Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall is coming

Fall is definitely on it's way, with a departure time yesterday of 9:30am it was an invigorating 50 degrees and sunny. An absolutely beautiful morning, but still a reminder that colder months are coming. I really can't complain, we've had wonderful riding weather this year and if last winter is any indication of this year I should be able to get a couple rides in every month throughout winter. I've got some decent cold weather gear so I never winterize my bike, it's always at ready in my garage for that unexpected nice ride.

What made yesterday's ride even more special for me was that my oldest son, James, was riding with me! Between college and his girlfriend there's not much time left for riding. Also being your typical broke college student a bike is out of the question at this point in his life, so I try to keep my Vulcan 900 ready so he can scratch the proverbial itch.

3 friends and co-workers also had itches to scratch so the 5 of us met up and hit the road. There's not many pics from the ride, we just wanted to ride so there weren't very many stops. Kansas makes for some great, straight, flat roads, while the scenery can be unique in itself, it does get quite boring after awhile. Although, if one gets adventurous and gets away from the beaten path, twisties can be found, lol! Highway 99 between Wamego and highway 177 is one of those roads. While it may not be the Dragon or Arkansas, for Kansas this is a great ride of twisty roads through rolling hills and farms with little or no traffic. All totaled we got about 250 miles in yesterday and a stop at our local HD/Kawi dealer for some mandatory drooling, lol!
Here's the group at one of our stops overlooking Lake Wabunsee. Doug and his Honda Shadow Sabre 1100, my Meanstreak, Don's 1200 Sporty, James and the Vulcan 900, and Nate's Vulcan 900.
About the only things missing to make this a perfect ride was my wife, who opted out of this ride, and my youngest son Jayson who is currently at Sheppard AFB for his Navy A-school. Still a great ride though!
Keep the shiny side up!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Those that know me, know that I rarely drink. I may have an occasional beer in certain situations but that rarely totals more than a 6 pack in a year. Twenty-some years ago it was different, I drank heavy and often, and always suffered a violent hangover the next day. One day I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired so I just stopped. Fast forward to last Thursday night. A good friend and co-worked stopped by with a bottle of Tequila, one of my son's friends stopped by with beer and since none of us had to work Friday we proceeded to get completely smashed. Since all of us ride that was the topic of the evening, from watching YouTube videos of bikes we'll never be able to afford to planning road trips we'll never be able to do, we spent the evening at my house consuming entirely too much Tequila and beer. By midnight I was done, knowing that one more shot would have me worshipping at the porcelain altar, I was off to my spinning bed. The next day, yup, still get nasty hangovers. I was wishing that the guy in my head with the jackhammer would just stop, lol! By 4:30pm I was starting to feel human again. It's been over 10 years since I've drank that much and it'll probably be another 10 before I do it again. Friday was completely wasted in recovery mode, but today, I ride!

Keep the shiny side up!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

SCRC State Meet

We had a great evening ride to Wichita last Friday. It's about a 3hr ride for us so we left late in the afternoon and met up with some members of our chapter for the ride down. Once of the things I like the most about riding in Kansas is the lack of traffic, it made for a great cruise on the open highway. Our chapter is small and going through some reorganization so there was only 5 of us that could make it. Pictured is Frosty's '82 Honda CBX, my Kawasaki Meanstreak , Mouse's '07 Gold Wing, Sarge's '07 Yamaha Venture, and Azul's '8? Yamaha Venture, topping off at a truck stop in Junction City getting ready for the ride to Wichita.

Everyone hanging out hoping for their number to be called for a raffle item, lol!

It was a very good turn out for the 1st state meet with 60 or so bikes in attendance.

The meet was a great success and the Air Capitol Chapter of SCRC did a great job of hosting it, these guys put alot of work into it, my hat's off to them! Saturday afternoon there was a group run, it was very cool having that many bikes together. One of the best parts was when the group left the park for the ride, the hosting chapter had coordinated with the city police and we had an escorted ride, complete with traffic blocks, to the main highway. It was a short run, about 50 miles, but still fun on the backroads of Kansas. At the end of the day when all the raffle money and donations were counted almost $800 was donated to St. Judes Childrens Hospital, way to go SCRC!!

