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Friday, February 10, 2017

Loving the view from Independence

Beat The Heat Tour parked at Independence Pass overlook.
In July 2016 I led some friends on a motorcycle tour based out of Breckenridge, Colorado.  One of our days of riding included a trip to Aspen via Colorado Highway 82 over Independence Pass.  At 12,095 feet Independence Pass is the third highest pass in Colorado.
Eastern view from overlook
We turned onto CO 82 heading west from US 24 quickly passing Twin Lakes and gradually gaining elevation. Just past the lakes there is a small community with a little "surprise" as travelers enter town.
The sudden appearance of police car can make one grab some brakes
I am sure the old police car and mannequin gets the attention a lot of travelers on CO 82.  I know I grabbed some brake as I came out of the corner approaching the little community. 

From US 24 to the Independence Pass Overlook is 23.5 miles.  The road has nice curves and long sweepers until the last five miles where there are three very sharp switchbacks which require low gears.  The views a long the way are awesome!
Sign at overlook warning riders and drivers
View from overlook - watch on YouTube
We left the overlook and continued about 19 miles to Aspen.  The portion from the overlook to Aspen did not have as many switchbacks, but still had curves, sweepers and elevation change.

We did not stay long in Aspen, it was crowded.  We stop in Leadville for lunch at High Mountain Pies.

We greatly enjoyed the ride, the lunch, the views and the fun.  I look forward to riding the area again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pizza in the Rocky Mountain town of Leadville

If you perform a quick search for "pizza" on this blog you will find I like pizza and two of my favorite pizza restaurants are located in Colorado.  Well, I found another place in the Rockies that serve up great pizza.

Our annual Moto Oz Beat The Heat motorcycle tour (we leave Texas when the temperature get high) in July of 2016 was based out of Breckenridge, Colorado.  On Thursday of the trip we rode to Aspen and I experienced my first ride over Independence Pass - CO 82.  Wow, what a fun road!  It is also a road on which one cannot afford to let his/her concentration slip.
Of course we had to stop at the overlook of Independence Pass and check out the view.  The short walk up the small hill is worth the time.  The view of the Collegiate Range with Mt. Elbert, Colorado's highest peak at 14,439 feet, was breathtaking.
After making it to Aspen and  looking around for a little while we wanted to get away from the crowd.  We  decided to ride back to Leadville for lunch.  I had read reviews on High Mountain Pies and decided we should try the pizza.  Once in Leadville it was easy to find High Mountain Pies.  The place was one block west off the main road, US 24 on 4th Street.
High Mountain Pies - 115 W. 4th St., Leadville, Colorado
The small blue building had limited seating inside, but several picnic tables outside.  There was a good crowd at the restaurant even after 1:00, which signals people must like the place.
Due to the size of our group we commandeered two picnic tables and ordered some pizza, salads and drinks.  The outdoor seating was a nice atmosphere and we enjoyed the crisp mountain air.

The pizza was handmade to order.  We did not mind waiting the 20 or so minutes.  We relaxed in the shade sipping our drinks.
 Being a bunch of guys we ordered the all meat pizza with thin crust.  The pizza arrived fresh and hot.
Hot meat pizza from High Mountain Pies

By the end there was no need for a doggie bag.  All the pizza was eaten.  The ingredients were fresh, the spices were flavorful and the crust was a great base for all the toppings.  I love it!  If you are riding through Leadville, Colorado and it is time to eat stop by High Mountain Pies - you will not be disappointed.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Jeans for cold weather riding

Temperatures in North Texas don't get too cold for too long, but when it does cool off I still like to ride.   Sometimes it means I have to break out the cold weather gear and layer up so the ride is enjoyable.
Trying to warm up inside on a cold morning for a charity ride.
With the cold weather in mind I bought a pair of jeans in April and did not get to wear them until December, but I was happy I bought them!

I purchased a pair of Cabela's Roughneck fleece lined jeans.  They are traditional 5 pocket jeans with a quality YKK zipper.  The jeans are "relaxed cut" and 100% cotton fleece lined.

