Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another one of THOSE dreams...

It isn't the nightmares; Only rarely do they shove a knife into my conscious, and when they do, I usually find them somewhat comical.

It isn't the dreams of falling; Recognizing and changing them into a journey through rarefied air is a personal joy.

It isn't the dreamless nights; The peace is refreshing.

It isn't the dreams of those who have died; They are gone but is nice to see them once in a while.

It isn't the dreams of gliding along a deserted road on my motorcycle; Those are some of my favorites!

What is it? THOSE dreams that I really dislike? It may make little sense to most out there but here it is... Sex. Either overt or covert, I despise them and force myself awake as soon as they are recognized.

Last night's dream was very covert. I am at a bike rally and start talking with this blond woman about long distance riding. She loves long distance touring and typically rides the Valkyrie that used to belong to her dad.

She is smart; Master's degree in something. Young; about 33 or so. Very low maintenance; blue jeans, t-shirt and simple button-up blouse. Her problem is that she travels and writes for a living, so has a hard time with relationships.

I ask her to some event that evening. She rides her bike and I, mine. We get there and arm-in-arm walk in; we kiss. It is a gym, and it is huge. The tickets were for floor seats. Maybe this is a sporting even of some sort.

Part of my mind is enjoying the warmth of her skin; softness of her jeans; intelligence of her conversation. Another part is screaming "GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!!!".

We walk hand-in-hand to our seats. There, in the seat next to mine, is my first wife. Don't get me wrong, in real life there are no hard feelings between us. She is a fine woman with a great family.

But, that was all my logical mind could take. 4:30 AM and I awoke in a foul mood.

For me, THOSE kind of dreams are simply not conducive to having a good day. Need more coffee... This was a bad day to stop smoking.

Monday, April 27, 2009

All Electric Zero Motorcycle. An Energy Savings?

Serious kudos go out the folks at Zero Motorcycles in California. This motorcycle, pictured on the left, is a Zero S. Here are a few specifications from the website:

  • Top Speed: 60MPH (96.6 kph)
  • Peak Horsepower: 31
  • Torque: 62.5 ft-lbs (84.6 Nm)
  • Range: About 60 Miles (97km)
  • Full Recharge Time: About 4 hours
  • Transmission: Clutchless Single Speed
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Seat Height: 35.5 inches (90.2cm)
  • Total Weight With Powerpack: 225 pounds (102.1 kg)
OK, it is an interesting entry into the world of alternate fuel vehicles.

A friend e-mailed a link to this CNN Money video. OK, so it is built in the USA. Good. It is simple to operate. Maybe good. A trip from Los Angeles to New York would only cost about $30 in electricity. What????

That is indeed what the fellow in the video said. $30. Well, a novice long distance rider myself, I know there are many more costs than energy. Two big expenses would be lodging and food.

So, comparing the total cost of a trip from Los Angeles to New York; one on the Zero S and another on a conventional motorcycle should be interesting. Which one really costs less?

I started with some further assumptions and numbers:
  • Miles from LA to NY: 2,790 miles (per Google maps)
  • Average Daily Travel Time: 10 hours, including refueling breaks
  • Fuel Economy of an average motorcycle: 50 MPG
  • Average Gas Cost per gallon: $2.25
  • Fuel Cost for the Zero: $30 for entire trip (from the video)
  • Motel Cost per Night: $45
  • Food per Day: $30
  • Ideal Weather with no traffic or road condition delays. Purely optimal riding.
OK, let's start with the Zero. It can travel 60 miles in one hour in one charge (between fuelings). Add a four hour charge time and a person can travel 60 miles in five hours. Calculated out, that is 8.3 hours per 100 miles.

A typical motorcycle can travel 150 miles at 65 miles per hour which yields about 2.3 hours travel time between fuelings. Add .5 hours fueling time and a person can travel 150 miles in 2.8 hours. Calculated out, that is 1.87 hours per 100 miles.

So, how many miles can be traveled per day? On the Zero, it is about 120 miles. On a conventional motorcycle, it is about 530.

Given these numbers, how many days would it take to travel from LA to NY? On the Zero, it would take about 23 days. On a conventional motorcycle, only a little more than five.

Anyone see an issue here?

Fuel cost for the Zero would be about $30 for the entire trip. It may be a lot less if the rider charged the Zero at the hotel/motel where they are staying. Given the assumptions above, a conventional motorcycle would require about $125.50 for gas.

Now, add in the lodging and other necessities like food. Given the number of days in transit, a trip by the Zero would cost about $1,750. By the conventional motorcycle? How about $500.50!

The Zero may be an interesting little bike, maybe useful for short distance commuters who do not ride on highways, but with a price tag of $9,950, it is likely only the more affluent commuters would buy one.