Some notes-
The streets in Wichita suck! They're rough and not well maintained. We stayed at EconoLodge, the prices aren't bad, $30-something a night, the rooms were pretty decent, cable, fridge, microwave, good sized bathroom, but I think the cleaning crew forgot how to vacuum, the carpet was nasty, but it was livable for a couple nights.

No run is complete without thanks. I've got to thank my brothers and sisters in our chapter, Rolling Hills 314, spending time and getting to know you guys was priceless, I am indeed fortunate to call you friends. Mouse, your generosity is inspiring, thank you. Chu and the rest of Air Capitol Chapter 277, thank you for all your hard work for putting this together, it was a blast!!

Ride safe!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ready for the weekend!

Why is it that when I know I can sleep in, I can't? We work 4, 10 hour days at the shop, 7am till 5:30pm Monday through Thursday, and with the current economy there's no overtime allowed(unless you're one of the owners "special" people, which I'm not, lol!). Work this week was especially chaoitic and busy, lots of orders, but that's a good thing, job security. My normal day starts with coffee about 5am, then off to the shop by 6 to get everything opened up and ready for the day. With the additional orders this week and being short on help, I grabbed my welding gear and jumped in the production process to help meet deadlines. By the end of the day yesterday(our last day of the work week)I was pretty beat up and ready for the weekend. I did a couple things around the house and by 8:30 I was in bed looking forward to sleeping in for a change, not! At 5 this morning I just woke up, no alarm clock, no reason, my internal clock just told me it was time to get up, so much for sleeping in, lol!

Maybe it was the anticipation of this weekend. I have been looking forward to this weekend for a while. Tomorrow is our state picnic for the Kansas chapters of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club. I really enjoy being a part of SCRC, family oriented, fund raisers for a very worthy cause(St. Judes Childrens Hospital)no bar-hopping runs(I'm not a big drinker at all)they don't care what you ride, and I've met some of nicest folks. After a lot of searching, I found a local chapter of SCRC and after a couple runs with them, I joined, it's a great fit. Our chapter decided to meet up this afternoon and head to the state meet a day early, and make a weekend out of it. We're all very excited about this, it's the first time our chapter has done a multiple day ride, we can't wait!! This is also the 1st time in over a decade that it's just my wife and I going, no kids! We've never been big on babysitters, I think we've used them twice when our boys were very young, but beyond that we never used them, we'd rather spend the time together. It's going to be a great weekend!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Bee and the Biker

Woke up to a nice day so after some coffee and messing around the house for a bit I decided to take advantage of a wonderful day. My wife didn't want to ride ride today so I changed things up a bit, I rode my '07 Vulcan 900 Classic. Normally my oldest son rides it but since he was busy with other things I decided to take it out. It is a blast to ride! The 900cc mill pulls it along just fine on the highways and byways not to mention it gets about 50 mpg. I didn't plan on alot of miles today, just kicked back cruising the countryside enjoying the day, still managed around 170 miles.

The Bee

As I was cruising along a county highway I felt a bug impact on my chest, nothing major, in Kansas you get used to it and just keep right on rolling. A few miles later I feel something that's like a pin-prick on my side, then on my stomach, then on my side, it was a damn bee! By this point my left hand and the bee are playing cat and mouse under my vest while the rest of me is trying to find a safe spot to pull over on this narrow 2-lane road. By the time I finally caught up with the bee, I had probably been stung a half dozen times or so. I promptly squished the little bugger and got pulled over so I could clean it's entrails out of my shirt. Thank God I'm not allergic to bee stings!!

The Biker

I stopped in one of the towns later on my ride to get some coffee and stretch a bit. As I pull into the gas station I see a Harley sitting at the pumps, looked like a very nice Deuce. I pulled off the the side of the store and on my way in I ran into the owner. He was dressed much like me, blue jeans, chaps, t-shirt and vest, we exchanged hello's going through the door. In passing I noticed that he was wearing "MC" colors. This is where it got entertaining, as I'm going to the 2nd set of doors which have a mirrored tint to them, I see him turn around to see if I'm wearing colors(I don't, just a large POW/MIA patch)I got a chuckle out of that. I get my coffee and after I paid for it I'm heading towards the door and I see him take off on his bike, circle around mine giving it the once over, then goes and parks on the opposite side of the parking lot, making it very obvious he wants no part of a conversation. Each to their own, but I found it entertaining, lol!

