Sunday, January 7, 2018

Aye... Karumba!



What gives eh?  Normally, this time of year I'm doing minor repairs on bikes, working in my (somewhat) heated 1100 square foot garage.

Not this time baby!

Although there is little to no snow on the ground, it's so dang cold and has been for weeks, you'd need dynamite to dig a hole out there. 

As I pretty much do every morning, I have a peek at my back door mounted thermometer. 

Blimey, it's 20 below zero on the Calvin scale.  Again! Zero being the equivalent of 32F.

I don't care which scale you use, it's friggin' frigid!

It's so cold I don't even have any desire to fire up the Polaris for a spin round the hood! 



When I arrived back to Canada mid December, the temperature dropped and hasn't really improved since.  Shades of living in Alberta!  I remember well the winter of '81, living and working in Fort Mac.  That memorable winter it didn't get warmer than -40 for SIX weeks!  You read that right, minus forty as a daily high. (note: at -40 both scales meet)



Living on an Island, our mini climate is more temporal but not as of late.

Much as I try getting my head space into riding weather, I can't get over that banshee biting wind tearing at my clothes out there.  Just this past week we had gusts to 139 kph or otherwise for my American friends, 90 mph!  Fortunately the roof stayed on.

 

On the plus side, it's the end of the week in the New Year and I can already tell the days are getting longer. 

So what am I doing if I'm not wrenching, and our internet speed (a misnomer if I ever heard one) is too slow to even watch the occasional Netflix program... I've hauled out some of my old magazines, this batch being from the late '70s.  I'm reading about twin shock RM 400 Suzuki's, reading a shoot out of the 175/185 cc "dual purpose bikes" (the DT 175 won) and reading the multi colored ads which were common in the day.

Seeing the Yamaha ads prominently featuring the '79 YZ 400 brought back some interesting memories. 


Yamaha swept the US Nationals
Rich Burgett, Bob "Hurricane" Hannah and Broc "too tall" Glover




I had left my machining job at the "plant" and taken a position at Four Seasons RV World. 

In those days I was organizing the McMurray Dirt Riders (MDRA), we'd just had a new track built a few miles south of town by my contacts at Keyano's heavy equipment campus free, as part of their training program.  I was still trying to find some time to ride my own MX bike, run the then new National Canada Safety Council Program locally, when my friend and business owner John, asked me to ride MX for the shop. 

I really felt I was better learning the ropes in preparation for my soon to my departure east, to open my own venture (Freedom Cycle)  Nagging me by the day, I finally compromised with him and offered to ride "if" he got me a new Monoshock YZ 400.  Considering that they were sold out in the entire country, I felt pretty safe I wouldn't be donning my MX gear anytime in the near future. 

Well imagine my surprise when JM approaches me and asks if I can give a hand in the shop to uncrate a just arrived motorcycle, nothing unusual there. Except, to my surprise the model number on the crate states it's a YZ400F!  Yup, a brand new open class race bike. 

Given how little time I had, the YZ didn't get much use but I did have some fun at Valiant MX park (named after Gil Valiant, a young man and racer that died of a fatal disease.)

1979 YZ 400 quite a departure from racing 125's

Some of my competitors were astonished that I could pull second (and sometimes third) gear off the start line on the hard pack course. Of course the fewer times you had to shift, the quicker you could get round the circuit.  I don't remember how I did with the little time I was on the bike but I had lots of fun roosting the 45 plus bhp 5 speed two stroke, having ridden 125's for several years. 

Even after moving to PEI shortly after and building some local tracks, I never went back to the monster open bikes. 

Which brings me to another story... After opening up FCI and getting together with some guys to build a very good track in Richmond, I was back on a YZ 125J. 

That year (1982) while at the Vancouver Yamaha motorcycle dealer show if memory serves, on our way to Japan (with Mike Gallant, my partner), I happened to be talking to a very distinguished gentleman by the name of Abe, about my success with the bike.  Wanting to have a little fun with Mr. Abe, I answered him with this quip.

