Posted by: nativeiowan | September 4, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… Ol fart travels…

 Love drivn’ cross country…. This is such a glorious landscape… 

Tunnels through the mountain… 
   

 The mighty Colorado River…

 

Posted by: nativeiowan | September 2, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… White lin’n … ol farts style…

Only 350 miles today. A busy morn and spent too many hours “fixx’n” this morn. Will crank it tomorrow. Up early, drive long. White lin’n it with intent…

White lin’n, HWY 15, between Baker and Vegas… IMG_2735

Mesquite, NV… IMG_2736

Posted by: nativeiowan | September 2, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… Time Travel

About 5am here in Pasadena, CA. I have been up for about an hour. Will make a small pot of coffee soon. Plan to grab a rental car pretty soon, then hit the road.

Ioway bound…

I think I have my Time-Travel illnesses all in order. I managed to keep moving until about 8pm last eve. I was awake enough so I can state with confidence that I turned the TV off in the early parts of the movie, “Top Gun”. Woke at least twice to pump the bilges, was pretty much awake around 3am and lights on by 4.

Time-Travel can be a bitch.

So I sit, in the pre-dawn quiet of the city. The only noise I hear is my refrigerator.

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go… or so the song goes…

I always like cross-country road-tripping in this vast land. There are maybe, MAYBE; lands that offer different, or more, or exotic or… But the US of A is the land of the long-straight-road. I am always inspired by the landscapes, and the people, and the road-sides, and the adventure a few thousands miles travel can offer here.

So, it’s on the road again… another song… I’ll head through Vegas and through the Rockies. Nebraska looms large and boring out there. But Ioway is on the other side of that expanse called Nebraska. A very Catholic thing in my mind… gotta go through Hell (Nebraska) to get to Purgatory (Iowa). “Where is Heaven”, I hear you ask…

I have found many heavens in my time. Heaven, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder…

For me, these days; heaven is hanging with my grandkids, or scratching a mangy dog’s belly and watching the dog smile in delight, or making a 50 yr old engine come back to life, or a great big pot of ol-skool beans that took me 10 hours to cook, or my garden busting with veggies… or, maybe-  OR… roses in bloom. OR: A chilled morning where the fog hangs like a bridal veil over our property in Queensland. OR…A blazing red and orange sunrise seen from the waters between Gizo and Simbo. Heaven is polishing a vintage motorcycle to showroom brightness… Heaven is so many things that I gotta smile and idiot’s grin of pleasure and childish delight…

Smiles

Posted by: nativeiowan | September 2, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… Pasadena Time…

Thoughts from Pasadena…

Flying into LAX is always a bit of a trip. Today was interesting in that a heavy, low cloud covered the city. As we flew in to land, I could see the world below, through thick cotton puffs.

I have learned that 12 hours on a plane ain’t that difficult. I dredd flying to London from Oz. It’s a double 12 hr hop with a few hours somewhere; Hong Kong, Thailand, Abu Dabi… a long time to be sitting on your arse.

My taxi driver, Rodrigez, was an affable older dude with lots to say. A native of LA he had informed opinions. I enjoyed talking to him. Traffic was average for a Tuesday morning. Lots of Police on the road.

Got in and started sorting things out. The main thing when you -Time Travel- is to get into the local time immediately…

I slept little on Monday night in OZ. I was up and going by 5am Tuesday morn. On the road by 6am. At the airport by 8am. Taking off by 11am. So from 5am to 11am, on Tuesday I was in Oz…

I landed in LA at 6am, on Tuesday. Thats what I call -Time Travel-

I have been awake for 31 hours, not counting some dozing on the plane. I am floaty and kinda giddy. Tired but well aware… I wouldn’t get on my bike, and I probably shant go walking very far, but I am good for another few hours. Sun sets about 720, I can make that.

On the road toward Ioway tomorrow morn…

more later

Posted by: nativeiowan | September 2, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… on the road n flying high…

I am sitting in a departure lounge in Brisbane. Leaning the land of Oz, again.

I got up early, too early, n got here too early because Connie has an appointment at 9. My flight is not until 11, so I get to sit here and observe.

I have done what little emailing and “work” I must, have read a local paper, and sit here as the lounge fills. It was pretty empty when I got here.

I fly a lot so end up with a platinum frequent flyer rating, which means when ever I travel I get the use of The Lounge. Not that it’s amazing, but it is convenient.

A guy behind me is snoring quite loudly. He does that -snort n swallow then gasp- every so often.

The Auckland flight just got called so Mr snoring is packing up to go.

The efficient n friendly staff do a good job. They offer coffee n pastries n shitty scrambled eggs n mini wieners. The coffee is from a self serve button pusher machine. One cup at a time… Latte, flat white, espresso are only a button push away. The line at the coffee machine is always long.

The bizzy beaver bizzyness types are all plugged- in. Computers charging as they yakk into their phones. A couple puss-gutted lawyer types, with monstrous brief cases, discuss their pending case. The married couples sit quietly by each other.

