Saturday, April 12, 2014

LED Driving Lights

     These lights started out as 50 Watt halogen driving lights from Walmart.  I replaced the halogen bulbs with MR 16 LED bulbs. The MR 16's use 4 Watts of power and put out about the same amount of light as the 50 Watt lamps.  This sounded really good, so I ordered up a couple of the LED lamps.  

     50 Watts equals 4.1 amps and 4 Watts equals 1/3 of an amp, that's a real power savings, especially in a motorcycle application. The bulbs are available from Amazon for about five bucks each.  

     It's a pretty straight forward job of installing the LED bulbs in the Walmart housings.  I drilled and put small screws in the light rings as the rings looked like they would vibrate off quite easily.  I installed four of the lights on my Sportster.  They put out as much light as the headlight.  They're really quite amazing.

     I wish I could take credit for the idea, but credit goes to someone who goes by the handle of Pjckm at Kawasaki Vulcan 500 Forums  ( 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dennis Carley: Survivor

Back in October (see Real Reality, Oct 13, 2013) , I wrote about Dennis Carley who was injured in a motorcycle crash in July of 2013.  Dennis was very badly hurt and his survival was not at all certain.

I had been wondering how Dennis was doing so I sent him an email.  I was happy to hear that he is back at work and according to Dennis, "feeling better than expected."  He is thinking about The Stampede, which is a really good sign and he said, he will be at The Smoke Out this year. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Copperopolis Sportster

     I have been searching for a bike for this years Stampede.  I've been haunting Craig's Lists all over the west, and I finally found the bike I was looking for in Copperopolis, California.  Kieth had an '02 Sportster 1200 with very low mileage at a good price.  I called and arranged to meet Kieth and see the bike.  

     Kieth built the sculpture above that sits on the highway near his home.  He says bikers often stop for photos, I'm no different, I had to snap a few shots too.    

     Here's Kieth with the bike the first time I saw it.  I really like the red.  I think red is the new black.

     I really like the name Copperopolis.  Copperopolis is located smack in the middle of the California Gold Country.  For those who don't know much of California history, gold was discovered in 1848 and by 1849 people were streaming into California in search of gold. They were called 49ers.  The San Francisco football team, the 49'ers, is named after those gold seekers.  
     In 1860 they found copper, not gold, and they named the place Copperopolis. The copper miners are not called 61'ers and have no football team named after them.  They did remove 72,598,883 pounds of copper before the mines closed.  Some say 72,598,882 pounds, but I'm going with the U.S. Bureau of Mines statistics on this.  

     So that just about covers the entire history of California between 1848 and the present.  

     I made a deal and bought the bike.  The tires were pretty badly checked so I had to trailer the bike home.  The first order of business, get new tires.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mount Tamalpais

     The San Francisco Bay area is a great place to have a motorcycle, maybe the best place to have a motorcycle.  There are just so many really good places to go.  For example Mt. Tamalpais is just 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco.

     To get to Mt Tam, take Highway 1, from Highway 101, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, turn right on Panoramic Highway.  At the crest of the hill take Pan Toll Rd. (not a toll road) to Ridgecrest Blvd. turn right to the summit parking lot. The actual summit it a short walk up the trail.

     Just about anyway you go from there is going to be a good ride.  The road is so good that dozens of car commercials that are filmed there, maybe you recognize it.  If you stay on Ridgecrest it becomes the Fairfax-Bolinas Rd., and that winds through the forest to, you guessed it, Fairfax. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hatt's San Quentin Toy Run 2013

I've been going to Hatt's Toy Run for quite a few year now.  I enjoy this ride.  Riding in the cold to deliver toys just gets me in the Christmas spirit.

We started at Pier 15 in San Rafael and rode to San Quentin Village, a small residential community located just outside the East Gate of San Quentin Prison.  A charity called Centerforce collected the hundreds of toys to give as Christmas presents to children of San Quentin inmates.


I like it when people let kids sit on their bikes.  The kids love it and probably will never forget the first time they got to sit on a real motorcycle.


We left San Quentin Village and headed north on Hwy 101.  It's quite a sight to see when a couple of hundred bikes get onto the freeway.  It is also a really good idea to pay attention cause it would be really easy to sightsee for just a second and have a crash.

Everybody made it without any crashes and minimal disruption of civilization.  The destination was music, beverages and food at the Elk's Club in Novato, CA.  All my friends did very well in the raffle and poker hand, but Marie was really happy because she won a TV.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Strange Stuff in the Pavement

I saw this Honda car working its way up through the pavement, very strange.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Logan's Run

     I remember riding on the tractor with my Grandpa.  Think Logan will remember riding with his Grandpa?  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mammoth Motorsports

Damon Podolny, owner of Mammoth Motorsports, stepped up and helped me get the Vulcan 500 ready for last years Stampede.

He turned up the aluminium slugs to solid mount the motor, gave me some significant parts and labor discounts and put the bike on his dyno to get things tuned just right.  

Check out Mammoth Motors website at
or go to the shop at 5706 Commerce Blvd., Rohnert Park, California and the phone number is 707-585-7677.  

40 horse, more than enough!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Yikes Spikes

     In the cartoons when someone is really surprised, their hair stands on end and their hat flies off.  When I saw a four inch metal spike sticking out of a manhole cover, my hat would have flown off if it wasn't strapped on.  But I can tell you my hair did stand on end.

     It turns out that they are repaving the road and the thing is a rubber spike.  I have no idea what it's for, but if its purpose is to scare motorcyclists, then it's working just fine.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Real Reality

     We see it in the movies all the time, a guy gets shot and the next scene he’s all better and fighting with the bad guys. We know that’s not reality, but it seems real.  We don’t experience the reality of people being seriously injured every day so our reality can seen more like the movies, that is until real reality shows up. 
     Dennis Carley rode in Stampede 7, in 2012.  On July 17, 2013 he was in a motorcycle accident in a place called Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Dennis’ injuries were severe. 
     His mother started a chronicle that details Dennis’ day to day life since the accident.  It’s not Hollywood, it tells a story of terrible injury and excruciatingly slow progress to an uncertain future.
     Read about Dennis’ recovery at    

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Smoke Out 14

     I had a great time at the Smoke Out last year, so I was really looking forward to this year, Smoke Out 14.

The mini-bike races attract some very interesting mini's.  Every time I see neat mini-bikes, I promise myself that when I get home I'm going to get that old mini out and make it cool.

The crowd always find Beardo and Speedo entertaining.

Valardi and Miyagi, born to wrench.

     Last year the Stampede riders were welcomed to the Long Riders Lounge, this year not. Fortunately, Dr. Eric Hahn a chiropractor who had a booth at the Smoke Out, showed true Southern hospitality and invited us share his booth and rain shelter.  If your back needs adjustment and you are in Raleigh, NC., look up Hahn Family Chiropractic.

     There were great bikes at the Smoke Out this year, but rat bikes and rat rods caught my eye.

There were a lot of painted ladies, both young and...

The Stampede Trophy went to Paul Corey.

I had a great time at Smoke Out 14, I think the Smoke Out is the best of all the bike rallies.