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Messages - hppants

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1
Your Ride Reports / Re: Share It With Someone Else
« on: December 09, 2017, 04:17:09 PM »
Using old sign boards for ceiling tiles – this is my kind of place.



After a hearty breakfast, we saddled up and headed out across the Ozarks for some great riding.  Today, we have all day to get basically no where, and every road in any direction is terrific.  There is no need to strap ourselves down to anything.  I love riding days like today where we can just wing it and go wherever the wind drags us.

It doesn’t take long for the fun to begin.





Later in the morning, we stopped at this nice overlook of the White River



Plenty of green all around here, as it is too early for the leaves to change.



From there, I hopped onto Push Mountain Road heading north, the better of the two choices.  Now, for those of you that don’t know about PMR, trust me, you are missing out.  With Randy in tow just behind me, I waited until the road got smooth and twisty, and then I down shifted to 3rd and left it there.  Those guys where having a hoot ripping the V-stroms through the curves!!!

Now we have a big decision to make.  In this part of the country, if one would like to have a cold beer at the end of the ride, one has to be mindful of the places where one can actually purchase said beer.  We stopped just outside of Marshall for essentials.



Then lunch at the buffet at this place.  I’ve been here before a couple times and its pretty good.



After lunch, I grabbed hwy 27 north and then crossed over hwy 7 and picked up Hwy 16 for some more roller coaster.  We stopped anywhere we felt like it.





Later in the afternoon, I jumped onto Hwy 123 heading north for some more spirited riding.  We stopped for ice cream and by now, it’s getting a little warmer.  So I led the group to the Buffalo River crossing at Hasty.  The water was running a bit more than I expected, so we grabbed a beer each and walked down to the river.

Cheers Mike!!



Well, one thing led to another and Mike, Tom, and I stripped down to our skivvies and sat in the river.  It was nice and cool.



We dried off “au naturale” on the bank and waited for the beer to metabolize.  Back up at the bikes, I realized that my bike key is missing.  Crap.  We walked back down to the bank, but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Thankfully, I keep a spare key where I can find it.  I would suggest doing the same.

Then it was a short run northwest to Jasper, where we are staying tonight and tomorrow night.



This place is just across the street from the motel, and I couldn’t resist the urge to poke around.



It’s owned by this cool dude that happens to be quite a bike mechanic.  For being in the middle of no where, this place has some neat stuff.



He showed me his shop and there are some cool old bikes in there.



He says this old RD runs like a top, and I bet on these roads, that bike would be a blast.





After a couple of brewskies, we walked a couple blocks to the downtown metropolis and ate at this café.  I think I had a chicken salad.



After dinner, we popped into the Ozark Café for some pie.



Mmmmmm….


















We sat on the porch and sipped on my rye before turning in for the night.



Day 3:  About 225 miles of roller coaster.

We woke up fairly early and excited about whatever was coming.  After a hearty breakfast at the Ozark Café, we jumped on hwy 74 toward Ponca and stopped at the Lost Valley to take a walk.

This is a cool place.



When I was here in the Spring, the water was running so hard there would be no way for us to stand in this location.





Lots of places to explore here.



We walked up to the cave entrance and the water was low, so we wandered in.



The farther back you go, the tighter it gets.







Things got to snug for Randy, but Tom, Mike, and I made it to the end.



Pretty cool place.



Back at the bikes, we rode a short distance to Kingston and ate at this café.  I’ve eaten here before and they have pretty good sandwitches.



After lunch, I ran south on hwy 21 toward Hagarville, and then turned back north on hwy 123.  The 52 mile run on Hwy 123 from Hagarville to Mt. Judea is about as good riding as you can get.

We stopped at Haw Creek to look around.











My new friends are having a great time.




Then it was back on the bikes for some fun.  I like this old one lane bridge on Hwy 123 and have stopped there many times for pictures.





The farther north you get on this road, the better it gets.  Randy and I were ripping it pretty good on this stretch.  The weather was perfect, the road was clean, and we were really feeling it.

I stopped at Sam’s Throne to let the adrenaline wind down a bit.  We walked the short trail to the overlook.


















This dude was having his own kind of fun that day.



Up here, a man can put things in perspective.  We’ve all got our priorities straight today.




Now late in the afternoon, we rode up to Harrison for a couple brews and pizza at the Brick Oven Pizza House.  Good pies at this place.



After dinner, we ran to the liquor store for some goodies.



Then it was a short ride to Jasper back at the hotel.  We had a good time on the porch with the fermented agave cutting up.  It was a nice time and everyone is have a great trip.

Day 4:  Jasper to Prescott, Arkansas

I woke up pretty dry.  Man, I think we hit that tequila pretty hard.  We had a good time last night.

Slowly, the gang stirs and we walked up to the Ozark Café for breakfast.  While there, a cool looking BMW pulls up and its my buddy Bug Doctor!  What a pleasant surprise.  Last time I saw him, he was riding a Versys, but I guess the big bike bug bit him (pun intended).  I asked him to ride with us and he agreed.



We had a nice time zipping along those great Arkansas roads.



