Vintage Cars Rainy Day Story

And people think riding motorcycles is dangerous?  The first thought that hit me at about the time I start to merge onto the 71 freeway, towards the 10 freeway, and 90 minutes later arrive at downtown LA and the convention center.  This 1954 VW bug is older than I am yet still on the road today in its original form.  The reason I couldn’t find seat belts is because it doesn’t come with any.  I could easily keep up but, the stopping part takes some getting used to.  The brakes I later learned are cable actuated; similar to a bicycle.  Scary at times as I try to keep up with a 1952 VW bug that is also following a towed VW 1942 Kubel wagon.  Yet somehow the three of us manage to stay together almost the entire way.  At our pace I actually see, feel and experience the road.  Did you know the 10 freeway truck lane is full of pot holes.  Now why is that?  Some stupid fool in a stolen car during a police car chase can clear all lanes of traffic for hours on end yet, there is no time to fill in the pot holes.  If anyone can text and drive this VW without killing themselves then my hats off to them.  Attention to every detail is the norm.  The bug is so narrow on a car lane you could almost fit two of them.  Finally.  The last third of the way there I start to relax and actually enjoy the drive.  At about this time at least two other drivers honk their horn at me and when I look their way they quickly give me a thumbs up!  This makes me feel good.  And for a moment the sun peeks out and I naturally stick my left elbow out the window and rest it on the window sill.  I’m reliving the first years of my teenage driving years.  Life is good and it looks like I’ll live to ride my motorcycle once again.

Rest of the story:  I tried to get out of it but, didn’t or couldn’t.  Thanks Kimball it actually turned out to be a great driving experience.  Thousands of vintage car enthusiasts voluntarily brought their cars to the convention center to display them to the public at  weekends (3/3 3/4) Vintage car show.  You too can relive the experience without getting behind the wheel or hitting the road.


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Africa Twin Shakeout Ride

Some people fly by the seat of their pants.  I don’t, possibly because I want to maximize my knowledge of the area I plan on visiting.  Maybe this is part of why I’ve been called “the most prepared”.  When confronted with a task mentally I walk it through and then test it.  Our upcoming Key West to San Diego motorcycle ride is a prime example.

First I needed a new bike after selling my 2009 BMW F650GS with close to 43,000 miles.  Where to purchase the new bike?  I tried Florida first.  Two separate dealers sounded real good but, when it came time to close the deal they both sort of backed out.  Possibly because of some hidden fees or cost?

I purchased my 2017 Honda Africa twin locally at Malcolm Motorsports Riverside.  And two days from today she ships from LA to Ft. Lauderdale at the cost of $655.00.  But, what this allowed me to do was to get the break the bike in, get intimate with it and add the  accessories to really make it mine and comfortable for an upcoming 3800+ mile ride.  A full dress rehearsal is what the photos above represent.  A ride out to Meadview, Arizona to visit a friend and road trip to the Grand Canyon.

The first time I saw the Grand Canyon I was less than 30 days from entering basic training and today I am retired.  I’ve ridden many motorcycles since then but, truly this one at this time feels just right.


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My new 2017 Honda Africa Twin


Recently my new 2017 Honda Africa Twin shipped to Florida for the purpose of a Key West to San Diego ride via the southernmost U.S. border.  Soon I will follow and will  share the experience.






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San Ignacio Whale Watching Trip


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Road Warriors Baja Road Trip – 2017

Subject:  Road Warriors Road Trip Baja – February 2017

This year I turn 62 and since I don’t have to work within the confines of vacation time I decided to take a little trip down baja way – to see the grey whales.  My trusty steed, a road worthy 2004, 4Runner, also known as the Road Warrior is fast approaching 180,000 miles; similarly equal to my 61-year-old stature, except that the warrior looks much better.

And almost at the last-minute I make a command decision to pick up a passenger whom I’ll call  Johnny Reb; an expat now living in Ensenada, aboard a 50′ fishing boat.  And just like that we go from a simple drive to La Paz to stopping to see the grey whales in San Joaquin or San Ignacio, the Western Flyer (41′ Defever trawler), possibly a visit to Copper Canyon, La Paz and other adventures in baja land, Mexico.  Perhaps this tag team duo can put a smile on your face or take you along on this adventure.  Only time will tell.


