Tuesday, January 3, 2017
A story written by my sweet Cookie: I should have known that the trip would be eventful when the drive over the lonesome mountain peaks of Colorado was far too silent for a holiday weekend. The breakdown karma began when the ever-so-forgetful mechanic happened to mention three hours into our drive that the van was making a fairly significant vibration over the speed of 65 mph. I could only keep my thoughts contained for so long (foreseeing the future of being broke-down along the interstate in west Nevada by myself) before I called a local tire shop in the town we were passing through. Of course, my mechanic was grouchy about the situation – he knew what needed to be fixed, but instead we were relying on the hearsay of an underpaid-tire jockey nearing the end of his shift. Needless-to-say, the hour and a half did not pass so quickly, and the vibration did not change much, nor did the check-engine light go off (another tidbit of anxiety). The check-engine light would remain on for the entirety of the trip, but the alien sounds coming from the engine would cease to exist on the east-bound side of L.A when I would eventually take the wheel. One should never have to stay in Barstow, CA, but it appeared as though we would be gracing the presence of the abandoned Routt 66 town for two lovely evenings. As we rolled in the first night, the mechanic took on his racer identity, and spoke of his previous encounters at the cheap hotel not far from where we were staying. The tale consisted of midnight cockroaches and a greasy breakfast of Carl’s Jr. The mechanic-racer wanted to provide his copilot with some entertainment, so we set out looking for something a bit better than Carl’s Jr. My stomach told me things would get dicey when we rolled into a four-star restaurant (based on local opinion) that housed no exterior windows and Looney Toon characters on the walls. A note on the dry-erase board stated “Guacamole one extra dollar due to rising costs.” I thought, “boy we better have some of that then.” My stomach foresaw that the mechanic-racer and I would be lying in bed with over-bloated bellies crying like coyotes. Aside from agreeing to drive a ticking-time bomb van, this was the first mistake of the trip – trusting the mechanic-racer’s idea of fine dining; yet, I was appreciative not to have crushed a cockroach between my toes when I rolled out of bed. The wind was treacherous the next morning, especially as we descended the hills of central California in search of the beach and the closed-for-the holiday motorcycle shop that I was very much looking forward to entering. Oh, well. I settled for a walk along Santa Monica pier with the Sheryl Crow song buzzing in my brain. A few piles of trash and an assumingly dead body later, we were back on the road, twisting through the hills of Malibu where we would spend the Thanksgiving feast with the nicest couple on the earth. An entertaining afternoon of ugly-Christmas sweater cookie constructing and a tie-down motorcycle job from hell was just enough to warm my heart that was far away from my traditional family Thanksgiving. As we loaded ourselves back into the white-monstrous van, the sun began to set over the farthest point west one could possibly be; it was a watercolor stroke of desert rainbow that could appease even the coldest of hearts. After a rampant drive to Palmdale, CA, the racer became quite edgy, and the quiet sovereignty of the mechanic had disappeared. I knew that the excitement had hit home, and the night couldn’t end quick enough for the both of us. The hotel room was a golden sanctuary of warmth and rest, but as the five o’clock alarm buzzed long after we were awake, I knew that breakfast would be tense. The racer was preparing himself for battle, and I wanted to stab him with a butter-knife just to see if it could puncture the thick-skinned warrior (mostly due to his moody conduct). He set off around six in the morning for tech inspection and was trailed by two hours of tailpipe racket that resembled the locust cloud of the second coming. I decided to finally get myself in the van and take an adventure. I wanted to see if I could spot an elusive Desert Turtle in the wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of Mojave, CA. I found myself on the Sierra Trail Highway among a pack of KTM’s, which seemed very silly to me at the time because I thought this was an off-road ride, but later I would realize the need for dual-sport bikes when dirt was no longer an option. I had fun pacing back-and-forth with the motorcycles, but decided to open up the white van to see what it was made of; not bad for a Dodge that could explode at any moment. Along the way, I spotted many strange residences and a field full of eco-windmills, which was hauntingly surprising. I stopped to take a closer look and nearly squashed an already squishy coyote. Thus, I found myself in Mojave. I needed a few nourishments before the trip resumed, and as I climbed back into the van, the racer called and said that he had made it to the first gas stop. I was relieved that he was now in good humor, and riding as hard as he could (which made me wonder how