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Showing posts from 2010

Last Day of the Year

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Today was a great day to carry the Christmas tree to the chipper, take down all the outside lights and wreaths and pack away all of the Christmas decorations for next year. Then there was the task of vacuuming up all of the fallen needles from carrying the tree out of the house. Several other chores popped in my mind as I worked. And I did not mind working outside because after weeks of 20 degree weather, it hit 61F. But at the same time, the 61F weather made me wanna go for a motorcycle ride. I really did not care where or for how long, just to get a little time in on such a beautiful day. So, I took a break for lunch, fired up Rosie and set course for Dawsonville via two lane twisty blacktop. Mind you it was just a 15 mile trip to Burger King, but it was therapy to my soul after enduring cold winter weather with wind for the last several weeks. I donned the half helmet intentionally so I could enjoy the smells of chicken houses, cow pastures, pig pens, and all the other things t

I Want to get my Motorcycle License

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First day back at work after the Christmas Holiday. Probably one-third of our staff was on hand, the rest were using vacation time to lengthen their holiday. So there was a little less hussle and a little more time for conversation. One conversation with a co-worker started something like this, "I want to get my motorcycle license, so I guess I need to buy a motorcycle first." It dawned on me that I have been in a conversation that started like this several different times over the last few years. I am somewhat surprised every time I hear this thought and am always quick to alter the thinking slightly. "No, I would recommend getting your license first", is my typical response. This usually is met with wide eyes. I then explain that I would recommend doing what I did. Attend a Riders Edge course or a MSF RiderCourse . Many rider training courses provide the motorcycles for the students. So, first time riders can learn to ride without a significant investment. The c

Christmas

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About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel. There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in Davi

A Word From my Nerd Side

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For those of you own, utilize, depend on, or are responsible for an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), let me strongly recommend that you either have a vendor check the internal batteries at least once a year. Why ,you ask? Well despite looking at the indicator lights on the outside of the UPS and seeing that it is properly charging, there is a lot about batteries that you cannot easily detect without visually inspecting the batteries. Most, if not all, UPS systems have the batteries mounted inside a metal housing preventing a casual glance. Ever paid much attention to a car battery? UPS batteries have a lot in common with automotive batteries in that after many charge cycles, they will begin to fail. One of the external signs you can detect just by looking is that the plastic casing of the battery swells and becomes deformed. Sorry the picture is not my best, but yes, that battery has a big lump on the top side. And yes, that is one of several the service technician found while

A Good Reason to Stand Out in the Cold

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A cold breeze blew across a huddled group of people standing in the driveway of a town home in Milton, GA. Hushed conversations were held over mugs of gas station coffee cups held by gloved hands. The quiet was soon pierced by giggling of small children bundled warmly running to the park area in the center of the homes where they descended onto the swing set. The children's laughter and joy suddenly transformed the circle of 29 town homes into a neighborhood. One that any parent or family would be overjoyed to be apart. Soon the huddled group in the driveway became so large it spilled out onto the road in front of the home and into the edge of the park. This was a day of celebration marking the completion of the final four of the 29 town homes that make up Centennial Village, a community designed and built by Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity of North Central Georgia started construction of this community in 2007. The new home owners purchased the homes with zero perc

A Christmas Story

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Well, it was 23F this morning with a 15 mph wind making it feel much colder than 23 even. So, it would be safe to say it is feeling a lot like Christmas in North Georgia. And of course when the Christmas season rolls around, all of the talk about NASCAR kind of simmers as they won't wage battle again until February. And for most, it is just too darn cold to enjoy riding their motorcycle. So, conversations seem to head towards Christmas legends and of course the origin of the Christmas Moose always comes up. For those of you who have followed this blog for years, you are probably very familiar with the story. For others, this may be your first introduction. Whatever the case, here is the link to the story from last year's posting. Enjoy! The Legend of the Christmas Moose

What is That Noise

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For a couple of weeks I had been noticing an exhaust leak on Rosie during my one hour commute into the city in the mornings while the world is still dark and again on my one hour (or more) commute home in the evenings. When I first started hearing it, I checked all the flanges where the bolt on the cylinder heads and all of the clamps the length of both exhaust pipes. But again the next day, I swore I could hear an exhaust leak. Kinda like hearing a piece of paper rattling over the edge of a can. Slowly I started noticing the bike's mellow rumblings controlled by the tuned muffler system seemed more raw, gutty, and loud. I checked the mufflers to find no fault as well. But with all of the heat shielding strapped over the exhaust pipes, one can only see the underside of most of the exhaust system. But what could I be missing? As time rolled on, I kept thinking it seemed louder and back fired a bit when rolling out of the throttle like an old pickup with a burned out muffler. I also

Baby's Got New Shoes!

