Monday, October 11, 2010

Harrison Idaho

So early this spring Lisa bought her first road legal motorcycle. I made a quick post about her new purchase which is a 2006 Honda Rebel 250. It is black with some chrome and saddlebags bags and a windscreen. It had about 6000 miles on her and looked brand new. She has been riding as much as possible this year weather permitting as being a new rider is still a bit daunted by bad weather and quite simply just wants to ride when it is fairly nice out. She commutes to work quite often and has gotten well over 70mpg on the bike. This translates into almost two weeks of commutes on 2.2 gallons.
Last weekend Lisa was bound and determined to take a bit of a day trip since we were to have a nice day in October. She left the location up to me and I decided on going to Harrison Idaho. This town is about a mile square but is on the southeast tip of Lake Coeur D Alene where the sunsets are some of the most beautiful I have seen. They were having a small Octoberfest and thought it would be a fun ride to the little town. We headed out and rode the first 30 miles to the Coeur D Alene Casino and grabbed a quick drink and walked around the casino a bit. There were a lot of Harleys there as usual and I still find it funny the looks we get when she pulls up on that Honda and me on my KLR. We departed the casino and headed east into Heyburn State Park where the roads are windy and smooth. The speeds are reasonable and Lisa really showed how much better of a rider she has become over the summer. Smooth transitions between corners and nice throttle roll on coming out. The little Honda tops out around 70 or so and if there is a long hill maybe 65 so a few times it was interesting trying to get around some slow moving vehicles but she did really well. She has great vision while riding. I see her cover her brake when a car approaches an intersection and she always watches her mirrors closely when stopped.
So making our way to Harrison we stopped a few more times just to chat and enjoy north Idaho. When we got to Harrison it turned out to be a 80 mile jaunt and obviously 160 round trip. We had a nice meal in a local pub and soaked up the atmosphere of the day. I really can't remember a more beautiful day in October to share with a absolutely gorgeous woman on a motorcycle ride.
This was the longest ride to date for her and we plan many more. She is thinking maybe next year about moving up to a bigger bike and really piling on the miles or smiles as I like to say.

-Charlie-

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tech Day 2010

May 15th was this years tech day held at a local riders (Rick) house in the Spokane Valley. We had about 13 KLRs show up and many of them took a turn in the garage for anything from minor repairs to valve checks and Doohickey replacements. The KLR has pretty much been the same motorcycle since 1987 and has only had one fairly major re-work beginning in 2008. The only real issue that the KLR has is what is called the Balancer Chain Adjuster or in the KLR world a "Doohickey" We had two of our riders crack open the case this year to replace the weak part from Kawasaki with the proven parts from Eagle Mike. When we got the side covers off of Kent's 2005 and removed the flywheel we noticed that the tensioner spring was completely gone. Sadly a common issue with this bike but we now had to try and find the spring before it ended up like this one from my bike.
We ended up completely removing the water pump and clutch side cover and digging the spring out of the oil passage screen where it was lodged in. This is a bit of work but seems to be a common place to find things lost in the engine. Obviously much better to do more work than have a trashed motor. Kent was a busy boy for most of the day as he also lubed his steering head bearings, and put bigger spacers above his fork springs to pre-load the springs more.
Norris made some really cool little kickstand pads that made the footprint of our kickstands a touch larger so when we park the heavy bikes on soft dirt or hot asphalt it spreads the weights out some so the kickstand won't sink and cause the behemoth to fall over. It may just look like a big dirt bike but mine weighs in at 430 pounds. For just a small disc under the kickstand it was a good improvement.
After many more wrenches turned we all decided it was time to go for a little bit of a ride. I mean what good is it to work on on your motorcycle all day and then just park it. We decided to head into Idaho a little ways and fuel up then head towards Mt. Spokane and ride the back roads and see if we could get to the top and drop out on a different road. We cruised all around and came upon some dead ends and typical kelly humps blocking the roads. We stirred up lots of dirt and had a really good time. It is so interesting riding with people of all different skill levels and set-ups on their bikes. Dual sport motorcycles offer a range of tires then can really effect how they perform on and off road. I have fairly aggressive knobbies on mine but it does surprisingly well on the street.
A beautiful day for a ride with good people and looking forward to the next one. These are a great group of guys with a whole bunch on knowledge to pass on to keep these great machines on the move and running for a long time to come.
Ride Safe
-Charlie-

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ahhh.....memories

I am like a lot of people nowadays and have some sort of social networking. I can't stand Myspace and seem to not mind Facebook. I find I am able to hide some things I don't want to see and have a little fun with it here and there with silly quizzes. Anyway a few months ago an old friend of mine messaged me reminding me of high school days when we stayed up all night and drove to a city and listened to music by the lake. I mean to most people this may sound boring or mundane but at the time I/we had no idea what we were creating.


