Motorcycle Views Newsletter

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Americade 2008 - Day 4

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

Saturday began with a news report on the local TV station that a checkpoint had been established on I87 at the rest area near exit 18. This was a motorcycle checkpoint. Bikes were being pulled over for inspection of helmets, credentials, pipes, and safety equipment. If a cop had probable cause that you might be in violation, they pulled you over. Here's a link to the news story and a video.

The Americade Message Board was abuzz about this checkpoint. Check it out.

It may be that this was only a one-time thing to sound the alarm that motorcycle violators would not be tolerated this year. Some think the state of NY was just looking for more money. Others think that safety was the only concern since there have been too many motorcycle-related accidents at Americade in recent years. Some riders said they would bypass the checkpoint. Some found themselves with money to pay for riding with no motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license or for wearing a non-DOT approved helmet. It remains to be seen whether the checkpoint will be there when the main Americade traffic starts on Monday. I'll let you know.

The majority of my day was spent at a softball game where my granddaughter played and at a baseball game where my grandson played. We got through the softball game with only a few drops of rain. Such was not the case at the baseball game.

We rode into Saratoga Springs, parked on the street, and walked a couple of blocks to the game site. We carried our canvas chairs and umbrellas with us and parked ourselves high on a grassy area that rose above the right field fence. It was great for a few innings but then the rains came. Thunder was heard. I kept waiting for lightning which never came. When the rain got intense, they called the teams into the dugout and covered the field. We sat in the rain under big umbrellas and waited and waited. Finally the rain let up to a sprinkle and men ran onto the field with sand and dirt and brushed everything clean. It was just like in the major leagues. Then the teams rushed back on the field and resumed playing. Several hits were made and a couple of runs came in. Then the rain started again. It poured and everything was soaked including us. The field was covered and again we waited. We sat there like drowning rats for another 10 minutes of intense downpour. Then, mercifully, the game was called and we slinked over dripping water behind us and piled into the car.

We returned home to get into dry clothes. Jane, daughter, and granddaughter headed back to do shopping -- the rain had stopped. I headed for my laptop to do Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 of my Americade 2008 Blog.

Not much left for today except dinner and relaxation. The trikes sit dry in the garage.

More to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

Americade 2008 - Day 3

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

Friday started with packing the trikes again in my son's garage in Boonton. Here are the trikes just before I pulled them out to begin on the next leg of our trip.



Today's ride would take us to the Saratoga Springs, NY area where our daughter and two of our grandchildren live.

The ride to Saratoga Springs was straightforward. Just ride north to I87 -- the Northway -- and keep going. However, shortly after Albany, I began noticing a vibration through the footpegs of my trike. That had never happened before. I thought I was on my old '94 Sportster again.

I thought maybe the U-Joints were going. Or maybe it was the trike undercarriage that was loose somewhere. Jane said her trike once felt the same way and we found that one bolt had completely worked itself loose and fallen out. I was getting worried.

As we approached my daughter's place, the vibration was still there. I thought maybe the road surface might be causing it but I just didn't know what to think.

I knew that Motor Trike would be at Americade and that the dealer who built my trike might also be there. Maybe he could look at it and see if there was any obvious problem that could be corrected. I decided to call the dealer who was located in PA. Sure enough, he would be here on Thursday and said he would take a look at it but couldn't promise anything. I expect to go visit Motor Trike soon after Tour-Expo opens on Tuesday to see if anyone else there could take a look at it before Thursday. I continue to be worried about this. First I have to ride the trike another 30 miles to get to Lake George. That will give me another chance to see if the problem is persisting. Wish me luck.

We finished the evening by attending a softball game in which our granddaughter was playing. She just decided one day that she wanted to play softball at age eight and she's pretty good in her first year. Of course I may be prejudiced.

We got there early and Jane, daughter Sue, and granddaughter Caroline got in some family practice. It made for a memorable picture of three generations.



It seems that almost every girl playing softball has long hair and they're all tied back. Caroline is in the middle.



I had no idea how these games are now run. The pitcher could only throw five pitches to one batter before a coach from the same team stepped in to throw two pitches. I guess this allows each batter a better chance of hitting the ball and gaining experience in hitting. These are only eight and nine year old girls.

The game runs a total of 90 minutes. The limit came and it was nearly 7:30 p.m. We headed for a late dinner at McDonald's before heading home.

Tomorrow, Saturday, would bring two more games, one softball and one baseball. Rain was expected.

More to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

Americade 2008 - Day 2

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

Thursday started with a phone call to the dentist. He could work her in early at 10 a.m. to fix the chipped tooth.

There wasn't much time left to pack and load the trikes. Some had been done Wednesday night with each trike taking command of one side of the garage. The car had to brave the elements outside for the night. The rest of the loading was done Thursday morning.