"I was happy with my YZ but needed more horsepower," stating in jest, that Honda's CR 125 was more powerful... and I wanted to go faster...

Being about the same height as he, but about 40 years his junior, he looked me in the eye puzzled, and asked me pointedly in broken English;

"oh... you need mo powa, you YZ 1 an 25 is not fas enuff..."

I nodded. "yes, that's correct it's not fast enough."

After a moment thinking he continued;

"No problem. You get YZ fo niney... is much fasser." 

Now it was my turn to be puzzled until the smile broke on his face... He'd got me.  I'd been had!

* (YMC's president)

( (or it might have been Mr. Ken Aoba)

My Race bike and race van!
 



 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Saving Motorcycling, act two!


The Euro Divvie 600 at the Brandenburg Gate Berlin 2008


I was reading the Bike Bandit online newsletter this past week and wrote a bit about it in this Blog.


VTR 1000 new in '98, background, The Rockies
Well, well, well... it seems this is a bit of a hot button topic, with lots of opinions.  Some suggest better training for new riders (I myself taught the CDN program for nearly 2 decades) others suggest various things like ad campaigns to promote riding, hiring firms that specialize in image building (do we really need to do that?!) (I think Trump must have used one of those) and reduced pricing. 

One thing that came up several times in comparing Motorcycling in North America with places like Japan, Europe and developing countries (China and India for example) is how the population in general views motorcycling.

It's true that we over here have, always seen motorcycling as a sport or in some cases, a work of the devil! 

My silver Citi 300i amid the wild lupins on PEI
Having ridden extensively in Europe a few years back, riding over across the pond is far better accepted and very diverse.  It doesn't hurt that Europe in general has a much higher standard of living than say... Bolivia or Viet Nam where riding bikes is cheap and common and often a necessity.



The question seems to hinge on bikes as a necessary mode of transit (everyone has seen the pics of a family of 17 riding a Honda Cub in Thailand or San Salvador or in wealthier countries, more of a fashion statement or testament to MotoGP! 

In the USA and here, riding is very much profiling as a sport. 



My last uncle, John and his wife sitting on my Little Red;
 
Szolnok HU



It was nearly closing time way back when I worked for Bow Cycle in Calgary and an older (55 ish remember I was younger then) gent whom I'd been talking to, was leaving via the front doors.  He was tall, dressed in black leather head to toe including chaps and shorty helmet, and was riding a vintage looking Honda Shadow with a short seat height, forward mounted pegs and loud pipes.  Just as we were shaking hands a CBR 900 R pulled up and parked next to the Shadow.  The rider was a 30 something, dressed also in leather but this time bright colors, full face helmet and pre curved Castre gloves, looking like he'd just come from the Isle of Man or maybe the GP at Donington! 

They got a little tangled up with who was coming through the door first, but the Sports bike rider stood by my side as the Shadow rider fired up his VT, causing the windows to vibrate  from his exhaust.  He pulled away and the fellow in the GP gear said almost under his breath...

"Damn Posers"  (actually he said F__ng Posers but you get it right?


Honestly I did a double take, okay maybe a triple.  Sure the guy on the Shadow was likely a working stiff maybe even a professional but the CBR rider certainly could be said to be a poser too... I don't think the he was a top finisher at a local GP race. 

XT 225 Serow well travelled.  This is overlooking the Sea of Cortez Baja CA

At least if the road racer replica actually lived in England or France or Germany... he was probably a very good rider and quite possibly been a regular on track days or in the stands at a local event or GP.

While on the other hand it's no wonder that Honda has sold (let me get this right) 100 million step through's.  That's 100,000,000! I myself have two.  One in the basement adjoining the TV room and the other on my book case in the living room.

I own two of the 100,000,000 sold since '54


Countries like India and China are the new burgeoning markets.  In fact India Enfield is now the fastest growing mark in the world!  Never mind that scooters and micro engine bikes thrive over there. 

