Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Stampede Bike, Done

 My Stampede bike is ready to go. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Charlie and Velardi's Birthday Party

     Charlie Davis (El Nomad) and his cousin Velardi Gonzales had their birthday party at the Pour House Bar and Grill in Star Valley, Arizona. Outside, a cold rain was falling but inside old friend met and new friends were made.

Velardi, Jill and Charlie

     Mr. Mayagi, Steff Brooks, rode from Washington State as did last years Stampede winner Chris Schreiber. Brandon Fletcher who finished 9th last year, Skip Lindenstruth who rode in last years Stampede, Bob Marshal who finished Stampede 7 and F-Bomb who has ridden in most of the Stampedes were there. I recognized a Vulcan 500, that I think belongs to Chris DeBaer from Stampede 8 and is called the White Buffalo and I know there are other names I should have remembered.    

     There was a great band, everyone had a great time and before anyone left we got together for a group photo.


 The Pour House Bar and Grill was unfinished last year but Charlie and Valardi were able to hold the party there anyway. This year the interior was complete and it was really nice. Old wood taken from an old rail car is used throughout the bar. It is a really nice place and we had breakfast there in the morning. If you happen to be in the Payson-Star Valley of Arizona stop in.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My Stampede Bike for 2015, Paint

     I decided that I wanted to paint the bike myself and I wanted a high quality paint job, a high quality "rattle can" paint job. I don't have a paint gun or compressor and I've never done any automotive quality painting. So I started...
     I know a few of the basics. First get the metal as straight as possible and as clean as possible. I used a self etching primer and a sanding primer over that. For the fender I sanded the primer until any imperfections were filled. I wet sanded with 500 grit and 1200 grit, on the theory that the better the primer coat finish the better the final coat finish.

      I decided not to pull the engine to paint the frame so I masked it off and primed. I used a chassis paint for the frame, fender struts, seat mountings and other hardware. It has a good semi-gloss finish and, I hope, is extra tough. 
     For the fender I used Rust-Oleum gloss black automotive enamel. I had a couple of ideas about how to do a good rattle can paint job that were wrong, but after a couple of restarts, I got the paint on the fender and after 48 hours curing time, I wet sanded, very lightly, with 1200 grit just to knock off any orange peal. 
     I used Turtle Wax Polishing Compound and a small random orbital polisher, which brought the paint to a high gloss. 

     I sent the oil tank to Custom Coating in Ukiah. They used a chrome powder coat with a clear top coat. I am very  pleased with the finish.

     I put everything back together, I think it looks pretty good and I'm a lot more comfortable with what it takes to do a good paint job.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Famous Road Signs

     Brown Material Road is a 5.2 mile stretch of unremarkable roadway between Highway 33 and Highway 46 in Kern County California. While it's a name that invites speculation as to why it would be called Brown Material, I could find no real reason for the name.
     However, the area around Brown Material Road is very interesting. Highway 46 about 30 miles west of Brown Material Road is where James Dean was killed while driving is Porsche Spyder. 
     The State of California designated Highway 33 through Kern County as "The Petroleum Highway." Highway 33 passes through the Midway-Sunset Oil Field. Which is the largest oil field in California and 3rd largest in the United States.
     The Midway-Sunset Oil Field is about 4 miles wide and 20 miles long and Highway 33 passes through the most heavily developed part of the oil field. The oil field has been in production since 1894 and has produced 3 billion barrels of oil. 
     I find the southern part of Highway 5 in the San Joaquin Valley, to be deadly dull. So I usually take Highway 33 at Coalinga. It's a lot more interesting and it's got Brown Material Road.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Stampede Bike for 2015, Fabrication

     After tearing the bike apart, I took it to Paul Arvin at J.F.R. to weld on the hard tail section. 

Paul also fabbed the brake mount between the frame rails, seat mount, fender struts and oil tank mounts. In other words just about all the fab was Paul's work. I wanted it done right.

                             I know the seat looks a little out of scale it's the Mustang seat I used I used last year. It is large but proven comfortable. I'll change it for something more chopperish after the Stampede.

     The hard tail section is T.C. Bros, the fender and oil tank are Ledsled. I got the air bag for the seat from McMaster Carr. I used the same air bag for the 2013 Stampede and it worked well. Paul's contact info is J.F.R. Chopper Shop, 40 Maxwell Ct., Santa Rosa, California (707) 548-1839 
     Next comes paint.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Famous Road Signs

Looks like by 2012 the bicyclists had worn out their welcome. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Belt vs Chain

     This is the belt from my '04 Electra Glide. It has 110,000 miles on it. I just replaced the belt not because it was worn out, but because the pulley was.
     I recently read an entry on a motorcycle forum, where the writer opined, "Chains drive motorcycles, belts hold your dress up." The above belt and pulley have 110 thousand miles on them, the chain sprocket below is from my Sportster after the last Stampede and has a total of 7,000 miles. 
            Your honor, I rest my case.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Stampede Bike for 2015, The Tear Down

     One of the things I learned from Stampede 9 was that a belt is far better than a chain. The chain needed constant adjustment, caused vibration and threw chain lube all over the place. So I decided to loose the kick starter and go with a belt drive.
     I ordered a TC Bros weld on hard tail, the price was right and it is well built. I chose a 2" stretch hard tail which uses the stock tire and a 137 tooth belt.
     So the red Sportster began it's new life, I started to tear it down to install the new hard tail section.

