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Int'l Mc Show Dc. M3 And Friends-----!
What would you say if I told you that yesterday morning I left on my motorcycle heading for Washington DC to see the International Motorcycle Show ..AND I got home before midnight in time to sleep in my own bed?
You realize of course that my world got bigger and smaller at the same time. Bigger because I realize that places that SEEM so very far away distance wise are really much closer and more casualy accessiable than I realized. Smaller because I now have an expanded sense of potential areas to explore that seemed so very far away before yesterday.
I am speaking about travel time/distance…… not culturally or sociologically.
The first sentence is true….i did ride my motorcycle. I also went to Washington dc and back in a single day. There is an explanation required. But first
I owe thanks to my wife and family for realizing that they may be better off if they let dad go on “walkabout” for a day. Thanks guys! I owe Brenda Brown a hearty thanks for loaning the “lunatic fringe” her very nice car. I apologize about the potato chip crumbs on the seat but the food fight got out of hand..or ed just quit getting the food in his mouth. A big thanks to joe brown for courageously inviting me along on the adventure(bet he won’t make that mistake again). Thanks to ed brown for his hilairious commentary on the state of affairs in the world and his philosophical approach to focusing on the important stuff and living on the edge…of sanity.
Thanks to both ed and joe for forgiving me the rambling nature of my thoughts that I felt compelled to share with a captive audience. I know I know “no more coffee”. I apologize for being so slow to react…you remember when I could not crack the window quickly enough and my four chilli dogz attacked. I hope the brain damage is not permanent and I am sorry for blaming it on ed.
Thanks to joe for driving most of my way to dc. You are a true friend and a pretty tough character to ride with me in a car after a cup of coffee(makes me talkative) and those 4 chilli dogs. I applaud your efforts to retain control of the vehicle even while laughing hysterically…..good job.
You missed a grand adventure….it is too bad that my rv is in dry dock. I would have invited all of you along….and towed the bikes on a trailer to deploy in to downtown DC and ease the parking struggle.
The cliff notes version:
I deployed from Jacksonville on the bmw zebra at 5:45 am in the morning on what must have been one of the three darkest coldest nights of the year…so far. Rendeavoused with the “transport” piloted by joe brown and “brother ed” in a waffle house in Wilson nc.
Went to dc for the international motorcycle show. Saw some incrediable bikes. Got new product/tire tech data. Visited with friend Michael silverstein from raliegh nc. Ran into old friends kent and Melanie Marquess. Made new friend William Marisch of college park Maryland. Was stunned at the depth and vision of Roland Sands newest customs. It seemed he looked right into my imagination and “hit the switch”!!! there were a lot of new bikes on display. The triumph offerings were very attractive. The KTMs looked like george lucas creation’s from star wars. Piaggio latest three wheeled hi perf scooter also showed some timely star wars clone wars influences(the front strongly reminded me of General Grevious).
Most interesting new bike: honda’s new mc1 : a highly stylized big displacement cruzer that features a low seat height and automatic transmission.
Best all around bike : Suzuki dl 650 v strom ABS. versatility for the money with the benefit of ABS at that moderate price is easily the best deal in motorcycling.
My personal favorites: ducati 696 monster in red, Kawasaki 650 versys in that sizzling green paint, the Honda crf230 super moto.
My favorite display : roland sands and his lineup of sporting singles that draw styling cues from the past and the future. But promise excitement and ultra high functionality. The one was powered by a Yamaha yzf 426. the second one was powered by a Honda dual sport motor(crf230) and the third was based on a Honda rs125 gp bike but it was gp racer no longer!! Streetfighter—demonic---alien presence –YES!! The idea of a 167 lbs 140 mph bike with tons of attitude really appeals to me!!
Most unexpected happy surprise: running into Kent and Melanie Marquess. Long time friends and motorcycle addicts and riding companions from the past who just arrived back in my life!!
I was lucky to be at the show with such characterz as “the brown brothers “ of Michigan. I was also lucky to get to spend some time with my friend Michael sliverstein ….a motorcycle enthusiast of the highest order and a person with some fresh opinions and perspectives on motorcycle style and design.
Thank you also to new friend William marisch. A new motorcycle rider gathering research on different brands and bike genere under consideration for potential purchase. Thank you for the conversations that led me to cognitively think about “what it is about the world of motorcycles and motorcycling that generates such enthusiasm and adventure.
Thank you Lord for the beautiful ride last night as I returned to Jacksonville under the watchful gaze of an amazing moon…full moon….there in the sky making me warm and reflective as I rode the wave of torque and the easy grace of that bmw twin basking in the moon light.
Filling in the gaps…
It was dark and cold when I left. The day before I installed my “DEREK windshield” because I knew it would be cold and I wanted to make myself as comfortable as possible. It is too bad that either I forgot to install the hookups for my wider electric gloves or that it just did not occur to me that it would be cold. The punishment for the oversight is some fingers that were getting decidedly frosty by the time I reached Wilson nc and the warmth of the waffle house.
