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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TurnerR, Jun 17, 2016.
Thanks for a GREAT RR. Good to see the young'uns GET IT. Just ride man.
Just discovered this RR today. Well done sir.
I had a HD back in the 90's and rode all over CO, WY, ID, MT, SD. Special times. I especially liked your early post with the wild horses and imagining David Mann involved. Brought back memories.
Wow. I mean, wow. I envy you. I love that bike, the story, and your fantastic story telling.
Just found it today. Awesome report. Always makes me want to get out more when I read stuff like this.
Just my summary of good things in your life/ride: sweet ride, you make MM's, know how to make the most of situations, can work on your own bike, know how to appreciate others, were invited to hang out with a biker gang, went to a chopper show, saw the Grand Canyon on a bike, talked a cop into a pic, and your dad is still checking in on you. You have it figured out.
I awoke about 9am in Beresford and had one goal in mind, Des Moines. From there I would figure out my plan. For years I have followed/social media stalked a bike builder by the name of Jeff Wright. He with his buddy Brad ''Fatty" Smith own a bar called Kung Fu Tap and Taco in Des Moines. Every single day for the past few years I check out 3 blogs. Jeff and Brad are two of those three. Church of Choppers and FTWco are on another level in my humble opinion and so I decided I'd check them out unannounced.
As I was heading into Sioux City, IA I saw a sign for more golden arches. I was craving a coffee and some hotcakes so I stopped in. I whip in, kids are staring, I'm feeling cool when I go to put my kickstand down. Nothing. Sometimes it comes too far back and gets behind my frame, so I bend down to find it is gone. Somehow it has fallen off over the last 50 miles and I never felt or heard a thing..... Shit. I pulled up on the sidewalk and leaned the pig against the wall. I needed breakfast and now I needed to find a shop. At least they have wifi.
I did some searching via google and found a few shops including an HD dealership. Sweet. I rode a bit to the dealer, parked against the wall again for the salesman to ask why I didn't just use a kickstand......... Inside I tell the parts guy what I'm needing and he says it's an obsolete part but it says its $200. There is no way I'm paying $200 for a damn side stand. I'll just run the gas out of the carb and lay it on it's side at every stop before I do that. He tells me to ride down the road and check another shop they deal with old bikes. Sweet. I headed down the road, crossed the river into Nebraska for another shop. Not even close. Why this guy sent me here was beyond me, we weren't even in the same ball park. He sent me to another place back in Iowa and said they are my best bet. Now the next shop was awesome, it reminded me of my buddy Alec's place. Looked like an old chop shop where they had Shovels, Pans, and some 4 cyl Jap bikes. I liked it. They looked for a while and only had one side stand for a big twin, it wouldn't work. They told me to go see their buddy Nick Salmen down the road. Ok, last stop or I'm just heading on to Des Moines. I walk in and ask if he's Nick, he says nope Nick is getting a tattoo. It's 10:30am and he's drinking a beer. Most people would have said that's a bad sign, I'm not most people. He tried to call Nick over and over to no avail. We walk out side and look my bike over, as I tell him my story. He's lighting up like a christmas tree. He takes me to the back where I see some FXR's and a blacked out sporty. Now my bike has a 6 over front end. I had to cut my factory stand and reweld in a longer Big Twin stand to make it long enough to prevent tip overs. This particular bike in the shop was a Roadster the tallest sporty ever made. Soon we had Nick's bike on the lift and his personal sidestand put on mine. I gave the guy at the shop 51 bucks to cover the Drag Specialties replacement and walked across the street for a 12 pack of Budweiser to quench his thirst. If you need some roadside assistance in Sioux City Iowa stop by Salmen Cycle Solutions, they are damn good people.
From there I headed to Des Moines. Iowa is pretty flat and uneventful. I took a few pictures and considered posting them, but all my comments were just too damn corny....
You're a legend.
Thanks for the words.
Paging @humancertainty :)
All caught up.......just outstanding.....you are a great storyteller as others have said!! I vote for "the best damn bike report"
Followed this thread from the beginning. I'm too old to feel young but this thread keeps me thinking young! Many props young man! Best always and may the sun always shine for you and yours!
In at the last minute... This has been a great read.
My first street bike was a Sporty, then went through a handful of Buells and a '64 XLCH... I think I want another Ironhead after reading this.
I took a break with a 3 cyl water-cooled Triumph, but I just like air-cooled twins, so I'm trying one of Italy's takes on it and enjoying it immensely.
