I am an ordinary guy who enjoys riding motorcycles. I love riding all makes and models. I love short rides, long rides, and multi-day road trips. I post reviews about motorcycle gear, motorcycles, roads, restaurants, sights, gadgets and more. The Motorcycle Facts,Trivia and History page has a lot of good info. Be safe and enjoy the ride, Oz.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Texas Hill Country

Today I was catching up on my reading of the other blogs I enjoy.  Our Harley Days blog had a great post where he shared a video clip from a popular show in Texas "Texas Country Reporter."

I thought is was a great clip and I wanted to share it, below is the link to the blog with the video clip.

Check it out and for those not in Texas - come down some time and enjoy the Texas Hill Country.

Texas Hill Country

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Florida trip with son continues

As mentioned in an earlier post day one of the trip was great.  Days 2 and 3 were both overcast with just a few sprinkles.  The temperatures stayed under 86 for all but the last half of the 3rd day.  It was on the third day that we learned an important lesson.

Day 2 started off rainy as we were packing up and eating breakfast.  By the time we were ready to load the bikes the rain had stopped, but it was very cloudy.
Rainy morning - day 2
All went great as we rode through Mississippi and into Alabama.  We were traveling on US 84 a.k.a. El Camino Corridor.  Most of the highway is divided 4 lane although there were stretches on 2 lane.  Louisiana and Alabama had the least amount of 4 lane.

I was wanting to stop at state lines and get photos, but there were not any big signs or good photo locations, so we just kept riding.  We were trying to make it to Valdosta, Georgia before stopping for the evening.
Taking a break in Repton, Alabama
After stopping in Enterprise, Alabama for a very late lunch we made it through Dothan, AL making great time.  We gassed up near Gordon, AL and that is when I noticed the chain on the Ninja was really loose and needed to be tightened.

I will readily admit that I am pretty ignorant concerning chain driven motorcycles.  I have never owned one and we were trying to make sure it was lubed well during the trip.  With the help from the service station mechanic we adjusted the chain and decided to stop earlier in Bainbridge, GA.  (I did not think of getting a photo of our roadside adjustment, but it would not have been a very exciting photo.)  I was concerned and wanted to have someone check the chain the next day.  We decided we would turn south the next day and ride to Tallahassee, FL and let a bike shop check our work.  405 miles for day 2 - not bad.

We rolled into Red Hills Powersports in Tallahassee and service manager Charlie Blount inspected the chain and all was good.  He told us to check it often and keep it lubricated.  Leaving Tallahassee we rode down US 19 to Chiefland, FL and then east on US 27 to Ocala, FL to meet up with father-in-law Larry who would lead us on some back roads to Altamonte Springs.

He led us on some nice roads through the Ocala National Forest to Alexander Springs, a natural spring that is a favorite for snorkelers and families looking to abate the summer heat.

Larry and Richard (on left) looking at Alexander Springs
Alexander Springs remains near 72 degrees year round
I had been checking the chain regularly during the day so I checked it again.  It was loose, but did not seem too loose (I have some things to learn about chains).  We were about 50 miles from home so I figured we could get home and then adjust the chain.

Experience is a great teacher, but the tuition can surprise you at times. About 20 miles down the road as we turned left and began to speed up the chain broke.  Appears I should have tightened the chain.  The short version - we got the bike home and then to Seminole Powersports the next day.  My wife brought the sprockets from home on her flight to Orlando.  I had to purchase the chain, but the bike is now fixed and we have learned about chains.

Now we are enjoying our time in Florida and will be much more diligent with the chain on our way home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Rider is Rolling Along!

In the last four weeks the young rider (my son) has gained some great riding experience and some superb maintenance knowledge.

He got his license on June 13, 2012 and on Friday June 15th he rode on his first "breakfast run" as a biker.   A lot of friends and McKinney CMA members surprised him at Bill Smith's Cafe for breakfast.
Breakfast with friends
After breakfast the group gathered around Richard and the Ninja for a bike blessing - asking God to watch over him and keep him safe.  It was a special time.  Afterwards some of us went for a 45 mile loop through the country.
14 bikers (not counting Richard and me) showed up to surprise and support the new rider (3 not pictured)
 After getting back from the morning ride we packed the bikes and rode 50 miles (mostly farm to market roads) from McKinney, TX to Denton, TX for my family reunion.  On Sunday we took the busier and more direct route back home.  We continued to add up the miles over the weeks.

Saturday July 7th we took in another breakfast at Bill Smith's and were honored with Ninja 250 Guru "Doc" Yeager (check out Doc's Blog with some great info).  Russ, who's 15 year old son has a ninja, and I asked Doc to give us and our sons some lessons on Ninja maintenance, we bribed him with a high quality breakfast.
Doc & Russ getting ready.
After breakfast we rode to Russ' garage for a day of wrenching.  Doc got the boys busy quickly.  He taught the basics of a 4 stroke engine, how and when to lube the chain, etc.  After the basic lessons it was time for valve adjustments.  Doc had the boys taking off the fairing and getting things ready to check the valves.  
Naked bikes!
Doc instructs Richard on how to check valve clearance
Father and son working on the bike
Getting his fingers dirty
After both Ninja's valves were adjusted Doc helped the boys add power plugs to the bike so they could charge cell phones, etc when on trips.  The boys learned a lot.   Thanks Doc!

With the Ninja serviced, the boy licensed, and some miles in the saddle the time arrived for the big summer trip - McKinney to Orlando, FL!  We left the house at 6:08 AM and headed east.  282 miles later we enjoyed lunch in Natchitoches, LA (a post about Papa's Bar & Grill will be coming later),
Taking a break in Logansport, Lousiana
Prior to lunch we enjoyed overcast skies and cooler than average temps.  After lunch we rode through off and on rain, mostly a light drizzle.  After 510 miles our day ended in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

He rode like a rider with a lot of miles under his belt (I may a little biased, but he did not make any noticeable mistakes).  

Today was a great day and I am looking forward to tomorrow as we head to Valdosta, Georgia and many more miles with my son.