We did start the trip promptly at 2 p.m. heading up route 9 then to I287 north to route 80 west and then up to Boonton where our son lives. We arrived out front and one of the grandsons suddenly appeared. All he wanted was a quick ride on one of the trikes. That meant a half block ride back and forth across their driveway.

Here are the two trikes as we arrived and our grandson, waiting for a quick, very slow ride.



Just before starting the ride:



The rest of the evening had no motorcycle content. It did involve my son, his two sons, and Jane and I playing a very long game of Monopoly. I hadn't played in thirty years. I was winning big until my real estate oriented son gained the upper hand by acquiring most of the real estate and charging me over $900 for landing on one of his hotels.

More to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Americade 2008 - Day 1

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

Wednesday was a hectic day trying to get ready to go on our 2008 Americade trip. This year we are going to visit our son and daughter on the way. We'll also be stopping in to see our daughter on our return trip. Packing has been a problem trying to decide what to take that will still fit on our two trikes.

Jane was out running around on Wednesday and called to say that she had chipped a front tooth and could I make an appointment for her at the dentist. Great timing. I gave her the number and she called back to say that the office was closed and she'd have to wait until Thursday to try to make an appointment. We wanted to be on the road Thursday by 2 p.m. so we now had another worry.

Earlier in the day, Jane was trying to print out my Motorcycle Packing List, when I heard her say, "Someone has stolen your packing list."

I hurried to her computer and saw both my How To, How to Pack a Motorcycle For a Trip, and my packing list on her screen but on someone else's website.

I jotted down the URL and then thought that I should send off an email to the offending webmaster. This happens to me quite a lot. I'm doing a Google search for something and up pops one of my articles on someone else's website. They just see something and grab it as their own often with no mention of where it came from. In this case, I did get a credit but it was to the old site and there was no link to me at all. Within three hours, I got a response promising to take it down. When one spends days and days working on an article or feature and then someone just sees it and takes it, that's just plain wrong.

The rest of the day was spent packing and loading the trikes. Final loading will be on Thursday morning with a 2 p.m. start.

More to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day - Motorcycles Follow Me

Jane decided last night that it was time for us to attend the annual Freehold Memorial Day parade on Monday (today). The last time we went was nine years ago. Of course, we had to go early to get a good spot along Main Street. We always go early.

We took the car downtown at 8:55 a.m. and weaved around several barricades to get into the bank parking lot that was right across Main Street from where we finally ended up setting down our canvas lawn chairs. We were firmly in place and ready for the parade at 9:10 a.m. I looked up and down the street and saw only people headed for the start of the parade. Most cops were on bicycles but a couple were riding Harley-Davidson police motorcycles. I remarked to Jane that these bikes were really quiet -- I guess that is to be expected.



This is one of those times that Main Street has horses on it. More than 110 years ago, horses were common on the streets of Freehold. Horses and bicycles were the norm then. Here's one of many horses seen today.



Well, at about 10:05 a.m. we saw those motorcycle cops again. They were now leading the parade into town.



This was a very long parade. We got to see every fire truck within 25 miles of Freehold. We saw all the local politicians. Some were walking, some were riding in convertibles, and some were hiding inside air-conditioned cars. The guy sitting next to us seemed to know almost every one of these firemen and politicians by name and kept yelling out to them with inside jokes only known to them. When an antique air force plane kept flying up and down Main Street just over the treetops, he knew who the pilot was and proceeded to tell us every make and model of antique planes he owned, including one Japanese Zero. I was impressed. Jane recognized a woman from her scrapbooking group and rushed out to speak with her as the parade suddenly stopped. Other than a few politicians, I didn't know anyone here. I guess the nine years away from the parade had brought a whole new generation to march in the parade. Time was passing me by.

Then we saw the balloons.

Several floats from the Freehold First Presbyterian Church were approaching and they were covered with red, white, and blue balloons. Kids and their parents were distributing the balloons to those watching the parade.



I got a shot of the balloons up close as they passed and Jane was finally handed a balloon for herself. Balloons were seen flying out of sight overhead heading for outer space or least the nearest tall tree waiting to capture them. "God Bless Our Troops" was the message.



Then we saw motorcycles coming. They were quiet too, just like the bikes the cops were riding. They seemed to be all brands.



They were the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of New Jersey. According to their website, their chapter theme is "Authenticity" and they strive to conform to the uniform dress worn by the Buffalo Soldiers during the 1860s to 1900.



The parade was over about 11:30 a.m. when a golf cart carrying a sign that said "The End" passed by us. It was a great parade. We'll probably go next year. It's pretty much guaranteed that we'll see more motorcycles next year. We just can't get away from motorcycles, no matter how hard we try.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rolling Thunder® XXI


Today on Memorial Day weekend 2008, I awoke to watch on TV the sights of motorcycles arriving in Washington, D.C. All part of Rolling Thunder XXI [1] and [2]. I remembered the feeling I had at Rolling Thunder XVIII in 2005. Here's an account of that rally including pictures:

I had the good fortune to attend Rolling Thunder over Memorial Day weekend in 2005. In fact, I wrote an article about it with pictures. Take a look.

