Sunday, June 18, 2017

First Ride with the CB500X

How does time pass so quickly?!?  I've been meaning to update you on the new Honda in the stable. 

Yes, I did come home to find the lovely tan Honda CB500XA in the stable.  As I hadn't test sat on it, I was afraid the fit wouldn't be right.  I'm not one to purchase things sight unseen.  I also don't care to purchase bikes unridden, but very few new bikes are serviced and available for test riding.  That seems to only be the domain of Harley Davidson and BMW.  We had read many reviews that said this bike was very comfortable for tall riders in the 6 foot range.  So I was optimistic.

Oilburner had a difficult time finding the bike.  Dealers in the area said they were in stock, but not "in stock" to look at.  They could get them from the warehouse with a deposit.  He called around and located a dealer that said they had one.  When he arrived, the salesman he talked to was not available, and the one he was working with said the bike wasn't there.  Confusion abounds.  After some searching it was uncovered that the parts department had taken the bike and was using it as their display!  As you have seen from previous pics they had a mannequin with riding clothes, gloves, helmet, boots completed decked out.  So...that is how I got the bike.  Many people had been looking for it and inquiring about it, but the salesmen didn't know where it was.  (Even the owner of that pretty GS700 from a few posts ago and called about that bike before buying the GS.)

Then comes the haggling.  Now I am hearing this all second hand and am amazed at the dickering that Oilburner did.  The price tag on the bike was NOT what the advertised price was on Cycle Trader.  The salesman tried to get around it by saying it wasn't the same bike, until they checked VINs.  No disputing it.  Oilburner had them knocking $1700 off the bike in one fell swoop.  The Cycle Trader ad also mentioned a $100 gear credit.  Again, they hemmed and hawed, but gave in and gave it to him.  Wow.  Just wow. 

The story just gets so exciting!  Makes her look that much more attractive.


All this time I'm asking Oilburner if he intends to purchase one, or if he will be content with his XR650L.  He assured me that his 650 was great, he wasn't interested and it was paid for.  Yeah, those assurances didn't last long.  He rode mine 1 mile to unload it and get into in the stable and he was smitten.  Or course, I didn't know that at the time.  As we are talking about it more on Friday, I'm commenting that it is for the best that he keeps his XR650L as there would be no way that the dealership would possibly honor the same price for a second one.

I was wrong.  Apparently, he had already ordered one that had to be brought in from Alabama.  And they gave him the same price.  The only difference was that his didn't have ABS and mine did.  Hmmm...

Meet Oilburners bike...


We needed to break the new bikes in.  Mine had 1 mile on the clock.  His had 2.  :)  What better way to break a bike in then ride it like you stole it in the twisties.  That's how I broke the last GS in, and it hasn't leaked one drop of oil.

We grabbed Alex and went into the mountains.  Had lunch at TWoS and hit the curves hard.  Hwy 60, Hwy 180, Richard B Russell.  The boys were into the curves, so the only way I was getting pics of the bikes was to stop without them. They eventually found me.


Head on over to Flickr to see more glamour shots.  As I said, not many due to the fast paced ride.

Impression: Feels very light, even though only 100 lbs lighter than the 1200GS.  Very "flickable".  Shorter wheel-base made the twisties fun, after learning when to turn.  Never having ridden an inline engine she was very smooth to shift.  Learning to care for a chain driven bike with be fun what with lubing and adjusting on a regular basis. Love getting 54+ miles per gallon. 

Funny story: As I was not even in the state when Oilburner purchased my bike, obviously the bike is in his name.  I thought it only justified that his bike be in my name. HA!

And yes...the XR650L went up on the selling block.  More on that next time.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Remember that Honda XL600R?

A couple weeks ago I shocked the world by disclosing that we were actually reducing the stable by selling the Honda XL600R.  Trobairitz had asked if clearing space in the stable meant there might be a backfill…  I was pretty emphatic that there wasn’t going to be a replacement.  Yeah..hold that thought…

I was in some intense training in NJ Wed and Thurs of this week.  I hadn’t looked at my phone all day.  When I had a quick break at the end of the day this is what I saw that I had missed…
Of course, I looked at Oilburner’s messages first.  The three messages here were foreboding.  Then I went to another thread that had about 23 messages waiting to be read in a group chat with good friend Alex. And this is what I saw…
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So guess who came home late Thursday night to see her new bike?  Guess I’m getting rid of the R1200R sooner than expected. 

