Archive for June, 2013

Well, it only took uh, how many years?

I finally pulled the trigger. It must not have been an easy thing to do, considering I’ve talked about it for the last several years. Many of you know that I have been a dyed in the wool Suzuki Bandit rider for about 120Ks worth of pavement and even a few hundred miles of not so nice road. 😉

Well, after riding southern Spain on a rented F650GS, I had the flame reignited, but with the usual cheap wine budget, I opted to try a 650 Versys last year and yep, that was a mistake. My husband sold his FZ1 and took over my 1250 Bandit, but as the story goes, I, not being a fan of the Versys, would simply “borrow” the Bandit and take off on my roadtrips. It was fickle love, and the newer younger Versys just wasn’t up to the job. There wasn’t anything I really liked about the bike, except the color which simply wasn’t enough. Part of my dismay was the power band since I am used to riding a 1250CC engine. So after lots of self-talk or self-beration, I returned to searching out a BMW that would meet my needs and my budget. It wasn’t easy as one would imagine.

First I tried to sell the Versys. Well, I did discover it is well loved, but by cheap elderly men and I mean this in all fondness. 😉 I discovered it’s an old mans sport bike or some such and very few other people inquired except one young man who had just passed the MSF and he offered me $1500 under my asking price pleading “no lowball offers”. I didn’t get an offer even close to what I wanted. I needed enough to pay off the remaining loan and have enough cash left over to buy another bike. Uhh, nice idea. So I decided trading it in was the path of least resistance knowing full well, I’d never get its real value.

Well my friend Gail Weaver the sales manager, at Cycle Specialities BMW did what he could to not only look for a bike I could afford and that would meet my needs (as illusive as they may be) and give me a price I could actually entertain. He also did the best he could possibly do on my trade in, so all in all it was a perfect match. I had decided on an R1200R and he found a real beauty and as of today it is MINE!!

I rode the Versys for one last time, and actually felt a small amount of fondness for the bike. Here it is now, in all it’s Kawasaki glory, hanging with the big bad boys.

I gotta say, it’s a LOVELY color…

Now here were’re talking…I can easily see me on this with white go go boots and a white 3/4 helmet.

Camera clowning while waiting for paperwork completion. Looks like I’m being sucked into the Vespa Vortex.

Note that sold sign…

One of my friends mentioned his disdain of the WIDE pin or not so pin stripe, but after careful consideration today, I think it’s actually quite nice and befitting to the large German lad.

Me and Gail Weaver, my friend and salesman.

My amazing husband, Gary. Now what’s being sold here? 😉

Except for the windscreen, it’s a mighty fine machine. As miserably hot as I was on the ride home, I found myself well stimulated and I felt like it was already finding its place in my heart and mind. Which brought me the decision of a name. Calling him Hugo, which means “heart mind spirit” in German seems more than appropriate. It’s an energetic name for a strong and energetic lad of a bike.

Now, I can’t wait to get on the road with the new man in my life. 😉

A day of demo riding….BMWs at Cycle Specialities Modesto!

OK, I had one fine day of riding other peoples bikes. 😉 Actually my friend Gail Weaver is the sales manager at Cycle Specialities BMW Triumph Modesto. He allowed me a wonderful day of test riding beemers!! Here are my thoughts on the bikes I rode.

First off let me say I’m hard pressed to make a decision. I first took out the F800GT and though it’s a bit homogenized in appearance, it’s a fine riding machine. It’s light and flickable and I can actually nearly flatfoot it. It handled like a dream, and I spend about 15 minutes in a parking lot doing figure 8s and u-turns and messing with braking. On a really bumpy road i was able to play with the dampening adjustment. You could immediately feel the difference on the crappy surface. I rode farm roads and the highway and did a total of about 45 minutes of riding the GT. I love the positioning. It’s a moderate sport position, so you sit just a bit forward but very comfortable. The onboard computer is cool and I love that BMW has sense enough to put what gear you are in before your eyes. Granted we should know by feel and sound, but in the high gears that isn’t always true and I quite often find myself searching vigorously for that illusive 7th gear. The foot pegs were perfect for me as were the bars. All in all is was quite a well designed and fitting machine. That said the difference between the R1200R and the GT were like going between a corvette and an SUV. Both have their place.

Now it sounds like I am dissing the R1200R but I am NOT. I loved it. Lighter than my Bandito by many lbs, it too was totally flickable and nimble, but its power band was from its gut. I felt like I was riding a weight lifter. :038: (not a bad thing) It fit like a glove though I am not firmly planted on the ground but I can touch the same degree as the Bandit. It’s loaded with the BMW side cases, top box, GPS (garmin nuvi) mirror extenders, touring windscreen ( which did NOT work for me) heated grips and ABS. It was comfortable like a pair of old slippers. I took it out for 2 hours and really got a good ride on it, riding different roads and the highway, lacking only in any decent twisties since there are none close to Modesto! It had amazing pickup, I could flip it around but at the same time it felt really grounded and solid. I love how it looks too, rugged like Sean Connery or Billy Connelly, sexy in a BMW sort of way.

