Monday, October 27, 2008

A Big Rock

Iowa Harley Girl had a post awhile back about the big rock. The rock, some have dubbed the "Freedom Rock" is painted every year by Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II to pay his respects to those who serve to protect this great country and our freedoms we enjoy everyday. To say the rock is pretty impressive is an understatement.

08-24-08_1641  If you go to Ray's web site you will see this is his tenth year of painting the rock. I remember when a local television station did a story on Ray and his rock. Having kind of forgot about it until IHG's post I decided it was time to go for a ride and look at the rock.

While I've never served in the armed forces the Vietnam era is one I remember most because of my age at the time.  So to see Bubba hold them in such high regards from someone who wasn't even born yet is pretty touching. Sadly those brave souls never got the warmth and love they too so rightly deserved. This side of the rock is dedicated to them and is pa08-24-08_1639rt of the rock that is always there. Ray's story is one year painting the rock some Vietnam vets stopped on their way to the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC. They had ashes of fallen brothers and wanted to spread them at the base of the rock.  Rays came up with the idea of putting their ashes in the green paint. Since that day the paint has chipped and faded so Ray made what was once two helicopters into a big one that now included the ashes from twelve vets of Vietnam.

The local community members of Greenfield have taken and stepped up too. A local Boy Scout troop poured a concrete pad for a little picnic table and awning now on the site. Other members of the community have built a lean-to shed that has a donation box, guess book and stories of their beloved Ray. Also now standing is a lighted flag pole with both the American flag and the POW/MIA flag. To say Ray has made this little town proud speaks volumes of what just one person can do. When I pulled up there was seven other riders there and one couple even had their young son with them. 08-24-08_1640

The ride itself wasn't much to talk about. One of those wandering turn left here, right at the next tee intersection type of days. But that does allow for surprises also. After leaving the rock I found myself in a little burg called Stuart. Spotting a Bud sign in the window of this little bar I felt it was time for a cold beer. Pulling up I see a motorcycle and I'll be if I don't know this bike. No more had I parked when Carl walked out of said pub. Since he was ready to continue his ride we both saddled up and headed down the road for another little town. Once again the cold Bud sign in the window was spotted and this time I did get to enjoy a cold Bud. Getting late in the day we started to make our way back to the big city in the most indirect route we could find.

What started out as a quick run down the street for breakfast turned into a great ride. Just the way it is suppose to happen. Sorry for the poor photos because they are just from my phone camera. They truly don't do Ray's magnificent work justice.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

PCH 1/101 and a Dead Tree

This is my vacation ride of 1998. I took my laptop and posted to a web site I had at the time so my family could follow along and enjoy my trip with me. It proved to be a big hit with them and look forward to all my trips now. Hope you enjoy also.

Sunday, July 26,1998 698 miles

Well today started with a lot of hopes (I make it there and back), dreams (riding the coast highway), and sunshine (didn’t last long).

Silver and I left the city, late of course, but for good reason, we got to share coffee with JoAnn. Well kind of, I dropped hers about a mile from her house, oops sorry honey. Hey I tried! We still had a nice chat! Silver started the trip out with 82,813 miles on the clock. By the end of the day we had traveled 698 miles and felt pretty good in the butt! TOF00038Yes I know Laramie WY. isn’t that far, but we did a little running around town before we left, as I said I was late. Cool and overcast weather to begin with, then hot and sunny on the next tank to dark and just enough rain to remind me that I was in the mountains, DRAG! I must admit that I was glad that I had that new helmet, it is really quite comfortable, believe it or not. Well not much else happened so till tomorrow and somewhere in Nevada. Good night. ZZZ

Monday, July 27, 1998 604 miles

Today started out like yesterday weather-wise. By the day’s end it was any thing but an easy ride. I know we’ve all ridden through wind and rain, some of us have even ridden in sleet, hail and even snow. I know I have done all those, but today I rode through a SALT storm. TOF00010 That’s like a sandstorm except with salt! Man, what a DRAG! I know why they call it the Bonneville Salt Flats, nothing could possibly stand up to the (rumored) 80mph winds that I rode in today. I kind of wonder if I should get my head checked out!?

