I think it started with an article in Peter Egan’s book, Leanings. About a Baja dirt bike touring company that picked you up at the San Diego airport with the bikes loaded and took you direct to Ensenada Mexico with one night of the trip at the infamous Mike Sky Ranch which is famous for off roaders of all types. This has been on my bucket list ever since. My buddy Phil Panarisi said, let’s go to Mike’s this year. I am 56 and not getting any younger, so I called Bruce at Go Baja Riding and set a date last fall. He said I needed 6 guys to lock in a date, so I started stirring the pot with old riding buddies. We got two out of San Antonio (Juan and Brian), one out of DFW (Clay of the North Texas Norton Assn.)), three including myself out of Indy. Two of us are MSTA (Motorcycle Sport Touring Assn.) members including Dave Edwards and myself. So it was set. I told him we had decades of dirt riding experience and two of us had ridden with Malcolm Smith, but that skill wise we were mediocre. Next thing I see is he has posted this as experienced riders only and one of the most difficult courses in Baja, ouch. Four others joined us, a retired Israeli (Kainan) who has traveled the world on bikes as much as I have, a very fast Canadian (Pete), another from Massachusetts who had been twice before (Tim an ADV Rider), and finally a very fast rider from Utah (Steve). So the stage was set.
Seventeen degrees Fahrenheit! That was the temperature on the first Sunday of Spring when I put my Speed Triple on the trailer, a very cold seventeen degrees. This winter had been a doozy and by “doozy” I mean a freeze-your-cojones-off kind of winter. At first I loved using my new snow blower to clear the white stuff that kept falling from the sky. But it kept falling, and falling, and falling. By the end of March, I was more than ready to go find some warmth and get the riding season started.
I’ve attended the Mail Pouch Fly-By rally in Marietta, OH, every year since joining MSTA (then HSTA) in 2001. Since it’s the closest regional rally (only 200 miles from my home in Dayton, OH), it’s easy to attend. But there is a lot more to like about the Fly-By than its convenient location. When people attend for the first time they find it to be a no-brainer to go back and enjoy it every year. So, what makes the Fly-By so wonderful?
As usual, I was fired up to attend the STAR 2014 in Rapid City, SD. However, due to the earlier than usual date, I decided to take on a “Candy Ass” 900, and join the MS Trailering Association. The fun roads (Yellowstone N.P., US 212 (The Beartooth), and US 14 (Big Horn Mountain Highway)) from North Idaho to the site are usually still closed for snow. Droning on I-90 on my V-Strom didn’t expect to be much fun. Hence the trailer.
This summer our daughter landed an internship at Sterling Publishing (Barnes & Noble) in New York City. I wanted to go see her for a weekend but driving from Indianapolis to Upper Manhattan didn’t sound appealing. Nor did flying. Going on my Honda ST1300, now that had possibilities for adventure! The dilemma, though, was where would I park the bike once I got there?
Enter dinner at STAR ’14 with Archey and Theresia Shearer. Theresia talked about riding to Portland, Oregon, dropping her bike off at a local dealer for an oil change, and then flying on to Hawaii for a wedding. The bike not only got its oil change but it was in secure storage until she got back and picked it up to ride home. I thought if she could do that on the west coast, perhaps I could do the same thing on the east coast in New York City.