long that could possibly last on a Mad-Max beast of a motorcycle too big for its own good!). Back on the road, and this time facing the now-dusty pack of orange bikes. I passed the gas stop myself, but headed in the opposite direction. Somewhere along the lines, I took the wrong road, which was easy in a geometrical spider web of washboard-desert roads. I examined the landscape around me and noticed for the first time, the snake of motorcycles – visible through the dust they were creating – winding their way through the desolate land. I had found myself in the territory of the so-called “Desert Rats” – weekenders apparently – with their huge campers, dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and side-by-sides. I became mindful of my speed, even though I was having an excellent time floating over sandy piles of what was once road. A very large man waved me good day while he drove his little family around on a tag-along, four-wheeler trip. I reached the end of the road rather early unfortunately, and had to decide which way to go. Up to Ridgecrest, CA or go ahead to Barstow. Knowing the racer as I do (and the state of his motorcycle), I turned left and headed to Ridgecrest. The newly-paved road demolished my previous backroad ecstasy, but the creepy, deserted mining towns on the way to Ridgecrest allowed for a wandering mind. I rolled into the Albertsons parking lot and found a good spot for a nap. Shortly after, as I was dreaming about tommyknockers crashing through the windshield, I was abruptly disturbed by a phone call from the racer. He broke the surely-breakable bike…. but, he could ride it into town because he was not too far out. I thought, “well it’s over.” Still, there was a playfulness in the racer’s voice, so I presumed that the ride had been good and worth the struggle. When he arrived at the van, I could tell he was having a blast, but the beastly motorcycle would not be fixed any time soon. What to do? I wish I could take credit for the Craigslist option, but the racer had a group of wise friends, and we found ourselves driving back towards Victorville, CA, where the wind nearly blew the van over the day before. The bike was supposed to be for the seller’s son, but as the two guys leapt out of the small truck, I couldn’t imagine how the tiny bike could be too big for the overly-grown teenager that stood nearly as tall as the racer (above six feet). The seller unloaded the cute, little vintage bike, and the mechanic showed back up for work. I could tell that mechanic was not impressed; especially when he pulled his finger out of the gas tank and it came out looking like Freddy Kruger’s last victim. Rust is the blood of metal, and it means for a really sketchy adventure when you are out in the desert and have no amenities. The mechanic knew this was not a good idea, but the racer did not care; he wanted to get back on the ride. So, we settled for a shorter distance for the next day’s ride from Baker, CA on the new-old bike. That night we went to sleep in a cradle full of hope after the mechanic-racer tinkered on the new-old bike. We had spent the evening with an eclectic crew at the only place in Barstow with some class (sorry, I don’t recall the name). I was hoping to get to Las Vegas for a spell of leisure time, but I knew that was not going to be the case. The only leisure time I would get was snailing my way to Sandy Valley High School. After spending nearly an hour in the parking lot of a gas-station, multi-restaurant, gambling establishment while the mechanic cleaned the gas entrance to the carburetor, I could only hope that he would make it to Sandy Valley High School. What lies between Point A and Point B would be nearly impossible for me to rescue him with the van should a breakdown inevitably occur. We strung a banner of prayer flags with optimism on the handlebars of the bike and I tried to foresee a happy ending. When he left the parking lot toward the World’s Tallest Thermometer, I became skeptical. Should I wait here for a moment? The answer was no. The new-old bike was found on Craigslist for a reason, and that reason was to haul an extra-large kid to the finish line.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
I have been trying to conjure up a post for some time now. It is not because of a lack of worthy material. More just a log jam in my mind of things I want to talk about. I have some extraordinarily exciting things planned for 2017 but I am not keen on boasting and I am more than a little reserved to count my eggs before they hatch. I have been staying busy this winter and after having the shop open now for over four years I am starting to really believe that this egg has hatched into a healthy live wild chicken bird indeed. I am keeping a young fellow busy helping me turn wrenches now even in the slow season. The shop owes its business to only word of mouth and the reputation of worthy workmanship. Handshakes and hi-fives. I know that none of my good fortune over the last four or five years would have come to fruition had it not been for my red hot best friend Cookie. When things fall together it is a beautiful thing. And... DIRTBIKES. Much!
