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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A totally different ride

In May I purchased a 2010 Yamaha Venture and loved it.  I rode it to Des Moines, IO in June and then to Yellowstone in July.  Then in August the bike was totaled after when a lady ran a traffic light.  Four weeks after my accident the insurance company finally gave me a reasonable settlement offer, but only after I had a couple of dealerships submit values for the Venture.

The Venture is a great bike.  I really enjoyed it.  The finishing touches and amenities were top notch and the comfort on long rides was awesome.  It had plenty of power to carry my son and I along with all our belonging for the Yellowstone trip up the mountain passes in Colorado and Wyoming.

The Venture comes standard with CB, radio, cassette, and 6 disc CD changer. The stereo/CB controls were easy to use and easily reached.  I realize the cassette is outdated and the CD changer took up a lot of space.  I actually removed the CD changer (anyone need one let me know I will sell it to you at a great price).

Even though I really liked the bike I had been thinking for a couple of years of trying something different, but I was not sure the wife would go for it.  During the 4 weeks of being without a bike I had time to research and look at a lot of bikes.  I decided on one that I wanted.  I knew that Martha would have to be happy with it so I asked her to test ride it with me.  She did and we discussed out we could make it more comfortable for the passenger.  She was OK with my choice - OH BOY!!

I purchased a 2010 Yamaha FJR 1300!
Waiting to go riding!
The FJR is a sports tourer.  At 1298cc & 145 Horsepower!  WOW!  I had a huge grin after taking the bike out on the road.  It is fuel injected, liquid cooled, and crazy fast!  I love the easy detachable saddlebags.  With  just the key I can take the saddlebags off.  This will be great when traveling or if I just want to go on a local ride.

I picked it up this past Thursday (Sept. 16).  It was pre-owed and had only 757 miles on it.  I rode this weekend and put 300+ miles on it.  I am still smiling!
The "grin factor" on the FJR is 10 of 10!
I have ordered the truck with backrest, touring windshield, Corbin seat, and a J&M CB (jmcb-2003).  Now I am trying to find some floorboards for the passenger.  Martha really wants them.
Saddlebags removed
One great feature is the quick detach saddlebags.  With the turn of the key the bags can be lifted off and carried in.  Make it convenient when traveling or when I want to look more sporty.  The instrument panel features a temperature, instant MPG, average MPG, tach, speedo (goes up to 180, but I don't plan to test it), time, two trip odometers, and the regular odometer.  The FJR has a 6.6 gallon gas tank - that will be great on long trips.  On my most recent 200 miles the MPG average is 44.1 and that was with a few quick accelerations up above the speed limit (just a little :)  ).  The electronically adjustable windshield is a nice feature allowing me to customize the riding experience.

The ride is completely different, but so far I am loving it.  I know that if I would have been on the FJR I would have gotten out of the way of that Tahoe.

I am looking forward to posting a review after I get to the 10,000 mile mark.  It sure feels good to be back riding.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kay's - a good way to start the day.

If you have read many of my posts you know that I am a sucker for a good breakfast.  During the regular work days I have cereal 95% of the time, but when I am out riding I love to have a big breakfast and then just snack or eat a light lunch.

While riding from Texas to Des Moines, Iowa my lifelong friend Don and I camped at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park near Osage Beach, MO.  After packing up the next morning we stopped for gas and asked the attendant for a recommendation for breakfast.  She told us where to find Kay's Restaurant - 4196 Hwy 54 - just up the road a little from where we were.
Sunny June morning at Kay's
When we arrived there were several vehicles in the parking lot which is usually a good sign.  When we entered we were greeted with a friendly smile and southern hospitality.  The hostess/waitress seated us and asked if we wanted coffee, juice, or something else.

While she prepared our drinks we scoped out the menu and there were a lot of good sounding choices.  For the last 4-5 months I had been eating French toast instead of pancakes, but this time the order included French toast & pancakes with one scrambled egg, hash-browns, and a sausage patty

Breakfast arrived warm and looked great!
The eggs were scrambled just right, not too dry and not runny.  The hash-browns were a golden brown and tasty. The sausage was a good old fashion patty with good flavor without being over seasoned.  The French toast was great!  Whole slices covered with the egg mixture, cook thoroughly, but not burnt, and ample butter and maple syrup were provided.  

