Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Time to Fess Up

I have a confession to make. I sold my motorcycles and bought a VW Vanagon Westfalia. You know, the hippie camper vans. I suppose the 'real' hippie vans are the older air-cooled ones. This model wasn't produced until the '80s, well after the height of the flower power crowd.

Mine is a 1984 Wolfsburg edition in two-tone brown and beige. I've upgraded to larger wheels and tires, and installed a 2.5L Subaru engine out of a 2004 Forester. This upgraded the van's power from around 75hp to about 165hp. Just a little difference ;-)

So, the lady and I will be making our future epic voyages in Sasquatch, our camper van.

Don't worry, i'm still motarded and will have motorcycles again. They will continue to be a life-long passion. But right now, we're having fun trying something a little different. This way, we can travel year round, and can bring gear with us. Like bicycles, backpacking gear, skis, etc. Sasquatch is fairly capable on rough roads and light off-roading too, so we should be able to get most of the places we went on the bike, albeit a bit slower.

Friday, August 28, 2009

CB450R Cafe Racer Kits Convert Honda CRF450R Dirt Bike to Street Legal Cafe Racer

Here's another really cool single-cylinder roadbike.

It's available as a kit to owners of CRF450s. You use the engine and various parts of the CRF, along with the kit and build this 240 lb, 55hp fun-machine. This would be so ridiculously fun to rip around town and tight country roads on.

Check out the link and read the full story. It's pretty much exactly what i was talking about in my previous post.

CB450R Cafe Racer Kits Convert Honda CRF450R Dirt Bike to Street Legal Cafe Racer

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Concept: Benelli Mojave 450

Saw this concept over on Motorcycle Daily; it's inspired by a '60s model Benneli scrambler. I think a bike like this with an engine from a modern 450-650 single off-road bike, good suspension and brakes in a very compact package with unique style like this would be a ton of fun and maybe a good seller. I would definitely like it but i'm not sure how much of a market is actually there.

Anyhow, i thought this was great and i should share it.

Concept: Benelli Mojave 450

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Free Computer in Bend, OR

I thought i might as well post this here. It's pasted in from an email i just sent out"

Hey everyone, I just want to put out the word. I have a decent Dell computer that I would be happy to give to anyone in need of a computer. It's a desktop computer, has 20 GB or so of free hard drive space and has a monitor and keyboard. All that is needed is a mouse.

I just deleted the whole hard drive and re-installed windows and also installed the latest versions of Firefox and OpenOffice (like Microsoft Office but free). So it's nothing fancy but will work just fine for web-surfing, email and doing homework. It should play music fine too if you have a set of speakers or headphones.

So, just email me back if you or someone you know could put it to use!

Troy Smith

Rather than email me, if you read this and are interested, just leave a comment to this post.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Moto-Pics from The Big Trip

I've been wanting to put together a "ride report" for the 17-day ride that Burl and I took through California in June. It's a lot of work though! I have over 1,500 pictures to sort through. Well I made some progress today and sorted it down to 530 pictures from the 1,500. I need to narrow it down quite a lot more still.

Here is a sample of some of the fun motorcycle-y pictures.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Do You Really Believe This Stuff?

I hate inflammatory political emails. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only kind there are. Political emails are almost always false. Sometimes entirely false. Usually they twist some small kernel of truth around so bad that it becomes entirely misleading and implies a totally false principle, even though based on some piece of truth. This is a perfect example:


No Term Limit for Obama???

Check it out Scroll down and click

Change! Boy is it coming!

A Democrat has now introduced legislation that would repeal the 22 Amendment to the Constitution - the prohibition against any President serving more than two terms in office.

Just like the Nazis, the Communists, and the Fascists, Obama and the Democratic Party is moving to posture the U.S. Presidency for succession by one President. That's how Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini became "Leaders for Life". Once the 22nd Amendment is repealed, the next step is to pass an Amendment to the (already emasculated) Constitution which permits a majority in the House of Representatives to designate a President as "President for Life".
Wake up America ! Contact your congressional representative and make it VERY clear that you oppose this proposed legislation.

H. J. Res. 5 - Repealing 22nd Amendment bill was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on 1/6/09 and then referred to the Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on 2/9/09. (Check it out on the government websites listed below.)

Earlier this year, Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y. introduced H. J. Res. 5, a bill that would repeal the Constitution's 22nd Amendment which prohibits a president from being elected to more than two terms in office, thus potentially paving the way to make Barack Obama president for life.. Not surprisingly, the corporate media currently caught up in Obama-mania has not covered this story.

