Misadventures of a Hoosierbilly Motorcycle Tramp

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by JB2, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    The third day on the road our destination was Murdo, South Dakota. We have a friend there, Don Hullinger, who owns the Sioux Motel. Don and I met through this truck. I used to own it. I sold it on eBay. He bought it. He invited me to stay at his motel whenever we passed through. The first time Jim and I stayed there we became instant friends with Don and his wife and family. He's a rider. They all ride and collect cars, motorcycles & hotrods. That's the Rusty Spur Restaurant in the background. His brother built it but sold it to an ex-brother-in-law last year. Still great food. BTW, the Hullinger family owns most of Murdo. Good family. Lots of siblings. All of them are successful business people but down to earth as they come.

    About the truck... I bought it several years ago. A cantankerous old man, Carl Oswald, owned it. He'd had bought it new and then chopped this '48 ForDor Sedan into a pickup truck. I remembered it as a kid growing up and had to have it when it came up for sale. Carl hauled trash and worked his farm with it almost until the day he died. It was a REAL rat-rod that was ready to decorate and install a hotrod drive train in. Who wouldn't buy it? :1drinkI added the era-correct sun visor, cab lights, west coast mirrors, curb feelers and most important the cast iron razorback welded to the hood. Don and his crew have since got it running, repaired the brakes, added new rims, tires and trim to the four corners and is in the process of re-wiring the old girl. He sees what I see in the old truck. It was good to have passed it on to him especially since he's taking it to a higher level. He has a Continental Kit in the bed waiting to be installed. She's beautiful, eh?

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    These magnetic razorbacks were purchased in Arkansas during an epic adventure called "Out Of Words". They used to be red, white & black but the South Dakota sun has aged them perfectly to the truck. It is titled as a truck, BTW. :D

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    We returned that evening from the Rusty Spur and spotted these two "non" rat-rods parked next to our room. They were two couples traveling the west together. All retired. All living the good life and having fun. The Ford was my favorite but,...

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    ... but damn, that Chevy was really sweet.

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    We retired that evening with Don and Bonnie, knocking out a half gallon of cheap vodka and way too many stories to remember. Can't remember laughing that hard in years. 'Twas a great day to be alive.
    #41
  2. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    The fourth day our destination was Hill City via Wall Drug for breakfast and the Badlands. We had been through here a few years earlier but had passed a lot of good ADV roads. Our goal was to get to Hill City on as much dirt as possible.

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    On a back road nearing Wall and the Badlands.

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    Breakfast at Wall. I always have to "walk-off" a little afterwards just so I can fit back in my jacket. :D

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    Enter the Badlands National Park.

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    Had to skip this road the last time we were here. It's called the Sage Creek Rim Road. There wasn't one bad view.

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    Never seen the first Black-Footed Ferret. Seen a few Prairie Dogs though and one very dead, "just-flipped-out-of-the-ditch-by-a-bush-hog" Rattlesnake.

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    Turn west here and you end up in Folsom, SD.

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    Sunflowers in bloom for as far as the eye could see in every direction. Pretty spectacular actually.

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    Shot from the cockpit.

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    The church at Folsom, South Dakota built in 1917. We stopped here last time. It's about the only thing in Folsom beside a Fire and Rescue Unit.

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    Arriving in Hill City, SD where we would take up residence at Hill City Cabins for several days.

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    And more talk of snow would fill the TV news and be the topic of discussion at the local cafes. You'll notice the sky in this day's pictures and how it looks like the front of a winter storm?:lurk
    #42
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  3. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    On day five our intention was retrace some areas around Hill City that we had visited before. Only this time take some of the gnarlier roads that I couldn't do on the Victory Cross Country. First on the list is Mystic, South Dakota. Wide spot in the road and barely that.

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    We have a friend who is an outstanding guitar picker and song writer who goes by the handle of Lou "Mystic" Usher. I have found several towns called Mystic in my travels and always have to get a shot for Lou. :D

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    The McCahan Chapel in Mystic. One of just a handful of buildings here.

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    This was one of the roads we skipped when I was riding the pig. It was a single-lane, hard-scrabble-packed road that went towards our next destination in Rochford, SD.

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    It was a really cool road that had a total of 3 water crossings. The crossings were easy but it was starting to add a nice patina to the bike. This is the direction we were coming from...

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    ... and this is the direction we're going.