My Stampede Bikes


      My first Stampede was #7 in 2012. The race started in Barstow, California and finished 3000 miles later at the Green Leafe Inn in Pine Bluff, North Carolina. I built the Kawasaki (KZ1000p) Police bike for the race.  I strutted the bike and solid mounted the engine. I also sprung the seat and mounted a 3 gallon extra tank.  My time was 49 hours and 51 minutes. I finished 4th.
     For Stampede 8, in 2013, the rules changed and there was a 550 cc limit on engine size. So I sold the KZ and bought a Kawasaki Vulcan 500. 
     I used the struts I made for the previous years KZ1000p and solid mounted the engine. I mounted a trailer fender and made a rack to carry the three gallon gas tank. I also built an air bag seat suspension that worked well. The seat however was too small and hard and caused no end of discomfort. The bike looked a little more like a chopper even though it was still more of a rule beater.
     Stampede 8 started in Tokeland, Washington. The route covered 3600 miles to Pinebluff. I had electrical problems and did not finish. 
     I still make it to Pinebluff, too late, but I still got there.
     For Stampede 9, in 2014, the rules changed again and required a kick starter and allowed only 5 gallons of gasoline on the bike. I found a 2002 Sportster and added a kick starter made by Led Sled. The main tank held 3.3 gallons and I installed a axillary tank that held 1.5 gallons.
     Stampede 9 started in Oakland, California and covered 3200 miles the long way to Pine Bluff. I finished 2nd, just 23 minutes out of first place.

     My plan was to strut the bike for Stampede 9 and build a propper chopper for Stampede 10. For a time I vacillated, maybe the bike was too nice to cut up, but in the end I told myself to stick to the plan. I'll be writing about the "chop" in the near future.
     To read more about The Stampede click at the bottom of the page on - Labels: The Stampede.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunrise on San Franciso Bay

     I happened to be in Marin County at sunrise, Marin is just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge. I stopped at Strawberry Point on Richardson Bay to take a couple of photos.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


     Hubert Kriegel, pronounced U-Bear, was at the Ural Motorcycle dealer in Santa Clara for a meet and greet. I have been following his blog for several years. Hubert has been traveling the world on his Ural sidehack for the last 10 years and was in town to talk about his travels and answer questions. The URL for Hubert's blog is .


Hubert's visit was hosted by 
Triquest Motorcycles, Santa Clara.

The photos below are from his blog, and show his winter trip across Lake Baikal, in Siberia.       

Hubert is currently touring India and would be returning there after his California visit. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Famous Road Signs, Dead Man's Curve

     This sign is located just outside of Sierraville, California on Highway 49 and refers to the fifteen miles to Downieville.  It's a good warning as there are some really tight corners that are at best flat and at worst off camber.  
     Deep shade on the curves keeps moisture from evaporating.  We were there in mid November and it was quite cold, I'm betting that there could be ice on those curves at night and early morning.
     So, thanks for the warning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Ride the Indian Scout

     I went to the International Motorcycle Show at San Mateo.  There were several of the big manufacturers giving test rides.  I wanted to ride the new Indian Scout and the line was short so...

     I signed up to ride and the bike I got to ride was this blood red model.
     The test ride was about a half hour and covered a good distance both in town and on freeways.  I really liked the Scout.  It is supposed to have around 100 hp and it is fast and very smooth.  The seat is comfortable and the riding position feels like you could put on a lot of miles without fatigue.  The bike could use a better fork.
     With a price tag around 11 grand, I'm not sure I would buy one, but, like I said, I really liked the bike.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Took My Ol' Harley for a Three Day Cruise

     My friend Greg called to say he had three days off.  A three day cruise sounded terrific.   

     Three days is the perfect amount of time for a rambling cruise through the Sierras. 

     Ebbetts Pass is about 200 miles from my home in wine country.  To get there, cruise through the Sacramento Delta and through the California Gold Country, then into the High Sierras on Highway 4.  Much of the road over the pass is a very winding one lane road.
     Once over Ebbetts Pass we stopped at the Wolf Creek Inn at Markleeville, a tiny town on the eastern side of the Sierras.  Then it was on to Monitor Pass.


     After Monitor pass we hit Hwy 395 near Topaz Lake and turned north to Reno.  We stayed in Reno, total distance about 250 miles, a great days ride.

     Next day we left Reno headed north to Highway 70 where we turned west toward Quincy.  It was hot in Quincy, it always is during the summer, so we gassed up and headed into the Feather River Canyon.
    We spent the second night in Chico and hit the Sierra Nevada brewery.  Then an easy ride home, perfect three day cruise.