Shortly after that, the battery on my camera crapped out.  I managed to squeeze a few more pics out of it, but they weren’t very good.

Bug Doctor split off around lunch time and we continued south.  We ran up and down Mt. Magazine (highest point in Arkansas), and then continued south until late afternoon, stopping in the town of Prescott, mostly because of timing (there is NOTHING in Prescott worth knowing).  We did eat a decent meal at the Mexican restaurant, but that’s about it.

Day 5:  Prescott, AR to Lafayette, LA

We basically skipped breakfast and hit the road pretty early.  The temperature is warning up and we wanted to enjoy what little cool weather we could.  Once we crossed the Louisiana border, roads started getting pretty familiar and we were all ready to make it home.  In Natchitoches, I hopped on the I-49 slab and set the cruise at a comfortable 85 mph.  Everyone got home in the mid afternoon.

So it was another good Arkansas trip in the books for Mike and I.  It was nothing overly spectacular.  We’ve seen everything we did before, but this time it was special because we got to share it with someone else.

Stay Thirsty, My Friends….

2
Your Ride Reports / Share It With Someone Else
« on: December 09, 2017, 04:16:28 PM »
Over the 2017 Labor Day weekend, I rode to Arkansas with 3 buddies.  MikeP introduced me to Randy and Tom about a year ago.  They’ve known each other through bicycling and Mike thought we would all be a good fit for motorcycling, and he was right.  Over the year, we’ve ridden together on weekend day trips, including Randy’s stepson often as we run the back roads around southern Louisiana.  Everyone enjoys being together as our riding expectations and interests are similar.  It became something to really look forward to.

During stops on our day trips, Mike and I started dropping hints about going a little farther.  Maybe take a few days and explore something more adventurous.  As the summer wound down, the idea took root and it became apparent that the Labor Day weekend felt right for our first big adventure.  We talked about destinations and given the circumstances, the Arkansas Ozarks seemed like the best place to go.  It’s far enough away to feel like you’ve been somewhere, but not too far given our 5 day limitation.  We decided not to camp, and Mike made hotel reservations at places we knew were decent. 

As go day on Thursday approached, the weather forecast started getting iffy.  A cold front approaching from the northwest threatened crappy rainy weather for Thursday/Friday and the guys started getting cold feet.  But I know that often the forecast changes and by Wednesday, it did.  Thursday would be rainy but not cold, and then the rest of the weekend would be cool, but nice.  So Mike and I convinced the others to go for it, and it worked out great.

I will readily admit that as a younger man, I cherished things much more selfishly.  I had this paranoid attitude about things, always wondering if something bad would happen, and if it did, would I be able to deal with it?  As I got older, I learned much more about the error of my ways.  I’m not sure if that happens from having experience, confidence, a reduction of testosterone, all of these, or even something else.  I suppose it doesn’t matter.

One product of this revelation for me is the true inner satisfaction of sharing.  I get a sense of pride and happiness watching others enjoy whatever it is I can give them.  Of course, that might apply to something tangible, but it doesn’t always.  Mike and I know how to ride Arkansas, and it was our pleasure to share that with someone else.

I hope you enjoy the pics.

Day 1.  Lafayette to Mountain View, Arkansas

As expected, I woke up to a crappy radar.  Nothing to severe, but widespread rain all around.  I can see it’s gonna move through later today, though.  We meet at the gas station in Lafayette, everyone covered in Frogg Toggs.  Considering the conditions, we decided to just slab it north to make miles while the rain and wind were falling on us.  I took the lead and set my cruise control at a safe 68 mph.

Tom uses his cell phone for GPS and about a hundred miles in, he got a severe thunderstorm alert on his phone, and motioned to me to pull over.  We took the next exit off and sought shelter at this gas station.  Randy has several motorcycles, and calls his 1000 V-Strom the “Bumble Bee”.



After about 30 minutes, the tail edge of the front is just about on top of us, and we pressed north on Hwy 167 hoping for improving conditions.  Just across the border near El Dorado, Arkansas, we stopped for lunch at this place, which was recommended by a local.



I can’t remember the name of this place, but it was kind of neat with a bunch of nostalgia lying around.



After lunch, the rain started and stopped and we found ourselves playing the rain gear shuffle.  Tom likes his Wee Strom and I do to.  He bought a Givi top box for the trip.



Mike’s Versys 1000 LT is the perfect bike for him right now.



Later in the afternoon, the rain finally pushed through and that was just in time for us to cross I-40 and get into the good stuff.  We stopped at Greer’s Dam, which was also a historical Ferry location back in the day.



If this dam ever breaks, the Little Red River is going to cause some major havoc on peeps down stream!





The Wee and the Vee!!



As we ride further north, the roads start getting nice and twisty.  Early evening, we find our destination in Mountain View, Arkansas.



My new friends look like they are having a nice time.



We settle in and pop open a cold one for some relaxation.  Mike offers his warm salutations and greetings!



The gal at the hotel desk suggested this fish house for dinner.



Not too bad.