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    We made it to Rochford just fine but not without incident. Just a few miles outside of town we hit an intentional road block. Several trees had been felled across the road. Big trees. They blocked more than the road, they blocked any clear path around them. Back a few feet was a driveway that was marked "NO TRESPASSING - VIOLATORS WILL BE SHOT". There was also a sign saying it was a private dude-ranch/gun-adventure/lodge. Up the road we could see another intersection that appeared to connect with the driveway back in the woods on this asshat's property. We decided to go for it and yep it "Y'd" about 50 yards back in the woods. We turned right and ended up on the same road on the other side of the block. When we got to the Moonshine Gulch Saloon they were just opening. The owner sat with us while the coffee brewed. We told her of the road block. She said the guy was a real dickhead. Business guy from the east. It seems he didn't like people traveling the road, his was the only dwelling within 20 miles, and this was his second time pulling the stunt. It took several months the last time it happened before the DNR could remove them. They couldn't prove that he felled them so no charges were ever levied. None of the locals like him or the people he draws to the place. It's a shame actually because it's a historical hunting lodge. Oh well.

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    We stopped at the Moonshine Gulch Saloon for just a cup of coffee. Jim had been on the road 10 days at this point and I had been on the road 5 days. We got comfortable in the setting and the company. Pretty soon we were consuming burgers and beer. I went back to coffee and ordered the "dozen donut special". A dozen hand-made, deep fried donuts shaken in powdered sugar as soon as the grease quit bubblin', melt in your mouth and oh so sinfully delicious... more black coffee please!

    We killed the best part of three hours here and pretty much headed straight back to Hill City to call it an early day. As we were leaving there was a noticeable drop in the temperatures and slight howling in the trees. When we got back to the cabins we had a new neighbors. A guy named Doc from PA who was riding a sport-touring bike with a Bandit drive train. Some bike that Suzuki only made a couple of years. His life-long friend Rob was from northern Indiana and was riding a Harley something. They had been to Rapid City earlier in the day and were holing up for the snow storm in Hill City. Doug and Mary Klar offered us their garage to store our bikes in. Very gracious hosts. Jim and I declined, the new neighbors took them up on their offer. Well, you know, their bikes were shiney and all and there was a storm coming. A snow storm.

    It was a grand evening in many respects. Beers, cigars and tall tales. Doc and Rob had been to a lot of the same bases that Gentleman Jim flew out of during Viet Nam. They knew a lot of the same people. Having never served myself it was an honor to sit back and listen to their stories. Jim was feeling like the beginning of the flu and checked out a couple hours earlier than me. I waited up outside on the porch for the big snow storm as long as I could. Not sure when I fell asleep or when I woke up but I was shiverin' and out of popcorn.

    :lurk
    #43
  4. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Day six started with a startle. Almost as if Santa Claus himself jiggled the bed, I jumped from a state of deep sleep and peered out the window. Hot damn, I gots me a Christmas card picture. I stumbled around in the dark. Found my boots and camera and walked outside in shorts, t-shirt and Herman Survivors to capture this shot.

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    Jim was under the weather and dosed himself with NyQuil after we got back from Breakfast. I had left the camera in the cabin and missed a shot of a red Gold Wing trike, covered in snow and parked out front of the diner where we started our day. Hill City had received a total of 6" overnight and they were predicting another 2-4" before the storm rolled out in the late afternoon. It set an all-time record for first snowfall in the Black Hills by two days. However, the pavement was still warm from the late summer heat so there wasn't much fluff on the roads. Gentleman Jim decided it was good day to stay in bed and nurse his fever. I couldn't resist heading out and doing the route we had picked to ride to Wyoming on the dirt roads. Off I went.

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    Not far out of Hill City I ran into free range cattle country. Every open area was being grazed by cows... or is it Kaws? Well, by-golly, here comes those other inches of snow they're talking about.

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    And the snow starts coming down harder and it has been about 20 miles since I last seen a home or a vehicle of any kind...

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    ...and hey, I don't have any cell service. More Kaws.

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    Finally at this saddleback pass I decide maybe I should head back to Hill City. I'm about half way between Hill City and the Wyoming state-line at this point. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted plus I got to see all those Kaws again riding back down to Hill City. Win-Win! :lol3

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    When I arrived back to the cabins Jim was up and around and not feeling so bad. It was the middle of the afternoon and we both had skipped lunch so off to the restaurant we walked. Afterwards Jim thought he might be up to some local riding. It was just starting to clear off and the sun was coming out but it was damned cold. We spent an hour cleaning the wet snow that had turned to ice off his Tenere'. Just before launching for a late afternoon cruise he broke a key off in one of the saddlebag locks while retrieving some gear. ARRRGH! At least he had what he needed out before it broke. We went shopping just outside of Hill City and then back to walk the streets in the remaining gift stores that were still open. Most had shut down for the season and most of the ones still open were going to shut down for the season very soon. More beers, cigars and BS finished our evening off with our new best neighbors. I managed to get the broken portion of the key out of Jim's lock and thankfully he had a second key so everything was back in some kind of order. Tomorrow we'd head east. Morning temperatures were predicted to be in the high 20's. SHEESH!
    #44
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  5. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Day seven was cold. Real cold. 28 degrees cold. Our neighbors hadn't peeked out their cabin yet when we rolled out heading east. Without heated gear my maximum cold temperature is 28. I threw everything including my rain suit at the day. We could travel about 20-25 miles in a stretch before I had to stop and warm up my hands with the exhaust pipe. Jim was doing okay with his heated gear... I might look into that some day but for now I could make it work with what I had. We decided to head southward first and out of the cold front before turning east. We encountered several lengthy patches of black ice that gave a new meaning to pucker factor. We survived all without incident thankfully.


