December 17, 2014

Pelican Case Warranty Rocks!


I don't know when or how the right side latch of my Pelican 1450 case broke. One day it just would not latch down. Bummer! I was pretty disappointed, since this case has been behind me for many, many, miles and did not want to lose it over a broken latch.


The problem was easy to see and I called Pelican's customer service line. The Pelican rep was totally cool. He apologised for the broken latch, and immediately promised replacement latches. I told him only one side was broken, but he offered two latches anyway. He took down my info and few days later I had new latches - no cost to me and with free shipping!


I am really pleased with Pelican's customer service. These days few companies are so quick to take care of their customers or stand behind their products. Thanks Pelican!

Now, I just need to find time to install them.  

December 9, 2014

Fly Racing Patrol Jacket Review

The guys at Motorcyclehouse.com asked me to review the Fly Racing Patrol jacket. I have worn this jacket for a couple of months and I like it.


This lightweight jacket is not armored, but this XL jacket fits just fine over my Fieldsheer Armadillo chest protector and Forcefield body armor.  


The ballistic nylon is durable comfortable in differing temperatures. This comes from two zippered upper shoulder vents and two giant front vents. These vents move a lot of air around you and out two large rear vents.


The huge vents give you some temperature control between closed, half open, and full open. I had one small problem on the right side front vent that I will mention later on. The above picture also shows the abrasion resistant panels on the elbows.


There are plenty of front pockets and a large cargo pocket on the back. The cargo pocket works great for carrying the jackets sleeves which can zip off to convert the jacket into a vest. The jacket can also be stored in the rear cargo pocket which holds a waist strap.


The jacket is water resistant with velcro flaps over the pockets and snaps on the main zipper's flap.The neoprene sleeve cuffs are have adjustable velcro strips to keep out the wind and the rain. 

The picture above also shows the vent problem I mentioned earlier. A couple of times while riding, and not looking down at the jacket, I opened the right side upper pocket zipper when I reached for the vent zipper. Nothing valuable fell out of that pocket before I realized the mistake, but it is something to be aware of.  


The ventilated inside mesh liner is comfortable and on the left side of the picture is the internal bungee for additional adjustments and a better fit. There are also zippered gussets on the hips to give you a loosened or more secure fit. For safety, the Fly logo is reflective, but I would like to have seen some added reflective strips on the back. 


If you want a lightweight, comfortable jacket, the Patrol is worth a second look. If the grey/black color scheme is not your style, they come in other colors including a grey, "urban commando camo" pattern that looks good. Check out these jackets and a lot of others at Motorcyclehouse.com where they have free shipping and no end date. Thanks to Motorcyclehouse.com for the opportunity to do this review.


Here is my video review of the Fly Racing Patrol Jacket.

September 28, 2014

"Chrome at the Home" Bike Show for Veterans


This past Saturday was the "Chrome at the Home" event for residents at the Idaho State Veteran's home in Boise. The event was organized by some local Harley groups and I was there as a volunteer.


The day was cool and rainy which really hurt attendance, but regardless of the weather, the aging veterans were very enthusiastic to make friends, chat, and to see the many bikes on hand.


The day's various events included a bike show, a couple of fundraising auctions, as well as cookout. Later in the day, the Harley groups did a poker run and the cold rain stopped so they had a dry ride. 


This young volunteer manned the POW-MIA booth which honored Idaho's 8 Vietnam vets who remain missing, but not forgotten, so many years after the war's end. 


To me, this is the Captain America bike that Chris Evans briefly rode in the first movie. It's probably not the same, but it is pretty close. Before you mention that drip pan under the engine, remember this veteran was fighting for freedom before most of us were born!


Here was another vintage war machine. This awesome Jeep was a popular attraction with the vets and it is easy to see why. I would love a chance to fire that machine gun mounted in the rear!


As a KLR rider, I felt a bit out of place among the patch covered, leather vests, and the loud pipes that save lives. Regardless, I was glad to help where needed and my hat is off to these Harley Riders for their caring and sincere efforts in holding this great for the state's veteran's. 

September 21, 2014

Fly Racing Patrol Jacket from Motorcycle House

Here is a first look at the Fly Racing Patrol Jacket I have been rocking on and off road the past few days. I will post a detailed review shortly, but I like the Patrol so far, and it even matches my helmet!


I also want to give a shout my buddy Dewayne Jasper and the rest of the folks over at Motorcycle House for hooking me up with this gear. 

September 19, 2014

At the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial

The traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall is in the area this weekend and I stopped by to pay my respects.


As a veteran, I wanted to see the wall and a lot of other veteran-riders were on hand for this morning's ceremony. Once again, Sally was the only KLR in Cool Kids Parking.


I did 23 years in the United States Air Force, but always admired the U.S.Marines for their toughness, discipline, and those spiffy uniforms.


This was a special display for the Purple Heart. Besides Vietnam veterans, the wall is a tribute to veterans from all conflicts as well as September 11th first responders.