After dinner, we rode around the town square just to check out the place.  Mike took a right on a street that looked inviting and 3 blocks later, we stumbled upon this bunch of pickers messing around.



They were playing bluegrass mixed with some gospel oldies and they were fantastic.



I wanted to ask the banjo player for a snort of this stuff, but I thought he might think I was rude.



We enjoyed doing a little knee slapping with this music, and when it was time for us to move on, I asked a patron where I could leave my tip in thanks.  She looked at me funny, explaining that “these people don’t do that here.  They just like to share their talent with others.”  I get it, I really do.

We rode back to the motel for a warm shower and some night night.  It was a great start to a great trip.

Day 2:  Mountain View, Arkansas to Jasper Arkansas.

I woke up rested and refreshed, that mattress was better than I expected.  We made do with the crappy hotel room coffee and I even had time to wipe down the red horse.



Randy’s ready to go!  Me too!



We packed up and rode a short distance to this diner in town.  As you can see, the weather is going to be just perfect.



3
I guess mediocrity was a strong term.  But I've seen one extreme, and the other.  The GS1200 is an excellent bike, but it is most assuredly NOT a dual sport motorcycle.  Putting 80/20 tires on that bike is taking a chance, big time.

I think it all depends on what anyone wants in the bike.  Like Tim, the FJR is close enough to perfect for me.  When I'm riding cross country, sometimes on 500+ mile days, I wish for a little more leg room and a little less forward hand controls.  But on the twisties days, it's all worth it and after a cold beer in the evening, I usually forget about that anyway.    whoohoo1

4
Your Ride Reports / Re: Great 8's
« on: December 02, 2017, 08:02:58 AM »
L/L - congrats on your mileage milestone.  If you are waiting for the NH to wear out before grabbing an R1200, then I'm sorry to tell you that you might be waiting forever!!

Ride on, my friend....

5
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: You'e got $5k...what do you buy?
« on: December 02, 2017, 07:53:09 AM »
This one is easy.  I'd buy a 2nd bike.

There's a nearly new CB500X for sale by a friend (he bought an FZ-09) that has been farkled out exactly how I'd want it (wind screen, slide cages, top box, GSXR-750 shock, fork springs, etc).  That bike would be a perfect day tripping bike.  55 mpg, and the tires last twice as long.  Save the FJR for touring.

With my leftover $1500.00 (yeah - that's right, I can get this bike for $3,500.00), I'd buy a decent m/c lift for my shop.  Finally, my Shoei Quest is getting long in the tooth and just about ready for replacement.

Edit:  Originally, I intended to state that I'd use the $5K for 15-20,000 miles of touring planned for 2018.  But then it occurred to me that I'm going to do that whether the Tooth Fairy gives me the money or not.  Stay thirsty, my friends....

6
The saddle bags for the tracer are entirely too small.  We believe the FJR bags would fit the tracer mounts, but who want's to spend another $1K on saddle bags for a bike that comes with saddle bags?  And then there is the color issue.  Also, the fuel capacity of the tracer is increased, but still a bit short for the seasoned sport tourer.  This is a bigger deal than it might appear.  The issue is not that your butt can't outride your fuel tank.  The issue is that when you really get off the beaten concrete laden slab path, the fuel stations get much farther apart.  This is especially important west of the Mississippi River.  I wouldn't buy a bike without an ACTUAL 250 mile range.

I think trying to find the "do it all" bike is a mistake.  In one's quest for the perfect compromise, he/she ends up with mediocrity all around.

Now, if the goal is to pick a market that you want to ride, and then really drill down what is MOST important to you, and finally be willing to compromise on what that bike comes up short on, then ANY bike is in play for ANY one.

Dan, in your case, the FJ-09 motor will be a huge power improvement from the Versys.  And the ergos, while slightly more sporty, won't break your neck coming from the versys.

If ergonomics is an issue, then consider the Versys 1000LT.  One of my closest riding buddies has that bike, moved to it from the FJR.  The big versys is an incredibly deceptive bike.  Very neutral ergonomics.  De-tuned Ninga 1000 motor that is bullet proof.  The wind protection on that bike is truly unbelievable considering what it looks like.  29 liter saddle bags.  And it's cheap - you can get a leftover '16 for no more than $10K, likely $9,500.00.  But no electronics.  No grip heaters.  Just ABS.

7
Your Ride Reports / Re: Better Late Than Never
« on: November 29, 2017, 01:07:18 PM »
Wonderful report.  That infinity room looks like a really cool place to visit.  Thanks for sharing your ride.

8
Your Ride Reports / Re: Scratching The Itch
« on: November 27, 2017, 11:06:55 AM »
They did not, thankfully.  I was thinking about it, though.  LOL

9
Your Ride Reports / Scratching The Itch
« on: November 26, 2017, 07:00:56 AM »
This year, Thanksgiving was a breeze for us.  We took the easy way out and went to a local restaurant.  After dinner, I watched football and snacked all afternoon.  By early evening, I was itching for something to do on Black Friday.  My wife and daughter started plotting their shopping extravaganza, and I made it abundantly clear that I was having no part of that.  Well, to be more accurate, I didn’t have to say a word.  They know I’m not going shopping on ANY day, let alone Black Friday.

