Sigh — Sometimes You “Don’t” Meet the Nicest People on a Guzzi!

The day started off nice enough — cloudy, but mild temps in the 70s.  Good day for a ride from Detroit to Pentwater to meet up with my wife and daughter and celebrate a good friend’s 60th birthday.  No hurry to get there, either — I was an hour ahead of Sheila at least since she was coming from the Central Time Zone, and Chicago traffic would probably burden her further.  Mild weather and my bags packed, I decided to roll out and just get lost on the way to Pentwater, specifically our hotel in Ludington, and travel through some of Michigan’s back roads.

Wow.  So beautiful once you get off the main roads.  Rustic barns, silos, small towns with old storefronts, buildings that give you the sense of history;  Europeans have been traipsing all over the Michigan Peninsula for 300+ years, and I can see why.  At least in the summer, the place looks like Northern England — I’ll bet before the shipwrights completely deforested the island, especially.

This Friday being the kick-off to the Fourth of July Weekend, I was wondering what happened!  No bikes on 96 on the way out of town, but as soon as I turned on the back roads, they were everywhere.  I stopped at two gas stations and spoke with couples on HDs rocking easy through the back country, not a care in the world and very pleasant.  Especially true to this were the couple of riders and pillions in Oceana — they were from Oklahoma and had been travelling for a week.  Made the trip around Lake Michigan and were headed back to Chicago and then down Rt 66 to their home state.  Ear-to-ear grins on their faces — their wives mimicking with their air-adjustable seats and all the commo gear.  Making memories.

Michigan is bereft of diners.  They’re out there, but not nearly as ubiquitous as some of the other states I’ve lived in.  Finally found one near Hardy Damn for breakfast and time to sit out a rain storm.  Gotta look the name of that one up.  The owner rides, but his wife won’t let him park the bike in front of the diner — he was awesome for getting me directions from where I was to where I needed to be, since AT&T and Google Maps had me roughly 3 miles south of where I actually was.  Rode through wonderful lanes that were broadleaf-tree tunnels, nice curves with little or no rocks and dirt — the wet road and unknown traffic patterns kept the speed out of me — I just cruised through the turns, braking easy, leaning smooth and just blissing out until I had to get on Michigan 31 North from Oceana to Ludington for the final leg of the trip.

And that’s where things just got stupid.  For the first 5-8 miles on the Highway it was one lane with construction, but traffic still managed to move along at 60.  The fun started when it finally opened up to two lanes.  I was able to move through the stagger in the traffic since most of the cars in the left lane wanted to pass but, due to their size, had to wait.  I zipped in the wide gaps (most Michigan drivers are actually awesome — they are motorcycle-aware and let you in) and slowly made my way through the logjam — until…

Going to the right of a slow-moving mid-sized pickup with a camper shell, I suddenly realized that the driver had sped up and “shut the door” on me with a slow car moving in front.  At that point I moved in behind because I had nowhere else to go. I’m now uncomfortable.  BRAKE LIGHTS — I’m already braking and slowing trying to get distance from the bumper, and driver pulls a “brake check” on me — I look at in the pickup’s window and an woman is looking in her mirror at me and shaking her finger like “I saw you trying to get around me…”

Then she moves over into the right lane, I guess to let me pass.  I decide it’s time to drop the hammer and just get out of there.  Road rage has left me years ago — I’m too old to deal with drivers like this.  As I pull around her, I see her cell phone sticking out of the car as she’s trying to take a picture of me, wildly trying to stay in her lane — it’s time to get out of there.  I gesture to her with a number that let her know that she was #1 in my book and then scooted.

3 miles later I’m at the Luddington exit, pulling into city traffic — and there she is behind me with her camera!  I just ignore her.  Realizing that I have no idea where the hotel is and that I need to check in, I sit in the bumper-to-bumper traffic and she sits on my tail.  I’m thinking that she has some road rage issues and decide that the better part of valor is to leave the situation; just get in the other lane, then make a right turn.  I get in the right lane, signal right.  She cuts off a car behind me and follows me down the street.  I stop.

