Tonys’ Favorite Ride

My name is Tony, and I only started riding on the street about a year ago, but I have really been riding… racking up 20K miles in this first year. My buddy Rick from work has many years experience and has been my mentor of sort; he went with me to checkout and buy my first bike, invited me on my first few rides and we have had some great times over the last year.
About eight months ago, he says to me, when we were out with the wives…have you heard about this “Tail of the Dragon”…it’s one of the great rides he hoped to do one day.

Well about 3 weeks later I said hey let’s do it! We are in Central Virginia, and can ride the Blue Ridge Parkway from beginning to end then spend a few days in the Robbinsville NC area, ride the Dragon, and the other great roads in that neck of the woods.

The trip was in middle May and it was rockin” all the pieces just fell into place. Minor mechanical problems were correctable in 10 minuets. The weather was pleasantly cool and co-operative, even though rain was forecast for every day we had maybe 15min of light rain the entire trip. The Dragon was not crowded, and the Cherohla Skyway was awesome. All-in-all we racked up nearly 2000 miles. Here is the clip..


The only downer was after getting back home….the roads here are not quite as challenging as the used to be…so we are now planning a cross country trip. Heading across a northern route to ride the Pacific Coast from Washington to California with the return across the southern route. Who knows I might even get him to go for a the IBA 50hour coast to coast ride.

Written by Tony Askew

Kisas’ Favorite Ride

Beartooth Pass

The Beartooth Highway climbs, twisting, backtracking, gaining altitude and respect.  It connects with Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, and continues its punishing trek.  Nearly 11,000 feet above sea level, the mountain views are breathtaking – literally and figuratively.  The roar of thousands of bikes, all makes and models, announce that it’s time for the 2011 Beartooth Rally, hosted in Red Lodge, Montana.

 

The decision to embark on an over 700 mile round trip journey to the Rally wasn’t exactly a decision, it was an obvious choice.  The adrenaline, wind, speed, and my boyfriend’s Harley – of course I would be there.   We rode with good friends, camped out, enjoyed local frosty brews, and took in some of the most amazing scenery our country has to offer.

 

Beartooth Rally '11

But this was not my favorite ride.  Phenomenal?  Yes, of course.  Favorite?  No.  Not even close.  Because when 700 miles of thinking is at one’s disposal, the mind is apt to wander while the bike stays on track.

 

I am not, at first glance, an obvious connoisseur of motorcycles.  I don’t consider myself an accomplished rider in the least, and though I live just over 100 miles from Sturgis, South Dakota, I’ve never been to the famed rally.  However, the draw to motorcycling is there, somewhere deep in my memory.  It might even be in my blood.

 

The ride that changed me, sculpted me, occurred some hot, late summer evening, nearly twenty years ago.  I don’t recall just when it was, what I wore or why I finally got to go, because when you’re four or five and, at last, Mom lets you on “that contraption” with Dad, you forget everything else.

 

Kyle, Kisa, Jimmy, Lea Ann, Jamey @ Rally

The tank was bright, ferocious red and there were lights and dials in front of me and the only thing I was allowed to touch was the bar that joined the handlebars.  Montana’s stifling summer heat and the waves radiating from the bike did nothing to subdue my nearly blinding excitement.  The snarl of my dad’s Yamaha, an early ‘70s 125 Enduro, kickstarted something within me that I will never be able to define, just as I will never be able to divorce it from who I am at the core.

 

Together, we spattered gravel from the driveway, tore through the street, and hurtled down the road.  Though our actual speed at that moment is likely lost to history and significantly lower than my personal account, in that moment we were flying.  My heart lurched and I remember gulping back wind, my eyes watering, though not from terror.  I felt adrenaline, wind, speed, and joy.

 

Dad, Spring '68

The size of the dirt hills a few blocks from my childhood home are inversely proportional to my age at the time of the memory of choice.  This was a day when they were mountains, seemingly thousands of feet above sea level.  Dad plunged the front tire down into the abyss and for a brief moment, I was sure my short life was coming to a rapid close.  My stomach dropped and we shot upward, my laughter probably as much of a surprise to my father as it was to me.  My life wasn’t over.  It had just begun.  I begged to do it one more time, again and again and again, just to feel the joy, the fear, the giddiness a little more.  The feeling of living is truly intoxicating, addictive.