I wanted to go fishing, so I called my dad to see if he was interested.  Unfortunately, my dad was pooped out from cooking and cleaning dishes at my sister’s house.  I remember those days.  I went to bed and slept on it.

Friday morning, I woke up to a cloudless sky and about 38 degrees.   But as soon as the sun broke the horizon, I could feel its heat and knew that it would warm up nicely.  I felt like riding, but I also felt like fishing.  So I packed the bike with my fishing pole and a lunch and scratched both itches.

I hope you enjoy the pics.

By the time I left the house, it was about 8:30 am and around 45 degrees.  I plugged in the heated liner, but never turned it on.  I rode south on Hwy 82 to Abbeville and stopped to buy some shrimp.



They had some nice 10-20 count shrimp for a good price, so I bought a few pounds and stuck them in my soft chest to cook this evening for dinner.

I stayed on Hwy 82 heading southwest toward the coast.  By mid-morning, the temperature is warming up well and I’m enjoying the ride.  The crawfish farmers are already setting out their traps, even though it’s a bit early for that.



This is Suire’s grocery, and it has been open for as long as anyone can remember.  They have delicious plate lunches and if I was even the slightest bit hungry, I would have stopped to eat.



This farmer is flooding his field.  He doesn’t have Black Friday off.  It seems that a farmer’s work is never done.



This is a natural gas compressor station.  The product comes in to our coastline via pipeline from off shore, where it is pulled out of the ground.  It is pressurized at the compressor station and sent up the line to places all over the country.



I crossed the intracoastal canal and the view from on top of the bridge is pretty good today.



As I get closer to the coast, the topography changes a little.  Here, there is more water and the coastal marshes are a special place to visit.



The road here is very straight, but I’m enjoying the scenery so much that it doesn’t matter.  I creeped up to the Harley and staggered behind him politely.  After a quarter mile, he moved over and waved me around.  We waved at each other as I passed.



I slowed down in the village of Pecan Island, which is mostly comprised of some duck hunting and fishing camps.  These are raised high above the ground in preparation for hurricanes.



I stopped at the Pecan Island Food Store and filled up my bike.  I didn’t really need gas, but these fine folks gotta eat too, so I threw them a little money.  The Harley couple stopped too and we talked a bit.



The Harley rider didn’t know what to make of my bike.  He never seen one like it before.



I got back on the road heading west.  It’s a great day to ride.








Great day for birding, too.  The Louisiana coast is one of the best places to watch birds during the Fall and Winter months.  This Cooper’s Hawk has a great vantage point from which to watch for prey.



Pretty quiet at this fishing camp this morning.  The tide is still going out, so I’m hopeful for good luck at the spot I’m heading to.



Obviously, this is not Yosemite or Mount Rushmore or the Blue Ridge Parkway.  But it’s still beautiful in its own rite.



This bicyclists is ATGATT.  Well, sort of…..



I crossed the Mermentau River and the tide has slowed down, but I’m here, so I’m going to fish it anyway.



All of these bridges along the coast are turntable styled, to allow for water vessel navigation.














I stopped to fish here, just off of Pumpkin Ridge Road.  This is a little off shoot no name bayou that feeds into the Mermentau.  I’ve had good luck here before.



Plenty of birds here too.  This red tailed hawk is hovering over what is surely a field of mice.



I baited my hook and caught a few small redfish within a few minutes.  Things got slow for a little while and just when I was contemplating moving on, my cork sank abruptly.  I set the hook and landed this nice redfish.

 

I like the composition of this picture, but I think it’s a bit over exposed.



This bulkhead makes a great picnic table for me.



After lunch, I fished for another hour or so, and only caught a few small ones.  The peace and solitude was nice, though, and I had a great time with my thoughts.

It’s early afternoon, and the weather has warmed up to about 62 degrees.  So I’m going to take the long way home.  South Cameron High School is the home of the fighting Tarpons!





I turned north on Hwy 27 and stopped at the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge headquarters.  The latest cold front has blown in thousands of Canadian geese.



This was something to see.



Farther up the road, I turned East on Hwy 14 and stopped in the small village of Bell City, Louisiana.  All day, I’ve enjoyed virtually zero traffic, as I suppose everyone else ran to the big cities to shop.



This is a flock of maybe 1000 black and white Ibis’s.  They were just magnificent to watch.



Now heading generally north and east in the direction of home, I stopped in Lake Arthur to drink some water.  The city park here has some beautiful live oak trees



I took the short walk on the pier and enjoyed the solitude of this peaceful lake.



From Lake Arthur, it was a pleasant 45 miles back to the house, with the sun behind me.



Back at the house, I fried up a couple dozen of those shrimp for my wife and I.  She enjoyed hearing about my adventure.  I was a great day.

Stay thirsty, my friends…

10
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Best retro bike? 2018 Kawasaki Z900
« on: November 16, 2017, 03:47:48 PM »
I agree with your philosophy regarding forward lean angle.  for myself, I like a bit more than 10 degrees, which is why I now ride an FJR.

