Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eagle Leather - It's Worth The Ride

One recent weekend we decided to take the long interstate ride south to a place called Eagle Leather. As you can imagine, it is a place to buy leather items. And they have it right!
When I began riding I knew the first thing I had to have was a real leather motorcycle jacket. I had always wanted one. Someone told me about Eagle Leather in Tacoma, which at that time was in north Tacoma. It was an easy drive from north of Seattle where we are. I bought the jacket that I use today and probably will have forever. It fits perfectly with perfect length sleeves and has a thick zip out winter lining. I am never cold in the winter riding with temps down to 40 degrees, and only too hot in the summer when its over 85 degrees. The price was right at $199.00.
On the recent trip I finally broke down and thought I would get a pair of chaps. I've ridden all this time without them, partly because I didn't want the whole 'uniform' leather look. I decided that I really need them for long interstate rides and protection.

Dave thought he would look for a pair of leather 'over pants' that he could wear for protection over his jeans. He wasn't buying the chaps idea; he still identifies them with the Village People...

We took off on a nice sunny and clear day with perfect temperatures in the 70s. It was go straight towards the interstate 5 and head south. It is always a little slow going through Seattle itself, but once we passed that bottleneck it was a pleasant highway cruise all the way towards Tacoma, all the Tacoma exits (many) until Lakewood. There, standing proudly on the corner of a busy intersection was the prettiest sight I'd seen in a long time. Eagle Leather, Motorcycle Gear and Accessories.

We parked and stepped inside the entrance. Immediately I was taken into a state of Nirvana when the earthy aroma of leather instantly permeated my nostrils. I stood there in the center of the store where I had just entered. To my right, as far as I could see, was leather. Towards the windows were mens boots as far as I could see. These were Harley and other name brands of motorcycle boots. To my left, as far as I could see, was more leather. And there were motorcycles here and there in every department just in case you needed to sit on one to try out your chaps or boots or other gear. The whole front of the store on my left was womens boots and shoes. Only good biker brands, and not too much fashion. I had to tear myself away from the boot area because that is where I would spend all my money. I have 2 good pair and that's enough.

I was able to try out and purchase a nice pair of chaps with a little braid decoration down the side. Dave also found a great pair of leather pants that zip up the sides and fit right over his clothes for another protective layer. After purchasing a hair glove, bungee net, and decorative wristband, we left and stopped nearby for a bite of fast food. It was mediocre. The Lakewood area looked like kind of a pit from what I could see.

We headed back out to the interstate and went back the same way we'd come. It was a rugged 75 mph ride on bumpy pavement most of the way until we were nearer Seattle. By the time we arrived home we'd ridden 117 miles round trip. It took us 1 hour and 15 minutes riding each way. It was all worth it for the experience of being surrounded by leather items of every kind. They have gloves, hair wraps and other handy items, as well as a little bit of luggage. I think they excel in the leather goods and should stick with that, and boots. Their prices can't be beat.
If you live anywhere between Portland, Oregon and British Columbia, Canada it is worth the ride to Eagle Leather, Lakewood, WA. You won't be disappointed even if you end up not buying anything. It will be worth the experience.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Don't Miss The Long Way Down

If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing the cable series, DVD or reading the book of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's motorcycle adventure, "The Long Way Around", you are in for another treat.

The guys did it once again. In 2007 they planned and completed a trip from Scotland through to the southern tip of Africa on a couple of BMW R 1200 GS Adventures. Here is little taste ....

If you want to be one of the first to get in on the fun, July 31st at 7:30pm is a one time only showing of the entire "Long Way Down" on the big screen in HD at select theatres only. Go to the official website here and type in your zip code to see where it will be playing near you.