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Just North of Dahlonega, Georgia on GA HWY 9 sits a very convenient group of motorcycle shops. The group of shops sit on " Rider's Hill ". Riders Hill includes: European Motorsports , Black Mountain Cycles , Six Gap Cafe , and Tire Technicians Inc . Black Mountain Cycles provides a dealership atmosphere for owners to put their bikes up for sale and potential buyers an incredible inventory of pre-owned bikes for sale. They also carry a full line of riding gear, helmets, and boots. European Motorsports is a dealer of Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, and Royal Enfield motorcycles and has an impressive inventory of all of their lines. If you have been reading by blog lately, you have a good idea why I am headed to Rider's Hill. That's right - tires for Rosie. I had visited Rider's Hill before just to see what all the buzz in the motorcycle groups was all about. So, when I started shopping to replace the tires on my Road King, I gave them a call and was surpris

What's Up?

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For those wondering why I haven't had much to say as of late, I am fine no need to send out the cadaver dogs. After returning from Bristol, I commuted a full week to my office downtown. That Friday, I remembered that I had estimated that Rosie would probably be needing a back tire by the time we got home from Bristol. Because the Road King's have really long rear fenders, one doesn't happen to see the tread depth of the rear tires with a casual walk around. One has get on one's knees or lie on the concrete to check it. If there is any question to the tread depth in the center of the tires, double click the picture to enlarge the image. My finding is there is a three inch area in the center of the rear tire where the tread design barely is visible. It it less than 2/32s. In fact if one rubs their hand across the area, it feels smooth. So, Rosie has spent most of the month sleeping in the garage. I checked the front tire tread depth and its around 3/32 in the center,

A little trip to Bristol

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As many of you may know, one of the sports I have enjoyed following over the last 28 yrs is NASCAR. As some of you may know, I drove short track dirt stock cars and short track asphalt stock cars 8 years. Over the last 9 years, while no longer racing stock cars, I have stayed involved by writing editorial articles and covering NASCAR racing. Every since the first year I began following NASCAR racing, I have always wanted to go to the night race at Bristol. For years, there was a two year waiting list for tickets to the night race at Bristol, Tennessee. People handed down their seats at the legendary track in their wills and the track sold out year after year. So as time went by, I had all but given of hope of ever attending what I consider the best race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. Earlier this year, my editor asked me if I wanted to cover the night race at Bristol of InsiderRacingNews.com . I think I answered him so fast that it stunned him. I immediately went to work

Heels and Scooters

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A co-worker stopped me today to share an experience from the night before. On her way home she had stopped at QuickTrip (perhaps one of the greatest creations in the world). While she was shopping for a cold beverage, she heard a disturbance. She looked up to see most of the patrons in the store running out into the parking lot. She made her way to the door to see what the cause of all the commotion. When she got to the front doors, she saw a woman wearing high heels lying on the ground with abrasions on her forearm and a split lip. The woman lying on the ground was also wearing a silver half-helmet. Not far from where she was lying was a little silver scooter lying on it's side. The woman stood up and began trying to right the scooter and the friendly patrons were more than happy to assist the lovely damsel in distress. A few minutes later, the little scooter, which was paint matched to the woman's helmet, was back upright and all was well in the world. I know that scooter

A Good Morning

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Bleary-eyed and ready for my first cup of coffee, I rolled into the motorcycle parking area of our office building's parking garage. As I approached my usual parking spot, I observed a behemoth two wheeled machine sitting in the space next to me. As I backed Rosie neatly in her usual spot, my eye wandered up and down and end to end of the Victory Vision Tour with its 106cc air-cooled 50 degree V-Twin four stroke engine sitting quietly in the next spot. This was a work of art resting neatly on two wheels and a side stand. Much like a priceless oil painting created by the hands of a master, the beauty of this machine could not be taken in with a casual observation or a single glance. As I began to unstrap my helmet, I saw a hardhat approaching. It seems there is always a floor being remodeled in these two buildings. He approached and unlocked the rear case on the Vision and retrieved an item previously forgotten upon initial disembark. "That is one gorgeous motorcycle"

