Monday, September 6, 2010

"The Prez Sez", Sept. 2010

Submitted by Gary “das prez” Johnson

Hi everyone, I hope all of you have been enjoying the summer. I know I have. One of the biggest news items for our club this month is the election of long-time member (and all around good guy) Hoot Gibson to the office of State Commander of the American Legion. A special day was set aside to honor and install Hoot as State Commander on Saturday, August 14th, at the American Legion and The Veterans Memorial Park in Sioux Falls. I felt very proud and honored to be included in this special event, knowing I was surrounded by heroes of this great nation.
The following weekend was the annual Baxter Cycle open house in Marne, Iowa. There was a good number of Autobahners there mixing with fellow motorcycle enthusiasts. The weather was very warm, but dry. The new Triumph demo rides were fun as well as the socializing during the day and evening in the city park. This is one of my favorite m/c events of the summer.
Lots of good riding coming up in September, cooler, less humid days and of course, the premier Autobahn event; Hawes Biker Days!! If you don't know some of our members that live farther away, this is a great opportunity to meet them. This event is well attended so make plans now to attend or regret it later.
This pretty well sums up my recent riding experiences. I haven't been on any big trips this year, mostly due to the constraints of time and money, but I do enjoy the time I am able to spend on my bikes. We all have different situations and although we are different in many ways, we are often lucky enough to share our motorcycle experiences with each other. Let's be thankful for what we have had and have now. I hope there are many more wonderful years of Autobahn Club experiences for all of us. Take care, see you soon!

Husker Rally

Submitted by Lee Hendrix

Mary asked me; let me rephrase that, told me to write up a little story to tell all about the Husker Rally. The main thing is it's a fun little rally and we would like to encourage more attendees from the Autobahners. However, we did win the biggest club award again with 8 attendees. A good time was had by all - plenty to eat and to top things off we had a young entrepreneur show up with a homemade ice cream truck. The story is he is only 17 or so and is still in high-school. He and his dad put the truck together last winter and he is going around to towns in the area and also to any special events such as our rally and peddles his wares which we took advantage of generously. Skeeter even bought Mary an ice cream! The stew was excellent as always and I can't say enough about the beans and the cornbread. I must not fail to mention our Husker Rally storm that usually blows through at sometime or other during the festivities. We had some damage to tent poles (Tom’s) and a couple bikes blew over. All survived with minimal damage. Mary rode her new bike, at least new to her, and won at least 3 prizes of one kind or other - for her K bike, her age?? & the distance she came. Tom got a first place award in the bike show for his 75 airhead, which did look sharp. I got 2nd place in the touring class with my ‘08 Goldwing. I would like to mention there were only 2 in the class.
As an afterthought, Dave McBride was going west to Beartooth and points of interest in that direction from the rally. Jan and I had tentatively planned on having breakfast with Dave, but due to threatening clouds we decided to try to out run the rain. We made a dash east while Dave had to head west.