So, here I am having ridden that damned Versys both ways today when I had hoped it would only be one way. Sigh, what should I do?? Gary sez it’s completely up to me, as he knows he’ll enjoy riding either one, when I’m not out and about. The R1200R is ready to travel sans that ridiculous windscreen. The GT needs bags. Both have ABS. One is new and one is not. Both will make us pay payments for a few years unless I win the lottery, then hell, we’ll have a fleet of bikes all paid for!

I don’t know yet…i need a day or two to consider. I put money down, and will return on Saturday, hopefully with a decision. If not, more riding will be done that day. :biggrinbounce2: If i get the GT, I want to get the sexy orange metallic. That and my hi-vis and no one can say they didn’t see me. I guess if I get something on Saturday, I’ll have to attend the BMW Rally in OR…just do it, eh?

Here are the bikes.



Flat Track Racing or Auburn’s Fast Fridays…what a BLAST!

I have attended motorcycle racing before but nothing prepared me for how much fun I would have watching flat track racing at Auburn’s Fast Friday. What a hoot!!

Ok, I am new to this and was surprised how small the front tires were almost like bicycle tires. Also, I assume there are no brakes and no gears and no starter as they seemed to push start all the bikes. Those of you that have done this type of racing or know it need to help me out here since I am most curious! They had several “heats” including one elimination for teens and one for really little kids. It was adorable.

I attended this race with Tyler, two of her friends and my IH and what a fine evening. I heard rumor that next weekend is a UJM show. I can see I need to get out more. I need to bring mine and see who can fix it as I hear that’s half the show. My new schedule will include racing on fridays, but I believe I need to get a few tattoos to keep attending. 😉

Here are a few shots from the races. I had my little point and shoot so I imagine Ms. Tyler with her awesome camera will really have some GREAT shots, but mine were fun.

One of the younger fans with his ear protection…thanks you smart mother!

I need to look for his GoPro footage on YouTube.



I do believe there is a RK in the arena….run what you brung (i am not even sure how to spell that!) Gotta give the guy kudos!

I also found this amazing vintage footage of some FT racing I thought you might enjoy. I know I certainly did! 😉

Walkabout…two daughters celebrating a Dad’s Life

My sister and I decided we needed some calm after our father’s death. A space somewhere to celebrate the life our father had shared with us. He always loved the outdoors, the Sierras, ghost towns, and good food. We jumped in the Subaru and went for a “ride” into the mountains.

We had nothing in mind, except to seek some solitude in our crazy lives by virtue of visiting some of the places our father loved. We decided going to the Comstock, would be a good place to begin, then the car having a mind of its own headed for Bodie, CA, a ghost town owned and run by the state of CA. We had visited Bodie before, but I believe it was when I was 9 or 10 which means my sister was a wee lass of 4 or 5!

Back in the day, I lived in Silver City, NV and tended bar in a funky old saloon called the Tahoe Beer House. Here is what it looks like today, no longer a bar, now just a house on the edge of the highway to Virginia City. It’s run down a bit, but still being used as a rental.

In the 70s, Silver City was still over-run with remnants of the Haight-Ashbury hippie scene. The town was alive with music, the Siver City Guard, dances and craziness. I remember it fondly.

Tailings from one of the Comstock mines.

The highway to Virginia City through Silver City and Gold Hill.

My sister, Sharon or Yogi as we called her as kids, clowning above the Dayton Valley.

The distant Sierras

Old mine in Silver City

Bridgeport and the Sierra Nevada range

My barbed wire fetish…

We headed to Bodie and I had always heard the rode in only involved 4 miles of gravel, but let me tell you, it was the WORST 4 miles I have ever driven. I couldn’t help but be glad I was in the Subaru not the bike!! The road it horrid washboard, areas of complete washout and big pointed rocks jutting out of the dirt and dusty beyond belief. It took us nearly 20 minutes to go the four miles. I do NOT recommend this on any street bike, unless they improve the present condition. I must add the only bike up there was a dual sport with an ADV sticker on it!
Bodie, CA

Bodie is a delight, with its old buildings filled with perfume of the past, the cowboy dressed rangers and storytellers, the beautiful mountain setting.

My sister guiding the tour…

Our favorite tourists

The Methodist Church…at one time Bodie had 65 bars, but only two churches!

The Standard mill, which in its heyday processed $14 million worth of gold and silver in 25 years.

The front of James Stuart Cain’s house, the town’s principle property owner.

The Sawmill

My sister goofing in front of the sawmill.

The Wheaton and Hollis Hotel…i can’t believe this gorgeous pool table was left behind.

The old Schoolhouse

Frank Quinville House who was a blacksmith and laborer. He was thought of having done quite well for himself with such a nice house.