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Somewhere beyond the out reach of our conscious mind hide the answers. The unknown is known to hold knowledge – right? But why do we seek answers? And why do we think our questions even have answers. Everything we think could very well be a contradiction leaving no questions but only answers them selves. The known is just that: Known to exist. Our surrounding nature has provided us with a proven set of laws leaving no questions. So why then do people seek the unknown? Why create beliefs found on conceived stories and conceptualized points of view. If there is “only” life, as we know it, why do we say “only”? Us humans think on things until we go mad or forget the basic logic learned as a child. It is this very logic that holds the answers to our constant questions. -The laws of nature. The love that holds us together and the caring and sharing that has allowed a species to over in-habit a planet as gracious as ours. The joy of love and the simple pleasure of having fun is more than enough reason to lead a happy life that we should know to possess all the quality we could ever possibly live with. What we want is what we have- what we have is what we want. Anything else is only empty hope that will never support a life lived knowing that enlightenment comes from with in the reach of our mind. The answers we seek are within our own over-thought perpetuating mind. The more we seek, the less we will find. What we seek is in side of us. So be who you are to your most capable form. Simply knowing your true self will unlock the answers you seek. No god, idle, or leader can take you anywhere that your mind has not already offered. So give the thinker a break, be an answer, and be yourself. Go ride a fucking motorbike! ... or what ever it is you really want to do.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Monday, October 17, 2016
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
One time I bought a shed find for $100. It was from a granny cleaning out here gone back to the earth husband's shed. I have no Idea who the feller was but I do know what he intended to do. He wanted to build the ultimate dirtbike dream machine. He had bought a new champion frame. He had mounted a DT-1 engine in it. a fresh knobby on the back. He even had Timken steering head bearings in the box, Gary Jones Oury grips, and in and amoungst the box of special pistons and heads was a complete Gary Jones MX catolouge. Fuck me running I bought one cherry vintage MX steed from the old lady. The stuff had been sitting for a long time. Now vintage new old stock but once it was the creme of the crop tip top trick ass pony motorcross project. Minus the forks. Maybe he sent them off to be worked over by some geezer guru who drank more than worked. Maybe he was saving up pennies for the ultimate in front end boingers. Who knows why he never finished the project. All I knew is it was mine. And all I wanted back when I got it was a proper flattrack bike as I was in the early years of making my XS650 behave. After getting it home and doing a bit of dust wiping. I fired the mint right out of the virgin combustion chamber with no less than one kick through of the castrol puffer. Even I knew it would be a sacreligous thing to make a flattracker out of some old dead and gone fellows dream of the perfect loamy dice chucking knobblie treading light as a fucking feather moto machine. So i did what I knew I could do and headed to Wyoming where I knew a flattracker want-a-be might get what he wants. A visit to Yoda more of less. Roy Haynes is his name and sheds, barns, huts, and shops full of old bikes is his life long craft. I left the prestine mxer there and came home with a well used complete champion framer with another yamaha 250 engine, complete with wheels and a lot of ware and tare. Nothing a go through and freshining couldnt help. I polished her and painted her black frame white. I left the baby blue metal flake painted seat and tank complete with "Bicycle Shop" sponsor decals. I raced the light weight lightning bolt to wins and when it came time for me to move to the city and open my own motorbike shop I sold her to a friend who brought it out to Colorado to race in our season finally last weekend. It has been four years now since I sold that bike and used the money along with winnings from my only pikes peak win to open my shop. My shop is not just a shop. My shop is my dream come true. I would give my left nut to inform the old fellow who started putting his dirtbike dream together so long ago that despite to this day his bike is in the exact same condition as he left it- It has become something all right indeed.
