Thursday, February 24, 2011

27 Years

Today I celebrate 27 years of marriage to a beautiful woman, a wonderful mother and the best partner for my adventures I could ever wish for.

I dragged her out of South Africa, her birth country, at the end of our first year of marriage when we moved to the US and we never looked back. We have endured together through bad and good times, we have traveled through life together and have shared lots of adventures.  In recent times I have taken to motorcycle adventures and she has supported me all along.  In the last couple of years I have seen lots of beautiful places on my motorcycles and we have taken a few short trips together.  For 2011 I am planning a longer trip and this time we will go together on my new bike but I hope she will soon get her license so we can partake in future motorcycle adventures together on our own motorcycles.

She is a “Mother Teresa” to all the animals, we have 5 pets and a pond full of fish in our house.  She has lots of patience for me and the kids and is also the best cook in the world.

Happy Anniversary to you darling.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sequoia Sempervirens

This video has nothing to do with riding but it shows one of the most beautiful areas I rode through last year on my cross country trip.   I am referring to the beautiful Redwood National Park in California.  Pictures don't really show the beauty and serenity of these very old giants but this video by Jesse Rosten captures it beautifully.  I was awed as I walked through sections of the park with moss covered branches and fallen trees all around me and the still standing trees stretching upwards as far as the eye could see as if wanting to touch heaven.  The silence was deafening with only the occasional crow cutting through the silence with their loud crows. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.  Make sure you turn HD ON and then watch the video full screen.

I saw these giant trees for the first time before I moved to the United States in the Endor scenes on the Star Wars film Return of the Jedi (Episode VI) in 1983.  These giant trees offered the perfect backdrop for the battle of Endor when Han is elected to lead a strike team to destroy the battle station's shield generator on the forest moon of Endor.

The Sequoia sempervirens can live between 1200 and 1800 years and as I stood in the middle of the forest looking up I could only imagine the animals that have passed through the forest, the humans lives that have come and gone and the weather changes through the years witnessed by these old giants from above.  The area is truly breathtaking and affected me profoundly, giving me a new sense of how insignificant our lives are when compared to the California Redwoods and the world we live in.  The Redwood forest instilled a new sense of reverence in me for the world we live in.

My blog entry covering this area during my cross country trip "here"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Canadian Geese

On Sunday we finally got a reprieve from this dastardly winter, the snow had mostly melted from the roads and the temperature was going to climb all the way up to the mid 40's.  My Goldie was feeling desperate, being cooped up in the garage since the middle of December, having had a heart transplant (new battery) in early February, it need to get some fresh blood (fuel & air) running through its lungs (carbs) and to stretch its legs (tires & shocks).  Before I let her loose on the open road I fed her half a bottle of Sea Foam and let her run for a few minutes on my driveway. Sea Foam safely frees sticky lifters and piston rings, removes carbon build-up and oil residue, reduces pinging and rough idle.  After a few minutes she was purring like a kitten and anxiously waiting for me to get on her back. Time to hit the road and exercise the lungs and legs.

I leave the house with the temperature hovering in the low 30's and head towards New Egypt, then pick up County Road 537 towards Route 206 to meet my brother and a few friends from the RAT group (Rider Association of Triumph).  On the way I pass a few farms, the fields covered in snow and ponds still frozen, stopping to take a few pictures of Canadian Geese taking a rest from their long trip north back to Canada.

I arrive at the Mt. Holly Kawasaki/Suzuki/Triumph dealer where I'm to meet the rest of the group at 12pm but no one is around.  I am about to call my brother when I receive a message from him, he might not come since his bike is blocked by snow and ice.  Two of the RAT members arrive and we chat for a while waiting for my friend Wayne and his Triumph ST.  I call my brother and he is still trying to dig his bike out of the public storage garage where he keeps his bike. I tell him to meet us at the Pic-A-Lilli Restaurant if he ever gets his bike out.  A few minutes later we hear the sound of a dirt bike coming down the road and to our surprise here comes Wayne on his Suzuki DR-Z400, his Triumph ST wouldn't start.  He had just picked it up from the dealer a few days earlier for exactly that reason. They had replaced the electrical harness but I guess that was not the problem.  He's pretty upset but luckily he has the trusty Suzuki.   We leave and continue south on 206 towards Shamong stopping at the Pic-A-Lilli Restaurant.

