Monday, December 28, 2015

2015...The Year of Riding Dual Sport Motorcycles...part #4 {final chapter}

Just 3 full days left in 2015 and the old logic, "Time flies as you get older" is certainly true, at least in my case....a day much like today it was, back on March 19th, rain, wind, snow mixed, when we headed out of Auburn, Indiana, towards Moab, Utah....9+ months and it seems like yesterday....

The bulk of the "Long Rides" on our Yamaha TWs had been completed, but we had one more to go...after originally planning on heading down to the Ohio River in Southern Indiana the second weekend in November, Kurt got the idea that Nick, me, and he, should head towards the Ohio River in Southeast Ohio, then cross over into West Virginia, the weekend before{November 1st} because the weather looked excellent...{in retrospect he did do the Southern Indiana ride the next weekend, but Nick and I bailed on that one}....


So Sunday 1st of November, Kurt rode is Suzuki 400, one of his new rides{he also purchased a Kawasaki 650 a bit earlier} to Nick's place in Montezuma, and I hooked up with them and we headed southeast about 1pm on a route Nick and I had used 40 years and more before in our travels back and forth from Nelsonville and Athens, during our Hocking Tech and Ohio U days at the College Inn near the Ohio Campus....

The winding state routes and a quick trip up US 33 had us arriving in total darkness at Athens...we grabbed a motel, a Mexican Restaurant, and a six pack of beer, and watched Sunday Night Football and a World Series final between the Mets and Royals{if I remember it was the final game, which saw KC take the crown}.

Next morning we waited out some Foggy conditions but finally said "Screw It" and headed down towards Strouds Run and then on to Marietta, where we hoped to take a short route north and take the Ferry across the river at Fly, Ohio...alas the Ferry doesn't run on Mondays...so we would highway it into the West Virginia Hills....

The next two days we would enjoy some great weather, great scenery, and good food....by midweek we were back in Ohio and took the route along the River before finally heading north, stopping in Chillicothe for the night before making the 150 miles run home the next morning...Wednesday I think it was....another 800 miles, mostly paved, but some off road near disasters, on the bikes as well pulled into Nick's Driveway on Wednesday afternoon...

The final Adventure Ride of the season and year....now we wait....not sure what is ahead, we have plans on another March in Moab, or perhaps a later February in south Florida around the Everglades.  Frankly I am not committed to any single ride or rides, I would like to do the
Upper Great Lakes again, this time at a slower pace and perhaps farther into Wisconsin, and maybe the foothills and mountains of upstate New York, my old stomping grounds in my last Air Force years and for awhile post Air Force....
 


Not sure what is in store, but will have the camera ready when{and if} it all comes down.

Back Later....my best for 2016, the year we will hopefully see the end of a Disaster known as the Obama Administration....the biggest freaking mistake this Republic has ever made:

Photos:  Despite it being a week or two past prime colors, the scenery was pretty nice, the weather was great, and the riding was as good as it gets....even the Foggy Monday ride out of the Super 8 at Athens, Ohio, was a fine ride....sure it was "iffy" at times, but not something you will hear me complain about.

The Final Stop at Nick's Place, we toasted with a couple of beers before Kurt jumped on his Suzuki and headed north to Auburn, Indiana, some 75 miles away.








Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Year of Dual Sport Riding 2015 part #3







With three major Dual Sport Rides over less than eight months, Nick and I, minus Kurt, Weasel, and others, did manage to get a few "Day Rides" in...some a many as 250 miles, others of a shorter variety....we did most of our riding in western and central Ohio and eastern and northeast Indiana....

Here are some photos of the more memorable trips, with brief descriptions:

Post Moab and pre Upper Great Lakes, we decided we needed to get those TWs out more and on a variety of surfaces...Nick still had only logged a few hundred miles on his bike and I was not much over 1000 in about 15 months...so we headed across the border to eastern Indiana, which is Amish Country and filled with back gravel roads...although only 20 miles or so from Celina, the riding and roads.....it was wet during the entire Spring and early Summer, so we didn't have great riding days...