This replica wall is 80 percent the size of the wall in Washington D.C. and is 360 feet long. It travels to 30 locations every year.  


Today's ceremony honored POW-MIA veterans. The mayor and several guest speakers made speeches and several local veteran and motorcycle groups participated in the tribute.  


I had no name to find on the wall. Regardless, the traveling memorial is a solemn and impressive sight. So many names...so many lives lost.


Former president Calvin Coolidge is seldom remembered, but I like many of his quotes. One of today's speakers used a Coolidge quote that was new to me, and it was very appropriate for the occasion.


"The Nation that forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten" - Calvin Coolidge.


September 3, 2014

An Ode to the Kawasaki KLR650

This great write up by Andrew Bornhop may be found online at cycleworld.com  . And BTW, I agree with every word he has written as would anyone who has tested the KLR's reliability and versatility.  I have ridden many different motorcycles, but there is something about the simple, rugged, unpretentious, KLR that puts a smile on my face every time I take it out.  If you ride a KLR, then you probably know what I mean. If you do not, then read on...
Kawasaki KLR650 against the sunset
A KLR is not a motorcycle; it is a blank canvas with which to paint the rest of your life.
Okay, I admit it: I nabbed this quote from klrforum.com. It’s good stuff, even if the literal side of my brain quibbles with the bit about this Kawasaki not being a motorcycle. The KLR most assuredly is one, a good one at that, and there’s nothing wrong with a motorcycle, any motorcycle, being considered a “blank canvas with which to paint the rest of your life.”
The KLR, however—one of the longest-running models in motorcycling history—does elicit passion like few others. Since it came out in 1984 as a 600, this Kawasaki has won people over with its easy rideability, its tantalizing versatility, and the enticing prospect of where it can take you. It’s a great everyday bike, an affordable dual-sport machine that shines as a commuter or a fully bagged world explorer. Countless folks use KLRs in just this way, exploiting the bike’s reliability, range, and go-anywhere nature. Heck, the US military even has some KLRs, converted to diesel and helping our soldiers in far-flung locations.
Chances are, if you are in some remote part of the world and see a traveler ride by, he’ll either be on a bigBMW R1200GS or a KLR. Great bikes, both, but many will argue that the significantly lighter and less expensive Kawasaki is the wiser choice. It’s old school, for sure, but the counterbalanced, liquid-cooled, 651cc single just keeps plugging along on regular-grade unleaded, and the bike’s lack of technical complexity is seen as a bonus. No traction control? No ABS? No active suspension? No problem. That just means there’s less stuff to break or go wrong.
And therein lies the beauty of Kawasaki’s electric-start KR650. It’s simple. It’s honest. It’s unpretentious. It’s like a Timex watch: It takes a licking and just keeps on ticking. You might actually be able to repair it on the trail. What’s more, the KLR has huge aftermarket support and a very active online community. No wonder it sells better each year than the Honda XR50L and Suzuki DR650 combined.
Apart from the frame-mounted fairing and new engine for the 2008 model, plus a more powerful alternator, Kawasaki hasn’t done a whole lot with the KLR over the years, opting instead to keep it affordable for the masses. And it’s a philosophy that continues to this day with the 2014.5 KLR650 New Edition, whose firmer suspension and wider seat add only $100 to the cost of the bike but make it a significantly better off-road machine without sacrificing one iota of on-road comfort.
Or, put another way, Kawasaki has made the KLR650 “an even better canvas with which to paint the rest of your life.” Amen.

August 22, 2014

A True Bit of Americana: The Garage Cafe

The Garage Cafe is a small diner in southwest Idaho that proves you find the best food away from the fast food joints along the interstate. I found this gem in Notus, Idaho when I stopped for breakfast and discovered a pretty cool place to eat.


As a first-timer, I played it safe, but had nothing to fear. My eggs over easy, bacon, and wheat toast were perfect and reasonably priced. That's a lot of food - but, it didn't sound like it when I ordered. The service was great, my coffee was never left half full.


I did not order the hash browns, but when they arrived, I was not about to send them back. I felt guilty for eating this much, but it was too good to leave, so I skipped lunch that day.


My camera-shy server who was also part owner of the cafe, told me that four years ago this building was a gutted shell. Today it is a classic roadside diner with a nostalgic, hot rod, service station theme.


After breakfast I wondered around, almost like in a museum. There are probably other giant, illuminated Plymouth Super Bee signs around, but I have never seen one before. I am not a MoPar guy, but the Road Runner logos and other signs had a nostalgic appeal to me.


If you are in the area, I recommend a stop at the Garage Cafe. This classic "Mom and Pop" diner has good food at fair prices, and make time to appreciate the creativity and even the artistry of the decor.


You may even find yourself drifting back to the days of American muscle cars with Jim Morrison belting out "Touch Me" from the radio. For more info and more pics be sure to visit the Garage Cafe website.