"Will George W. Bush end up being the last true U.S. President?" asked Sher Zieve, writing for the Canadian Free Press on January 14. " As I warned you on multiple times prior to the 2008 General Election, 'Once Obama is elected, we won't be able to get rid of him.' Tragically, this warning is now being realized. Not only has Obama established his election-fraud organization ACORN nationwide, his adherents have now begun the process to repeal the U.S. Constitution's 22nd Amendment."

See the proof on any of these websites. J _5..html

Or go to Google and do your own search by typing in H. J. Res. 5
When Americans suffer the loss of liberties here at home, it will be justified by the government as a necessary provision against danger(s), real or pretended, from abroad.

Now, as a rational person, with some grip on reality, i thought to myself, "Hmm, eliminating term limits for the president? That sounds like a pretty big deal. You'd think I'd have heard something about that from somewhere other than wacko emails. I wonder if there might be some chance that something from the internet may not be entirely true?"

So I did something crazy. Before panicking, declaring that the world has gone to hell in a hand basket, and forwarding this email to all of my friends and then running out to buy ammunition (because there's about to be a 500% tax on it, don't you know?) and canned food... before doing all that, i thought maybe i should check into the legitimacy of this claim.

I first went to I found out that there is a New York Rep. who believes that there should not be term limits for elected officials, but that they should remain in place until they lose an election. He believes this as a matter of principle and he has proposed this bill in 1997 and every other year since then, including years that G.W. Bush was in office. But clearly, it must be the Adolph Obama's plan. He probably started this whole conspiracy in 1997 in preparation for now.

Next, to be sure, i went to another of my favorite sites, and searched for "Obama term limits" and found the following Gosh, wouldn't you know it, it says the same thing. It says that ever since the 22nd amendment was instituted, shortly after Franklin D. Roosevelt died, there has been some opposition to the amendment.

How ridiculous and stupid does this statement sound, in light of the truth? "Just like the Nazis, the Communists, and the Fascists, Obama and the Democratic Party is moving to posture the U.S. Presidency for succession by one President. That's how Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini became "Leaders for Life"." I'd say that statement is pretty embarrassing in light of the truth.

It's fantastic how the author of this inflammatory email has actually done the research to verify that indeed the bill does exist. They even provided the links for proof! It's true, they're right there at the bottom of the email. In fact, the author encourages us to check it out. That's great. Now if you take a moment and actually read the 3rd link provided by the conspiracy theorist himself, you'll see that it says: "Over the past six congressional sessions, several members of Congress have introduced similar legislation, including Sen. Harry Reid in 1989 ( S.J.Res. 36). As is likely the case in the 111th Congress, the resolutions have never proceeded out of committee. Furthermore, given its past history, it is not likely that such resolutions have been or are currently tied to any specific presidential session."

Why what's this? This has happened over the past six congressional sessions? It happened way back in 1989? Hmm, it sounds much better to imply that this is the first time and that Obama is behind it all. Oh, nobody bothers to read the proof because they're afraid that if they know the truth then they won't feel justified in hating whoever is the target inflammatory email? Oh, the author of the email didn't have to worry about anyone reading the 'proof' because they were confident that their supporters would react emotionally and not rationally to the content of the email. Once emotion is involved and you stand up and shout in support of the message (in your head anyway), it's awfully embarrassing to then go back and read the evidence and change your mind. Probably easier to just stick with it and blend in with the rest of the standing and shouting crowd. It feels good to be there, in the crowd, right?

I love this part: "Not surprisingly, the corporate media currently caught up in Obama-mania has not covered this story." Gee, maybe the reason the Obama-obsessed media hasn't covered this story is because THERE IS NO STORY HERE. They did a little research, employed a sliver of intelligence and found out that there is nothing new here and nothing news-worthy.

Please, do as Mr. Inflammatory Author suggests: Wake Up America! Don't believe everything on the internet. Listen to your senses and be skeptical of things that sound crazy. Don't go the other way and automatically assume that they aren't true either; find the truth.

...and take me off of your FWD list, i don't have time to read the rants of every wackjob who wants to make up a conspiracy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Typo in my Passport?

Some of you who know me know that i am sometimes an obnoxious grammar snob. If you read much of this or listen to me talk, you know that it's fairly ridiculous for me to be a grammar snob because i really don't know that much about grammar! There are some things that bother me though, because i'm just that way; what can i say?

So i was looking at my passport and i think i see a grammatical error. One word that almost never seems to get used when it should is "ensure." The word "insure" almost always gets used instead.

Look at the picture. I think it should say "ensure", not "insure". What do you think?

Really though, it can't be an error can it? Isn't that the text of the constitution. Now I have to go look it up...
...ok, i'm back. Yeah, that's it. So i guess I don't understand the difference between the two words either. I thought Insurance pretty much referred to financial institution type of references, and Ensure meant to make sure of something. I dunno... English is hard.