I can only peg one couple as the “dirty weekend” goers. He is older, has some grey and shows his $. She is younger but not that young. They are over hapi , too gay, too anticipatory. They touch a lot. Laugh loudly. I bet they are heading to Fiji.

Looks like I am the only drinker this morn. My flight is long, we fly into the day so within a few hours it’ll be night. I will hit LAX at 6am, so don’t want coffee. Coffee is not good right now. I don’t want food either. But a bit of sedative, what a fine idea…

Just called my flight…

More later

Posted by: nativeiowan | August 27, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… 50 years of Triumph Coooool…

Sorting a new project out, a new double-headed project…

I call the repainted 2013 Thruxton “The Joker”…IMG_2611

I have dusted the ’63 T120R off…  IMG_2609

I’ll do the ’63 up, thinking of changing all that is black to purple; keep the vintage green as is, polish it up and…

I will have a “pair of Jokers”… side by side you see 50 years of Triumph way cool.

IMG_2610  IMG_2612

Vroom…

Posted by: nativeiowan | August 3, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… HWY 550 Colorado

In the state of Colorado of the United States of America there’s a special highway built in the late 1930’s. The Million Dollar Highway, part of the San Juan Skyway, is one of the nation’s most spectacular drives. You’ll be on the “outside” for a while with a hell of a view to your right (let the passenger look. You’ll want to watch the road). It’s fine as long as you don’t drive too fast for conditions. But if you do, the consequences are severe.

From Durango, through Silverton and Ouray, to Ridgway, the highway delivers jaw-dropping vista after vista. It was cut from the side of the mountain and became know as the “Million Dollar Highway”. It’s one of the most scenic drives in the USA.  The Million Dollar Highway stretches for about 25 miles (40 km) in western Colorado and follows the route of U.S. 550 between Silverton and Ouray,Colorado. It is part of the San Juan Skyway. Between Durango and Silverton the Skyway loosely parallels the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The road climbs up to 3 very high mountain passes. Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft /3,240 m); Molas Pass (10,970 ft /3,340 m) and Red Mountain Pass (11,018 ft /3,358 m).

The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. Large RVs travel in both directions often. The road is kept open year-round. Summer temperatures can range from 70–90 °F highs at the ends of the highway to 50–70 °F in the mountain passes. The snow season starts in October, and snow will often close the road in winter. Chains may be required to drive.

You’ll be on the “outside” for a while with a hell of a view to your right (let the passenger look. You’ll want to watch the road.) There are a number of turns around mountains that you’ll take at 10 mph. Though the entire stretch has been called the Million Dollar Highway, it is really the twelve miles (19 km) south of Ouray through the Uncompahgre Gorge to the summit of Red Mountain Pass which gains the highway its name. This stretch through the gorge is challenging and potentially hazardous to drive; it is characterized by steep cliffs, narrow lanes, and a lack of guardrails; the ascent of Red Mountain Pass is marked with a number of hairpin “S” curves used to gain elevation, and again, narrow lanes for traffic—many cut directly into the sides of mountains.

Driving south you’ll be on the “outside” with no guardrails. So, use caution and enjoy the magnificent scenery. The origin of the name Million Dollar Highway is disputed. There are several legends, though, including that it cost a million dollars a mile to build in the 1920s, and that its fill dirt contains a million dollars in gold ore. First time you drive it, it’s a real breath taker. Lots of sweaty palms. Coming out of Silverton north there are several switchbacks.

The road’s winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. Offering breathtaking mountain, valley and gorge views, the Million Dollar Highway is one of the most beloved roads in the country. This classic stretch of two-lane blacktop snakes its way through the San Juan Mountains, the wildest and most rugged peaks in the Rockies.

Posted by: nativeiowan | August 1, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… Rid’n Naked 2015 v.”the last chapter”

Ok, sitting in Pasadena. Lets see… Only 5765 miles this month. My only ride thus far in North America for 2015. I’ll try to articulately recap and comment on my ride(s)…

On Saturday the 11th of July 2015 I took off from Pasadena for Montana. I rode about 650 miles the first day, all up I-15. Hot n boring this time of the year, but the traffic is faast. Very faast. So I managed to get about half way in the first day. By starting very early and doing a bit more distance, I managed to cover almost 750 miles the second day and got into Polson, MT. I spent that night and the full next day, and rode the same route home in the same time and at the same speeds. All in all, a very doable long-ride of almost 800 miles, one way… polson copy

The Aussie lads showed up as planned and we got reeady to riide… We did the first leg over 2 days… riding day 1 from Pasadena to Santa Rosa, then up early n breakfast in Occidental, for a day of riding HWY 1 north … srosa copy… and the HWY 1 ride from Jenner to Legget is obscene its so good. This time traffic was kind and the weather was fair.  Great stretch of road, if not one of the best for light n low riding.

