Monday, November 8, 2010

Why I Ride

I know, I know.  Riding a motorcycle is dumb.  It is dangerous, stupid, and selfish.  Your are hurtling down the road at 70+ mph surrounded by other vehicles ten times your size being driven by drunk distracted people talking on their cell phones and putting on their makeup.  Why in the world would any thinking person decide to ride a two wheeled donor mobile "for fun"?  Yes, I understand.  I get it.

Why then did I decide to dive back into the two wheeler pool?  This after my experiencing an "unplanned dismount" of my own a couple of years ago in Colorado that totaled my beautiful FJR and put me down and out for some number of months of recuperation. One might think that after that experience even for someone as dense as me the light would come on and say OK, you survived that one but what about the next time.

The simple answer might be as the old sage said "If I have to explain it you wouldn't understand".  It's sort of like asking people why they climb mountains.  It's miserable, boring, dangerous, and when you get to the top you still have to get down and when you get down what have you really done and how have things changed?  You just spent a ton of time, money, and energy not to mention exposing yourself to unnecessary dangers that can maim and kill you so why do it?  Climbing mountains and riding motorcycles are not for everyone -- indeed, they are not and shouldn't be attempted by most people for all the obvious reasons.

So, why do I ride?  The simple answer is it's fun.  I like it.  Riding gives me a feeling of freedom and makes me feel good. I like the power, sound, wind, and exercising the skills to operate the machine.  It focuses my attention on the immediate moment while using the required concentration to make the ride as safe as possible.

The quick come back to this is hell, golf is fun and requires skills and gets you outside, yada, yada, but golf usually doesn't put you into the hospital or worse so why not play more golf instead of getting on a motorcycle? 

If I have to explain it you wouldn't understand.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Long Haired RedNeck Rides Again

David Allan Coe came to play a concert at a local venue located in Ramona and I had strong feelings that this would be my one and only chance to see this legend of country music live.  Little did I know what we were in for.  My lovely bride Kim agreed to go with me and I truly owe her for this one.

No chairs. Had to stand from 7:00 to 11:30 drinking overpriced beer and listening to two insanely bad warm up bands. The first was a metal head banger group and the second a hard metal country group. I guess they were country 'cause the lead guy was wearing a cowboy hat. The only positive thing about either of them was they were so loud and the sound system so lousy you couldn't make any sense out of anything they did.

DAC is somewhere in his mid to late 70's now and is but a shadow of his former Country Outlaw persona.  He had to be helped on to the stage by two people and he had to sit on a stool the entire time.  He was wearing a blond wig with hair down past his waist and his voice was nothing like in his younger days . . . in fact, I never would have recognized his voice at all.

On a positive note, the highlights of the evening were two fights where the bouncer dudes got to wale on a bunch of drunks and haul them out feet first.  Place was full of bikers, punks, skin heads, white supremacists, Nazi's and a very few old folks like us who mistakenly thought they had come to see DAC do his old stuff.  He only did about three of his good old songs and mainly did covers of other artists plus everything he has written for Kid Rock which is quite a few.

All in all it was a pretty fun adventure. Luckily we don't have to that again anytime soon.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Motorcycle Diaries

So far I've left the Blogosphere clear of my motorcycle escapades/history.  Due to numerous requests to see pics of my bike, etc. I thought it was time to post a few and to share some of  my good and not so good riding experiences.

My first ride was a 1992 BMW K75RT. 

K75RT in the Idaho Sawtooth Mountains
 This was my first motorcycle and the bike I learned to ride on.  It was recommended to me by my good friend Michael Nikunen who also started out on a K75.  I rode it solo from SD up to McCall and back for my first really big motorcycle tour. Here is a shot of the little three banger Beemer up in the Idaho Sawtooths.  This bike puts out 75hp with a published top speed of 136 mph. I put around 20,000 miles on the K75 and when I felt I needed a bit more power I bought another bigger BMW and kept the K75 for a spare.  This is also the bike Jake learned to ride on. 

My next bike was a 1996 K1100RS BMW.  Newer, stronger, faster than the K75. with 105 hp and a published top end of 154 mph.   Somehow I was under the impression that I just wasn't going fast enough on the little three banger.  I put about 12,000 miles on this beauty.  

After the K1100 I got crazy and bought a brand new 2005 Yamaha FJR1300.  Once again, Mr. Nikunen  is partly to blame because he had one and loved it and after tons of research I was convinced that this would be the perfect bike for me.  This bike puts out 145 hp with a top speed of 165 mph.  Remember, this is the PUBLISHED top end.  I can't attest that it'll actually go that fast but I also don't doubt it for a second.  This bike is seriously FAST!

