News from the Road

It’s actually been a fairly eventful couple of weeks since we hosted the Moto show.  We swore we’d take time off from building bikes in order to ride bikes. And we’ve been doing a pretty good job of that; lots of after work & daily errands on the new motos.  I’m loving the Virago and Josh is loving the 850.  But, of course, it’s difficult not to think about the next challenge;  building bikes is fun! (if not hard and occasionally super frustrating)  So, last weekend I hit the road in search of some new donor bikes.

But before rolling north I took an afternoon to catch up with my other favorite form of two wheeled fun and went for a long mountain bike ride with my dad.  I had, unfortunately, lent my main bike to a friend for the weekend.  I pulled out my back-up bike only to discover that I had lent the front brake to someone & it was still missing.  No problem, I have plenty of friends with bikes.  I got on the horn with Adam and asked if he had something laying in the garage I could borrow for the day.  He confirmed that he did and told me to head on over to grab it.  I was a bit shocked when I got to his place to have him pull out of a shipping box his brand spanking new, fresh of the World Cup circuit in Europe, custom Giant carbon Anthem with handmade carbon wheels.  Adam races the world cup circuit for the Giant /Rabobank team.  He has more than a few sweet bikes in his stable; but this was the sweetest of them all.  Needless to say, I enjoyed a few hours on the bike, though I was a bit nervous about damaging his custom $5k carbon tubular rims & handmade tubular tires.  Awesome, thanks for the loaner!

A day later while rolling through town I drove past what may be the most bitchin custom painted tank I have ever seen.  I slammed on the brakes and hopped out of the truck to snap a photo of this gem of a Honda CB.  Very niiiice:

I loaded up the truck last Friday morning & rolled north over the mountains to Portland, where I had a (real work) meeting, then had a phenomenal meal at a restaurant called Iorio on the east side of the river with my friends Frank & Christy…big thumbs up.  Saturday morning I swung by the SeeSee moto-coffee shop to have a look around.  That is a very cool spot.  Thor, the owner, is the guy that puts on the hugely successful One moto show every winter.  After some coffee, croissant, and a fitting of a new Bell 500 helmet for my noggin, I chatted bikes a bit with Thor.  He showed me his brand spanking new old BSA; super cool.  If you’re in Portland, you’ve got to stop by his shop.   There is tons of memorabilia, enough reading material to keep you busy for weeks, and some rad bikes.

I then headed further north to the city of Olympia, Washington where I was to meet a guy that had two 70′s Honda CB’s for sale.  I’ll make this chapter short: the bikes were garbage.  Total  junk.  I wouldn’t have taken them if he would have given them to me for free.  Needless to say, very disappointed.

Moving on…

I did see this beautiful 250 Yamaha for sale on the side of the street.  Very tempted…  And Jessee the owner was a pretty cool cat.  Good luck on the van conversion project Jessee…

My good friends Rich & Cobie Whitten showed me around their town for the evening and put me up for the night.  Next morning after a pedal around the lake on Rich’s water bike I headed up to Seattle.

The docks in downtown Olympia:  that’s a big crane, cause that’s not a toy sailboat…

I stopped at my favorite all time sandwich shop in Georgetown, just south of downtown Seattle; Smarty Pants.  Best sandwiches ever, and a very hip moto themed vibe.  And World Super Bikes were on the tube.  Not bad.  After a Miss Piggy sammich, I continued on to what would hopefully be a much less disappointing look at the third bike of the weekend.

Outside of Smarty Pants I saw these two sweet rides:

A 750 KZ Kawi.  Fortuitous, as I’d be looking at one of those later in the afternoon.

And this absolutely beautiful Indian.  Pure Swank!  I love the long low proportions of those older bikes.