 

So that’s it, I guess.  It’s not glossy or fancy.  My favorite ride was on a dirt hill in my hometown, sweaty little legs stuck to the tank.  Why?  It’s the ride that started all the rides, motorized and beyond.  My life is richer because of it.  I live for adrenaline, wind, speed, joy, fear, giddiness, but above all, I live.  The feeling of that first ride at a young age is so internalized and critical that to be without it would be like trying to tear out my own heart.

 

Dad&Hodaka, '10

While a thrilling ride across the Beartooths might register as number one among some, I’ll keep my little kid memory.  That Wide Glide makes me smile, but there’s something about a two-stroke’s growl that sparks a very real, visceral reaction.  It’s a sound and a feeling that makes me want to go anywhere, try anything, and really live.  I’m willing to bet we all have something that gives us that feeling.  For Dad, it’s a smell, the scent of bean oil mixing with nitrobenzene that takes him back to the flat track and days spent endurance racing before they were called Enduros.  It’s the smell of adrenaline, wind, speed, and life.

 

After all, isn’t that why we ride?  It’s a feeling we want to capture, again and again, that takes us back to a place where we know we’re real and living.

Written By Kisa Kron

Kisa Kron, photo by Dad, '07

Benjamins’ Favorite Ride

Mayhem on the Mountain

14 July 2011

Bald Eagle McCall

2 riders and 1 chase truck took off from Mountain Home, Idaho.  5 months in the making we were finally on our way.  Heading West on I-84 (YAWN) we headed into Boise, Idaho and picked up our 3rd rider and 2 more passengers.  3 riders and 5 Passengers in the chase truck headed out of town on State Street and then turned right on Idaho 55 heading toward McCall, Idaho.  Idaho 55 is a pretty good road with several hills and turns and straights heading into Horseshoe Bend, Idaho.  Heading out of Horseshoe Bend we were ready for the construction wait from the one lane road and pilot car ahead of us. It was really not that bad we sat for about 25 minutes and chatted along the road until we were released to head on up the road.  Maybe 20 minutes later we were released from the 35 MPH and pilot car (yawn).  Heading north past Banks, Idaho the road gets a little more fun with the great twist and turns, really clean road considering the construction we had just past.  Several pot holes but nothing you couldn’t keep away from with a little foresight.   As we entered into Cascade, Idaho we stopped for a small break and the riders put jackets on as the sun was not as hot up there.  Good break for water and stretch and on in to McCall we went.

 

We got into town about 1700 and found the condo right away when we got into town.  Took everything upstairs and unloaded the one bike from its Trailer.  We started into town to find the Lucky Dutch Tattoo Studio which is just before you get to Paul’s store on the right.  Got some info on what the itinerary for the show and shine and Tattoo contest was and went and had dinner at the McCall Brew House, great place to eat and good atmosphere.

 

Friday 15

McCall Mayhem

July Sign up for the show and shine and Tattoo contest starts at 1400.  Since this was more of a vacation than an event that The Green Knights were putting on it was a really good break.  Traveled the 3 minutes to the beach for the sign ups, the actual show was Saturday at 1400.  We took off from there and did a short trip around the Lake.  Warren Wagon road will take you up to north Payette Lake but we did not know this yet…  So we traveled about 20 minutes at the grueling 35 mph speed limit.  There is one section on Warren Wagon road that is about 100 feet long that is tore up for construction, some loose gravel but nothing we have not seen before.  The pine trees and green grass was an awesome and welcomed sight from the normal high desert plain we are used to.  The cool 75 degree weather was nice also considering 125 miles down the road it was in the 100’s.  About 20 minutes up the road we decided to turn around and head back toward town. Later that evening they had a Bikini contest at one of the local bars, and it was not as exciting as it sounds.  We did however, meet 2 couples that rode up from California and started to talk with them.  Headed to another local watering hole and shortly after called it a night.  Had to be up early to clean the bikes for the show and shine the next afternoon.

 