She pulls alongside and sticks out her hand as if I’m supposed to shake it, holding her camera.  She blurts out her name is “Val”.  I decide this is too much.  I’m getting creeped out, feeling like in that old black truck with the cracked windshield and wild-eyed operator there just might be a loaded gun.  I’m on vacation and I need to get the hell out of this situation! I drop the bike in first gear, drive around a few blocks as she follows, then finally lose her.  Bike gets parked in the back of my hotel on the other side of town, opposite from where I was so if she’s still looking around for me, we’re not going to run into each other.

Oh my GOD.  Every once in awhile I run into people that have to act as “regulators” and control how other people act in traffic.  I haven’t seen one like this for awhile. Could I have handled it better?  Yes.  I should have backed off and let her get ahead of me, but I thought taking the first exit would have been enough. Sometines you just run into people that take great umbrage at motorcyclists having an advantage of getting through traffic easier — thank heavens that in California people like her can be charged with attempted murder.

Wherever you are Val, I can’t believe your life is so small and shallow, and you’re so mean-spirited.  You need to get some help before your road rage kills a less-experienced rider.

Dell ASAP Software. @FAIL @UNBELIEVABLE FAIL

So I’m writing this as I sit on hold, waiting to get some information about the Adobe CS5 Premier Suite that I ordered a month ago.  I received some kind of license certificate in the mail with absolutely no instructions.  Of course I called Adobe, and these numbers mean absolutely nothing to them, so I’ve lost an hour there, mostly on hold.

So now I’ve been on hold with Dell for 15 minutes.  Do they have hold music?  NO.  They have some cheerful, clipped female voice that asks me to continue to hold, and then they try to sell me Microsoft Office.

Then they try to Sell me SQLServer.

Then Adobe Creative Suite 5.

Then they tell me they have 150,000 title for favorable bulk licensing programs.

Then they tell me that they work with Federal Agencies, and tell me to get in touch with software accounting.  Good to know in case I ever work for the government.

Then they thank me for holding, and tell me that they value my business.

Then the string of completely annoying commercials, over and over again.,

And again.

And again.

Whomever decided that it was a GREAT idea that they could try to sell me software and services while I’m sitting on hold frustrated with the purchase that I have already made is a complete dimwit.  I hope your boss (who I’m sure you gave this idea to thinking it would further your career is reading this)  because you made him look like a complete douchebag.

Moto Guzzi Clubman Racer Special — Limited Availability NOW!

Hurry!


The Moto Guzzi V7 Racer is retro perfection, but if you want one in the States you’re going to have to hurry. In an email sent to dealers earlier today, it was revealed that the Racer will be manufactured to order only and that those orders will only be open through February 28. The good news is that this bike only demands a $791 premium over the avocado green V7 Cafe; the Racer is going for $9,790! Editor has a V7 Classic and rides it tens of thousands of trouble-free miles a year.
Reputable dealers are the way to go on this one! They’ll only make 50 or so and then they’ll be gone forever! Check out Rose Farm Classics and ask for Jim if you don’t already have a favorite dealer, because he will become yours.

You couldn’t reproduce this bike on a V7 Platform for $2500. If you’ve been looking for a nice V7 with mods, rearsets and sweet exhausts, now is the time to hit it! Once this run is over, it will not be made again.

Triumph Bonneville T-100 Review, Part 3: A Proper English Bike

I used to live in Northridge, California, right under the flight path of Van Nuys Airport, which is a very busy, if not the busiest, private airport in the United States.  I’d work on cars and bikes in my driveway on weekends, soaking up the California sun and painfully stretching the back of my legs as I bent over the fender of my Citroen DS 21 or hunched over one of my Guzzis.  All good fun, what with the planes buzzing over my head, and the executive jets taking off to executive locations for executive weekends.  Jets and Lycoming engines all day long just didn’t get me to look up.

But, once every weekend or so, a low, powerful drone would shake the windows, and every motorhead in Northern Los Angeles would look up.  They looked up because they knew.  They looked up because that drone was connected to a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.  There were a few North American P-51 Mustangs flying out of Van Nuys, and these planes were powered by The Mother of All Engines.  This is the Engine that won a war.  This is the Engine that powered less than 1000 planes that, in 1940, took “The Few” RAF pilots into battle against the Luftwaffe.  This engine saved a nation, and once you hear that and make the connection, you just have to look up when it’s overhead.

27 liters of pure victory. click for a nice big picture.

