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!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Latest Stratoliner update

A lot of questions about the new Stratoliner were floating around at Thursday's meeting and today I can report that we can all breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that the dealer fixed all the problems (both) and it now meets my current approval standards.  In other words I can sleep at night knowing I did not make a huge mistake…a small one maybe.  The squeak was due to some small bracket scrapping against the swing arm and the ride problem was alleviated by backing off the pre-load settings.  All good to go especialy when we get the accessories installed like passing lamps, GPS- (NUVI car type), engine and saddlebag guards and a luggage rack.  You can tell a seasoned veteran of motorcycling from a beginner by their understanding of the fact that there is no problem with a motorcycle that more money can't solve.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A visit to Calico Ghost Town near Yermo

It has been years and years since my one visit to Calico-the Ghost Town near Yermo just 3 miles from the I-15 freeway outside Barstow.  Checking Wikipedia:
Calico is a ghost town and former mining town in San Bernardino County, California, United States. Located in the Calico Mountains of the Mojave Desert region of Southern California, it was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town, and today has been converted into a county park. Located off Interstate 15, it lies 3 miles (4.8 km) from Barstow. Giant letters spelling CALICO can be seen on the Calico Peaks behind the ghost town from the freeway. Walter Knott purchased Calico in 1950s architecturally restoring all but the five original buildings to look as they did in 1880s. Calico received State Historical Landmark 782 and in 2005 was proclaimed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be California's Silver Rush Ghost Town. 

In 1881 four prospectors were leaving Grapevine Station (present day Barstow, California) for a mountain peak to the northeast. Describing the peak as "calico-colored", the peak, the mountain range to which it belonged, and the town that followed were all called Calico. The four prospectors discovered silver in the mountain, and opened the Silver King Mine, which was California's largest silver producer in the mid-1880s.  A Post Office was established in early 1882, and the Calico Print, a weekly newspaper, started publishing. The town soon supported three hotels, five general stores, a meat market, bars, brothels, and three restaurants and boarding houses. The county established a school district and a voting precinct.  The town also had a deputy sheriff and two constables, two lawyers and a justice of the peace, five commissioners, and two doctors. There was also a Wells Fargo office and a telephone and telegraph service.   At its height of silver production during 1883 and 1885, Calico had over 500 mines and a population of 1,200 people.
Sunday morning Rac and some friends were leaving Pasadena on a ride to Molly Brown’s, a breakfast favorite in Victorville and then to Calico to visit and see some of the Civil War re-enactment festivities going on Sunday.  At the last minute I decide to ride up and meet them at the Von’s parking lot and go on the ride. I arrive and find Rac-President Chapter 500, Terry-past president Chapter 230, Will and Luis & Minita are on the ride with several other riders I don’t know. 

All goes smoothly and we arrive to find Molly Brown’s busy but they accommodate all 12 of us including one visitor that lives up there, arriving by truck.  From Molly’s it’s on to Route 66 and Barstow to the turn off for Calico.  There is a big crowd and parking is busy as are the town streets. 
 A shuttle picks us up from the lower parking lot and saves us a walk up a steep road.  It did not pick them up back at the Von's.
The photos really tell the story as I am surprised to find how much has developed since recollections of my only visit years ago.

 Are these folks dressed as local color or visiting from some commune somewhere?

 After seeing this photo I realized why I got these strange looks, good grief.

 Slanted "House of Mystery" or just bad construction

 $3 for a train ride.

 Climbed to the top of the hill and you get quite a view looking out all the way to the freeway.
The ride back home was cold but nowhere near as cold as in the morning.  Luis and I split off at the I-15 & 10 interchange.  From there we headed back to Orange County but stopped for a quick sandwich at Joey’s BBQ in Chino, a long time favorite and their first time.  The Stratoliner still rattles my teeth and head, so I'm hoping the lowers will reduce that a bit.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A trial run on the new Stratoliner

Above: getting ready to ride it home from the dealer and we hit rain in Corona.

After the purchase of this new Stratoliner the only thing to do is take it on a ride and it turns out Johney is doing his own personal tour of a couple mountain roads and I'm coming along. It is an opportunity to really check out the new-to-me motorcycle and see what we got ourselves into.  There are some good and not so good qualities about the new Stratoliner that are becoming apparent.  First the saddlebags do not hold as much as the Road Star did and second the 1854 cc engine is smooth but the whole motorcycle bounces more or something, I notice getting bounced where I did not on the Road Star.  It is much bigger than I really thought it would be and there definitely is more power as well.  Lots of reports indicate you keep thinking there should be a 6th gear when going over 65 mph and that basically is true. Also a squeak that was detected at the dealer is getting worse not better so it will require a trip back for evaluation and solution.  It is coming from the rear wheel area probably around the swing arm.  Something needs lube or other attention.
 The new mascot/riding buddy: "Wild Thing".

It is a used motorcycle with just 88 miles on it and in trading the Road Star I got a decent price so the cash difference was less than I expected and have enough left over to buy some of the add-on parts to make it complete.  Accessories include luggage rack, passing lamps, saddle and engine guards and a Beadrider seat cushion, oh yes and something called Bucks Lowers that help deflect air from rushing under the windshield causing buffeting.  Not forgetting the air horn for sure, some clown came over into my lane and the lame stock horn did nothing.  My friend Charlie tells me the stock seat is brutal but on our 280 mile trip it was not all that bad.  He is also a big believer in changing the sprockets to alter the power band but I’ll wait and see on that.  Everyone wants to add or modify something but when I traded in the Road Star it was absolutely stock, having Johney remove and replace all the parts I had added when new.  Some will think I’m totally crazy, but I am not completely sold on this new ride since the Road Star really was doing quite well.  Well then dummy why did you trade it?  Look for a new cable special on mental illness right after Hoarders, Intervention and a series on eating chalk or Doomsday preppers, my show should be in there somewhere.

The ride route took us down I-5 to the Ortega Hwy, plenty twisty on its own, over to the 215 south and continuing on Hwy 74 further east through Hemet until we hit the Palms to Pines Hwy (74) to the turn off for Idyllwild; it’s even twistier than Ortega in spots.  We arrive in Idyllwild and there is snow everywhere.  The roads are somewhat covered in sections of that reddish pea gravel used for traction, especially in the curves where melt off and gravel combine to make it interesting.  If you stay in the car tire tracks that area is mostly clear, but I do slow down considerably in those curves.  This road- the gravel and snow piles would bring a tear to Carolyn’s eye as she fondly remembers the terrible snow ride we did up to Crestline last year.

We proceed through Idyllwild to the I-10 going west to the turn off for Oak Glen the apple orchard area.  I think we miss a possible lunch/gift shop stop, but we had lunch in Hemet at In-N-Out so no big deal.

 Naturally coming back we also do Carbon Canyon and by then I am getting worried I could shake my cardiac stents out of place.  I was wrung out handling the new bigger motorcycle, and hoping the added items on order will help.