I absolutely lucked out on this shot…no one was in it, except ghosts.

I don’t know what these building were, but I liked them and the mine tailings in the background of the one and the old truck in the other.

This hearse seemed all to appropriate for the occasion and it was truly lovely!

Glad to be a woman of my time when I see the tools women used maintaining a household.

The only motorcycle in the parking lot was parked next to us. I’m sure the Watch for motorcycles sticker on the car was the giveaway!

Though the park rangers advised against going out the 26 mile dirt road, we threw caution to the wind and windy it was! Both of us decided that all-wheel drive could handle nearly anything and after that horrid road in, this exit had to be better!
It was quite nice.

The amazing multicolored flora over this fantastic rocks. They really looked like something from Lord of the Rings.

The road connected to a highway running on the north side of Mono Lake.

Two panos of the lake.

This being my favorite.

When we arrived in Lee Vining, it was already after 5pm. We went to Whoa Nellie Deli for dinner and had the absolutely best fish tacos ever and since I wasn’t riding, I added a good dark beer. I made some phone calls trying to find lodging for the night anywhere nearby, so that we could go over Tioga Pass in the morning, but there was nothing, except one room in Mammoth for $320 a night! Uhhh…no. We drove back north and stayed at the West Walker Motel with Chris and Pam, friends from the Pashnit Girly Ride of bygone years. It was a wonderful night.

My sister had never been over Ebbetts Pass so we decided to take that route to Sacto. My sister couldn’t believe I would ride a motorcycle on such a crazy tight and twisty road. Let me tell you, it wasn’t nearly the fun I have on my bike!!

In seeing this sunset…I couldn’t help but think he was watching over us and chuckling at our bumpy ride into Bodie.

Well this closes our little sojourn. We talked dad stories, spend lots of time thinking about him and our childhood. In better times, he was awesome to be around and lots of fun. Those are the times that we’ll keep close to us. We miss you, Dad.

I lost my father…11.20.1925 – 5.24.2013

A Eulogy for my father…

Carson City is a much quieter place now. Our father, John Bettencourt Williams, who livened up this western town with his shenanigans, has passed on to another place that needed his special touch. He was the last of eight wild and lively Portuguese children with the surname of Williams and you can bet that every place they ever lived was affected by their special sense of humor and wit.

Our father left us after 87 years of living a full and exciting life. At 17 he joined the US Navy and spent time on the USS Reynolds, a destroyer, as a baker’s assistant. After  serving in the WWII Pacific Theater, he returned home, learned the skills of house painting, and worked for his father-in-law in the San Francisco Bay Area. In winter he taught skiing and charmed many a woman including our mother on the slopes of Lake Tahoe. His painting business became a building business and he gained his General Contractor license in Nevada building anything and everything, from homes and offices to local brothels, or that’s how the story goes. JB, as he loved to be called, started a Christmas tree business at Lake Tahoe, employing family and friends. His business flourished as he supplied Christmas trees for much of the San Francisco Bay Area and many a child delighted under the glow of one of JB’s trees.

There wasn’t a woman or dog he didn’t love, a tree he couldn’t grow, a horse he wouldn’t ride. He kept land in California, Nevada and Arizona. He designed and built a home we called, JB’s Castle, in Carson City, using recycled materials, including the marble tile from San Francisco’s Fox Theater. He lured quail into his yard in Carson and grinned as he tried to trap them. He shot squirrels in his underwear and cowboy boots from his front porch, cursing their abuse of his newly planted pine trees. He never left his home without being dressed like a cowboy gentleman in new Levis and snap cowboy shirts or a well-tailored western suit and exotic boots. He loved the Basque restaurants in Carson Valley and never passed up a good steak. He talked to anyone who would listen and made friends easily wherever he went.

He spent his winters in Mexico collecting ironwood sculptures and his summers in Nevada selling and gifting said sculptures. He hunted dove across the desert and loved a good yard sale. He could never pass up a screaming deal whether or not he needed whatever was being sold.

He taught his children the value of a buck by keeping a wheel of fortune slot machine in his home and paying our allowance in nickles. We quickly learned the meaning of the “house advantage”. He was generous to a fault but always joked that he’d “rather owe to you, than beat you out of it”.

He is survived by two ex-wives, three children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren, that we know of however others were suspected though never verified. He loved all women at an unrivaled pace and charmed more than we could keep count.

On a last but serious note, the man that taught us the meaning of practical jokes and the power of a fire cracker has now left the building, but is finally at peace. His ability to entertain is being enjoyed in another place and we know he is laughing and smiling and charming those around him. He will be missed by many.

His life will be celebrated on May 29 at 1pm at Walton’s Chapel of the Valley at 1281 N. Roop Carson City. Anyone wearing black will not be admitted unless it’s a formal western suit and they bring a bottle of Vodka.

RIP JB…you are with us always…