Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In 2017 I'm going to "Share the Wind"

   I've known for years how much fun sidecars are. I ran one for a year back in 2002. I rode my little brother in mine from Kentucky to California and back. He had the nickname "Sidecar Bob" for years because of it. I even got to take my mom on her first motorcycle ride with me as she felt safe in a sidecar. The problem is that it changes the riding characteristics of a motorcycle, mainly because you can't lean the bike anymore for turns. For this reason I removed it and gave the sidecar to a couple with a special needs child.
   Well now for next year, I will be putting a sidecar rig back into action and will be doing a program that I call "Share the Wind". I will be visiting hospitals, retirement homes, Veteran homes and anywhere else where people are that would like to ride and get in the wind but are unable to do so on their own. My plan is to arrange at least one visit in a town where I am at during my travelling to rallies across America. I will also implement this in Nova Scotia Canada The Wharf Rat Rally where I already visit 7 adult living facilities and hospitals.
   I don't want to do this alone. The more, the merrier so I will be asking that anyone who would like to come along is welcome but would REALLY like it if you also have a sidecar or a trike. A simple ride around a parking lot can make someones day more than you can ever imagine. I will testify that it can also warm your own heart and leave a good feeling that lasts a lifetime.
    I have a Facebook page for this called Share the Wind. Feel free to go there and click "like". Watch for new things in the very near future.
    I also want to acknowledge some friends that are also putting together a sidecar event. Their page is The Sidecar Soiree. Their first even in the end of March with more on the way.
    It looks like 2017 is going to be interesting to say the least.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

an UN-political post

I'm really tired of hearing all the political rants especially when they are backed up with internet "facts" and memes. So what am I gonna do-  be a hypocrite and give you my two cents.
    First of all, I believe we ALL want the same thing. We really do. A better world for us and our families. The problem is we all have different beliefs on what is going to get us there. These differences can be healthy in keeping a balanced society. Problem is, the two point of views are getting farther apart and more unwilling to work or even consider the other side. I don't have the answers but I will share one thing that I contemplate regularly.
     This is Philosophy. It can be applied in all avenues of life. One main philosophical question is "Does the end justify the means?"  I happen to believe it doesn't however, I would be a hypocrite in certain situations. In politics, "does the end justify the mean?" is a great question. Do we want a better country for our families no matter who or what we trample? Do we want wealth and security at any cost?  Does it matter if it takes longer to achieve our goals or if we even achieve them at all as long as we play fair? Even when other don't play fair?
    I guess what I am saying is that if maybe we take a deep breath, open our hearts and minds, and do a little soul searching, that gap between the two side may tighten together. I don't think it should come together, but just come towards each other a little. That would be a step in the right direction.
    I'm going to breathe and think about my part.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Do choppers have windshields?

   I know a lot of people have rules on what makes a chopper. I have argued with people that a bobber . Some people automatically rule thing out once a certain componant is added.  I have argued with people that a bobber can have floorboards. Well I ride a lot and in all kinds of weather and a windshield is a definite asset but some say they do not belong on a custom bike. I like the looks without them but I really like have less fatigue being shielded from the wind and the elements.
  I have my bike down at the moment and am waiting for some new S&S engine cases that are delayed shipment due to the holidays. While I am waiting, I am working on some other issues and finishing some things I never got to complete when I built this bike 3 years ago. One is the addition of a windshield.
   My motorcycle is a mixture of many things including a 1937 Chevrolet headlight plus it has 12 inch lengthened forks so I can't just go out and buy a windshield. I always said it is easier to build a custom motorcylce by starting with a running motorcycle and I did the same with a windshield. I started with the best one available, a Klock Werks Flare Shield.  I like them not only for the protection of the wind, rain and cold but for the improved driving characteristics. They give a downward force on the front end to prevent the front wheel from wanting to "lift" as your speed increases. I got a tinted model for a Roadking and planned on modifying it heavily to fit but as it turned out, It only took about an hour to re-engineer the fitting and drill some alternate holes and it attached right on.
   Now I will have the protection to ride on some colder and wetter days plus my neck won't be so stiff when I get there.
  If you're interested in a windshield you should definitely give Klock Werks a look. They have a new website at where they make a model to fit almost every bike. My dash and Kliphanger handlebars are also on their web page I. give them a thumbs up.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

