Tag Archives: FLHTC

My Favorite Bike

When people find out that I have three bikes, they inevitably ask me which one I like best.  This generally results in me having  to explain that I really don’t have a “favorite” bike.  Each bike is different and is used for a different purpose.

The Electra Gide is comfortable and generally quite relaxing to ride.  The Rinehart true dual exhaust and amplified stereo ensures that everyone hears me coming from afar.  The Harley is a motorcycle that has a classic feel to it that makes it a great bike to ride.  With 68K miles, my 2006 Electra Glide has been 100% reliable and has never leaked a drop of oil.  It’s definitely not fast, corners poorly compared to my other bikes, and the brakes are just OK.  This is the bike I ride when I just want to slow down, relax and enjoy the scenery.

The Street Triple R is my sport bike.  It’s the bike I’ve been riding the most lately because its lightweight, powerful, handles great, and has terrific brakes and is an incredibly easy bike to ride.  While long rides are not out of the question, the Triumph’s suspension is firmer and  focused on performance rather than comfort.  In short, it’s everything that the Harley is not.  Its’ the bike I ride when I just want to have fun.

The BMW K1600 has to be the star of the bikes I own.  Every time I ride the BMW I marvel at just how good it is.  It’s fast, comfortable, corners great, stops brilliantly, and has every electronic gizmo you could imagine.   The 6 cylinder motor is amazing – very good low-end power with amazing high rpm power as well.  Sure, there are more powerful engines, but when you can go from 35 mph to 135+ mph in 6th gear on a 750lb motorcycle, that’s impressive.  The suspension/handling is equally impressive and amazingly flexible due to the ESA.  The electronic suspension adjustment (ESA) allows you to have a very soft and plush ride on the interstate highways and then, with a couple of button presses, switch to firmer settings to handle the twisty roads.  Really, the only downside to the BMW that I can come up with is that it’s heavy to move around in the garage and parking lots.  I ride the BMW when I want the comfort, weather protection,  and storage of the Harley with the performance of a sport bike.  It’s got to be one of the best all-around bikes ever made.

So there  you have it. Three bikes for three different riding moods.

 

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Day 15 – 8/13/09

I left Fort Collins this morning and headed north to Cheyenne Wyoming where I turned east on I-80. I’m on my way home now and expect to be back sometime Saturday. I didn’t take any pictures because the only thing around is corn – lots of corn. I made to just past Des Moines Iowa before stopping for the night.

States: CO, NE, IA
Miles Travelled Today: 741
Total Miles: 6,214

Day 13 – 8/11/09

When I started out this morning, I was thinking of heading east across New Mexico.  However, when I got to Flagstaff, I decided to turn north towards Colorado and spend a couple of days riding through the Rocky Mountains instead.  In order to get to Colorado, I had to spend a few hours riding through the same desert I had visited last week.  Fortunately, it was only 90-95 which is actually quite comfortable in the desert.

As I was riding on Rt 160 not far from the Four Corners (a spot where the borders of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico touch) I saw Highway Patrol car.  I checked my speed and I was going 65 which was the posted speed limit.  Just before he passed me he turned his lights on and I though he was going to turn around and stop me.  As I looked in my mirror, I saw that he had turned his lights off so I breathed a sigh of relief and continued on down the road.  Then, I saw why he had his lights on – there was a herd of goats grazing on the side of the road.  Apparently, he was just warning me about the goats.

A view from 10,000 feetAfter stopping in Cortez, CO, I headed north on Rt 145 towards Montrose CO.  This took me through the San Juan National Forest and up into the mountains.  The Colorado Rockies are beautiful.  Much of the ride took me through a valley with steep mountains on both sides.  There were lots of small ranches down in the valley near the river/creek that was at the bottom of the valley.  Gradually, the road climbed up higher into the mountains until I reached about 10,200 feet above sea level.