The ride up was interesting. My plan had been to travel at an economical vigilant pace being ever mindful that hiway 258 between Jacksonville and Kinston is “deer central”. Bambi does not play by the rules and in fact makes up his own rules. It helped that the moon was amazingly bright . the details of the lunar surface easily discernable even without a telescope.
I had just got north of richlands when I was passed by a car. Not just any car…but “the car”. “The car” driven by a young woman traveling on a wing and a prayer and obviously unconcerned with potential deer interaction. Her pace was elevated but steady. Before I could stop it the “zebra” had instantly matched her pace and it formed a new plan. I now had major lighting…and “a blocker” too! The trick was to stay far enough back where I do not trigger fear responses in her . yet close enough that her lights expanded my vision range an extra 100 feet. This is good. The more lighting the better…. I need every edge I can get against the likes of BAMBI. The car also blocked for me by running interference on my behalf. I was like an NFL running back following a tackle as I took the hand off and headed up field. The extra speed increase risk and decreased reaction times and increased potential consequences of a deer interaction. The extra light and the blocker more than offset that so I stayed glued to my “companion”. She probably went home with a story of a strange giant apparition on a zebra who “RACED!?!!?!” her home from Jacksonville.. my apologies to her.
At the waffle house I ordered my lefthanded breakfast cooked by the lefthanded cook. It was served to me by my left handed waitress and we all shared a left handed laugh at the coincidence. A quick phone call to “the brown comedy team” indicated that they would be arriving in 8 minutes. I was impressed with the detail but now I realize it was “her”. Joe’s GPS was quite influential on our trip….in fact she was a bit grumpy sometimes and I was tempted to check her aerodynamic qualities more than once.
I entertained the restaurant by removing menus that had been used to block a draft on the ceiling vent. The waitress was heading to get a ladder but I saved her the trip. I just stood up up up and stretched as far as I could reach and removed the items. The restaurant exploded in applause . I smiled and told em “I do light bulbs too”. They were thrilled….dinner and a show too! Kind of reminded me that the last time something like this happened . joe brown was present at that one too! Yeah it was the time when I fell/was pushed? Into the north east cape fear river in front of the people dining on fried catfish at Holland’s shelter creek fish camp. Hmmmm….
We headed north. All I got to say is that the comic genius of the brown brothers should be refined and worked into a routine and put on stage. The unique perspectives and humor kept me in stitches the whole way. The GPS did her thing as well. When we missed a turn …she would be mildly put out. If we missed the next turn her paitience would be running out. Any more mistakes and her tone turned nasty! It was at this point that I looked at the smoothe gps receiver and wondered how many times it would bounce or if stability would be compromised by increasing rotational velocity as it sailed thru the night air . A machine with an irritated women’s voice!!!! It is a wonder that interstates all over the country aren’t littered with gps receivers that had gone tooo far!!!
The gps was useful in getting to the convention center. It was not so helpful in helping find us a parking spot. 45 minutes of GPS criticism later we had landed.
The show was great. It took quite a while to see everything. I know I must have missed some things but the way my brain works sometimes….a funny thing happened on the way to the ktm display. Meanwhile 4 other diversions later I might actually get where I was going in the first place. Ever seen a 6’9’ motorcycle enthusiast wild with enthusiasm try to hurry east and west simultaneously? It ain’t pretty and in a crowded convention center it can be dangerous for people of small stature or children. Or it can be funny if you like it when funny things happen to good people.
Running into kent and Melanie was a great and unexpected treat. Kent and I go back pretty far. I remember when he rode with me on Sundays and did some racing as well. I’ve got to tease him now that he is “a beltway” bandit working at the pentagon. He is still very deep into racing and motorcycling. I miss visiting with them in the past at my store. Time has moved on …they moved to DC..and I no longer have my store. But I have my friends and my health and I thank God for that.
I have to laugh at myself and how my mc tastes have changed. now It does not seem odd to me to prefer less powerful motorcycles than I did in my youth. But in my arrogant aggressive young dayz of motorcycling it was all about speed and performance. Comfort was compromised in favor of more and higher levels of performance. So what if the seat gave me a wedgy..as long as it could “turn and burn”.
Now I think in terms of value. And real world “useable” level of performance. And the value of a dollar. I really liked the ducati 696. it was a fresh design that featured fuel injection,light weight, enough power, and classic itialian sensitivity to asthetics of design and form. All for a some what reasonable 8000 or so.
The Kawasaki versys is a great bike with an excellent versatile motor. The blue for 2009 is wonderful but the green was absolutely off the charts! Sizzling with energy and promise. I like !!
The new model Kawasaki er-5 is the same running gear as the 650 ninja with out the body work. I liked this an awful lot. If I allowed myself to purchase new bikes this could be one I might choose.
There were a lot of supermotos to choose from. Most interesting in an innocent kind of way was the Honda crf230 super moto. It is 300.00 dollars more than the dual sport version. But WHAT A RIDE!! Cycle World got 93 mpg out of the 230 dual sport. With the wheel /tire upgrades and the great mileage………. This could be the ultimate new rider bike or could be a fantastic commuter with major sporting potential at a high level of efficency.