Friday, September 30, 2016
Saturday, September 24, 2016
I looked out the window of my small twin prop airliner and saw tree tops only 15 minutes into a 1 ½ hour flight. Not good, I figure this is it; we are going down. I snug my seat belt and prepare for impact. I was not surprised that this plane may not get me out of India. The week spent in India had made me very immune to near death activity. The plane found landing strip at the last second and made its unscheduled landing due to a malfunction in the landing gear. I was sent back into the single terminal airport and amongst mass confusion and lack of communication I deciphered that the flight was cancelled and if I wanted to get to Delhi to make my connecting flight on back to the clean drinking water world ,I looked to be shit out of luck. No worries, I thought: What will be will be. So despite no clear communication I boarded a taxi cab for a five hour trip to another airport and made the flight with but a few seconds to spare. No worries eh? This was an adventure trip to India and riding old Royal Enfields through the Himalayas was only part of the adventure. In addition to the motorcycle fun there were the taxi rides which are beyond description but I will try; Have you ever played one of those auto road race video games? Near misses, constant overtaking, Techno beat music, and the most beautiful exposed unforgiving back drop. Speed junky fun that kept me chuckling the whole 10 hour drive into the mountains on my arrival day. The Royal Enfield has not changed hardly at all since the 1940’s. It is a tough, heavy little beast that just takes what ever is thrown at it. It putts right along and with a few motorcycle racing nutters at the controls the riding was a lot like racing your buddies at the little kiddy go cart track. You get the sensation of speed with out actually moving much faster than trotting yak. The bike’s street tires had about as much tread as a monk’s head and minimal ground clearance so navigating the rocky, muddy, dusty and always deadly roads was plenty exciting. Any faster bike would not provide enough opportunity to gawk at the totally indescribable jaw dropping scenery that was constantly abound. I also must admit that I skidded my front tire to a panic-halt mere inches away form the cliff edge that seems to always accompany one side of the narrow road. The big trucks and busses are on top of the food chain so it is the responsibility of the motorcycle to make way when meeting or passing on the narrow one lane, rock sliding, life taking, built in the 1950s with a D-8 Cat trail/path/road. The locals live what I see as a contrasting life of chaos and danger yet they always seem at peace and even in a traffic jam a smile is always near. Truly smiles for miles. I really enjoyed learning the limits of my utilitarian bike and the mountain vistas but perhaps the best part was for me, of course, the cold beer. Big bottles chilled in mountain streams at the most beautiful camps I could ever imagine. Our team of local cooks and mechanics followed us along in vans and even went ahead some days to set up our tents for us. They would get live chickens in town on the way to camp and dinner was as fresh as could be. They cooked amazing meals every night and morning and I happily put on some pounds in one week stuffing my face with what ever was put in front of it. I ate everything and anything, only finally succumbing to a case of the Delhi belly on the flight home after eating civilized airport food. There were a few speed nuts in our group and for once I was glad to not be the designated circus monkey breaking steering yokes and ripping off brake pedals. I only lost my muffler but so did at least half of the bikes. The bikes were designated tour group bikes so like a village bicycle, an easy life they had not. They had some miles or kilometers, I should say racked up on the clock and not one had any major mechanical issue. The mechanics were constantly reattaching mufflers though and servicing air filters. The method for air filter service was super neato: Remove filter and place it over the exhaust tail pipe, rev the shit out of the engine and reinstall filter. It worked like a charm and gave my bike another 25% horsepower which at 145000 feet was probably at least 2 or 3 horse! It really is futile to describe such a place or try and capture the depth and beauty of the Himalayan valleys. You just have to see it for your self. So if you get the chance, buy the fucking ticket and make it happen. I sure am glad I did. I mean shit, I had a giant monkey jump out of a tree right in front of me and show me it’s big red ball bag ass!
Monday, August 22, 2016
The day after getting home from Sturgis I loaded up good old Pikes Peak winner, Pink to Purple orphan Annie the Honda 450 of superb special speed. The Colorado Hill Climb Association started to allow motorcycles to compete 3 years ago. This was my first Lands End. It wont be my last. It has been said that before it was cut in half it was a better hill climb than Pikes Peak. Since its remaining 6 mile course is all dirt I would say it is most rad. Lord Mick won it last year and kept me very honest this year. He only finished a few seconds behind me and I set a new motorcycle recored 20 seconds faster than Mick's record the year prior. I had so much fun. It sure is great to be able to go as fast as possible on a closed public road. So much fun. So much fun. Thanks for the pictures Wallace.
Friday, August 19, 2016
So after the race in Stockton I loaded up and hit the road a few hours before midnight. I used close pins to hold my eyes open and drove across nebraska as a meteor shower rained down and the late night talk show on the AM radio spurted out ranting garbage. I have never been to Sturgis. It was a total curcuis. More than i ever imagined. I felt like a refugee in a soup line when I tried to get some gas at the station across from the Buffalo Chip. I was excited to ride the track since I had yet to ride a flattrack bike around a right hand corner. In the first lap of my first practice my master link broke. I could not help but think what would have happened had that broke the night before in Stockton. I scrounged a new chain off of fellow FTW racer Jordan Baber. On the first lap of the 2 and last practice the brand new chain lost it's brand new master link. WTF?! I was dripping in sweat and sleep deprived so maybe I did not get the clip on good. And then the rain fell. And fell. I went out in my heat with safety wire for a master link clip and won. I was racing with a take no prisoner viking style. And I won the main in similar style. It was cool to be there with the like of Jake Zemke, a Bostrom, and Cary Hart. The track was right below the huge stage with jumbotron TV and super loud announcers. I hung out and watched The Reverend Horton Heat and had as much sturgis fun as I could before getting some much needed sleep. Because after all I needed to get home, get my 450 loaded up and head out went to the Lands End hill climb. A race that was considered back in the 1940's to be better than Pikes Peak...