Today the Polar Bear riders meet here and the parking lot is filled with motorcycles.  I walk around admiring the other bikes and my eye is taken towards a beautiful Honda CBX, the six chrome exhausts gleaming in the sun.  Next I spot what most definitely is a lady's Harley as no guy would be caught riding a bike with a custom paint job like the one on this bike unless he is a masochist.  What a paint job, various flowers painstakingly detailed in multiple colors all over the body of this spotless Harley Davidson.

My brother arrives and we stay outside chatting and enjoying the beautiful day.  A little later we hear the sound of a V8, we turn around and it's a Chevy V8 powered trike.  The trike is enormous and loud, the chromed exhausts spewing its gases under the body, the engine is spotless, the beast can sit three side by side with the driver in the middle, the owner has done a wonderful job putting this thing together.

We decide not to have lunch at the Pic-A-Lilli but instead head north towards Vincentown and stop at the Vincentown Diner.  We let Wayne go ahead as he is riding the Suzuki DR-Z400, the little bike has been geared for the trails and will be screaming at 65mph.  We catch up with him at the diner, to our surprise he got there pretty quick and ahead of us.  We all pick from the breakfast menu and spend time chatting and planning our future trip to the MotoGP race on August 28th in Indianapolis.

We leave the restaurant and follow Wayne to his house as I had never been to his place.  I leave a little later with my brother in tow but we soon split and I continue north east towards Jackson stopping again to take a few pictures of a beautiful old gate, the entrance to a local ranch.  I had passed this ranch in the past but had never stopped to admire this beautiful gate.

I stop one more time when I spot a field filled with Canadian Geese.  They don't appear too worried with me or my bike, being too preoccupied with resting and regaining their energy for the flight north.

I continue towards Jackson and meet my wife at a friend's house, his son celebrating a birthday, where I knew there would be cake and dessert.  I have a sweet tooth and was in need of a nice warm cup of coffee.  I arrive at their house around 5pm with the temperature heading south again.  I leave and head home around 9pm, the temperature back in the low 30's, all in all, not a bad riding day for mid February.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blue is the "BEST" Color

As many of you know, on September 1st 2010, Yamaha announced the Super Ténéré would come to America. On September 2nd I put a deposit on a "Raven" Super Ténéré.  At the time the decision had been easy, I have always liked an all black motorcycle and when I saw the pictures I made up my mind pretty fast.
Remember this entry?

I then asked my wife and she said black, I asked my brother and he said blue, humm, now I had a problem. I stuck with the "Raven" but the "Impact Blue" was becoming more appealing.

I asked my daughter and she immediately said blue, actually she said "of course the blue is much nicer".  I love my daughter, she is very stylish and always knows what colors go together so I trust her opinion, I tried to defend my choice but she wanted nothing of it, blue was the color for her.
Months go by and I stick to my original choice.  I continue telling my friends I am getting a "Raven" and I couldn't wait to see it at the NY show.
I am sure you already know where this is heading, in January I attend the NY Bike show and for the first time I am able to see it up close.  The "Impact Blue" model on display is beautiful.  I start having doubts about my choice.  I ask my dad and he says the blue is the nicest color.  I check back with my daughter and she hasn't changed her mind.
Weeks go by and I keep agonizing about my choice.  I keep thinking, if I now go back and change color this late, will I still get the bike in May.  Keep in mind, blue is the Yamaha color.  All the winning Yamahas have carried the Yamaha "Blue".  Ben Spies won the 2009 World Super Bike on a blue Yamaha.

Ben Spies picture from 2Wheeltuesday

After many sleepless nights, I am exaggerating a little, I wake up last Saturday and head to the dealer.  I had made up my mind, I was changing my order to blue.  I walk into the sales guy's office and up on the wall is this poster.

Right there and then I knew I had made the right choice, "Impact Blue" is the color for this bike.  I ask Mike, the salesman at Xtreme Machines to change the order and he quickly obliges.  I tell him I also want the poster and he promises me I will get the poster when I pick up the bike.
I come home and tell my daughter I had changed to a blue, "I told you so" she quickly reminds me. Now I can sleep knowing that come May I will be getting this beauty.

After all, blue is the Yamaha color.