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    We passed through Wind Cave again. Last time here we had to navigate buffalo herds on numerous occasions. Today there wasn't a buffalo soul to be found until we started looking off in the distance. They had gathered in large groups and were laying down with their backs to the wind. Their backs were covered in snow making them barely visible from the road. We did see one bull standing next to the roadside and staring at the cattle guard at the south entrance to the park. He had that look as if he was trying to figure out a way across the guard to freedom. By the time we crossed into Nebraska it was creeping into the 40's. It felt like a heat wave it did!

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    We continued south until the intersection of 385 South & US20 and stumbled onto Morgan's Cowpoke Haven with some interesting history. The lady was just opening the store. Said she'd have coffee on in a jiffy.

    Nothing about the outside would give clue to what's inside. I didn't take any pictures inside so bear with the description. The building has multiple large rooms, each dedicated to a specific product line... kind of like Wall Drug except 100% for cowboys. There was a short-order grille and small food section. There was a room of boots and a room of outer wear and a room of clothing. There were displays of belts and wallets and spurs and bolos and knives and saddles and bits and bridals and rope and... you get the idea. One room was part museum and part gun store. Her husband had loaded the trailer and was attending a gun show over the weekend. She locked the front door and gave us the nickel tour. She was carrying a nice .45 Colt revolver. There was still a good selection of modern firearms to be had but what struck me the most were the antique firearms. A really nice collection of fine working originals but most noticeable were the ones that had been dug out of the high plains in this area. The really rusty ones had been found by the owners and other locals while tilling or exploring the land. Most were missing the wood. Most dated from the middle to the end of the 19th century. Makes you wonder, who lost the gun and how? Were they in a fight and got separated from their weapon? Did they get ambushed by Indians or horse thieves? The stories they could tell if they only talk, eh?

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    From Morgan's we turned eastward on US20 and pointed the bikes towards Rushville, NE. We stopped in Rushville at a bar/restaurant/local gathering house called Yoba's Tavern. We ate lunch and looked over maps to see if there were any ADV options. We found a road on the map that went straight east parallel with US20 but a few miles south. It would take us to NE27 just like 20 would. While eating we overheard the waitress talking to a local. She said her husband was out grading roads. What was snow in the Black Hills was heavy rain here. The roads get in horrible shape after big storms so they grade them to maintain them.

    I have to say at this point I had already taken my last photo of the trip. The rest of this ride is in text only but still might be worth the read.

    We found the dirt road that was on the map. The first 1/4 mile was like most any gravel road in the midwest. But, from that point and the whole 15 miles over to NE27 was one continuous sand wash with high and dry spots between. As most of you know hard packed sand turns to mush with a lot of water and four-wheel drive traffic. It was a non-stop, throttle modulating ride. The water filled ruts were constantly pulling at the bars. At one point I tried to ride off the edge of the road around a huge sandwash and got into some volunteer sunflower. They were dwarf plants but still very rooted and effective at lodging between the frame and crash bars, tugging the bike in the middle. I got crossed up pretty good at one point and figured I was going to end up with a photo from the Dropped Bikes page. I gathered it up and managed to get to the other side upright but looked back to see Jim with the bike sideways in the road with one tire in one rut and the other tire in the other rut. Feet down on the high crown. Luckily he was able to rock the Tenere' and crawl out of the ruts without having to dismount. When we finally got to 27 I yelled at Jim that I understood now why they grade the roads after a storm. :D

    NE27 south soon turned to NE2 eastbound we filled up with gas then made the run to Broken Bow where we hoped to find a room for the night. The Sandhills are beautiful, the weather had turned from cold to perfect and even though we're nearing the end of the journey the ride was thick with the anticipation of what ever new and unique we might yet find.