Consulting with my GPS, err, map.

While the US and of course on a much smaller scale, we are suffering with dropping sales (well under 100,000 units  in Canada for example), those former poor third world countries, are selling tens of millions of motorbikes and I would venture to say, very few are Fat Boys, or 200+ bhp hyper charged Sports bikes!  I would also guess that there is NO National motorcycle training program in any of those countries.  You get on, you learn, hopefully, judging by the myriad of crash videos on U-Tube, you survive! 

This is Athens, even Holly, my well travelled daughter thought Dad had lost his mind

I clearly remember riding through Athens in '08 on my European Diversion 600 which I called Kis Piroska (Little red 'riding' hood)  It was utter chaos to the tenth power!  I stopped for directions at a local COP shop, parking on the sidewalk like the other 500 cycles/scooters of various incarnations, and asked two police officers (jokingly)  if there were any traffic rules in the city.
 


 
Refused to pose for a photo but I did get their bikes

One cop said, 'of course we have traffic rules'.  The second cop then added very quickly, 'but don't follow the rules, follow the other moto's and you'll be alright.' 

From Slovenia to Italy on the way to Portugal and the Atlantic coast

That meant splitting lanes at traffic lights, crossing the center line to get to the head of the traffic... anything but obeying basic traffic rules.  It's got to be common knowledge when even the cops are telling you to break them. I learned in Athens that riders cut their handlebars down to ease the passage between rows of cars!  But that's another story.

Obligatory cat photo, hanging around the café Gradac Croatia

Anyway, as I said at the beginning, this topic is at least for now, getting some airplay. 

1975 Me at 20, already had 7 years in.  Heading across Canada '73 R 60/5
Me, on the other hand will be starting my 50th year of continuous riding in just a few days and I can tell you this...

I did my part to encourage people to ride and tried to convince the public that NO, that guy on the Shadow was not a 'Hell's Angel or card carrying member of the Kings Crew' nor was the guy with the CBR and his race 4 into 1 pipe a professional road racer that had taken a turn at the local race track and somehow ended up on Bowness road!.

Victor441

My riding experience began in 1968 when BSAs and Triumphs and Norton's and Harley's ruled the streets. (and leaked oil profusely)

T Bolt 650

When 4 stroke Scramblers were on the way out and ring dings were beating the crap out of them everywhere on the planet.  I saw the rise of the Japanese domination of the sport as they still do, and I saw the threats posed by insurance companies and their "black lists"

As for 'Saving Motorcycles' ?  I'm passing that torch to the Trevor's and the Chris's. The  Melanie's and the Eric's of the world.  It's their turn.

As for myself, to quote Arlo Guthrie...

"I don't wan' a pickle... I just wanna ride on ma' moto-sickle!"

2002 T bird 900 Triumph, a little old, a little new!




Happy New year to all... heck, the days are already getting longer!



 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

"We Need To Save Motorcycling"




 
Honestly... if I read another such article as this one, I am going to:
 
A)   Puke
B)   Play a round of Russian roulette with 5 full chambers
C)   Go on a shooting spree with my Ultimate Toy water pistol
 

 
I've just clicked on the Bike Bandit Blog and read this headline.  Now before I get on my soap box, I want to go on record as saying, I like dealing with BB.  Over the years especially since I've had my AZ home, I have bought many things from them.  They are fast and proficient and rarely don't have an item in stock. 
 
I like reading their online newsletter and have found it to be informative.  Granted, this subject has been in my 'craw' for decades and I have seen the gradual decline in the industry and if not flogging a dead horse (no offence to horses, I'm an animal lover) it's certainly getting the crap beat outta him. 
 
read on...
 
We Need To Save “Motorcycling”                                             December 24 2017

 

I’m just reading another "We need to save motorcycling" headline.  This one in a popular Accessory supplier’s Blog.  In the last 5 years, this type of stating the obvious has been on every website, every blog, and every dealer/manufacturer newsletter. It never ceases to amaze me.

