Look in the Blog Archive in the box to the right for past ride reports going back to 2006. New material posted as rides or other motorcycle news occurs. Thanks for reading. Comments always welcome, be sure to log in below. Comments will be reviewed. Please note the disclaimer below.

About Me

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Motorcycling has been a life changing experience. I hope sharing the info and pictures on the Blog gives you some idea how impressed I am with the experience, travel and the people I have met. Made new friends especially among Riders here in Orange County. Special recognition to Johney (Wrench)-helps with all the maintenance stuff+rides, plus other great riding friends: Ken Y., Luis V. & Minita, Chuck & Patty, John R., Joe, Carolyn, Gregg, Charlie & Carol, Rick, Stan P., Ed & Susan P., Barry, plus Terry, Bob B., Brian H., Glenn, William & Daveta Jo, Bob (Concho) and others. ************* DISCLAIMER: This is my personal write-up (Blog) of motorcycling news, rides and events that I am involved with in some way and not affiliated with any group, organization or club that might be mentioned herein. There should be no confusion regarding the fact these are my personal comments and not those of any other entity.

Amazing scenery, great ride, wonderful time.

Amazing scenery, great ride, wonderful time.
Monument Valley, Utah-9/2011 photo by Johney Harper!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Up ahead the road takes a sharp left....

Up ahead you can see the road takes a sharp left into a steep uphill switchback, you get set to lean over by starting to put downward pressure on the left handle bar and tug on the right to pull up slightly, as you turn your head and eyes to look up and out through the turn, then pulling in the clutch with your left hand, you push the shift pedal into first and lean it over enough so the motorcycle follows the path laid out with your vision to stay on course as you power up the hill on the way to your next curve. You are feeling quite satisfied at how you handled this machine. A real sense of accomplishment flashes in your mind as you continue on and think to yourself, this never happens driving a car and if some of my friends could see me now.

Every motorcycle rider and especially STAR Chapter 230 members know this feeling of exhilaration and realization of these skills -we ride.  If you have not attended a Thursday Bike Night you are missing a tremendous opportunity to share ride stories, get your questions answered, surround yourself with like minded motorcycle riders and feel the acceptance and sharing like no other group you may know.
What did it take to start you out on the first try at a two-wheel ride?  Was it just a group of friends with a simple dirt bike watching you as you got on it trying to figure out the controls and after one of your buddies pointed out the necessary and vital elements like this is the brake here, pull this clutch in if you want to shift, press down or up with your foot to change a gear and oh yes, twist this grip on the handle bar but not too hard to make it go.  Next thing you know the machine is moving with you on it and you start out heading for a lifetime adventure, but maybe with a spill or two along the way. 

 Possibly it was that first day at the MSF-Motorcycle Safety Foundation Rider course as you get on the motorcycle and try to remember which was the brake or clutch and where was the throttle; it was all in the workbook.  Sitting there trying to stay upright, listening to instructions trying to make it move but not fall over at the same time and realizing that at the end of the day you will be wrung out from the sheer tension and hearing don’t look down, keep your eyes up, look forward towards where you want to go, lean over and turn your head as you go round the box and be sure to stay inside the lines; is he nuts you can’t keep track of all that at the same time.  After two days and maybe even one extra day to finally pass your DMV requirements you have a motorcycle endorsement and now it’s time to buy a motorcycle.  Once you are bitten there is no simple way to walk away, you are hooked.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Impromptu ride with Chapter 422

A first time ride with some new and familiar friends from Star Chapter 422 Saddleback Valley in South Orange County first attracted my attention via e-mail as an impromptu group ride that was being rescheduled from the week before.  I woke up Friday and it was dark and early but also foggy and quite damp out.  On top of that I was having some concern about a possible electrical issue with the Road Star as I had 3 bulbs and my high beam headlight all burn out over a period of a few short weeks.  OK, let’s list all the reasons not to go on this ride and stay in bed, it’s wet, cold and misty out, maybe the motorcycle is having a possible problem, and yesterday Thanksgiving, I notice what appears to be a blood spot in my eye with a possible tiny tear in the retina, balance all that against having asked my friend Wayne if he would like to go along, this was a really good group of folks and it seemed like a fun ride.  The decision was a no brainer, we ride, and that’s what this is all about.  If I don’t ride what did I buy the motorcycle for in the first place?
Here's Colin looking at the camera -photo by Denny's
Right about 7:00 AM I arrive at the Denny’s on El Toro in Lake Forest and pull in behind Wayne just as he is arriving from his home 3 miles away while I rode all the way on the freeway with wet pavement to contend with.  Inside, there is one 422 member already waiting and soon more join us for breakfast which at Denny’s means that whatever you order here is exactly what you get at any Denny’s- consistent menu and easy choices.  In talking with two 422 members Stephen and Leonard about the light bulbs, both are engineers and know a lot about electrical problems such as regulators on a motorcycle and offered some insight into possible issues.  My friend Johney will be taking a look so there is little concern.