    We stopped at the first motel coming into town to get a room. Hey, those bikes look familiar. It was Rob and Doc, the neighbors from Hill City. What are the odds? They seemed pretty happy that we had crossed paths again and we burned the early evening looking over bikes and talking motorcycle adventures, again. Does this ever get old? :1drink
    #45
  6. statsman

    statsman Long timer

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    Milo sounds like a good man to have around.
    #46
  7. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    statesman, Milo is indeed that. Thanks for going backwards through the thread and finding his story.
    #47
  8. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Day 8 & 9 were the turning home for me. Jim was going to head north to Omaha to overnight there for a couple of days and see an old friend before pointing the Tenere' west. At some point we would split before I'd be forced onto interstate, however, it still gave us several hours of travel together to start the day. NE2 from Broken Bow heading east is marked as a scenic route. The neighbor's bikes were still locked up when we rolled into the sunrise. I was looking forward to just riding for a couple days, taking the backroads. No picture stops, just ride. The scape and the weather and the day did not disappoint. Gentleman Jim's Yamaha decided it was hungry for oil early in the day. We stopped at an auto parts store for oil but they weren't open. I had a quart of Kaw oil so we topped it off in the parking lot. Not sure but it may have ran a little faster with Kaw juice. :lol3 Nearing our point of separation we stopped for gas at wide spot in the road... and guess who came rolling in behind us? Yeah, the neighbors. We bantered with them long enough that we all took off together. Jim and I had said our goodbyes before hopping back in the saddle. We continued east for several miles when we caught a train running parallel to the highway. We eventually caught the engines(it was a looong train) and ran beside them for a few miles. There's a special magic about being on a road trip and running for miles next to a rolling train. Up ahead we could see the tracks crossed the road so we hammered down to beat them to the crossing. The neighbors must not have been looking far enough ahead and lagged back just enough to get caught by the crossing gates. Later boys. Jim and I blasted through just in time to hear the warning bells clanging behind us. We exchanged mutual grins and thumb's-ups but only rode a few more miles before he turned north. A wave goodbye on the roll and we were traveling solo again. Sometimes that moment reminds me of listening to rock-n-roll really loud for an extended period then someone shuts the stereo off. A roaring silence, a turn of the page. It's been a good trip Jim, ride safe on your journey home.

    I overnighted in Centerville, Iowa at the Motel 60. I asked the clerk about a place to eat and she replied there was a small Italian restaurant within walking distance. Problem solved. Even had a good room on the ground floor right next to the exit and the place where the bike was parked. I talked to Kim while feasting on homemade lasagna and touched base with Jim who'd made his destination too.

    Day 9 would be the end of this trip. Retracing trails perviously traveled allows for some soul unwinding which is really the sweetest part of traveling alone. I loaded the bike early. There was a Casey's next door so I'd fill with gas, donuts and coffee there. While loading the bike I noticed a man sleeping on the landing of the stairwell. His back and head were on the landing and his legs were outstretched with his heels resting on about the fourth step up. It took three trips to carry the gear out to the bike and only on the last trip did he stir. I'd been wondering if he was dead or just passed out. He turned his head and looked my direction with one eye squinted open to deflect the sun coming in the side door. He half grinned and turned his head away from the light so I figgered I had been released of any obligation to report it. He'd obviously had a night on the town.

    I pushed the bike over to Casey's and completed the planned pitstop. I rode off into the day and the journey home. There's not a lot to write about and no pictures were taken. But, for all the anticipation and the constant longing to be on the road, the day I get home is the best part. Now I only have to deal with re-assimilating back into everyday life. My only coping is to start planning the next trip. :D

    The odometer says I traveled 2614 miles in 9 days. Not bad for being out of the daily riding loop. The bike did not touch one inch of interstate. That was a milestone for me and it took some artful dodging to miss them. Kudos to my maps that are mostly from the 90's. I refuse to use GPS but Kim being able to follow us with Jim's SPOT transponder led to me carrying one now. I'll stick to the old maps and find my way around. It's always been a burn on the last days home and this year I also committed to changing that. By staying off the interstate it made it easy meander home and keep the adventure going from beginning to end.
    #48
  9. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    Now that is a GREAT ride report! Think I'd definitely be looking into heated gear after 28 degree riding. :) I was just trying to convince myself that a ride in 60's wouldn't be a bad idea. Feel like a wuss now.

    Love the old trucks.

    My riding has dropped considerably since the semester started and I am back to wandering by reading ride reports (though I hope to get out for an hour or two later today.)