I was just making the correlation between the old NH (zero forward lean ) and the big versys.  Although some may trick them out to be an adventure bike, the Versys 1000 is not really anything close to an adventure bike.  Even with 80/20 tires on it, it wouldn't be useful on anything more than a groomed fire service road.

11
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Best retro bike? 2018 Kawasaki Z900
« on: November 16, 2017, 06:26:53 AM »
A great bike available today to migrate from the NH750 is the Versys 1000LT.  Wonderful neutral riding position for hands, seat, and feet.  Comes with hard luggage and good wind protection.  Comes with ABS and the 1000 ninja motor is bullet proof.  And you can find plenty of leftover '16s and '16s for about $10K, and in many cases, $9,500.

12
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Best retro bike? 2018 Kawasaki Z900
« on: November 13, 2017, 11:50:15 AM »
At the MotoGP race in Austin last year, I sat on the Suzuki GSX 1000 and 750 bikes and they are deceptively upright for their look.

13
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Best retro bike? 2018 Kawasaki Z900
« on: November 13, 2017, 06:22:44 AM »
I think the standard is making a small comeback, and I'm not super surprised seeing as though our generation (I'm 52 also) seems to be the only demographic with money these days.

Suzuki's GSX series offers similar ergonomics, but with a little better wind protection, and you can get it in several sizes (1250 Bandit, 1000, and 750)

http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Cycles/Products/GSX-S1000/2017/GSXS1000.aspx

Yamaha seems to have split the difference with two general choices:

-  The XSR series (900 and 700)

https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/sport-heritage/models/xsr900

-  The MT series (1000, 900, and 700)

https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/hyper-naked

I'm liking the whole effort, personally.

14
Mulegandy - You can clean and polish those pipes up good as brand spanking new.  It will take some elbow grease, but I've done it with a parts bike I bougtht years ago.  I don't have the "before/after" pics anymore, but trust me when I say they were in MUCH worst shape than yours.  This is the product that I used:

https://www.amazon.com/Glass-Restoration-Specialist-Blue-Job-Polish/dp/B001MQ01PK?SubscriptionId=AKIAIKBZ7IH7LXTW3ARA&&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B001MQ01PK&tag=wwwbookcompar-20&ascsubtag=5a085e0a5b9d950ccc49fee6

I recently joined Smug Mug, as I refuse to be held hostage for the Photobucket extortion.  I realize that S/M can do the same thing, and if so, then I'm done with photohosting.  Anyhoo, I was looking through my old pictures, seeing what I might re-post.  I found some great pictures of my old nighthawks, and it got me thinking about this thread:

1.  My "hybrid" 700s.  This was an '84 nighthawk with '86 RWB plastics.  I really liked this combo because it had the chrome/polished motor accents, and the RWB plastics - best of both worlds to me.  This bike came with an after market chin fairing and a mac header.  I absolutely LOVED this bike and still regret selling it to my neighbor, who in turn sold it to someone else and I lost track of it.



2.  I bought this '96 750 from another NHF forum member who lived somewhere in Georgia.  We met halfway in Montgomery Alabama and I trucked it back home.  I rode this bike almost 25,000 miles in about 18 months.



After that, I bought my first FJR and started touring more extensively.  While you can take Pants out of the nighthawk, but you can't take the Nighthawk out of Pants.

Stay Thirsty, my friends....


15
Kind of takes me back to my own RWB nighthawk.  Man, that was one fine motorcycle.


16
I must admit that when I was just returning to riding (2009), I did the "GeeK" because (as the author describes) I was so excited to be part of the group.

Now for the most part, I do the "2-finger flip", and I don't discriminate as this would be hypocritical to my belief that as long as you like your bike, and you won't try to kill me, I don't care what you ride and we can ride together.  My one disclaimer would be loud pipes - they got to get behind me.

When I'm riding areas that are full of bikes (Deals Gap, for example), I just skip the waive all together because it's just too inconvenient.  If I happen to cross another FJR, I might wave because I probably know the rider.  :) 

17
Your Ride Reports / See for Yourself
« on: November 05, 2017, 03:44:14 PM »
I just returned from north Alabama having visited the Southern FJR Owners (SFO) 2017 annual gathering.  Our host Turk and his lovely wife Jana put on one heck of a show at their getaway property in Jemison, Alabama outside of Birmingham.  I wasn’t planning to attend this year, but my circumstances changed and at the last minute, I packed my tent and my bike and made the trip.  It was great to see old friends, and make some new ones as well.

Anyone that thinks southern hospitality is dead has certainly not been anywhere near SFO because I’m hear to tell ya – Turk and Jana are the epitome of that term.  For weeks prior, and for the 4 days we were there, they slaved over us like we were some kind of royalty.  And we might as well have been royalty because we ate like kings and queens.  I’ll get into that more later.