My experiences with real horsepower

   I've always enjoyed riding horses but I have never had any formal training. I was self taught which means I have taught myself a whole lot of bad habits. Another thing I self taught was my knowledge of horse facts. I felt like if I treat a horse well, that horse will do what I want.
  I have had a retired horse trainer from Texas trying to teach me a few things and I have bee training to cattle sort. That is when you ride into a pin with 10 numbered calves and they call out a number and you herd that calf into another pin then turn around and go after the next consecutive numbered calf till you get all 10. You only get 60 seconds to do this.
   I had been training for about 2 weeks for this with the same horse- JB. We were getting pretty good I thought so I decided to film it and show off. Well the only good thing I can say was I didn't get thrown. Here is the video-
   The more I tried to make the horse do what I wanted, the more the horse fought it. I truly felt like if I pushed it any farther, he was going to turn into a bucking bronco. It was all I could do to stay in the saddle. I worked with him when we got back to the ranch and I'll be riding him again today until one of us figures out who the boss is. It is a whole different concept for The Mayor of Fun but it is a challenge and I just may learn something from it. Isn't that what life is suppose to be after all?

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Cabin in the Woods

   For over 25 years I have dreamed of owning a campground and cabins. I followed this dream 10 years ago when I got a piece of property in the Cherokee National Forest. I was going to build a small cabin to live in but when I talked to a bank about getting a loan to build the business they said they would only loan on a completed structure and not the land. I decided to build a large 6 bedroom bed and breakfast FIRST when I really wanted to do that last. I used up all my money framing it up and drying it any but I never finished it. Without it being finished, I couldn't get the loan but I really didn't want to go in debt. That was 8 years ago when I stopped working on it.
   With my bike being broke down recently and needing basically another motor rebuild, I decided to make use of my down time and do some more work on it. First thing I had to do was clean the roof. It had 8 years of mildew and looked pretty bad. I scrubbed it with bleach and was amazed at how well it looked under that grime. 
  Next I was trying to button it up and to keep the animals out since I haven't had doors and many of the windows are out.  I actually had a bear hibernate in it one winter before, I finished a couple pieces of missing metal on the red roof but water had gotten under the felt paper and rotted some plywood so I had to replace 4 sheets.

 I installed a couple of windows then I got distracted. You see when I work on my place, my ideas change as well as the materials I come up with. 
   It started with a Craigslist add for some vinyl windows for sale. I went to look at them and they were a huge savings. Over 1000 dollars in windows for only 200 dollars. They would mean changing the design do I worked a few days and got it ready. The original window opening was 36 inches wide by 52 inches tall. My new window ( for the master bedroom) are 11 feet wide and 6 feet (72 inches) talk! Oh yea! 
   This is the old bedroom window opening. The small window opening is for the bathroom.

    But now with all this view, I needed to clear some of the mountain side. You couldn't see the forest through the trees! I cleared about 1/4 of an acre just for a better view. I plan on planting some fruit trees that will attract wildlife.
   Now that the view was taken care of, I moved into the bathroom area and tried to figure out the layout. I was going to put in a Jacuzzi tub but I never really liked those.  I started searching for other ideas and came across this baby. A claw footed cast iron tub from the 1800's. Perfect for my place.
  Of course, soaking in this tub with only one window to look out just isn't as soothing as if I had TWO windows so I went to work opening another window. Problem is, this window would be going through the roof side so I had to build a new dormer but hey, I built the other 5 already. How hard could number six be?
  If you noticed on my picture above when I was washing the roof, the left dormer and window was not there.
Here you can see the two bathroom windows, same size 3 foot by 3 foot each. Will be a nice view of the forest when I bathe. Just following my dreams one day at a time.

Friday, October 7, 2016

September was a busy month

The beginning of September found me once again in beautiful Digby, Nova Scotia Canada. I was just finishing up another Wharf Rat Rally and getting ready to head back south. I needed to be in Brooklyn, NY for the annual Indian Larry Block Party but I had 2 weeks to get there. As usual, I was in no hurry at first but then decided to take a detour to upstate NY for the 10 year anniversary of the Gypsy Run. I did that last year and loved it so I did it again. The Gypsy Run isn't an organized ride in fact it is all about the opposite- several " suggested " routes and you can ride with whoever you want at your own pace. I pushed the envelope even farther and took my own route- literally down the Delaware River. I rented a kayak and had a ball. Even talked a couple of friends into parking their bikes and going along with me.

