Ted’s essays

snatched another ride to the border

As the season for comfortable motorcycle riding comes to a close, I managed to grab another quick trip on Leo. I am guessing that makes about 500 total for me on he … stuff got in the way. Just before I reached Lost Trail Pass, I saw wet pavement in a corner warning me to slow way down. One or two curves later it was slushy snow. Okay. Game Over. Besides that, while I started off from Darby in comfortable 50-degree air, by the time I reached 7,000 feet it was in the mid 30s … not so comfortable … inspired me to turn on the heated grips … then the heated seat. Nice, but my knees were still a […]

Dr. Zee heading for height reduction surgery

I like the bike in many ways, but its extraordinarily tall 37″ seat height makes it too awkward for me to enjoy, or even ride safely. We will take parts from another model of the Suzuki DRZ400 that is lower, and some other changes competent motorcycle mechanics can make to drop it down a bit more. So that is where it is today, in The Motorcycle Garage for installation of the DRZ400SM parts and other height adjustment modifications. What we have here are the “before” pictures I took on my way to the surgeon. Old Darby Road was photogenic Friday, not to mention a pleasant ride. Doctor Zee is a nice bike once I have it rolling. Moving down […]

last ride of the season -?

The weather prognosticators are predicting significant drops in temperature and increases in that frozen water thing Montana likes to do to us. Meanwhile, my new-to-me 2009 BMW R1200RS-P (patrol or police model) bike has way-too-few me miles on it. Thursday I pushed all my ‘get the estate ready for winter’ chores aside to grab what may turn out to be my last highway munching ride of the season. The Iron Butt (long distance motorcyclist) guys may snicker, but 160 miles was way better than spending all winter wishing I had taken it out one more time. The roads were excellent, the patrol bike was a great pleasure to ride, the weather suited my clothes perfectly and the scenery was […]

creating and repairing low back pain

As it turns out, I am reasonably adept at both. The first came naturally and easily to me. Just be Ted. Actually, the repair was natural as well, though not as easy. Friday I spent hours with hedge shears cutting the noxious weeds in my potato patch. This involved A LOT of stooping and bending giving me a very sore back that evening. Saturday morning I was happily symptom free, so I promptly FIXED THAT by taking my Dutch hoe to noxious weeds in the chicken yard. About three-quarters of the way through I was feeling tenderness in my lower back, but I was ALMOST DONE! So, of course, I finished the job. My back was still sore Sunday […]

Pike’s Peak the wrong way

Nobody could tell me, but I’ll give a go at warning those capable of listening … I am a returning rider who is definitely not young, flexible or strong. I picked up a new 2009 BMW R1200RT motorcycle in Denver. It only had 14,000 miles on odometer when 80,000 is more typical of these on the used market. It took the dealership until 6:00 PM (well into Denver’s going home commute traffic) to send me down the road with new tires mounted and new fuel pump installed. My first hour on the new bike was slightly uncomfortable surrounded by commuters, trucks and vacationers with big city attitudes as I made my way to a family reunion in Monument, Colorado. Friday […]

FOR SALE: 1987 Honda CRX

The background on this car … I was an enthusiastic, radical, seriously competitive Sports Car Guy for most of my life… okay, still am. For 20 years THAT CAR was a 1956 Porsche Speedster barn find – a very rare car that was lightweight and lent itself for high performance driving … Just what the doctor ordered. It also became highly valued in the collector market and its sale in 1999 financed my escape from The People’s Republic of California. After about 16 years sports-car-less, I picked up a very-well-prepared autocross car that was vintage, collectable, lightweight and ticked all the boxes for this enthusiastic, radical, seriously competitive Sports Car Guy. I spent a lot of time and money […]

touring the neighborhood

I did not have much of a choice. I was left home alone. I had to practice more with my new-to-me motorcycle. The weather was gorgeous. My neighborhood is perfect. (People come here from all over the world to drink from the fountain of natural beauty in Montana’s Bitterroot) I know of several lightly-traveled, low-speed roads that are just right for a bike that likes to cruise in the 40-50 mile-per-hour range and a returning motorcycle pilot that is right there in his comfort zone. I have to reconnect those biker synapses muscle memories in my crusty old brain. The top right photo looks at the Bitterroot Mountain Range from its foothills. Next on the right is The Bitterroot […]

knocking the dust off my wrenches

I am satisfied that my $1,000 offer on the BMW R1150RS motorcycle I used to own was reasonable, and that I will again end up enjoying that refined touring motorcycle that leans a bit towards the Sport/Touring class. Jeff dove into a wiring and electrical makeover that he never completed. There are parts missing from the BMW that may be challenging to replace. I will earn my ride when it finally hits the road again. The 2012 Suzuki Doctor Zee (DR Z400S) on the other hand appears to be one of those rare barn finds that always fall into someone else’s lap, not mine. See They followed me home. Can I keep them? I just completed my inspection, service and […]

They followed me home. Can I keep them?

Time is short buy the motorcycle. Or in my case this month, buy both of them. 1) In the Bitterroot we spend Spring to Fall watching an endless stream of motorcyclists passing through enjoying the world from the saddles of their motorcycles. I am always envious of them, even when they ride boulevarders of no serious interest to me. They all fill me with powerful remembered emotions of loving life astride a motorcycle that few of us get to live. 2) My crystal ball tells me we will very soon be living in 3rd-World conditions – At Best. In the 3rd-World successful entrepreneurs and the better-off impoverished use motorcycles. Next level down are bicycles, then good-old shoe leather, usually […]

NASA High Performance Driver Education (HPDE)

My big deal of the decade, several decades, and in particular this year was two days of flat-out driving on a road racing course. I share my journaling of it with you here. I spent last weekend at the Utah Motorsports Complex (UMC) on and around their road course. It was created by a local tycoon to exercise his vast collection of vintage race cars in the company of fellow enthusiasts. In other words, a track facility developed by an enthusiast FOR enthusiasts. Most of us were built for something; having unique strengths and interests where we are slightly or noticeably better than most. My natural exceptionalism seems to be high performance driving. Though life did not hand me […]

March Madness

That is what the National Auto Sports Association (NASA) called their Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) March 25-27 track event. In a pell-mell rush, I got myself, my gear and my car down there for some quality track time. The video on the right is a narrated slide show of selected photos from that trip. First the bad news: The newly replaced rear main seal in my engine leaked oil onto the new clutch disc so I could not get much of the acceleration from my engine to the pavement … and was quite distracted trying to feather the throttle enough to keep it together during my first and only turn on track. The Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) Outer Track […]

Gone RACING

I recently posted Gone Fishing using that phrase as a metaphor for my particular breakaway from the normal, everyday life. Here I use a much more accurate title. Racing is most accurately described as a competition wherein one tries to go faster than another. I will not be in a competition, but rather just running the track as fast as this man and my GT50 machine care to go – which is a whole bunch faster than normal people would drive within their comfort zones. I expect to get my ’87 Honda CRX around 115-120mph in the straight between TURN 15 and TURN 1, before braking hard for a corner likely to require me to be going 35-45 in […]