 Fluffy old-fashioned pancakes.
The pancakes where fluffy and tasted great.  They were above average and big without being huge!  I finished my breakfast and I was ready to ride and would not need a snack or meal for quite some time.

If you are ever north of Branson, MO stop by Kay's.  You will find a great staff, a good atmosphere and delicious food.  If lunch or dinner are anything like the breakfast you will not go away hungry or disappointed.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pig Trail Scenic Byway - WOW!

Arkansas has a lot of great roads with numerous twisties, tall trees, great vistas, and plenty of potential wildlife sightings.  One of the well know roads is a 19 mile stretch of AR  23 in the Northwest part of the state.  This section of AR 23 is designated The Pig Trail Scenic Byway and once you ride it you will understand why it is a Scenic Byway.
Northern end of the Pig Trail Scenic Byway
The Pig Trail runs between the towns of Ozark on the southern end and Brashears on the northern end.  The Pig Trail runs through the Ozark National Forest and at times the trees create tunnels of green which to ride through.  There is always the potential of wildlife sights, especially deer.  One crossed our path shortly after this taking this picture, but could not get the camera out fast enough to photograph it.
The foliage is awesome.
It was late June, 2010 when I road the trail my second time.  The grass was green, the trees full, the sun high, and the temperature in the low 90's.  It was a great day for riding and the Pig Trail made for a great ride.

The road curves and twists through the Boston Mountain region of the Ozarks.  There are sweeping curves, curves on hills, and tight twisties. Not the kind of road for a newbie or the timid.  This LINK will give you a mile by mile account of the Pig Trail.
Watch for deer.  We had one cross, but no picture of it.
According to others I have visited with the wildflowers in the Spring are numerous.  The first time I road the Pig Trail was in October 2008 and the fall leave colors was spectacular.  

There are plenty of curves on the Pig Trail.
If you are headed up to Eureka Springs, AR or Branson, Missouri plan your route to include the Pig Trail Scenic Byway.  You will enjoy it and you may even want to turn around and ride it again!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Venture vs. Tahoe

I have not been very consistent this month with my post, even after riding to Iowa and then later to Yellowstone National Park.   I have a lot of topics to post about.

I will tell you that I did recently get side tracked and I think you will all understand.  Although, I have been reading and commenting on many other blogs especially USA Tour on a Harley-Davidson.  If you have not seen this blog check it out.  A Brit shipped his Road King over and is touring the USA.  Very interesting and he takes great pictures.

On August 17, 2010 I was running an errand from my campus (I am an elementary assistant principal) to the Administration Building.  It was just after 2:00 so I decided to go by the local Sonic for a "Happy Hour" Diet Coke.  (I work in Princeton, TX.)

After getting the drink I proceeded to the traffic light.  I had to cross over US 380 - a very busy road.  Once the light turned green I started through the intersection.  I noticed the red SUV (Tahoe) was not going to stop!  I looked ahead and rolled on the throttle!  I really thought I was going to get out of her way but, I could not.

The Tahoe clipped the back 18-24 inches of my bike send the bike on a spin and me flying.  The flight was not bad but the landing was rough.  No, I was not wearing my helmet - when I go on these quick short errands I normally don't wear my helmet - I will from now on.

I never lost consciousness. I did hit my head and had to be taken to the hospital.  I took 15 stitches in the back of the head.  When they tried to send me home, about 3 hours after the wreck, I got dressed and then sat down and passed out.

Side of impact.  Can not see from hear but tailpipe and fender were messed up.

I ended up staying in the hospital two nights.  I had a mild concussion and a lot of soreness.  Actually I still have some soreness (15 days later).  The stitches were removed on August 27th.  My head is still tender and has some healing to do.
Front fairing took a beating.
The bike has officially "totaled".  Oh well, I will heal and I now have to go bike shopping.  It is a shame since I had the Venture for less than 4 months.
Side of impact.
I will be getting some more post out soon.  Thanks for your patience and willingness to read.