Monday, September 22, 2014

Good Times & Bad Times & Good Times

I hit the road Friday afternoon.  Packed and buckin' a 40mph headwind.  Windy as shit.  I get to the first gas stop and noticed my new "Mighty Max" battery is dead.  No lights.  I get out the tools, plug in my battery eliminator - back-in-business.  I go 65 miles to the next stop - and see my canvas tool roll (loaded with all kinds of special tools for my chopper) and my new rain suit pants and jacket are gone.  A sole blue bungee dangles in the wind - my pack is loose.  My kit had some expensive tools, vintage tools and sentimental tools given to me by motorcyclist who used this stuff for years . . . and they were happy to see me have it.  It was a mental downer to say the least . . . The wind was out-of-my-sails for this ride.  I gassed up and rode back about 10-15 miles - nothing.  I decided to continue on - anyway.

I run the Hwy 65, Hwy 30, back on I-35S with a gas stop in Ankeny, Iowa (America's overcrowded shit hole).  Fake fuckers everywhere on phones wearing Under Armour bullshit.  One stop light went through 3 sessions before I finally rode over the grass and sliced through "stagnant traffic" proudly wearing my Splitting Lanes helmet decal . . . just to get a gas pump that was so close the last 10 minutes - I could have thrown an egg and hit it.  Never, ever, ever go to Ankeny, Iowa !  Gassed with a new harder attitude, I blast back out on I-35 in rush hour traffic . . . pointed south to Des Moines.  Hand shift, no front brake, (lights? - I don't even know if my brake light is working, and unless I hold my hand up to my headlight, I don't know if that's working either - I don' t really care right now.)  I blast into the heart of DSM, left lane I-235 - I take the Hwy 69 Exit - and in 20 minutes - I arrive in Indianola - the stop for the night.  Indianola Bike Nite with over 4000 motorcycles.  Crazy.  

I meet a guy named Cactus who invites me to his vintage motorcycle show on Sunday.  I meet a lot of really cool people.  I decide I need a stiff drink - so I head to a joint called "The Garage."  She does me up a good one. 

This band of "dudes with rhythm" is playing in the back.  They are really good.  They play Stevie Wonder, then Prince (dearly beloved, we are gathered here . . .) then bust into Pharrel Williams "Happy" and I kinda like that song . . . and they do it great.  After about a half-a-dozen songs, I had enough and walk outside to see that "Nick" guy checkin' my scooter.  You know Nick from all the Ku Fu Tap photos . . . he's pretty cool and knows his old chops.  It was fun talkin' with him and his girl.  Now I'm hungry, and a local suggests Winn's Pizzeria . . . and it was one of the best pizzas I've ever had . . . from the crust to the cheese.  My little motel with the dirty floor (my socks were black) . . . but the sheets were clean - and the TV worked.  Just in time to see more of The Roosevelts.
The morning had heavy thunderstorms - so I went around to shops trying to get a new rainsuit - and get my lights working . . .
I wasn't really impressed with the "Harley Shop" on Hwy 65.  They had rain-suits as long as you wore a Small or a 3XL.  I stood by service, nobody said hello, good morning or fuck you.  If you want women's designer clothes - they have a very nice selection.  The only thing they seemed to be proud of was the FREE food at Noon . . . Huge tents, chairs . . . yada, yada, yada.  I left and went to the Jap-Bike shop (Van Wall Powersports) where he helped me with my lights, and gave me a sweet deal on a rain-suit ($25) and a hot cup of coffee.  They had all types of oils, bike tools, etc for the motorcyclist.  It gave you a nice choice.
A really good shop - and he suggested the Crouse Cafe for breakfast . . .

I ate like a king . . . I went through the buffet twice: real scrambled eggs, sausage, hickory bacon, strawberries, 3 types of melon, real cut baby potatoes, hot caramel rolls, eggs Benedict, egg casserole, cheese potato casserole, hot apple crisp, biscuits with hot sausage gravy - and a great hot cup o' coffee with a tall glass o' ice water . . . damn it was delicious . . . and cute college server gals.

I was just tired and spent after all this . . . with variable lights, my generator making a grinding sound - and it's raining again - I make a heavy-hearted decision to turn back.  No Kansas City - again.  I've been derailed on my quests for KC since May.  A flood, an injury - and now a mechanical.  I'm kinda dejected - but Ricky told me . . . "It's better to have tried, and had a failure - then to not try at all." which are very good words to live by.  Thank You.  On my way back, I get to Collins, Iowa - and it's looks like a freakin' tornado ahead.  I'm riding in bright, hot sunshine at the moment.  The temp drops about 20 degrees in 2 miles - and it looks bad ahead.  Then, there's a detour !  A farmer, driving a totally radded out rust bucket Ford - tells me to take this gravel a mile or two - and you'll be right back on 65 again.  For gravel, it started out not too bad, but over a slight hill - it turned into chopper Motocross.  Slick, soupy sandy shit - like quicksand.  I could hear the mud and slime clogging into my front-mount voltage regulator - hell, I don't have any lights anyway - who gives a shit?  Right?  I finally meet up with my friend Willard & Jodi at a bar called "Flatheads" (named after the catfish) in St. Anthony, Iowa.  Another 80 miles and I'm home.  I need a drink, and some rest.  The bike gets parked - it's ragged out - but running like a champ.   
A 360 mile Pointless Adventure?  
But not - depends how you look at what life throws at you . . .