Either way, it is indeed an interesting looking ride and a good start. Once the top speed and range is increased, and charge time decreased, this scoot may be more interesting.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Busy Sunday and a Few Topics

Sunday evening and so many things to write about. I think I shall start with the state where I was born.

Stop me if you have head this one before...

Do you know why all of the cornstalks in states around Iowa point away from the state? Because it BLOWS!

Ok, this is just a joke. Seriously though, the state took a great leap into progressive politics and culture recently by legalizing civil unions. (Read here on USA Today.) Good for them. Yes, I am about as straight as a fellow can be, but why should people be denied something that straight married people enjoy simply because they were built a little differently? Finally, homosexual unions will be recognized.

Iowa, you don't "BLOW" that much now. Bravo!

Now, a little study in diagonal thinking. The picture on the right shows a very 'evil' head bolt, clinging tightly to the engine of my little Suzuki VX800. I honestly believe that nearly every typical bolt removal technique known to mankind was attempted on this bolt and failed.

If you look at the very center, you will see the broken remains of a bolt removal tool.

Well, Saturday was a motorcycle work day. I washed down and detailed my Rebel and did some basic maintenance on the Sporty. I then decide to ride over to AutoZone, thinking they might possibly have something to help remove the 'evil' bolt.

My local AutoZone is no Mecca of tools, but the people who work there are helpful and intelligent. Unfortunately, this situation stumped them. No solution other than using a Dremel or grinder or something of that nature; all of which have been attempted. The little piece of bolt remover is seriously hard. It has eaten one hack-saw blade and six or so grinding wheels, includinga small diamond bit.

So, I browse the store and just wander, not really think of anything. For some reason I pick a new set of metal files and a punch from the shelf. There was no thought of how these tools would be used, just a purchase.

Still not sure what I am going to do, I just start filing away at the top of the bolt. The bolt remover piece will not allow the file to take the entire bolt head off. Damn. The punch is then used to start hammering the bolt remover piece. For weeks it has been loose in there, but is just will not come out.

Then a thought came to me... Why not hit the bolt on one of the filed off sides so that there is some pressure to rotate out (Right side of the bolt head in this picture). Well, it's hard to explain in words.

After the second WHACK, it turned. Not much, but it did! A few more whacks and it was out.

Why did I purchase a new file set and punch; a valid solution to my problem, without consciously knowing how the tools would solve the issue?

Maybe the solution to some of life's more difficult problems doesn't require a lot of thought. Maybe it just requires a mindless stroll through an auto parts store.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Time to Get Dirty Again

Yes indeed, the time is right to start getting dirty again.

Every now and again, I enter the domain of interpersonal interaction, typically with failure. While failure is not exactly the result of my recent foray into that realm, it is time to spend a little more time on myself in an area I feel more comfortable.

So, time to be a grease monkey for a while. My little Honda Rebel needs to be cleaned up and then have an oil seal changed. My Suzuki VX800 Project has been stalled for about a month. Parts for her are out there, and since I now have an operational bike (an HD XL1200C), there is no need in my mind to rebuild her to original specifications.

Maybe she will be a long distance cruiser... Maybe a dual purpose sort of bike... Cafe racer... Who knows. The time I waste at night on MySpace and FaceBook could easily be directed to my project bike.

So, the GoJo hand cleaner is out, tools at the ready and plenty of spare time. Let the grease monkeying begin!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Quotes on Solitude

Don't get me wrong. There is a certain pleasure riding and enjoying time with other riders with the same goal, drive, purpose. Being who I am, the sublime ride is solo.

Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down. -anon

I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. -Albert Einstein

In solitude, we are least alone. -Lord Byron

Solitude is strength; to depend on the presence of the crowd is weakness. The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines. -Paul Brunton

Solitude vivifies; isolation kills. -Joseph Roux

Just thinkin'.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Daily Quote...

The essence of ultimate decision remains impenetrable to the observer- often, indeed, to the decider himself.
Robert F Kennedy
Thanks again for the book, Munch!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Situation of the day to ponder...

There you are, riding down the highway. The weather is beautiful, not a cage in site. The road is yours except for other occasional riders out enjoying life. Your bike is running like it never had before; she is humming (or chugging as the case may be) along as if something or someone had tuned it to perfection.

You see a small, two lane road. It looks like a beautiful ride. You take the exit. It is beyond expectation. The asphalt is smooth and well aged with plenty of bite, sweepers are wide and graceful, twisties are challenging yet exhilarating.

Then, in your rear view mirror, you see flashing red and blue lights. You are being pulled over. A glance at your tracking GPS shows that you may have gone over the speed limit by one or two MPH. 'Maybe it is just a tail light or some little thing,' you think, pulling to the shoulder.