    Had just started a PM asking how the ride went and thought I'd better look for a ride report before I sent it to save you the effort of telling me to go look for a ride report. :)

    This one makes me want to ride further afield.
    #49
  10. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Radian,

    I think you figgered out from our e-mail exchange that the aforementioned is actually last year's ride. Gentleman Jim had a mishap this year with a hornet followed by an allergic reaction. It stopped him and our adventure before it ever got going good. The great thing is Jim has healed and is already on the road on another trip... in Spain no less. I've been following his tracks on SPOT. I'm just a little jealous. :D

    I don't know how or why but I was born with a good heater. 28 degrees without heated gear is a walk in the park. The flip side is I'm real sensitive to hot weather, especially hot and humid weather. I damned near had a heat stroke in Bristol, TN this summer. I stayed with the ride as long as I could but when the heat index was over 100 degrees we headed for home.

    That old truck has quite a history. It has also been a vehicle for new friendships with Don Hullinger and the good folks of Murdo, SD. It gets photographed heavily during the Sturgis Rally since a lot of riders stay in or around Murdo to avoid the overcrowding. I'm waiting for the day I open a motorcycle rag to find it in a picture with a group of motorcycles. :lol3

    We'll figure out a ride in your back yard as soon as we can get our schedules to align.

    JB2
    #50
  11. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    The Aug. 2015 post date confused me. Not that hard to do. :rofl
    #51
  12. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    So I thought I'd be here posting up the notes from our latest trip to the Ozarks. On the way to Eureka Springs Gentleman Jim captured a yellow jacket or a hornet in his jacket and got nailed a couple of times in the upper abdomen before he could get the Tenere' over and free the intruder. He ended up with an allergic reaction that required medical attention. On Saturday evening before I was supposed to leave the next morning I got the call from Jim that he was grounded in Northwest Colorado and would have to return home when he felt better. As many a wiseman has said everything happens for a reason, right i-Dave?

    It really takes the wind out of your sail when your bike is loaded and pointed and the leaving never comes. I followed Jim back to his home in Puyallup, WA via his SPOT. When he got back he found he had a latent intestinal infection and went through quite a regiment to rid it. Good thing he didn't continue as he had a trip planned for Spain later in September and was healed up by the time he had to leave for his overseas adventure. I, on the other hand, had two weeks of freedom and no place to go. After coming down on Sunday I decided it was time to finish the last few projects of this major remodel to our home.

    It's been an odd summer. Not much riding to report but I've immersed every free minute in photographing motorcycles, restoring motorcycles and meeting new friends with the same passion. So what follows is a compilation of bikes I've shot over the summer and the new friends that this passion brings.

    On the Saturday night of Gentleman Jim's call we were getting ready to file into the Footlite Theater for an Ellis Paul concert. We were treated to a wonderful evening of acoustic music from Vance Gilbert and Ellis Paul. If we're all lucky enough we get to live at the Speed of Trees. The two weeks vacation lasted forever looking at the Kaw sitting in the corner with the duffle still strapped to her but I knew this hand was dealt for a reason.

    #52
  13. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    I got a call in early spring that a long time friend and riding partner(Bhuff here on ADV) had just pulled the trigger on a KLR from an eBay auction and would I ride down to pick it up with him? How the hell could I say no? Bhuff had sold off his bikes and trailer while he was in the middle of dual home ownership and a remodel to his and Val's new farmstead. He'd been bikes for almost two years. I went to Greensfork early that morning and met them. After breakfast at a local cafe where everyone knows everyone else I followed their Super Duty to just north of Cincy. That's Bhuff on the left. the seller in the middle and Val to the right. Buff looks pretty happy don't ya think? :D


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    The seller gave Bhuff all the stock parts, extra tires plus many accessories that he'd never installed. It literally filled the bed of the Super Duty and part of the cab. Val was going to drive the truck back to Greensfork while Bhuff and I would take the long way home on the bike's shakedown run. By the way, between Val and Bhuff they have three beautiful daughters from previous marriages. Val got this for him on his last birthday for the front of the F250. I like her sense of humor. :D

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    One of the things I collect with a passion is paper maps. From the one I got at Serpent Mound called "Hidden Ohio" we found this supposedly haunted bridge on a backroad heading north. It was daylight so turning off the lights and blowing the horns didn't arouse the legend of the bridge but it did make a nice place to take a shot.

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    And now just Bhuff's new and brilliant blue KLR at Brubaker Bridge, OH.

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    As a footnote... notice what is on his bike in the first picture and what is not on his bike at the bridge. The bridge is less than fifty miles from where we picked the KLR up. I have a routine with new/used bikes. I ride a few miles then stop at a gas station to look things over before putting on any significant mileage. About five miles from the sellers home when we were just at the edge of the metro area and heading to the backroads I pulled into a corner convenience store. We looked the bike over and immediately found the right reflector(which also holds the cable guide) was missing. The cable guide was just a bump away from tangling into the spokes. Close call. We scavenged a bolt from another accessory and reattached the guide. We also checked the other side and viola, it was almost ready to fall off. The seller had stated he had just added the fork brace so maybe getting it ready for the auction he overlooked tightening these bolts?

