My Motorcycle Blog
Previous Bikes

Virago
Kawasaki

 

 

Having too much fun in Colorado.

 

My Grandson, and Son with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


May 2015 - Boy a lot has changed around here. I got the bug to get involved with the type of riding that got me into motorcycles. DIRT

I bought a used 2001 Suzuki DR400E and boy was that a good decision. The bike was in pretty good shape and it just needed a little freshing up. I changed the front rotor and brake pads, new hoses, adjusted the steering head bolt and changed out the sprockets to gear it down from street to more off road. I'm loving it. I took it to Big Bend and wouldn't you know it but it rained cats and dogs in a desert. That really limited the riding because of the mud.

Then I trailered it up to Colorado for a week of mining road riding. I couldn't of had more fun. The bike is so much fun. It has been a nice addition to the garage.

Not to forget the Ducati. I took it in to get inspected and got egg on my face. The damn rear tire was down to the cord sticking. How did I miss that. Oh well, New Pirelli Angels GT. I still love that bike.

April 2014 - I finally got to take the Arkansas trip that I tried in October 2012. Using my experience from the California trip, I trailered the bike up to Hot Springs and stayed put at a Best Western. This allowed me to ride each day from Hot Springs without a full load of gear and boy does that make a differnce on the mountain riding. I had so much fun riding the really good roads north of Hot Springs up to near Missouri.

A couple of days riding, a day of golf, and finish with another day of riding. This worked out great and I will be doing this trip again. Arkansas riding is just a 6 hour drive from Dallas so that makes it an easy long weekend. Also, the roads are in excellent condition and lots of curves.

Now for some bike mechanics talk. The sprocket and chain issues in California made me go for a change. This time I put on 15 front and 43 tooth rear sprockets and went with a 525 chain. So far it is working really well. RPMs dropped at 80 (speedo) from 5100 RPM to about 4800 rpm. I think I'm going to really like this combo. I also got the pannier resprayed and it looks brand new. The Perelli tires are wearing extemely well. I have just about 41,000 miles on the bike and all is still great.

Autust 2013 - I took a long trip this past month. I trailered the bike out to Palm Springs, CA. Then I rode up the mountain ranges to the Oregon border then over to the coast for a return trip back to Palm Springs. About 1,800 miles on the bike. As usual the bike performed flawlessly. My chain started sounding really rough so I'm going to change out the sprockets and chain this week. I'm going from 14/43 to 15/43 for the gearing. I think the 14 front is causing premature chain wear. I'm also going to check out the swing arm chain slide guard. It may be worn out. During the trip my left pannier popped off one day and slide down the road. I sure thought I had it securely latched, but apparently not. It is scratched up pretty bad so it will require some time at a paint shop.

At my 36K service, the shop said I was starting to have some play in the valve guides so I went with the recommendation of new valve guides. Expensive but I guess it is the price you pay for top performance. So at 39,000 miles it is still running strong and I still love the bike.

October 2012 - I scheduled a trip to the Arkansas mountains for a few days. Everything looked good until one day before the trip but a cold front was headed for Dallas and Arkansas. I didn't want to give up on the trip so I headed for Mississippi where the front would not be reaching. I had a good ride through East Texas and made it to Alexandria, Louisiana. Things started heading south at this point. Alexandria didn't have anything of interest to do and the weather report was that the front was still coming and it would go all the way to Mississippi. So what to do? I decided rather than ride with the front and continue east I would instead plow through it and go back to Texas. This meant a day of riding in rain but what are you going to do. The rain wasn't hard and was mostly just misting. I rode up to Lufkin, Texas and as the sun was going down I tried to find a room. It took 4 motels before I could find a vacancy. They were having a horse show in town and it was homecoming for the high school. I got booked in and went to the football game for intertainment. The next morning I decided just to ride on back home 2 days early rather than ride around East Texas. I found a couple of good roads to ride north of Lufkin and then back home. The bike ran great on the trip, mainly because I had to spend $3,100.00 in repairs before the trip. It was time for the 36k service and they discovered worn valve guides. Off with the heads and they were fixed up.

August 2012 - The last few months I have been just doing day rides in the general Dallas area. Usually the rides are 100 to 150 miles. I have reached 26 months since the belts have been changed on the bike. I still have about 2,000 miles till service, but the time side of the recomendation has been passed. Therefore, I have performed the coolant, brake, and clutch fluid flushes. I'm waiting on parts do do the fuel filter and oil change. After completeing that I will take the bike to AMS for the heavy lifting (belts and valves). Also, I'm going to have them look at the front forks. I think they may be leaking a small amount from the seals. This will be done when I return from our vacation trip.

December 2011 - After my trip to Fredericksburg to attend the Harvest Classic Vintage Motorcycle rally I discovered that my chain had a serious stretch in one section. The chain was either too tight or too loose all the time. I decided it was time that I did some of the work on this bike myself. So I ordered a new chain and sprockets for the bike. I made a mistake and ordered a different combination this time. Instead of 14/42 I ordered 14/43. This will drop the gearing a little more than I expected, but I think it will be okay. I tried and tried but couldn't get the front sporcket nut off so I broke down and bought an electric impact wrench. Man, how did I live without this tool. That made the job easy. So now I have a new chain and sprocket set at 33,000.

