Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hot Dog Run

Log Item: I believe that there are three great eating cities in America - Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco. Whatever else you may think of the cities, the food there is distinctive and very good over all. The only place to get a hot dog in my opinion is Chicago and so it was that the motorcycle wanted a hot dog for lunch. I went with the program, and since it was too distant and too cold to make a Chicago run, I settled for a hot dog from Portillo's in Buena Park (near Knott's Berry Farm).

The weather was perfect for a motorcycle ride. Brisk enough but not cold. Which means that while it wasn't perfect beach weather, it was perfect for a motorcycle ride along the beach, after I fortified myself with a hot dog.

You'll note that I took a bite out of the hot dog before I photographed it. A Chicago dog is a hot dog with mustard, relish, tomatoes and a pickle on a kaiser style hot dog roll. The I eat the green peppers and pickle separately. I don't know why I do that, I just do.

And if you're going to have a hot dog, why not a few onion rings? Why the heck not? You can off-set it with a Diet Coke instead of a regular Coke. Can't you?

Then the run from Buena Park to Long Beach outbound and Pacific Coast Highway back south all the way through Surf City USA (Huntington Beach), Newport Beach and Laguna, up Crown Valley Parkway through Laguna Niguel (or Laguna Nigel...)

All in all, it was a good run for the scooter and burned the better part of a tank of gasoline. I have to forestall global cooling and I think that I did my part today by burning fossil fuel.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Log Item: The She-Devil missed me. The exposure in the photo (right) isn't the best, but that's what she looked like, purring in the driveway after a morning run to shake the cobwebs out of my head.

I have a few take-aways after riding the Harley Davidson on Oahu:
(1) It does drive like old grandpa's tractor,
(2) It's double the weight of the Ducati,
(3) It's slow -- ponderously slow,
(4) HD braking characteristics are dangerously bad when compared to the Ducati.  

When you ride the Diavel in sport mode (full horsepower), it's like riding the air. The Harley D is just a --- tractor. A heavy, ponderous tractor. I hadn't realized how much of an old dog it was compared to the Ducati until I arrived home and jumped on the she-devil for a romp. 

This morning it was underscored once again.  All I can suggest for people who want to buy a Harley Davidson is this: Do not drive the Diavel first. You won't be able to tolerate old grandpa's tractor.

Friday, November 20, 2015

190 Days from Now

Glencrutchery Road
Memo:  A goal unwritten is only a wish.  

There is a bucket list event coming up.

190 Days, 6 hours from now (May 28 through June 10) the TT will begin on the Isle of Man. I was there before (at least a million years ago). Is it time to return? And can I scam some sort of pit slot with one of many Ducati racing entries? During the TT, the price of everything in the Manx homeland is triple or more, so I need to marshal my zloties to see if I can swing the adventure. While it's fine going as a belching tourist, it's always more fun if you can spend some time in the pits.

I'm not presently certain how to make this work the way that I want to, but since I'm actually a part of an official Ducati Factory Riding Club now, there may be a way to worm myself into some sort of interesting position. Politics and cash (the universal lubricant) work... the question is how much lubricant (a possible tax deductible/advertising expense Consulting Services sponsorship for the bike and team). I just called up my partners and am urging them on to greatness for this very outcome that we can all enjoy.

I've (apparently) successfully scammed a trip to Leeds and Edinburgh through my work with IBM and UNT this spring. Karma would seem to be on my side.

It would be another trip that the Diavel would have to sit out  back home in the garage. As utterly COOL as it would be to ride my Diavel at break-neck speeds down that course, I'd likely kill myself, bend the scooter --- or both.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Surf, Sun and Grandpa's Tractor

Log Item (follow up): The beginning of the Hawaiian Pro surf competition at Haleiwa, had been put off because there was no surf. That changed today and so I took grandpa's tractor to visit the sights and sounds and stayed on the beach at Haleiwa until after noon.