P.S.  She is fun to ride…

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Something Followed Me Home


This fun little cutie drove me home the other day.  Before we all get our hopes up, no, she isn't here to stay.  She belongs to a friend.  Oilburner [was] volunteered to install a lowering kit.  So we met in between and transferred.  Gotta say this F700GS was EXCITING to ride!!!  She handled well, great suspension, headlight leaves something to be desired at night, and some fabulous wind sheer at highway speeds.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Back Inside the Jet Engine

Have you ever lived inside a jet engine?  We have.  In 20-ought-something we had a pipe burst and flood half the house.  We lived with 12 high powered fans and two huge, industrial style dehumidifiers in a little house.  Baseboards all removed, holes in the drywall, carpet and padding removed.  We didn't realize our insurance would have paid for a hotel stay.  So we subjected ourselves and our pups to this treatment for days until the house was deemed dry and restoration could begin. house, different leak, same jet engine.  Late last night we finally located the source of the moldy smell that I had been picking up on.  And in a rather disgusting way.  Let's just say you don't ever want to see mushrooms growing in your carpet.  We've spent today trying to find the company that could help us to remediate and restore.  Oilburner spent half the day trying to find the source of the leak, to no avail.  Same with the team that was sent out.  No clue.  No roofline, no spigot, no water pipes.  So now we have the carpet partially ripped up, the dehumidifier in the room, and just waiting until they can start pulling the lovely wood paneling down to see the exact extent of the water damage, the extent of the "growth", and determine if we can actually figure out the source of the water.  Sigh.

The darker wood is "wet"
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The darker wood is "wet".  It was detectably getting worse throughout the day, and slowly improving with the dehu.
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The wall had expanded enough to create this huge gap in the moulding.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Mesh Day


AAAAhhhhhhh....the first time you can get out the bikes in your mesh jacket is so liberating! We didn't have to bundle up with thermals, sweaters, gators, solid jackets, and the whatnot.  The freedom of not feeling like StayPuft the Marshmallow man.  No worries about getting chilled out and making sure you have extra layers.  Just basking in the spare room in the gear.  And this is our 3 weeks of spring where the temps are perfect, the humidity is non-existent, and the pollen is low.  Trifecta!

It averaged about 80 degrees (F) and we headed to Juliette, GA.  This was only the 3rd visit this year.  We hadn't been there in years, the food wasn't terribly thrilling. But they either changed owners, got a new cook, or both, because the food is spectacular!!  So yes, that is becoming one of my favorite destinations for an RTE and there are so many nice routes to boot.  Last month our trip home saw us spending a couple miles on dirt roads (as I finally found the Enduro setting on the GS that loosens the throttle response). 

We sat on the porch for a few minutes after eating.  Just letting everything settle and freeing up the table for another in the line on the 45 minute wait list.  Saw the bike my brother drools over.


Can this be believed??  We are actually letting go of some horses and clearing a space in the barn?  Unheard of!!  We've finally made the decision to release the pent up horses in the Honda XL600R and send it to a new and better home where it will get more attention.


I couldn't kick start the darn thing and hadn't yet gotten used to the height.  So peace be with her and hope that she gets more love and road time.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Who wants to join me?

Trobairitz, you in?  Sonja, you want to fly and ride?

Second Annual woman-led ADVWoman Rally dates announced for July 20-23, 2017, in Granby, Colorado

GRANBY, COLORADO, February 9, 2017 – Second Annual woman-led ADVWoman Rally dates Announced for July 20-23, 2017, at Flying Heels Rodeo Arena in Granby, Colorado

Dates are announced for the second annual adventure rally organized for women and families. To be held July 20-23, 2017, in Granby, Colorado, the event will include a variety of self-guided rides, Geocache scavenger hunt, classroom training sessions as well as on-range adventure and dirt bike rider training. All instructors are women! Men are welcome too-- this is a female and family friendly rally.
“We are building on last year’s success with several key changes,” said Pat Jacques, Rally Director. “BMW Off Road instructor Caroline Stevenson has joined the teaching staff, plus the rally is expanded to four days, Thursday through Sunday. We have obtained indoor convention space, and have hotel accommodations available.  We will teach on-range rider training ‘Adventure Essentials’ and ‘Dirt Bike Essentials’, and we’ve added the advanced level ‘BDR Essentials’ class. This will support riders in successfully completing the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route teaching steep ascents and descents, hair pin turns, water crossings, and rocky terrain skills.”

Last year’s Rally was a great success with several participants traveling over 1800 miles to attend.  “I knew the ladies would have a blast, but I was most surprised by how much the gentlemen enjoyed themselves,” said Jacques. “They were thrilled to see their spouses and partners quickly gain confidence and skill, which translates to more opportunities to enjoy riding together and also strengthens the industry.”

Classroom Sessions are open to all attendees and will run Thursday & Friday 3:30PM-4:30PM and 4:45-5:45PM, with several classes running simultaneously in different locations. Topics include trailside maintenance, trailside first aid, intro to GPS navigation, fitness and training for off-road riding, truck & trailer motorcycle loading and unloading, flat tire repair, how to pick up a bike, moto-camping and travel photography.