Top O' the Rockies Rally, Almost / The Electrical Idiot

Submitted by Doug Schafer

A series of problems had conspired to keep my 15 year old granddaughter, Megan, and me from doing the Beartooth Pass/Chief Joseph Highway and the Top O’ the Rockies rally in Paonia, Colorado, for the last several years. This year I hoped it would be different. And it was, kinda. About 8 days prior to departure I had discovered that my shock had died. A fast internet search and calling all the dealers within a reasonable radius revealed nothing available on that short notice. Ron from Judson Cycle came through for me by “borrowing” one from a bike in storage. Thanks Ron!
We were pretty much set Saturday night. The bike was loaded Sunday early AM and we set off on our great adventure. We took the back roads to Hulett, WY, then to Devil’s Tower. My one and only picture was taken of the Tower and Granddaughter. Then on west to Buffalo to stay at my special camping spot in their KOA. Can’t, because it now is part of the parking lot for Hamilton Suites. Damn! Oh well, 550 miles and we elected to motel it that night. Up early in the morning and North on I-90 to Ranchester then West on 14A over the Big Horns. Wyoming DOT, in their wisdom is straightening 14A just before you get to Burgess Junction. They were wetting down the talcum powder dusty gravel making about 300 yards of scary, slippery, sloppy, unpleasant construction. They should just ban cars and trucks and leave the crooked roads for us bikers. Right?
While at breakfast at Bear Lodge, I realized that Marge and I had been having breakfast here many years ago (29 years almost to the day) with Meggy’s mother, Shelly, when Shelly was 15 years old. Dejavu all over again. We considered the gravel road up to the Medicine Wheel but settled for reading the “Point of Interest” sign instead. Down the West side, about 2300 foot drop in 10 miles, very steep with lots of curves and switchbacks. Meggy wasn’t impressed with her foot pegs dragging “lots of” times (one). We finally made it to the KOA at Cody and coughed up the grand some of $37.50 for a tent site. Who was there but Gary Plush, an old friend from Mobridge and a fellow member of the Autobahn Society. While we talked, Meggy disappeared to the horse coral. She came back later requesting $5.00 to ride the horses. Regular rate is $35.00. Something about pretty girls and skinny cowboys. Gary coughed up that $5.00. I advised the cowboy that she was 15 and I was retired Law Enforcement. I believe he got the point. She was gone long enough that I went looking for her, but indeed she was with the horses. Skinny cowboy in close proximity.
The next morning we headed up Chief Joseph highway. Great biking road. Then turned East on US212, the Beartooth Pass highway, elevation 10947‘. Ran into road construction again. The mosquitoes were horrible as we waited about 20 minutes for a flag car. I was bit multiple times in the only skin available, my right wrist and the nape of my neck. Meggy wasn’t bitten once. Just goes to show you who is the sweetest. Not!! We stopped at the store and picked up a “Got Altitude” T-shirt for her. Megan got some great pictures looking west from the pass, then down 2800’ in 12 miles into Red Lodge for breakfast. Back to Cody and headed to Meeteetse.
About Meeteetse I noticed that the volt meter was starting to register discharge and it keeps slowly going down. We stopped in Thermopolis, WY, and got a motel room across from an O’Reiley’s Auto parts store. I called Ron from Judson and we talked over my electrical problem. It sounded like a rotor problem. I‘ve been through 3 of them in 240K. Last time I had a rotor problem and didn’t take Ron’s advice it cost me near $500.00 in Seattle. This time we agreed to have a rotor Next Day FedEx and then we would be on the road. As it was about 6 PM it would be a two day Next Day delivery. OK, 2 days in Thermop (local’s vernacular for their town). O’Reileys charged the battery and it took 5 hours to charge for no fee. Well, the rotor got lost and I spent 72 hours confined with a 15 year old girl, in a motel mostly watching “Hannah Montana”, “the Witches of Waverly Place” and “a Suite Life on Deck” (Disney Channel) hour, after hour, after hour, after…. Well you get the idea. They say you lose so many brain cells per day, I’m sure I lost that many per hour while the TV was on. I don’t have that many to give up either.
By the fourth night in town my frustration level was peaking. It seems that they could not track the rotor any further than St Paul, and couldn’t insure that the rotor would even be in the next morning. I knew that I could get at least 100 miles on a fully charged battery from experience and Ron suspected many more if I could disconnect all the lights. So the plan was to get up the next morning, ride as far as we could, charge the battery and repeat until we got home. I checked both auto parts stores in town and finally bought a really nice battery charger. Cut the ends off, attached a different connection to match the current set up for charging on my bike, and was ready to go.
Up early the next morning (Saturday) and on the road. Stopped in Ten Sleep for gas and headed east. Stopped for Breakfast at the Deer Lodge, retracing the steps from when Shelly was with us so many years ago, and east to Buffalo. An early morning start, a full stomach, and a child that likes to sleep in, caused some heart stopping times as Meggy would nod off in a 65 MPH sweeper and she would start to slide off. Even with me shaking her, this happened about 3 times. We did safely make it to Buffalo, where it dawned on me that the volt meter wasn’t even starting to show discharge. OK, east to Gillette, gas in Moorecroft, still no discharge. On to Sturgis, where I stopped to look at my next bike, a blue F650GS, at Sturgis Yamaha/BMW. Meggy’s not impressed. Looked to her like it would only hold one person. Good for me, I think she is planning on another riding adventure. She makes the decision to continue to get home in one day and so we “slog” home finally arriving at home about 9 PM. AND in all that time absolutely no discharge on the volt meter.
We will let Ron figure out the problem next week. And as for Meggy, “Well, are you ready to go to Paonia next year?” Her response, “Ask me next year.” I’ll take that as a yes. Bob Vagstad, former Autobahn Society regular, regretted that he hadn’t gotten his granddaughters involved early enough in motorcycling and that they simply moved on with their lives. Bob, I’m trying, having a blast and making great memories.
Postscript: talked with Ron today and he thinks possibly it’s only a “bulb” problem. Will have to drop it off for him to look at. He laughed during our whole conversation. I wonder why??