Even though it's a big event in the surfing world with $250K to the winner, the Triple Crown of Surfing (Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline and Haleiwa) doesn't draw many people. I've attended several times before. The demographic breaks down this way: Surfers, friends and family of surfers, media types, sponsors, a handful of tourists, adventurers who used to be cool but are now long in the tooth, locals who are hard core surf bums and don't work, and trust fund babies from Europe, who bounce from one international event to another. You see them at auto and motorcycle racing events as well.

When I arrived there may have been a dozen people on the beach in addition to photographers (another dozen or so). When I left at noon, there may have been 250 total along a hundred fifty meters of beach frontage. 

But you want me to get to the bikes, because this is a bike blog. There was just the tractor (seen pictured above, right) until a GSX showed up, dropped something off for somebody and then left. 

Which brings me to the question of why only one lonely hog (the bike, not me) was there. It rained a bit at one point, but it felt good and it always rains on tropical islands -- daily event.

Early in the competition

People arrive in ones-and-twos

Later in the day.
If you want photos of surfers, I had my cell phone, not a long-lens to capture the action way out where they were fighting for scores in moderate surf. The surfers would look like ants.

Somebody else's photo from today.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad that the numbers were few. I'm glad that the tractor didn't have any competition from fast, nimble bikes. 

I'll be back tomorrow as the competition rolls forward for a few hours until the sun bakes my skin into hard leather. But I won't have the tractor. I'll have to make do with a rental Nissan Altima. Maybe by doing that, the Diavel will more readily accept me upon my return one day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Not a Diavel

Log Item:  I'm not sitting on a Diavel.

It's a 2015 Harley Davidson Softail Heritage. The location is Oahu, not far from Dillingham Airport on the northwest shore of the island. 

Q Could you have rented a Ducati?

A Yes, but the speed limit on most of the island is 35 mph. Riding a Harley, 35 is normal. Riding a Ducati, I couldn't get out of second gear.

Q Why aren't you wearing a helmet?

A Because (a) helmet laws suck and (b) there is no helmet law in the Hawaiian Islands. However for those of you who are malignant hectors, I did get a wicked sunburn...and had to buy aloe to fix it.

The leward side of the island was beautiful with perfect weather (temp 82-85). The windward side of the island was very wet and I ended up soaked. I stopped at Mike's Chicken (north of Kaneohe on the main highway) for lunch and dried out before driving back over the hills on the H3 and was really pasted by rain. 

I don't know that I'd keep my Ducati if I moved here because there is not any place to really let the devil have her due (of course, the devil is a woman).

Q What is the difference between riding the Diavel and the Softail Heritage?

A The Diavel runs like a Ferrari. Riding the Softail is much like sitting on grandpa's old tractor. It accelerates like a tractor, it's heavy as a tractor, the gears clunk in to place like a tractor when you shift and it just feels like a tractor.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Catching Up

Log Item: This past weekend I spent Saturday with kids and trick-or-treating related Halloween stuff. Sunday offered a bit of a respite so utilizing the Archimedes solution to an axel bolt with 167 foot pounds (226 Newton Meters)** of torque locking it down to factory specifications, I pulled the mufflers, pulled the tire and tossed it into the back of the truck.

     **Note, Ducati factory specs quote Newtons, not foot pounds

As I get my life ship shape and Bristol Fashion and make all preparations for getting underway. The tire should be replaced tomorrow morning sometime. I'll pick it up in the afternoon on the way home from running around. 

None of this galavanting has anything to do with work. It's all personal life catch-up and button up. Which is bad because I bill for hours and I'm not doing that. It's also good because a number of needful things are being addressed in order.

And yes, I put the tire in the back of the truck without a towel around it, but no, I'm not going to leave it like that. I will keep everything neat and clean. In a way it's good to have the tire off the scooter because I can get in and clean some road grime away from places hard to reach when it's in place.