I know why I’m a small town country boy. I HATE too much traffic. The traffic in Salt Lake City was at a standstill. I-80 was either under construction (understatement) or closed (all the way through SLC). I did manage to make it to Wells, Nevada. Makes me wonder if I really need to go to San Francisco, just to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge? I think I’m going to by-pass the city and go north of it. Wine sounds better than steel any day. Maybe I can get a great bottle for JoAnn to make up for the coffee she didn’t get. I must admit that I did see some great countryside. Let’s hope that this keeps getting better! Till next time.

Good night. ZZZ

Tuesday, July 28, 1998 529 miles

I made it to the coast! Well almost, I stopped just short of S.F. to get a roomTOF00006 and a shower, after today’s HOT ride I stink! This morning Dan ’the pool man’ (never got his real name) asked if the snake on my seat was a good pet gone bad? After we both had a good chuckle I said “no but that’s a good one. I’ll tell everyone from now on that it is!"

Really not much too exciting as I went on, just rode, rode, and rode some more. So till next time, like tomorrow when I get to be a tourist and check stuff out. Good night. ZZZ

Wednesday, July 29, 1998 173 miles

Sure didn’t ride a lot of miles but you know the saying, quality over quantity. I finally made it to the Pacific Ocean! TOF00016 TOF00018

I didn't go through S.F. as the traffic was just too heavy, so I made a better choice and went to Napa Valley. Yes, I got a couple of bottles and a $12.00 cigar (thank you very much) and rode a nice road to get to Highway 1. The traffic is light so travel has been a breeze, no RV’s to pass or anything! I did make one small mistake though. Instead of driving I was gawking and dropped Silver in a hole (crater) at a snail’s pace, nothing hurt, unless pride counts. Silvers been doing fine, one loose rocker cover bolt which made a mess and one lost bolt on the rear fender strut, both no big deal. Met a couple from Dallas (no names again) who were riding the same route I am except in reverse, they had logged 2,900 miles on their Gold Wing so far. They said they haven’t had a lot of traffic either. The views have been picture perfect, just like on TV except I’m here (there?). Well, it’s getting dark so I’m going to sleep. Good night. ZZZ

Thursday, July 30, 1998 200 miles

How odd is it to end the day on an even number of miles? This may sound crazy (remember getting my head checked out?) but the whole reason for this trip was a challenge from Cactus to see this old dead tree in the “Valley of the Giants” in the Redwood forest at mile marker 9.12. Well, Cactus, I’ve got the picture to prove it, I found that old dead tree! I rode the best part of PCH 1 today, North from Ft. Bragg to Leggett.

TOF00026 TOF00024

The travel was a little hectic today, two stops because of construction. It’s nice on a bike, they wave you to the front of the line of cars. While at the last stop the flag lady told me that her husband had died on his Harley four days before he and their son were to leave for Sturgis. The son is taking dad to Sturgis this year, before they spread his ashes. Here’s to all the great sons, RIP dad, enjoy Sturgis!

Here’s to more miles tomorrow. I’d better or I’ll never get home on time. Good night. ZZZ

Friday, July 31,1998 461 miles

Left California today and made it to Vancouver, Washington. Have had good weather to ride in the last few days so I’m not even going to say the R word.

Going to stop by Mt. Saint Helens as I start to work my way home via Sturgis. Silver is ready for an oil change so we’ll try to find a place for that too. He’s been running great but I did have to adjust the belt today. The rock hole hasn’t healed but at least it’s no worse, although I’ve not been worried about it. There is one thing for sure, the roads out here wear all sides of your tires not just the middle like back home.

I’ve not met anybody or taken any pictures today so no stories to tell or new photos to show. Really just a riding day, so I’m going to bed. Good night. ZZZ

Saturday August 01, 1998 401miles

(I wonder how many times I have to do this before I get my PC to save it?)
I got to Mt.Saint Helens, kind of. By the time I figured it out I had passed the viewpoint road it was too far to go back, but I did see it. I met Ray from Minnesota on his FLH. He told me a story of when he dropped his motor in a hole and it took him an hour to get it upright. I don’t feel so bad! Tom from Seattle on his Suzuki told me about how hiked up the mountain before and after she blew her top. The second trip was a lot easier, it took 2 less hours. He works for Boeing and just sold 23 planes to Germany so his boss gave him Friday off, mighty white of her. God must like me. He has given me just perfect weather to ride in on this trip.