I rode almost 1300 miles in 5 days, and my bike never missed a beat.  The weather was hit and miss.  Thursday and Friday were great, with cool morning temperatures and abundant sunshine.  But things turned rainy on Friday night and Saturday, it was cold and rainy so we didn’t ride much.  By the time I left for home Sunday morning, the temperature was 40 degrees and damp.  I packed everything – 3 pairs of gloves, rain gear, even a set of long handles, and was in good shape all weekend.  My FJR will haul the load just fine.

Our FJR forums are having a healthy discussion and debate over our purpose now.  Some say it’s only a source of technical information about the bike.  Others like myself think that it is much more than that.  The forum is a tool where friendships are formed.  They are long distance friendships, but thanks to our motorcycle and our sense of adventure, the distance is not as great as it seems.

When we are together, there can be no doubt in my mind regarding our purpose.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Day 1:  Lafayette to Jemison, approximately 510 miles.

I woke up early with a goal.  Get my ass on the other side of Baton Rouge before 6:30 am.  This is a work day for most, and I’m not going to spend 3 hours in stupid B/R traffic.  So I stuck the clear shield on my helmet, and at 5:15 am, I’m taxiing out of the neighborhood.  Reluctantly, I merged onto Interstate 10 East and set my cruise control at 80 mph.  It was a tad slow going over the Mississippi River bridge at 6:20 am, but I made it and that would be the end of my Interstate riding for the day.

I crossed the Mississippi State line near Liberty and jumped on US 84, which is a terrific road if you are traveling East/West and want to make some decent time without resorting to Interstate 10 or 20.  Then I turned north on Hwy 35, and stopped in Raleigh, MS for a rest.

Raleigh is the Smith County seat and things are pretty quiet this morning, as I imagine they are every morning.  The courthouse is very stately looking there.



There’s a veterans memorial at the courthouse, and I glanced over it paying my respects.



My wife and I were recently in north Georgia and its apple harvesting season, so I bought a big bag of Fujis and boy-o-boy, are they delicious!!



After my snack, I mounted up and continued north into the Bienville National Forest.  Although not well known, the Mississippi State highways are in very good shape and many are curvy enough to keep the rider entertained.

Around lunchtime, I stopped at this little village just outside of Philadelphia, MS., where there was exactly ONE place that served food.



The chicken tender sandwich was decent, but certainly not award winning.



After lunch, I crossed the Alabama State line near Gainsville, and continued generally east toward my destination.  I rode across the Tombigbee River and floodplain, and through a section of the Talladega National Forest.  Alabama State roads are very nice, with good smooth blacktop and a tree line that is set away from the shoulder about 25-35 feet.  The traffic is light and I found the drivers to be very courteous.

And the State troopers there are very nice as well.  At one point, I set my cruise at about 10 over and noticed a Tahoe pacing me for a few miles.  We both stopped at a little store for a cold drink and I learned that this was an Alabama State trooper with no roof top lights.  My radar detector was quiet the whole time.

(Pants)  “Good afternoon, officer.”

(Popo)  “Good afternoon, sir.  Are you having fun today?”

(Pants)  “Yes sir, I am.”
(Popo)  “You have a safe ride, ya hear?”

(Pants)  “Yes sir, officer.  Thank you.”

By 4 pm, give or take, I crossed Interstate 59, and stopped at the exit liquor store for some cold brewskies.  Then it was just 1 mile to Turk and Jana’s oasis.



Craig and Jana were already in party mode, so I joined them.



I pitched my tent and soon, others joined us.  Jena was nice enough to take a group photo.



Not sure what this is about, but Jena’s purple toenails are purdy.



Jena prepared a delicious Chicken and Sausage Gumbo for us, and my first day on this adventure was just fine.

Day 2:  250 mile loop around north central Alabama.

I had a scary experience in the Porta Potty last night, but otherwise slept very well in my tent.  I rose to about 50 degrees and a crystal clear sky.  Turk and Jena made coffee for us and slowly, everyone started stirring and getting ready for a day of riding.

We met the hotellers and others at the Shoney’s for some breakfast and tire kicking.



We decided to split the ride into groups.  KJ and Debbie led my group, and I enjoyed getting to know my Noooh Yawker friends.



The others seem to be having a nice day too.



We had a great time riding through the Alabama countryside.



Mid morning, a planned stop was Lake Martin.  This is nice place to walk around.





Brian (left) has joined us from his native Australia.  Yeah, you read that right.  This guy flew halfway around the world to be with us this weekend.  And he met us on the Internet.



Then it was back on the road for more rollercoaster.  Gary rides this BMW 1000RR and when he lights the candles, it sounds pretty sweet.



It’s a great day to ride.



We stopped at this place to look around.  It’s a nice park built at a location where Andrew Jackson fought the remaining Indians that refused re-location.



I walked through the visitor’s center and looked around.














There were lots of kids there on a field trip.  Come to think about it, the BIG kids are on a field trip too!



We gassed up in Lineville, Alabama about noon and parked the bikes about 2 blocks from the restaurant and walked.





No food porn, but I ate a delicious pork sandwich with sweet cole slaw.