August 2011 - Early this May as the temperature started bumping up to the high 90s I decided it was time to plan a trip to a cooler climate. I noticed on http://www.ducati.msthat there was a Ducati gathering being held in Ouray, Colorado in the middle of August. Year before last I rode to Deals Gap, North Carolina for the East Coast Gathering of Ducatis and had a great time. So maybe this bunch meeting in Colorado might be just as much fun but a lot cooler.
So I planned the trip and the launch time arrived last week. Due to the excessive heat in Texas, I decided to bypass riding the hot Texas miles and trailer my bike to my sister's home in Canyon, Texas.

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After visiting for a couple of days I hopped on the bike and began the fun part of the ride. I still had to go about 60 miles on the interstate to San Jon, New Mexico then the back road riding began with Highway 39. My goal was to ride to Chama and find a motel. The temperature was in the low 80s now and I dodged thunderstorms. Something I haven't seen in months. 

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At one stretch of lonely road I was clicking along at 75 and I saw a truck gaining on me. So I sped up to 80 but the truck kept closing the gap. I decided to let him pass and then I would follow him because I didn't want to get a speeding ticket. Good decision. As the truck passed I saw that it was a state trooper Tahoe pulling a trailer. He had to be going 85, so I followed him for several miles before I had to stop for gas.

Chama didn't have a room available that was nice, so I pushed on to Pagosa Springs. A 500 mile day and I was tired. 
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I got a good night's sleep and then rode over to Durango for lunch.

This was my Ducati snob lunch.

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Now it was time to enjoy the million dollar highway to Durango. At Silverton I fell into a group of 3 Ducatis so I rode into Ouray with them. It was a family (Father, Mother, and Son) riding Ducatis to the gathering. They were from Albuquerque.

There was a good turnout for the gathering. Looked like around 70 to 90 bikes total. This group is different from the East Coast group. Differences are: nearly 10 of the riders were women, (0 women at Deals Gap) 

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Saturday day was the day to go on rides so I chose to ride to Crawford, Colorado. 
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Had lunch with 3 Norton riders

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This was one of the recommended routes to enjoy lots of curves and scenery. I went on my own, because I don't care for riding in groups. Groups of cruisers is not a problem, because they, well cruise. But groups of Ducati riders ride to enjoy a spirited pace to enjoy the canyon carving. In a group like that you tend to ride to the speed of the fastest rider rather than your pace. Therefore, I go on my own so that I ride at my pace and stop when I want to stop. I'm glad to say no one crashed on this gathering.

I was returning from Crawford when I came up on a state trooper. He was driving about 60 miles an hour and I thought it was a 60 mph zone so I slowly passed him. Mistake. He turned on the lights and pulled me over. 

He said it was a 55 zone and then began to dress me down regarding speeding and aggressive riding by Ducati riders. Apparently many locals had been complaining about aggressive riding. Colorado has a phone number to call and report bad drivers/riders. So I was polite and said I thought it was a 60 zone and I was riding alone. I also showed my CHL and said I wasn't carrying. He gave me a warning and let me go. 

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Sunday, I rode over to Silverton and rented a Kawasaki Mule to do some off road riding. 

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All day for 150.00. I spent all day going over the mountain passes and it was so much fun. Such a beautiful state.

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Monday I began my ride home. I went a long way so that I could do some more mountain riding.

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Highway 149 from near Gunnison down to South Fork is a great road. About 15 miles out of Lake City I passed a BMW and rider standing at a road side park. I waved and the rider returned the wave. About 10 miles later I see the BMW coming and then it passed me. I noticed it had Texas tags. A couple of miles later I come up to the bike again at a single lane flagger stop. I pull up next to it and ask “Are you from Texas?” Surprise, The helmet shield opens and it is a woman in her 50s. She said she is from Livingston, Texas, but spending the summer in Colorado. I'm glad to see the influx of women in motorcycling. It is a great sport for all.

Highway 160 from South Fork to highway 12 is pretty boring, but 12 is great. It goes south and west over to Trinidad. Really pretty riding. 
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Tuesday I finish the ride from Clayton on in to Canyon. Between Raton and Clayton the temperature goes from 80 to high 90s. Finally I stop in Canyon and it is 100. Welcome back to Texas.

June 2011 - It is hot again in Texas. I've been riding mostly around Dallas. I've found some twisty roads around Dallas and I'm spending time enjoying the curves. I'm at 30,000 miles so the bike is going into AMS to get serviced. Also, I'm changing tires to Pirelli Angels. I"m looking forward to a ride in Colorado this summer.

January 2011 - Winter is upon us so most of my time is spent thinking about updates to the bike and rides to do this coming year. I installed a Stebel air horn on the bike to give me a little more umph when needed. Also I added bar end mirrors to the bike and I'm going to like them. To test them out I rode over to the lake and around Tyler before returning home just after dark. Boy it was a cold day of riding, but it its great to get out on the bike.

updatesost ride stories involve much longer distances, but lots of tales can come from shorter rides. This story is about a 600 mile round trip to Fredericksburg, Texas to attend the annual Harvest Classic Rally. This rally is a charity event that brings all types of motorcyclists together to show bikes, eat BBQ, watch an old biker movie under the Texas night air. I have attended three other years and have watched it grow significantly in size. 