I did take one picture yesterday, probably the best photo so far, maybe I need to get my head checked out. So everyone gets a bonus picture today. Time for a shower and bed. Good night. ZZZ

TOF00017 TOF00031

Sunday August 02, 1998 519 miles

We made it to Livingston, Montana today. Did get to change oil on Silver too. Kudos to the people at Montana Harley-Davidson in Missoula, MT. for being open today. Silver was 1,000 miles overdue so it was really needed. They had the whole setup out back for Sturgis travelers. Have met people from all over today but the guy from Germany wins for farthest away. He’s riding a 700 Shadow. He has already been to Sturgis but didn’t really care for it, says the people are to “show-offish”. I guess he kind of missed the point huh? Get crazy and have a good time and see some pretty country. But then again he’s the only German I’ve ever met who doesn’t drink beer!

I knew I shouldn’t have said the “R” word, yep it rained on me today and just started to rain again as I started writing this. For some odd reason my tent wants to leak, must be ‘cause it hasn’t been wet in a while. Hopefully it will be OK or I’ll be soaked by morning. It was a nice thought the people of “Christian Motorcycle Association” had free coffee and eats at a rest stop, just about the time it started to rain. See, I told you God likes me.

Well that’s about it for today and I really didn’t take any photos today, sorry.
Good night. ZZZ

Monday August 03, 1998 571 miles

Well I did get to the little jewelry store and it’s still oTOF00034pen. The line of cars going into Yellowstone is way too long, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to come down here and cut through the park. I think I need to get my head checked out! Ran into five road construction sites, three of which had escorts. Rain on and off all day with just enough sunshine to keep you wondering.

Germans must like this place, I TOF00035met three more today. These guys had their own bikes, 47 knuckle, 52 panhead and a late evolution all with the standard German front end, hydraulic way out there and high pipes. All cool bikes, I tried to get photos of them but the escort car came before I could get my camera out of all the plastic I had covering everything. The pictures I did get of them on the road don’t show the bikes too well.

TOF00036 I made it to Sturgis today anyway even with rain the last 75 miles. So down to main street and don’t you know I’m not even off Silver before friends are yelling my name. Called Pete to let him know what it sounds like here, "see you in a few days" is the reply I get. He has never been here so he is really pumped to get here. Guess what. I ran into another German. This one is waiting for the ones I met earlier, small world. So we took some pictures and did have a beer together.

The rain has made a mud bog of the camp grounds, Silver got stuck and some folks from New York helped us out. What a bunch of nice folks. Since it was late they gave me more beer and let me camp under their tarp so I didn’t have to pitch my tent in the dark.

That’s about all my tired brain can think of. Good night. ZZZ

Tuesday August 04, 1998 482 miles

Woke up... yep raining, surprise! Hung out awhile with the people from N.Y. then hit the road. Had a stop in Wall just ‘cause it’s there. Made it to Sioux City, Iowa. Good night. ZZZ

Thursday August 05 1998 206 miles

HOME!! Mail box full of you know what but who cares, not me. Fresh cup of coffee. For some reason the rain outside is soothing?

Wow... WHAT A RIDE! Time for some reflection. 12 days, 11 states, a bunch of money and gas, one oil change an one quart of oil and a bolt I left loose. Miles total, 4,785 my farthest yet. I left to see some country I’d never seen, ride some roads I’d always wanted too and find an old dead tree.

I had a wonderful time, I really needed the time away. Now for the only reason I came home, to see the only one I care about, JoAnn, “I’ve got the wine would you make dinner?”...oh and my head, it’s alright, thanks Silver!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Old Stuff

I had a blog on Windows Live Spaces awhile back. But because of the way they run the service there wasn't much (read none) "social networking" going on. I've tried to figure out how to port those post over to Blogger but they have no mechanism in place at Blogger to do that. The only way to do this is to copy and paste the old posts here.

Question.Would anyone care read about some of my trips from years past along some of my other jibber jabber?


Monday, October 13, 2008

Bridges of Madison County

This last weekend was the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival in Winterset, Iowa. Yes it is the same place the movie Bridges of Madison County with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood was filmed. The "Duke" John Wayne was also born in this little town. It's your basic small town USA gathering with the locals hocking their wears of hand made quilts and rugs to pottery and art work plus of course a parade and food.