So I came across this message from my buddy again and decided to look up the one of the songs he mentioned that we were listening to at the time. I found it on I-tunes and just had to download it for the heck of it. When I played this song on the computer I found myself grinning from ear to ear so hard it almost hurt. Amazingly I knew the words from start to finish and as I listened to the song part of my grin was from the visions of memories jumping in my mind. The song for this story really makes no difference as it makes it more relatable to people. I have been a music nut since being a young child as my Dad listened to all sorts of genres and we never went anywhere without tunes. Once again....another memory. I have found now that I am in my late 30s that no matter what happens in your life, be it good, bad, or indifferent, you are always creating a memory. I mean always. I, like many people, love to sit around with friends and reminisce about times past. Sometimes we laugh so hard my face hurts the next day and am now realizing that the laughing will like all other events turn into another great memory.

Memories are more powerful than we realize. They can bring back emotions from the day of an event almost exactly as they happened. I have experienced some things in my 36 years that I would not wish upon my greatest enemy but they are what have made me what I am today. I have also had some of the greatest experiences that when I think of them, I smile, laugh and even sometimes cry. In my short lifetime I have been around the world. I have crab fished in Alaska and been on every major island in the Aleutian Chain. I have been in the Air Force and launched the bad ass A-10 Thunderbolt against a dug in enemy. Almost died in a C-130 crash in Kuwait seeing many injured and dead changed me forever. I have worked for the Montana Fish and Game and compared fish counts with co-workers so we could race back to the good holes. Snowmobiling with friends in the winter and riding motorcycles on the same trails in the summer. I am proud of my 9 years work in law enforcement and the help I gave to many, many people in my community to get them on the good road. I may have only impacted a few out of the thousands but that is ok. Latest and greatest of course is my little family. They have become my center and my life revolves around them. I sure hope I am providing good memories for them as we move through life. My noggin is so full of memories with all the things I have seen and done and to be honest would not change a thing at all.

My most recent memory was just last weekend. This is actually what has prompted this “memories” posting. The family has recently acquired a little boat for fishing and my Dad, Mom and I went to a local lake to fish together for the first time in probably 20 years. The wind was blowing and it was a little cool but dang we had a good time. Catching fish was just a bonus as I know now and seeing my Mom bring in a really nice Rainbow Trout is absolutely priceless. She was grinning and so excited to get it in the boat while my Dad and I were trying to tell her all our little tips for landing it in about two seconds. Fishing is one of my best memories as a kid and it has now spanned almost 4 decades. I now have a little 11 year old buddy to fish with and now I know how my Dad felt all those years.

Older people always told me growing up to stop and think before I acted and it would keep me out of trouble. Sometimes thinking about it made me want to do it more. Looking back some of those dumb decisions have turned into the best memories of my life. So here’s to more memories…….



-Charlie-

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The wave.

I have been meaning to write about this for a while now but was not really sure how to approach it without pissing anyone off. I guess I just decided I don't care if it does or not. Basically the purpose of this blog is to simply ask why some people on motorcycles wave and others do not. I am sure it must have to do with what you are riding as to whether or not you get a wave. My personal view of it is that I wave because I am on two wheels and so are you. It is funny at times when I wave at people on certain types of bikes and they almost refuse to wave back. I don't know about anyone else but when I wave and get nothing back I feel a bit annoyed. I don't go out of my way to wave or anything just really a small acknowledgement that we are both on motorcycles. I won't wave if I am making a turn from an intersection but will give a nod. I wish when you got your endorsement they had some sort of section on "wave ettiquette". that way when I wave at a guy on a BMW and he for whatever reason looks the other way and ignores me I at least should have known better. I am not trying to pick on BMW riders at all. Harley riders or in more general terms "baggers" sometimes ignore me too. When I see someone on another dual sport some of them seem to get a little too excited at seeing another of their kind on the road. Sometimes I laugh out loud at this ritual.
     I will admit there is one time of year that pretty much all bikers wave all the time. That is the first really nice day of the year when you see a hundred bikes on the road. I think the joy of finally getting the cover off the bike and the feeling of riding again makes everyone happy. No matter what you ride. Even the scooter riders get waved back too. I wave at the scooter guys myself but it is amusing to see baggers wave at them on the first nice day. About a month or two in to the riding season the waves begin to dissipitate. Must be that we are getting used to the novelty of two wheels again and loyalties become stronger.
What baggers usually mean when they wave to me.