October 2010 -Most ride stories involve much longer distances, but lots of tales can come from shorter rides. This story is about a 600 mile round trip to Fredericksburg, Texas to attend the annual Harvest Classic Rally. This rally is a charity event that brings all types of motorcyclists together to show bikes, eat BBQ, watch an old biker movie under the Texas night air. I have attended three other years and have watched it grow significantly in size. 
Why not, it has everything to like and nothing to dislike. Centrally located in the Texas hill country, great riding all around, excellent food options, and lots of motorcyclists. The crowd that this rally attracts is probably 50 percent European bikes, 25 percent Japanese, the rest are Harleys, cruisers, and odd ball makes. Ducati has a major presence at the event with demo rides and new bikes to drool over.

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I convince my friend George (GeorgeInDallas) to go with me this year. George, replies and says it looks like a straight shot south of Dallas on Highway 281. I tell George that I avoid straight shots (I ride an ST not a cruiser) so I give him an alternate zigzag route that takes in smaller less traveled roads to Fredericksburg. Another rider I know from the Twtex.com forum says he will meet us halfway down for lunch at Llano, Texas. Stephen rides a BMW RT1200. He has logged 144,000 miles on this 02 model.

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We all spend the week before launch watching the weather channel. After a 3 week span of the most gorgeous weather ever in Dallas, we are now looking at fronts coming through and rain. As Friday approaches the forecast is 30 to 40 percent rain Friday and Saturday but clear on Sunday. All being optimist we see that as 60 to 70 percent clear, so lets ride. 

Friday morning George and I depart at 7:45 and begin our trek south. The sky is mostly cloudy and very high humidity, but the temperature is a nice 70 degrees. We pay the horrible price of living in a big city for 45 minutes until we clear the metroplex and head for Glen Rose. Texas is a state of 4 large cities then every 25 miles you pass through small 300 to 2,000 population towns for miles and miles. I've been told 25 miles is the distance the old timers could travel in a day on horseback. 

We make our first gas stop at a one business town (gas station/grocery store/trama center/pickup repair). George points over to the side of the building and there sits a red ST3. What are the odds? I go inside and there sits a Ducatista drinking coffee and looking at his Iphone. I introduce myself and learn that this is Bob Boucher from Alvarado (south side of Dallas) and he is headed to the rally as well. 
Bob and his ST3s

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We invite him to join us. One more and we will have a squadron of ST3s. 
Now the adventure of traveling by bike begins. I get my camera for a group picture and realize that I left out the memory card! Idiot. Fredericksburg will be the first town big enough to sell the memory card so I'll have to wait. 

I'm leading the way, Bob in the middle, and George is the sweeper. At the next town George pulls up to me and says, “15 miles back I ran over something that looked like a zip lock bag with something in it. Are you missing anything?” I say no, but Bob says “Oh hell, my Iphone must have blown out of my jacket!” So we turn around and ride back to the 15 mile point and start a slow speed search. I turn on my emergency blinkers in case a truck comes along and I don't see it behind me. I ride for a couple of miles looking then all of a sudden my digital dash goes dead, blinkers quit, so I pull over. Oh me, is this the first problem I have every had with my bike. Maybe you are not supposed to run blinkers for a long time. Maybe I just need to reset things since the bike is still running. I turn it off and then push the start button. Nothing. I'm screwed. I'm now a dead duck 15 miles from the nearest anything. 

I'm thinking, hopefully it is a fuse, but I don't have any spares. How could I be so unprepared. I brought tools to change tires, plug holes, but NO FUSES. 
I take off the dash cover to check fuses and sure enough one is burned. Bob rolls up and I tell him my issue and he says the magic words. “Oh, I have some spare fuses!” Just about that time a pick up pulls up and says. “Your buddy is about 3 miles up the road and he said he found what you are looking for.” Fuse in, bike starts, life is good again.

We push on to the next gas stop and I text Stephen that we are running late due to the comedy of errors. We get the Iphone out of the case and it is shattered toast. I've had time to think about my bike and I surmise that my fuse blew because I have added some LED turn signals in addition to my stock lamps. This must be right on the edge of the fuse limit and the flashers put the maximum usage to the circuit.

Bob splits off on his own at our lunch stop because he wants to stay in Llano and buy another phone. Stephen takes the lead and we head on the last leg to Fredericksburg. About half way there an ST blast past us going the opposite direction. I first thought it was Bob, but the helmet was different. Then I thought, if that bike turns and follows us, I'll bet it is Mike Roden (Duckman) from Houston and he is looking for us. It was Mike, and he fell in line with us on our ride. Not 3 miles ahead we pass a cop setting up a speed trap on the side of the road. 

Mike tells us later that he was cooking along at about a 100 looking for us when he passed the cop with his radar off. The officer wasn't set up so he was preparing to catch Mike returning. We were by him before the trap could be set so these ducks got away.

George and Mike ready for some breakfast in Fredericksburg

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The rally had a great turnout and there were lots of bikes to enjoy seeing. 

Some attendee's bikes

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Check out the hand made rack

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Mike and George

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They don't make these anymore.

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Me and George

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It is funny how you can stand by an old (60s or 70s) bike and hear all the stories. “Oh man, I used to have one just like that and I loved it until I crashed, etc etc.” I'm guilty, here is an example of my first bike. I just wore it out.

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I like this color scheme

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Ever seen one of these? Only one I've seen and I had never even heard of it.

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Stephen knows this part of Texas like a tour guide. He took us to Alamo Spring for lunch. Great location and good burgers. Unfortunately, the surge from all the rally attendees overpowered their cook. It took all afternoon to get lunch.

Stephen, Mike, George , Stephanie, and Gary

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We met Gary and Stephanie from Lubbock, Texas. They were riding the Multistrada.

