FBAD: Life on the Blue Ridge

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Fast Ferris, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    It was a '98, and yes, had gear-driven cams, and yes, made a delicious racket on the boil. :D

    Awesome machine, a technological marvel. Honda flexing its mighty engineering muscle. V-4, so pretty much the low-end torque of a v-twin, combined with the top-end rush of a MotoGP bike. Deceptively quick. Would just keep on pulling, and pulling, and pulling. Fastest bike I've ever ridden (even faster than my FJR), 154 indicated, with full luggage (saddlebags, tailbag and tankbag) one morning in the desolate depths of Death Valley. Not bad for "only" 800-cc's.

    I spent untold hours hand-sanding and polishing all the aluminum bits on it, including the frame and swingarm. The alloy Honda used was top flight, and once polished it'd hold that jewelry-quality glow forever with virtually no special cosmetic maintenance required.

    A true gentleman's sportbike, but its fatal flaw - at least as far as I was concerned - reared its ugly head when I set out to ride around the country on it: ergo-wise it was just a little too cramped (even for little old me), and after several long days on the road my knees were on fire (and my wrists weren't far behind). My knees have always been junk, however, so I'm not blaming 100% of this issue on the VFR. That said, the bike was what it was, a sport-tourer, and as with any blend of motorcycle genres, there are compromises that have to be made.

    When I sat on the V-Strom on the showroom floor there in Colorado, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. My '06 Road King was a supremely comfortable bike to crank out back-to-back high-mile days on, but the V-Strom was in a league all its own in that regard.

    I like my bikes to look as well as they function and the V-Strom had a face only a mother could love, but once you climbed aboard and aimed it toward the far horizon, you forgot all about the frumpy design and simply reveled in how relaxing it was to ride.

    I doubt many folks have offed their motorcycle in the middle of a cross-country trip, but I made a command decision that morning and never looked back. I hope the present owners of both bikes are still as happy with them as I was during the time they were in my stable. :)

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    ^ Lake Isabella, California, moments away from launch on the "Out of Words" ride.


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    ^: Not the world's best ADV bike, but hey, you do what you have to do!


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    ^: Me 'n JB2 just prior to spending several glorious hours strafing the Colorado National Monument. The stereoquadraphonic howl of our VFR's is probably still echoing off the canyon walls...


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    ^: The Park Rangers didn't care much for our style, however, and nabbed us in a rolling road block as we were exiting the park.


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    ^: Ouch! Coulda been worse, however: the Ranger who initiated the stop was wound up pretty tight and wanted to cite us for "reckless" driving, which would've required, among other things, a mandatory court appearance back in Colorado at some future date, but the other Ranger talked him down off the ledge and we only got "careless" driving citations out of the deal. Bad boys, bad boys...


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    ^: Out with the old, in with the new.

    So many motorcycles, so little time...
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  2. Bartimus

    Bartimus Been here awhile

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  3. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    The post has been deleted by its author. Just as well, I don't need the temptation, and...if I were in the market for another Buell, it'd be something like this:

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    My beloved '96 Buell S2 Thunderbolt, affectionately nicknamed the "BLURR" by my then-10-year-old daughter Brynn, on the way to play all day on the flanks of Mount St. Helens in Washington State.

    Sex on wheels.
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  4. RedUly

    RedUly Esse Quam Videri Supporter

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    Beautiful bike.

    Is that new countertop I see in the background?
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  5. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Indeed it is. One of Erik's many moto-masterpieces. I put over 70k on that bike. It was the machine that inspired my "Ferris Bueller" personna - I so enjoyed taking days off on the BLURR that I began writing about and photo-documenting my journeys, and began using the FB pen name as my tales began to be published.

    The rest is history.

    I miss that motorcycle.

    Sure is. Good catch. :)
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  6. Bartimus

    Bartimus Been here awhile

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    Deleted? Well that is just unacceptable, lol. here's the temptation for ya. It was a '97 though, still a purdy bike, looked all stock.

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    Your S2, like all your bikes, was a work of art. The hours you spent detailing your bikes. That bodywork looks familiar...

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    How's the knee healing? Are you getting around better now?

    Attached Files:

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  7. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. One of my favorite reviews of the S1 Lightning from back in the day: "It's a Buell. Rhymes with mule. Kicks ass." :)

    Ah, you're killin' me here, amigo! Sweet! :)

    It's coming along nicely, have been off crutches entirely for about a week now. Had my one-week check-up last Friday, the doc pronounced me good to go as far as normal activities. Denise and I did our landscaping gig last Saturday and my knee tolerated it just fine. I have another check-up in a couple of weeks, then a physical therapy regimen to go through.