“Women teaching women is natural and transformative. We’re excited to have Canadian GS Trophy Candidate and BMW Off-Road Certified Instructor Caroline Stevenson joining our all-woman staff this year. Caroline’s quiet, confident manner and considerable skill is sure to resonate with many women,” said Jacques.

Immediately following the Rally there will be a “First Ever” All-ladies Colorado Backcountry Discovery (COBDR) Tour led by Jacques and fellow adventure rider Alisa Clickenger. All classes are taught Thursday and Friday so participants can enjoy a full day of adventure riding on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Everything but the kitchen sink

Remember the proverb “For want of a nail”?

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.  For want of a shoe the horse was lost.  For want of a horse the rider was lost.  For want of a rider the battle was lost.  For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.  All for the want of a horsehoe nail.

That is what I felt like over the weekend.  Everything was thrown at me except for the kitchen sink.  And the rain.

The work week last week was Atrocious. Absolutely atrocious.  To the point of questioning myself if it was worth it anymore.  Should I be looking for another job that will give me more time at home, less stress, fewer responsibilities.  I needed to get out, and Oilburner surprised me with the night in Savannah.  I wanted to ride so I could feel the wind in my face.  I wanted to clear the cobwebs.  Oilburner has been having his own issues, and was not physically well enough to ride.  I didn’t want to drive because I knew I would stew in my own head.  So what was the compromise?

He said it was time for me to learn to ride with a passenger.  I have been avoiding that little experience for a very long time.  In the beginning I was able to use the excuse that I was new to riding.  Then it was the excuse that I was afraid to drop the bike and hurt my passenger or my bike.  We won’t debate the order of priority.  Hehe

This time I was out of excuses. If I wanted to ride, I was going to have to suck it up.  And I was ok with that.  It was surprisingly easy to get over that mental hurdle.  However, he then threw in that I should ride his bike.

Please realize that I have ridden his bike a total of 3 times in 2 1/2 years.  For a total of about 35 miles.  The first ride was picking it up from the dealership, for 7 miles.  Mind you they were an exhilarating 7 miles.  It was the first time I had tested the new water cooled engine, and I managed to get that thing from 0-60 in lightning speed.  The second time Oilburner forced me to try it in the mountains to see how I liked the handling.  Don’t get me wrong.  It is a nice bike, but too big and bulky and weighty for me.  The third time was out of absolute necessity when we took a weekend trip and I didn’t have warm enough gear.  The windshield and fairings kept enough wind off to keep me warm until we arrived at the hotel about 15 miles down the road.  (Yes, I had on just about every article of clothing before I gave in to riding his bike.)

Like I said, his bike is nice, just not the bike for me.  It is weighty at 604 lbs wet.  Compared to the GS coming in at 525 lbs wet, it is much heavier, changing the center of gravity. It is wide.  I mean, I know I am wide…but not nearly as much as that bike!  The seating position makes me feel like I am sitting on top of the bike, not feeling integrated with it.  With that seating I’ve had difficulty getting my feet off of the pegs , around the fairings and onto the ground.  It just wasn’t what I would consider a comfortable bike.  Plus I always worried about the cost of all the plastic in the event that I dropped it and scratched it.

Well…it took me another couple seconds to acquiesce and get over that previous sticking point.  He had a point that the windsail they call a windshield and fairings would make for a more comfortable ride.  And help keep the rain off if the 50% predictions came true.  Ok.  Suit up!

I jumped on his bike and took it up the street to get a feel for it.  Forget that the end of the street is a cul-de-sac and I had to execute my first u-turn.  We started the day on the street as I was not riding down our steep driveway with him on the back.  Thank goodness he is a great passenger.  Leaving our neighborhood I opted for the right hand, downhill turn instead of the left hand, uphill start.  Those haven’t been successful for me in the past.  First turn under my belt.  Small curves and stop sign was next.  Huzzah!  Uh oh.  Next stop sign was behind someone that was not in a hurry to get into traffic.  Then I had to cross traffic in a left hand turn on a fairly busy road. Ok.  This isn’t so bad. 

Which way to head out of town?  Freeway would be steady and require fewer stops and balancing and shifting.  But by the fourth stop…I was feeling pretty darn good.  Yep.  The backroads with tons of waiting stoplights was the way.  Again…good passenger led to good experience and there were no problems.  I knew this was the way to go as I was too focused on technique and safety to even think about my bad week.  I wasn’t going to have any time to wallow.  And Oilburner not riding was also the right decision when he informed me that he was getting dizzy and nauseous whenever we stopped.  Yeah…I don’t want him piloting his own bike.