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
That time of year again. Pack up the van with canned food, whiskey, and bug spray, and go flattrack racing like it was done in the 70's. After waking up at home more than still a bit to the wind I finally ended up in Colby Kansas just as the heat races were running. I was more than happy to just drink beer and spectate but friends and sponsors had me in my leathers in no time. Despite hoping for some practice in a heat race or even a sighting lap I ended up just sitting around in my leathers for hours until finally I rolled onto the track for the Vintage pro twins class. My only practice would be rolling the first half of the start straight. I got the jump off the line and just as I was worried about how fast I should be taking turn one Davey Durell flew past me and showed me how it was done. Nothing left to do but hold on. Who the hell needs practice anyway. I ended up 3rd and that was my best finish of I-70 series this year. Stockton was super fun but I forgot my sprockets and failed miserably with gearing the first night. I only raced the one vintage pro twins class as I had a lot of racing to do in the upcoming days. On the 2nd night of Stockton I won my heat and was looking good in the main until somebody came under me into turn 3 and sent me all the way to the top of the banking and then some. I cam very close to deciding to lay it down at 75mph but I kept it out of the weeds and crossed the finish line 4th. Stockton has the best flattrack racing I have known. It is also the best place to hang out with friends. Really good friends.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Last week I hopped on an airplane to LAX with my leathers and helmet to ride the #47 Indian for Roland Sands again. I rented a minivan (it was actually pretty cool but mini vans are still really not cool!). I hit up In 'N Out for a burger, Family dollar for a blanket and after making it to the track I slept in the back with a fast food bag for a pillow. I awoke with the sun to an empty music arena. I walked the track and noted how slick and off camber it was and then did reverse donuts in the mini van. As people started to show up the temperature rose up into the hundreds. I knew the hill side grass track was going to give the Hooligan nutters some hell. The first practice session was like watching an Arnold Schwartzenager scene involving a rocket launcher. One suicide machine dude had crushed his helmet. He said if he could find another lid he thought he was good to race still. No. I rode smooth but knew I would have to push to qualify for the main as only 1st place transfered to the main. In my heat I had a shit start and worked my way into 1st and then lost the front coming in. I used every bit of muscle I had to lift the giant scout back up and kept going. It paid as another crashed out and I ended up 3rd. giving me a a transfer to the B main where 1st place would make the main. I won it but i was pushing so hard across the finish line that I wiped out. The big girl had my hot shoe pinned under neath of her. It was like being sat upon by a huge fat chick inside a sauna. I got out from under her and heaved her back up. I franticly re attached my hot shoe and with sweat dumping out my face I lined up for the main. I wiped out once more causing a first corner red flag restart. I was totally exhausted. I mad it to the last corner of the last lap and right before the finish line I just had to butt surf the grass once more. I think I ended up 5th and I will tell you cold beer never tasted so good. What a great crowd of racers Roland draws. The track was surprisingly great for racing and taught a lot of respect for soft rider inputs. As the darkness came and temps dropped below 100 I hoofed it up the hill to a secret weird balcony like spot and watched good ol Mike Ness and the rest of Social Distortion kick out some good old stuff from the early days. Living the good life. Until a security guard awoke me at 4:30 from my sweaty slumber. "Can't sleep here hon, venue is closed." Well back to the airport and on with the real world.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
There is a park at the end of my street. This summer it has been full of people. I ride by them everyday on my way home, pedaling my old Raleigh with Baja in tow in the kiddy trailer. It is great to see so many people out and about in the park enjoying these warm summer days. I love sitting in the grass and watching the world go by. Or finding silly shapes and figures in the clouds. But I notice none of these park dwellers are looking up. Or around. They all are looking down. Every single one of them is hunched over and eyes are locked onto their little shiny black rectangle. It looks like something out of a fucking horror movie. Fuck Pokemon!!! Go do something rad!!!!! This is life and as far as we know it only happens once.