Motorcycle Ride to Possum Kingdom Lake

As my son, Brandt, reminded me the other day, routine is important. The human brain relies on routine to free up cycles for decision making. I’ve been off my “routine” for a couple of months due to the new job and all the adjustments related to it.

Here’s to a wonderful start to the Easter weekend and me getting back into my routine.

This morning Robin and I got up and headed to Possum Kingdom Lake. I mounted the GoPro and set it to snap a pic every 60 seconds in hopes that among the hundreds of photos it captured along the way there’d be a few nice shots of the landscape with that big Triumph front fender and Daytona brake caliper in the edge of the frame.

Nada. I didn’t bother to look at the camera again until I got home to discover that a bug had kamakazied into the lens in the tenth shot and blurred out everything for the duration of the trip.

Oh well. At least we have the photos from the trusty DSLR below to prove we were there.

Blind as a Bat

She likes Meat Loaf, but she can’t stand his singing. She can’t see what I see in his songs. I can’t see how anyone could listen to the raw emotion that burns like a torch in his performances and not get totally lost in the magic.

I guess we’re both blind as a bat.

And that’s the sort of thing that proves God has a sense of humor. The albums I would listen to over and over all day every day drive her nuts. Meat Loaf is my favorite by far, but the other stuff I love consists mostly of heavy metal’s beginnings.

You know, back when devil music was wholesome.

Ronnie James Dio (RIP, my man). Ozzy. Deep Purple.

And my southern rock brothers, like Molly Hatchet.

So the motorcycle and a few hundred miles of winding road become the perfect combination of music and self reflection every few weeks. With tunes like “Wasted Youth” and “I’m Still Alive” blasting through the helmet speakers as I roll the power on and climb hills as if launching for distant galaxies. Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” adds thundering hooves to the roar of the engine and I imagine the battles between native Americans (my ancestors) and the invading Europeans (also my ancestors) as I journey through the roads that are hedged on either side with the same woodlands those ancients passed as they hunted, fought, lived, and died.

One can easily get swept away if Pandora presents “Bat Out of Hell” at the wrong time. Like: just as you’re sweeping into a long spiral curve on the razor-edged ridge of an Ozark peak. The lyrics:

…And I never see the sudden curve ’til it’s way too late
then I’m dying at the bottom of a pit in the blazing sun
torn and twisted at the foot of a burning bike…

just taunt you to push it to the very edge and see how close to dying of idiocy you can come. But it passes, and as you ease back into the straightaway “Heaven Can Wait” gently returns you to sanity.

I like to imagine living out my music. Like a good novel, it helps take me away. It becomes the sea that the motorcycle sails on, and I alone pilot it far from the shores of noisy, bustling cities.

I’m not afraid to show you who I am
And I am not ashamed of my life
Though I’ve walked alone down this cold and soulless road
I’ve always felt your heat in my bones

With every step I rise and fall
With everything to gain I end up losing it all
When the darkness gets in
I scream out and your light sets me free

I’m not afraid of the past no more
I’m not afraid and I’m bad for good
I used to dance to the devil’s beat
If I could bust into hell I would

I’m not afraid to shed all my skin
I’m not afraid of the faults you see
I’m tearing down these walls right now
They’re comin’ down ’cause I believe

Your love is blind, blind as a bat
The way that you’re leading me home like that
Your love is blind, blind as bat

I’m not afraid when they kick me down
I’m not afraid when I start to bleed
I’m not afraid if I live or die
I’m not afraid ’cause I believe

Your love is blind, blind as a bat
The way that you’re leading me home like that
Your love is blind, blind as bat

And I wish that I could give you something in return
For the precious time you wasted on the tears I’ve never earned
For reaching out to help me ‘cross the bridges that I burned

And in the end you’ll finally see
That, baby, I’ve done everything I possibly can
I do it again ’cause know you’re everything that I need

I’m not afraid of the the truth no more
I’m not afraid of the lies I hid
I’m not afraid of the past of my sins
‘Cause I paid for the wrongs I did

I’m not afraid of the things you know
I’m just a book for the world to read
My final words on the final page
Will be amends ’cause I believe

Your love is blind, blind as a bat
The way that you’re leading me home like that
Your love is blind, blind as bat

Your heart is kind, mine’s painted black
The way you forgive me and just take me back
Your love is blind, blind as bat

Your love is blind, blind as a bat
The way that you’re leading me home like that
Your love is blind, blind as bat

Your heart is kind, mine’s painted black
The way you forgive me and just take me back
Your love is blind, blind as bat…

– Music and Lyrics by Desmond Child and James Michael, sung by Meat Loaf

Yamaha VMax Mechanical Star of Ghost Rider Sequel

Some Yamaha V-Max riders are currently cringing, others are cheering at the new two-wheeled star of “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”.

