Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Couple of Sweet Rides

The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. My kid went out and bought an '07 FLSTSC Softail Springer Classic. As many people of his generation, they know what they want and they want it now. Needless to say, the bike cost more than any of the 6 vehicles Dave and I currently have, but it's sweet! I'm a little jealous to say the least. He also talked his friend into getting his first bike, an '08 XL1200N Nightster. What a couple of beauties. Now I have someone else to ride with on the weekends. Sounds like with Nate's three buddies who also ride, we should have some good group rides in our future. Check out these lovely machines....

The dealer mistakenly put on chrome pipes, but is replacing them with black ones to match the bike. The owner wanted to keep the chrome minimal. I think that will be a good choice.

How about those fish tails?

What do y'uns think?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Father's Day Ride to Marblemount

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Both my dad and father-in-law live in other states so on Father's Day we made the obligatory phone calls and had nothing else planned. I was perfectly ready to just vegetate that day because once again, it was overcast and only around 50 degrees. I have had enough!

We got a call from our friend who has the 105th Anniversary Harley and he wanted to know if we were doing anything. We all have grown children who are not living nearby. We speedily got ready and decided to ride north and east towards Darrington and over to Marblemount for a burger. There is a place called Buffalo Run that serves buffalo, elk, venison, and other regular meats. The town has two food establishments, the other a run down burger place as well. They also have a gas station. All the bikers stop there on their way over the cascades, or like us, it was a destination ride.

We met our friend in Arlington at the Cycle Barn - which was closed on Sundays anyway. We took off and the weather was ideal. It was cool, but comfortable when riding. As we headed northeast we took 530 over to Darrington. This area is wooded and approaches the cascade mountains, so has nice rolling turns and scenery gallore. There were snow capped mountains we could catch a glimpse of occasionally that would then disappear behind another ridge as we putted along.

We stopped for a drink of water in Darrington. What a lovely little town looking up to a very close little mountain. People live all along this road with nice large acreages and farms. I didn't stop because there were the three of us, but I saw so many cool barns I was registering them into my memory as I came across each picturesque scene.

We had a most enjoyable ride and stopped in Marblemount to eat. We sat outside and all the tables surrounding us were a vision of black leather. This is where everyone stops. Some were only having mixed drinks, which I thought was probably a bad idea. Some were eating, and all were using the restrooms. It felt good to stretch and walk around.

After a nice meal and a couple of restroom trips we were on our way back. This time we went west on highway 20 through Concrete until we got to highway 9 in Sedro Woolley. We headed south on 9 until it was time for our buddy to split off and head over to Camano Island where he lives. We kept going south back towards Bothell and then cut over on the roads toward home.

It was a great ride and a memorable one. Parts of it kept running back through my mind for days afterwards. We saw a bald eagle flying overhead for a while, very cool. In one place, there were 3 small deer grazing along the side of the road which started to run as we passed. I was in the rear, so one of the deer ran alongside me for a while. I could tell she was ready to dart out in front of me across the road. She didn't, but I was talking to her the whole time she was beside me. Maybe she sensed my thought waves. Seriously!

We rode 210 miles round trip, and took about 6 hours. Not many photos were taken because I just enjoyed the ride and the wind in my face. It was glorious!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quotes For Riding and Life

My mother sent me this collection of quotes about travel and living in general. Some of them make you think about riding; others are profound statements that could apply to life. They struck a chord with me so I thought others might enjoy them. From the perspective of a motorcycle rider, they totally apply.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it - Yogi Berra

Bless not only the road but the bumps in the road. They are all part of the journey - Julia Cameron

It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end - Ursula K. Le Guin

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness - Anonymous

A pleasant companion reduces the length of the journey - Publilius Syrus

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving - Lao Tzu

My favorite thing is to go where I've never gone - Diane Arbus

The world is a great book....They who never stir from home read only a page - St. Augustine

The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes - Marcel Proust

One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak - G.K. Chesterton

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. - Robert L. Stevenson

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart - Confusious

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - Confusious

Travel is 90% anticipation and 10% recollection - E. Streeter

I have found that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them - Mark Twain

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Made It Into Alltop!

Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)

Biker Chickz Blog was recently added to the Alltop website in their new category, Motorcycles. (Thanks Mike Werner for suggesting it) It is quite an honor as not too many motorcycle themed blogs have been added yet.

The Alltop site collects feeds from blogs of any particular interest or topic and displays them all together with the 5 most recent headlines showing for each website. It is meant to help you find new sites that you may not have known about.