I also noticed that a great video about Rolling Thunder is also available on YouTube. The year of this video is not mentioned but it's either 2005 or 2006. It looks pretty much like the sights that we saw in 2005. Here's the video.



Saturday, May 24, 2008

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Debby and Tony


Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery.

See Debby with her 2007 Suzuki Boulevard S40. Also see Tony on his 2002 Harley-Davidson Night Train.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

Kawasaki Recalls KLX250 Models for Throttle/Handlebar Grip Problem

Kawasaki has issued a recall of certain 2009 KLX250T9F and KLX250T9FL motorcycles.

The throttle grip and the handlebar grip may come loose and separate from the handlebar and throttle tube. This creates the potential for a crash resulting in injury or death.

1393 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kawasaki Issues Recall of 2006-2007 ZX14 for Frame Defect

Kawasaki has issued a recall of certain 2006-2007 ZX14 motorcycles.

The rear suspension can collapse when a crossmember separates from the frame.

Failure of the frame could result in the rear of the motorcycle collapsing creating the possibility of a crash resulting in injury or death.

At this time, the exact number of defective units has not been reported by Kawasaki.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

I will update this blog entry if more information becomes available.

Motor Scooters -- Are You Ready for One?


Almost every day, I'm seeing more and more articles about the advantages of owning a motor scooter in a world of ever increasing gas prices.

Here's an excerpt from an article, Born to Be ... Fuel-Efficient, by Jonathan Welsh of the Wall Street Journal that sums up the current economic thinking about motor scooters:


    "Chris Casal, a Brooklyn, N.Y., elementary-school teacher, used to drive to work almost every day, mainly because it took 12 minutes compared with an hour by subway. But rising fuel and parking costs made the trip 'kind of ridiculous,' he says. So last year he bought a Vespa GTS scooter that uses about $7 of fuel every two weeks instead of the $30 his Honda Civic consumed. He parks free in the schoolyard, and the two-wheeler impresses his students."

Of course, there are other considerations beyond the price of gas. There's the need to learn how to be safe while riding a motor scooter. Motorcycles are very hard to see as it is and motor scooters are even smaller visual targets for the average motorist.

The average non-motorcyclist has a lot to learn about riding on two wheels. I remember all the scooter accidents I saw while in Bermuda by newbie riders. I think I got a one-minute lesson before I rented my scooter.

I've just revised my article, Motor Scooters - Have Fun While Saving Gas, that summarizes all my motor scooter resources that may assist in introducing motor scooters to the masses.

Don't put your life on the line by getting a motor scooter without proper training and wearing apparel.

Have fun and save gas if you get a motor scooter but remember to first BE SAFE.

Picture ©2004 Lonnie W. Cavenee

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Cheryl


Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Web site. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery.

See Cheryl with her 2007 Suzuki Boulevard C50 with a Towpac 2 Insta Trike installed.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Motorcycle Comedian is Born


It's rare when a motorcycle comedian is born.

I had the good fortune to become acquainted with Jack Riepe on my old forum a few years back. Jack is a true wit. With no preparation whatsoever, Jack is capable of spitting out one-liners and stories that keep you and anyone standing near you, in stitches.

Jack is the author of Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists, a book on men's sensitivity. He had not written much on motorcycles except for occasional work on the forum where he posted some of the most humorous motorcycle stories imaginable.

When planning was underway for the 2006 BuRP Rally to be held in Maggie Valley, NC, Jack decided he wanted to attend. BuRP is a small rally close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's run by forum members and attracts riders from all over the United States. We all looked forward to the rally to see Jack in person.

I know that often a funny guy in person doesn't write funny things on paper. Similarly, someone who is funny in print, often is pretty dull in person.

Fortunately, Jack turned out to be funny in person and funny in print.

Check out my BuRP Motorcycle Rally Day-by-Day Blog for 2006 to see my recollections and pictures of BuRP 2006. They are sprinkled with comments and pictures about Jack.

Now Jack has begun his own blog, Twisted Roads, specializing in motorcycle stories with a heavy dose of humor.

Jack's blog has recently given his take on the 2006 BuRP Rally discussing his complete trip, the people he met at the rally, and all the funny things that happened.

You owe it to yourself to read Jack's Twisted Roads blog. You have my personal guarantee that you'll be laughing all the way through.

Picture of Jack Riepe © 2006-2008 Walter F. Kern. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Deonna


Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Web site. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery.

See Deonna on her Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail with Motor Trike conversion kit.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.