Continue reading

Triumph Bonneville T-100 Review, Part 3: A Proper English Bike

I used to live in Northridge, California, right under the flight path of Van Nuys Airport, which is a very busy, if not the busiest, private airport in the United States.  I’d work on cars and bikes in my driveway on weekends, soaking up the California sun and painfully stretching the back of my legs as I bent over the fender of my Citroen DS 21 or hunched over one of my Guzzis.  All good fun, what with the planes buzzing over my head, and the executive jets taking off to executive locations for executive weekends.  Jets and Lycoming engines all day long just didn’t get me to look up.

But, once every weekend or so, a low, powerful drone would shake the windows, and every motorhead in Northern Los Angeles would look up.  They looked up because they knew.  They looked up because that drone was connected to a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.  There were a few North American P-51 Mustangs flying out of Van Nuys, and these planes were powered by The Mother of All Engines.  This is the Engine that won a war.  This is the Engine that powered less than 1000 planes that, in 1940, took “The Few” RAF pilots into battle against the Luftwaffe.  This engine saved a nation, and once you hear that and make the connection, you just have to look up when it’s overhead.

27 liters of pure victory. click for a nice big picture.

Continue reading

Triumph Bonneville T-100 Review, Part 3: A Proper English Bike

I used to live in Northridge, California, right under the flight path of Van Nuys Airport, which is a very busy, if not the busiest, private airport in the United States.  I’d work on cars and bikes in my driveway on weekends, soaking up the California sun and painfully stretching the back of my legs as I bent over the fender of my Citroen DS 21 or hunched over one of my Guzzis.  All good fun, what with the planes buzzing over my head, and the executive jets taking off to executive locations for executive weekends.  Jets and Lycoming engines all day long just didn’t get me to look up.

But, once every weekend or so, a low, powerful drone would shake the windows, and every motorhead in Northern Los Angeles would look up.  They looked up because they knew.  They looked up because that drone was connected to a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.  There were a few North American P-51 Mustangs flying out of Van Nuys, and these planes were powered by The Mother of All Engines.  This is the Engine that won a war.  This is the Engine that powered less than 1000 planes that, in 1940, took “The Few” RAF pilots into battle against the Luftwaffe.  This engine saved a nation, and once you hear that and make the connection, you just have to look up when it’s overhead.

27 liters of pure victory. click for a nice big picture.

Continue reading

Triumph Bonneville T-100 Review, Part 3: A Proper English Bike

I used to live in Northridge, California, right under the flight path of Van Nuys Airport, which is a very busy, if not the busiest, private airport in the United States.  I’d work on cars and bikes in my driveway on weekends, soaking up the California sun and painfully stretching the back of my legs as I bent over the fender of my Citroen DS 21 or hunched over one of my Guzzis.  All good fun, what with the planes buzzing over my head, and the executive jets taking off to executive locations for executive weekends.  Jets and Lycoming engines all day long just didn’t get me to look up.

But, once every weekend or so, a low, powerful drone would shake the windows, and every motorhead in Northern Los Angeles would look up.  They looked up because they knew.  They looked up because that drone was connected to a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.  There were a few North American P-51 Mustangs flying out of Van Nuys, and these planes were powered by The Mother of All Engines.  This is the Engine that won a war.  This is the Engine that powered less than 1000 planes that, in 1940, took “The Few” RAF pilots into battle against the Luftwaffe.  This engine saved a nation, and once you hear that and make the connection, you just have to look up when it’s overhead.

27 liters of pure victory. click for a nice big picture.

Continue reading

First Big Ride on the 1960 Parilla 250

It was touch and go for more than a week. Mitch had organized a small-displacement  bike rally with the Chicago Vintage Motorcyclists (better known as ChiVinMoto, or just ChiVin), and I really didn’t know if I was going to have my Parilla 250 ready.  The charging system had taken a complete dump the week before on the way to the Ace Motorcycle & Scooter Works.  Chad had graciously offered to fix it, because that’s what he does for a living, and I brought him the new-in-the box commutator, brushes, brush springs and voltage regulator that I had received when I got the bike.  Now I know why they came with it.