The first Ghost Rider vehicle was some overdone sculpture based on some unknown brand of v-twin chopper. It was laughable to think an old school 50’s technology V-Twin could go more than a hundred miles per hour, with a six foot flaming skeleton wrapped in 75 lbs of logging chain and a fork length of seven feet. It made little sense that it could even keep up with the ghost horse ridden by the retiring Ghost Rider.

But Hollywood has come to its senses and the reality crowd has won. Now you have a very plausible Yamaha V-Max literally burning up the road. Truly, it’s much more believable that a V-Max could fly on the highway at 300 mph fully involved with non-consuming flame and cross thousands of miles without refueling just like the magic 30 shot revolvers of classic 80s cop movies.

Thanks for keeping it real, Hollywood!

Despite our tongue-in-cheek attitude, we are looking forward to this movie, and truly grateful for the departure from the constant barrage of choppers and American made V-Twins. If you want great performance, Cage and Yamaha can certainly deliver it better than Cage and whatever that other silvery plastic thing with the unworkable chain forks was.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, we’ll just enjoy our big triple and imagine that the inside of the engine looks like the outside of Ghost Rider’s bike while we await the premiere.

Free Motorcycle Weather App for Android

There are folks who have no choice. They have one mode of transport and it is a motorcycle. They either ride in the rain or they stay put.

For those of us who have a choice, and who would prefer not to ride when the weather is at risk for deterioration, there’s the handy free Motorcycle Weather app for Android based smart phones.

For the last few years I’ve made it a habit to check the weather via my smartphone when I wake up each morning. If there’s more than a 30 per cent chance of rain, and/or wind gusts of more than 25 miles per hour, I drive the cage to work and leave my beloved Moon Shine in the garage.

It only takes a minute to read through the forecast, but when you’re running late a minute is frustrating. Last week I found a handy app that cuts that time down to about 3 seconds.

Motorcycle Weather allows you to preset your weather preferences (thresholds for comfortable riding, I call them) and checks the forecast for you. When you tap the Motorcycle Weather icon the app checks the forecast and if any of the predicted weather stats are not within your preferences it displays a large car icon, letting you know you should drive the car to work that day.

Conversely, if the weather is going to be within what you will tolerate, it displays a motorcycle icon.

No thinking, no mistaking tomorrow’s forecast for today’s, no misreading the temperature. It simply tells you to ride or not to ride with a single tap of its icon.

Foolproof, for people like me who never went to meteorology class.

And in case you want to see just how hardcore a rider I am, here are my preference settings:

Minimum low temp: 30 degrees – I know that’s below freezing, but in my region of Texas it’s got to be below freezing for a couple of days before anything really sticks other than on bridges.
Max high temp: 100 degrees (who am I kidding? I’d ride naked with 30 spf sunscreen above that)
Max chance of rain: 25%
Max wind: 40 MPH (My triumph Rocket III doesn’t blow all over the road like those tiny Harley baggers)

Links to the Right Part Two

Buckle up! Well, helmet up, anyway. Motorcycles fdon’t typically have seat belts. We’re continuing our ride around the web with part II of my 4Fraziers link descriptions.

Dr. Greg Frazier

Dr. Frazier may or may not be a distant relative…I haven’t had time to research it yet, but I located his site through the time-honored tradition of Googling my own name to see who has been recently swiping my articles.

Dr. Greg Frazier has not swiped any of my articles, because he doesn’t need to. He has a wealth of original stories and the real world experience of global treking to back it up. I believe he is currently getting ready to circumnavigate the globe for the third sixth time on a motorcycle.

UPDATE – Other links involving Dr. Frazier (thanks for dropping by and leaving the comments, Dr. Frazier):

Eurosport Cycle

My home motorcycle dealer.

EuroSport Cycle is a family owned and operated European motorcycle dealership and repair center in Fort Worth, Texas. They have a great family of customers and friends.

Their current web site was designed by yours truly and the majority of the articles there are written by me.

Girlie Motorcycle Blog

So what the heck is a grizzled old biker who use to earn his living with his fists doing frequenting the “Girlie Motorcycle Blog“?

Definitely NOT trying to get in touch with my feminine side. Rachael Galore is all about motorcycles. Okay, she tosses in a little romance about her fiance, Kenny, once in awhile. She loves to find odd things that accidentally or intentionally look like hearts in her travels. BUT she is 99% all about the joy of riding and exploring on motorcycles.

Owner of a Triumph Speed Triple and a Triumph Tiger, this chick posts some great short stories, articles, and photos of her moto-adventures. Her fiance and daughter are motorcycle nuts as well, so it’s a total family affair.

Whenever I need a break from perusing incident tickets and change records, or after I’ve just come from a two hour capacity planning meeting, I can always count on something at this site to take my mind out on the open road while my body is stuck at my desk.

Fellow bikers and he-men, don’t let the pink WordPress theme put you off, it’s a great site and the mother-lode of motorcycle vacation adventure reading.

Keep the camera clicking and the keyboard clacking, Fuzzy!

Okay, folks, while you check those out I’m gonna take a break. I’ll be back soon with Links to the Right Part III.