Fleece lined jeans - warm, but not not bulky
The jeans feel great and are not excessively bulky.  I rode the bike in the lower 40's and the legs felt great.  On a different day it was mid 30's when I started off so I wore a pair of long-johns with the jeans and it was great!  Never did I feel I needed more.

I highly recommend these Cabela's Fleece lined jeans!   If you liked the video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to get future video.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Goal of the blog and YouTube channel

I started this blog September 2009 with a goal of posting useful information.  On the first post I stated "part of this blog is to give straightforward reviews of items that I have personally used, places I have eaten, roads I have traveled, and/or bikes I have ridden. At times I will use the reviews of close friends that I ride with and respect." 
Lower Falls in Yellowstone NP
I have strayed off motorcycle related topics a few time i.e. my WWII veteran dad, Honor Flight..., otherwise the gear, roads, restaurants and other items have been related to my motorcycle addiction.
Dad at WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.
With the same goal and desire to provide useful, honest information and reviews I launched a YouTube channel.  
Ride on a great road in Oklahoma

The videos are much more varied and sometimes provide just a clip of a great road to ride, a neat place to visit or some other little nugget.  In the future I will interview other "ordinary" riders about their choice of bikes, gear and accessories so riders can get the views of actual users/riders.  There will be full reviews, trip highlights and more forthcoming.
My son riding US 129 aka The Tail of the Dragon on his own bike for the first time
I would like to invite you to visit the YouTube channel and give me some feedback.  I have a lot to learn about vlogging and all comments are welcome.  If you like what you see please subscribe.

I will continue to post here on a regular basis also.

Be safe and enjoy the road. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bell Helmet Qualifier review - Awesome Transition!

I have owned six full-faced helmets and three half helmets in my 12.5 years of riding.  Due to life situations I always be on a tight budget, but over the last two years or so the budget for riding gear has increased.  So my first five full-faced helmets leaned more to the economical end of the spectrum.

During the June 2016 Moto Oz Beat The Heat Tour the chin air vent cover of my AFX Freedom Helmet, which I wore for approximately four years, fell off.  I liked the helmet, but decided to get a new one.

I did more research than usual and narrowed my list.  I decided to buy within the mid-range ($200 - $350) of helmets.  While talking about my options with a friend he praised his Bell helmet, especially the Transition visor.  That got my attention.  I ride a lot including mornings and evenings.

I had one Bell helmet in the past and like it.  With my friend's recommendation the Bell helmets moved to the top my list.  I had to decided which one.  I found the Qualifier helmet fit great.  I had the option of the Qualifier with the standard visor or the Qualifier DLX with the Transition Adaptive Shield.  I purchased the Bell Qualifier DLX Rally Helmet with the Matte Titanium Rally color scheme.
Image from
I am very pleased with my purchase!  There are several features which makes this the best helmet I have owned.  Most notable is the transition visor. 
In the shade

In the sun
The transition from clear to shaded and back is not instantaneous, but is pretty quick and sufficient. When shaded only the most sensitive eyes would need to also wear sunglasses.  Not have to take two visors when knowing there will be some evening/night time riding is so convenient.

The padding is soft, comfortable and snug.  By far this is the most comfortable helmet I have owned.  The fit is snug without being too tight and the padded wind collar reduces slippage and wind noise.  The removable lining provides moisture wicking and is washable.

The three vent locations (chin, forehead and top of the head) allow for adequate ventilation.  With all helmets more air flow increases wind noise.  The Qualifier DLX is a good combination of reasonable air flow with less wind noise.
Three air vent system - chin, forehead and top, allow good airflow
The helmet also comes with speaker pockets and a built in mounting area for Sena 10S and/or Scala Rider Q1/Q3 headset.  I found the helmet to have one of the more easy to remove visors.  Bell says the visor is anti-fog, anti-scratch and provides UV protection - all of which I have not tested.

Overall this is a great value.  The "bang for the buck" is impressive.  Having worn the Qualifier DLX for since August for 3000+ miles I am a very satisfied customer.