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Back at the rally we all bought raffle tickets to win a Monster. Guess what? We didn't win. I did win a $50.00 gift certificate to a riding course in the Austin area. I'll be giving that to someone on the forum that lives in the area.

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Sunday morning we said goodbye to Mike as he will be heading south, and we began our trip home. Stephen said follow him and he took us on a completely different route home. Some really pretty country and it was a perfect day for riding. 

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We got home at 4:30 on Sunday evening, tired but with big smile. My dog was really happy to see me back home and safe.

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August 2010 - I have been dying this summer. It has been so hot for so long. I just look at the bike and then the gear and think...No Way Jose. This has been a summer of no riding. I'm really going to make up for last time in October.

May 2010 - I hooked up with George Moore and we took our two ST3s on a trip to North Carolina. (George and our bikes just as we entered North Carolina)

This was my first time to travel with another rider so I didn't know how it would turn out. I have to say it was a lot of fun. We rode up to Memphis, TN the first day. Then to Chattanooga the second day. That left a short ride into Fontana, NC the third day. We met up with about 50 other Ducatisiti and had a great time. We got to ride an abbreviated tail of the dragon since it was partially closed due to a landslide. The first day on the 3rd curve out of the lodge one of the riders in our group wadded his Hypermotard into the rocks. Totalled the bike, but he was okay. I really felt for him.

I didn't get out without a problem myself. As I sat on the side of the road on my bike (others were pulling the Hyper out of the weeds) a rubbernecking Harley rider rode by looking at the wreck and not the road. He clipped my bike and broke off my left mirror and dinged my fairing. He was riding in typical Harley gear (undershirt and bandana) so he received a healthy gash on his forearm where my mirror got him. I was steamed, but felt so relieved that he didn't destroy my bike or hurt me. We went our separate ways after comparing damage. Man, it was a pain riding wouth that left mirror. We really enjoyed the weekend riding those very fun roads in the area. I met a lot of really good guys from the southeast all the way to New York.

The trip back was the reverse of the trip down. We hit rain and got soaked one day, but all in all it was a good ride home.

 

May 2010 - I tried to get my mileage to 24k so that I could get my big service done before leaving for the Ducati.ms gathering in Fontana, NC. At 23,000 I couldn't go any farther. My tires were really worn and I discovered that my rear sprocket was chewed up. AMS really brought her back to like new condition so I'm good to go for my trip to North Carolina. I should have a lot of pictures to share when I return from the trip.

Mid January 2010 - I couldn't stand it anymore. We had a day with temperatures forcasted for 70, so air in the tires, lube the chain and I'm off. I headed Southeast to put in some badly needed saddle time with the bike. I rode down to Athens, Texas and took a loop around it. Had a terrible lunch at a cafe there and then headed north for Mineola. Spent a little time at the nature preserve before returning back to Dallas. 260 miles and I feel much better.

January 2010 - I'm dying here. This is the first real winter we have had in a long time so that means no riding for me. I haven't been on the bike in a month now and I'm going crazy. It will be the last of January before I will have a chance to go for a ride. I'll have to spend a while just practicing before getting after it. Maybe I should go shopping on ebay for some farkle.

October, 2009 - I jumped on the bike Friday morning and took off for Luckenbach, Texas (260 miles south) for the harvest classic vintage bike rally. The temperature was 45 degrees and cloudy, but radar showed that I would be breaking out of this mess half way down. Radar was right and I finally saw a sunny finish to the day ride. Saturday was perfect and I attended the rally. Ducati had a strong presence at the rally and I got to see many fellow Ducati riders or Ducatistas. The bike performed flawlessly as usual and I'm so glad to own it. Looking over all of the types of bikes at the rally I noticed a trend. You see people make a few changes to their Ducatis, but not much. And have you ever seen a Rat Duc. That says something about the brand.

Once again, my ST3s is really feeling good now and I believe it is because it is finally broken in. This bodes well for the future. So for now 21,700 on the clock and still in love.

August, 2009 - The heat has finally broken the last couple of days in August. I jumped on the bike and rode all day Sunday. Did a big loop south, west, north, then east back to home. Took in Mineral Wells, Texas. I still enjoy this bike so much. It just runs flawlessly every time. I saw a lot of cruisers out today, but very few sport bikes. I guess they were home getting ready to view the Motogp on TV from Indy. I got home just in time for the race. It was good to see Nicky come in third on the Ducati. I'll be curious how the team will shape up next season. My bike now has about 20,400 miles on the clock.

July, 2009 - The rain is gone but it has been replaced with heat. I can't stand it any longer so I loaded up the bike and took off for Northern Missouri. The good news is that I rode some fantastic roads through Arkansas and Missouri. Of course 7 North out of Hot Springs is good, but loop 123 is the best. I rode it 3 times in one day. I could easily spend a weekend just going back and forth on this road. Great conditon, no traffic and unbelievable curves from hairpins to sweepers with elevation changes. It doesn't get any better than this. I was exhausted after a day of riding it and then 125 North to Springfield. 125 is also a great riding road. Non stop hills and curves the whole way. It was 100 degrees when I got to Springfield and I was spent. I had a hard time staying awake until 9:00 pm. The next morning I rode on up to Hermann, Mo and took a break watching the Missouri river float by. If it just wasn't so HOT. To return back to Dallas I took 19 south out of Missouri and it was like a rollercoaster. Really steep hills one after the other. Your stomach goes up then drops as you bottom out. I rode faster than I should becuase of so short of line of sight so the motorcycle gods gave me a pass. Toward the end of my Arkansas ride I let my mind wander and it nearly cost me dearly. I went through an S curve with the last left hander much sharper than the first. I wasn't paying attention and before I registered what was happening, I was headed for the weeds on the outside of the curve. I tried to brake hard on the front brake and that scrubbed off some speed, but it stood me up and guaranteed my trip into the ditch. I quickly got off the brake increased the lean and began snakeing through the weeds along the shoulder. Amazingly, I didn't fall and was able to recover and get back on the asphault. I stopped and shook my head. So much for daydreaming on a motorcycle. Lesson learned. I thanked the motorcycle gods once again and continued on my trip. I made better time than expected, so instead of spending the night in Mena, I just pushed on home. Really hot and really tired I arrived at Dallas. So I will do this trip again, but in the fall. It should be great.