I was in Detroit from Monday night until Friday at midnight.  I had tried a couple of times to get ahold of Chad, but I really don’t like to bother a mechanic when he/she is working on anything, especially when that anything is mine.  Good mechanics are like good software engineers – they get into a “zone” where nothing else seems to exist around them, and their entire being seems to be focused on the job at hand.  I’ve been there thousands of times when I’ve been coding, and probably more with a wrench in my hand simply because I’ve been doing that at some level of effectiveness since I was twelve or thirteen.

Two Two-Fifties. Brit and Italian....

Rick had agreed to pick me up in his van and take me to Oswego. The Parilla was to be perched next to a rare Royal Enfield 250 that was his mount for the event.  I cagily put him off for an answer until I finally reached Chad.  The bike was done.  The only fly in the ointment was getting to Rick’s house, then getting Rick to go to Ace and then heading to Oswego.  I hate having people do me favors and then I might do something to make it even more complicated.  I really don’t like putting people out.  Yet, there’s Rick, just taking it in stride, saying, “Sure.  Just ride over in the morning on the Guzzi and then we’ll go pick up the 250.  We’ll drop the Parilla at your house, then you can ride your V7 back home.”

All set.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Mitch had given a stern warning to the group that “kickstands up” was to be at noon.  We arrived at 11:44.  Everyone milled around and looked at bikes and talked.  We finally left at 12:40.

It was a great route.  Mitch’s house is in Oswego, and we travelled some lovely back roads to Sheridan, and Ottawa.  One of the ChiVin guys brought his truck and trailer to follow just in case of a breakdown.  Being the second-oldest bike there, with little test miles, I felt like I had about a 60% chance of landing in the passenger seat of the pickup before the day was out.  Visions of large checks dancing in my head, I pressed on and treated the old girl like she had been part of my stable for years.  She didn’t disappoint except for one moment outside of Sheridan where a stuck float bowl was pouring gas out of the weep hole of the SS1 and other parts.  Of course Rick comes to my rescue with a pocket knife.  He whacks the remote float a few times, and then I shut it off.  I decide to run it up and down the block a couple of times and it’s as good as new.

Remote float bowl. Whack it lightly if it sticks...

In a way the gas leak was a boon.  I had left the oil cap loose before and there was oil all over the crankcase.  The gas washed everything off and made if shiny again.  After that somewhat hazardous stop, we proceeded on, where a nice long straight found me jumping out in front of everyone and investigating how fast the Parilla was.  I’m figuring 75ish.  Speedo’s broken.  Really don’t care “too” much.  I was having so much fun it’s all relative.

Arriving at Starved Rock State Park, we rode all over looking for a place to park.  The waning days of summer brought everyone out and filled up the spaces.  There were quite a few Harleys and Victories and other metric cruisers, but very little of anything else.  We drew a crowd.  The Yamaha YZ50 in our midst was dwarfed by a couple of Irish Wolfhounds.  Realizing that we got a late start and we had doddled a bit on the way out we decided to pretty much flip back around and head home.  We had two hours to cover 59 miles of back roads, and time and sunlight were in short supply.

The ride back was much faster save for a 25 minute stop in Sheridan to fix a loose exhaust pipe on a MadAss scooter that was part of our group.  Other than that, the long rays of evening settled nicely, allowing our shadows to grow and cast wonderful silhouettes against the tarmac.  Arriving back at Mitch’s we all loaded our bikes up and had a quick beer.  Time to go.

The day confirmed everything I had hoped to discover about the Parilla.  It was a capable machine that rode much “better” than its 250cc engine advertised.  Plenty of low-end grunt, which was wholly unexpected.  I was able to kick start it only once, pushing it most of the time.  I’ll need to give the bike more attention in this area or I’m going to end up with 5% body fat.

Parilla 250 at rest. Before restoration.

It gets looks, It goes faster than most small bikes, it handles and brakes well, and it’s comfortable enough to spend 5 hours on.  Later that evening at Rick’s house, I got back on the V7 Classic for the ride home.  I felt like I was riding an Elephant!

Triumph Bonneville Report, Day 2: You Can't go Back, but the Ride there is Awesome

This is the second in a series of articles reviewing the 2010 Triumph T-100 Bonneville.  The first article is here.

My apologies from the start.  I had set up the perfect Triumph picture with this beautiful backdrop, great clouds and awesome red rocks, only to find my camera’s batteries dead and my phone sitting in my hotel room.  So there’s no pictures of this ride!  I promise at some point in the future to get a bike up this wonderful road and snap some pictures the next time I get out that way.  I found some shots on the web of the road and sights for reference.