Go check them out, you may find other subjects that will peak your interests while you're there.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Green Motorcycles Are Here

In my never ending task of looking for a job in California’s Bay Area, I came across a company that caught my attention. It is a company called Zero Motorcycles located in Scott’s Valley, near Santa Cruz. Since I don’t have the qualifications for the job opening they had, I checked out their website and found that they really have a cool idea here.

The Zero Motorcycle is an electric bike. It is powered by a Lithium Ion battery pack made by Emoli, which is developed for regular landfill disposal. This solves the problem of a lot of ‘green’ vehicles who still have the problem of battery disposal. The Zero’s battery charges in 2 hours, and will take you about 40 miles. The weight of the battery pack is about 45 lbs. making the total bike (Zero X) weigh only 140 lbs.
The company’s first offering is the Zero X, marketed as a dirt bike. It is completely silent, which would be really cool if you were off-road in the woods. It would also be a great commuter around town. The bike cost around $7500 now, with the option of a more powerful German motor giving 10% more power for $8350. The next release will be a street bike called the Zero S, and in 2009 the Zero Way is slated to be released.

The bikes have been selling online since Jan. ’08, and already have backorders. They are seeking to expand their manufacturing facility to try to keep up with orders which are increasing exponentially. You can have a Zero motorcycle shipped to your home for a very reasonable price.
A surprising fact is that in CA and 17 other states, you don’t even need a motorcycle endorsement to ride the Zero on the street. Since it doesn’t have a gas powered engine, there is an intentional loophole in the law. The motor has about 20 horsepower, which is on par with a 250cc bike. As long as you ride over to the right of the lane, as a bicycle would, you are legal.

I was excited when I found out about the Zero motorcycle and the future development of this company. I think they have the right idea and the possibilities are limitless. Using developing technology we could someday be riding electric Harleys. (Well, maybe not)
You will probably be hearing more about this company in the future.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Whirl Up Whidbey Island

Saturday we woke up early and were ready to ride. With us, it is always a hard decision as to where to go. There are so many choices, and we’ve exhausted all the routes and places that we’ve already been to previously. The choices that seemed to come up were a route over on the peninsula near the Hood Canal. I have been told there are fun, scenic roads over there. The other choice was to take our first WS Ferry ride with the motorcycles, and go ride up the entire length of Whidbey Island. Since the day was already beginning to cloud up, we went for the Ferry ride and decided to explore the Island.

We left home, expecting the day to warm up and the sun to come out in the afternoon. Neither of those things happened. When we started out, it was 52 degrees.

The ride to the Mukilteo Ferry is only about 25 minutes from home and very familiar to us. When you arrive at the holding area for the next Ferry, motorcyclists are allowed to pull into the first lane and wait.

We were the first loaded, right up in the front of the vessel, and the first off. Only the walk-on passengers have more clout. They get first on and off privileges before the motorcyclists.

As soon as we arrived in Clinton, across the Puget Sound, it began to rain. We hadn’t heard that in the forecast. It was OK. I was happy for the windshield that I keep on the bike all the time. It shielded my face from the stinging rain, since I had the half-shell on. Throughout the day it rained several times. I never got wet and didn’t have raingear on specifically. My saddlebags also stayed dry inside.

We rode up the length of Whidbey Island, first stopping in Langley for lunch. It was a wonderful and exhilarating ride. The roads were smooth and looked newly paved in most areas. There are lots of easy curves with long straight stretches thrown in. The roads are either wooded on both sides or open fields and farmland. You really don’t know you are on an island except when you catch a glimpse of the water in the distance once in a while. We caught a quick look at a giant wild turkey on the side of the road, which was totally unexpected. We rode north until we stopped at Deception Pass, which eventually connects the Island back to the mainland near Anacortes.

The bridge is high enough to allow ships and tall sailboats to go underneath. Down below the water is treacherous and very ‘deceiving’. Thus, Deception Pass. There have historically been many vessels capsized and loss of life in this area.

We decided to take a turn towards La Connor and ride through the farmland and fields of the Skagit Valley where they grow all the tulips. Instead we found a lovely field of iris, which are in bloom right now.

I love that road! We kept heading south towards home and found an Old Pioneer Highway that was new to us, but followed parallel to the Interstate. Finally, we had to take I-5 out of Silvana and had a nice freeway ride home in the rain.

It was a very fun day and I love riding those types of roads. Of course, there were hundreds of other bikes we passed throughout the day. All were waving and smiling. We were gone for 5-1/2 hours and rode 154 miles. …… What a great life we have!