Sturgis 2010, 70th Anniversary (Our First Sturgis Experience)

Submitted by Perry Bly – ‘02LT

After kicking around the idea for a while, we finally decided we couldn’t pass. Kim has an Uncle that lives in Black Hawk and gave us an open invitation. We left the kids to fend for themselves, and headed out to catch the tail end of the Rally. We left Friday after lunch and had a beautiful ride out to The Hills. The traffic coming east was bumper to bumper with bikes and campers pulled off the interstate everywhere. Traffic was so heavy. The areas where lanes condensed for construction were completely stopped. We feared there wouldn’t be anyone left at the rally. The flow east subsided as we approached Rapid. The temperature and humidity did as well. After all the heat and humidity we have had at home, Rapid felt downright cold. We spent the rest of Friday night with Kim’s uncle and had a great time.
Saturday we left Black Hawk and headed south to ride the Needles Highway and Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. It was rainy and 59 degrees. We rode out of the rain near Keystone and enjoyed sun by the time we arrived in Custer. The temp stayed cool all day. I loved it, but Kim was pretty chilly. This ride was amazing. We loved the Needles, but The Iron Mountain Road (16A) was by far our favorite. The LT is perfection for two up riding like that!
After a nap, we headed into Sturgis to see the Rally and the night life. What can I say? If I was there to party – that’s the place to do it. I’m not impressed otherwise. How many t-shirts stands can you have in a 12 block area? There should be as many muffler retailers. There are a lot of things we witnessed, that I just don’t get. I’ll just leave it at that. I did love seeing the custom bikes. BMW was very well represented there. You all can be proud.
It was definitely worth seeing. I would recommend the experience at least once. I look forward to riding The Hills again (under quieter circumstances).

Hoot Gibseon Elected SD American Legion State Commander

Submitted by Gary Johnson

Hoot Gibson, long time Autobahn member, was officially installed as State Commander of the South Dakota American Legion on Saturday, August 14, 2010. Autobahners in attendance were Gary Haines, Harold & Mavis Neuberger, Bob Jensen, and Gary Johnson. Gary Haines, Bob Jensen, and Gary Johnson were part of the motorcycle escort to the Veterans Memorial Park from the American Legion. At the Park, Commander Gibson laid a wreath at "Going Home" statue and gave a short speech. This was one of the first official duties of the new state commander. After the ceremony at the park, a lunch was served at the Legion followed by the Homecoming and installation program. Many distinguished guests, fellow veterans and friends were there to honor Hoot. The following was reprinted from Sioux Falls American Legion Post 15 website.
G. D. “Hoot” Gibson of Sioux Falls, SD, member of Sioux Falls Post 15, was elected as the State Commander of The American Legion Department of South Dakota by delegates attending the 92nd Annual State Convention of The American Legion in Spearfish on Sunday, June 20. Gibson was nominated by Darwin Wahlert of Sioux Falls Post 15 and his nomination was seconded by William Dolan of Beresford Post 72. Commander Gibson was the winner of a roll call vote from the floor of the Convention over candidate Nancy Lemieux of Pierre Post 8. Commander Gibson is a 50 year, honorary Paid-Up-For-Life member of Sioux Falls American Legion Post 15 in Sioux Falls, SD. He served as Post Commander and is currently serving as the coordinator for Boys State and Oratorical Contests. Commander Gibson is a century go-getter, recruiting over 100 members on a yearly basis. He received the Robert C. Gabrielson Memorial Leadership Award in 2007. For the past several years, he has served the Department as the Master-At-Arms. He also has served as an Assistant Master-At-Arms at the last few National Conventions. Commander Gibson served in the South Dakota Air National Guard. He was called to active duty March 1, l951 to November 30, 1952. He was one of the original graduates of the Air National Guard NCO Academy. He retired November 30, 1989, from full time employment with almost 39 years as superintendent of computer systems. Commander Gibson is a member of the First Lutheran Church, Minnehaha Lodge #5, Moose #503, Independent Order of Foresters, YMCA Youth leader for eight years, South Dakota Enlisted Association, The Retired Enlisted Association, 40/8, and the National Rifle Association. He volunteers at the Sioux Falls VA Medical Center.