Happy Fourth of July - Independence Day

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Declaration of Independence Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776 The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alt

Across America on a Motorcycle - Then and Now

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No idea how I missed the post on Lucky's blog Monday, but IF you like motorcycles, you have got to check this out. In 1919, following World War I, a British Royal Air Force Captain by the name of R. K. Shepherd decided to ride a brand new Henderson 4-cylinder motorcycle (Henderson Motorcycle Co. of Detroit, Michigan) from New York City to San Fransico. Consider that there was no interstate system at this point in time and in fact, roads were not the greatest in that time period. The trip ended up amounting to 4,950 miles in three months. He had numerous engine overhauls and noted that he fell off 142 times. He published a book documenting the trip, Across America by Motor-cycle which seems like a worthy read. Fast forward to May of this year, and a fellow named Chris set out to roughly ride the approximately same trip on a 2007 KLR 650 and document it on blogger! You can read Chris' documentary of his experience to date at: acrossamericabymotorcycle.blogspot.com

Commute on Two Wheels

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Monday was Ride to Work Day(tm). I thought I would give kudos to the folks that work in my building that commute on two wheels(not tm) all the other days without prompting. On some days this area is even fuller with half a dozen more scooters in the 50cc range. I always enjoy walking down after work and seeing what a menagerie of two wheel transportation has collected for the day. In the picture above you see a Kawasaki Vulcan 900, a scooter, and a Harley-Davidson Road King. The Vulcan has been there everyday I have ridden since going to work here, though I have not had the opportunity to meet the owner/rider. The scooter belongs to a lady in the 40-50 age range who seems to be as regular a two wheel commuter as the Vulcan rider. We have spoken severl times. She seems to be an avid scooter fan. You quickly sense that she loves riding when you talk to her. This BMW seems to be a pretty regular two wheel commuter as well. And older model but sitting here almost everyday, so it mu

The Hard Hat

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I ride into the parking deck just before 7am another headache starting. I get off the bike and see a hard hat making a beeline toward me. My head hurts, its too early, and I just don't feel like it but here it comes anyhow. "You know what the ugliest thing in the world is?", he asks. I can feel the dig coming. "Honda Goldwing?", I reply. Without missing a beat he finishes his punchline, "a Harley rider without his helmet." "Oh", I say, "BMW RS1000 would a been my second guess." His face twists and he responds, "Don't be ugly now. Don't be ugly." Then he shows me a cell phone pic of his BMW RS1200. My bad. Its the headache. I meant 1200. Had to drive the truck today for the air conditioner I guess. Have a good one! -Peace

Summer Time, Summer Time

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OK so Summer is here. 94f and humidity so high that it feels like walking through a vat of hot tapioca pudding. The temptation is to ride motorcycles in the least amount of protective gear as possible. I see lots of riders in a t-shirt, gym shorts, and tennis shoes or flip flops with a full face helmet. I find this bewildering. So it is hot enough to forgo hand, arm, chest, leg and foot protection, but they still are going to protect that face? Someone explain this to me. They are really intent on the safest helmet but the rest is elective? +1 for wearing a helmet. +1 for a full face helmet. -5 for omitting the rest of the gear. photo by author, all rights reserved I followed this guy on my commute home in his summer "riding gear" the other afternoon. As we approached 65mph, his t-shirt amounted to a scarf flapping from his neck in the breeze. At the same time, I observed many distracted drivers on the crowded highway. One lady was filing her nails driving with her kne

More Aluminum Ladders

It was another gorgeous afternoon as I walked out of work and into the parking garage. I pulled on my leather chaps and my textile riding jacket, strapped my helmet on my head, pulled my gloves on tight. I was soon in the multilane commuter traffic of downtown traffic trying to sneak North out of the city. My route takes me on a two lane highway with a concrete divider wall, narrow shoulders, and traffic merging into the right lane. I am in the left hand lane running highway speeds 3-4 car lengths behind a car positioned to the passenger side of the car I am behind so that I can see the brake lights of the cas further ahead. A few miles into the ride, I see the right hand lane suddenly braking hard, smoke rolling off tires, and cars darting to the narrow shoulder on the right hand side. I begin to squeeze some brake to provide more space between Rosie and the cars ahead in my lane of traffic. Soon my lane is slowing as well. And then I see it, an aluminum omlete stretching across fro