    Here's a neat blast from the past, some studly young dude, circa early 1984, standing next to his new-to-him '76 Harley-Davidson Liberty Edition Electra Glide:

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    One of the crudest motorcycles I've ever owned, but it introduced me to what Harleys are all about. It didn't do anything well, except...put a smile on my face everytime I lit it off.
  8. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    During the telecasts of the recently-completed World Series, it was announced that next year, the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox will face off on none other than the legendary Field of Dreams, in Dyersville, Iowa. It ought to be an unforgettable experience, for the players and fans alike.

    Been there, done that, got the t-shirt:

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    The pic above, with MadDuck's Buell Ulyssess parked at home plate, was obtained with the permission of Don Lansing, owner of the Field of Dreams, shown below with my twin-brother-from-a-different-mother, Alex Prior:

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    Alex did the advance recon for our visit, and secured permission from Mr. Lansing for two photo ops with MadDuck's Uly: one parked at home plate, and a series of photos of the bike disappearing into the corn rows out in straightaway center field:

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    Alex and I also played some catch out in right field. I still have my baseball glove, purchased especially for the occasion (I can vividly remember the excited chatter, the hoots and hollers by all the kids and their moms and dads on the field that day, playing ball on a perfect September afternoon on the legendary Field of Dreams), and the baseball, autographed by Mr. Lansing:

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    Alex and I presented a brand-new 2006 Buell American Motorcycles brochure, inscribed by none other than The Man himself, to Mr. Lansing, as a way of saying thanks. The inscription read: "To Don Lansing, thank you for the dreams, Erik Buell."

    Mr. Lansing was touched by the gesture, and said the brochure would be going on his mantle, right next to his autographed photo of Hank Aaron.

    This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thank you Mr. Lansing, thank you Erik, thank you Prior, and thank you MadDuck.

    Thank you Lord, for my many blessings.
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  9. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    ^ Me 'n JB2 paying a visit to the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas many, many moons ago.


    Despite a gate that seemed expressly designed to thwart such behavior, we somehow managed to wriggle the V-Strom through the steel barricade so I could snap some pix of the Suzy posing with the fleet:

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    It occurred to me at the time that if I left the V-Strom parked there for a spell, someone would probably come along and slather it in spray paint. Anything woulda been an improvement... :D
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  10. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    That was really cool. I love that movie!

    My best field of dreams experience wasn't even close to yours. This sign probably wasn't even named after Doc "moonlight" Graham but I did think of the movie when I saw it.

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  11. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Doc Graham Road, that's pretty cool! I believe I would've stopped and grabbed a photo, as well. :)

    Yeah, visiting the Field of Dreams - especially being able to grab a couple of photos with MadDuck's Ulysses - was bucket list-kinda stuff. Alex used to live in Iowa, and had visited beforehand and gotten permission from Don Lansing for the photos. We played some catch out in right field, and then noticed Mr. Lansing parked in the shade of the trees seen in the photo above, hanging out on his quad with his dog, simply enjoying the ambience, the sights and sounds of dozens and dozen of kids, moms and dads playing ball on the Field of Dreams. One might think the place would've lost some of its charm over the years - after all, it's a working farm - but he said he loved coming out and watching, and listening to, all the folks who daily made the pilgrimage to this special place. There's a magic there, just like depicted in the movie. I know this, because I experienced it firsthand.

    I heard a few mild "WTF!"s when we motored out onto the outfield, and then quite a few more, of course, when I pushed MadDuck's Buell out onto home plate. I hollered that I had permission from the owner, and I think the home-plate pic probably took less than 30 seconds or so - I felt pretty conspicuous interrupting the game, truth be told, but I really, really wanted that photo.

    I'm eternally grateful to Mr. Lansing - that took an incredible amount of trust to allow a motorcycle onto his field (a first, he said) - and we were extremely courteous and respectful, to both him, and the folks gathered there that day.

    I'm also grateful to Alex for being my brother and for helping lay the groundwork for our visit, and grateful to Erik, for taking the time to inscribe the brochure for Mr. Lansing. The Buell Ulysses had just been released and was a landmark motorcycle for the Buell Motorcycle Company, and I was honored to ride one across the country and involve so many cool people (and iconic places) in its debut.
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  12. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Day two of the "Ferris Bueller Rides Again Tour" (FBRAT) was a visit to Buell American Motorcycles in East Troy, Wisconsin, and lunch at the infamous Gus's Drive-In with Erik, Alex, Dave Stueve from Appleton, WI Harley-Davidson/Buell, and BMC's Bruce Champion. We had a great time, and Alex and I got an intimate tour of the Buell factory and assembly line. Here are some pix:

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    ^ Erik shows off his legendary, completely-hand-built Buell RW-750, parked in the lobby. Upon closer inspection, he said, "I can't believe I ever rode this thing that fast!"