If you can't make that exciting premiere showing, the series will begin Saturday, Aug. 2 on Fox Reality Channel. The entire series was apparantly shown last winter, but it will be shown again for those of us who missed it the first time. If it is as riveting as the first trip, I will be buying the DVD and watching it repeatedly.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ride To The Conway Pub

Last Sunday we wanted to ride with my son and a couple of his friends. The day was turning out to be a perfect riding day with temps in the 70's. Nate had some chores and things to take care of around the home, so we decided to ride the 30 miles to his house and maybe get him moving and ready to ride. We finally left his house around 3pm and decided to ride to Jimi's house.

Nate was riding his Springer Classic with his wife on the back, and there was Dave on his Victory and me on the Vulcan. We headed out a nice wooded country road and noticed a few signs along the way that hinted that the road might be closed ahead. We ignored them and kept going. We'd been riding about 15 minutes and were almost to Jimi's when we came upon a road block directly in front of us. A policeman had his car across the road and was telling everyone to turn back, because of an accident. We hoped it wasn't a motorcyclist.

There was nothing to do but turn around and go back almost to the place we had started from. We took a frontage road and made a huge back-track loop, finally arriving at Jimi's. His bike was out and he was ready to ride. Jimi built his Harley which has a suicide shifter and all kinds of crazy details. Notice the battery near the rear wheel! He's also got the sissy bar I would die for. It looks very sharp and really suits Jimi.

We took off on a ride up towards the Skagit Valley. That is where the tulip fields are and lots of open farmland that is glorious to ride in. Jimi was leading, since he knew where this neat biker hangout was called the Conway Pub. The town of Conway is a little turn-off of the road. It is easy to miss, but somehow the bikers all know about it.

We had a nice easy evening ride up to Conway. We had dinner there and heard a rock-a-billy band singing for that evening. The crowd seemed to enjoy the music. I endured it. They were starting kareoke later. Luckily we left before that began. I have never understood the fascination with listening to people sing badly who don't realize how bad they are. Maybe that's why I have never watched American Idol. Anyway, we did all have good pub food and beverages. We decided to ride east and follow our favorite Highway 9 south as each of us would drop off the group and head home. Dave and I live the furthest south so we had the farthest to go back, but it was nice to be riding in the evening. We got home just before dark.

It was a fun, easy ride of 130 miles round trip for us. Now we have a new destination to stop and eat when we are up north in the Skagit Valley.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Selling My First Ride

Ever since I've gotten the Vulcan I have not wanted to ride my first bike, the Suzuki Boulevard S-40. I've kept it meticulously maintained since I've had it, and never let it set more than 2 weeks at a time without riding, even in the winter. Now it is time to say goodbye and let someone else learn to ride by owning the Suzuki. It was a great beginners bike for a woman, or a small stature man. It is lightweight, and easy to handle. It was hard to handle for me when I first began riding. Now it feels like a miniature motorcycle that I can zip around town on. I never thought much about where I was parking because even on a slope I could back her out. The Suzuki has a 650cc one cylinder engine with 5 speeds, so with its light weight you can imagine how zippy it can be. I added a Boulevard windshield when I got her, along with Boulevard saddlebags. It was my mini-cruiser.

This morning I posted her on Craigslist, so I hope someone finds just what they're looking for, and enjoys her as much as I have. She needs a good home.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What The Heck Was That?

One day recently my co-worker pulled up into the parking lot at work on this crazy scooter. He had just bought it and is getting used to riding. It is so crazy looking that every day we watch as people walk by our building, take a second look at the bike, and you can see the puzzled look on their faces as they notice the two wheels in front. Almost everyone turns and walks around the bike to see what it is. It's funny and entertaining to watch.

The scooter is a Piaggio MP3 500, made in Italy. Piaggio is the company that makes Vespas. This one looks like an evil babboon, or a crazy bug. They are kind of pricey for a scooter, but worth the attention that it gets from everyone. He's had people pulling up next to him at a stop light and asking, "What the heck is that thing?" There is one more Piaggio scooter rider in the Redmond area, which is the one my co-worker saw that made him have to have it.

I've heard there are other bikes now with 2 wheels in front, but I've never seen them. I guess it would be fun to ride, but kind of strange. I'll stick with my 2 wheel baby!