Also, feel free to correct my grammar with extreme prejudice and complete lack of mercy. In fact, that goes for all my posts really. I don't mind, and maybe if i'm corrected enough i'll get it right.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Motorcycle Wave

(Note: Picture from this guys blog post. He endorses waving, but it sounds like he hasn't been riding long... give him a few years.)

I don't generally do the motorcycle wave. You know, how there's some universal courtesy that all motorcyclists wave at all other motorcyclists. I could understand it if you lived in a time or place where there were very few riders, and seeing another one was an uncommon event and there was a good chance that yourself and that other rider were kindred spirits, or had some common thread or understanding that was shared by few others.

It's not like that though. At least not any more, and not around here. There are thousands of motorcyclists even in my relatively sparsely populated little corner of the world. I probably wouldn't even like most of them! Ok, just kidding, that's probably not true. Still though, I really doubt that I have more in common with most of the guys that wave at me, than I might have in common with the person in the car behind them.

You don't see every guy driving a chevy pickup waving at every other guy in a chevy pickup.

Now, maybe the world would be a better place if you did see that. Maybe I'm a jerk for putting negativity into the world, when all that's required is a simple acknowledgment of the person who's waving at me. But seriously, it's a hassle. It happens so frequently that I just get tired of it. Especially during The-Big-Trip last month, where we were on the road for 17 days. I must have ignored like 400 motorcycle waves (but i probably waved back 150 times). Anyway, it just seems silly to me at this point.

I'm more than happy to be courteous and pleasant to any motorcyclist that wants to talk to me at a gas station or whatever, but the wave, I dunno, I'm over it.

Now, sometimes, when i see an adventure/tour bike, loaded up and obviously in the middle of a long trip, I'm more inclined to wave to that person. The reason is that now we've narrowed the crowd down to a small enough subset that myself and that person probably do have something in common.

Anyway, long story short: I'm a jerk and i think the motorcycle wave no longer means much of anything and so i don't do it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Super-Clean XS650 Cafe Racer

Came across this one over at Most of the bikes over there are more chopper / bobber than I'm really into (which is fine, it's called XS650chopper after all); I'm more into the street trackers and cafe racers or just UJM style. Anyway, I think this bike is exceptionally well done and I wanted to share it here.

I especially like that he's retained the fenders, added dual discs up front, piggyback reservoir shocks and though i don't usually like them, i think i like the bar-end turn signals. Also, great selection on the tank and seat cowl. From what i can tell, the guages look very well matched as well.

I don't think i like the rear sets, and i'd go for more coned pipes, but overall it is very inspiring and very close to what i’ve begun to put together in my head.

From Nihil Sine Labore

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Windigo - Mrazek: Mountain Biking

Finally rode some trails today that I've been wanting to ride for a long time. My friend Raym and I dropped my truck off at Shevlin Park, then took his truck up to Dutchman Flat (next to Mt Bachelor). We rode from Dutchman up a trail that I believe was marked as Flagline, but isn't named at all at my map and that I was told later in the day was probably Windigo Trail. Anyway, we rode from Dutchman NW toward Happy Valley and the top of North Fork Trail. Then up to the road 4601/370 intersection and the start of Mrazek Trail which we rode all the way back down to Shevlin Park.

The first mile and a half was fantastic. It's a very fun, windy trail, in a cool kind of forest and has some good views along the way. Then it starts to climb. It actually wasn't too bad of a climb and was still a fun trail but we started to run into snow. It's still pretty early in the year to try to ride at that elevation (we were up to 6,800' one time that i checked, i'm not sure what our highest was) so i was expecting some snow and plenty of blown down trees across the trail. I was not dissapointed, there was an abundance of both. So there was a fair amount of carrying the bike over snow and trying to find the trail again, and a lot of climbing over fallen trees.

There was also an incredible amount of mosquitoes, maybe the most i've ever seen. It was a little ridiculous and it was very obnoxious and distracting. They were so severe that they caused Raym and I to lose our tempers a little bit. Anyway, after an hour or so we were through the snow and the worst of the mosquitoes. There was some seriously great downhill riding that brought us to the top of the North Fork Trail. We stopped and had lunch on the bridge. Some nice hikers we met there let us dowse ourselves in their bug-repellent spray, which was a great help.

From there on the ride went on pretty much without a hitch. Lots of good trails and scenery and fun riding. No crashes or mechanical issues. We finished up with a little over 26 miles.

After the ride I went up to Elk Lake to meet my girlfriend and several of our friends. The water was surprisingly (to me) very comfortable and refreshing and was exactly what i needed after the ride. Then we hung out on the beach, had a brew or two, played some games and swam some more. A pretty great day!