Sunday, February 28, 2021

East Tampa Biker Bar Loop, February 2021

My friend Gary just bought a new bike and wanted to get out and ride, so today we got out and did a little backcountry riding.  It was 80 degrees when we left and it crept up toward 90 by the time the day was done.

We wanted to visit a couple bike friendly bars, so after a ride along the Agricola Mine Road and Old Highway 37, we grabbed some chow in Bowling Green.

It was only 20 miles or so to the "town" of Limestone, where we had a couple cold ones at Herb's Limestone Club. A live band was entertaining about 50 fellow bike enthusiasts.  It was everything I thought it would be.

From there we rode about an hour west to Palmetto where we joined a couple hundred other bikers at Peggy's Corral.  The place was great with a loud live band, several food trucks... and a couple more cold ones.  We ran into some mighty friendly folks there, too.

The entire ride was under 170 miles.  Great weather, friendly people and fine riding. What a great day to be on 2 wheels!

Here’s a cool video of the ride: 


Relive video

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Barber Motorsports Museum: Road trip! (Spring 2021)

It’ll be like herding cats, that much is a given...

I’ve been wanting to visit the Barber Motorsports Museum outside of Birmingham, Alabama, for some time now.  I asked a few of my local riding buddies if they’d be interested in a 5-day road trip to see it and received an enthusiastic, “Heck, yeah!” from everyone.

But let me back up a bit...What’s the Barber Museum?

Here’s a quick link:

In 1988, a wealthy guy named George Barber—who’d had quite a bit of success racing Porsches in the 60’s—set out to  to create the world’s “best and largest” motorcycle collection—and the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum was established.  

The museum is home to over 1,600 motorcycles that span over 100 years of production. More than 950 bikes can be seen on any given day, and 200 different manufacturers from 20 countries are represented in the collection—from Harley-Davidson, Honda, and Indian—to Showa, DSK, and Cagiva. In April 2014, Barber was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as being the world’s largest motorcycle collection.

And it’s not just bikes—the Barber is home to many cool, exotic cars.  (But we’re motorbike enthusiasts and are going mainly to see those.)

The museum opened to the public at its original Southside Birmingham location in 1995. In 2003, it moved to its current location in Leeds (east of Birmingham). The 880-acre site is a sprawling complex that includes the museum, a racetrack and a world-class proving ground.  

With all of that in mind, I did some research and came up with some dates for a 1,200-mile round trip Spring ride from Tampa to Birmingham and back in the first part of March.  

The bikes and riders couldn’t be more varied: A handful of BMW GS’,  some Harleys and an Indian.  And we all love to ride and look at bikes.  So far, 4 of us are scheduled to go, with 4 others possibly joining us.  

Taking two days to ride there, a full day at the museum and then two days to ride back, it’ll be a study in logistics and personality traits...and I sure am looking forward to it!

So that’s it in a nutshell.  Let the planning commence.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Goodbye, sweet KLR 😥 (I sold my Eagle Mike Special Edition Gen 1 today)

Billy Shakespeare was correct when he said parting is such sweet sorrow. And it’s not even bittersweet, as there’s not much good about losing a beloved bike. I’ve owned it since September 2016, and without a doubt it was the absolute best KLR I’ve owned. It took me to so many cool places... 

Anyhow, I sold the Eagle Mike Special Edition Gen 1 KLR today.  The young man who bought it flew down from Georgia last night and picked up the KLR this morning.  He packed his stuff on the back and is now on the road....riding 500 mikes back home.  

I suppose the saving grace in this whole transaction is that the bike went to a guy who can truly appreciate it.  He researched it and chose it among several others he was considering buying.  And that makes me feel good.

I can’t wait to hear of the adventures the new owner will have on this great bike   

Goodbye, sweet KLR...😥

As a follow-up, I received this photo from a KLR site.  I couldn’t be more proud of the new owner! I’m happy this bike is being ridden like it deserves.  Bravo, sir!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Crystal River/Cedar Key ride: December 2020

 Enjoyed two days of riding with three friends.  