From Denny’s it’s a short hop to Wing Stuff a local temple of all things Gold Wing, a cornucopia, a veritable delight of parts and equipment to any and all Honda Gold Wing motorcycle owners for miles around and on the internet. We arrive and a couple more riders join in making a group of 9 motorcycles, all riders and no passengers.  Our route will take us very near my home in Placentia making me think I could have just waited for them to pass by on Imperial Blvd. and join in, that’s not how it’s done however and for good reason.

An Impromptu break at Starbucks in Chino.

View Larger Map
The ride pace, speed, spacing and leadership are all spot on and I feel right at home riding with this STAR group as my own chapter 230.  We did make a couple U-turns on our way to Temecula and as you look at the map you will notice we cover a lot of territory on this relatively short ride of 275 miles or so.  The routing on the map is not complete due to some issues with fixing the stops, but it covers nearly every turn we made.  The consistency of choices for stops and gas is noticeable in comparing the two different groups.  Chevron gas is top of the list but 76 or Mobil are likely choices for both, also having a Starbucks at a stop seems to be a favorite. A 76 station is our first gas stop and while parked and changing my gear I reach back and impale my finger on some thorns from a rose bush.  Luckily I have a First-Aid kit and patch it up.  It also occurs to me I wonder how many riders carry a first aid kit on their rides.

Our destination for lunch in old town Temecula is Sweet Lumpy’s BBQ a place I have never been and it amazes me that of the several times I have had lunch in Temecula this place never came up.  I remember once being dragged to some place on Main Street for lunch and found it offering little reason to make it a special stop.  Lunch goes well, even Wayne ordered a sandwich, but they added what appeared to be a 20% tip to the bill which seemed a little pretentious considering the overall place and service, decent BBQ, good food, OK service, still, I would go back.  On the way here one rider, Glen peeled off at the Ortega Highway as he planned to go only part way.

On the return we retrace part of our path into the hills toward DeLuz Canyon and head for Fallbrook which leads us to Highway 76 connecting to the I-5 near Oceanside.   What I found interesting on the return ride heading toward Fallbrook was being able to start composing my Blog report, while the curves and twists were there, the pace was relaxing enough that I found myself going over what I would cover in this report, it added an extra component to the total on-the-road experience making it all the more relaxing and rewarding.  Another delight is that the road improvements taking years to complete on Hwy. 76 seem to have finally opened up providing a very nice two lane in each direction compared to the old one lane each way narrow road and slow traffic.

 At this final gas stop I think I took $.87 worth of gas or it just seemed that’s all I needed, but really took on a little over a gallon and then we scooted a few yards to the Starbucks (of course) across the street in the shopping center.  Based on the length of the last stop, I mentioned I saw a Dry Cleaner and asked if I had enough time to have my jacket cleaned and pressed while we relaxed sipping coffee or whatever. The answer was, OK wise guy!

From here it was about 65 miles home leaving enough time to start writing the report.  This along with some photos are all the evidence needed to prove we all had a great time meeting, riding and sharing the road with a group of STAR Touring friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stratoliner for Sale on Cycletrader-good deal?