After lunch, we rode a short distance north to another section of the Talladega National Forest, and stopped at the High Falls trailhead, near the Cheaha State Park.

As luck would have it, the other group of riders was just getting there as well!



The way Tyler was walking toward me, I thought I was in trouble.  Turns out she just wanted to give me a hug.



The trail is a short walk with many falls and it was nice to stretch my legs out a bit, even in my riding pants and boots.



Everyone was having fun exploring the forest.



The spring fed falls offer some crystal clear water and it is very beautiful.





This is my favorite picture of the entire trip.  I know it doesn’t look like much, but to me, this picture sums up everything I felt that weekend.

This is what a good man looks like.  Without pride nor prejudice, he offers up his home, his resources, his talents, his family, and his heart for people he hardly knows.  In his soul, he truly wants everyone to have a good time and will stop at nothing to make sure it happens.  He loves his motorcycle and he loves his home State and he is so proud to show us the sights.

This is my very good friend Turk, whom I met on a motorcycle forum.



From the falls, about half of us broke toward the hotel, and the other half (including me) continued north to Hwy 281, also known as the Talladega Scenic Byway.  This is one of the best roads in Alabama.  Very smooth and curvy with many scenic views along the way.



We just didn’t have enough time to run the whole byway.  It was starting to get late, and we’ve got some partying to do tonight.  So we turned south and burned it on Hwy 9 toward home.  And when I say we BURNED it, I mean we were FLYING.  When Turk is ready to go, we go!

The anticipated cold front found us late in the afternoon.  It started raining in Clanton, so I put the Frogg Togg pants on and we made it back to Turks just fine.

Jana moved the party indoors because of the weather, and everyone was having such a nice time.



Tonight, they prepared a shrimp boil for us, complete with corn, potatoes, and smoked sausage.  I thought it was scrumptious, as the seasoning was just right for my taste.



Hey guys, how about posing for a picture?

(thanks)



After dinner, Turks friends who happen to be incredible professional musicians, played 2 hours of great tunes for us to enjoy.  These two guys are amazing. 



I was working pretty hard on one of my shampoo bottles and I had a good time with the music.  During the second set, they started playing some really good Led Zepplin and about the same time, Mark (Poolboy) sat next to me with what looked like a 5-gallon bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey and I started getting loose!!

It was a great party and we all had a wonderful time.

Day 3:  Not much riding, weather was pretty stinky.

About 3 am, it started raining pretty hard, but my Marmott tent kept me dry and I slept in until about 7-ish.  We took a look at the radar and the forecast and it didn’t look like very good riding weather.

Josh had a tire shipped to Turks and his pit crew seems to have mattes well under control.



Hang in there, Coach!  They’ll figure it out.



Meanwhile, Turks buddy has already fired up his smoker for tonight’s feast.  That wood smells very good.



Mark’s got a pretty good game plan going of his own right there.



After lunch, the rain quit and some of us were getting a little stir crazy, so we decided to go take a short ride.
















Hud calls his suit the Big Banana and I can kind of see why.



Randall’s pillion is looking a little thin.  I don’t think she had much shrimp last night.



We rode to the Cycle Gear in Birmingham so Josh could exchange some gloves under warranty.



I led us in circles on some county roads back toward the camp, and we arrived as the sun was setting.  Turk’s brother brought his awesome drone and I got to wear the goggles for the show.  That thing is fantastic.



After about 3 hours of happy hour (he he he), dinner was served.  The brisket and pulled pork was very good, but the bark on those short ribs was just perfect.  I ate 4 ribs and I was full like a woods tick.



Nate and Andrew were helping Mark with some kind of trailer lighting problem.  I thought about getting involved, but by that time, I had been drinking and thought discretion would be the better part of valor.



Another highlight of the evening was when Turks friend came home from the weekend motocross with a 1st place trophy!!!  Boy, the look on his face says it all.



It was another great night at the SFO shin dig.

Day 4:  Jemison, AL to Lafayette, LA, approximately 510 miles.

I woke up Sunday to cold, cloudy, and windy.  I packed up my camping gear and bid everyone a goodbye with mucho thanks.  Nate will ride back part of the way with me.  Mid morning, the skies cleared and it warmed up a little.  I just reversed my Thursday route to get home.  Nate and I stopped in Philadelphia for lunch (great Fajitas), and a little thereafter, he broke away for the interstate to get home in time for church.  I arrived safely at home about 6 pm, and as is always the case, my wife was happy to see me and hear about my great adventure.  Uncharacteristically, I took no pictures on Day 4.

So the debate regarding the purpose of a motorcycle forum goes on.  It may never be solved and that’s perfectly fine with me.  Who cares if the chicken came before the egg?  I won’t let myself get suckered into that impossible quandary.  To do so would be missing the forest for the trees.  Regardless of that, I believe that these forums are about much more than a certain kind of motorcycle, and how to fix it.

If you doubt that, come to a rally and see for yourself.

Stay thirsty, my friends…..