FJR1300 Right out of the box

I LOVED THIS BIKE!!!  It was a comfy long distance cruiser as well as a great bike for carving up the canyons.  Had not some of the bad stuff happened I could have kept this bike for the rest of my life.  More on the bad stuff later in this post.

Kawasaki Concours

After the bad stuff happened I took a couple of years off motorcycle riding and have finally got myself back in the saddle.  My newest ride is a 2002 Kawasaki Concours.  I bought it slightly used only a month ago from a nice old guy who only rode it to church on Sundays.  It had 11,400 miles on it and it still looks new.  This bike puts out 108 hp and has a top speed of 137mph.

This is sort of a poor man's FJR but it will do what I need done quite nicely.  I'm getting it ready for some serious cross country starting this fall.

This link will take you to the good stuff: Bike Pics

Now for the bad stuff . . .  a little background . . . Once again I was riding with my friends Michael, Rob, Gary & Mike and we were up in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, when to avoid a monster Elk in the road I managed to run into my friend Michael on his bike.  I went down and Michael stayed up but both my bike and I were the losers in the altercation.  Bottom line was I shattered my clavicle, broke several ribs, broke my thumb and partially collapsed a lung.  After the crack medical team in Granby Colorado decided that I needed professional assistance they put me on an ambulance two hours to Denver with lights flashing and sirens blasting.  I was so doped up I thought it was a very fun ride.  Anyway here are a few shots of the bad stuff: Bike Bad Things

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Big Bear Update

I realized that after my last post about the Mt. Whitney adventure a major portion was missing.  I'm certain all the Kidhammon groupies will want to know about our encounter with the wilder side of nature while high on the mountain.  To set the scene, when we first came into the campground at Whitney Portal there were signs everywhere to be "Bear Safe"  meaning put all your food into the bear locker provided at each campsite.  The first night we were meticulous in putting all our food into the locker and needless to say we had no problems and I personally thought the whole bear thing was overblown and much ado about nothing.

The following is an accurate and factual account of what actually happened as I remember it.  Due to the extreme trauma, darkness, and danger involved, others may remember it a bit differently:

The second night and the night before we set out to actually climb the mountain we did the prudent thing and placed all our foodstuffs in the locker and retired for the night.  Our plan was to get up at 3:00 am to get our shit together and be on the trail at 4:00 am.  So, about 3:15 in the morning four sleepy guys were huddled around the camp table wearing headlamps, sorting through our food, stuffing backpacks etc. when someone (I don't remember who) yelled BEAR !!  I looked up with my headlamp and there was the biggest bear I've ever seen in my life.  The bear was up on his hind legs growling like some kind of monster.  I was immediately reminded of the grizzly Robert Redford had to fight in the movie "Jeremiah Johnson".  I was terrified as was John and Russell and pretty much the best the three of us could do was start shouting "shoo bear" and backing up.  Then suddenly, my little brother Denny's Navy SEAL training kicked in and with an amazing presence of mind and in total disregard for his own personal safety, grabbed a machete that was conveniently at hand and thrust his Delta tuned body between the three of us, our granola, and the raging bear.

We thought for sure Denny was a goner.  Somehow during the melee Denny broke the machete in half and with only a stub he was able to fight off the marauding devil.  The last we saw that ole griz was hightailing it out to search for easier pickin's.  John was lucky enough to get this quick pic of the bear just before Denny chased him off.

We had the opportunity to speak with some of the local mountain folk and it is almost certain that our encounter was with a bear that has attained almost mythical status in the Lone Pine area and the locals refer to it as the "Silverback of the Sierras".

This only my account of the incident. Others who were present may be able to fill in some of the details and facts that I don't recall and I encourage them to do so.

Friday, August 6, 2010

He's BACK !! Moving, Dogs, & Mt. Whitney

Hey all  you Kidhammon followers!  The Kid is finally back with an update on the Hibler household. 

Lots of stuff happening since my previous blog last January.  Kim and me and the dogs (yes, that's dog with an "s".  More later on that) have left the lux neighborhood of Tierrsanta and moved to the slums of Scripps Ranch.  We were very fortunate to sell our house in T Town during what is generally known as a "down market" and buy a newer "right sized" home in SR.  This is another way of saying that after the last couple years of market correction our retirement abode needed to be brought into balance with the realities of our updated income stream.  Still another way of saying this is that the economy has kicked our butt.