We departed Sun City Center, a town just south of Tampa, on the morning of Monday, December 21.  Two 2018 BMW GSAs—one a sidecar—and two 2020 Harley Street Glides.  

We rode 50 miles up the I-75 then took backroads to Crystal River.  On the way, we ripped down to the Gulf on the Ozello Trail...10 miles of fun twisty turns.  We stayed the night in an old hotel that Elvis stayed in for 5 months while filming “Follow That Dream” in 1961.  Though old, it was right on the Crystal River...just a great place to relax with friends.  

The next morning we rode 45 miles northwest to the small fishing town of Cedar Key.  It reminded me of a miniature Key West. We walked the Main Street and fishing piers, then headed back to Tampa.  

The weather was perfect, a bit brisk in the morning but clear and sunny.  Good times!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

BMW R1200GSA Fly & Ride: November 2020

So last week I sold a big street bike —a Triumph Rocket III—that I’ve had for a dozen years.  Didn’t plan to replace it right away but I had an opportunity to buy a well-sorted bike that I really wanted so I jumped on it.  I made arrangements for the purchase and bought a plane ticket.  Here’s what happened:

Yesterday I got home after a 4-day, 1,600-mile trip...a true Fly & Ride.  

I flew from Tampa to Dallas to pick up a bike— a 2018 BMW R1200GS Adventure with tons of accessories. 

After picking it up, I rode south to Killeen to hang out with my friend Brad—a super good guy and ace BMW mechanic.  He provided me a tutorial on the bike...but it’ll take a while to understand all of the technology. 

The next day I rode even farther south to Bandera—outside of San Antonio—to hang out with my buddy John.  He and I drove to Laredo for lunch with a couple of friends, Billy and Gabe.  

The next day I departed Bandera and made it to Baton Rouge, LA.  And yesterday I rode 735 miles home to Tampa .  

The weather cooperated, the bike is an absolute blast to ride and I saw some pretty scenery along the way. make some room in the garage.  🤭

Saturday, November 14, 2020

I sold the Triumph Rocket III today

Well, it’s gone.  It’s bittersweet, really. If you’ve sold a bike you’ve really loved, you’ll understand.  I needed to thin out the herd of bikes (down to 4 from a recent 8) and I just listed them all on Craigslist and the R3T was the first to go.  Ah, but the memories...

Back in 2008, I had a Kawasaki Nomad 1500. And while on a ride in Montana, I told a friend I wanted a new bike...but something different, unusual, that not everyone had. He told me I should look at the Honda Rune, a big Victory...or the 2300cc Rocket III.  Hmmmm, I started researching that right away.  

I bought it new from Rocket Motorcycles in San Diego in 2009.  The crate showed up from England and the Rocket crew assembled it in their shop.  Boy, it was sure beautiful!

I rode that thing all over the lower 48, Mexico and Canada. There was just a few hundred miles over 60k miles on the odometer when I sold it and most of those were enjoyable miles.  Yeah, the big girl caused me some grief over the years—leaving me stranded more than once due to mechanical issues—but Triumph always stepped up and made it right.  

And I guess the best part of the Rocket III experience was the people...fellow Rocket Captains I’ve ridden with or otherwise interacted with over the years—so many characters that made me feel like part of a family.  A weird, dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless.  

And she was a head turner, that’s for sure.  How many times did I pull into a parking lot full of ubiquitous Harleys and have everyone come over and ask about my Triumph? A lot!

The most recent big ride was to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Cherohala Skyway and Tail of the Dragon.  Been to Key West twice and across the US several times. Rode from San Diego to Michigan just for some free beer, then rode Route 66 back to check an item off a friend’s bucket list.  Took her off road a couple times, too! Didn’t want to but sometimes it was necessary in the middle of BFE.  She did fine for a 1/2 ton bike.  

The silver lining was that it went to a good new owner.  The guy who bought it recently sold his 2007 Triumph Rocket 3 Classic because he wanted more of a long distance bike and his 240-series rear tire was never comfortable enough for multi-day rides.  He seems pleased.  And I totally understand why.  

Well, that’s it, then.  As I start researching what’ll replace her, I sit here and smile, thinking of the wonderful memories this bike has given me over the past dozen years.