So I wake up on Day 2 of my temporary Triumph Ownership.  The temperatures in Phoenix and my body had finally risen to acceptable levels to make the 200 mile round trip to the town of my birth and first 18 years — Miami, Arizona.  It’s about 90 miles East of Phoenix, and about 90 miles North East of Tucson.  What one will find out about Arizona is everything seems to have “ ’bout 90 miles” distance from major towns.  The Globe-Miami area is no exception.  It is nestled halfway up the steep Colorado Plateau.  Highway 60, leading east from Phoenix and through Superior, delivers its first real curves, sweepers and even a tunnel as it lines itself straight from the Pacific.

The road from Phoenix to Florence Junction comprises the first 45 miles of the trip.  This gave me a chance to experience the Triumph on city streets, local freeways and interchanges, and on divided rural highways.  Arizona has great roads.  I’m sure that the roads around Chicago were like this, perhaps, for at least 20 minutes at some time in the past.  The Triumph accelerates wonderfully in the crisp morning air as I begin my trip on the 101 loop, heading South out of Scottsdale, to take the 202 Loop towards the Superstition Mountains and the beautiful Arizona Sonoran Desert.

Supersittion Mountains -- from Bryan Flaming's blog - Linked because it's a great shot and I didn't ask permission!

As a kid and young man, I had been on this road hundreds of times in all kinds of vehicles.  Nothing, NOTHING is better than riding this road on a comfortable, competent motorcycle.  The Triumph T-100 really IS this bike.  I crossed through 600 miles in two days with this trip, and the seat, ergonomics, riding position and general comfort exceeded my expectations by a long shot.  I couldn’t wait to get into the wonderful series of twisties after I reached Superior, AZ and headed that last 15 miles through Devil’s Canyon, rising to more than 4500 feet in altitude and then descending 1500 feet on the other side.  Twists, turns and topography.  I sure as hell am not in Illinois!

Queen Creek Bridge

Queen Creek Bridge between Superior and Miami Arizona - Hwy 60/70 through Devil's Canyon

This is a special set of curves in Arizona.  The ascent has a series of right/left turns and big sweepers that cross the Queen Creek Bridge and hug the side of a narrow canyon going up has a passing lane most of the way.  The climb, smooth road and nice bankings make for a smooth, fast and adventurous ride, especially when the traffic is light and the Arizona Highway Patrol is somewhere else (this rarely happens) like it was on the day I rode up. The Triumph took the sweepers beautifully, and the shorter turns allowed me to experience moving around on the seat through smooth but fast transitions, and feel how the bike reacted at speed when the conditions were, well, perfect.

Flawless performance.  The T-100’s linear torque just pulled and pulled at all throttle settings, and the upright stance gave me the feeling of control, almost an eerie “dirt bike” feel as pushing on the handlebars were so reactive, yet so predictable. Only slight feathering of the brakes were needed to set the bike for the tightest turns.

I stopped at a place known to the locals as “Top of the World” and reflected on the last 12 miles.  Of course this is where I planned to take pictures with my unkown-to-me dead camera.  So I sat for a moment and sucked in the 4500 foot elevation’s clean air, amazed that the Bonneville adjusted itself so beautifully to the altitude changes as much as it had through the last stretch of road’s directions.

Triumph fuel injection looks like a carb, but behaves like anything but....

I climbed aboard, fired up and started down the last 5 miles into Miami.  My rear view mirror showed a Highway Patrol car, so it was a mellow trip from here on. Traffic slowed further as a truck with overheating brakes brought things to a crawl.  Keeping steady, I was able to inch my way,  nearly stopped,  never putting a foot down. Great low speed manners.  Just wonderful.

I arrived in Miami, stopping at the Police station to visit and old friend that worked there.  An avowed Harley Rider, I think he liked the bike.  Few bikes have any cred with the Harley crowd, but I believe the retro Bonnie brings back fond memories from older riders and makes newer ones think twice about riding with their hands as high as their shoulders.  My buddy and I had a nice chat, and I decided to get some of the glorious Mexican Food that the area is so rightfully famous for.   I went looking for old friends.