16 July 2011

McCall out the window of the condo

Got up and headed to the local car wash to spray down the bikes from the rain residue that was left from the night before.  Went down to the beach front where the Bike show was going to be.  17 motorcycles, yes 17 entered the show and shine, so our chances of winning were slim considering the local club was there.  Despite all of this my Best friend Mac, won the show and shine with his Harley Davidson Night Train named “The Mistress”, he received a $25 poker chip for the Tattoo shop a pair of chaps and 2 T-shirts.  Second place got 2 T-shirts $25 poker chip and a Leather “get back” whip.  Did not see what the 3rd place winner received.  We were quite stoked that someone in our group won!  Way to Go Mac.  After the show we figured that we had done enough cleaning and it was time to get the bikes dirty on some roads.  Met up about 45 minutes later at the beach front and headed out the back way around the lake.  We were told by some locals that the road would turn to gravel but was only about a mile or so. WRONG!  6 miles later after seeing some really awesome waterfalls and almost needing a blood transfusion from all of the mosquitoes we returned to Warren Wagon road. Heading north toward North Payette Lake stopping for more waterfalls and bike pictures we saw a Bald Eagle chilling in the trees and got some good pictures of that.  Figured after losing 4 pints of blood to the mosquitoes we headed back into town and then the rain started!  The down pour was pretty good and the light show wasn’t bad either, made for a slow ride back though.  Luckily for us the Chevron gas station in town is fully covered and the locals let us keep the bike under there till we got back from dinner.  After dinner we headed down to Forrester Bar where Cyndi, Allen, and Lyndsi were in the semi-finals for their tattoos.  They did not win but they made it to the semi-finals.

 

17 July 2011

Warren Wagon Road

Day to head out we got the one bike strapped down and ready to go cleaned out the condo and about 1100 hit the road south back toward Boise.  None of us wanted to leave but the fun was over and the time had come.  The Maverick station had gas for about 7 cents cheaper so we topped off and headed out.  The ride back was quite nice until we got about 17 miles out of town and the heat got turned on.  We went from 68 degrees to 89 in about 30 minutes.  As we got closer to Boise the Sun really turned on reaching well over 95 degrees.  Woo Hoo we’re cooking now!  Highway 55 on the weekends is 2 lanes with no pilot car unlike during the week so the traveling was clean all the way through with a stop in Horseshoe Bend.  The stop was the little ice cream shop on the right didn’t catch the name but seeing as it is July and it’s Ice Cream Month we stopped and made sure to have some.  Headed back into Mountain Home on 84 and finished the trip with all of us safe and sound back at homes already making plans for next year.

 

Personal note:  If you ever get a chance to spend a weekend with some really good people riding motorcycles and talking about bikes and just enjoying each other’s company, do it you may just end up calling them your family after the trip is done. Been riding for many years and this by far was the best ride weekend ever.  If anyone wants any information about this weekend they can email me at 91crxdx@gmail.com

Written by Benjamin Truex

Andrews’ Favorite Ride

After several years without a bike, in 2009 I bought an 08 Ninja 250 to commute on. WIth vacation time coming to me, I decided on the spur of the moment to ride from my home in Connecticut to see the USGP in Indianapolis. Just pack and go… no plans at all. Total freedom, which is the way it should be.

I’ve never been a fan of blasting along the Interstates, so my route for the trip consisted of pulling out maps and looking for the squiggly lines. I had to go straight to Indy for the race, but the trip back was mine to enjoy. I headed southeast to West Virginia and discovered motorcycle heaven… twisties forever and a truly gorgeous landscape.

A hop across the border into Virginia and I rode the length of the Skyline Drive. The strict speed limit was frustrating, but more than offset by the amazing views. Then a visit with my mom, who didn’t know I’d bought the bike… I just showed up in all my gear and surprised her. The look on her face was priceless!

To cap it off I rode past home and hit Cape Cod to visit my oldest and dearest friends. The perfect end to a perfect trip… and memories to last a lifetime!

Who says you can't tour on a 250?
Lookee what I found on the way to Indianapolis! (Yeah, I know, they told me it's a separate business now, but still....)
A must-visit if you're ever in Dayton. All the cool stuff that isn't in the Air & Space Museum in DC is here, including all the presidential aircraft except the current Air Force One.
THE BRICKYARD!!! 'nuff said.
The Doctor is in (he was later out... crashed during the race)
Defying the laws of physics....
The New River Gorge bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia. Incredible sight.
Fayetteville, West Virginia
Skyline Drive in VA. Mile after mile of views like this.
Sunset over Cape Cod Bay on the last night of the trip. It does not get any better than this.

Written by Andrew Douglas

Reubens’ Favorite Ride

Well… this past weekend I had been planning on a little camping moto adventure since my wife and kids were out of town and I rarely get to take solo overnight trips. I had really been looking forward to the weekend, but the leftover rains from Hurricane Alex had different plans for me. I finally came to terms with this realization on Thursday, and decided I wasn’t going to make my trip

Well after calling around it seemed none of my friends were available to do anything either – it’s raining pretty good and I’m just not much of one to sit around the house. I had hiked Mt. Lindsey the previous weekend, so I was itching for another adventure. So what did I decide to do? Go to the local paintball field and tear it up in the mud!