I've been doing several day rides to our lake house or just around Dallas. This gets me about 150 to 200 miles each ride and that is all I want in this heat. The bike ticked over 20,000 miles this month and they have been great, fun miles.

May, 2009 - Rain, Rain Rain. It seems like every ride I take is in the rain. I joined up with a fellow Ducatista on his tricked out Monster as we tooled over to Edom, Texas to meet up with a group from Twtex.com. It rained on us most of the way over to Edom and during lunch, but we caught a break were able to ride back to Dallas in decent weather.

Two weeks later I took off for Amarillo, Texas (411 miles one way) to visit with my family. The ride up was pretty, but I had a strange ending to the trip up to Amarillo. I pulled into Ralls, Texas and the bank sign read 95 degrees and I had a 15 mph tailwind. On the exit of town (4 blocks away) the wind switched from the east to out of the north. The temperature dropped immediately to 80. Within 40 miles the wind was up to 35 and the temperature was now 59. My last 60 miles really chilled me. The rest of the week in Amarillo the temperature stayed in the low 60s.

The morning I left for Dallas was drizzling rain and 60 degrees. This was the case for the first 250 miles. Once I dropped down in altitude to below 2,000 feet, the temperature rose to the 70s and I had a nice ride on into home.

I adjusted my chain after this ride and rode across town to a gathering but noticed the chain was making a noise. For some reason is was tight so the next day I took everything loose and looked over the situation. Boy was I screwed up. The stupid rear wheel was at least 1/4 inch to the right. So I realigned the wheel and set the tension properly and I hope that has everything back in order. I have a difficult time adjusting the chain. Everything seems to be in order, but once I torque it down, the tension changes. Rats.

I added an upgrade to the bike. I bought Reflect-O-Cool radiant barrier tape and applied it to the underside of the gas tank. This has really made a difference on heat in the crotch. That has been an issue for me when riding in the heat. Problem solved.

February, 2009 - Boy, I'm getting riding fever. I've taken a couple of all day rides the past month. One northwest of Dallas to near Gainsville. I learned something on this ride that will be valuable for the future. I was humming along the back roads using the speed signs to alert me to what speed to take curves. Generally you can take curves from 20 to 30 over the posted speed without getting into trouble. Well, I apparantly passed from state roads to a semi private road and it didn't have corners speed signs. So the first curve I hit going 60 was actually a curve for about 20. Needless to say I couldn't make the turn so I got on the front brake as hard as I dared and ranout out into th oncoming lane. Thankfully no one was coming my direction or I would have lowsided the bike. But, as I increased the brake the bike stood up and I couldn't believe how hard it was to get it to lean over. Lesson learned. 1. Take curves as you see them not as you depend on someone elses opinion or unknown. 2. braking will stand the bike up so be prepared.

Second trip was southwest of Dallas to Ceder Creek lake. A great day's ride and I had a lot of fun.

I have bought some upgrades/changes for the bike. Nothing huge, just toys. I bought a radiator cover to protect it from road debris. A larger fan for the radiator, and larger capacity battery cables. All recommended by Desmotimes for my bike. So one day this week I'll pull the faring (ouch) and install the new goodies.

I have laid the initial groundwork for my long trip plan this early summer. I'm going to head down to Birmingham to see the superbike race at Barber on May 1-3. Then keep going northeast to the tail of the dragon. Then loop back north to home. This should be a fun trip. I'm trying to decide now if I'm going to camp any or just motel the whole trip.

I bought me a new helmet and had it airbrushed. I went with the old school pinup girl. Why not. I just have seen all the skulls I can stand.

 


 

This has been a crazy year and my usual 2 long bike trips had been canceled. I was mentally pacing the floor needing a ride fix. A window of opportunity opened this past week and I jumped on it. Where to go? I looked over activities taking place (festivals, rallies etc) and decided to head southeast. I had seen a story on “My Classic Car” TV show about an event called “Cruisin the Coast” and they were expecting over 4,000 hot rods to attend. Sounded like fun so I mapped a route that included no interstate highways for Biloxi, Ms. I also broke with my normal tradition of camping more than lodges and just went with B&Bs for the whole trip. This made packing easier (no camping gear) so at 8:00 am on Wednesday I pulled out of the driveway and started my trip.

