Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Moving my mojo down the road

Last week, Sept. 6, I decided to ride out to the Valley as Chapter 1836 was doing their weekly ride out to about Mile 100 or so to a place called Grandview. I wasn't going to go there, but figured I'd say hi, and maybe ride a ways.

Miss Scarlett was not behaving properly. She seemed to be falling off and riding out of the curves, and when I used the front brake, was wobbling. I thought the tire needed changing and the brake was having an issue.

When I arrived at Denali Harley-Davidson, where the group meets to ride, I was yapping about it. Three of the guys came to look at it and discovered that the front wheel bearing seal was totally gone, as were nearly all of the little bearings. The bike was dangerous, not rideable and I was lucky to have not been in an accident.

As usual, I depend upon the kindness of strangers. Ron, who I just met there, packed me on his bike to where he lives, we took a trailer, loaded up my bike and took it to his place, and he then drove me home, all the way back to Anchorage. It was a nice thing to do, and I certainly appreciated it.

Going to get the vehicle and trailer.  Yes, I was on a mostly blue bike with flames, but I was grateful to Ron for the ride not only to get the trailer but to get me home to Anchorage (photo by Dee).
Ron took Miss Scarlett to the shop the next morning and they replaced the bearing, seal and the tire … guess wheel bearings don't wear out that often, or so I'm told. Birdie was going to the Valley so she drove me to the shop to pick up the bike.

DHD also told me to get the inner primary bearing replaced as that was also going bad. And if it it does, it goes through the engine and I'm off the road til it's fixed. Anchorage House of Harley-Davidson took care of that one on Saturday during the ice cream social and launch of the new 2013 bikes. Wahoo. Miss Scarlett sounds and acts more like her old self now.

A beautiful day for a ride.  Miss Scarlett is herself again.
On Monday (Sept. 10), I decided to do a mojo test to see if the wheel and tire were my problem. Off I went up the Richardson, through the curves near the Kings River, Caribou Creek and north. It was a fantabulous day with the colors out in full force, the temperatures moderate and the traffic only a little annoying. Seems I got it back … riding mojo is 100 percent intact.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Last of the Labor Day weekend  ice trekking and zip lining

Monday was a day of riding, but not together. Birdie and 101 were on the road at 7 a.m. to Livengood, about 70 miles up some road, since she needed a photo for her ABCs of Touring.

We stopped at Creamer's Field on the way out of town.  There was an abundance of cranes and Canada geese.  The cranes lead the flock ... "Follow me!"  Famous last words when Zookeeper and Peppermint are leading.

Hey, look over there.  Is that Superman? No, it's Zookeeper!  Run, I mean fly.  Hurry.

Coming in for a landing.

Flying in formation, plus one.
Zookeeper, Jaz and I headed home, but that included a stop at Rose's in Healy for breakfast, where we met up with Pam and Chuck. They were our chase and buffer -from-the-cars vehicle from there to Anchorage. Of course, they had to run 80 mph or better sometimes to keep up. But they did a good job for us. The day wasn't looking bad. But that was shortlived, and we ended up riding in a lot of rain and some heavy winds.
Pam and Chuck running the buffer vehicle.

The colors were even more brilliant with the cloudiness and rain.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Missing my mojo on the Grand Circle Loop Ter

It promised to be a Labor Day free-for-all as five of us headed out for the Grand Circle Loop Ter weekend. Birdie, Jaz, Zookeeper, 101 and I were heading to Chitina for the first night. (Where the hell is Chitina? Jaz knew. Good thing she was leading.) It was mostly an uneventful day, except for the stop at Liberty Falls and going down a muddy, steep road and then wondering how we'd get out. But, more importantly, I was having issues.

The Grand Circle Loop Ter Five ... by the Copper River heading into Chitina.
About two weeks ago while riding with Jaz and Uncle Glen, I lost my riding mojo. Suddenly, for no reason … no close calls, no near misses … I was not comfortable in curves … not twisties, not gentle curves, not my favorite sweeping curves. What happened? I was stiff and off balance, and nervous because I couldn't get through them at the speed I normally do, and not able to keep up with my friends. I dropped back and rode my own ride.

Saturday's ride was no different. I was stiff and hung back … uncomfortable and nervous. I didn't even like riding fast to pass cars. Good grief. Don't say it's time to put up the bike!!!

Liberty Falls.  Glad I was wearing my FX boots ... waterproof, you know.
The water near the falls is just as beautiful ... the color, the rocks.  Just don't fall in.  Jaz did that the week before.  We did not have a repeat performance.

There were two little rock formations near the river.  It reminds me of the ones someone is building on one of the creeks in Anchorage.  They were very cheerful and enjoyable to see where unexpected.

This one looked like a woman with a big hat and a long cape.  Amazing how they can look and how someone can find rocks that work the imagination so you see a face and clothing.
When we got to Chitina we registered at the Chitina Hotel, a nice old place that's been refurbished. The rooms were small, but very nice and we had a private bath, always a plus. The floors are beautiful, polished wood, even in the bathroom.

We enjoyed our stay in the old historic hotel, and found a gem in the dining room.  The food was excellent and worth a trip back in the future.

We decided to walk to the river as Jaz and I wanted to look for fishwheels for photos. We walked and walked and walked, maybe a mile-plus. That is unusual for bikers. We should have ridden. The wind kicked up and the rain began coming down. Then the two teamed up and it became miserable, so while we'd gotten to the bridge, the weather was nasty enough that we turned around. By the time we got back to the hotel we were all soaked, and two had hypothermia. Not a good time for bikers.