     As the season goes on I find it interesting at who still waves at me. BMW guys must see the KLR and think I am a wannabe or something. Baggers are just too cool. Scooter guys are just happy and wave all the time. Metric cruiser people seem to be stuck in the middle. Sport bike riders tend to wave quite often if they see me as they go buy. Mostly because they saw a flash of a motorcycle and figured they should wave just in case. Other dual sport riders like the DR and XL, KLX-s almost seem like they know they will get a wave from me and wave more vigorously than others. I am sure some of these people have opinions of me for what I ride and that is fine. KLR riders are generally known to be slightly frugal or whatever your favorite term is for penny pinchers. Like I said I wave at them all and love to see the salute back. Makes me feel some comradery with people I will never know. I am sure many will read this and say what an idiot but oh well not the first time. When you boil it all down we are doing the same thing just in a different style. I would love to have a GS Adventure but can't afford one I would love to ride a HD V-Rod or Fat Boy in all black or the side of me that would love a Ducati 900 Monster. Hell I even wish for a scooter too because they look like a lot of fun to ride. I tend to drop my left hand and point two fingers out. Seems to be the general way of doing it. Occasionally I see someone almost do a parade wave and I usually don't wave back because I am trying to figure out the point of it and realize they have passed. Everyone has their own way of doing it in their own style that is what is great about riding motorcycles. We are doing the same thing but in our own way. Let's keep the fun in motorcycling and remember we are all doing it because it makes us feel free. It is the one thing that puts me in complete control and gives me a grin every time. Like in a picture on Lady Riders blog you never see a motorcycle parked in front of a psychiatrists office. As a closing when I see someone on two wheels I know they are enjoying some of the same things I am no matter what their lifestyle. That is what makes us different in the same kind of way.

Two wheels rule!
-Charlie-

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Friend Flicka

Many people think of the 1941 novel written by Mary O'Hara when they hear the name "Flicka". When I hear it, I think about a rescued German Shepherd that is the owner of a good friend of mine. The first time I ever met Flicka was back in 2001 in the early winter. She was in a kennel at a north Spokane Vet Clinic looking a bit thin and pretty sheepish. Not what I think of when I picture a German Shepherd. In my mind I can see a very statuesque strong breed that is very protective of family and friends. I went into the clinic every now and then and saw that this lonely Shepherd was there and did not seem to have an owner. When I did ask about her status I was told that it was the dog of a man who had passed away and the widow was elderly with no way to take care of her. Feeling heartbroke at the thought of such a beautiful animal living in a cage forever I contacted my friend. He had a German Shepherd before and I knew he was a huge dog lover. Especially partial to Shepherds. His previous dog was named Amadeus, and he was very full of himself. He was the very picture of a strong German Shepherd and he knew it. He played the alpha role very well. Amadeus lived for about 8 years and my friend was absolutely devestated when he passed away. I knew it had been a few years since the passing and thought maybe.....just maybe he would be open for a new to him Shepherd. When I approached him about it one day he actually told me that he recently decided it was time for him to find a new companion. My heart jumped at the thought of him meeting Flicka and hoping he would maybe change the name since I thought it was a name for horses. (More on the name later) I went and picked up Flicka the next day and arranged a meeting at my house between my friend and Flicka. I had the anticipation of feeling like I was setting up two good friends on a blind date and hoping like hell they had some chemistry. Funny thing though as I was on the way home I began to really fall in love with Flicka and went head over heels when I went through a local drive-through to get a shake and Flicka tried to take the window person's hand off for reaching inside my pickup to hand me my shake. Finally! There was the German Shepherd in her! I could not wait to get home and be there before my friend so I could have her all ready. There was a bit of snow out and I raced home and parked the truck and took her inside for a minute so I could get my camera for a picture. Soon after I took the picture above my buddy showed up and I swear it was not five minutes and they were like two long lost friends. Some people just have a way with dogs and my friend is one of those. Dogs can sense way more than we ever know and she could tell he was the right boy for her. We went to the clinic again to take care of paperwork and was given a large kennel and a jolly ball. The jolly ball is a large heavy plastic ball and we just could not see how a dog could play with it.
 