OK, here is the deal on the dogs.  All of you know about Bob the wonder dog who is still going strong at age 13.  Here is a pic of Bob: 

Some of you may remember back eight or so years when we raised a little yellow lab puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind in Palm Springs.  His name was Sonny and he lived with us from age 8 weeks to 18 months.  He became a big part of our family, went to work with me every Friday and really endeared himself to everyone who met him.  It was really hard to give him up to go to work as a guide dog but that is what he's been doing for the past eight years.  Long story short, Sonny is now too old to be an effective guide dog and we have stayed in touch with his blind master over the years so we were given the chance to take Sonny back into our household as a pet to live out his remaining time on this planet.  He and Bob have become fast friends and Sonny has become yet again a big part of the family.  It's been a bit of a change around here to have two big dogs wanting to go with us anytime we go out the front door.  Here is a shot of Kim and Sonny:

My most recent great adventure just happened this past weekend when with my little brother Denny, my friend John Edwards, and his son Russell, we hiked/climbed Mt. Whitney   For those of you non-Californians, Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states at 14,505'.  From the trail head at Whitney Portal at 8,370' it is 11 miles to the summit.  What makes it even more fun it is also coincidentally 11 miles back down for a total round trip of 22 miles and around 6,600' of vertical to negotiate.

This is a shot of our intrepid climbers the day before the big hike which we began at 4:00 am in the morning and ended at 7:00 pm the same evening.  Yes, we did it all in one day . . . 22 miles and 15 hours on the trail.

The weather was perfect, the scenery was absolutely magnificent and the company was unbeatable.  There was hardly any of the bitching and moaning that some may  expect on outings like this and the participants managed to all get along beautifully.  We spent two nights camping at the Portal to help us become acclimated to the altitude and to allow us time to hydrate with sufficient quantities of adult beverages. 

Our fearless leader John had completed the climb two years ago and was the instigator to convince the rest of us to do the climb in only one day.  The vast majority of people hike up maybe half way, camp overnight, then make the summit and back down the second day.  As it turned out three out of the four of us did make the summit while the veteran John, who had already been there and done that,  had a bit of  a bad day but did make it up to about 13,800' before saying "uncle". 
Sunrise at 10,500'
The boys on top!
Russell has entirely too much energy at 14.5'k
For lots more pics of this excellent adventure just follow this link:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Due to very strong popular demand by my ever faithful band of blog followers, here is the latest update from Sunny San Diego.

This last Thanksgiving (yes, I know that T-giving was over and done with almost two months ago) we did the hajj to the Old Country (Hammon, Okla) to spend quality time with family on the farm.  Hailey and Jake flew in from San Francisco and San Diego and Kim, Bob (the dog) and I drove the long southern route through Tucson, Tombstone, Bisbey, El Paso and Carlsbad to Hammon.  We stopped and toured Carlsbad Caverns the day before making it in to the Folks place.  Joining us in Hammon were Denny, Jeanne, and Lisa from Las Vegas along with Donna and Dom's kids Dana and Nicky including spouses, children and friends too numerous to mention.  The only ones missing were Jill and Tammy and their spouses.  Donna and Dom absolutley out did themselves in hosting an enormous group of people who did their best to eat and drink them out of house and home.  The food, drink and laughter was outrageously over the top.  Grammie and Papa seemed to also have a really good time with all the family there.

We spent quality time doing the usual things like watch Uncle Oscar and Alan work cattle:

Alan saddled up several of his finest horses so all the city folk could have the opportunity to try out the cowboy thing.  Even a big city boy like Jake managed to not hurt himself.

We were lucky enough to be in town over deer season and as is also usual, there were a couple of dead ones hanging in the big garage.

Jake and I went quail hunting up on Big Grandpa's Place and the Blount Place and had absolutely no luck finding any birds at all.  It was a nice walk though.

All us "younger" cousins and kids did some serious dancing and drinking at the Cowboy Palace in Elk City.  Those country folks do know how to have some fun.  Try $.25 beers until  10:00pm!

Oscar encouraged us to pick turnips right out of the field.  Seems he sort of has about 50 acres of turnips by mistake.  They were delicious once we figured out how to cook 'um.

It is times like these that really make you appreciate being part of a true Oklahoma family.  I laughed more during those three days than I've laughed in a year and the pleasure we all get from seeing each other and catching up is well worth the time and effort to make the hajj.  I especially like the fact that my children seem to enjoy spending time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as much as I do.  This is really what Thanksgiving is all about because we really are lucky to have each other and have the opportunity to get together at least once a year.

Here are most all the pics from this trip including a few shots we took on the way from San Diego.