Archive for March, 2014

The Big Money Rally continues…

I’ve been visiting friends. The first was a moto-pal in Edgewood 30 miles east of Albuquerque, and now I’m in Truth or Consequences with some wonderful pals from my days of living in Alaska. I am fortunate to have some great places to stay along my journey. I didn’t get many BMR shots in Albuquerque due to the extreme winds, but got a few points. I also had to spend a few hours at Moto-Authority getting a new rear tire and rear brakes. Apparently they were totally glazed and down to nothing, so I had to assume the previous owner used them frequently. The tire, well, it was getting squared off even though I tried to keep enough inflation to deem that impossible. I guess it just happens! Well, I’m skipping ahead so I’ll get back to where I left off.

I was “leaving Las Vegas” without a bit of remorse and wanted to get to Kingman, AZ and get on Route 66 to make a few scenic stops. I thought I’d encounter some travelers along Route 66, but found myself to be the lone motorcyclist. I reached Seligman and grabbed a couple of bonus points but didn’t daudle as I had been there twice before. Instead I aimed for Williams, a place I had heard was cute and a piece of historic Route 66 kitsch. It was both.
Great road name!!

Imagine my surprise finding that Elvis was not dead but living in Williams.

Classic Neon Kitsch!

Williams was really pretty darned cute.

Renaissance Faire in Grand Canyon??

All along I40 are roadside attractions of bygone times. Here is Twin Arrows.

Made it to Winslow and got this awesome bonus point shot!

Standing on the corner…I decided Winslow is pretty sad. They spend a small fortune of city money to commemorate a song by the Eagles, but forgot that there was more than just a corner. It’s relatively run down, looks like a pair of sadly worn gloves and the people seem very much affected by the economic downturn. I met a Native American man who was rolling in a wheelchair with only one leg. He stopped to talk about my bike and told me he was a Paiute from NV had gotten run over by a pickup truck and had never left. Though both he and the driver were inebriated, it stuck me as a sad turn of events and a hell of way to pick a place to live.

I thought what an awesome place this must have been in its hayday!

More Winslow.

In Holbrook, AZ I found the Dino Walking Dead.

Yep, another roadside attraction!

From Holbrook I wandered to Springerville into what looked like the eye of a big storm. I was hoping to bag my first big 3 point bonus with the help of the Madonna of the Trail.­

It was a quick stop in Springerville and I carried on while gaining some education regarding cloud cover and what is called Virga, which is wisps of precipitation evaporating before reaching the ground.

I rode through Virga for a good portion of the day and never saw a drop of rain!!

However I did see some seriously BEAUTIFUL country!

An interesting mistake…

It was between Quemado, NM and Gallup over an truly lovely road, Hwy 180 that I did encounter a bit of rainfall, but really very little compared to how the skies appeared.

The most noted annoyance was not the rain but that of the cold! The elevation here is nearly 8K feet and I ended up having to don my heated gear in temps of the low 40s. I arrived in Gallup early enough to shoot the courthouse gaining another 3 point bonus. I also met another Native American who tried dearly to convince me to give him a ride to a bus station across town. I declined as honorably as I could. 😉

I rode on to Grants and found a place to stay.

Albuquerque next…

Big Money Rally…CA, NV, AZ, NM, TX as weather allows!

I never thought I’d need motivation to go for a motorcycle ride, however this winter has been one where even though the weather wasn’t bad, I just wanted to hole up and vegetate. I haven’t been motivated to do art, to do much knitting or even to get into some fine cooking, so when I signed up for the Big Money Rally, I had a reason to get out and ride.

I took a short jaunt in February over to Monterey gathering my first BMR bonuses, but then parked my poor beautiful bike making him the king of the garage. After a month of reading other people’s ride reports, I told myself to shed the apathy and go for a ride!!

I planned out a week plus ride covering about 5K miles. I needed at least that to sharpen my dulling skill level. I checked the bikes and even though the Bandit had better tires, I decided I needed to spend some more time bonding with the BMW, so I got it out of the garage, polished it up, checked fluids and tire pressure and was good to go. I loaded up my stuff, which I’m proud to say that over the years has gotten smaller, though I still need my hair gel!

Shooting into the sun is sometime fortuitous.

I got out of Sacramento relatively late, considering I desired traveling to Ely in one day stopping along the way to get some BMR bonus points. Ely is nearly 500 miles which for you iron butt riders is nothing, but for my “not so iron butt” is more than enough! At least I had daylight savings time on my side, but still I didn’t roll into Ely until a good hour of riding in the dark encountering Elk and very slow speeds! American’s loneliest highway 50 is just that in March past dusk!

First stop was to see one of the old highway markers for the Lincoln Highway. This one is located right outside of Reno just off the now I80.

This shot ended up being my favorite.

One of the BMR bonus categorizes that breathed some life in my ride to Ely was that of Cathouses of NV. I have to admit never having visited one and here finally, was my chance. I knew there were two right outside of Reno. The ever-famous Mustang Ranch and the Wild Horse Saloon. This was my lucky day, as I not only got my bonus photos, but met some of the girls.