While all of that might be of interst for many, it isn't really anything I find myself getting all gaga about. I go their to ride some of the better roads we have around it, namely the Cumming's highway. Yes it is a real town here spelled just that way. The little town of about 250 people have had some fun with their little slogan "I Y Cumming Iowa"

But back to the reason I went to this little town, the car show. The weather was perfect so the turn out of cars was big. While there were many types and styles the old cars and Mopars are what get my attention.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Need More Power Scotty

After convincing the salesman I was in fact going to ride my new Harley, Whiskey, home a 120 miles in the middle of October at about 55f degrees I was a happy camper. Instead of being totally in the clouds all I could think of was how many things had to change on this new bike. Whiskey New

For starters the stock seat sucked and the handle bars were too low. As luck would have it just before Christmas that year I walked into the local Harley dealer to find this really cool seat on the " I need to get rid of it" wall. After some haggling over the course of a couple of weeks I walked out with this cool alligator inlaid seat. It was just what the doctor order and the bonus was it is sit me low enough in the seat that the bars were now the perfect fit.

Next order of business was the power, more accurately lack there of. I had gotten use to the 70ish horse power of the old bike and this 60ish power of the new one just wasn't cutting it. A tune up and kit in the carburetor with some slip on Screaming Eagle mufflers helped bring it up to just under 68 horses but I wanted more. I wanted to make this one a hot rod. A go fast, blow the guy next to me away, hold on tight horse power. But how? I knew what it took to make horse power with an Evo but I never studied a Twin Cam. Time for some research.

After pouring over web site after web site and reading every magazine I could find I found what I wanted. Sure I could have done what most everyone does with a hand full of dollars and the SE performance catalog but that isn't me. That was too easy. Everyone could do that. I ran across the father son team of Bennett Performance who just happen to own land speed records at the Bonneville salt flats doing 186+MPH on a Sportster no less. The Horse Power by the Dollar series in Hot Rod Bike featured the 88" motor they built that made over 107HP on pump gas. Since I was limited to 6,200RPM with my "B" motor verse the "A" motor they used if I could make 100HP I would be happy. (Note: They have since taken this engine over 125+ with bigger carb and heads.)

After talking with the guys a few times it was time to get to work. In February of 2004 with 12,000 miles on the clock I rolled my bike on my lift tableapart and tore it apart down to the cases. Heads were sent off to Branch Flowmetrics for their number 4 performance work with a set of JE pistons and custom grind gear drive camshafts to match them. One thing when you start things like this, as every Harley owners knows, it never stops there. After upgrading the oil pump, rocker arms, pushrods, lifters, clutch pressure plate, ignition system, Mikuni 45mm carb, custom port matched intake manifold, V&H Pro Pipe and I'm sure there is more, my budget had been completely blown by a bunch.

Gunner2 Part of the fun was having my friends stop over while working on this during the cold winter. While the heads were off getting worked on I prepped the rest of the bike and did all of the things I didn't need the heads for. My buddy Gunner "Down" Brown helped me with the clutch install. Pete helped with the grinding of the cam chest so the new bump sticks would fit. Then we installed the camshafts and pistons. The timing was prefect as the heads showed up just as it was time to for them. Well almost. It was my then girl friend Melissa's birthday on that Friday so I took her out for dinner. After which she knew how much this meant to me and let me go home to finish the job. At 1:00AM Whiskey fired to life for the first time with his new parts. After few heat cycles it was time to ride it up the block to the bar before it closed for a celebratory six pack. It ran so good I called Melissa to come go for a short ride and have a beer with me, she was thrilled, you see she is a gear head also.

After about 500 miles I took it back to the same dyno that had did the base line pulls on it to see what I had. The very first pull netted 92+HP. After playing around with just the ignition that day we had it over 95 horse on a rich fuel mixture. Took it home and got some jets then once again it was off to the dyno for more tuning. This time the first pull was just over 97HP. Some fine tuning got it up to 99.3 but it still wasn't the 100 number I was looking for. Thinking out loud I wondered about bumping the rev limiter to 6,500RPM knowing this wasn't a good thing. That is when Melissa with her cute little smile she gets goes "is this where we break it?" God bless her. It was decided to give it a rest that day, after all we had probably made over tens pulls.


Once at home I studied the dyno sheet to see were that last little pony was hiding. It is then I notice that on that last pull they never hit the rev limiter missing it by 70RPM short. So with the carb being just hair rich in the mid range and the extra RPM there is no doubt in my mind that the magic 100 is in the motor.

Whiskey is just a blast to ride! In third gear at about 3,000RPM (guessing I have no tach) he just takes off. Every time I race someone they just can't believe how it just takes off at that time. It is for sure "a go fast, blow the guy next to me away, hold on tight horse power."

