07/08/19 – Oh No, Not a good Start

Right off the bat this morning I had problems.  Wanted to take a picture of sister Patt and The Colonel to show I was actually at their home.  Took the picture and it was bad.  Patt thought it was because she didn’t have her makeup on, but it was the camera.  Out of focus, no no no, it’s only 10 years old, and it is a cheep camera. So, no picture of Patt.

Jim  and I went to Wally-World, I bought a new camera, and he tested it for me.

Jim 1st Pix

Okay, the camera works.

Rode on trying to get out of Edmond.  Got to Wontaga, OK, and the sky dumped on us.  Put on the require rain gear, rode on about another 10 miles and the rain stopped.  Not much after that till we go to Kinsley, Kansas.  Stopped for a BOC (beverage of choice), set next to a local gentleman and he told me about the early Germany settlers.  They would drill into solid rock, put water in the holes, when it froze it would split the rock and they would make fence post out of them.  Rode on about 20 mile and along the side of the road were rock fence post.

Fence Post

This was about the only thing I saw in Kansas that I thought was worth sharing.  Sure there must be other stuff; I just haven’t seen it.

So, tonight we are in Hays, Kansas.  Nice town, friendly folks.  Tomorrow we continue north and west.  I’ll keep you posted.

Later, Bud…

 

R

 

07/07/19 -1 st Day , Edmond, OK

Made it to sister Patt’s.  She had enchiladas and chicken tortillas for dinner.  The Colonel had margaritas and guacamole.  Great dinner…  Niece Amy came over and entertained us.

Along the way the only pictures I took were of courthouses.  Got the courthouses in Palestine, Athens, Canton, and Emory.  The pictures are posted over in my other blog; Bud’s Courthouse Tour

So, no pix for today’s travel, maybe some tomorrow.

Later,  Bud…

 

 

 

 

 

07/06/19 – Think I’m Ready…

Launch time is tomorrow morning.  I’m not much for rushing around in the morning so it might be a late start.

This is what the Africa Twin looks like when it is ready for a long trip.

Loaded and Ready

I have camping equipment, but no cooking gear.  The Colonel is bringing the coffee pot and one burner stove.  Also, have Bear Spray, just in case.  According to the weather reports I am taking way too many cold/cool weather clothes; it was 90 degrees in Anchorage today.  Bet it cools off – hope it cools off.  Rob informed me that he and Matt have no intentions to camp – WIMPs – must be afraid of bears.

He is also planning to not leave Utah until Sunday, July 14th, and they’ll catch up with us somewhere in Alaska, or maybe on the way back.

So, I should be on the road in the morning, stopping for photo opportunities in Palestine, Canton, and Sulfur Springs.  These are all County Seats and you can see the courthouse pictures at Bud’s Texas Courthouse Tour .

I’ll let you know about my travel to Edmond.  I’m looking forward to seeing sister Patt and  her local family.

Later, Bud…

Back to Alaska…

This blog started out to be all about sidecars, but I still ride two wheels more than three.  I’m leaving for Alaska Sunday, July 7, and I’m riding my 2017 Honda Africa Twin.  The KLR is very disappointed that it can’t go on this trip, and I might be making a mistake taking such a hi-tech bike on this kind of trip.  Honda’s have a great reputation for reliability and I’m putting my faith into that fact.  This is the first motorcycle I’ve owned that I cannot work on myself.  Well, I can, but just getting the fairing off for access to actual parts is a two hour job.  This bike didn’t even come with a toolkit.  So, wish me luck.

africa-twin.jpg

The plan right now includes brother-n-law, Jim (aka The Colonel), nephew Rob (aka Bob, Robbie, or Jones), his son Matt (aka Matt), and myself (aka Bud, Dad, LowriderBud).  The other three are all riding Harleys.  Wish them luck, too.  They are all very good experienced riders.

I will leave here on Sunday and go to Edmond, Oklahoma to visit my sister Patt.  She’s the one that raised the Colonel’s kids.  Then on Monday, he and I will depart Edmond, heading north.  We are to rendezvous with Rob and Matt in Billings, Montana maybe on Friday, maybe not even Billings.  It’s just one of those things that has to be worked out when you travel with more than one person.

Rob is leaving from Conroe on Sunday, but heading west to meet up with Matt in Utah.  Then on to meet up with the Colonel and I, somewhere close to the Canadian border.

It looks like a “GO”.  Stay tuned for updates from the road.

Later, Bud…

 

04/19/19 Latest Adventure – New Sidecar

So, I got another sidecar and I haven’t sold the other one yet. Shame shame shame. The garage is FULL. I need to develop an emergency evacuation map for people to escape should the need arise. It’s like a maze walking around all the motorcycles. I really need to have a GARAGE SALE. But for now I’ll just tell you about the adventure I had acquiring the new rig.

