Friday, March 29, 2013

Much is Made of the Freedom of the Open Road

All try to explain the unexplainable. They try to photograph that which cannot be seen. They try to grasp what cannot be touched. They adorn an ethereal philosophical emotion with names that can in no way stretch to encompass the vastness of what they attempt to label.

Those that don't "get it" never will and ridicule the idea and those who hold it. They regale you with tales of the cost of fuel and tires; the speed limits; The jobs required to finance their travels. Even the weather that pushes them inside. All the things that they claim make Freedom an impossibility... and they MISS the truth...

They don't get it and never will. Their minds have been closed to the possibility of something better, something greater and so they are immune to and devoid of its power.

On the other side of the coin; Those that DO "get it" frequently fall into the trap of flowery, nirvana scented poetry parroting how all becomes sweetness and light, once you straddle a pair of motorized wheels and put your nose in the wind.

They're BOTH wrong.

Freedom is NOT about the absence of trial or responsibility, nor a life of unending sunshine and joy. It is NOT a physical condition of the body or the environment it exists in.

Freedom is an ethereal condition within the spirit and the soul.

The keys to the doorway of Freedom are many. The trails are diverse. The rewards identical.

There are those who find it peering through the lens of a camera...

For some their key is found hanging on a thin strand of rope, clinging to the rocky wall of a mountain, high above the canyon floor.

For others it is soaring the sky on polyester wings.

Some might find theirs along a far country trail...

For most of us here, they are hidden in the wind... the horizon stretching out before...

two wheels chasing the paint stripes...

a ribbon of asphalt trailing behind...

When you find it, you know it. You can't describe it. You've never seen it before but you recognize it. You "Get" it. You have it, it's yours... and No One can ever take it from you.

THAT, indescribable, ethereal, Essence... is Freedom.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Music of Footpegs and Twisting Asphalt

I like the twisties...what can I say? I like the twisties... and... I like a cruiser motorcycles too...

Now... a cruiser, even one with the sheer grunt on tap of a Raider, can't hope to keep up with a sure 'nuff sport bike... but that don't mean they're pokin' along like some hobblin' cripple neither!

A few rides back I was feeling pretty fine, swingin' through the mountains... the bike leans over... scrrrruuuuuunnnnchiinnnng! Ha ha. You know... the sound that lil' gizmo under the foot pegs makes when you engage the automatic in-motion length adjuster? :)

Yeah... it always makes me giggle. Which is ok when I'm straddlin' the scooter solo. When the back seat is occupied... not so much.

It's become apparent to me that the music of scrapin' pegs don't appeal to some others like it does to me.

There's most generally a small bruise, a couple of inches above the bottom of my shoulder blade on the right side. It's amazing how close it resembles the lil' balled up fist of herself! ;)

SO... we were riding out of camp to find a BBQ supper last evening. Where the dirt track we're camped up meets the pavement there's a small slope where it meets the broken edge of the pavement. I'd crossed that earlier in the day without thinkin' about it. Riding Two Up... there was a fairly solid scrunch and a bump...

'tween that breakover and a low sittin' bike sittin' a bit lower with two up... there was a mite of a conflict...

When we got to the Hog Wild BBQ place in Cottonwood for supper... I got down to make sure I'd just tarnished the surface of the under frame and not cut any major arteries! ;)

And that was all it was... just a new road blemish to add to the patina under the frame of a Yamaha Raider road bike! ;) buuuuut... up in front of that there WAS something that kinda caught my attention...

Apparently... those sounds I'd heard those few previous rides... before this last rain... weren't ALL the footpeg "lean" sensors getting shorter... :) Some of it was a bit of the Hide off of my Hard Chrome exhaust pipes... getting left behind! :)

I've kinda thought I'd been riding a lot more sedately in my aging years...

Guess not so much! HooYa!

What can I say... I are who I are and ever' once in a while ya just gotta let the tiger loose!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Is It a Bad Day or a Good Day?

The ride I made through Jerome the other day was just that... right on through it going and coming. I decided that was shortin' the town a good bit. So I thought we should make another short trip and stop this time.

You know, with a reputed 158 curves in 12 miles the Mingus Mtn road above Jerome is right up there in the class of the Coronado Trail over south of Alpine... and the 11 miles of The Dragon back east for technical riding...

Though, at 119 miles I'd have to give the edge to Arizona's Coronado Trail... and I bet those boys back east aren't dodging Elk along with the cagers and sports bike boys pushing to reach eternity juuuuust a mite quicker!

We walked about and took in the town one more time. Since we both grew up in Arizona it's kind of fun to see the changes over the years... I remember back in the '60's when Jerome was just a bunch of hippies and desert rats living in crumbling old buildings trying to slide off the mountain...

If you want to ride up and stay right there... you might just call ahead and book a stay in the Jerome Grand Hotel.

*Jerome Grand Hotel*

The building started nearly a hundred years ago as the finest hospital in Arizona... I heard a guy say the other day that; The Jerome Grand Hotel allows travelers to rent a "Hospital room for less than $5000 bucks a day!"  :)

When you get hungry... it looked like the Jerome Palace just down the hill had a booming business... I know walking past it sure smelled good... I was just unwilling to wait a half hour standing in the sun for lunch! Ya'll might have better luck. :) There's a hell of a lot of options up there.

Jerome is a fairly Motorcycle friendly town... if you take them setting up a Motorcycle Parking Only lot to mean anything...

*The sign in the middle says; Motorcycle Parking Only*

I was standing across the street waiting on the back seat who was checking out the offerings in one of the shops... and these two riders stopped in front of me and set to inspecting some sort of difficulty with the bike that apparently belongs to the rider squatted beside it...