    Well, when we got back to Bhuff's we started looking the bike over closer and noticed that the speedo-drive was out of it's notch and the front axle bolt was over-tightened with the fork in a bind. Sheesh. We also found loose saddlebag mounts and Bhuff had to realign the fork brace after we loosened everything up to get the drive back in place. Lesson is whenever buying a used bike: never, ever, ever trust anyone else's work. Always trust with verification. Ride down the road a couple miles and check it over.

    The bike ended up being a steal with the low miles and all the accessories. In time it will provide Bhuff with many miles of adventure. Good to have you back in the wind brother.
    #53
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  14. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Edge of The Great Plains
    In the same time-frame as Bhuff buying his new to him KLR I was invited by Rik Smits, through a friend Kip Kern, to photograph his extensive collection of motorcycles. To say it was an honor would be an understatement. When my daughter Kendra found out she immediately stated if there was any chance she wanted to tag along. Rik was kosher with that so Kip and I ran by her place on the way there to pick her up. She's an avid NBA fan and a Rik Smits fan. One downfall some may consider I have being a born and raised Hoosierbilly is I have never been "in" to basketball. Forgive me but it is what it is. It was good to know that someone of Rik's caliber was also an avid motorcyclist and collector.

    This shot is of our daughter Kendra and Rik's dad who was visiting from the Netherlands. He's tall, not as tall as Rik, but his passion for motorcycles is equal to his son's. He's showing her a Zundapp sewing machine. She had just taken up sewing and spotted it almost as soon as we walked in the door. He was all too happy to tell her the background, which he knew very well. Kendra and the elder Mr. Smits spent most of the time I was there to shoot motorcycles face-to-face in an intense conversation. They hit it off as strangers sometimes do. It was a special thing to observe. She's a hard working Nurse Practitioner at the Indiana Heart Center and is raising two beautiful daughters. It's nice to be the vehicle for a little change of pace, she needed it. Sometimes it's best thing you can give as a parent of a grown-and-on-their-own child.

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    Here's just one row of the Rik Smit's collection. Except for the Hercules it's all Zundapp motorcycles. Upstairs in the loft are many other brands including several Pentons. However, his new love is... believed or not, European scooters.

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    In this corner is a group of scooters awaiting restoration.

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    I shoot a self-published calendar called "Bikes, Barns & Bridges". When I apply my efforts to artwork it's almost always ink and watercolor or bold graphics and barn art. With the coming of the digital age a person can photograph an image and then edit it into an artistic rendition. This is the same shot after editing for the calendar.

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    But the bike I really came here to shoot was this rare and restored Heinkel Tourist. This isn't the calendar shot, this was taken before we parked it in front of the GTX. You might wonder why a guy who's 7'4" tall would want with a scooter until you see him and his dad laughing it up about racing up and down the long paved driveway. :lol3 His dad is in a touring scooter club back home and they travel all over Europe on them.

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    And the obligatory shot of Rik and my daughter. It was a great afternoon. Rik was under the weather but graciously kept our date and I got to spend some time with him and his dad talking all things motorcycles. Rik is a member of the Mud-Dobbers M/C based in Grant County, Indiana. He really likes to ride but after doing the 2 day enduro every fall it takes him 3-4 days just to recover. Considering he's willing to endure the pain and face downtime to recoup says he's got that burn that runs deep within most all who visit here. Thanks to Rik for the invite and thanks to Kip for the connection.

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    #54
    popscycle likes this.
  15. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,411
    Location:
    Edge of The Great Plains
    We stopped by Kendra's to drop her off on our trip home. Kip asked if I had time to make one more stop north of of his place. I said yes who is it? He replies it's Danny Beher. Can't say I know him Kip. He says he doesn't know how me and this guy had never met. He lives in our backyards but sometimes that's just the way it is. So off to Danny's we go and all the way Kip is giving me the background. Danny is a retired truck driver but has raced, collected and restored motorcycles his entire life. He races vintage flat track and motocross almost every weekend of the summer. He had a huge collection and some of the really cool British bikes that came from Marvin Carter's old place. I have a special connection to Carter's Motors. I bought the contents from the estate after Mrs. Carter's death. Carter's is where James Dean hung out as a young kid. Marvin sold him his first, second and fourth motorcycles. When I was a kid growing up Dad bought parts from Marvin for his bike projects. Even though the bulk of the cherry bikes and parts had been sold individually the leftovers we purchased were a treasure trove of British parts. Meeting someone who got a few of the nice bikes from there was going to be cool. That he was over 65 and still racing every weekend, priceless. I could tell today went from being a great day to really great day. :D

    Here's one of his vintage flat track bikes. He really likes the 500 Ducati singles with bevel-drive. He has a whole collection of them but this is one is raced... a lot.