2007 Yamaha Stratoliner S, Cruiser in Sun Valley, CA 91352


Used, 1,854 cc, 12,186 mi., Cruiser Motorcycle

VIN #: JYAVP21Y27A000552
Mileage: 12,186

Seller Info

Private Seller

(818) 257-2774
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About this Motorcycle


2007 Yamaha Stratoliner S, Mint condition California Bike. Always garaged, driven in dry whether only. Full Maintenance. Two new tires. Extras are: front and rear engine guard,and fender chrome.Two auxiliary front lights.Luggage rack.Cruiser handle bars. Bike has a $ 500 Low Jack anti theft device that is transferable. This is the Stratoliner S model which comes with $ 3000 of extra chrome from Yamaha. $8,500.00 8182572774

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chapter 230 Holiday Party and gift exchange

There is nothing quite like our STAR Chapter 230 Holiday Party and this year like every year, the 2012 party was as good as it gets, a smashing success.  A few people put in a lot of work to make it as much fun as it turned out to be, so right off a special very big thanks to President Ed and (Mrs. President) Susan, plus V.P. Chuck and (Mrs. V.P.) Patti who all went beyond the extra mile to make it happen.  Both spouses deserve a big thank you for all the help and effort they contributed.

Somehow I kept thinking it started at 6:00 PM but actually the social hour started at about 5:00 PM, so we missed all that, arriving right at 6 o’clock at the Spaghetti Factory.  Everything was already under way but we had a chance to say hello to just about everyone before food was served, although I think we missed a few, but were able to catch up as the evening progressed.  The table we sat at included Mark & Evlee, Keith & Staci, Mike and Vicki and us, and as amazing as it sounds the conversation was about motorcycles.  I think we could have been sitting at any of the tables and felt just the same among really good friends. You come to a motorcycle group party and talk about what else motorcycles and of course it is safer than politics or many other topics that get boring. 

A few arrived after we did and the very last person to make her grand entrance was none other than her red hotness Carolyn our resident wind chime maker.  Dinner went well with Spaghetti and meat balls or Chicken Marsala or Lasagna as an entrĂ©e choice.  When dinner was over Ed hands out gifts to officers and mileage rockers for those that qualified with at least 5,000 chapter miles.  I was really surprised, impressed and grateful that I was given a plaque for my efforts as Bike Night Coordinator for scheduling the 3 weekly Thursday bike night meetings along with a 5,000 mile rocker for chapter rides; I must thank President Ed for appreciating my write-up and blog entries.  I can tell you it means a lot that my writing efforts are recognized as having some merit in helping make the chapter the success it is.  The internet, my personal blog and Facebook have all had a hand in my being noticed along with giving me the opportunity to put in writing some topics that seem entertaining-mostly to me.  I never really know what might pop up for material in my articles; I just hope it is well received.

The party really gets going once we start our ever popular and a bit crazy White Elephant Gift Exchange, where we each bring a gift worth about $25; then choose either a hidden gift or take one that has already been picked.  Some of the more choice items can often change hands up to the maximum three times before it is locked.  A couple of the items this year were beyond strange and if you can tell from the photo, Carol had to go back for a new item and picked a weird turkey hat or ornament that wiggles it’s legs, I can’t imagine that being a gift, or why.  Even stranger, Vicki had a chance for another gift choice and picked the turkey hat thing from Carol, I was surprised at her humanitarian effort in saving Carol.  Lots of alcoholic beverages of all sort seemed to be very popular this year and we even had a couple batches of lottery tickets along with a variety of tools and other household items. 
 Only a few fans of old WWII movies or MI-6 might get this reference.  I posted a different message on Facebook-"The red hen is in the farmhouse. the drop is at midnight" and Vince was the only person that responded correctly...impressive.
 Ed was busy all night working the gift exchange program
 The famous turkey
This is a motorcycle with chimes attached, I can only guess who might have made or provided this, lots of people wanted it.
Two different cases of beer were among the items and both Scott and Barb were ready to defend their ownership to the bitter end.  Stan wound up with a huge bottle of vodka; Daveta Jo had lottery tickets taken away but then went back finding a bank that looked like William sitting on a motorcycle.  Dan was very pleased with his scoring a bottle of 12 year old whiskey of some sort.  Ed tried for the two bottles of flavored whiskey then lost them to Stacey but I think she also lost them.  Carolyn had a gift box of chocolates filled with Jim Beam whiskey after losing some toy motorcycles along the way.  We picked a Snap-on tool set with various pliers and two bottles of wine.
Looking at the photos you will see there was a lack of lighting making it rather difficult to get a good shot but these are about the best we could do.  Many of the pictures were either too dark or too shaky to include.
We are wishing all the best to our Chapter 230 friends for another stupendous year of riding coming up in 2013.  I think we will have a couple of rides that will make history if the routes and destinations are on the list for 2013.