October, 2008 - This has been a crazy year and my usual 2 long bike trips had been canceled. I was mentally pacing the floor needing a ride fix. A window of opportunity opened this past week and I jumped on it. Where to go? I looked over activities taking place (festivals, rallies etc) and decided to head southeast. I had seen a story on “My Classic Car” TV show about an event called “Cruisin the Coast” and they were expecting over 4,000 hot rods to attend. Sounded like fun so I mapped a route that included no interstate highways for Biloxi, Ms. I also broke with my normal tradition of camping more than lodges and just went with B&Bs for the whole trip. This made packing easier (no camping gear) so at 8:00 am on Wednesday I pulled out of the driveway and started my trip.


I basically took 175 to Rusk then zig zagged to Opelousas, La. I stayed at a B&B there that was a little different. I was the only guest so they gave me the key to a 4 bedroom home and said leave the key in a drop box when you leave. I felt like a weirdo sitting in a strange house watching TV and making myself at home, but it was nice and quite.

Back on the road Thursday for my ride into Biloxi. I enjoyed the back roads of Louisiana and Mississippi except I don’t care for the 55 mph speed limit. That is hard speed to maintain. I hovered around 62 most of the time and no cops shot a U turn to run me down. But, on the positive side, I did spend more time looking at scenery and enjoying the leisurely pace. Maybe cruisers are on to something.

The last time I was in Biloxi was one month before Katrina. Boy what a difference. Highway 90 along the coast is still mostly 1 lane each way as they continue to push sand etc back onto the beach. Lots of empty homes and for sale signs. The whole area looks like a once prosperous beach town that fell on hard times many years ago.

Now there are scattered nice homes but lots of empty lots, foundations, and shells of homes. It really is sad, but give them credit, they are working hard to rebuild. One nice thing they have done is to take tree trunks that remained from the storm and make carvings out of them. I don’t have a picture because traffic was so backed up and there is no place to park due to damage. Anyway, now the dead trees look like wood sculptures.

I spent Friday morning sitting under an oak tree on main street in Ocean Springs. Hot rods paraded by all day as I relaxed in the shade.

I loved listening to the Georgians and Mississippians talk. What a beautiful accent they have.

Saturday morning was my day to ride a different back road route to Leesville, La. Rolling hills and sweeping curves were the order of the day and I really enjoyed cruising at a leisurely 65 mph pace. At St. Francisville I passed a plantation called Rosedown.

I have always had an interest in times past, especially of the wealthy. I stopped and took the tour. I highly recommend this plantation if you like this sort of thing. 90 percent of the items in the house are original to the home in 1840. The owners took meticulous records so they have the purchase orders for all of the items in the home. Very interesting place and beautiful to say the least.

I was riding on alternate highway 10 so as I went through town at St. Francisville I came up to the Mississippi river and was shocked. There is not a bridge crossing the river, instead it is a ferry and it is CLOSED. Hurricane Gustav has knocked it out of order. Uh oh.

That means nearly a 100 mile detour to get to my destination. Rats. As the sun set and moon came out here I go again riding at night down unfamiliar two lane roads. I pull into a little Louisiana town to gas up and clean the bugs off my faceshield and the really weird thing about the trip comes to mind. Two years ago this week I fell riding at night in East Texas. I was trying to pull off and clean the bugs from my faceshield that night. Now, if I’m not mistaken on the very same date one year ago I was riding in Mississippi at night fighting the same bug problem. What are the odds that I’m riding this night and fighting the same problem. Creepy. Or maybe stupid!

Then it gets worse. At the gas station I hear yelling inside the station. Some guys are ranting about the fact the LSU was getting hammered by Florida and these drunks were not happy. They walk out with 12 packs under their arms and see me standing in my Olympia riding gear. With eyes have open they look at me like I’m an astronaut.

So they come over and I prepare for the worst. “A Due Cat E huh?” “Say, I’ll give you $5.00 bill if you will let me pull a wheelie across the parking lot!” I reply, “No thanks, I’ll pass.” He sways back and forth then “Well, if that was my bike I’d have 3 naked *****es on the back.” About that time #2 drunk says “Come on, we gotta go.” They stagger over to their pickup and head off down the road in the same direction I’m going. Great. Add that to my tension level. I ride for another hour and a half before reaching my destination. I was so tired. Thank goodness for Holiday Inn Express. I showered and went straight to sleep.

Sunday morning I load up, have a great breakfast and start heading Northwest for Texas.

 

I cross the border at Logansport, La and catch 84 to Rusk then 175 back home.

Another adventure with a good ending. I have dared fate for the last time. I will not ride at night on unfamiliar roads again.

Stats: 1370 miles
Days: 5
MPG: 40
Tickets: 0

June 10, 2008 - I got my bike back from AMS with the 12,000 mile service performed. I had the DP performance clutch slave installed, but I don't really think it made a big change in lever resistance. They say 20 percent so maybe that is so. I jumped on the bike and took off for an afternoon of riding. I rode from 1:30 until 6:30 pm on the backroads northeast of Dallas. Saw where Audie Murphy was born and raised (Celeste, Tx). He was the most decorated soldier in WWII. The bike is running great as always, but the weather is really hot and humid. I'm so ready to go on and extended trip later this year. It looks like it will be near September before I can get away. AMS replaced all my brake pads as well on the service. I have about 500 miles left on the rear rubber, but the front looks good. AMS said the chain and sprockets should be replaced around 15 to 16k.

 

April 14, 2008 - I have been a regular slave around here so Satuday was my day. I jumped on the bike and hit the road at 7:30 am. Oops, I saw the Hot Donuts Now sign so I had to stop and fill up on junk food.