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    While shooting the Duc I spied this Moto-Morini 3-1/2. I knew what it was but had never seen one in person. I gravitated to it immediately. It's a 350 V-twin. Danny actually set a class land speed record on it at Bonneville. Another instant connection. I was a member of Team Elves Land Speed Racing. Our team campaigned a 1987 Buell RR1000 there and took home 9 records in our first two years. There's a ton of class records that have laid dormant for years. On a smaller scale Danny had done what we did. Buy a bike, see what class records we were eligible for then go after them.

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    Originally I came just to meet Danny and get a couple of shop-shots trying to learn a new camera. However I ended up with some pretty good material after all. I fell in love with the Velocette(MSS 1954) and wanted to come back specifically to shoot it at a later date. Here's a row of bikes you don't see everyday. Note all the trophies over the office. He's very fast too.

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    The same row taken from the Ducati Loft.

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    I came back a couple of weeks later to shoot this bike. We debated rolling it out or using the shop interior as a backdrop. I really like the atmosphere of his place. Maybe it was the smell of all those motorcycles? Anyways this is the 1954 MSS Velocette. It is so sweet. It's not "the" calendar shot but close and done in the same style of editing used.

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    Many thanks to Danny for the new friendship and letting me capture some of his collection in images. And many thanks to Kip again for the connections. More about Kip in the next installment. Stay tuned.
    #55
  16. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,154
    Location:
    Avon, IN If we never go, we will never know
    Nice shots and great stories to go with them! And I wish I had seen the line of bikes from the loft. I love that shot and I just didn't even see it when I was there.

    Guess that is what makes photography so interesting--seeing the world through someone else's eyes.
    #56
  17. Randy Idaho

    Randy Idaho A Little While Ago

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Eastern Idaho
    Did you take the GL out into the rocks by the lake. ;- )
    #57
  18. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,411
    Location:
    Edge of The Great Plains
    I met Kip Kern through his wife Cheryle. She works at an accounting agency that does the bookwork for our shop. She seen one of the calendars and asked to get one for her husband who was also into motorcycles. He knew Dick Winger, Woody Jones, Forest Stahl, Marvin Carter and Barney Thornburg and other local motorcycling legends & enthusiasts. Somehow I'd never ran into Kip or heard his name other than, "Isn't there a guy over by you who restores old dirtbikes?" I had a couple of spirited conversations before finally getting to stop out to meet him in person. As soon as I seen the level of workmanship in his restorations I knew I had to get some of his work filmed.

    Kip restores dirtbikes for some of the most famous folks in motorcycling. His restorations are correct. Spot on correct and not over-restored which is what is most common today when an individual restores a bike. They usually make it better than it was new in the regard of finishes, level of workmanship and polishing things that were never polished. Kip makes them like they were when they were new. John and Jack Penton have signed his Penton restorations and he's done several for the them including Penton #1. His work is on display at Barber, the AMA Museum and countless other museums and private collections.

    Right away we found common ground in motorcycles and friends who we both knew or knew of. His work has appeared in almost every calendar since we met eight years ago. Seeing all those old dirt bikes that I grew up watching at tracks like Barney Thornburg's really awakened the seed to get back in the dirt. I'd been on street since turning 18 and all of sudden dual-sport riding seemed the best avenue to pursue the best of both worlds.

    Here's a few of the bikes as edited for the publication. What's your flavor? How about an original Jack Piner with the original KTM motor? (Note: John Penton's signature on the tank)

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    Maybe a Husky 400?

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    Or his daily ride a F800GS Trophy?

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    Or this beautifully restored CZ parked in front of the old Woodside Motors building in Upland, Indiana? Woodside Motors was just a couple of miles from Barney Thornburg's and sold CZ and a couple other brands of European dirtbikes. A family business who's era spanned the motocross craze of the 70's.

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    No matter your flavor if it's a European or American dirtbike he's probably restored one.
    #58
  19. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,411
    Location:
    Edge of The Great Plains
    Hey Radian, I'm getting ready to post up photos of Kip's Harley and I was hoping when I was done you'd cross-post your photos from our ride. I really like that you took the close-up perspective. I wanted to see it through your lens and was not disappointed.

