ark. is ‘dry’ so Tony’s Pizza does a great business serving beer in icy-frosty mugs. Only one beer as it’s part of the ritual of the ferry. Then it was down the hill to ride the Peel ferry across the lake where we were joined by the guys from Tony’s on 8 fancy Harleys headed back to Harrison. On the way back across the ferry captain came over to chat HTR up about her Big Ruckus. Yep more 🙂

We then headed for home with a stop at Shadow Rock Park for a couple of glamor shots, stoping at the Eee-Zee Stop for fresh beer where she registered for the nifty all metal retro beer cooler being offered by the beer distributor. The back to the cabin for dinner and chatting on the deck. A little coffee with breakfast Monday

on the way home Outhouse stop

morning, then load up old #5 and she heads for home.

Now that might not sound too exciting but I’m sure it made for a relaxing 3 day trip for her. She got onto some cool places to visit, got in 20 miles or so of gravel work, found some cool places and people to visit, road some ass-kickin’ roads but I can’t say much more. She’ll post up those details on her blog so I’ll not spoil the surprise.

We had bags of fun, took lots of photos, and she video taped the morning riding session so I expect a big post about the weekend with a great riding video.
Stay tuned kiddies !!


Raid on the Gasconade 2010

So I have a ‘scooter’ bud who likes to get out and site-see, do a bit of camping and fishing. We’ve been trying to meet up for a year. Have another buddy HiTech who has purchased new property on the Gasconade River. Things come together and we schedule the whole July 4th weekend for a little roundup cum Chautauqua. Camp, fish, cook, drink beer and bullshit around the campfire. Rinse & repeat as necessary, Friday thru Monday.

These two are graduating this summer, are knee-deep in dissertations and that type thing and need a break. Not a weekend party with a bunch of people where it takes you a day to recover, but the type thing that allows you to put a brake on the speed, tension and stresses of life. Some ‘glide time’ is a good way to phrase it.

Heading for Gasconade River

For me and Matty it’s about a 150 mile ride which is probably more of a morning jaunt or a short cruise. I’m planning on leaving early Friday and taking the slab to Lebanon (55 miles) for breakfast. I know the slab is no fun, but I grew up here and won’t miss a thing. Then I take off north of I-44 and cruise about 45 mph up the backest of roads with camera and tripod handy. All new roads and vistas for me, and I’ll still probably get there by noon 🙂

HiTech is supposed to have a cooler waiting on the gravel bar for ice and beer and we’re arriving with simple sleep and cook gear, and fishing equipment.

I’ll have my flyrod and a 4 1/2′ fiberglass Shakespeare spinning rig. We’ve all made some homemade beer-can alcohol stoves so there will be an official “stove off”. We’re all hillbilly engineers and delight in these type low-key games.

I’ve got all my gear ready to go, and am heading out Tuesday afternoon. I’m starting a house remodel in Springfield and have to work the next two days. Friday morning the journey begins. Be back in about a week.

Why is this?

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3 other followers