The Road Warriors – Update:  My 2004 4Runner made it to 181,000 miles before she was traded in for a brand new 2017 4Runner.


The rest of the story:  The trip was a total success without so much as a break down or near death experience.  Also without making reservations we showed up unannounced at San Ignacio and camped out the night before.  The next morning after a wonderful breakfast John and I boarded a panga with a third paying passenger, a guy on a KTM adventure bike touring baja.  $50.00 each and well worth the trip.  Within 30 minutes a three year old grey whale came by acting like a puppy dog that wanted and needed to get petted.


And then we drove some more eventually making our way to La Paz.

And in La Paz we swam with the whale sharks.  $60.00 and a panga picked us up right at our dock.


Since earlier I stated that this is the rest of the Baja story then I need to include here that my crew (Jeff and Robert) and I bashed our way up in 2017 aboard the Western Flyer.   The Western Flyer is now in her new berth in Huntington Harbour and with a new owner who is taking excellent care of her.  And in case you want to know spring time is not the best of times for bringing a boat up the baja coastline.  15 foot seas and crappy conditions prevailed.  For a while it felt like I was on a roller coaster ride that we could not get off.


For me the voyage started in Portland, Oregon.  We made it as far as La Paz and now a return trip to Huntington Harbour, where we parted ways.

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Adventure Bike Taco Ride Day 1

Day 1 of 3 – Our Taco Ride

The 10 adventure bike riders met at the local IHOP in Lake Elsinore for the start of a three day taco ride. BMW was well represented along with KLM.  The other single bikes included a Super Tenere, Yamaha and Africa Queen, Honda.

It’ called a taco ride because we were suppose to sample tacos along the way. As of day one non sampled until dinner a little while ago before they sweep up and put away the sidewalks in Yuma.

Dinner at Tacos No Rancho, Yuma, Arizona.  Nothing to brag about.  LA has the best tacos and we know it.

Our goal:  A taco run put on by gpskevin who is not on this ride because he is still healing after dumping his Africa Twin Honda on a ride.  Two broken ribs and a punctured lung. Kevin is the best spokesperson for this sport.  Non humbler.  Did I tell you he rode a scooter across America?

Today we stood near the border fence. And on this side of a moat.  The guys asked if this was Trumps fence as parts of it looked a gold color.  Must’ve been a mirage or the setting sun.

No tacos on the border but, the view was amazingly pictureresque and the air much warmer the further south we rode.  Temperature is about high 60s to 70+. Met two guys 31st the gas station grim Oregon who trailers their bikes down.  Said it was 10 degrees back home.

Why tacos?  The perfect food?

1)  You have your shell.  – i.e. the shell is healthy only if handmade.

2)  Then you have your protein part.

3) Then you Salsa.

Taco salsas are divided into two categories: red and green.

If you’re lucky enough, there might be a runny Green sauce called – guacamole (yes, it is watery on purpose to better dress your tacos.

4) Then your toppings

Standard toppings for tacos are onion, cilantro, and lime. A good taqueria should have finely minced onion and chopped non-wilted cilantro, unless you like biting on a huge chunk of raw onion and soggy greens.

If eating fish tacos, toppings should be finely minced crisp cabbage. These chopped vegetables and fresh herbs are here for textural crunch and for their fat-cutting vegetal qualities.

Our final destination today and lodging is in Yuma, AZ ad the Coronado Hotel.

Yuma is still a place where traces of the old western way of life still exists.  Take for example the downtown area and our lovely Best Western – Coronado hotel.

During 1849, more than 60,000 people headed to the California gold fields from here after crossing a rope ferry bridge that would carry them across to Colorado.  If you were after gold in the 1800s then you probably came through Yuma.

Just an hours ride away, near Fisher’s Landing, you can enjoy the pristine landscape formed by the Colorado river.

Our day 2 takes us to Twentynine palms.  Our day mileage was 291 Mike’s.  Not bad for less than 4 gallons or so of gas used.

Tomorrows mileage is about the same.  Maybe I will eat more tacos.

Today we went down the great spurn divide and two, country two, deserts.  The Anza Bodega and Yuma.  Lots of Indian Reservations spotted.  Lots of mansions in them hills, and orchards everywhere.

Calexico is probably as close to crossing into Mexico as we got.  Tomorrow Blythe for gas and lunch.  And a visit to Bosnia Tree National park.