Baxter Cycle Open House, Marne IA

Submitted by Marlin Wolter

I left for Marne on Saturday morning (August 21) about 6am, it was very foggy. I guess you could say “unsafe foggy” but I thought I’d get out of the fog soon. It was a 103 miles before I got out of it. I still made it to Marne by 9:30 am. I had that great Boy Scout breakfast and hung around for a while. I went on to Des Moines for the day. It was our granddaughter’s 4th birthday and grandpa couldn’t miss that! Got back Saturday night in time to enjoy the evening. Sunday morning found us all up early and enjoying the breakfast again. Some of our group left for home before it got too hot, but a few of us stayed for more Triumph Demo Rides and of course that FREE hot dog lunch. We rode through the Loess Hills going home and had a great great week-end.

I Rode the Wheels Off My Bike!!!

Submitted by Dale Nordlie

I was cruising along on my way to the Baxter Rally last Friday (August 20th) thinking what a wonderful day. The weather was great, the roads in the Loess Hills of Iowa were grand, and my GS was running fantastic. I had just finished lunch at Runt’s in Smithland and was moving along about 90 mph on the road south of town when I had to stop for a stop sign. I took off from the stop sign and the bike just doesn't feel quite right. Real squirmy and I'm thinking I must have a flat tire. I jump off the bike, kick the tires, do a quick look around, don't see anything wrong, get back on the bike, take off, still squirmy, something happens, bike kills on the side of the road. I try to get the bike up on the centerstand. Doesn't budge. Give it a little more push and all of a sudden the rear wheel falls completely off and the bike goes all the way down with the final drive supporting it in back. What would a real biker do in this situation? Call triple A? Set the piece of crap on fire? Get drunk? Never mind, real bikers ride bikes that have axles!!!
After the initial shock wore off, I determined that I would need to lighten the rear end of the bike in order to get it up on the centerstand. I removed the camping chair, trunk and saddlebags and the thing was still too heavy for me to get up. If you are familiar with the roads in the Loess Hills, you already know that there isn't much traffic. I'd already been stopped for 10 or so minutes and no one goes by. I'm thinking what I should do next, when two pickups appear, one out of the north and one out of the south. I flag them both down and the fellow out of the south agrees to help me out.
Ryan is a paramedic and he thought he had stumbled onto a bad accident. He saw my helmet and jacket lying off in the grass and initially thought it was a person. He also is young, big and strong and has no problems lifting the bike 2 feet off the ground so that I can get the centerstand down. He helps me get the wheel back on, and he is the one that gets the first bolt started. I haven't mentioned it yet, but all four of the bolts were still with the wheel, they all must have worked out simultaneously. He also has a 4 way tire iron to torque the bolts on. He stays with me while I give the bike a test ride to see if it is roadworthy. It is, I thank him and he takes off.
Now it is duct tape time!! When the wheel fell off it did a number on the rear brake calipers, bent them up and made them not functional. I removed them from the mount and taped them to the final drive swingarm. I didn't want to remove them completely because I was afraid that it might affect my front brakes. I also note that the saddlebag mount on the lower right side is broke off, can't duct tape in on though. I load everything back on the bike and then get the great idea of lashing the wobbling right saddlebag onto the camping chair with duct tape. Works great, thanks to Red Green, he's my hero.
Now what to do? Go home and get a different bike? Go to the rally and get a cold beer from Paul (my brother)? Yes, go to the rally, slow at first, but the bike seems to be tracking OK. I made several stops to see if the bolts were holding and they were. Larry and Bill arrived shortly after I did and shared some cold beers with Paul and me. Paul went for ice at the bar to cool down some beer he had purchased earlier and while he was there visited with Steve, the owner of the machine shop in Marne about fixing a few things on my bike Saturday morning.
Steve welded the saddlebag mount together and straightened the calipers out enough so that I could reattached them with bolts, still not functional, but I got rid of the duct tape. We agreed that if the wheel bolts were holding OK the way they were I shouldn't mess with them until I got home.
The ride home was nice, although any little squirminess from the bike made my ass pucker. What is the moral to the story? Check the wheel bolts occasionally? Find a better mechanic? Get a bike with an axle----no wait, 4 of the 5 bikes I have do have rear axles. I don't know, but I know that last Friday, considering what the outcome might have been, I was one of the LUCKIEST people in the world