 

If you gave this puzzle to a room full of third graders, they'd be able to figure out the math in no time. The age of the average motorcycle rider in NA is getting older... not younger.  I constantly hear, see dealers, industry, magazine articles on this truth happening but rarely do I see any type of constructive answer(s)

 

I think back to the early 80's when I first came to the Island after a couple of years of prep with Four Season's in Ft Mac,  I had left a mgt job paying 2650/mo (a lot of dough then) to work at my friend's (John Metcalfe's) dealership for $500/mo, just what I needed to put food in the fridge.

 

Even back then, at age 20 I recognized that the future for me at least, lay in involvement.  Hence the effort I put into becoming the youngest Chief Instructor ever.  At the same time I was working like the proverbial beaver to keep the McMurray Dirt Riders functioning, and eventually with my contacts at Keyano College, I was able to acquire on the clubs behalf, the old gun range on which Keyano took the better part of a week to build a racetrack, which I suspect is still operational. 

 

Taking hard earned overtime money with me to PEI, I opened Freedom Cycle.  In the 10 years of existence of this shop, I with the help of several other individual enthusiasts turned it into a million plus dollar business, ultimately selling three major brands and causing a huge surge in popularity in riders, both men and women.  I've often told the story of, okay.... I'm just going to say it, Suzuki Canada in the mid 80's, turning down my co-op advertising featuring women (in riding gear not lingerie) because 'Women don't ride bikes'  My simple answer to them then, 'but they're gonna!'

 

Today women make up 4 out of 10 new buyers.  I don't imagine that individual lasted long in the industry, which I might add, has often buried their heads so deep in the sand as to hear Cantonese from the other end.

 

While at FCI we did fun runs, poker events, treasure hunts, built and supported MX racing, put on MC events as well as restarting the National MC training program on the Island.  I clearly remember Rob (Harrell) and I on any (February) Sunday down at the Waterfront mall with pylons set out on the pavement and riding YSR 50's around dodging the ice puddles!  The YSR racing program in Canada began right here at Burlington's 1/2 mile 10 turn go cart track and eventually resulted in racing on closed streets in downtown Moncton NB as well as Summerside PEI and across Canada.

 

I called Bill Whittle's reference when he had applied to work at FCI at 26 (the same age I was when I began the company) I was told they would not recommend hiring him because he was too much of an independent thinker.  That was good enough for me!

 

My entire career riding MC's has been about spreading the word, and did it ever spread.  Recently having moved back to the Island, I ran across a guy that happened to be working doing some paving for me.  As often happens I was recognized and we had a swell chat in between his work with the back hoe and my cutting the grass.  He said to me and I will quote as best I can... "Freedom Cycle created motorcycling on the Island", and if the truth were told, this was not the first time I'd heard that.

 

We sold hundreds of XS 400's and GT 80's and LS 650's and Ninja's to make what would then have been the equivalent of a modern Mega dealership, and yet, we knew our stuff, were businesslike and professional, but everything we did was F_U_N for us.  Well, mostly everything. 

 

If any of you remember back to the late 80's you may recall three young guys, that loved riding bikes, (Paul MacAusland lead singer for Haywire, and Rob Harrell), who after our first season racing YSR's, we rode all the way to T.O.

 

That's 1400km folks and unknown to me, were introduced by Dwain McKeen, YMC's then National sales mgr, and were featured to kick off the 1990 dealer show.

 

The theme behind riding 49cc "motorcycles" was simple... it stood for YOU SHOULD RIDE!

