Friday, February 15, 2008

Art Deco

One of the things I like most about my motorcycle is how adaptable it is. I can change from a “street” look to a full on touring bike in less than ten minutes. That’s art deco masterpiece to touring bike in less time than it takes to fill the gas tank. I know some other bikes have removable tour packs and saddlebags, but few will let you change the windshield and seat as easily. And none that I know can change the entire character of the bike.
Several other manufacturers make “Dual Purpose” bikes; these are really big dirt bikes that sacrifice being real dirt bikes for highway abilities. They are perfect for going to Alaska and I’m sure that the Alaska Tourist Bureau thanks them. You can pile on so much luggage that you can easily exceed the weight rating on the tires, but it is what it is. Luggage on, luggage off it’s the same thing. Change the windshield, it’s different, but it’s the same thing. Like a chameleon these bikes they can change their skin but not their character.
None of the street bikes have this ability. There is a charge by the Japanese manufacturers to cut into Harley Davidson’s market share. But they miss the point, as they are what they are. One style, no changes. You buy one bike and you have one bike. You can customize it, change it, and it is different but still one thing only.
That doesn’t make any if them bad bikes. I don’t think there are any bad bikes. There are unreliable bikes that have vast fan clubs. There are dangerous bikes that sell like hotcakes. There are ugly bikes and beautiful bikes and all find fanatical devotees.
I just like this bike.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


On Sunday I put the big soft seat and backrest on the motorcycle and Marie and I headed for Novato, CA., where we met Sherry and Gary for breakfast. Sherry and Gary are old friend that we have ridden with for several years. I know they were waiting for the weather to break so that they could get out for ride.
We met at Mary's restaurant and bar for breakfast then headed across the north end of San Francisco Bay on Hwy 37. We then hit Hwy 80 and cut off just before Vacaville. I have never been through this country as usually I hit Hwy 505 if I am heading north.
The area on Hwy 16 is called the Kopay Valley and is the location of a large indian casion called Cache Creek. I guess it's no coincidence that Cache Creek flows in the Kopay Valley.
As you follow Cache Creek north it eventually heads west and you follow Bear creek to Hwy 20 which heads to Williams, CA. We had a beer at Granzella's Restaurant. In the fall Granzella's burned to the ground. So now it is little more than a deli and bar. They will be building a new building soon, actually said to open in 3 months, which seems optmistic to me.
We then went to the north of Clear Lake, which I understand to be the biggest natural lake in California. We eventually hit Hwy 101 just north of Ukiah, CA. We went a few miles north to Redwood Valley near Calpella, CA, where we had dinner at the Broiler Steak House. It was getting dark and we were getting a little tired and a lot hungry.
After a good meal we headed south on Hwy 101. It was a little colder by now and the electric jacket felt good.
The only problem we encounted on the trip was that just north of Hopland my shift rod came apart. There is a little ball joint and the ball and joint decided to not only have a trial separation but divorced efective immediately. It was not a huge problem but I noticed it when I went to downshift for the speed zone at Hopland. I put a nylon tie around the ball joint to hold it together and no further problems.
We had a great ride, the weather was cool and winter still held the countryside but there were signs that spring was trying to take hold. There was a lot of green grass starting to sprout and the orchards had bee boxes placed in them ready for the blossoms. The distance for this trip is about 350 miles but there is plenty to see.