@jfman thanks for the heads up, bud!
@TurnerR killer report! I rode my Sporty chop from Chicago to LA and back for Born Free. Well, I went to the show for an hour to catch up with one of the Vise Grip MC guys that's an old friend. Missed Cook's Corner on Friday as one of the guys in my group went down after the Chun party and we had to spend Friday rebuilding his bike.
We stayed with Andy and Melissa in SLC on our way out. Wonderful people and hosts. Andy's shop is rad and we got to see the Shovel he built for the show while it was still on the table.
Jeff Wright is a friend of the shop I'm a part of and let us crash on the Kung Fu patio.
Fuck, you're report is really making me kick myself for not doing one, too.
If you're travels ever take you through Chicago, hit me up.
*I've been completely slammed since I've been back and attempt to write on lunch breaks at work, I'm sorry for the delay.
From Sioux City to Des Moines wasn't very eventful. It was extremely relaxing and I felt amazing. I wanted to grab a beer or two and some tacos then scoot on down as far as I could. When I got off the interstate I was in downtown Des Moines. It was extremely similar to Chattanooga. I would pull my phone out for directions to the bar, one of the few times I used technology for directions the whole trip. I crossed some train tracks and hung a left, knowing it would be close. I passed one bar and turned my head back because I wasn't sure if that was it. As soon as I looked straight I saw a handful of bikes and knew this was the place. YESSSS!!! Now to some this is just a bar. To me it was a mystical place full of heroes. The parking lot may look normal to the layperson but I saw a Chevelle, a tasteful c6 Vette with some aftermarket wheels, a mean looking Dyna, a few other HD's with apes, and a Kawi H2 which I hadn't even seen in person yet. I pull my lid off and have some old timers circling my bike.
"Tennessee huh?", the old man asks. "Yessir, but I took the long way here." I told them my tales and he asks when I got a new tire. They couldn't believe it had lasted that long. Once inside I was excited, I hoped to see Jeff slinging cold Coors Lights, but instead it was a younger gal. She asks what I wanted and where I'm from. I kept asking about Jeff and Brad like a total fanboy, it just blew them away that people travel just to meet these guys. They claim Jeff is a real asshole but everyone loves him and said with my personality we would have gotten along great. Jeff was getting things prepared for the Colorado 400 that was coming up and wouldn't be in. I decided I'd just grab some food and head out, but the old man insisted I wait for "Fatty". The taco's were simple yet tasty, I destroyed a few and walked outside to talk bikes with the locals. It's about 5 and Brad should be there by 6 which means 7. I was talking to the owner of the H2 when a newer HD pulls up. Now it was this moment that all those paintings by David Mann came to life. He had his new bikes and plenty of old iron too. Long black hair with some greys mixed in that constantly stayed wind blown back. The black beard and KD glasses. A black tank top tucked in to the dark jeans with his boots that had seen many miles. He was an El Forestaro and looked exactly like the fella in this painting.
Kung Fu Tap and Taco
Outside some locals checking out my moped.
The old man who talked to me first came back out where we struck up conversation again. In Des Moines he is known as Nick the Shit. He told me to come inside he had something really special to show me. He ordered us both another round and took me to the wall where there was an 8x10 of him on one of his Dyna's. He pointed to the large picture that was the size of a movie poster and asked if he looked familiar. It was Nick after returning from Vietnam on his Knucklehead he had put into a swingarm Panhead or Shovelhead frame. The picture on the right was the exact same location 38 years later. That was completely bad ass. The guy was awesome, we talked for ages until finally he took off down the road, and he was making that Dyna scream. Random folks kept chatting with me, and I had many folks buy me a beer when Brad pulled up. It was now about 8 and starting to get dark. I knew that I was getting a little bit tipsy and needed to find somewhere to sleep soon. He was super slammed and would be bartending so we couldn't talk much, but he asked if I would stay until the bar started shutting down and we could shoot the shit..... Now there was a part of me that wanted to head out to crank some miles towards home. I missed my gal terribly but I was also on my dream ride, in a bar I'd been wanting to visit for years, with one of the owners asking me to stay. I'm fucking staying. I ask if there is a nearby camp ground, Nick offered to let me use his backyard but I didn't get his phone number and I knew this was going to be a long one. Fatty asked me if I was opposed crashing on the patio after the bar closed, the only thing was it would be 2am before he started shutting down.....
