Monday, November 29, 2010

Alaska Marine Highway Ferry: Columbia

The schedule is showing the Columbia departing Bellingham Washington at 6pm on Friday August 5th.
( )

I think we should be on that ferry.

The Columbia floats into Haines Alaska at 10:15am on Monday the 8th.
It is 440 miles to Tok, or 580 to Glennallen if we push on. Either way, we can be in Anchorage in the evening of the 9th.
We have to make sure the video is working for the ride by Kluane Lake in the Yukon.
That is some amazing country.

Monday, November 22, 2010

6:43PM Motorcycle racing coverage of the San Felipe 250 on channel "5-2" - whatever the fuck "5-2" means.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A TDC Short

So I broke down and finally bought a copy of iMovie for the iPhone today. It's not bad, given the fact that we're talking about HD video editing on your phone. It's actually kinda of amazing what you can do with tiny little device like an iPhone. Anyway, I tossed this little video together to get a feel for how to use it. I'm thinking this might be handy for TDC road trips ;-)

Here's the higher quality video directly on YouTube
Click '720p' in the video options.

I can't hear you!

I was at a trade show in southern California earlier this week. Nope, not moto-related, but for work. I did see a vendor there that I had seen at a previous show. A vendor that was pushing a product I had wanted to try.

I went for it.

The sound of trade show booths being dismantled faded as I sat in the chair. The subtle popping started as the silicone started to cure. I was on my way to custom earplugs. Yes!

The silicone is offered in several colors. I had originally opted for black, but Michael mentioned that when, (not if) I drop one on the tarmac, black is hard to find. I opted for red, an easy to spot color on pavement and in the dirt.

Yes, they look a bit strange, but feel so much better than the expanding foamies that I have been using. They are supposed to block the wind noise (and loud noises, --have you heard the sounds my muffler makes?) but still allow a conversation and the sounds from intercom systems to make it through.

Comfortable, yes. The fit is amazing. They don't pop out, and don't press into the sides of the ear canal at all. They look weird, but feel great.
Functional, they block the sounds of a trade show take down. I'll let you know how they work while on the bike as soon as I ride! (Give me a break, it is supposed to snow tomorrow!)

I also had molds made for in-ear custom molded audio monitors. (That's fancy talk for custom MP3 earbuds that block outside noise.) I'll be ordering a set of those for the long days on the August 2011 Seattle to Deadhorse and back trip.

Thanks to Michael at Superior Sound Technology ( for staying a bit late at the convention to squirt silicone in my ears.

If you're in the southern California area and need earplugs that fit look him up.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Like Shaving Cream

I know, I know - you're expecting yet another story of some post-rock-show exploit in a hotel room involving half a dozen groupies and a sample pack of Schick Quattro Titanium Razors. While I'm currently at liberty to neither deny nor confirm such rumors, I will say that I've recently tried la crème à raser for an entirely different purpose: face shield anti-fog.

On our last pilgrimage to the Church of Dirt, Motobum and I were discussing the various re-purposed products we'd heard of being used as anti-fog treatments for face shields and goggles and shaving cream came up. In the past I've tried soap, spit, waxes and sprays. They all work to some degree, but none have proved to be 100% fog-free. Sadly, I can't declare shaving cream to be 100% fog free either, but in my limited trials so far I'm thinking it may very well be the best of the bunch. Its viscosity seems to make it easier to spread around and wipe back off while still leaving a thin coat, and it just seems to be working a bit better than all the rest. It also leaves a fresh, clean scent in your helmet- not unlike that of room 324 in the Edgewater Inn.

I flipped my 1980/82 XT 250 at this year's Desert 100 in Odessa WA but went on to finish -- broken shift lever notwithstanding.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

1000 Wheelies Project: The Intro

I’ve heard that if you want to do something well, do it a thousand times and you’ll be better at it. That’s what I’m doing. I’m learning to wheelie a motorcycle well.

Over the past five years, wheelies have become a focus area for me. I woke-up one day and had a vision — a glimpse, if you will — of life-purpose. Wheelies excite people. So I decided to wheelie well. I got a big tricycle and a couple of trasher bicycles and spent a little time each day learning to balance on the rear wheels. It worked. Now I’m a wheelie master. In fact, I’m one final examination away from earning my Master’s in Wheelies from the University of Greenlake - but that’s another story.

The thing is, what I really want to learn is how to wheelie a motorcycle well, not just a bicycle. The bicycle angle was always a bit of a cheap cross-training exercise. I actually have difficulty believing I’ve gotten as good at it as I have. Uphill, downhill, slanted uneven ground, over bumps, around corners, crosswinds, doing coasters over the balance point... all are no problem... on a bicycle. Now my mission is to translate what I know without thinking into hot moto mono action.

Three times a week I take my Kawasaki KLR 650 to a parking lot for practice. I call this practice a Moto Mono Wheelie Session, or MMWS for short. The goal with each session is simple: get some wheelie time.