    Randy Idaho, Nope, he wasn't with our group. We'd of had to call a wrecker to get him out if he was. Never ever was stuck in marbles like that time though but the KLR made it. :lol3
    #59
    radianrider likes this.
  20. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,411
    Location:
    Edge of The Great Plains
    In the time I spent with Kip I found that he had been lusting after a 1928 Harley. It belonged to a co-worker's father who'd passed away. After years in storage someone in the family started a restoration on the bike but gave up and it went back into mothballs again. Finally the family relented and sold the bike to Kip. This was taken at Holt Muffler not long after he bought it. The aforementioned Woody Jones owns Holt Muffler. Connecting the dots ya see?

    At any rate, the previous owner came home from WW2 and used this bike to perform at local fairgrounds and race tracks to provide extra money to support his family. He's most noted for jumping it through hoops of fire. The fork and frame are bent in this image and had been repaired several times... poorly. The same went for the handlebars. They had been broken so many times that most of the pair was sleeved with pipe-nipples. It was a severely beaten up motorcycle. It's actually a 1928 JD74 Sport Solo. A rare bike with 18" wheels and other goodies that made it different from the standard JD. Note the incorrect 16" wheel up front.

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    One of the worst things you can do in a vintage restoration is powder-coating. It isn't better than paint. It cannot be spot repaired. It's a bitch to remove even just for welding let alone to do the work correctly and stripping the entire piece. They had powder-coated the fork and various other tidbits before Kip could save it. Two years later I shot a series of photos when the bike was in mid-restoration. As you can see the engine is still unrestored and the tanks are being made at this point in time by Replicant Metals. The frame and fork have been straightened and properly painted with single-stage enamel... as it should be.

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    And here is the finished bike sitting in front of the building next to Holt Muffler. This building is the original location of the first Harley dealer in Marion, IN; Scott's Harley Davidson. Kip is almost certain the bike was originally sold here but Harley nor anyone else can trace the paperwork to prove it.

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    If the bike was sold here then it would have taken a ride in this elevator. It's in the back of the building just shown above. The elevator goes to the basement where the bikes were assembled and where the mechanics performed service work. The basement of this building is lined with old HD crates and smells like an old oily shop... pretty close to heaven. There was an Oldsmobile dealership here afterwards and this door was opened up to connect the two buildings. This image was taken from inside what is now Holt Muffler.

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    Now here's the doorway and what we did to get the bike into the last photo. I was really surprised that Kip was willing to risk damage to get the shot but he wanted it recorded there as bad as Woody and a lot of other folks did. You do what you gotta do, eh? That's Kip pushing the bike and to the right... folks meet Woody Jones; hotrodder, motorcycle enthusiast, metal artist, drag racing historian and owner of Holt Muffler.

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    And down the ramp we go. The front brake works just fine, just need to chalk the ramp. :D

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    While we were shooting the bike at Holt's another mutual friend, Barney Winningham stopped by on his 1969 FLH. Folks this isn't a restored bike. This is an original-paint, unrestored survivor. Bikes like this are extremely rare to find in this condition and Barney rides it regularly. Places inside the muffler shop are ideal for photography work like the wall behind the bike.

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    Here's the '28 JD and the '69 Shovel getting to know one another. They're blood you know? Can you spot some of Woody's creations?

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    Photos taken here were mostly taken for historical record. Someday the dots to the JD and the shop will get connected. Since the beginning of the restoration another mutual friend had placed a desire to have it photographed for the calendar in very special location... here.

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    Oaky, so it's a tree, right? But this is not just a tree. The bike is sitting 15 feet from the base, BTW. This is Overman Burr Oak. It is believed to be the oldest Burr Oak in Indiana at 350 to 400 years old. You won't find much about it on the internet because the current owner of the property will not allow them to core sample it to get the exact age. Bud Horner bought the farm that had been in the Overman family for nearly 5 generations. He owned the property for several years before someone told him about the tree and showed him where it was. :D Cheryle Kern's boss, Bert Ewer, knew of the tree and wanted Kip and I to see it so we both made trips over to find out what all the hoopla was about. Bert's wish was that we'd use this location for the bike's final calendar appearance. He was right about it being a great location and Bud had cleared away the area just for the shoot. Talk about rolling out the red carpet. It's a BIG freakin' tree though. You'd have to stand half-ways across the bean field to get the entire height of the tree in one frame so we thought the perspective of the base would do the image justice. This image was taken with the bike as close to the base as you could get without endangering the bike or the tree.

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    The last two photos turned out next to perfect. I only had to do a slight exposure adjustment and crop. The new camera is finally starting to work right. Or just maybe the camera's thinking this dipshit is finally starting to learn what settings to use? Either way we're both right. :lol3

    The very next day after this shoot radianrider and I were to hook up for a day of riding in my back yard. The Overman Burr Oak was on that hit-list. We instead went garage hopping and saved a trip here for the next time he rides this way. :D
    #60
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