Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bein' a Motorcycle Rounder is a Piece of Work Sometimes

Ya'll know what a "Rounder" is right? I've been one forever... 'fore I hit the road full time, something over two years ago, I rode all year... right through the Colorado winters... have the pics to prove it too! ;)

For those of you who didn't know the word and are startin' to catch the meaning, yup, a Rounder is a motorcycle nut job that rides Year Round... no matter the weather or temps.

Yep, rode right on down to Ten Degrees... That qualifies me as a nut job I think. :)

Yesterday I had need of riding from our camp in the Red Canyon National Recreation Area over to Escalante, Utah to take care of some bank business.

*Our Red Canyon Camp ~ The day before*
I climbed on the Raider just a bit before noon and headed down the half mile or so to the pavement...

The weather don't look half bad does it. You can just see the rig pokin' out behind the trees... off behind the bike.

Half a dozen miles down the road of the 55 mile or so ride, as always, there was a smile on my face. I was in the wind on two wheels right where I belong... and the day still looked pretty promising...

Well... as long as you didn't look in the rear view mirror...

*There was a bit of a storm threatening behind me*

The trick is to keep your eyes forward, and just ride! Which I did through the canyons and over the mountains on Utah hwy 12 to Escalante.

The sun was still shining above and ahead of me as I crossed over a bit of high ground just west of the town. I think I was back up at just under 7800' at this pullout.

The wind was at my back. The bike was rolling out fine. The traffic was light... almost not there. You can't ask for more ~ Can you?

I got my banking done for another month and walked out of the place. Just down the street a small bit was a Phillips 66. Made sense to top off the tank before I turned for Home...

With a full tank I made that turn and looked up ahead.

Uh Oh...

Uh Huh... That storm that had been behind me... was now in front of me. The highway skirted its southern edge riding that line between the clouds and the sun...

Running back through the same cuts and canyons the wind was now in my face or quartering out of the SW... sometimes coming straight from the side...

That big scooter was buffeted around the asphalt like an 800 lb leaf. Every once in a while an extra strong gust would hit her and she'd bounce over a foot before she could grab some extra traction. Uh Huh... it was juuuuust a mite windy...

Somewhere around Henrieville it started in a misty rain... which turned to light snow. Not enough to obscure visibility but combined with the shifting and gusty wind, that lil' bit of moisture on the pavement led a guy to wonder about his tires on the leaners a bit. :)

And going into the wind now, rather than having it at my back... it got a lil' bit cooler! Imagine that... having a combined wind and roadspeed adding up to maybe a 95 or 100 mph wind being chilly! :)

I stopped at the same turnout on top of the high ground to capture the return pic.

The mountain in the goin' east photo is mostly gone...

That's not a cloud obscuring it... that was the snow falling behind me... ha ha.

There's only one thing you can do when you're on the road and the weather goes south... Ride on through it! ;)

The thing is... I think I'm coming to be a lil' less of a rounder. Don't know what the wind chill was on this ride... I was geared up in expectation of a cool day...

But... I loaded the bike right back up when I got back and this morning... as soon as the dawn breaks and the temp climbs higher than the 15 degrees it sunk to tonight.. we is haulin' my Rounder butt back south and down out of this 7700 foot camp to a warmer place!

That's the benefit of bein' a drifting Rounder. You can haul your scoot to where ever the thermometer says 72 Degrees!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Utah in The Fall... Sweet Riding for a Cruisier!

Sonja hasn't gotten her exercise yet. Hopin' to get her down today. I've been struggling with uncooperative leaks the past few days... and took yesterday off in frustration to take a good hike. (That's over on the RV site).

But I still need to tell you... This Zion, and a hell of a lot of Utah is sweet country to do some serious cruising.

*Harleys below the Mt. Carmel tunnel into Zion*
This isn't an aberration. You'll get views like this over your handle bars all over Utah. Here in Zion, Over near Mexican Hat and the Goosenecks park... wandering up Hwy 12... Capital Reef, Arches, and up in the High Uintahs...

Utah is actually a pretty good place to make your fall cruises. Too dang hot in the middle summer... to cold maybe later in the winter when you want to be south! but it's the perfect place for that shoulder season... between the heat of summer and the bitter winds of winter.

If you like gettin' off the bike once in a while and doin' some hiking...there's plenty of trails around zion... like this lil' canyon... ;)

Over by Escalante, just below Hwy 12 a few miles, there are some awesome slot canyons (Check with the BLM office in Escalante)... though it might be lil' tough for a road bike to get to the trail head. :) Washboardy dirt most of the way... the last 1/2 mile or so will really test your skills. I suppose you could park there and walk in the rest of the way. LOL ... that's the place for the Dual Sport boys for sure!

... but what's life without some adventure and dirty scooters right? :)


I'm planning on makin' some progress in the battle of the leaks today and puttin' the scooter on the ground so I can get some Knees in the Wind of my own this week!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sonja is a lot Farther South... but still...

hasn't gotten down off the truck. :) Kind of embarrassing for a Yamaha Raider... but we've all got our crosses to bear... right?

Sometimes things just don't work out right. We've been pushing a bit 'cause we had to meet a friend in Zion. We'd intended to spend a bit more time on the Grand Canyon's North Rim... and get her down there... but we pulled in with kinda soggy weather...