We eventually made it to the interstate and I must admit that I enjoyed that windsail.  Very smooth.  So smooth that when I got tired of a car pacing us I was easily able to out distance it.  I still regret not going 3 more mph and reaching my first ton on the big RT.  Bummer.

Riding was a breeze.  There was nothing to worry about with a passenger.  I even executed additional u-turns for lunch without a second thought!  Getting to Savannah was a breeze.  Still fun to imagine what the other riders were thinking when we passed them and they realized a girl was piloting with the boy riding pillion.  Or did they think Oilburner was just a masculine girl?  HHhhmm…..

Sunday was where it got interesting.  I slipped.  I slipped in the shower and sliced my toe open.  Lots and lots of blood and pain.  Luck would have it that it was my big toe.  On my left foot.  And which toe is used for shifting?  You got it.  All day Sunday had me hissing Ouch into our communicators each time I had to up shift.  Or put my foot on the ground.  It made for an interesting ride home.  I’m just glad the rain staved off for another hour.  We got the bike tucked in, wound cleaned and bound, and were just sitting down when the skies opened up.

Thank you Oilburner for being such a good passenger and teaching me the joys of riding together.  And for trusting me with your bike.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Virginity Lost. Glass Ceilings Shattered.

Savannah 2/17

I’ve now ridden Oilburner’s RT for 300 miles and learned to ride with a pillion.  Minds appropriately blown?  I’ve learned that riding two up isn’t quite as difficult or scary as I had always made it to be in my mind.  I’ve learned the joys of getting a back massage while riding.  I’ve learned how much fun it is to lean back and put my hand on his knee while cruising down the highway.  I’ve partaken of the schadenfreude of passing a couple on a Harley, with his arm candy riding bitch…and me thinking of mine.  I’ve let the little devil inside out when I quickly gunned the throttle and released it so that his helmet knocked into mine.  I’ve had the GREAT laugh of knowing EXACTLY when he turned the passenger heated seat on (14 miles from home) and he couldn’t figure how I knew.

I miss my Big Red bike.  We haven’t ridden since Christmas.  Hopefully I will get to ride it soon.  But the sacrifice is worth it right now.  I’m happy to help Oilburner to get out as well.  It may only be one night, but a ride to Savannah was absolutely necessary.  We may not do much while here, but just the act of getting here was the best.  Remember, it isn’t about the destination, it’s the journey.  The backroads home will be calling our names.

Savannah 2/17 Savannah 2/17 Savannah 2/17

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ice is fun to photograph…

No driving required.  Got to trip the light ivy-dango around the house and take a couple interesting photos.  Play with the camera I haven’t touched in ages.  Hope you enjoy.  Only one icicle was harmed in the making of these photos.

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Saturday, January 7, 2017

We Have Survived!!

I know you have probably been worried.  I mean the blizzard conditions threatening the south (Atlanta) have probably made global media.  Wanted to let you know that we have survived.  The storm has caused a huge run on the staples: milk, bread, and eggs.  Don’t even try going to the market, you’ll be forced to go for the egg white liquid or try the vinegar and baking soda option.  (I would not recommend trying to scramble that vinegar and backing soda solution…don’t ask me how I know.)  We are holed up with makings for chili, tacos, and lots of snacks.

Now I’m going to warn you that the pictures below may be a little disturbing.  They are filled with vicious amounts of ice and snow.  This literally stops Atlanta in its tracks.  I can finally say I am able to run with the big boys in Portland (both Maine and Oregon), Denver and Fairbanks.  Hey Richard, do you think I can qualify for the Polar Bear Club??

Snow-lanta Snow-lanta Snow-lanta Snow-lanta Snow-lanta

Monday, January 2, 2017


Happy New Year!!

My wish for everyone is a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.  I fervently hope that 2017 will be full of food, friends, family, adventure, new sights, and new sounds.

So hear is a little catsup from me and Oilburner:

New Years weekend was spent camping.  We took the mini-bikes in hopes of getting out.  But the allure of the sofa or camp chair and a good book and knitting were overpowering.

Camping for New Years! Camping for New Years!

Christmas Day dawned beautiful, clear and WARM!  We were hitting the low 70’s in mid Georgia and just had to take advantage of it. We met up with a friend that recently acquired a 2015 GSW in Electric Blue.  Yum.  We met up in Senoia, GA.  For those of you Walking Dead fans this city was known as Woodbury. We didn’t have a destination so enjoyed a few miles through Pine Mountain park with some great overlooks.

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And I am teaching myself knitting.  I’ve knitted the cap and mitts.  Working on the scarf now.  It’s the garter stitch at this moment.  The book I bought has 12 projects that will teach me garter, stockinette, ribbing, and seed.  I’m ready to try something other than garter, but having fun seeing things completed. 

Learning to knit