I was pleased to see the vstrom 650 get ABS braking. This feature can absolutely reduce accidents and accidents that result from “knee jerk” reactions to avoid a surprise in traffic. Good job Kawasaki.
Amusing was the display of Twisted Throttle a company featuring bolt on accessories for the touring crowd. Their display featured a Kawasaki klr650 loaded to the hilt with neat adventure touring stuff. The laugh was that the bike was painted to mimic the look of the new bmw f800 gs. Same paint scheme and the same font on the lettering. A bmw” looking” adventure touring bike that looks” BMW” at 1/3 the cost. i suspect the bike functions better in that capacity than the bmw . I bet bmw doesn’t think its so amusing.
The vjmc had a great display of Japanese classics. Some brilliant Hondas , suzukis, and even a Yamaha sr500. my friend Rester would have enjoyed the old Hondas . some neat motorscooters.
Speaking of scooters. Piaggio had their new 500cc three wheeled scooter on display. It was impressive looking in a malevolent military kind of way. The flat black paint gave it a purpousful no nosense posture . looking at it …I was reminded of “General Greivious” of Star Wars the Clone wars fame. Talk about coordinated marketing..
Helmets? They are all getting lighter. And are developed with more attention paid to helmet mass and its contributing influence on type of injuries and preventing injuries. Good stuff
The atv industry had some nice stuff out as well. There were many street quads and such there. The Yamaha rhino was conspicuously absent . probably due to the litigious legal entanglements that the vehicle has got Yamaha into. The vehicle is fine in my opinion…but someone has to be THE adult. High clearance vehicles and alchol do not mix. Lawyers do play a role in all this. Mostly a positive role but sometimes it seems to be played for self serving effect.
Disappointment of the show. Yamaha again chose not to bring in the wildly successful TDM900. with the presence of more and more bikes aimed at this niche and having some sales success. I just knew this was THE YEAR!! Alas the only tdm at the show was in the vendor kiosk that sells all manner of bike models and model kits.
Did I mention how attractive the new Honda automatic cruzer is. The styling is space cruzer but not offensive. The auto matic tranny and low seat will guarantee successs for this bike. For many people the” joy” of shifting is more of a chore that puts pressure on the rider to achieve timely will executed shifts. Many people want to ride…just like standard shifting in cars lost its appeal to all but the most performance minded drivers. So shall the requirement for shifting eventually go away. With the automatic…new riders won’t be intimidated by up shifting or down shifting or clutch work. This will heighten enjoyment and build confidance and free up concentration that would better be deployed in threat recognition.
The other manufacturers are hard at work on similar designs.
It was neat to see the moriwaki md250h on display. THIS is the answer for those that want to learn the art and science of pavement racing. it is designed as a “greener” alternative to the beloved Honda rs125 two stroke. It is very very close in performance and weight. The stroker went 140 and weighed 157. the moriwaki weighs 170 and goes 135 mph. this is THE WAY. Light bikes ---high chassis limits----close racing ---fun. Did I mention the contingency program!! Best way to get better quicker…forget the bullshit about racing gsxr600s or Yamaha r-6s. those bikes are porkers! This is the way.
the trip back south was hilarious. Ed the hippy with his quick wit and shameless philosophical musings kept us in stitiches. Then we stopped for a pee break. I GOT A CUP OF COFFEE… the world changed. Any thing I thought just flowed out of my mouth.if joe had gotten out of my way…it is very likely that I would have argued and debated MYSELF all the way to the waffle house in Wilson nc.
To joes’ credit ..he did successfully debate with me but was overwhelmed by sheer coffee-brain damaged determination. Eventually he figured I would just wind down and go to sleep . bet he won’t invite me along again!
Ed spent the time by himself in introspection. Something about catching moon beams and getting the phone number of the sweet looking convieniance store clerk. The man is a pioneer in the world of “frugal” living. Socially fearless and cheap to the core . he has a great sense of humor and together the “BROWN BROTHERS” are quite a comedy team.
At the last stop there was a bronze statue of a lion located in front of the store. A BIG bronze statue of a lion on top of a 5 foot tall base. Being some what punchy and in the presense of comic greatness. I felt compelled to climb the statue and demand a picture while astride the beast. I have no idea what ed was doing….. but joe fell down laughing.
At the waffle house as we prepared to go separate wayz. I once more shocked my friends and the diners in the resutarant by changing into my leathers in the parking lot. I am not sure how the patrons felt but joe and ed thought my “cat in the hat” boxer shorts were way cool. Dinner and a show ..second show.
It was much warmer riding back than the ride up. The moon was bright once again. Since I did not have my “blocker “ in front of me . I executed the original plan. It was much more comfortable riding home. It had been a big day and a fun adventure. Every now and then you just have to go ……to not go on adventures would be to go crazy! This was a good time and one hell of a mental health adventure.
I feel better already.
Pics to follow tommarow.
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