After that stop I headed southeast to follow the backroads recommended for spring flowers by Ride Texas magazine. I saw some pretty country, but not too many flowers. I decided to wear my mesh jacket and riding pants for this trip. I put on two layers underneath becuase the weather was supposed to top out at near 70. Some day I'm going to learn that the max temp for the day is usually near the end of my ride. So I shivered all morning riding in 58 degree weather. I made a stop at Walmart to buy a sweatshirt, but it was still not enought. Then I put on my rain jacket to block off the air and that did the trick. No more shaking on this ride. I burned all around the roads near Henderson, Texas before returning home 380 miles later. I'm sitting at 11,900 on the odometer. Next week I'll pass 12k and then it is in to AMS for the 12k service. I'm going to have the clutch slave installed to make the clutch pull easier while in the shop.


February, 2008 - Sunday morning is the beginning of a beautiful day in Dallas so I got the bike ready for a ride. For a change, I pulled off the bags and tank bag. Stripped for just a day ride, I stop and fill up the bike with gas, and head east. I got 30 miles outside of Dallas and then began my loop around the edge of town. I passed a GS1200 that was fully loaded and covered in road grime. I gave the rider a wave and thought "He must be having a blast on his trip." I had a hard time keeping the Ducati down below 80 and maybe that was because of the sans bags trim. She was cutting through the air so easily the speed just kept becoming a problem.

I saw lots of bikes out today, and for the first time ever there were more sportbikes out than cruisers. Normally the Harleys and Stars are the most prolific bikes on the road. Also, there was a large number of black riders out today. I think they are really buying into the sportbike group more than the cruiser crowd. I don't blame them because I have seen the cruiser crowd flaunt the Confederate background more than any other group. I guess in their minds "Old technology and old ideas go hand in hand."

I stopped in to Motopia for a cup of coffee. I was getting a little cool as the sun was settling in the west. Motopia is a new cafe and gathering place for riders. The establishment was full. I'm so glad to see them doing well. Outside of Motopia, Dallas does not have a watering hole that caters to riders. I know there are several "Chopper Bars" in Dallas, but not a place for all the other types of bikes. From there I went up Greenville avenue to see what all was happening in the club/restaurant row of east Dallas. The places were really hopping. The Dubliner bar was so full it was spilling into the street. So many bikes were there I couldn't find a place to park so I just kept going. I'm really excited to see so many riders out enjoying their bikes and this great weather.

I got home as the sun was going down and put the bike up. I immediately to my computer and started looking at possible long trips for this coming May.

January, 2008 - Well, I have 10,900 on the odometer now, and based on my riding habits this could be a problem for me this spring. That is when I want to tak a long (1,200 to 2,000 mile) trip. I'm just going to have to ride more in February in order to get the 12,000 mile service done before a long trip. That is a problem I can handle. If the weather is right in mid February, I can take the bike to Amarillo to see family. This is doubtful because the weather is really iffy that time of the year.

Farkle - I'm so happy with the bike, I'm having trouble finding anything to change. The only item that has my interest is a clutch slave. There are times in traffic when the clutch gets tiring. So, I'm thinking at the 12,000 mile service I will try to install the slave myself. If I have problems then let AMS fix it along with the service. The other change I'm considering is DZUS fasteners on the faring.

December, 2007 - I have just been doing local rides this winter. I enjoyed a trip to Granbury with two other Ducati's. What pretty site that was. I also added the Laminar Lip to the windshield. That is a wonderful product. It has really cleaned up the air flow around my head and this makes riding so much quieter.

October 12, 2007 - Chaulk up another great trip on the bike. This trip was east and southeast. First night was camping out at the Norton Owners Rally at the Lake of the Pines in east Texas. Those boys put on a great weekend rally. From there I headed south and east into Natchez, Missississippi. Hot as hell all the way until I crossed the river and then the rain hit. I got soaked because it initially just looked like a passing shower. When will I ever learn.

I first planned to take the Natchez Trace all the way to Nashville, but near Jackson, Ms. I couldn't take the 50 mph speed limit any longer. So I bailed and headed for Birmingham, Alabama. I arrived at the border at dark so I opted for a B&B. The next morning would bring rain from the get go, so I put on the rain suit and headed out. After a day of riding in constant rain, it finally broke clear just as I arrived at Birmingham. The idea was to camp out one night and then spend the day at the Barber Motorcycle museum. After spending an afternoon galking at the bikes I start my journey back west for Dallas. The trip back was pretty much slabbing it and I really hate that, but I had to get home.

The bike performed wonderfully and the only casuality was that I broke of the right mirror covering the bike in the rain. That was easly repaired once I got home.

July 20, 2007 - I completed a wonderful trip on my bike on June 29th. I rode from Dallas down to Big Bend National park. Round trip was about 1200 miles and I thourghly enjoyed every minute of the ride. This bike is wonderful for traveling. I'm getting about 42 miles per gallon riding at 75 mph. Now that I have learned to sit up, the ride is very relaxing. For some reason I have a tendency to hunch over when riding and that causes a strain on the neck and shoulders. Sitting more erect solves the problem.

I'm going back to the dealer for a Motogp watching party this Sunday. This is just days from being my one year anniversary of Ducati ownership. It has been a very good year.

April 25, 2007- The weather was perfect so I wanted to put on some miles. I headed east out of Dallas and took the backroads to the Louisiana border before heading home. 440 mile day and now it is time for the 6000 mile service.