Over to Fauntelroy to meet with some very nice folks selling a cherry model year 2000 Kawasaki W650.   I had not been aware of these bikes until a few weeks ago.  They were only imported into the US for two years, so they’re pretty rare.  After seeing one, I was convinced it needed to be the basis for my next build.  The engines are sooo beautiful.  It didn’t take long and I was the proud owner of  W650 with only 1,010 miles that looked like it just rolled off the showroom floor!  Yesss.

I think we may move slowly on this one, perhaps wait until fall/winter to really dig into it.  We’ll probably strip the non-essentials now, add some drag bars, and just ride it a bit for the summer.  Could be some good two-up fun.

I then hopped a ferry bound for the Olympic Peninsula to look at the KZ 750.  Sounds simple enough, but when you’re a bumpkin from the country you dont realize that there is more than one island over there and thus, more than one possible destination for the boats.  I drove onto the wrong boat.  I realized it after we were underway.  Doh!  The kind ferry folks told me I could wait at the next stop for a boat that would eventually take me where I wanted to go. They were pretty nice about it.  However, after I unloaded, one of the ferry workers asked me how my trailer backing skills were, as I’d have to back the truck & trailer down the ramp & onto the next ferry.   I definitely thought he was joking, but he was not.  They told me to go ahead and pull into the line of waiting cars backwards.  What!?

So there I am, doing as instructed.  And looking like a complete tool in the process.

I had a bout 45 minutes to ponder my backing up adventure that was about to ensue.  And I once again convinced myself they were just screwing with me for being the dipshit that couldn’t figure out which boat to get on.  Being as that I was the only one parked backwards in line who was waiting to get on the next boat, I was failing to understand the logic.  The dude in the blue ‘burban explained it to me: The boat was going to be parking backwards at the next landing.  All of the cars could pull onto the boat and turn around at the end of it to get pointed the right direction for off-loading. But there wasn’t room to turn around a vehicle with a trailer on the boat.  So, any vehicle with a trailer had to back onto the boat.  Ahhhh.  Okay, no pressure then.  I was going to back several hundred yards through a parking lot, down a ramp, and into a line of cars, while the entire crew and every passenger sat on the boat waiting & watching me, as I would be the last to load.  Easy.  Thankfully the years of fly fishing & towing a drift boat came in handy.  I actually do know how to back a trailer.  And, even under the extreme pressure, I nailed it.  Smooth like buttah.  They did give me my very own special level on the boat to park on.  Special level for ‘special’ people who cant figure out how to read the ferry schedules…  Ugh.

A few hours later I met Bud to check out his very nice ’79 KZ 750 twin.  Josh and I kind of like the twins better than the fours; cleaner looking, narrower, and quite a bit less common.  Bud’s was in great shape, had low miles, and shockingly little rust.  He was also asking a very reasonable price.  Done deal.  Thanks, Bud.

Josh and I are going to build this one specifically to sell.  We have some ides, but haven’t solidified our build direction yet.  So stay tuned!  I’m sure we’ll be keeping that rad seat, though…

Headed home: one more night at Rich & Cobie’s in Oly, then back to Bend.  Thanks for the cookies, Cobie!

Back home, the Spin Cycle shop was once again filling up.  Fun, but crowded:

The KZ came with this incredibly sweet fairing, as well as a full set of luggage.  It’s so tempting to bolt the fairing on and cruise town for chickies, all Prince style.  Anybody got any purple spray paint?

Our little bro Myles came over to check out our new whips.  He donned his best bowling ball helmet and announced that he was ready to Moto.  I think he was actually making fun of my dumb retro helmets…  The kid is smarter than he looks.

Josh rolled over to check out all the new metal.  He’s rocking his new part-fade visor from SeeSee.  I think he looks like Racer X from the Speed Racer movie.  No?

‘Racer X’:

And finally, the time came to ship Rusty off to his new home in Maryland.  It was definitely a sad day; that bike was much loved and will be missed.  Peter, I hope you have a blast tearing up the streets of DC!  Send pics.

On to the next chapter…






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