Most had moved away, and I had trouble finding others.  Time was running short as my wife and our friends were back in Phoenix, expecting my presence.  I needed to get going, so I went to gas up.   The first place wouldn’t take my card, so I decided to go to a station on the other side of Globe and see the sights.  Arriving at the next station, I looked down and noticed that the gas cap was missing!

I’m used to my bike, which has a locking gas cap.  You can’t start the bike unless you put the gas cap back on.  I remembered setting the cap in a spot above the handlebars.  I then proceeded to back track 3 times along my route looking for the cap to no avail.  It’s gone and I have a wadded up paper towel to keep gas from blowing all over me.

You can just see the missing cap at the edge of the picture... It came in the next day.

 

The ride home was slower as the Highway Patrol was out.  I finally hit the freeways in the far east end of the Phoenix Metropolitan area and dropped the hammer.  Wonderful freeway sweepers and empty roads greeted me, getting me back to my hotel in no time.  I called the local Triumph dealer, and they didn’t have a cap, but said that there were four other places in the US that DID have one, and she supplied me with the numbers.  I found my part from the Dealer in Salt Lake City.  Fedex and the part came in under $50 and the cap was on and like new.  I called the $50 “stupid tax” for not taking better care.  Somehow I think I’m not the first person to drop a cap on a trip…

I hadn’t spent time in Globe-Miami since my Dad sold his business in 1991.  I made a trip up a few times, but after my Dad passed in 2000 and my mom in 2008, I never had a reason to go back since I was living hundreds, and now thousands, of miles away.  The area had changed in odd ways.  It seemed familiar, yet I felt so out of place kicking the dry dirt of my youth talking to people I’ve known for more than 40 years.

I recaptured nothing from my own “genesis spot“, but had a great trip up and back on a wonderfully predictable, responsive and exceedingly comfortable bike.  The Triumph T-100 delivers the goods on short and long trips. Now if anyone in Globe-Miami reading this runs across a chrome gas cap…

Triumph Bonneville Report, Day 2: You Can’t go Back, but the Ride there is Awesome

This is the second in a series of articles reviewing the 2010 Triumph T-100 Bonneville.  The first article is here.

My apologies from the start.  I had set up the perfect Triumph picture with this beautiful backdrop, great clouds and awesome red rocks, only to find my camera’s batteries dead and my phone sitting in my hotel room.  So there’s no pictures of this ride!  I promise at some point in the future to get a bike up this wonderful road and snap some pictures the next time I get out that way.  I found some shots on the web of the road and sights for reference.

So I wake up on Day 2 of my temporary Triumph Ownership.  The temperatures in Phoenix and my body had finally risen to acceptable levels to make the 200 mile round trip to the town of my birth and first 18 years — Miami, Arizona.  It’s about 90 miles East of Phoenix, and about 90 miles North East of Tucson.  What one will find out about Arizona is everything seems to have “ ’bout 90 miles” distance from major towns.  The Globe-Miami area is no exception.  It is nestled halfway up the steep Colorado Plateau.  Highway 60, leading east from Phoenix and through Superior, delivers its first real curves, sweepers and even a tunnel as it lines itself straight from the Pacific.

The road from Phoenix to Florence Junction comprises the first 45 miles of the trip.  This gave me a chance to experience the Triumph on city streets, local freeways and interchanges, and on divided rural highways.  Arizona has great roads.  I’m sure that the roads around Chicago were like this, perhaps, for at least 20 minutes at some time in the past.  The Triumph accelerates wonderfully in the crisp morning air as I begin my trip on the 101 loop, heading South out of Scottsdale, to take the 202 Loop towards the Superstition Mountains and the beautiful Arizona Sonoran Desert.

Supersittion Mountains -- from Bryan Flaming's blog - Linked because it's a great shot and I didn't ask permission!

As a kid and young man, I had been on this road hundreds of times in all kinds of vehicles.  Nothing, NOTHING is better than riding this road on a comfortable, competent motorcycle.  The Triumph T-100 really IS this bike.  I crossed through 600 miles in two days with this trip, and the seat, ergonomics, riding position and general comfort exceeded my expectations by a long shot.  I couldn’t wait to get into the wonderful series of twisties after I reached Superior, AZ and headed that last 15 miles through Devil’s Canyon, rising to more than 4500 feet in altitude and then descending 1500 feet on the other side.  Twists, turns and topography.  I sure as hell am not in Illinois!