   As I said, I had plenty of time but just as I added The Gypsy Run into my schedule, I also added the Moto Film Festival into my plans. It was in Brooklyn also but I would need to get there 4 days early. Brooklyn is a fun town and I had a ball the entire time but the week went fast and it was time for me to set my sights for Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Bikes Blues and BBQ with Progressive. I had 4 days to get over 1,300 miles. This shouldn't have been a problem but first I had my wheel bearings go out. This cost me over a day and after I fixed them, I was still noticing a slight sway that made me very nervous so I decided to take another day and put new swingarm bearings in.
  This delayed me by another day but it was totally worth it as I had forgotten the tight feeling my bike gave when it had all new bearings. 100,000 plus miles has a way of wearing things out. I made a good 600 mile day but was well worth it as I pulled into the Ozark mountains and watched the sun setting.
   It was good to be back at the Bikes, Blues and BBQ but the first thing I needed to do was get over to Flo's Chop Shop by Progressive and get some of that grease out from under my nails. I knew that Flo's Chop shop gives not only free manicures but a whole slew of other free services too. All to show the extra distance they are willing to go for their customers. I got Jacqui Van Ham to do my nails while she wasn't emceeing for Progressive.
   Another service Progressive gives is a free breakfast. This year not only did I get my fill of breakfast including coffee and juice but I even stashed a genuine Flo waffle in my saddlebag for a delicious snack later. This was a good idea however the syrup wasn't very compatible with the rest of my belongings in my saddlebag.
   I love the riding in Arkansas and all the spots around Fayetteville are really nice. I spent as much time as I could exploring and just plain getting lost on the back roads but I did stick around for their annual bike show. It is different from most as it gets very interactive with the crowd. After the semi-finals, contestants get up in front of the crown and speak about their bikes, explaining why theirs should win. I have never seen any other shows with this type judging. My very favorite of the show was this 1956 Panhead that was customized in 1962 and survived all these years.
Like most of my weekends, this went way too fast and next thing I knew, it was over and time to say my goodbyes. I've never been very fond of goodbyes so I jumped on my bike and rode off but not before stopping and doing a photo shoot with one of my favorite photographers that also works for Progressive, Jeff Klaum. He got some great shots. Click HERE for one of those.
   Add in all this PLUS my birthday the following week and worn out doesn't even begin to explain the half of it so I'll just let this picture do the translation.
What I left out is all the people that helped my pull this month off. Thanks to them all and especially to my friends at Progressive whom I am in partnership with. Enjoy the Ride!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

North Shore to Isle Royale

Last week I was sitting in my parents living room in Louisville, KY watching a morning news show with them when we saw a news story on a very little know National Park, The Isle Royale. Now my parents are older and have physical restraints but after watching that show, I decided to leave for a visit of Isle Royale.
   The Isle Royale in an island in the middle of Lake Superior almost in Canada. It has ferries in Michigan and in Minnesota that carry visitors to the island. I opted to ride up the Minnesota side and that was an extra treat.
   The ride up Minnesota Hwy 61 is called North Shore and it is epic. I'm not the only biker that knows about it as I saw groups of 10 and more bikes everywhere I looked. I had no idea it was there but plan another ride on that next time I am near.
North Shore runs from Duluth all the way up to the border of Canada and is on the shoreline of Lake Superior. You owe it to yourself to check it out if you haven't already.
I always carry a tent and sleeping bag and with all the hotels and cabins with no vacancy signs I was glad. I checked a few campgrounds and even the tent space was full. I prefer " primitive" camping so I spotted a For Sale sign on a property with an over grown drive way and it was perfect. The even higher weeds in the back provided excellent camouflage for my bike and tent so no one knew I was there and I got and evening of undisturbed sleep plus the high weeds under the tent made nice padding. 
But getting back to The Isle Royale, it is home to over 1300 moose. The visitors center had this cool skeleton. I saw a pair of moose swimming in the water and then walking on the shore line. Can you believe it, the one time I didn't have my camera.
Dockside sushi was provided by some local fisherman that caught a large salmon and a steel head.
The harbor is also the final resting spot for The "America". The America is a 184 foot steamship that hit a reef and sank in in 1928 here at Isle Royale. The tip of the bow is only 3 foot deep as you can see the bow here but the rest of the ship continues deeper with the stern 80 foot deep. It is an excellent dive destination and since I am a certified diver, I might have to give this a look next visit.