The officer walks up as you pull off your helmet and shut down your machine.

"You didn't stop back there."

"Where?" you ask.

"By the big oak tree about a mile back."

Confusion is setting in. "Officer, I didn't see a stop sign or stop lights. There was a caution sign about two miles back."

"You were supposed to stop at the oak tree. It is in the county law books. It is a mandatory official warning, but the judge may decide to revoke your license or disallow you from riding here again."

Now you are a little irritated. "There was NO sign! NO indication a stop was necessary!"

"Doesn't matter. The judge may even close this road of to bikers if riders continue ignoring the law. To tell you the truth, that would piss me off. I ride here on the weekends!"

"Well, put up a sign!"

"That is up the county, not me. Here," he hands you the written warning.

"Well, is there anyplace else I need to stop on this road that isn't marked?"

"Not that I know of," he says. "There may be other places that other officers may know about."

You are done and through and just want to get back to the highway. Carefully you ride to the next cross-road, turn around and head back the other way. There... THERE is that damned oak tree. You slow and stop, look around, take off.

Lights are now flashing in your rear view mirrors again. 'What the...' you think, pulling over again.

A different officer gets out of his squad and walks up. "Hey buddy, any idea why I stopped you?"

A somewhat disgusted chuckle makes its way past your lips, "He, mmm, No clue. I stopped at the oak tree like the other officer told me."

"Ah," the officer smiled. "That stop is for east bound traffic only, not west bound. If you want to stop west bound, you need to pull off to the shoulder." He finishes writing the warning. "Here you go, buddy. Ride safe!"

You are speechless. The officer gets in his car and drives away. More than ten minutes pass as you sit there, just looking at the ticket. 'Better leave before I get a ticket for loitering.'

You get back on the road and speed toward the highway.
No, I didn't get a ticket for anything, and let it be known that I hold nothing but respect for law enforcement. In life there just seem to be so many unwritten rules, some of which make little sense. All one can do at time is just keep on riding.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Just thinking about transportation this morning. While on MySpace, an advertisement for the 2009 Toyota Corolla caught my eye. It is a nice looking, convenient, well built, fairly affordable, fuel efficient vehicle. As a matter of fact, I have owned two within the last 25 years.

The thing I chuckled at was the advertised gas mileage. 35MPG for this car? My '98 Chevy S10 pickup gets better than that! Perhaps, mileage not withstanding, vehicle decisions comes down to an objective choice with a lot of subjectivity thrown in for good measure.

As an example of the objective, say I need a vehicle to get me back and forth to work. It is a 20 mile commute in parched, hot Las Vegas traffic. Simple objective exclusion to the criteria: Jet skis will simply not work.

Getting back to the gas mileage, yes, 35MPG rated for the new Corolla. My motorcycle, a 1200cc Harley Davidson Sportster gets on average about 55MPG in the city and up to 70MPG on the highway. So, regardless of how nice my bike looks, or how fast she is or easy to ride; she gets better gas mileage than most cars. There is MY objectivity for the day. ;-)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Singularity of Heaven and Hell

Fresh spring sunlight gleamed down from heaven above, warming the slightly chilled black leather clad motorcyclist. Chilly spring winds buffet the bike and rider from all sides, laughing in the wind.

They dance as one down the road as if angels themselves were clearing the road ahead. Steel and Aluminum and chrome and flesh and bone become as one joyous being, seeing heaven, rubber hitting asphalt.

A red light and the two stop. Something is amiss. Engine running a little rough, clutch a bit grabby, the wind now circling the two as they wait for a green light. The bike is spooked; not scared; pawing at the ground to enter battle.


Rider does little more than a mental motion and they are off. There. Hairs stand straight on the rider's neck; bike belches a rumble, a sound of someplace not of this earth.

A man along the side of the road grabs a woman by the arms. She twists and frees herself from her possible assailant. Without thought, bike and rider turn back. Tires no longer contacting asphalt, rather the two merge. Rider and bike now a single soul, one foot in heaven and another in hell.

Woman now walking quickly away to a strip mall, bike and rider pull close to the man. Black leather, angelic white bike now screaming and growling, drowning out the bastard's harsh words. Amber running lamps now glowing coals of hellfire.

From behind the reflective face screen, motionless rider stares at the man. How small; how pitiful. COWARD! Face ME! Scared??? You should be!!! Let her be.

The man, gathered some form of strength, mouths, "What the fuck you looking at?"

A Coward.
Based on a true story.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My new ride!

Well, here is my new ride. A 2004 Harley Davidson Sportster XL1200C Custom. Pearl White with shorty matte black pipes. She looks sharp, is fast, loud and MAN does she move.