They were Vets/Legion riders and apparently buddies.

*A Covertly taken pic of a pair of riders on a Good or a Bad Day?*

Bein' the nosy sort I kinda overheard some of their conversation... The fella standing behind was saying something like; "Yeah, that's why I had you climb back on and sit on it for a bit... Some guys can never get back on if they wait too long!"

From what I could gather stickin' my nose in other peoples business ;) It seemed that somewhere riding up, the guy squattin' down must have dropped it. If you look real close at the windshield you can see the scratches they checked out later... They were looking hard at his right side footboard that sure didn't wanna work right, along with a few other bits. It looked like the highway bar was pushed back into the pedals...

The thing is this; The scooter was still rideable and rolling. I looked the rider over as he moved around; He bore no wounds, no limps and no tears... So, considering the bike went down... and he rode her home...

What would you call it? I'd call that a Pretty Good Day! :)

Ride on up. Catch a room at the Hotel or roll on over the top of Mingus Mtn and grin on over to Prescott to find a room... You can spend your evening there on Whisker Row! :) Just use a lil' sense sippin' a cool one in Jerome if you're gonna ride the mountain!

Now... a lil' side bar story; I was photographin' the corner of a building... tryin' to do that arts fartsy architectural photo stuff... you know... trying to cultivate some culture! ;) and this couple walked by me...

The guy glanced at me as they strolled by then looked up at where I was pointing my camera... shrugged looked over at his girlfriend and said something...

...Looked back up at what I was shooting and then after another shrug said something else to her... to which they both had a pretty fair giggle... OK... Fine... I don't mind giving folks a nice laugh... adds to my self worth! :)

But... Seriously?

Ya'll are gonna laugh at what I'm trying to take a picture of ???

*High style Coiffed Locks in Jerome*

Uh... Folks that Live in Glass Houses... Rocks and all that stuff...

Just sayin'... ;)

I won't post up any more pics of Jerome for now... gotta leave some of  the town for you to discover on your own!

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bikes along the Road...

This one I spotted when we pulled into the Wildflower Bread Company cafe in Sedona the other day.

I've only ever seen these Boss Hoss bikes in photographs. Never on the road. They've always made me wonder how they handled.

Think about it for a second... A V-Twin... and most all motorcycle motors... the rotaion of the engine is pretty much inline with the bike...

This Chevy V8 is spinnin' cross ways...

Years ago I'd built a hot rod chevy pickup. The 350 V8 motor in that thing was close to 400 HP. If I blipped the throttle on that truck, the whole rig rocked. SO... I always thought with these Boss Hoss motorcycles... blip the throttle and the scooter's likely to throw itself on the ground! :)

As luck would have it, I managed to find us a table right beside the guy... who appeared to be about my age an' not much bigger... who was ridin' this Beast of a Motorcycle.

He told me that he'd had an old BMW bike with that opposed motor that torqued the bike more than this big American Iron brute. The fella swore it wasn't much and he didn't even notice it...

Whatever, the bike is an Awesome machine... it's pretty intimidating to look at... I thought my 113 cubic inch Raider was a big bike... not so much... 350+- Chevy cubes kinda takes that prize don't it! :)

Only thing I can say is... at 1200#'s or so, 350ci +- and 445hp!!!... The Boss Hoss is juuuuuuust a bit more bike than I wanna Horse around! :)

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Thursday, March 7, 2013

On the Arizona Road

We're camped in a dispersed camp spot a stones throw east of Cottonwood in the Verde Valley.

Sonja carried me up Hwy 260 past the town yesterday to turn off onto Arizona 89A and climb up into the Black Hills to the west.

*Climbing 89A toward Jerome, Arizona*

A few miles of Arizona two lane takes you to the one time copper mining town of Jerome.

Time it right and it'd be a good place for a late breakfast, lunch or you could put up for the night in the Jerome Hotel which sits just about the highest building on the hill.

Take care riding through the town. I was standing on the dirt, taking this pic of the town when an impatient scooter driver goosed his worn Honda to squirt around a slow car. Trouble is... he crossed the solid yellow two stripe die-rectly in front of the town's Black and White that lay hidden behind a collection of parked cars along the shoulder... OOPS

They've got a "noise ordinance" too... so keep your rpm down and you'll have no difficulties.

The streets are narrow and busy with cagers throwing doors open, tight corners and roads coming in from odd angles all over... don't be in a hurry... best to stop and take a stroll around anyhoo. ;)

Up above town as you leave going west rises the Black Hills and Mingus Mtn. A sweet ride.

In the summer there's a campground up on top. Keep going and you come down into Prescott and its storied whiskey row. 

I had to turn around at the top and roll back to camp for an appointment to do some 4 wheel tourista stuff in the afternoon with herself.

On the way back down... I tried to do some video hand holding my Nikon...

... uh... rolling along that winding road, twisting the throttle with one hand and gripping the camera with the other does NOT make for good video! :) I REALLY need to get that stolen helmet cam replaced!

Arizona 89A would be a fine road to film a ride over.

If you're riding from Phoenix to Flagstaff... I'd recommend you get off of that damned four lane slab. Cut over to the west on 169 at Cordes Junction. Turn right onto 69 at Dewey and roll up through Prescott. Find 89A and come over the mountain from the SW.

After you come down through Jerome and Cottonwood, stay on 89A up through Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon and on to Flagstaff. A whole lot better ride than the tedium of an interstate.

Fact is, I'd stay in the area a few days. There's roads to ride, and sights to see for several day trips using Prescott, Jerome, Cottonwood,  or Sedona as a base.

If I'm ever able to wrangle the thing together... this is an area I'd really like to consider for a comfortable camp for drifting bikers...

Grab Your Handles and Ride