Post "Yooper"

After the Upper Great Lakes ride, which put both of our rides well over 3000 miles on the year, we still had riding to get done....a ride in our neck of the woods was next up, we would criss~cross south of Nick's place in Montezuma and stop and visit Annie Oakley's grave near North Star, week took another day and rode 250 miles coming and going to Waldo, Ohio, the hometown and burial grounds of many of the Houseworth Ancestors....GGG Grandpa Israel, along with  
many of his descendants are buried in the town cemetery....but what we mostly rode for was the world famous Bologna Sandwiches at G&R Taveran....once again we encountered near perfect weather for our day long ride:
 FOG!

While the majority of our rides this year encountered perfect or near perfect riding conditions and weather, Nick and I did managed to make the most of one day of "short riding" in other than perfect conditions....We headed out one morning, planning on hooking up with Kurt as he was riding his new 650 Kawasaki to North Carolina...the fog was thick as Pea Soup however, and after a breakfast in the Ohio~Indiana border town of Fort Recovery, we never hooked up...we rode north and then east into Indiana and back across the border at Wilshire, but missed Kurt, however the weather did improve and another good day of riding was had....by this time the calendar read October and the riding season was coming down to a few days and weeks...we planned on one more ride with Kurt to southern Indiana on the Ohio River, but after riding to northeast Indiana one more time, where we hooked up with our old High School and College Buddy Rick Pearson, we opted to change plans...

The Stop at Rick's Place, just a few miles from Kurt's gave me the opportunity to see two guys who go way back.  Rick and Nick graduated a year after me from Celina High School and we lived in the same dorm at the College Inn in Athens, Ohio, back in 1975 and 76....I was Rick and Nick's Best Man in each of their weddings, after Rick had been Patricia and mine, 39 years ago yesterday in December 1976....we also stopped at the Pickle Factory on that trip..

So we had, at least in my mind, gotten our "feet wet" on the TWs...and now we would make one more "Major Ride".  This one through southeast Ohio, including Athens, and the Mountains and Hills of West Virginia.

That comes up in Part #4....

Photos-from Top to Bottom:

Most days the riding weather was near perfect....few clouds and some wind, but mostly sunny, not to hot nor cold(2{ Gravel Back Roads Indiana{3} Annie's Grave near North Star, Ohio{4}Baloney!{5} Nick and Rick at Rick's northeast Indiana Ranch{6} on almost all of our rides we stopped for a bite to eat, usually at small town diners for breakfast, not a bad meal in the bunch{7}The Pickle Factory, we picked up a few jars{8}My great great Uncle Maish, lived in Waldo and was the oldest living Civil War Veteran around the area for many years...finally passing at the ripe old age of 98 back in 1944{9}Baloney Sammy and deep fried Mushrooms, with a cold beer, nothing better{10} somewhere in Northern Indiana{11} and the Foggy Fort Recovery ride in mid October....
 


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dual Sport Riding 2015...part 2

After Getting Our Feet Wet, so to speak in Moab, Nick and I rode the TWs around Ohio and Eastern Indiana, once the weather turned warmer in May and June....I, however, still had the itch to try a dual pavement/off road ride for a week or 10 days in a stretch...it had been a wet Spring, and miserable riding weather for the most part....and I was hopeful of some dryer weather and a destination to scratch my itch.

<<<<My Original Planned Route, got changed a week before the ride.

I finally talked Nick into a ride across the central Indiana and Illinois plains then north into Wisconsin and the Upper Michigan P...across the Big Mac Bridge and southward towards home..

>>>>Having not have a "Buzz Cut" since basic training Air Force 1968...I decided to get the gray locks buzzed off to avoid "Helmet Hair" for the trip....it has since grown back

While Patricia and I were on a short vacation in Brown County, Indiana, I got a call that would change our plans, at least the route...Kurt, our riding partner from Auburn called and he had a week or so off and wanted to ride with us, IF we would change the route to avoid Illinois and especially Chicago...well Hell, Chicago is not on any motorcycle riders list, regardless of size of bike....it is a traffic craphole equal or worse than So Cal or Atlanta.  I had no problem with that, Kurt was more experienced and for sure knew the mechanical side of motorcycles much better than Nick and especially me.  So, instead of crossing central Indiana and Illinois, we would head north to Ludington, Michigan, take the Ferry across Lake Michigan and pick up Wisconsin south of Green Bay.