The road to the river passes through these portals and with all the rain they've had was a bit of mud.  I was glad to have not ridden as it would have been quite slimey.
Along side the road, just behind the guardrail, was a pair of shoes.  Mostly you only see one shoe and wonder how someone could lose only one.  This person lost a whole pair of shoes.  How does that happen?
The weather was just ugly and gray.  Add some rain and a lot of wind, and it was time to head back to the hotel.
When we got back near town, we saw an old broken down building.  They are fascinating because you don't always know the history; I still like to photograph them because there's so much character.
Even old, with broken doors or windows, character is never lost when these buildings still exist.
Old vehicles of any type are a draw in an old town.  There were several of these across from the hotel, some in deep grass.  I wasn't willing to get even wetter to crawl around trying to get a better photo.
Wooden wheels and flowers make a pretty picture.  But rain curtailed that and inside we went.
A wonderful meal at the hotel and to bed and to sleep. But that didn't happen immediately. What sounded like gunshots erupted … we were heavy and had bear spray. Thankfully, we did not need either as it turned out to be fireworks. The last weekend for the tourist season in Chitina and celebrating by the locals for the finale.

Sunday dawned mostly clear but cold. That was okay … no rain on the horizon. We were up, moving and on the trail of the yak. Zookeeper had had a yak burger the night before. I'd thought it was just a name, but turns out it really was a yak burger, and the yaks were down the road. Our mission was to find them and photograph them and then make yak tracks for Glennallen to gas and go.

Tibetan Yak making tracks.  They are raised for meat, riding, fiber, packing and herd development.
Domestic yaks can live to 25 years of age.  Wild yak are considered an endangered species and can grow to 7 feet high at the shoulder and weigh more than 2,000 pounds.
Glennallen to Tok found a slight return of my riding mojo, curves in Jaz's shadow, and nearly running the ton. What in the world brought it somewhat back? I don't know, but am hoping for a complete mojo recovery.

The colors of fall have sprung out all over, and the smells are heavy in the air.  It's my favorite time to ride.
Fairbanks was mostly clear as we rode in but the streets were wet. We'd pretty much dodged the rain bullets all day. To Pike's, to dinner, to free ice cream for Alaska residents and to bed.

The lucky ducks who stay here have it all ... food, shelter, swimming pool.
This is one of the lucky ducks.
There was even some HOG mushing going on.
And good night.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

To the fair, to the fair

Hobbs and I went to the fair on Wednesday (Aug. 29). It was a great day for a lot of reasons … it was a beautiful day, we got to ride and being old farts, we got in for $7 … for both of us. It was senior day (who knew), or buddy day. Don't know which one let us in on the cheap, but it worked for us. All I knew is that it left us with money to purchase fair food.

As we walked in, Hobbs noticed the “slingshot” and said he'd always wanted to ride it. Not me. It was one of those things that did not appeal to me … who knew. One side could get loose and you could be catapulted into the wild, blue yonder. Not me, not me. But I did encourage him to take a ride … why not? It's not like we're going to die young!

120 foot towers, 0-60 mph in a single second, and 4 Gs of acceleration.  I should have read this sign.
We wandered over and turns out it was buddy day, two for the price of one. The guy said I should go, and I told him, no, I don't have a desire to do this ride. We looked around, but there was no one else even near us. Drat!!! I had to go … I hate passing up a good deal.

All harnessed up and ready to fly.
They strapped us in, harnessed us up, and told us to keep our heads on the backrests/neckrests or whatever those things are. And then they started tightening up the rubber bands that hold the slingshot in place, and all of a sudden we were let go. Flying, freefalling. I couldn't look and kept my eyes shut and just screamed and screamed and screamed. Like a girl. Well, duh, I am a girl!!! And then I laughed and screamed some more, but I never opened my eyes.

I'm screaming and he's grinning.  And we're flying.
I didn't hear anything from next to me and didn't know if Hobbs had been sent to be the next man on the moon, or if he was still strapped in. Up and down, up and down. Finally I opened my eyes, and he was still there, smiling. And his eyes were open. He later told me they weren't open most of the time.

It was fun, but I'm more the type to like roller coasters for my freefalling experience and negative Gs.

Even Smokey made an appearance.

The Apollo ride.  Another one I don't need to do.

Ferris wheels are just cool.
From the ride, everything else was great and fun.

Entertainment galore at the fair ... at all times of the day, makes time fly quickly.
We wandered through the aisles, snacking on fair food …

Love corn dogs.

I so get into my food.  Even looking at this mustard now makes my mouth water.

And a berry cream puff to top off all the other junk fair food I ate.
We wandered up and down looking at things, and then we wandered into the livestock area. It's one of my favorites … cows, pigs, sheep. I so enjoy seeing them. There were also some special types of chickens I don't remember seeing … with curly feathers that reminded me of the boas ladies used to wear.

Chickens can be so colorful to photograph.
A true hog ... smiling.
On our way out Hobbs stopped to talk to an old vet ... he stops to talk to most of them and shakes their hands.

Saw an old friend, Lewis, and visited with him while we watched others do the slingshot.  It's always such a pleasure to see Lewis.

These little guys are so cute.
It was a great day … fair day.