Summer 2016 – Day 6, Page, AZ to Washington, UT

Leaving Page, AZ, I headed south on Highway 89 to Bitter Springs where I would pick up 89A. The section of 89 just north of Bitter Springs descends along the edge of the mesa toward the valley below. The views were fantastic, but alas, there were no places to pull over for photos. I approached Marble Canyon and Navajo Bridge, the graceful arch bridge that spans it. The original bridge is now close to vehicular traffic, but open to pedestrians so it was a nice spot for photos of the gorge and the river below. I met a wildlife photographer who was photographing condors. This was his second day at this location.

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Summer 2016 – Day 5, Monument Valley, Lake Powell/Glen Canyon Dam, and Tar Snakes

I was eagerly anticipating taking the iconic photo of Monument Valley on US 163 heading southwest from Mexican Hat. The spot where Forest Gump stopped running. Around 8:30 AM I crested a hill and there it was before me. I pulled into the small gravel parking area on the right. I wasn’t alone. This morning there was a mini-van and group of 6 Chinese tourists milling about in the middle of the road taking pictures. My first thought was “This is great. I’ll have someone to take my picture and I won’t need to setup my tripod.” I parked in the gravel, got out my camera and took a few pictures. Almost immediately one of the men came up to me and the conversation went something like this.

Tourist: “She would like to take a picture with you”

Me: “Me?”

Tourist: “Yes, she would like to get a picture with you”

Me: “You want me to take a picture of all of you?”

Tourist: “No, just you and her”

Me: “She wants to have her picture taken with me?”

Tourist: “Yes”

Me: “Well, sure. Why not!”


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Summer 2016 – Day 4, Million Dollar Highway, Four Corners, Moki Dugway

The day started with fantastic mountain riding in cool temperatures and ended in the hot, dry desert of southeast Utah.

Bear Creek Falls Overlook is only about 10 minutes south of Ouray, so no sooner had I started then I stopped for photos. Absolutely breathtaking. Somewhere between Ouray and Durango (I don’t remember exactly where) traffic was stopped in both directions as road crews cleared rock that had been blasted earlier that morning.

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Summer 2016 – Day 3, Pikes Peak to Ouray, Colorado

I’ll admit it. I am a sea-level flatlander. I live in a single-story house. No stairs. No hills in Jacksonville other than the bridges over the St. Johns River. I had just completed 1800 miles of riding across the flattest part of our nation. And this morning I headed to the top of Pikes Peak. “Make sure you drink a lot of water” I was advised, “it’ll help prevent headaches caused by the altitude”. The first half of the road to the top is not challenging, but the switchbacks and sheer drop-offs further up require concentration. And the bike just felt odd. I realized that I was experiencing the famous Goldwing wobble. I hadn’t noticed it with the original Bridgestone tires, but the new Avons seemed to accentuate it. It was unnerving. For me, the ride up was worse than the ride down. Heading up, you only see the curve in the road and sky. Heading down, you can see the vista.

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Summer 2016 – Day 1, Jacksonville to St. Louis

The beauty of the English language is the ability to create new words. Motography. The combination of motorcycling and photography. I guess that I could be called a motographer. This summer I combined my two passions while crossing off some destinations on my motorcycling bucket list. Riding across the Great Plains. Pikes Peak. Million Dollar Highway. Four Corners. Mokie Dugway. Monument Valley. The Grand Canyon. Utah’s amazing national parks.

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HD Museum

I was in Milwaukee on business 2 weeks ago, so I took the afternoon off and visited the Harley Davidson museum. I have to admit, I was a bit underwhelmed. Perhaps Barber Motorsports spoiled me, but it just seems like HD could have done so much more. The museum has a dark industrial motif. The lighting didn’t do the bikes justice and the mix of fluorescent and incandescent lighting made photography a bit of a chore. I will say that the Wall of Tanks was beautifully done and a delight to behold. It was my favorite part of the museum. I understand how iconic the museum is and I’m glad I went but overall it was a bit disappointing.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Installing Powerlet Sockets on the ‘Wing

I recently bought myself a heated vest from Aerostich. I chose the BMW-style connector because I had a bunch of Powerlet sockets that I had installed on my previous bike and they seemed to offer better weather protection than the Aerostich Quickconnect plugs. So my project last weekend was to install sockets on the ‘Wing to power the vest as well as my GoPro. I wanted the sockets to be in a location that was very easy to reach, where the plug would not hit my leg and where I would be unlikely to snag the plug or kick it inadvertently when mounting or dismounting the bike.

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Laminar Lip

A couple of years ago I test rode an HD Ultra Glide at Daytona bike week and I loved the wind protection provided by the bat shell fairing. It was phenomenal. I had hope that my Goldwing would offer the same freedom from buffeting but I have to admit that it came up a little short. I like riding with the Goldwing windshield all the way down so that I can see over the top, but the buffeting at highway speeds is too much. So I have taken to riding with the windshield up all the way which improves things a lot – the downside being that I look through the windshield, not over it. But it still does not totally eliminate the buffeting.

Last weekend I installed a Laminar Lip. The testimonials on their website are good and they have a 30-day return policy (albeit with a 20% restocking fee) so if I didn’t like it, I could get most of my money back. The big question was exactly where to mount it? They recommend starting with the top of the Lip about 1″ above the top edge of the windshield, so I duct taped it on at that position and took a test ride. I tested it with the windshield down all the way. Then I tested it with the windshield up all the way – that wasn’t going to work! Looking through the Lip is like looking at the fun house mirrors at a carnival. I then remounted the Lip a bit higher so that half of the Lip was above the top edge of the windshield. Another test ride with the windshield down all the way. Then I took it off and rode without it to reset my baseline.

In the end, I mounted it so that the top edge was about 1 1/4″ above the top edge of my windshield. No fancy measuring is required. Just line up the top 3M Dual Locks so that they are just below the top edge of the windshield. I followed the instructions, cleaned the windshield, cleaned the mounting location with rubbing alcohol, lined things up carefully and pressed. The Dual Locks hold very securely.

So how well does it work? Well, on a scale of 1 to 10, where ten is the amount of buffeting I formerly experienced without the Laminar Lip, with the windshield down all the way, at speeds up to 60 mph there is no buffeting. At 70 mph, I’d rate the buffeting at a 1. At 80mph, I’d rate it at a 2. So all in all, a huge improvement. I can now ride with the windshield down all the way and I have virtually no buffeting compared to what I used to experience with the windshield up all the way.