Queen Creek Bridge

Queen Creek Bridge between Superior and Miami Arizona - Hwy 60/70 through Devil's Canyon

This is a special set of curves in Arizona.  The ascent has a series of right/left turns and big sweepers that cross the Queen Creek Bridge and hug the side of a narrow canyon going up has a passing lane most of the way.  The climb, smooth road and nice bankings make for a smooth, fast and adventurous ride, especially when the traffic is light and the Arizona Highway Patrol is somewhere else (this rarely happens) like it was on the day I rode up. The Triumph took the sweepers beautifully, and the shorter turns allowed me to experience moving around on the seat through smooth but fast transitions, and feel how the bike reacted at speed when the conditions were, well, perfect.

Flawless performance.  The T-100’s linear torque just pulled and pulled at all throttle settings, and the upright stance gave me the feeling of control, almost an eerie “dirt bike” feel as pushing on the handlebars were so reactive, yet so predictable. Only slight feathering of the brakes were needed to set the bike for the tightest turns.

I stopped at a place known to the locals as “Top of the World” and reflected on the last 12 miles.  Of course this is where I planned to take pictures with my unkown-to-me dead camera.  So I sat for a moment and sucked in the 4500 foot elevation’s clean air, amazed that the Bonneville adjusted itself so beautifully to the altitude changes as much as it had through the last stretch of road’s directions.

Triumph fuel injection looks like a carb, but behaves like anything but....

I climbed aboard, fired up and started down the last 5 miles into Miami.  My rear view mirror showed a Highway Patrol car, so it was a mellow trip from here on. Traffic slowed further as a truck with overheating brakes brought things to a crawl.  Keeping steady, I was able to inch my way,  nearly stopped,  never putting a foot down. Great low speed manners.  Just wonderful.

I arrived in Miami, stopping at the Police station to visit and old friend that worked there.  An avowed Harley Rider, I think he liked the bike.  Few bikes have any cred with the Harley crowd, but I believe the retro Bonnie brings back fond memories from older riders and makes newer ones think twice about riding with their hands as high as their shoulders.  My buddy and I had a nice chat, and I decided to get some of the glorious Mexican Food that the area is so rightfully famous for.   I went looking for old friends.

Most had moved away, and I had trouble finding others.  Time was running short as my wife and our friends were back in Phoenix, expecting my presence.  I needed to get going, so I went to gas up.   The first place wouldn’t take my card, so I decided to go to a station on the other side of Globe and see the sights.  Arriving at the next station, I looked down and noticed that the gas cap was missing!

I’m used to my bike, which has a locking gas cap.  You can’t start the bike unless you put the gas cap back on.  I remembered setting the cap in a spot above the handlebars.  I then proceeded to back track 3 times along my route looking for the cap to no avail.  It’s gone and I have a wadded up paper towel to keep gas from blowing all over me.

You can just see the missing cap at the edge of the picture... It came in the next day.

 

The ride home was slower as the Highway Patrol was out.  I finally hit the freeways in the far east end of the Phoenix Metropolitan area and dropped the hammer.  Wonderful freeway sweepers and empty roads greeted me, getting me back to my hotel in no time.  I called the local Triumph dealer, and they didn’t have a cap, but said that there were four other places in the US that DID have one, and she supplied me with the numbers.  I found my part from the Dealer in Salt Lake City.  Fedex and the part came in under $50 and the cap was on and like new.  I called the $50 “stupid tax” for not taking better care.  Somehow I think I’m not the first person to drop a cap on a trip…

I hadn’t spent time in Globe-Miami since my Dad sold his business in 1991.  I made a trip up a few times, but after my Dad passed in 2000 and my mom in 2008, I never had a reason to go back since I was living hundreds, and now thousands, of miles away.  The area had changed in odd ways.  It seemed familiar, yet I felt so out of place kicking the dry dirt of my youth talking to people I’ve known for more than 40 years.

I recaptured nothing from my own “genesis spot“, but had a great trip up and back on a wonderfully predictable, responsive and exceedingly comfortable bike.  The Triumph T-100 delivers the goods on short and long trips. Now if anyone in Globe-Miami reading this runs across a chrome gas cap…