About the only thing I want to do to Whiskey now is install a Baker Direct Drive 6 speed and overdrive the primary to better take advantage of my torque and horse power. Like I said, I never do it the easy way.


Saturday, October 4, 2008


Everyone's picture of the week thing got me thinking about this. This is what Iowa looks like (sometimes) at sunset when you going to roll your odometer over to all zeros again. Pete got in the way but I am on the other side with 99,999 miles on the odometer. It's pretty cool when your friends want to be with you to mark the milestone in motorcycling. In fact I had to stop riding so much that week to make it to our Wednesday nights gathering. Circa 2000.


Sadly ol' Silver isn't with me anymore. Some low life piece of shit stole him when I was in Kokomo, Indiana parked at a hotel. The first and only time I ever left town without my chain. Needless to say that has never happened again. Silver had 114,xxx miles the last time I seen him. RIP ol' buddy.



I must admit the new digital odometers are not near as much fun to watch the miles "roll" over since they just flash and boom next mile is lit up. Plus you can't walk up to a bike and see how many miles it has. Maybe the only thing they are good for is they will display one hundred thousand and you don't have to stick a 1 on your odometer face. I guess if anything good came out of it, it is the fact I got to buy my new bike, Whiskey. With 48K on him now I'm well on my way to the 100K mark on him too. Wonder if I can get to the 50K mark before winter hits?


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Are You Talking to Me?

Some have asked me about my header photo. It is pretty funny and something that I've had a lot of fun with over the years since 2001 when it was taken.

To start with I didn't even know Gregory Wilcox, the gentleman who took the photo. That is who I'm looking at in the photo. This was my friends wedding and the guy yelling at me is "Daddy Dave" who is the father of the groom. We are lining up to escort the limo to the reception, Dave is yelling at me to go slow so as not to loose anyone along the way. I had to tell Dave that this wasn't my first rodeo and that I knew how to lead a pack. Gregory is an armature photographer who just happen to be going by as we are all getting in line. He walks out in the middle of the street sets up his tripod and clicks away. After a few minutes he picks up his stuff and off he goes and I never think of it again.

Months pass with never a thought of this again when on one of our Wednesday evening gathering at the local watering hole this lady walks in with a surprise. She is a friend of Gregory and tells me she has this photo and wants to know if I want a copy. Of course I do and in a few days she brings a copy by my shop. Needless to say I'm floored at the sight of the picture and how funny and good it is. Several more weeks go by when Gregory himself walks in wanting to sell me some prints. Since many friends wanted a copy I buy a few prints from him. Then he drops the bomb on me. He tells me he submitted this photo to Jones Soda and they've pick it for one of their labels to go on a bottle (Nov. 2001) of pop... that is a soda everywhere else but here in the mid-west. I'm floored.

Jones Soda

Now I've got to find one of these bottles and have it. Every time I go to the grocery store I rifle through all of the Jones Soda they have never finding any. After months with everyone I know looking we give up since they only run the label for a month then switch to other photos.

Gregory isn't done with this picture yet. Little do I know he has set up a show of his work in a little gallery here in town. For months during the summer of 2002 people I don't even know come up to me and tell me they have seen this photo at the show. Lord only knows who all the people are that have purchased this photo but I do know the president of my bank had bought one from Gregory and has it framed hanging on his office wall. Again I'm floored!

Imagine my surprise when I get a call from a friend many months later telling me she found a 4 pack of the soda in the Twin Cities of all places. Months go by before we can find the time to get together. When we finally do manage to make time to meet she tells me her baby sitter found them in the pantry and drank them all and threw the bottles away. I'm crushed!

Determined more then ever to have one of these bottlesBottle I contact Jones Soda via the web. The very nice lady gets back to me to tell me there is no way of knowing when, where or if these are even still around. But she tells me they archive all of their labels and if I can find it in their archives they can make me a case of this pop but with no guarantee it will have the same flavor it had at time of release since they change flavors all the time also. Managing to find it I order a case and luck is with me, one of the flavors they are making is the same Strawberry Lime. And you know what? It taste pretty damn good to boot.

So that is the story of this funny picture. It goes without saying I've had a lot of fun with this photo.


update: Sadly Gregory has quit his photo hobby. The worst part is he burned all of his film and he had some very good stuff and real talent. Such a waste.