*Deceptive Photo at the North Rim*
 Looks kinda nice in this pic don't it? Yeah... well a couple miles farther on the windshield wipers were doin' their thing and the rain was comin' down! :) I judged that one right and didn't feel even a lil' bit poorly for wussin' out. :)

Took a tour the afternoon we pulled in, in the truck; and again in the rain and overcast the next day... hopin' for a break. But... when I got up that second morning in camp...

*It may be winter... but this Scooter is Riding herself! in the Snow*

I rode all winter in Colorado, clear down to 10 degrees... But I was younger and prettier there... To tell the truth... Though I might be a 'Rounder' that rides all year, riding in the snow and cold has just lost its romance for me. :-o

So we loaded up and headed for Zion.

I've got another day of working on rig repairs (failed plumbing parts) and then, with great weather threatened by the Weatherman for the next week or more... Sonja will be putting her two wheels back on the Asphalt and she and I will be scootin' around Zion and local environs! HooYa!

We'll be here or round-a-bouts for a week or two... then it's keep on south to get to Avondale in time for our jobs at the NASCAR race.

Livin' Fat

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Goin' South

Late in September or early in October where ever we are... we load up face west ~ do a left face and start our migration south.

Sonja is ready to go. She carried me through much of our last Colorado winter but she still don't care for the snow and ice any more than I do. She prefers to keep her own tires on the asphalt, but, with the promise of goin' south and many miles in the Arizona Desert while the storms rage up here... she's willin' to accept the indignity of a motorcycle gettin' carried for the southbound journey.

*Sonja ready to go*

Seems like with Grandkids in Denver now, this is where we are makin' the habit of comin' through each fall. We'll haul off from here today or tomorrow. This year we're gonna roll straight down I-25 for a bit to Trinidad. The next sunrise, in the morning sun we'll climb over Raton Pass and then cut west across the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation and likely drop into Chaco Canyon for a couple of days.

Then it's on to Goosenecks camp for at least an overnight before moving onl. The goal is to rendevous with a friend in Zion, mid month.

Gotta be honest. That Arizona Desert might have cooled off from the blazing summer inferno of just a few weeks ago... buuuut... I'm willin' to let 'er cool down a few more before we drop down out of the high desert just a few hundred miles to the north.

We don't need to be in the Valley of the Sun until our NASCAR duties commence in Avondale on the 7th of November... so, no need to hurry.

Then it'll simply be the difficult task to live hard through the winter; enjoyin' the quiet desert living with no blizzards and soft desert sunsets.

It's a hard life for a pussgut Ol' Buster like me. Come the Spring, we'll swing our noses around and be rolling back north, followin' the Wild Geese.

You know, this life could be easier for sure. I could be blessed with a few more dollars and my worries would be nigh on to nuthin'! But, no matter what... whether I'm livin' "Fat Cow or Poor Bull" ... my gypsy drifting ways are Glorious Shining Times!

I don't believe I could tolerate any other way.

Grab You Handles and RIDE!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Getting the Last Good Out of a Motorcycle Helmet

I replaced my Nolan N103 Helmet a few weeks ago. It should have had another year or two before needing to be replaced, for safety reasons from the shell age... but the mechanisms in it to operate the the visors and the modular face shield were coming to operate so poorly I was fed up with it.

I opted this time for a cheaper but better fitting HJC CL16, Standard full face.

The only problem with this new helmet was that it doesn't have the slick and still operating well, chin strap quick release that's built into the Nolan Helmets.

I picked up a variety of quick release when I bought the HJC...

But... I can't say I'm satisfied with it.

It laces onto the existing helmet chin straps... but for me it operates kind of clumsy/awkward.

Once you have it laced in and adjusted up right... You have to have the prongs aimed just right for it to fit into the slot...

Which for a lot of riders might NOT be an issue...

For me it has proven to be. Funbling around with something under my chin, that I can't see, is apparently... NOT... a skill of mine.

I got the dang thing wedged wrong a couple of times... and had a hell of a time getting it loose so I could take the helmet off. :)

Sooooo.... since that Old Nolan was still cluttering up the floor of the rig (I hadn't used it as dumpster filler yet) I had the bright Idea of scavenging it's Nolan quick release and splicing it onto my HJC Helmet!

Only took a couple minutes spinning a grinding stone in my Dewalt cordless to wear off the rivets and yank the whole strap system out of the Nolan N103.

It turns out... I could have just cut the hardware loose for the most part.

After I cut a couple of bits loose from the straps on the HJC helmet and one piece of the Nolan's strapping, to let me lace in the hardware I was in business.

The male piece just laced right onto the Longer of the HJC straps. Snugged up tight it was right where it needed to be.

On the other side... the female piece, is right up against the D-rings. It adjusts up snug enough but there's nothing left if I get any scrawnyer!

I can still work the red release lever to pull it when I'm taking it off.

If I gain the ambition I may just remove the D-rings and rivet the strap holding the Female end of the Helmet Strap quick release to the HJC factory strap. That would allow me to bump it over a lil' bit and gain a little more adjustment flexibility in the system... but for now, being lazy... I'll just use it as it is, since it is secure and works!

You just push the male end in slick and easy. A lot smoother system. Was I HJC I think I'd try to license the use of Nolan's Motorcycle helmet quick release! :) 

As for the strength of the rivets I'd use? ... Having run my own custom leather and tack repair shop for ten years or so... The helmet would rip my head off before four or so of those rivets would break! So on that account I'm not concerned at all.

Grab Your Handles and Ride