 

Wanna change the numbers?  I'm fearful that it’s too late.  Making beginner bikes now may be too little too late.  And, if my visits to current dealerships including some here on the Island are any indication... the will is simply, "Not there."  Dealers that do nothing for the sport, personnel that if not joyful are not particularly enthusiastic and an industry of moto mags that cater to the few at the top of the $$ ladder, that report (and I use this term very loosely) only the baddest, meanest, fastest, most expensive model, who at the expense of the manufacturer are jetted all over the World to ride the latest while staying at the best hotels, eat in the best most expensive restaurants and somehow manage to produce reports that are barely believable and often end their road tests with something like...

 

Pros: Massive power WSBK handling, stunning technology.

Cons: The grips are too hard!

 

Motorcycle journalism it ain't.  Brand endorsement, it be!

 

At least I did my part, and continue doing it my way.
 
 
       The good news... the days are already getting longer!!!
 
PS  MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!  as for the NEW   YEAR...JUST NEVER MIND, and KEEP RIDING!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Here I sit broken hearted...



WHAT an ordeal this mess with my Phx home has been.  I can't begin to explain the frustrations, false starts, various people I have dealt with, explaining over and over, costs associated, and 10 months later... I still don't have a home to live in.

I'm a very patient guy, ask anyone that knows me.  I was a patient machinist apprentice in my younger days, a patient Chief Instructor for the Canada Safety Council operating the National Motorcycle Training program, had not only my own MC shop but ultimately three outlets.  Patient with a former wife that was serially promiscuous, money problems at times and of course... patient as a father to two now in their mid 30's daughters.

I miss this.  Prepped and ready for a day of adventure.


Patience could be my middle name!

This ordeal with my Southern home has beat me up more than riding two hundred laps on a MX track!

I do my best to stay on an even keel regardless of the obstacles life puts into my path.  Today, as I sit in my Phx hotel room wondering if there will be any progress on my home, I watch tv, feed the local feral cats and hope that before I head home I can leave on an up note.


ON another note... it's a very nice December day, temperature will be in the mid 20's (70's F) and I'll soon pop out on my scooter and have a visit with my stalwart friend, Judy.  I'll be stopping off somewhere for my 'healthy' fast food outlet dinner.  This isn't is bad as it sounds.  Here in the US of A the choices for fast food are infinite. Back home especially on the Island, there are a few of the typical places.  Burgers, coffee shops, but it is a small Island.  Choices are limited. 

From my hotel door to my home and back is a distance of maybe 9 miles round trip.  I wouldn't be fibbing if I guesstimated perhaps 200 eating places within that radius. There's McD's, Burger Kings, Subway's, of course, then the waffle places, the taco places, the pancake places, the Sushi places, the coffee places. 

Besides that, there are hundreds of independent restaurants. Lots of  Mexican, Italian, Greek, and then there's the Golden Corral!



I feel like I'm putting on weight!  It's not so much the burgers and tacos and pop... none of which help but I come down south so I can ride my XT!  How can riding a MC be an exercise you ask, after all there isn't much exercise riding your Fat Boy to the Bar and Grill.  For decades I have ridden off road ans I still enjoy it. 

On a typical day I'll fuel up in Phx then head out of town.  Maybe to the Castle Hot Springs road, maybe Crown King or the New River canyon.  I could be riding up the Senator highway to Prescott. On these trips I am standing on the foot pegs more much of the day.  Twisting, dodging dry washes, sand, rocks, climbing, descending thousands of feet.



By the time I am heading 'home' I may have covered a 100-150 miles without seeing another human being, up and over mountains, deep in valleys, and when the 350 engine stops... I am exhausted mentally and physically.  That, to me is the best exercize I do.  Sure walking to Irishtown road with my wife is good exercise but there is nothing that I do that works my body (and mind) more than riding a trail bike.

Beautiful scenery


Period.

Sitting here in the hotel, is not doing me any good.

I'm heading home in a week. 

At some point the repairs on my place will be completed and I can put this years ordeal behind me.

All my possessions in the POD










I'll get back to eating normally and during the winter I'll be getting exercise clearing snow, keeping vehicles running, perhaps walking the track at C.O.P. and using the staircase (the real stair-master)  to keep in shape. 