Meister Takes 3rd at Nate Kern/Track Day

Submitted by Tom Meister

My tent is still in a state of shock from the Husker Rally, but with a little TLC I think it will get me past this riding season. So I decided to attend Track Day at the Mid America Raceway.
About a month ago I visited the raceway to see what the track was like. A Porsche car club was using the track that day. Admission was free. Just had to sign a paper to not hold anyone responsible for damages. The track is a little over two miles long with 12 curves and about a mile long straightaway. Using my watch I timed the cars that day. The cars were doing a lap in two minutes & twenty seconds and I was told would hit 140 mph on the straightaway. This Sunday I timed the BMW S1000RR and it would due a lap about twenty to twenty five seconds faster than the cars. Nate Kern would even pull a wheelie about two thirds of the way down the straightaway. Just like my 90/6 can do!!!!!
I had decided to just watch, admission was again free. To my surprise they had a parade lap and let us use the track for two practice laps. In my group I was the only one with saddle bags - which were still loaded. Also had the oldest bike. I was third in line and was determined to hold my own and not be passed or, heaven forbid, be lapped. I kept telling myself this is not a race. It was nice to be able to use all the track to take a curve. At the end of two laps I was still in third place and never was even close to being passed. Nate Kern “eat your heart out”. They even had someone wave the checkered flag for us, just for the three of us. Hey third place is still third place.
It was fun to watch, maybe a total of some 30-40 bikes circle the track. Some were quite good and never held back & were there to race. Others were just there to learn and have fun. If they have this event next year I recommend this for anyone who wants to improve his skills or just to have some legal fun.

The Zens of Bugs On A Windshield

Submitted by Bram Weidenaar

On Wednesday evening the 25th of August, I attended my first Autobahn Society dinner at the Royal Fork in Sioux Falls since becoming a member. Upon entering the restaurant, I was warmly greeted immediately by several members. Conversation over dinner was filled with getting to know the other members and quite enjoyable.
Following dinner, we congregated in the parking lot to ogle each other’s bikes. It was a cool evening with little wind. So, I headed south following Gary and Jan Johnson toward Canton along Highway 111. After a brief stop in Canton to switch from sunglasses, we rode the loop past Newton Hills State Park, through Fairview, over the Big Sioux and back along the Iowa side to Canton. Parting company with the Johnsons in Canton. I blasted back to Sioux Falls on I-29.
The next morning before I left for work I looked at my K1200LT in the garage. The front was covered in bug guts. I had to smile to myself thinking of how much I enjoyed getting my otherwise clean bike dirty. It’s the seemingly meaningless things like seeing bugs on a windshield of your Beemer that make riding what it is and can’t be explained to those who don’t ride.
Fall is upon us. Now is my favorite time to ride. The days are warm and the evenings are cool. Due to the wet summer, we have bugs in abundance.
I am looking forward to more bugs on my windshield & I am going to keep pestering Tom, the self-described “fun hater”, Wadsworth to ride.