How effective is rider training??

Streetmasters Precision Cornering Workshop

I read an interesting article in MCN last month by Ken Condon who is a well known MSF RiderCoach as well as the author of Riding in the Zone: Advanced Techniques for Skillful Motorcycling. He stresses the importance of of safety and measuring risk then riding within that measure. I enjoyed the article and the fact he also stresses that an “arrogant, know-it-all instructor creates an instructor-focused atmosphere which rarely results in an emotionally and psychologically safe learning environment”. Wow, I can’t agree more.

I was fortunate in that my MSF instructor was a woman who couldn’t have made me feel any more welcome. She asked great open ended questions and didn’t make you feel like your reply was going to be scrutinized and dissected mortifying the learner. I felt she aptly protected each of us on the course, even to the point of sending home one student who after being asked to show up in over the ankle boots, did not. She made the environment fun, the learning special and the approach professional. I easily passed my test after her instruction, but left knowing this was only day one of a very long journey into riding proficiency.

Now for the shocking stats I found in the article:
“Studies have shown that formal rider training is effective in reducing crashes for the first several months after a rider gets his or her course completion card. However, the benefits of rider training seem to fade over time so that trained riders are involved in crashes at a similar rate as riders who did not take a safety course”.

What I take from this wake-up is that we all need to keep our skills sharp and to keep our “training” everlasting with more courses, riding with better riders than ourselves, and continued reading regarding safety. We also need to set that focus for all new riders, so that they know they know to keep up the cycle of learning. I think rider training is definitely the way to go for all riders, especially if you have a good instructor, that is patient and focused on your safety and learning. It is said, “if the wheels aren’t turning, the students aren’t learning,” which is precisely the point. We all have to “do” to learn and a good safety conscientious instructor will get us out on the course sooner than later. Clear concise instruction and doing seem to be the perfect combination.

What has been your learning experience and what works best, in your opinion? Do you feel rider trainer is effective.

Same course another year another bike…the Horse Thief Mile.

People wanna know when I first started riding!!

As I recall, I think I was fairly young. Looks like I began riding solo from the start. 😉

Love those Vintage Post Cards!

Sorting through an old box of ephemera, I discovered a stack of old postcards. Some of these were from my grandmother’s collection, but others were ones that I have found through the years. What made them interesting to me was not only the old colorized artwork, but searching to find if the places were still in existence. Obviously, places like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz were still around, but what about an old resort in Roswell, NM or the YMCA Hotel in Chicago. Well here is what I discovered.

YMCA Hotel 826 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL

NOW from google–no longer a hotel but businesses

Lea Lake Bottomless Lake State Park, Roswell, NM

Now from TripAdvisor–still existing, but had moved more to and RV and Campsite less elegant but still maintained and visited!

From google–a larger image of the area. I’m definitely curious enough to want to go and check it out.

Love this one!

Sadly Herman’s Seafood is long gone, but was a force for many years serving the “best” seafood in Oklahoma City. It was a family run business started downtown and eventually moved to 16th and Classen where a Mexican restaurant is now housed. I liked its curb view better in its heyday. It’s currently looking a little shoddy.

In San Francisco, CA there are always a treasure trove of old vintage post cards. My mother was born there as was I and my grandmother lived there for years, so I found these next cards in my grandmother’s collection.
The Golden Gate Bridge on which my grandfather working painting the surface.

Google image and awesome shot!

My mother danced at Treasure Island’s Golden Gate International Exposition. The building there were amazing works of art constructed of SF Bay mud and 19 months of construction. The link I provided will show you several of the building which were deconstructed after the fair.
My mother!

This card shows the Temple Camp.

One building remains from the event and that’s the Treasure Island Administration Building which was once adorned with Pacific Unity sculptures numbering 20. The building alone still stands with a few sculptures intact. I find the history of the island really interesting especially when the fair was the event of the time!
From google

From google…

Hotel Herald on Eddy St room rates were quite reasonable at Single with bath $2.00, Double with bath $2.50 and Twins with bath $3.00. Almost funny when you consider what it costs to stay in SF now and you get to pay an additional amount for parking!

From Google

What visit to San Francisco would be complete without seeing Alcatraz Island??

Today from google images

Many of us ride through Bishop, CA everytime we go south on Hwy 395, but I have never see this Deco gem! I searched everywhere and could not find any information on this vintage motel. Too Bad!

Last for this post is a not near as old but still vintage postcard of the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City. This was my stomping ground when I was 15 and 16 yet mostly able to get into the bars on the Comstock. My mom always wondered where I was all those nights I said I was going to the library. 😉 I got to see some amazing music there, Big Brother and the Holding Co, The Charlatans, and other Family Dog Productions. It was the certainly a great time to be young and daring! I must admit, I did experience being thrown out a time or two, but one of my pals used to let me watch from the kitchen. It was COOL!

From google…the RD now…awwwwwww damn!

One of my favorite sports while moto-traveling is finding old post cards. I have collected a few and gotten many from my grandmother’s collection but it’s always a treat to add another to my collection! It’s like having a time machine into the past. 😉