Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Das Prez Sez, December 2010, by Gary Johnson

It's December! The first Saturday of the month and Jan and I were at breakfast with her sister Sharyl and the Autobahners. 15 of us there today. Good turn-out. Once again there was an information overload and I left much smarter then I came. Please don't take any chances, you could be getting stupid, just by missing the Saturday morning breakfasts!!
Thanks to all for your prayers and kind words of support for Jan (the First Lady) who had surgery to remove her thyroid last Wednesday. She is doing well and enjoyed getting out this morning for breakfast. (and got smarter because of it).
This afternoon I bundled up and rode the Kymco to the Newton Hills and back. It was in the upper 20's and the roads were mostly dry (maybe I need another dose of breakfast). Anyway, it was fun to get a ride in.
Have a good Christmas everyone, and if anyone has a R1200RT they want to "re-gift" send it my way! Thanks, Gary (das Prez).

Another Episode in the Saga of Doug and his Motorcycle, by Doug Schafer

I had a wonderful ride with the Autobahners and the Sioux City crowd to Bob’s Bar in Martinsburg, Neb. More than one expressed joy that I had purchased a new bike and wouldn’t have any more problems with the old 1995 R100RT (Ole Red). Sorry, guys, I still have the old bike and plan on continuing to ride it. After all if I had traded it in where would all my stories come from? So the following is an update:

(Note: Reread September Rolling Wheels and refresh your memory on Doug and his granddaughter’s “almost” trip to the Top O’ the Rockies Rally. Doug took his bike to Judson when he returned home to have the problem diagnosed and this story begins there. - editor)

I barrowed a loaner bike from Ron to ride home after delivering my RT. It began getting dark and I realized I didn’t have any lights. I limped into the Hawes’, left the loaner, and they shuttled me to the Salem exit on I-90 where the “Mad Norwegian” picked me up. In the meantime Ron at Judson Cycle discovered that my charging difficulties were from a weak spring in one of the brushes. No bad rotor after all. All that trouble for a 50 cent spring. Joe, my grandson, volunteered to ride the loaner back to Judson for me, pick up the R100RT and bring it back as far as the Hawes’. For one reason or another I had not been able to get Ole Red the rest of the way home. When I finally made an attempt we discovered that the back tire was covered with oil. Mary and I thought it was the rear seal but Larry set us straight that the shock had just let go and drained all the oil unto the tire and wheel. I left the RT there and dwelled on a plan 2.
The day after the Martinsburg excursion, I fired “Gertie” up and headed for the Hawes’ for a second attempt at getting the RT. Now “Gertie” is kind of small. She is an ‘81 VW Rabbit diesel pickup. Her diesel engine is about 6 HP less than Ole Red, but she recently had a head rebuild. The box is 6 foot long but only about 3 foot wide. The cab is diminutive. I’m not. To get in I have to plop my butt down, duck my head in, lean over to the right, and pull one leg in at a time. Reverse that to get out.
With Larry and Mary’s help we got the bike loaded and secured with a multitude of straps and ratchets and wire. Larry suggested that we load the pickup on the back of Ole Red and go home that way?!? Mary admonished me not to speed - it rarely gets over 55 MPH but does get about 45 MPG at that speed. Ole Red was HUGE in the back of the pickup. I “tiptoed” to the blacktop, drove to Manley, MN, and checked the straps. I put one extra click in one. I didn’t want to stop often so I turned north and headed to the Interstate. “Gertie” settled in at about 52 MPH indicated and I headed west. The wind was very strong from the south and every time we were passed by anything larger than an SUV the top heavy, narrow pickup would sway MENACINGLY. When a semi passed it was PANICSVILLE. I had visions of a semi creating enough suction to tip my whole rig over.
When I finally made it to a lowered 65 MPH speed area I was passed with less force. The 25 MPH cloverleaf at I-90/I-29 was taken at less than the recommended speed. That was probably “a first” in the 50 years that the interchange has been in existence. When I finally turned off the interstate, the excruciating pain in my chest started to subside. No, I don’t believe it was cardiac in nature rather it was the extreme muscle fatigue that my less than massive pectorals were suffering from my death grip on the wheel. Now on two-lane roads the cars behind me no longer had a passing lane and were impolitely impatient. Only one gave me the great American salute. Was I really going that slow? I’m thinking that if I get “Gertie” and Ole Red home in one piece, this might make a good story. When I stopped at a stoplight a moth that I had hit on the Interstate in Minnesota that was stuck between the windshield and the wiper just shook itself off and flew away. (You cannot make something like that up).
When I made it home almost 2 hours and about 80 miles later all was well. Even a Styrofoam cup, half full of coffee, balanced on the transmission tunnel hadn’t fallen off. A neighbor came over and helped Marge and me unload it. Life is good and the saga will continue.
PS. Next up for “Gertie” are new springs, shocks and struts. After all they are 29 years old.

Autobahners make Fall Trek to Bob's Burgers at Martinsburg NE for Lunch.

A tradition to ride to Bob's Bar in Martinsburg, NE, for giant size ham-burgers in March and again in late fall has started with this club. Bad weather often occurred on these scheduled dates. This fall we decided not to schedule but to watch the weather forecast and pick a Saturday when the weather was to be favorable and leave after Saturday morning breakfast even if it meant only a few days notice. With the magic of e-mail all Autobahners (almost) were notified and we had a good turn-out.
On Sat. November 6th, people started showing up for breakfast at Grandma Max's. It was a sunny morning with temps in the balmy 30’s. We had riders that seldom make it to the Sat. morning “brain trust” except for the anticipation of the culinary treat that awaits us some 100 miles to the south across the border in "Husker" country. We rode the back roads of Minnehaha, Lincoln, Turner, and Clay counties and the crossed the Missouri River south of Vermillion, SD. Then it was on to Newcastle and Ponca, before the final 7 miles to our destination. There were riders from as far away as Menno, Yankton, Hardwick, and Sioux City, just to name a few towns represented. We arrived plenty early and had our choice of tables. Bob's still had all the amenities I remember from previous trips. We ordered and the burgers were huge, the sides huge, and the prices modest. If I remember correctly there were 16 of us in our group. No one left hungry. It's always fun to see the looks on the faces of people that have never been there before when the food is brought out. The ride back was awesome with that strong south wind on our backs. So, let's "plan" on a trip back to Bob's in March, 2011, when the roads are dry and the temps are north of 32 degrees.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rushed by the Wind

Rushed by the Wind. by Cecilia Elaine Gillen (age 10)

I tuck my hair behind my ears, and slip my blinding red helmet on. Kicking my leg over the motorcycle, I get on. I see a mouse scatter by as my dad gets on next. He revs the engine, and the motorcycle roars to life. We back out of a toy stuffed garage.
Then we race down the street as I take in whiffs of gas fumes. Now we're nearing the gas station. As we slowed down the wind whistled around my helmet. My dad stops to feed the bike the ooey gooey gas it constantly craves. Then my dad shoots me a gigantic smile. We take off again rushing into the country. The grass sways peacefully as the mixture of herbs and grains come together to create an earthy smell. We come to a sudden halt and I slam up against my dad's back. I murmur I'm sorry but he doesn't hear me. Instead he turns around, and we head home.
The land become familiar and soon we enter our neighborhood. Now we're nearing the house. Dad opens the garage door, and we enter. He kicks down the peg, and gets off first according to plan. I get off next. Then we both start to take off our gear. I pull off my helmet, and my hair is no longer silky, but poofy and full of static. Home Sweet Home.