You can see in the picture on the right that she just loves to play jolly ball! When my friend got her home he called me a few days later and said that she was having accidents in the house. Now we figured that with her being about two years old she was housebroken and figured something might be wrong. We went and talked to the Vet and he said the elderly woman used to make her kennel up all night and sleep in it without going out at all. No wonder she looked so sheepish in the kennel at the clinic on my visits. So just to be careful the Dr. did a full make-up on her blood and it turns out that she is on the verge of kidney failure. My heart sank thinking of my buddy finding a new dog only to have to deal with this. He told me it was no big deal and he would do whatever needed to be done to make her comfortable and happy. I don't think many people would have done this. I bet most would have tried to return the dog to the clinic. Anyhow he was given a prescription dog food and some other meds and some instructions.
A few months later Flicka was brought back to the clinic and new blood work was done. Turns out she had a major turn around and had almost perfect blood this time around. Lots of excercise and good treatment totally helped Flicka. Amazingly she went from about 68 pounds to almost 90 pounds of solid muscle. Flicka looked like an athlete. She quit having accidents and is just adored in her new life and attention she recieves. When my buddy gets home he goes right to Flicka for his "Doggie Hugs" and some good pets as well as a rousing round of "jollie ball".  
So this great friendship continues to this day only with a little sad news. Flicka is now about 11 years old and anyone who knows dog realizes that is pretty old for a large dog breed. Flicka is getting around much slower and you can almost hear her knees creek when she runs, but she still puts her heart in it. Jollie ball is still her favorite game as well as fetch when inside. She is now in the twilight of her life and is as much loved today as ever by her boy.
While doing some research for this posting it turns out Flicka is from an old German name of Farica. This name means "peaceful ruler". Another site says Flicka is a Swedish expression for "little girl" Both very fitting of her demeaner and grace. Now I have not mentioned my friends name in this posting for the reason that he is very private and this post is a bit on the personal side. He just needs to know that he has given a rescued dog all that could be asked for and to remember she will always be with him even after she passes. Take care my friend and be strong.

-Charlie-

Update: Due to Flicka and her arthritis issues my buddy actually re-built the stairs she uses to get into the yard. They went from a 3 step drop to about 8 steps that stretch out about 8 feet or so. No she can get up and down much easier. I hope someone does that for me when I get old.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lisa got a road bike!

     So finally after months of looking a trying out different styles and seating positions and the like Lisa found the machine she had been looking for. She located a 2006 Honda Rebel 250 in Pullman (about 60 miles from us) on good ole Craigslist. I knew she was looking for a while and when she finally made it clear she was serious I started looking up blue book prices and gettin an idea what she would be paying. I noticed that these models ranged from $800 to about 3k depending on the year. Apparently not too much has changed with the bike and it seems they hold their value very well.
     I was not too sure at first if the 250 would be ideal for her as she does not mind healthy acceleration in her car or on her 4-wheeler but when she knows what she wants........well she knows. I am leary occasionally on Craigslist due to the scams and mostly people thinking they had something that was worth much more than it was. After much looking and talking to the owner I was encouraged enough to hook up the trailer and head south. When we got there the owner had it parked out front. I watched Lisa's face as we pulled in and could see the excitement. I couldn't help it either as the Rebel looked fantastic. Like I said earlier it is a 2006 CMX250 Rebel. Black with lots of chrome and an aftermarket windscreen and it also has leather saddlebags. The bike only has 5900 miles and just looked great. It is the perfect size for her to get going on as she has never ridden a motorcycle before. I know in a few years she will want something bigger but for now she could not be happier.                                   
Last Saturday she woke up at about 7:30 in the morning no thanks to Earl texting her notifying us of the beautiful day outside. We got up and Lisa went on her first ride on the road. We went all through the neighborhood, stopped and had a coffee and then visited my mom who could not believe how nice this bike is. I am so happy to see her excitement when she rides it and now she can understand why I will just "go for a ride" some days and be gone for hours.

-Charlie-




Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rare February ride

I just love wearing so much gear. Actually makes a KLR look kinda small when I am on it.

So it is not too often we can get out for anything but a quick errand ride up here in Spokane this time of year. One of my riding buddies posted up wanting to see if anyone was interested in a ride on Saturday. Well since I have been doing almost nothing due to my lay-off and the crappy financial situation I decided to take him up on the ride. We ended up riding about 190 miles round trip and since the KLR averages about 50mpg and I only bought a water and a sausage stick the whole trip cost me a whopping $16. Not too shabby for a full day of riding with a few friends. We rode up north to an area we want to camp in this summer and had a pretty good time. We came across some pretty gnarly roads and had to turn around once or twice but as usual it was worth it. Here are some pics of the ride.




A cave that we stopped at on the way home. Finally some sun!



A little snow never hurt anyone. Should have seen the campers faces when we rode by!

One of the roads we turned around on. Got a little too icy.
Ride safe.
-Charlie-

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Video bump for Earl Thomas

So in spite of Earl not posting anything more about our cabinet trip I am going to post a few teaser videos from the trip. The first one os from a washed out road that we forded in our scivvies in case we fell in and I got him posing like I was taking a picture.
The second video is with him using a "borrowed" bicycle pump to get air in his tire.


video

video

Can't wait until the weather gets more suitable for riding in the hills again. Been mild here in the high 30s and low 40s so it is ok for a little town riding to keep the itch to a minimum.

-Charlie-