Its a 2017 Kawasaki KLR650 with a Sputnik (as in Russian) Sidecar. I found it on the Adventure Rider Forum. As most folks know I am very familiar with KLRs and the rig was assembled by a guy that had built 4 or 5 sidecar rigs prior to this one. He was asking a fair price and we discussed the deal on the phone a couple of times before I decided to send him a deposit.

KLRsidecar1

Previous Owner’s picture – Thanks…

The rig was located in Prescott, Wisconsin (notice the snow in the picture) about 40 mile from the Minneapolis – St. Paul Airport. I would fly to MSP and the owner would pick me up and we would drive to his home in Prescott where the machine was located. If everything was in order, I would give him an envelop full of hundred dollar bills and I would be driving (you ride motorcycles and drive sidecar hacks) it back to Texas.

Well, everything was in order and I left Prescott around 4:30 PM on April 19 heading south. If you made a straight shot south to Coldspring, Texas it appears to be about 1100 miles. I planned to swing over to Edmond, Oklahoma on my return to visit my sister, so that would extend my trip to 1500 miles by the time I got home.

I planned a route that would keep me off Interstates and allow me to enjoy the two-lane roads through mid-America’s farmland. I would be stopping in Austin, Minnesota, Chillicothe, Missouri, Joplin, Missouri, Edmond, Oklahoma, Canton, Texas, and home. There is very little to photograph along most of the planned route and what pictures I took were with my cell phone.

The only pictures I took were along Route 66 that goes through southeastern Kansas. This is a section of the Mother Road that I had never ridden, and it was not really out of the way. It’s only about 19 miles, but well worth the time to ride it. Kansas has done a good job of making this an interesting side trip. Since I was already on Route 66, I just took it all the way to Edmond.

Route 66

One mile inside Kansas – The Mother Road

Cars Red Matter

Galena, Kansas – Took this picture for my Grandson Ben

The wind was the only weather related obstacle I had to deal with until I got all the way back to Texas. Then I go wet, real wet, had to ride in the rain for about 200 miles. When I stopped for the night the bottom of the new sidecar had about 2” of water in it. There is a drain hole in the bottom, but the alignment of the sidecar placed it behind the water collection area. One of the first things I did after getting the rig home was realign the sidecar to the motorcycle. It was not level and the wheel was positioned about 4” to far forward. Handles much better now, but the drain hole is still in the wrong place.

Now that we are home I have ridden it about 1000 more miles. It’s a lot of fun and creates a conversation everywhere I go with it.

I’ll try to be more timely with my next update, but adventures are not everyday events. Stay tuned.

Later, Bud…

Has it really been 2 months?

I now have two months experience driving a sidecar, and I’m still getting used to it.  I took the S/TEP (Sidecar / Trike Education Program) in  Lufkin, Texas, the first weekend of July.  It is taught by Marcus Renfroe a very experienced sidecar driver, mechanic, and educator.  The class was great and I left there with more confidence and skill and much more respect for the machine I am trying to master.  I recommend this class for anyone who is considering  a sidecar (or trike).

Not only have I been driving my rig, but I have been doing a little maintenance and repairs.  Replaced the tire on the sidecar.  Put on a wide white wall which gave the rig a more vintage look.  I get a lot of compliments about how it looks.

IMG_0101

Also, replaced the front brake pads, but folks can see them to say, “great looking brakes”.  It does stop better. Took the tub off and had it repainted – now that looks nice.

The next thing I am considering is going through a complete realignment of the sidecar to motorcycle.  It might not need it, but it just doesn’t look correct.  The bike leans too much to the left.

IMG_0102

That is called “lean out” and the rig needs some for correct handling. I have heard and read that each rig has it’s own personality and must be aligned accordingly.  I’ll let you know if it was better before I “fixed” it.

So Let’s Get Started…

I found this very good, well experienced sidecar rig in Greenwood, Louisiana, about 150 miles from where I live.  It is a 2003 Suzuki VL800 with a 2006 Velorex Sidecar.  It belonged to the original owner who bought the bike new in 2004, and added the sidecar in 2006.  With only 52,000 mile on the clock I figured it was broken in and had proved itself over the years.  When I went to see the rig I informed the owner that I had never driven or even ridden in a sidecar.  He trusted me enough to let me take it for a test drive (not having a clue what to look for or expect).  I departed and returned complete and knowing this was an adventure I had to experience.  He made me a fair price and I brought it home.   I spent the first week driving it around the neighborhood at 20 to 25 MPH.  Right hand turns are a real experience (the sidecar wheel wants to fly – something to do with centrifugal force) for a newbie, but on week two I sucked it up and took it to the highway (actually Farm to Market Roads) and got up to 55.  Big grin!  Got home safe again.  So, I’ve been doing a little maintenance on the rig, riding it more, and the smile is still there and the confidence is building.  July 1st. I am scheduled for a Sidecar Driving Class.  I am really looking forward to this class and developing new skilled and getting introduced more into the world of weird.