Friday, September 19, 2014

Barn Find XLs

XR1000 New In-The-Box !

Big City Life . . .

It's nice to have some friends down a bit further south.  It's warmer in Kansas City, and a good time for a late summer/fall run.  Go check out the new shop and catch up on the "goings on" - make sure everyone's being good little boys.  Riding my chopper right into the heart of Mid-Town is the scary thing . . . but it sure is an adventure !   . . . and that's what it's all about.

Ken Burns

Ken Burns has the best documentaries on television.  This one is excellent.  I had no idea what these three Roosevelts had accomplished for America. It will be rerun multiple times in the next few weeks on public television.  Three Americans who were born into wealth - but, used it to make this country a better place.  All (3) completely different - in every single way.  They overcame great struggles mentally and physically to become who they were - and help America and it's people.  They helped our grandparents.  We move, we work - and enjoy modern quality of life - due to these three.  Period.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I often see my Pink Hat friend(above) at many biker related events.  He knows how to ride long distances.  There's really nothing in life better than packing your motorcycle with necessities - and hitting the road.  The first miles (as opposed to what one might think) are usually the most uncomfortable.  Getting situated.  The realization of how far you have to go.  Leaving in the rain is the worst.  After 200 miles - getting into it.  After 500 miles - your mind is clearing.  After 1200 miles - you just want to keep going, your ears have this dull ringing.  You're not as effected by outside elements anymore.  After 5000 miles - I don't know.  It's unknown to me.  I'll get there someday hopefully.  To know what's it's like after 5000+ miles on the road - on a packed motorcycle.  You might see this land quite differently.  You might change your life's direction?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Local Tat Shop

I stopped by the new tattoo parlor that opened in town.  The bright sign really lights up the 4 lane.  It seems all "tattoo people" really dig choppers, bobbers, pinstriping, old motorcycles . . . the same stuff I like.  They said "stop by anytime" and bring some different bikes - you got neat rides dude.  It makes you feel good when you talk with other like-minded people who dig what you built - the art you did.  Gives you a feeling of accomplishment that what you've created is noticed - and the time was not wasted.  I'm hip about time.

Dave's Progress

Steve's Progress

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


. . . and a bungee hook

The Girl . . . . Lisbeth

The Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with English subtitles(and series - as it was written and should be viewed - not just for Hollywood dollars) is the more powerful of this book-based film.  Foreign films use actors that more closely resemble normal people like the rest of us.  Hollywood film actors are always beautiful, glamorous (and unrealistic).  Chosen for their looks usually.  American films are more and more about money.  It's really getting gross.  A Hollywood actor has an agent that signs a 3 or 4 movie deal - and then puts out 1 decent film and 3 shit films.  If you wish to see good cinema - go to a university and sit through a foreign film at an art center.  (U of Iowa Bijou, UNI Art Center)  It's usually low cost(or no cost) You'll leave with a lasting impression, and you will see the world a bit differently - through the eyes of people who too . . . Live in this world.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jack Wall - Hillclimb Bravery on his Knuckle

Could you imagine?  You're the next up !  Staring up at this very steep hill, on your bike with chains on the rear - ready to open this sucker wide open - open it up and try to hang on - hit the hill just right, get some big-time speed and go up over the top?   The Harley pulls up on the power band, building speed as it gets real steep - Then, it all went wrong.  You hit a big one.  It bangs your spine and throws you off - The bike takes off - you lost the bars - the motor revs wide wide open.  You see fire from the rear pipe.  Those chains miss your face by an inch.  Tall, dry grass pokes you in the face.  You're out of breath, your heart races . . . the bike pops, stalls and slides. You smell oil smoke and gasoline. Your foot is kinda twisted . . .
you have to work on Monday.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Steve's Pan . . . lower end

Steve needed a new case half . . . so we took it to Wiley who matched & machined it up, line bored, decked the base and motor mounts, and did a lot of other little stuff to make this thing right.  We checked over the flywheels, Noot line lapped the the race - and with a bit of de-burring and triple checking - these rods now spin free and easy . . . just like Steve is gonna feel like, when he's motoring up the Great River Road on his custom built pan chop.  But, I ain't done yet . . . gotta get back to work !

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ray Goff

A racer and mentor to former pro Garth Brow
The track looks rough?
Check that slick front tire, kidney belt and high bars.
Steel shoe . . . and maybe it's a WLD since he's got
the magneto in the gear cover ?
Ray Goff - A true racer !