That evening I went and saw Predators with a buddy (not as cheesy as I was expecting), and hung out till about 1am. When I got home I just couldn’t sleep. Weekend was half over and I still hadn’t ridden anywhere. It was then I just said screw it, I’m going riding! Got up in the morning, threw a bottle of gatorade and a granola bar into my tail bag, pointed the front tire Westward, and set off without much of a plan.

Since I moved here I’ve been fairly (ok, really) disappointed in the riding conditions. The general flatness, poor pavement and lack of curves had me longing for some twisties, so I decided to head towards Cloudcroft, NM since I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

Within an hour or so I was at the New Mexico border:

I was making pretty good time across the desert, but couldn’t help noticing that as I got closer to the mountains these clouds seemed to be looming in the general direction I was heading…

I rode south a ways to Pinon and then headed north towards Cloudcroft. By now it was raining on me, but I was having a blast on some curves anyway!

…I wish I had taken more pics in the mountains, but you know how it is… once the good roads start and it’s raining on you, you don’t really feel like stopping for pics.

Anyway, I had been following the World Cup, and was hoping to catch the game live somewhere in Cloudcroft. I stumbled across the Western Bar & Cafe. They only had 3 little TVs but all 3 were on the World Cup and it was only a few minutes in to the first half. Woohoo! I ordered up some fish and chips and met a few people, talked soccer and hooted and hollered at the TV for an hour and a half. It was good fun!

By the time I was ready to leave it was really raining pretty good…

I waited it out a little while then made my way down the mountain. Tires were holding on great in the rain and I was still having a good time. Made it down off the mountain and looking back.

Decided to change up the scenery a bit and visit Roswell on the way home!

Bought some alien related gifts for my wife and kids real quick, then continued on…

Back in Texas, the clouds were starting to look ominous again…

Storm chasing by motorcycle, anyone?
See that really really dark area? Yeah, that’s the exact direction I’m going to be heading after my next turn…

Looking back the other way, I had actually had fair weather for most of New Mexico (just not in the mountains)

By the time I got to Brownfield, this is what the radar looked like This was about to get really interesting…

I topped up the tank, gulped down some coffee, and headed into the storm, happy to be on an adventure, even if it was only 1 day long. Shortly after leaving Brownfield, I started to think that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea… but what the heck, it hadn’t ever stopped me before… Brilliant flashes of purple light literally blinded me several times, and then the rain started. At first it was just your typical sprinkle, then it turned into more of a good heavy rain. Finally, on the outskirts of Lubbock, buckets of monsoonal proportions were unleashed from the sky. Oh.. did I mention that I didn’t pack my rainsuit? My Joe Rocket gear had done a good job throughout the day, keeping me dry in the mountains, but it was no match for this. Soon cold water had found it’s way into my pants (why does it always leak there first?). Then it was running into my boots, and shortly thereafter I was just totally drenched.

I didn’t really care though – I only had about 45 minutes to go and I’d be home. It was an interesting last leg though. Shortly before getting on the loop, I hit a “puddle” that had to be a good 6-8 inches deep (ok more like a river in the road). I was doing about 50mph and didn’t see it. Water sprayed up over my head and I couldn’t see again. Got the bike slowed down and continued through the mess (Lubbock does NOT drain well).

Then, while on my way out to my house, I almost totally ate it, thanks to our fine Lubbock county roads. Now let me remind you, I’d been riding in the mountains for hours in the rain earlier without a single problem. I’m riding a straight-as-an-arrow road back towards my house. I had experienced less than stellar traction on this particular stretch of road on my 250 before in the rain, so I slowed down to about 50mph, kept a completely steady throttle hand, and started across the section that I knew to be slick. Without much warning my rear tire let loose, spinning up and fishtailing my back end out waaay to the right. I knew not to chop the throttle, back end swung left, then right again. I closed the throttle and the bike jerked and wiggled back into line. Man these roads suck!

Anyway, I’m just glad I knew to expect it. I had a very similar experience on my 30hp 250 doing about 70 in the exact same spot 6 months ago. So if that bike spun up the rear tire, I should have just known not to even attempt it on the ZRX. I seriously think I might write to the city/county about it, it’s dangerous.

Well.. that was my crazy adventure packed into a Sunday. Final stats for the day:

15 hours away from home and a moving average of 62, it was a good day. Despite the weather, I had a great time. I just hope next time I go out there it can be for several days without the rain. Beautiful area! Till next time…

Written By Reuben Bakker