Just how the fuck is it that this RR just keeps getting better???
Take all the time you need, ain't goin nowhere.
Here for the duration.
Well.....let me think about this......i can keep drinking at the bar.....sleep on the patio.....keep drinking....... win, win, win....
This ride report is so good that we may have to chip in and pay for your next ride so you can go sooner.
This gets better and better...addicting...I'm still IN!
Kung Fu is one of the best bars I've ever been in and I've been in A LOT of bars. I hung out with locals, and a gigantic fella who was traveling to WI to be with his son. He was cool as hell, I wish I could remember his name but I won't forget his face, even with all those beers I was flushing down. He was going to camp on the patio but decided to get a cheap motel down the road instead. Soon the bar was winding down and I was able to chat with Brad a little more. We talked bikes of all flavors, mostly the dirty version, told stories of racing and adventuring. He walked outside to get a pic of my bike for his Instagram account (@FTWco) when he followed mine he complimented me on my gal, and then he realized I'm a Jitz guy. So we talked Jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and mma for the evening as he offered me a few free beers since the register was closed if I'd help him shut down. Pfff no problem! I'm pretty sure I threw up eventually, I got completely hammered..... ~11 hours drinking beer with a few shots thrown in, I was toast. It was starting to rain and we pulled my bike under the covered patio where I set my sleeping bag up on a picnic table. I not once heard the thunderstorms the whole night...
Dude was a giant...
It was about 11:30 when I was woken up by the sound of steel doors opening. The guy opening the bar asked if I slept there all night, which I think I mumbled yes. I was so hungover and could barely see straight but I heard him laughing telling me I was one crazy bastard they were under tornado watch all night. I didn't notice a thing...... Luckily Brad left me a pitcher of ice water. It's amazing how much you can drink the night before, yet still thirsty in the morning. I slowly got my shit together and wheeled my bike out. I had made up my mind, I missed my woman and I wanted to be home. I guess talking about her to Brad sealed the deal about how bad I missed her. I was off..... For coffee and advil....
Camp Kung Fu
I found myself at another McDonald's and had a big coffee, some hot cakes to soak up the booze and a coke. Coke always settles my belly after a good night of boozing. Then I was off. I may not should have been riding because I didn't feel sober until just before dark, but hindsight is 20/20. That day was mostly a blur. I remember stopping about every 60 miles for fuel and to stretch a few minutes then I'd leave again. I left Des Moines close to 1pm and was in Mount Vernon, IL by 10pm. Maybe 430 miles hungover, it was a good day!
The only time I pulled out my phone for photo's that day.
It was neat running right next to the Cardinal's stadium! In Mt Vernon I got an overpriced room. I wanted to be rested up for my last and final day of riding....
The plan was to leave Mt Vernon @ 6:00am. There was a nasty storm that didn't pass until 9:30am, and the radar showed red about 30 miles directly south of me, so I didn't head out until 11am. I was going insane just waiting around in the room, but I had also hit rain every single day for the last 7 days and was tired of being wet. Once I took off I was hauling the mail. I was running down I-57 for about an hour when my bike started cutting out. There was no way I was out of fuel, what the hell? This went on for about 2 miles. I'd pull the clutch and it would rev up like normal, then dump it and it would bog down. I was now in the right lane getting passed by the semi's and finally it was dead.... Shit... I pulled all the way over on the shoulder and took a deep breath. I've went 21 days and not had any major issues. If for some reason I can't fix the problem I'm only about 6 hours from home. I could rent a U-haul, a van, or hell a prius and take it apart to squeeze it in the backseat. First I check my fuel, and I'm at half a tank. Ok, now I check my battery to see if I have a dead charging system, still have power there. My air filter is pretty oily, but it's not terrible and when I try to bump it I can feel suction. So I have fuel, air, and a good battery/charging system. I'm about to pull my tools to check/replace my plugs when I notice my coil wires. One of the power wires to my coil has dropped a couple of millimeters. I pushed it up and bumped the starter when it fired to life! The bumpy IL roads must have dropped the wire just enough for a lousy connection. I was back in business.
Just another broke down Harley....
I stopped for fuel and lunch in Metropolis which is a really weird town. Superman shit everywhere. I guess they didn't get the memo that it wasn't real... Grabbed a burger and when I came out there were some guys in a local MC checking out my bike. We talked for a while and they kept asking if I was in an MC. They told me of several diamond clubs within just a few miles which I found odd. It was strange that they would have more than one 1% clubhouse within 20 miles of each other. I didn't want to seem rude but I wanted to be home at this time and I'm not even in Kentucky.... I took off again, immediately crossing into KY. They have the best damn jelly there....