Our next jaunt took us over I-80… heading mainly to the Bonneville Salt Flats we spent night one in Elko, a strangely pleasant place to visit. I have stayed in Elko before and always ride away with a smile… We visited the Salt flats and, after I sprung my back in California, I decided to rest a couple of days in Sandy, UT. UT copy

So a good rest then we took a great, great ride down to Durango… the first few hundred miles are boring but after you turn off toward Naturita it all gets pretty hot. Sadly my sore back was not happy, and I felt like the guy in the game “Operation”. Each bump and corner n switch back made my nose glow red with pain. My lower lumbar were getting banged each bump, each jolt, each tweek n torque. Durango copy Hwy 550 is amazing. I’ll ride it again, and write more about it later…

At Durango I was pretty much done riding. That day had been fierce on my back. I was not a happy camper and my sciatic nerve was screaming from L-4 to my right ankle. It was time to tap-out…

Tuesday morn Graham and Gary rode off on their own, n I rode to Paragosa. My “sister’s ex-husband”, Don, lives in Paragosa. So I showed up at his door about noon Monday, found a hotel near by, and spent All Monday and Tuesday reliving past tales, catching up on new lives, n basically having one hell of a good BS session. And it was good… better than good…

So I next, with a sore back that had been rested, rode toward Flagstaff, AZ. The ride through Cortez n southwest toward Flagstaff was good. I got to Flagstaff early so rode onto Kingman…

az copy

The last day was short but harsh. My back was/ is sore and the few hundred miles were all a nervie sorta washboard ride. It was good n traffic was kind but after I got into Pasadena about noon I was done with riding. I was sore, slow n happy to be “home”…Az-ca copy

This morning I decided to go trade my trusty trumpet in… for an identical ride… I rode in with almost 14000 miles on this rig…IMG_2542

the clock after this month’s riding so almost 6ooo miles… IMG_2545

And the new clock… IMG_2546 …only 27 miles when I got her home…IMG_2547 … Same colour, same year, n the same, very good, ride…

More to come…. more vroom, later…

Posted by: nativeiowan | July 26, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… liv’n on SLC Time

Sunday in Salt Lake City, Utah. Home of The Church of the Later Day of Saints…

Saints… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints

We got here yesterday after noon and our first stop was the Local bike shop. My bike has had some gravity issues. I broke my front-left foot-peg way back in California. It has been a bitch without it. I took my right-rear peg and put it in the front and it’s OK but not right, I rode almost 1000 miles. But it not right, AND, I don’t have my rear peg to stretch out on. Which is a bitch.

I tweeked my back and shoulder on the first day. Nothing major but enough to create some arthritic inflation in my right shoulder and my lower lumbar. Riding without the rear peg to adjust my weight linearly has been rough.

The only peg the dealer in SLC had, that would fit my bike, is from a sport-adventure bike. It’s not like mine, but it will do. It cost me way too much but I was not in a position to be fussy. I needed the peg – ANY peg.

So after we got our hotel yesterday, and got our bellies filled, it was early to bed for me. The boys were planning a ride into the foothills. They had discussed good rides with fellas at the bike shop and had a number of recommendations.

They boys were up early. I spelt until 830am. They dropped off their laundry as they prepared for their ride. I wanted to stay back, clean my bike, sort the new peg out, n get my laundry done. I was happy to wash their gear as they went for some vroom time.

So my bike is right. I went to Walmart n bought a few things. Washed the bike at a car wash right next door. Sat under a shady tree n sorted my bike out. She’ll be fine for another couple thousand miles. What a sweet, sweet bike.

I came back and got the laundry done. Soon I will start packing my bag. Look forward to the road in the morn…

Where we going? Looks like the boys and I have set a pattern… ride less distance each day, stopping every second day for two days to recover and look around and launder-up.

So we are heading into the southwest of Utah and should be sleeping in Colorado tomorrow night…

SLC copy

Vroom

Posted by: nativeiowan | July 25, 2015

Mike’s Bikes… Long Riding through the US

And doing it naked.

I am riding my Thruxton – WHAT A MACHINE -, and the boys are riding new Bonnevilles.

We left Santa Rosa at 6am, rode through the Napa Valley, and hit Interstate 80. We had decided to simply ride west. No prebookings or real targets. Just ride west. Grab a hotel when we were ready. I write this sitting in a hotel bed in Elko, Nevada.

elko 1 copy

Elko is a cool place. I stayed here a few years ago. The story begins at the end of the day… about 15 miles out of Elko we got nailed but a high country, Nevada storm. Heavy rain, some hail and almost zero vizz-ability. Not terribly fun. And cold. Did I say COLD?

When we came into the hotel and made a huge puddle at the front desk.

So I am in bed warming up. All my gear is very wet and I have put it under the heat-lamp in the shower. The boys are in their room, I am sure, doing the same as I.

We’ll meet later for some food but we are all a bit whacked. The mountains and the high desert and the whole scenery-thing was amazing. I had forgotten how beautiful the Sierra Nevada Mountains are. I need to write more but I am tired and cold so, sore hola, as they say in the islands.

tomorrow… a visit to speed-mecca – The Bonneville Salt Flats – …. yeee.

elko 2 copy

Tomorrow won’t be a huge day, We’ll be tourists a bit. Which is good, again.

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