Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays 2012!

Three, somewhat wise, men decided to take a ride yesterday.  It's been awhile since any of us had sat on our bikes, so it was nice to get out on the open road.  We took Mission Rd south until it dead ended at Duval Mine Rd.  It's a relaxing ~70 mile round trip ride with little to no traffic to speak of.

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On the way back Tuyen and I switched bikes.  His Honda VFR felt like a nimble sports car that wanted to drag race anything around it.  Tuyen told me his engine had a VTEC system which meant below 6800RPM only two valves per cylinder operates, giving the bike more torque and better fuel economy.  Once you go above 6800RPM all four valves kick in giving more power.  Who doesn't like more power?  I had to feel it for myself, so I rolled on the throttle and somewhere around 5th gear I noticed the speedometer stopped listing numbers and just flashed the words "Warp Speed".  If I had his motorcycle for any period of time I'm quite sure I'd be on a first name basis with all the local law enforcement officers. 

Thankfully we pulled over at San Xavier Mission, for a few pictures, before I could get myself into any deep trouble.
It'd been ~7 years or more since I'd last stopped here.  During that time the left tower was completely encased in scaffolding for restoration.  It was neat to see the finished work.  Now they'll have to start on the right side.
I didn't go inside since the sun was starting to set, and we wanted to get back before it got too dark.  I'll have to come back and get some more shots later.
Well that's probably going to do it for 2012.  It's been a great year and I wanted to thank everyone for following along.  Here's wishing everyone has a great holiday season and I'm looking forward to all the trips and travels that might be in store for us in 2013!  Until then, everyone stay safe out there!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Weekend Art Show 2012

Sad to say, I haven't gotten much riding in lately.  The weather has been nice, but between being on-call, at work, and running errands, there hasn't been a lot of time for riding.  I'm hoping to change that this weekend.  But until then, I thought I'd post some pictures from my last trip, a little over a week ago.  Kiri and I attended a small art showing, at a private residence, on the east side of Tucson.  We knew about the show because her father is a pretty accomplished artist and had a few of his works displayed.  So Kiri headed over a little early while my dad and I rode over on our bikes a bit later.  I parked out on the street.  The driveway had a lot of gravel, and Bonnie doesn't like gravel.
I decided to get a close up of the Cholla cactus off to the right.  Some people call this a jumping cactus because if you slightly brush against it the various segments will break off and appear to "jump" onto you. Side story - I'd go bird hunting with my dad, as a kid, and you'd always have to find some way to take these things off either yourself or the hunting dog.  Not an easy task since you can't grab it or shake them off, they like to stick into the skin and stay there.  The best solution is to carry around a small comb.  You can slide the comb between the cactus and your skin and then flick the cactus away.  Just be careful not to flick them onto a friend, not that I've ever done that or would admit to it.
Walking up to the house.  My dad is off to the right.  He rode his Honda dual sport so the gravel didn't concern him.
Various displays listing some of the artwork that could be found inside.
I headed in and started searching for Kiri.  This was our second time coming to this event.  I was pleasantly surprised by it last year and wanted to see if we could find any Christmas gifts for this year.
Ahh there's Kiri, not posing for the camera at all.  For some reason she stands like that when making small conversation.
Kiri's dad on the right, talking shop with another artist.
Appears my mom is picking out some small stocking stuffers.
 Wood bowls made by Kiri's dad.  Pretty amazing stuff.  They're tiny wood squares glued together into rings, which are stacked, and then lathed.
 I snapped a quick picture of Kiri's dad with a potential customer.  I didn't want to scare her off by acting like paparazzi.
 A shot looking out at the back yard.  I like coming here to check out the house, it's very beautiful.
Soon it was time to go.  And we headed out the front gate.
We had lunch with my parents and then Kiri went shopping.  I decided to take a quick ride through Gate's Pass before the sun went down.  I've written about this area before.  It's a small passage through the Tucson Mountain's on the west side of Tucson.  It's probably my favorite quick get away because it's so close to our house.  I pulled into the visitors area to snap a few pictures of the surrounding desert.
More Saguaro cacti then you can count.  The more you zoom in, more of them seem to pop into existence!
I wanted to see if I could get a good panoramic picture of the road coming through the pass.  In order to get a good view I had to hike around a small hill.  Keep an eye out for those jumping cacti:)
 Ok, so this is looking east, back towards Tucson.  You can make out a little bit of town right before that far mountain range which are called the Rincon mountains waaaay in the back.
 And here's the panoramic starting at the picture above and looking to the right.  You may want to click the picture to get the full effect.
From here the road stretches off into Avra Valley.  I usually hang a right out there and head north for a little while then cut back east through Picture Rock pass.  It's a good hour loop if you just want to get out and ride.
What a Saguaro looks like after it's died.
And now I have to hike back around the hill
Well that's about it.  Sorry I couldn't fit more motorcycle images in.  Hoped you were mildly amused by my pictures from a lazy Sunday afternoon.  Until next time!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Leisurely Saturday Ride