A shot of the bridge over the Big Blue River with Blue Rapids, Ks in the background.

One of the few curves in our area, alot of fun!

Centralia Lake, our family used to camp and fish there about 12 years ago, very nice relaxing place, might have to go camping again!

Veterans Memorial Wall in Seneca, Ks.

I don't usually take gravel roads, but for whatever reason I decided to today and got these pics.

Marysville, Ks. The black squirrel city, cute little buggers!

The Washington County Veterans Memorial, the company I work for built this out of steel, had it galvanized and donated it to the county.
Keep the shiny side up!

Friday, September 11, 2009


After what seemed like months(actually a couple weeks)I finally had the chance for a relaxed, wandering ride. I left the house about 1pm with no real destination in mind and the only stipulation was that I had to be at a Southern Cruisers meeting at 7pm. Awesome! 6hrs to just cruise! After about an hour or so ride I stopped by the local Kawasaki/HD dealer just for kicks. They had some beautiful HD's there(as usual), but the one that really caught my eye was the new Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager, it was absolutely stunning! I've seen pics, but hadn't seen one in person till today, it's now on my short list for touring bikes.

On to the ride! After my stop at the dealer, I headed out onto Kansas backroads, it was a beautiful, partly sunny day right at 80 degrees, can't ask for much better than that! While the flinthills of Kansas may not have the twisties or jaw-dropping beauty of the mountains, it has a rural beauty all its own.

A high point of the SCRC meeting was seeing our 1st Officer up and about. He recently suffered a heart attack and had 3 stints put in and is now back on his Wing! After the meeting it was dark and I had about 70 miles to go to get home. I don't mind riding at night, but it also takes extra vigilance watching for forest rats. Once away from the lights of the city, I started noticing other lights to the north, the direction I was heading, it was lightning. Oh well, nothing to do but keep riding and hope for the best! About 15 miles from home the wind switched and started gusting from the north, the temp dropped and I could smell rain. As luck would have it I missed the rain and made it home. A great day of riding and was able to get about 230 miles in.

Keep the shiny side up!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


As I sit here in the motel having my 1st cup of coffee of the day before our road trip home I can't help but think how blessed I am. While I may not be rich in a monetary sense, in a family sense I am one of the richest men in the world. I have a wonderful wife that has stuck by me through everything over the past 22 years, my oldest son(20) is always willing to put his life on hold to spend time with us and always put our family 1st even when that means he's going to be way behind when he gets back to college tomorrow, my youngest son has always put family 1st and now has chosen to serve his country. I'm very proud of my family and I have also been very blessed to have such a family.

Ride safe!

Monday, September 7, 2009


For the past week my wife, my oldest son, and myself have had the opportunity to share in the welcome of 986 brave young men and women into the US Navy, my youngest son was among them. As he reached one of the most important milestones in his life, graduating Navy boot camp, I experienced one of the proudest moments of mine. There are few things more honorable than serving ones country. I would like to thank all of our vets, past and present, for all that you do! Here's my son-

He's now on his way to Texas for A-school and we're packing up and getting ready to head home in the morning. As amazing as it was to spend the past 5 days with my son, after living in a Motel 6 since last Wednesday night, it will be great to get home! Too bad we have an 11.5 hr drive ahead of us, lol! Fortunately for me my oldest son has done all the driving on this trip, to include an excursion into downtown Chicago! He's done an outstanding job of getting us around in the sometimes insane traffic, he's an excellent, safe driver.

The Chicago area was a cool place to visit, but I doubt I'll return anytime soon. Between the traffic and the general over-crowding, this place is not for me. However, I did get to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe! Anyway, here's some pics of our trip-

My family at Bass Pro Shops-

My son dreaming of his next bike-

Hopefully one of my future blogs includes a trip to Texas to visit my son! Right now I'll be happy to get home and get some riding in!

Keep the shiny side up!