At least I can do a little cooking at my hotel.



Sunday, November 26, 2017

"Well...



The John
It's a deep subject... "  

As the old joke goes.

Here I sit, in my one bedroom suite at a Marriott in Phoenix Arizona.  It's a beautiful sunny day, temperature in the high 80's. Just past noon, I'm thinking of heading out on my trusty Sun L scooter for a bite to eat at a local joint.  I have a choice of dozens of fast food vendors within 5 miles and of course I have a fridge and stove so I can make something on my own.  Since I finished my left-overs last night from the day before I don't really feel like cooking today. 



The kitchen
Thanksgiving Thursday, I met Jude and her Mum at the Golden Corral and even though it was packed, it was well organized and we got in with only a 15 minute wait.  I was quite proud of myself for keeping the meal to a single plate although I admit I had a healthy sampling of desserts!  Seems to me I am getting little in the way of exercise except for the walk around the complex during the early evening, looking for feral cats to feed.  Last spring there were dozens but so far I have only spotted two and one of those only a couple of times, it's a puzzle.


When I go I'm prepared!
The progress rebuilding my home I wrote about last blog has slowed considerably and I am discouraged.  It is pretty clear to my eyes that repairs won't be completed prior to my having to depart on the return leg of this trip.  What that is going to mean and how it washes out, I don't know.  I'm beginning to think I will have to make a third trip back with my ordeal now stretching into it's 10th month.  To make matters worse, I have not ridden my XT 350 since this time last year.  In short I bought the place here in order to ride in different terrain and longer into the year.  I've had some excellent riding over the years but with this dilemma, that stopped dead last year.



My entire Phx life is in here!
I tried to find some riding gear in the POD but it's so jammed full, I have no idea where my gear may be.  I have a pair of jeans or two, some slip on canvas shoes and a helmet.  Nothing else.  When I ride in isolated locales like Baja Mexico or the US SW, I go prepared.  I take food, water, clothing for layering an air pump and even leave a hand sketched map for Judy.  This way if I run into some unplanned calamity at least she knows where to send SAR help! 



Looks like the new skins will have to wait until next year.
Much as I would love to get away from my current circumstances, I have to be patient and deal with the reality of my situation.  My patience after 10 months is running ragged.



So... I guess I'd better get my jeans on, grab my helmet and  find something to eat. 

Even the ever helpful Boo is wondering what's going on



This is why I love trail riding down here!!

I "ain't" getting any younger...


Monday, November 13, 2017

P is for Progress!



IT'S a shame that I am in Phx where the days are warm and sunny while the nights are warm and  sultry... and I am confined to the local area.  After the initial shock of seeing my two batteries on the charger but the charger breaker off (along with the rest) I had the two topped up by the following day.  I was having visions of having to buy new batteries again, but fortunately dodged that bullet.

My kitchen


I have virtually no clothes, no socks and no riding gear save for a helmet and gloves (which I bought last spring).  The POD is still where it was 9 months ago and it's still locked. 

I just came from 'home' to see that Robert and Phillip are doing well on the initial painting and assorted work.  He tells me there will be a different crew here tomorrow painting the accent colors.  That sounded a mite odd, but hey... I'm just glad to see some Progress!

Living room and entry

The two of them worked through the weekend (Memorial Day here in the US) when I thought we would certainly take this weekend off.  Well I did anyway.  Watched some war movies and documentaries related to that history.  This is after all Arizona and the battleship by that name was one of 6 sunk during the attack by Japanese forces December 7th 1941 at Pearl Harbor.  My local library has a small memorial plaque in its yard.