During WWII General Patton’s troops trained here (Yuma) or nearby here before embarking across to fight in Africa.  Bob Hope held USO shows here and there is still a USO lounge somewhere in Yuma.  Yuma is one of the largest military testing grounds for the military and has a museum open to the public.

Yuma Territorial prison is another landmark, it operated for over 75 years. The local school uses the school mascot name, they call themselves the “Criminals”.  Not making this up.

Amelia Earhart also landed in Yuma while competing in the powder puff airrace.  She is also said to have nosed over her propeller while landing and required a new propeller to continue the race.  Of course we won’t get to see any of this as we came to ride.

Pictures are on my camera so they will be loaded here later.

Adios from Yuma.

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‘Ol Blue and PWC Riding the California River Delta

Sunday, October 30, 2016 – 1:15 PM

‘Ol blue as she is affectionately now known has until recently sat quietly with a blown engine since our last ride up to the California River Delta.  And now in her old age she can easily be compared to an old rescued pound dog, as she has found the shelter of a three car garage; compared to her old life of a cement car port slab, albeit about a five-minute drive from an ocean launch ramp.  In her PWC world she outlasted one single and one double brand new Zieman trailers; both dying an agonizing constant battle with salt water metal fatique before succumbing to the scrap heap.  Ol Blues Seadoo Icatch trailer now supports an eight year old hull that is timeless.  This same boat hull has pounded some of the roughest seas the San Pedro channel from Ventura county to LA County down to San Diego can dish out.

Fortunately or unfortunately as you may now see it our small group of West Coast PWC club riders tempted fate the day her rotax engine blew by taking a run way out past the San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge and returning on an ebbing tide.  Two of my bucket list PWC rides in one; riding out the Golden Gate and California River Delta.

Yes folks, with winter and snow skiers now starting to look upwards at the mountains and slopes; we are proudly the snow boarder equivalents of the boating world.

And this weeks West Coast clubs upcoming Delta Wussie Ride is now just the perfect opportunity to put Ol Blue back in the water, starting at Ouray with the cold California river delta that eventually turns brackish as we head north towards Sacramento and the cold unforgiving Pacific ocean.

Simply put the last time we rode this way, on the second day of riding Ol Blues rotax engine ingested some bad fuel mixed in with maybe a little saltwater that subsequently steamed up; blowing out an exhaust valve that finally seized the Seadoo rotax.  With her hull at nearly 300 hours of running time and her engine modified and rebuilt several times in her career, she is the $$ equivalent of a small Mercedes.

Thank you Ol Blue for going out when you did and in style.  Thank goodness we were fairly close to the start of our run from Ouray, California to Sacramento when you died.  As fate would have it, a welcome short tow back (forever humbly grateful to Lewis) and loaner Kawasaki 300 Ultra from David is the difference between a great ride and an ordeal.  Fast forward to the first week in November 2016; and returning to California delta waters.

Thanking you in advance Jim Walker for a most excellent rebuild.  For those not already familiar Ol Blue is a 2008 Seadoo GTX LTD purchased new from the LA boat show the same year at a cost with trailer for 15k.  Sort of my learner ski that continues to take a beating and still keeps on ticking.  She has outlasted two Ultras; one sold for parts.  Ol Blue is a real veteran of the PWC world.  She has made at least fifty runs to, from and around Catalina island; including the inaugural first and multiple trips from Los Angeles to San Diego and back, plus riding to far away places like Lake Mead.  Ol Blue was loaned out at least once to compete in Northern California and at least once in a S. Cal race; she is a twice Mark Hahn 300 mile endurance race veteran in Lake Havasu, NV, once in the stock class where she trophied.  In the race modified class she did not fare as good; she has also competed in the Long Beach to Catalina Island race, Dana Point to Oceanside and Dana Point to Avalon.

“There are other things that I could do but, there is really nothing I love doing as much as I love riding ‘Ol Blue”.




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More Colorado Motorcycle Ride Picture


On a training ride with Ed.  Note the RotoPax.  This is where I carry all my tools to fix a flat or other roadside emergency.


Since I enjoy hiking in the back country but, don’t necessarily enjoy getting lost.  Marking the trail.


Tacos and beer at the town of Durango.


Mother and calf got separated with calf on one side of the road and mother cow watching from the other side.