R.I.P Dennis Hopper

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That's him on the right. image source:pulpinternational.com Dennis Hopper died this morning at the age of 74 at his home in Venice, California from complications caused by prostate cancer. He co-wrote, directed, and starred with Peter Fonda in the 1969 movie Easy Rider which was nominated for a best screenplay Academy Award. He also performed in Rebel Without a Cause, Giant Apocalypse Now and Blue Velvet. Recently, he portrayed Ben Cendars on the television series Crash.

Memorial Day

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photo source: author Memorial Day is a day for honoring military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle in the line of duty while serving the United States of America. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson and the United States Congress declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. A ceremony was held there on May 5, 1866, one hundered years earlier honoring local veterans who had died while serving in the Civil War. Businesses closed for the day and residents flew flags at half-staff. At the end of World War I, the day was expanded to include all those who had given their life in a war or conflict while defending the United States of America. Finally, in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) of the United States Congress. Vietnam Monument - Washington, DC (photo by author) While enjoying a three day weekend, grilling ribs, going to the beach, taking that long beauti

Anytime, Anywhere. They are there!

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This week is National EMS (Emergency Medial Services) Week. Kudos to the men and women around this country serving countless sleepless hours to respond in moments of crisis - some paid and some volunteer putting themselves in harms way to bring medical aid and save lives. It is an underpaid career that is often times thankless. And many of the providers are either volunteers giving up time with their families to provide for their community or underpaid providers working two jobs to try to make ends meet so that their community has emergency health care. Many take advantage of the service and use it as a hospital taxi service, but when the real emergency arises, these folks make haste to provide the ultimate level of medical care to you, your friends, and your loved ones. When you are traveling on the roadways and highways of our country and an Ambulance or Rescue vehicle is approaching you from the rear with lights blazing and siren screaming, pull to the right and give them room

Motorcycles are Everywhere! Be Aware!

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If you drive an automobile, please take four minutes to view this video: Intersection Video Look Out for Motorcyclists - Use your eyes and mirrors to see what’s around. Don't Be Distracted - Hang up and drive, put down the food, the pet, the personal grooming gear, the CD, and the reading material and save it for later. Give Two-Wheelers Some Room - Don't tailgate or get too close side-by-side. Use Your Turn Signals - Signal your intentions. It's also the law. Keep it in the Car - Don’t throw trash and cigarettes out the window, and securely lash down cargo that can fall out on the road and be a deadly hazard. (source: www.amadirectlink.com )

In Harm's Way

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Photo Source: http://us.macmillan.com/inharmsway In Harm's Way The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors Doug Stanton ================================================================================== Anyone who has a love for the Sea,Naval interest, or interest in World War II will probably enjoy this 354 page read. I think I consumed it in three evenings. The Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis CA-35, a Portland-class cruiser of the United States Navy, played a very strategic role in ending the war by transporting the components of the first Atomic Bomb to the island of Tinian on July 26, 1945. The bomb was later dropped on Hiroshima, Japan by the B-29, Eola Gay. After delivery this highly secret cargo, the Indianapolis was ordered to sail to Leyte Gulf, on the East Coast of the Philippines, to take part in "gunnery practice". Captain Charles Butler McVay III and a crew of 1,197 men began the 1,500 nautical mile journey. At

I'm on a Boat

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Having never been on a cruise in my life, the thought of it was intriguing. So when we began to consider ideas for a vacation getaway, the thought of going on a cruise was one I gladly entertained. We finally opted for four nights on Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas. While the smallest ship in the RC fleet, it held 2,600 people - half the population in the town where I grew up. Monday we awoke to rain and radio reports of every paved roadway near Atlanta in total upheaval. The typical 30 minute ride to the MARTA station took two hours which severely impacted our chances of making the airport on time. But with the traffic in its current state, driving through or around Atlanta to reach the airport were also out of the question. Once on the train, I began to receive email updates from the airline informing that the flight was delayed. This was both good and bad news. The good news, we would be able to make the flight. The bad news, we might miss the boat. photo source: Life