Coco last spring before our departure to Canada

Fuel is still quite inexpensive at a common $2.25-2.35 per US gallon.  A single one of those will give me a typical scooter range of 85 miles.  It would probably improve if I had a bit more horsepower but the 150cc fan cooled Adventure is less than 10 bhp.  I don't have any problems around city streets and have even taken two day long trips on her.  One was across the cities to Apache Junction a few years back and last year I took little used paved country roads to roll on 180 miles via Wickenburg. My Citicom with 21 hp would be quite useful down here but hey... the Chaun-L is light, reliable and has enough room for 3-4 bags of groceries.  In other words, she's been my mule for almost 10 years.

Got sorted with my PC roaming this morning so that should give me more flexibility using my cell.  Hopefully I will meet again with Robert the PM on my digs and we can get on with my choosing material and fixtures.  Ultimately I would relly love to be able to spend as much time s possible in my own place than this Marriott hotel, the same place I stayed last year except for not having the companionship of Coco, who I am missing a lot.  Nevertheless, I am glad she is there in her new home and not here in this hotel room.

Boo, has her own keys to my digs...


Hey... maybe things will come together and I can squeeze in a ride.  Ever since getting stalled out lost looking for the Old Stagecoach rd this time last year, I would like to tackle it again and complete the loop.

Well TTFN as they say!



Just another beautiful sunny Arizona day!







Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Long and Winding road.


This... is my kitchen!

Sometimes the toughest roads are not roads at all.

No quoting of Forrest Gump allowed here, but indeed this last few months, my southern home has caused me a great deal of grief.  Having moved across the country lessened my time down there and this year especially, I've not been able to take advantage of riding my XT over mountains and through dry washes.  With the calamity that befell my place and the subsequent dilemma of having it repaired, have seemed like two trips, a year in fact, wasted.

I'm heading down next week and although re-construction has begun with a new project manager, me thinks I will be spending most if not all this trip, sitting idle in a hotel room... again.  This entire episode of my life I will chalk up to experience and not one I'd wish to repeat.

I bought my US home while I still lived out west.  From Calgary it was a short flight.  I would board the plane at 6 am and by noon I was parking my scooter at the grocery store.  Even when I drove I-15 and I did Love driving it, there was much to see once south of Great Falls. I enjoyed the couple of nights I'd spend in a Motel usually around Dillon, MT then again in Nephi, Utah, anticipating my visit and where the next one would take me.

Having moved to the east coast limits my time to a few short weeks each year.  Not that I couldn't stay longer but even at this point in my life, I still have obligations and duties to face up to.

I fly now, driving is too time consuming, and as such... I sneak in a few weeks between seasons hoping that it doesn't snow 'back home' while I am away.  Although the weather has been beautiful and even today I am looking out on blue skies and fine temperatures, this is Canada and we live in a land of four seasons.

How much longer I can do this... that is unknown.  With Lisa and family living within an afternoon's drive, I will no doubt be spending more of my time with her and the family.  Holly and Kev on the other hand, have moved from Calgary to Seattle to work and recently bought a house.  I suspect that my efforts and time will shift north from Phx.

In any case, it's the end of October, I've ridden most of my bikes in recent weeks and now its time to pack them up once again and get the snowblower and blade equipped Big Bear ATV ready for what's coming.  It's a lot of work to keep vehicles in prime shape and if I don't put the effort in, pretty soon rust intrudes, paint fades, mechanical parts cease to work.  Hmmm, sounds a lot like my body!

Today I dealt with the remaining batteries which even with a great deal of care, in Trevor's own words, "they knew how to put men on the moon but can't make a M/C battery last two years"!

On the plus side I was doing some shopping the other day and got talking to a staff member who noticing my gear, asked me what I was riding.  We came outside after paying my bill and he admired my XT 600, Big Blue.  He plumb near fell over when I answered his question as what model year it was, stating it was a 1990.  If your math is bad, that makes this bike 28 years old.  In fact my DT 50 L/C is even older at 29 and my XT 225 isn't far off being a '92 model I've owned since new.



1989 DT 50 L/C



1990 XT 600E

1992 XT 225 Serow



1998 XT 350

1982 FT 500
1996 F 150 4X4 Supercab