Ride to Mesa Verde National Park and visit to the Anasazi Heritage Center.  One of the best unplanned stops and riding.


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Colorado Backcountry Motorcycle Trip – August 2016

My Colorado Backcountry Motorcycle Trip – August 2016

The Western Flyer is safely moored in La Paz so, upon returning home from La Paz, Baja California, to escape the summer heat I began researching adventure motorcycles.  To be honest, I was actually looking for a great used convertible sports car to purchase for under $10,000.00.  The Porsche Boxster S made the final cut but, common sense prevailed and I became the proud owner of a 2009 (BMW F650GS).  It did not take me long to get back up to speed with riding and soon I signed up for a road trip to do the Colorado Backcountry trails.


Photo above:  Ourphir Pass

And yes of course there are the details of searching for and acquiring the correct bike and bike brand the first time.  Then onto getting licensed again, the registration, all the associated riding and maintenance equipment and finally becoming one with bike.

Our one week (7 days) riding itinerary ( took us from the town of Dolores to Ouray; Ouray to Buena Vista; Buena Vista to Leadville to Diamond J Ranch; to Steamboat Springs; to Meeker; then backdown Steamboat Springs to Meeker; Meeker to Crested Butte; Crested Bute to Dolores.

I trailered my adventure bike from Los Angeles to Flagstaff, AZ.  The very next day freed from the trailer I rode down to Sedona.


Photo Above:  If you fear heights then this ride is not for you.  Yes, I dropped the bike on two occasions on this very trail.  When I purchased the bike the guy also gave me the original front and rear sprocket.  The aftermarket parts provided a longer riding first gear.  Great for on the road but not so, for trail riding.


Photo above:  Looks easy but, for fear of going over the side, I opted to stay on the inside left where I was easily thrown by the loose and falling rock.


Photo above:  Beautiful and amazing country.  On our ride up we encountered about seven vehicles (Subaru, Jeep, Toyota).


Photo above:  Now this was more my type of riding.  Stopping to enjoy the scenery and take a few pictures.

On the surface that first paragraph you just read plus a few pictures may easily describe this seven day large adventure bike backcountry ride for those that don’t ride.  Here is my first attempt at making this report somewhat useful for anyone wanting to follow one of the best road trips around.


The state of Colorado has more varied high altitude backcountry rides than any other state in the USA.  Given a choice of hiking, bicycle, jeep or motorcycle which would you take to traverse the most country for the least cost?  If you chose motorcycle then you are correct.  And, if you chose an adventure bike then consider your trip through both high altitude passes and single track riding possible.  Yes, we got hailed, rained and snowed on.  The forest service roads changed constantly from loose gravel to no gravel to avoiding cattle, deer, water crossings.  Thanks to riding with good, well prepared friends we all came down the mountain.  Final tally, one went home with a broken ankle, another with hurt ribs, a few bumps, bruises and scrapes.  Lots of broken BMW parts on anything from a 650 to a 1200.  The larger bikes outnumbered the smaller bikes.

To be continued:



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Baja Road Trip Pictures

2004 Toyota 4Runner, looking good with a brand new paint job, new carpet, custom front push bar and led light bar.  Looks and runs better than new.

The early bird catches the worm.  For those like me that miss details like (time change) an early start is justifiable.  The desert in the early hours can be awe-inspiring.

Once cannot say all of Baja is this way or that way.  The condition of the road is constantly changing as is the various forms of desert ecosystem.

Trees!  The further north on Baja one goes the less topes.  Topes are speed bumps that can dramatically alter your vehicles suspension system if they catch you by surprise.  On this particular day, all of the towns passed must’ve coordinated a fund-raising for the local fire department.  Fire fighters and their supporters were standing by for any loose coins.

109 degrees outside and it is not yet noon.  The truck in the picture broke down on the way up the hill.  The area, usually on the outskirts of many town seem to be the chosen spot for wrecking yards.  Llanteras (tire repairs) are usually designated by one tire balanced atop another tire.  Mexicans do not seem to easily discard a tire that has achieved its manufacturers life expectancy.  A good portion of Mexican drivers seem to not carry a spare, jack or repair kits.  But, get in trouble on the road and a road angel will almost magically appear to help.


View towards Ensenada, vicinity or Marina Coral.  Roundabouts are common as are four-way stops, known as Altos. Mexican city drivers do appear to be more vigilant than US drivers.


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