I ran I-24 without issue until just above Nashville. 8 miles north of Nashville to be exact at 4:30pm on a Friday. This was terrible. Completely idiotic. I had just went around the whole country relatively safely without any real worry of other cars hitting me until I hit Nashville. I'm completely embarrassed that this is in my home state. One woman in particular who was solo and darting in and out of the HOV lane was scaring me. We literally could not make any ground on traffic it was stop and go. You would be completely dead stopped then everyone would take off to 45-50mph then slam the brakes again for a couple of minutes. I still have no idea why there was not a flow. This woman decided that she was the most important human on the road and had zero regard for others safety especially motorcyclists. She almost hit me 4 times. Not closer than I'd like, but actually almost touched me 4 times. The last was the worst, where she was two lanes over, cut off a box truck then came into my lane all in one motion. I had to swerve to the left median which I thankfully had, then she almost rear ended the person in front of us. I decided I'd stay behind her and debated how I would handle this. Part of me wanted to wait until we had no emergency shoulder on the left and cut her tire. I was afraid that could be some kind of aggravated charge, so instead I just waited. Now I can't recall exactly what happened, but soon we came to a stop with no shoulder on the left and a loooooooong uphill section of traffic with plenty of room for a thin chopper to split. Allegedly my left boot kicked her mirror off, I'm not sure, I did however see it dangling in my mirror and her acting erratic. I split traffic for a couple of miles before making my way into my own lane. Like I said that was just an allegation, but since I have never damaged someone's vehicle in my entire life, if the allegations are true I'm a first time offender and I'll pay the damage and fine. Still haven't heard anything so it must have been someone else.....
It took an hour and a half to get through Nashville. I stopped in Murfreesboro to see my cousin Sandra. It was awesome to see her, and I don't know why I didn't get a pic with her, it's been ages since we have hung out. Now it's almost 7 and I'm ready to see my baby, so I say my goodbyes and book it again. I've never crossed Monteagle mountain so fast. I was riding extremely aggressive which isn't my style at all.
Soon I was back on the outskirts of Chattanooga when I saw the storm thundering in the distance. It was nasty looking and as I rounded Moccasin Bend the rain started. I debated pulling off to grab my Vanson, but continued on, twisting the throttle harder and harder. By the time I hit the I-24/I-75 split the sprinkles had stopped, but I knew there was much worse in my near future. I wish I had a photograph of that storm. It was beautiful.
The one thing I learned from this trip is to not worry about anything. When problems, storms, or issues come up I just handle them. I don't think much of them anymore. I try to prevent as many as I can, but I don't spend any time at all worrying. I'm blessed to have that mindset.... With the black clouds and lightening bolts cracking directly ahead I did the only logical thing and ride as fast as possible into it, head on. I was 17 miles from my gal, how bad can it be?? Soon I hit the first Cleveland exit, still no rain. 5 miles later the next, still dry. 2 miles until I'm off the interstate, don't let up now, I thought. Off the interstate it was about 3 miles to her house, which I rode a little faster than the law recommends. I am now 1.5 miles from her house and I pass a cop. Shit. Shit shit shit. I haven't gotten a ticket this whole trip, that would suck to get one here. I see brake lights. I feel like I have an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other whispering what to do. The lightening cracks above me. The devil's shouts won, so I punch it around the next 90* corner. I never let off the gas and almost pass her driveway. It's a long narrow gravel drive maybe half a mile off the road with trees all around. It seems like a tunnel and I rode entirely too fast up to her house. Still no rain, no sign of cops. I'm off the bike and run inside, she never heard me come in and screamed as if she didn't know who I was. I love scaring her little ass. She jumps in my arms and we smooch for not long enough. I had missed her kisses. The thunder cracks again and she opens the garage as I roll my bike inside. As soon as the garage shut the rain started. It was one hell of a storm and I beat her here, or maybe she let me, either way I was home. I was so glad to see my sweetheart. She said that my face told her how much I had missed her. I had the best trip of my life, but I was happy to be home.
I can't believe she kissed this smelly fella
awesome...thanks for posting.
That was a great ending to a great r.r. You have taught me some important lessons over the time of your trip and I thank you. Best of luck to the two of you and your future.