March 8, 2007- Today I changed the bike into a dream! I had the Ducati Performance package installed (new Carbon Fiber exhaust, ECU, and Air box mod). The bike is completely different now. It runs so so good and sounds wonderful. Not too loud, just Ducati right! I also dropped one tooth on the front sprocket to lower the gearing. I'm very happy with the changes.

January 5, 2007- The weather was not as predicted (sunny in low 60s) so I left cautiously with cloudy skies in the low 50s, but it was an opportunity to ride. I decided to ride down to Cedar Creek to see how the lake looks during this drought. The lake is about as low as I've seen it since 1980. Boy do we need rain. The ride was fun and I really enjoyed getting out on the open road again. 190 miles later I parked the Duc in the garage and marked they day as a good one.

October 2006 - A warm day so I rode over to our lake house in East Texas. 100 miles one way. Spent the day going over the house to insure all is well. I decided to wait until the sun set before heading back to Dallas. That way I wouldn't have to look into the setting sun for the 100 mile return. So at 8:30 I finished off a burger in Mineola and jumped on highway 80 to beat it back to Dallas. The road was under construction for bridge repair between Mineola and Grand Saline along with various other crap to keep me on my toes. As I approached Wills Point my face screen was covered with bugs so I decided to pull into the first gas station I could find and clean off my helmet. On the edge of town was a Shell so I started my left turn across the 4 lane Hwy 80. I was focused on the oncoming traffic because that was my highest risk factor in this turn. But surprise, the TXDOT had resurfaced the east bound only lanes of 80 so there was a 4 to 5 inch ridge between the lanes. When I hit the ridge the bike jerked back right and I continued left. Bam! the pavement hit me with a thud and the sound of sliding/sanding of fiberglass. The bike did a 1/2 turn to the left while sliding when the rear wheel caught traction and spun her around. My left leg was trapped and boy did it stretch my hamstring way beyond what it should have. Oh the pain. Then my butt caught traction on the pavement and I broke free to roll twice spraying helmet pieces all around me. Then it was over. The bike continued to run while lying wounded on its side. I surveyed my body damage. Hamstring #1 pain. Having trouble taking my breath #2.

I then tried to get up but that really hurt my ribs. So I rolled over and pulled myself up with only my right leg since the left was really hurting. I staggered over to the bike with it still running and dumping fuel everywhere. I turned her off and looked up to see a cop car, and 2 fire trucks already on the scene. Boy they were fast, but Wills Point is a small town so the travel time was short. I convinced them that I didn't need an ambulance, then I convinced the wrecker not to take the bike. It looked pretty rough on the left side, but all the running gear appeared okay. I stood and collected my thoughts and wondered about the wisdom of not going to the hospital. I couldn't lift my left leg and I still could only pant for breath. So over to the bike I began the process of pulling my left leg over the seat from the right. Boy that was hard plus it seemed all wrong to mount from the right side. It took several tries to get the engine to fire before I started my venture on to Dallas.

The aftermath. It turns out I had bruised ribs and a pulled hamstring along with a bruised butt cheek. My gear prevented me from having a single abraison on my body. Plus my head had no damage other than pride. The bike required a new left mirror, repaired mid faring and left saddle bag. Total costs $650.00. I did a lot of soul searching as I recovered from the pains. I'm 59 and this fall really hurt so I considered wheather I should be riding motorcycles.

Time heals and the love of riding is still so strong that I'm continuing. My wife is strongly objecting to this, but she doesn't understand why I enjoy this so much. I guess the old saying applies here. "If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand."

August 10, 2006 - I rode over to our lake house north of Tyler today. Wow, so very very hot. I"m having my helmet painted (got to match the bike you know) so I rode with my old helmet. The face shield is broken so I went without the shield and just wore sunglasses. It is a full face helmet, but the wind in the face all day was like a furnace.

Boy, the bike just eats up miles with ease. She now has 2,200 on the odometer. Unfortunately all of the miles have been in 100 degree heat.

August 1, 2006 - I packed the saddlebags and made a run up to Amarillo to visit family for the week. Round trip was 900 miles all in 100+ temperatures. I can't wait until the heat breaks from this summer. It makes enjoying the motorcycle a challenge since I always wear protective gear (helmet, armored jacket, pants, boots, and gloves) Hot Hot Hot. So far the stats are as follows: no oil consumption, speed 75 to 85 on highway, mileage is about 40 mpg.

July 29, 2006 - I joined with the TWTEX group for a ride down to Hutto, Texas for some pie and motorcycle talk. Round trip was 500 miles. Temperatures never dropped below 100. The bike seems to handle the heat with ease and I have experienced no overheating.

July 27,2006 - I rode over to meet a contractor at our lake house and then on over to have lunch with my friend in Longview. Round trip was 250 miles. The bike is exceeding my expectations, but the Texas summer heat is challenging.

July 25, 2006 - I started her up for the first time and pulled out onto the hot Dallas streets for an introductory ride. This is the first new bike I have owned since I bought a Triumph Daytona back in 1973. For this bike I traded in my Kawasaki ZR7-S which is a similar bike to the ST3s, but that is kind of like comparing a Miata to a Ferrari. The Ducati is much more powerful and lighter than the Kawasaki, yet it has more bells and whistles to play with on your ride. Adjustable headlight angle, digital gauges for trip meter, gas usage, temperature are just a few of the items available for use. But the most noticable difference is the ride and brakes. The Olins and Showa suspension parts along with Brembo brakes make for a very smooth and in control ride. This is going to be fun.