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    ^ One of my favorite photos from FBRAT, Erik reflecting on his success as an American motorcycle manufacturer in the 20+ years since he built his first motorcycle.


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    ^ Another fave pic from the ride, Erik taking time out of his busy schedule to visit with Denise, who was holding down the fort back home in California (while I traipsed around the country on a motorcycle that didn't belong to me).

    This photograph tells you pretty much everything you need to know about The Man, Mr. Erik Buell.


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    ^ Good times, unforgettable memories.
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  13. RedUly

    RedUly Esse Quam Videri Supporter

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    That trip had an impact on my life. You did it before I had done any real long distance riding. I already knew I wanted to ride across the country "some day." Some day came in October 2007. Watching you do it was part of my motivation for making it happen. There was another guy on there as well. I wish I could remember his name. Also an excellent photographer from Virginia. He bought a Uly somewhere out west and rode it home, with great pictures along the way back. It struck me that wow, people really do these kinds of rides, and I can do them too.
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  14. Bartimus

    Bartimus Been here awhile

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    It seems Ferris was always finding good reasons to go for rides. ;)
    That pic of you with the Shovelhead is a classic! You've got hair! :bmwrider
    And as usual, you are in the curves, great pic, just like the one of the Suzy and the caddies, nice shot...
    I remember FBRAT, I think I called in sick and rode up to Colorado to meet you for one day just to say I did, on the S2.
    That was great to set up that stop at the field of dreams, and to bring the signed '06 Buell model pamphlet :thumbup
    Erik IS quite the man, smart, down to earth, how could we not love his bikes?:nod
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  15. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Jim, I had no idea. Thanks for sharing! You've certainly made up for "lost" time, my friend. :)
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  16. RedUly

    RedUly Esse Quam Videri Supporter

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  17. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    In the words of Lou "Mystic" Usher, "Ride hard. You can rest when you die." :)



    Yeah, and I was probably 50 pounds lighter back then! :D

    JB2's a great riding buddy, he's always angling for photos, just like me. It took a bit to get the V-Strom through the gate, but it was worth it to get those pix.

    That was an epic day on the road for me 'n D (she had flown into Colorado Springs so we could ride two-up back to Cali), and we had already done Pikes Peak and Phantom Canyon Road before we met you in Florence that day.

    However, YOU sir, cranked out nearly a thousand miles that day (Albuquerque, NM > Florence, CO > Albuquerque, NM), just to hang with the likes of us for a few. I think you might be even crazier than we are! :D

    Alex Prior deserves a ton of credit for all of that, as does Don Lansing, as does Erik Buell. Bucket list through and through.

    One of the coolest guys I've ever met. I've been fortunate enough to ride with him probably a half-dozen times or so, and each time has been epic. And you're right, he's one of the most down-to-earth dudes you'd ever want to meet. He deserves a special place in the history of motorcycles.


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    ^: Climbing Pikes Peak. This was before they paved the rest of the road to the summit, and the pic above shows the old transition from pavement to dirt.

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    ^: :raabia:raabia

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    ^: The "welcome to" signs on the north end of Phantom Canyon Road. :eekers

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    ^: House-hunting with Denise. :D


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    ^: Bartimus, TBear and me in Florence, CO. Denise and I had spent the night with TBear at his home in Guffey, CO, and he had been our most-excellent traveling companion and tour guide on this day. Photo by Denise

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    ^: Bartimus astride MadDuck's Buell Ulysses. It must be nice to have legs long enough to flat-foot this thing. I could barely reach the ground even with the low-rise seat Erik loaned me! :D

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    ^: Bart's GORGEOUS '95 Buell S2 Thunderbolt, one of the sexiest motorcycles ever to consume fuel.


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    ^: One of the last pix me 'n D took on the day, as we humped westward across Colorado on Highway 50. Although we really, really, REALLY wanted to hole up in Gunnison when we rode through there at dusk, we had made previous arrangements to meet up with Lori and DBird in Grand Junction and had to press on, even after it got cold, and dark, and seriously deer-infested. This was back before I had a GPS and we were doing all our navigating with paper maps. We rolled into GJ about 11 o'clock that night, pretty much wiped out.
  18. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    iDave did several really outstanding ride reports but then he went back and deleted most of them, I don't know why.