Telluride Lodge As I started decending the mountains, I stopped in Telluride to see the ski resort.  Telluride is a nice small town that is obviously inhabited by people with money. The town has very nice houses and shops along the main street, bike paths, and its own Visitor Center. There were quite a few on/off ride motorcycles on the streets so I’m guessing that there are trails throughout the hills.

After leaving Telluride, I headed to Montrose where I found a motel and had dinner. Tomorrow, I’m thinking of going up Mt Evans – the highest paved road in North America.

States: AZ, CO
Miles Travelled Today: 457
Total Miles: 5,059

Day 12 – 8/10/09

I left at around 7 am this  morning and headed towards the Joshua Tree National Park in sourthern California.  Along the way, I passed a large wind farm where there were hundreds of wind power generators.

While the Joshua Tree National Park doesn’t have the same spectacular scenery as some of the other parks I’ve been to, it does highlight the beauty of the desert.  The main features of the landscape appear to be large piles of huge boulders surrounded by desert.  There weren’t many people at this park so it was easy to park and I didn’t have to fight the crowds as was the case in Zion.

Abandoned Gold MineI went for a couple of short hikes – one through Hidden Valley (about a mile) and another to an abandoned gold mine (about 2 miles).  While it was hot, it was bearable as long as I drank plenty of water.  As I walked towards the old mine, I found it difficult to floow the trails.  There seemed to be trails going in every direction thoughout the desert.  I took some pictures and headed back towards the parking lot.  It seemed to be evern harder to follow the trail out of the desert and I was a bit concerned about getting lost and having limited water.  I did make it back to the bike and continued my tour of the park.

Route 66 through the desertBack out on the road, I travelled part of Route 66 through the California and Arizona desert.  It was a long, hot ride down straight, flat roads.  I always have a few bottles of water with me as I ride through the desert.  It doesn’t take long for a bottle of water to become a bottle of hot water when it’s 100+ degrees outside.

I ended up stopping about 30 miles west of Flagstaff AZ.

  • States: CA, AZ
  • Miles Travelled Today: 488
  • Total Miles: 4,602

Day 10 – 8/8/09

Kaydee, Steve, and I headed out to Perris, CA at around 8 am this morning.   Our destination was the Perris Airport where Steve and I had reservations to go skydiving.  We were doing a tandem jump meaning that we get strapped to an experienced skydiver and go down together under a single parachute.

We arrived just before 10 am and started signing waivers to promise that if we die, we can’t sue them.  They even went so far as to make us watch a 10 minute video featuring an attorney who explained that essentially, there was no way we could ever hold anyone other than ourselves responsible for doing such a stupid thing as jumping out of an airplane.

With payment and legalities out of the way, we to recstarted our training.  Jim was our instructor and the guy we were going to be jumping with.  He described what to expect and how we should position ourselves as we left the plane, proceeded through freefall, opened the parachute, and finally, how to land.  It really didn’t seem all that complicated.

Since there was only one instructor available, we decided that I would go first and Steve would go second.  I suited up, went through a quick review of the training, and boarded the plane.  The plane was packed full of people – probably about a dozen other skydivers.  As we reached our final altitude of 12,500 feet, people started jumping out.  We were the last ones out.

The hardest part was that initial leap out of the plane.  Once we began our freefall, it was really quite exhilarating.  I’m told that we did about 50 seconds of freefall before Jim yelled out “PULL, PULL” indicating that it was time to pull the rip cord and deploy the parachute.  After a firm deceleration as the canopy opened, all of the wind noise experienced during the freefall stopped and there was utter silence as we floated towards the ground.  Jim handed me the controls and we did a few turns before I gave control back to him for the final approach and a nice soft landing.

What an incredible experience.  There’s really no way you can explain how it feels to jump out of a plane and hurdle towards the ground at 120 mph.  Will I do it again?  Undoubtedly.  It was the most thrilling thing I’ve ever done.

Here are some pictures.