After Kurt's young nephew crashed his TW 12 or so hours before our scheduled departure, older nephew, The Weasel, and friends repaired the TW and albeit it a bit out of kilter, we were ready to go....after a Sunday night of beer drinking, and Kurt's wife Peggy fixing farewell for a
week breakfast, we headed out in the glorious sunshine for Ludington.

>>>With Nick, ready to roll, first to Auburn, then on the way north

The weather would hold for the entire week, except for a few clouds in the "Yooper" one day, and a 10 minute shower in central lower Michigan on the way home....between Moab and the Upper Great Lakes Ride, you could not have asked for better weather.

One small issue on Kurt's front wheel delayed us for a few hours in Iron Mountain, Michigan, but other than that, the ride went without issues...great ride, great boat trip, great weather, and great scenery were with us the entire 8 day trip....Nick and I put over 1500 miles on from Celina and back, while Kurt logged another 1300 or so on his ride....


Thumbnails from the 8 days....click to enlarge:










This Adventure was completely different than Moab, except for the participants, which were just three of us compared to the 30 or so in Utah...rather than red dirt, sand and dust, we rode mainly back road pavement with some rural gravel thrown in....and made it across the Big Mac without issues....the final day wound up being a 360 mile marathon from Atlanta, Michigan, to Kurt's place outside Auburn...a few beers and a Chinese Meal, Nick and I stayed the night and finished off our 8 day run the next morning...

A few more small rides of 250 miles or less were in the cards then one final big push with Kurt down to the hills of West Virginia would come up in mid fall....

That story is next on the agenda....

>>>Arrival safe and sound at Kurt' Ranch.....cooling down and relaxing...a trip well done and well enjoyed

Thursday, December 10, 2015

2015 The Year of Dual Sport Riding part 1

With just 3 weeks left in the year 2015, looking back, there is not much I can say except that this was the year that I got back into Motorcycle Riding full throttle ....in fact, even back in my prime street riding days, 1974/75 and later in the mid 1980s, did I put over 4000 mile in a single year, the year of 2015 I have already put at least 4200 miles and with warm weather staying with us, at least for the next week, I may put a few more on the 2014 TW200.

In 2014 I purchased the Yamaha TW200 in late March, and after being out of the saddle for over 25 years, I eased back into riding with caution and slow and steady....putting a bit over 600 miles on it, as it sets in the garage this December 10th of 2015, it now has 4877 on the Odometer...the vast majority of those put on since mid March of this year....I can point to 3 events which highlighted the riding year....

March 2015....Moab, Utah

Moab was kind of a "pipe dream" late in 2014 until I hooked up with Kurt, a lawyer from outside Auburn, Indiana, who lived and worked not far from Rick Pearson's wife Toni....so we had a connection besides TW200 motorcycles and hanging around on the TW Forum:

TW200 Forums 

We started talking Moab, a trip some 30 other members of the forums had decided to venture to in March of this year....he would drag his 20 something Nephew, "Weasel"  with him, and my old buddy Nick would tag along as well...but he planned on riding a Quad...Nick wanted no part in getting back into Motorcycle riding after over 40 years....that lasted until January, when we finally got drunk and with some pushing from Kurt, we browbeat Nick in to buying a new 2015 TW....

Moab was a done deal by this time and I rented a cabin at the nearby KOA Campground...in early March Nick and I dragged our rides up to Kurt's ranch outside Auburn, and we finally got Nick riding, for the first time since 1974...he might have "broken in" his TW with 50 miles total before we trailered up and headed to Moab on March 19th....4 TWs on a haul trailer behind Kurt's Toyota Pickup....Weasel would do all the driving...younger, and with more of a lead foot, nobody complained as we took 2 days and zoomed across the Rockies on I-70 towards Moab.

8 days of riding the desert mountains followed...we crashed in sand some, came close to the edges of mountain drop offs some, and had one Hell of a lot of fun and great learning experience....after all, I had not ridden off road in nearly 40 years, but got plenty of practice, although harrowing at times, in just a bit over a week in the dust and sand of eastern Utah...

It was still snowing as we arrived back in Indiana on March 29th....but we knew by that point, we were going to ride and ride some more, God willing, before this year was finished....One thing for sure, we made 30 or so new friends, whom we had a great week or so together, riding, drinking, eating, and BSing with:

Up Next, The Lower Michigan, Northern Wisconsin, and "Yooper" ride in July and August.