Last Saturday I took a little ride with Tuyen and my dad.  We headed south towards Nogales and then east through the towns of Patagonia and Sonoita.  I've posted the map before so I'll skip it this time.  The weather has been amazingly perfect the last few weeks, 70's and 80's with little to no wind.  Really nice riding weather.  We met Tuyen at a nearby gas station.
Tuyen as he was pulling in.
The masked speed racer has arrived!
Without my wife along, acting as photographer, no action shots from the road were possible:(.  We pulled over at a roadside shrine just before entering the town of Patagonia.  I had seen this pullout the last time we rode through this area and wanted to make sure I got to read the sign this time around.
Looking down the road.  The fall foliage gave a bit of color to the ride.
Old Bonnie has been treating me well.  She just passed her two year birthday in October with almost 21K miles.  I'm on my third set of tires, Michelin Pilot Activ's. The original tires, Metzlers, were giving me about 8000 miles of use.  I'm running an experiment to see if the Michelin's last any longer.
The rear brake pads have been replaced.  And I'm due for my second valve job in another 3000 miles.  I'll probably have the brake fluid replaced at that time.  The only maintenance I perform myself are the oil changes, every 5000 miles.  And I oil the chain every ~300 miles or so.
As I mentioned there was a little shrine in a rock face here and a road side sign.  We headed over to check it out.
I swear, anytime there is historical monument we should set up a large block of wood nearby that states "any morons who feel the need to shoot something please shoot this instead of our signs."
Tuyen headed farther up to check out the shrine.  I don't think it was related to the signage.
Ahh look at that.  A quick internet search and I found the name of this shrine. 

Telles Grotto Shrine – This roadside shrine was carved into a shallow cliffside niche in the late 1940’s. During World War II, the Juan Telles family had five sons in military service. Mrs. Telles vowed that if all five of her sons returned home safely from the war, she would construct a shrine devoted to the family’s patron saint. The existence of this shrine represents the return of all five of the Telles sons and their mother’s subsequent expression of gratitude. Once the shrine was completed, Juan and Juanita Telles kept candles burning in it for many years. The family is now gone, but faithful members of the community continue to light the candles. A small parking lot and a short series of steps lead up to the shrine on State Route 82 about three miles southwest of Patagonia on the east side near milepost 16. (Source)
After heading down the road we reached Patagonia.  We pulled into into our normal parking area and quickly had two other motorcyclist come up and start asking my dad about his Explorer.  They were a couple of locals that did a lot of off-roading and hadn't seen this new Triumph in the wild before.
 Looking for a place for lunch we wandered over to check out their bikes.  I believe his was a R1200GS.
 And the other fellow was riding a nice looking KTM 950 Adventure.
About this time Tuyen was starving, and needed to get some food.  Unfortunately every restaurant nearby was full due to a town art show going on.  Luckily a nice old lady saw us wandering around and mentioned a Saloon across town that should have some room for us.  We said our thanks and headed over.  Welcome to the Wagon Wheel Saloon.
We knew we were at the right place with a number of other bikes out front.
We quickly grabbed a table and in no time had some hamburgers and soda's.
Final shot enjoying our food and staring outside at our bikes.
Unfortunately this was the last photo of the day.  From here we headed on to Sonoita where we gas'd up and headed back to Tucson.  Another fine day of riding in the southwest.  Sorry I didn't take more photos.  I've got a few ideas for this weekend.  I'm hoping to have some better shots soon.  Take care.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Basic Rider Course 2 2012

A quick post today.  Sunday before last I attended a MSF Basic Rider Course 2 class.  It's been two years since I took the first class, to get my motorcycle license, and I wanted a refresher.  This class was a 5 hour track day that went over tight cornering, quick stops, swerving, riding over obstacles, etc, using our own bikes.  I was considering signing up for the Advanced Techniques class but decided to refresh things first before biting off more then I could chew.  I think I'll attend one of the advanced courses this spring.

It just so happened that Southern Arizona had a cold front move through on the exact day of the class.  So it was a little chilly and wet when I arrived.  They usually don't cancel these classes unless there's bad lightning in the area.  I heard one of the instructors state, "People pay good money to take wet track training.  You guys are getting the discount rate."  I arrived third, and parked behind another Bonneville owner.
It didn't take too long for the others to arrive.  We had eight students total, including me.  Since we used our own bikes the instructors go over them with a fine tooth comb to make sure they're in good enough condition for the class.  One gentleman had to switch out his bike for a class loaner since the instructors didn't feel safe letting him use his for the training.  That Mobile-mini to the left is filled with quite a few 250cc bikes used in the Basic Rider Course 1 class.  Two of the students were scooter owners.  I believe in Arizona, if your scooter is over 100cc's then you have to have a fully endorsed motorcycle license.
 A quick shot of the riders before we start to get down to business.  One of the instructors, Mike, is on the left in yellow.
As we only had a few minutes between each exercise I didn't get a lot of photos.  The rest of the pictures were taken after the training portion of the class was over.  There were two of us that already had our licenses endorsed and didn't have to take the MSF test to waive the State skills test.  The other 6 students had to pass all of the skills so they could get their waivers.  I snapped a few pic's during testing.  Not sure if this was legal or not, so I took the pictures quickly.  Troubadour will have to let me know if this was a no no.
The first test involved making a tight figure eight in a small rectangle area and then coming out and performing a smooth S curve.  I believe this gentleman forgot to execute the curve.  The instructor is informing him he has one more chance.
The dreaded box, which you can't see from this angle.
Overall it was a great morning.  We only had three incidents during the training sessions.  Both scooter riders went down during quick braking.  I think they grabbed too much front brake.  Nothing serious through, they both were at very slow speeds so no issues at all.  The third incident happened during the final testing.  As you see below all riders wait in line while each student goes through each exercise.  The grey scooter rider lost control of the throttle somehow and plowed into the student on the loaner bike pretty hard.  She dinged up her scooter pretty bad and hit her lip on her wind screen.  She ended up having to leave the testing and will have to come back to get her licensed endorsed.  I talked to her for a little bit.  She was a little shaken up but was still in good spirits.  She told me she was upset at herself but was definitely going to come back out and finish the test.
As I said, short post this week.  Until next time.  Thanks for reading!