18
Your Honda Nighthawk / Re: Pictures of my bike
« on: October 13, 2017, 04:02:18 PM »
Good on ya, Dind.  The 700s was one of Honda's best, for sure.  In many respects, it was way ahead of its time. 

19
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Looking through the curve
« on: October 10, 2017, 06:46:24 PM »
I agree with your instructor. You will go where you look. I've known more than one rider gone down because he target fixed on debris.  When I'm riding curves, I am always focused on the vanishing point of the curve.  I can thank a wonderful lady that used to frequent this website, who is arguably the best rider I have ever met, for that jewel of advice.

If you notice the debris or other object far enough in advance (hopefully by screening well ahead at the vanishing point), then you will hopefully have time to counter steer and avoid it.   Even If you hit the debris while leaning, the bike will slide a little but very likely will not result in a loss of control if you hold your line and ride through it.

I'm also a big subscriber to the theory of lane position in a curve (outside/inside/outside).  If you put yourself on the inside of the lane at the apex of the curve (where the highest probability of running out of lean occurs - regardless of the reason), then you have the full 10 foot width of the lane to use for recovery.  At that point, even if you panic and grab a handful of brake, the bike will stand up and naturally drift you toward the outside of the lane and likely away from whatever it is you panicked on .  Now, if the hazard runs completely across the entire lane, then you only hope is to ride it out.  To do so successfully takes a combination of skill, confidence in your tires, hope that length along the road of the hazard is not so long that you will find grip before you lose control, and quite frankly, a decent amount of luck.  But if the road hazard is that large, I would think that you would see it far enough ahead that you could slow down to a safer speed before you get to it.

One known exception to this is diesel/fuel/oil on a wet road.  In my experience, I do not think that a rider can actually see this before it's too late.  And if the spill is more than 1/2 the width of the lane, you are going down.  This is why we dress for the crash (ATGATT).

Often when I'm riding, I ask myself the "can I avoid the deer in time" question.  What I mean is I'm asking "If a deer appears at the vanishing point of the curve, at my current speed and skill level, under the current conditions, will I have enough pavement to stop?"  If I'm being honest, sometimes that answer is a resounding "NO".  Most times I slow down a few MPH, but admittedly, sometimes I'm having so much fun, I do not.

I know - better written than done, and I can't honestly say that I've practiced what I preach 100% of the time. But this is what I think we should try to do.

20
Your Ride Reports / Re: Sliimey Crud Run - Fall 2017
« on: October 04, 2017, 06:37:11 AM »
Looks like a nice time was had by all.  Thanks for sharing your pictures.

21
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: First start after 15 years
« on: September 28, 2017, 06:07:54 AM »
Honda really did that one right.  They are so reliable, you almost feel guilty for not paying more attention to them.

I loved everyday I owned my CB750. 

Well done.

22
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: What are those ODOMETERS up to?
« on: September 22, 2017, 04:12:44 PM »
It's good to read about nighthawks being ridden.  One of my good riding buddies put well over 120K on a late model 750.  And when I tell you he rode the PISS out of that bike, believe it.

I bought another late model nighthawk for parting out for $100.00.  The owner bought a gold wing and let it sit.  95K miles.  Sill had hone marks on the cylinder walls.  I made almost $3,000.00 on the parts for that bike, sold most of them on this forum.

Honda did this one right.

23
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Scariest ride ever
« on: September 18, 2017, 06:24:13 AM »
Alan - you and I fish in the same hole.

During the summer here in south Louisiana, I'll take a chance w/out the rain gear.  Shoot - it's practically raining 24 hours a day anyway with 80-plus % humidity and 90-plus degrees.  Getting wetter (if that's even possible) is kind of refreshing.

However everywhere else, I don't care if the sky is cloudless, I won't leave camp (or hotel) without my frog togs.

24
General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: More Fun with Fuel....
« on: September 14, 2017, 10:49:08 AM »
DD - that is great.  If I got your results, I'd run Unicorn Gravy through my bike.  When I had a '96 750, I would usually get 45-47 mpg, on RARE occasion, 49-50 (55 mph stroll through the back country).

Where are you located?  If high altitude, was your bike re-jetted for that?

25
Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 13, 2017, 06:06:04 AM »
Those crash test videos are impressive.  For such a small car, it holds up very well under the crash tests.

We pay about $0.10 per KW for electricity, including taxes and fees.  That means I could charge the battery for that vehicle for $1.70, and get 80 miles of use out of it.  The cheapest regular grade gasoline here is $2.27 a gallon today.  In today's dollars, that equates to 1.34 charges, or a gasoline equivalent "fuel mileage" of 106.8 mpg!!!!

^^^^^ THAT has got my attention.

It looks like you can buy that car for about $17,500 after the federal tax incentive, and before sales tax/title/license.  That compares fairly close to the cost of a sub-compact/mini gasoline car.

In 6-8 years, you have to buy about $4,000 in batteries, but I wonder how that offsets to the cost of gas engine maintenance?

It would appear that the electric vehicle is becoming more affordable and competitive to the conventional drivetrain.  Without the tax incentive, I don't think so.  But the numbers are much closer than even 2-3 years ago.

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