In the last month, I’ve done 11 sessions. My theory is to do about ten wheelies a day, sleep on it, and then do some more. That’s how progress is made. And it’s working.

The first 60 wheelies were horrible... absolutely just chasing the balance point. The KLR weighs roughly 20 times as much as my bicycle. That translates to slow-reacting heavy-handed inputs to correct left-right balance (steering) and a sense that I, of course, could easily be crushed upon loop-out. Fortunately, the KLR’s big single cylinder engine has lots of engine braking and a decent rear brake, so looping-out will only occur if, knock on wood, I’m really not paying attention.

Another big difference while wheel-up on the behemoth is that the rear brake is activated with the right foot instead of the right index finger. That means brain rewiring. What was second nature now requires a bit of thought. And instead of reacting (without thought) to unexpected conditions, now a thoughtful response is required just to get the brake dragging. Fortunately, I find learning fun and have not had any close calls with true danger.

By wheelie number 80, I figured out how to get the KLR up to the balance point. It seems way up there. I figured it’d take about 450 wheelies to get to that point in the learning curve. I have a feeling that learning curves are not always linear though. We’ll see where I am by the time I actually have done 450 moto wheelies.

Around wheelie number 110, I started to get more comfortable, a bit more bicycle-like. I just pop-up the front end as close to balance as I dare, at this stage in the game with a big heavy bike, and ride... standing tall high above the parking lot. That’s where I’m at. The next MMWS will be the wheelies numbered in the 120s on my 1000 Wheelies Project counter.

With the first 10% of this project under my pyramid-studded leather belt, I’ve learned a few key points on how I wheelie a motorcycle. In addition to trusting the rear brake, being smooth, and being comfortable (possible subjects to be discussed elsewhere), I offer the main key learning I got out of my first hundred wheelies. Keep in mind that I share this only for your reading pleasure. So, don’t go out an maim yourself with your motorbike after reading about “how MotoBum does it.”

KEY POINT: Do not dump the clutch. It took me a few sessions to realize that the rear tire has an easier time staying hooked-up and that the front wheel gets higher off the ground by not just revving the engine and dropping the clutch. The pros will tell you that is uncontrollable. It’s true. Instead, a more gentle approach is necessary. I just slip the clutch and give the bike a good hard launch. That’s it. (Note: a KLR is a long, heavy, underpowered motorcycle. Bringing up the front on the power alone does not bring the machine up anywhere near the balance point.) Just as on a bicycle, a good wheelie pop will bring the front end high enough to be just under, at, or just over the balance point.

Will I be able to wheelie a motorcycle well after 1000 wheelies? Maybe. Will I be better at it? Definitely. Some people say you can learn to do extraordinary things in a day. Others say it takes years. Who to believe? It depends. But one thing is for sure - if you’re not better at something after doing it 1000 times, do it another 1000 times and then see where you’re at.

Monday, November 8, 2010

While out winning races on the water...

Kotuku took 1st in class and 11th overall (out of 72 boats) in the 2010 Round the County sailboat race last weekend.

While I was out racing the boat, MotoBum and GhostFace hit Tahuya for some off-road dirt biking. Rumor has it, they found some new trails.

Also the postman delivered the new (used) camplate, shift forks and camplate pin for the '74 T100R!

I can now start putting the pieces of the T100R engine back together. I hope I remember where all the pieces go!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bridgestone Trail Wing 41

After replacing the rear tire there was still a little 'squishy-squishy' going on with the bike. I decided the IRC GP-1, with about a zillion miles on it, needed to be replaced.

What is on sale, what has decent reviews?

Bridgestone TW41. So far things are working great. better traction than the IRC on the wet roads and a bit smoother ride.

I'll keep y'all posted as to how it wears and what happens on the dirt.


The 2010 TDC TT Tour was cut just a hair short by my old tires. We had to head back from Potholes WA via I-90 instead of Canyon Road. My bike felt like the tire pressure was low, but when checked it they were a-ok.

We stopped in Cle Elum WA and found the ONLY bike shop open on Sundays.
Big thanks to Motor Toys in Cle Elum for the new rear tire.
With choices limited I decided to go for the Shinko 244 5.10-17.
30 minutes and it was mounted and I was ready to go.

The weather put the tire to the test right away. Cle Elum to Issaquah the rain fell so hard there were grey moments where you couldn't even see the taillights in front of you. Wilder's jacket pockets filled with water. After drilling a hole in his phone a week later water still poured out. Jesse's pants leaked. He got a little "wet in the pants".

I stayed dry, and the tire stuck to the road like it was a new, dry, hot Arizona highway.
The weather has been less than dry lately. This tire has been sticking to the tarmac like stink on poo.

Motor Toys of Cle Elum, and the Shinko 244 saved the 2010 TDC TT Tour for me.
New tires *before* the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route, and the TDC 2011 Top of the World Tour next year.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mondo Viewing!

It arrived yesterday.

I'm hoping I can watch it before the sailboat race this weekend!
--and I've still got to write up that tire review.