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.