Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year End Blog

Today I went to the DMV again. Seems that I have been there way too many times this year plus The Auto Club's DMV counter. Today was the quickest, although not the cheapest, visit of the year. Back in January my mutant teenager required a visit for his license, his written test, his driving test, the two cars he acquired, and later my two dirt bikes. One of the bikes I have had for several years, but it had never been registered, that took three DMV trips plus two additional visits to the CHP office. That mess required hours of waiting, 40 miles of driving for each of the trips (three total) and much frustration. The second dirt bike took less than ten minutes after a three week wait for an appointment in spite of the fact that there were several errors on the pink slip, wrong name and dates. The lady at the counter said "when did you buy the bike" as the sale date entered had not occurred yet. My explanation was that the seller post dated it as to have plenty of time to register it and she said, "No problem, I will just change it." When using the Auto Club counter nit picking problems can make a simple transaction a nightmare but that will take more time than to explain than I care to spend now.

Last week the high desert was covered with snow and a week later the snow was all gone except for patches . The riding was great as there wasn't any dust, mud or puddles. Mother Nature knows how to drain things much better that the Corp of Army Engineers. When ever the lake bed get wet the rangers close it to protect the surface from all the crazy folks that want to drive on it and make great ruts and holes, plus getting stuck causing more damage. The Southern California Association races cars and motorcyles across the lake bed when it is dry and has been doing that for probably seventy years. My first trip there to see the races was in a new 1956 Dodge. The surface needs to be smooth as speeds exceed two hundred miles an hour on the faster rides. Going really fast on a rutted course is not a lot of fun. Been there done that.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Riding in the Snow

Well the rain and snow that came through Wednesday left its mark in the desert. My plan for Saturday was to go out to El Mirage and ride my Yamaha but I was afraid it would be too dam cold. The weather report for the area was showing a low temperature report of 14 degrees in the morning and a high of 41.
So I included bundles of clothing and a blanket but that wasn't necessary as a t-shirt would do as the sun was bright and the blanket of snow reflected the sun's energy to make for a more than pleasant day. Riding with a parka on in the snow made you to warm and trying it without it made you too cold. The effort to stay straight and upright required a great effort in muscling the handlebars. You never knew if the rear tire would break through the snow and give you some traction.
If you got the bike moving fast enough it would float through the snow making riding woops or sand washes a total blast. Powder would blow up off the front wheel and your rear wheel would throw up a giant rooster tail which would land on the back of your seat. After a while your butt would get wet and cold so would would have to stop and dry out and rest your arms. There was snow everywhere and without tracks as nobody had been out riding since the snow dumped.
The lake bed has been closed since the previous rain but with all the snow cover cross country skiing may be an option (if you like it flat). All the white flatness reminds me of Bonneville.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Spending Money To Jump Start the Country

I have always said that the cheapest part of motorcycle ownership is the initial purchase of the bike because as boat owners know the upkeep will keep you poor. Owning a boat and several motorcycles not to mention several push bikes keeps my bank account in negative numbers.

A few months back I sold one of my dirt bikes as it was not being ridden as the trip out to the desert at $4.65 a gallon for gas created a hole in my wallet that was painful. (Saturday the price in the desert was $ 1.55 a gallon) Then my senior daughter expressed a desire to go out to the desert and try riding. Our remaining dirt bike, that my teenage mutant quit riding is only a 125cc but was a Super Cross Pro race bike. This dirt bike has a seat high enough that a ladder or large box is necessary to get on. My daughter was able to ride it on the dry lake but had a problem climbing aboard.

With the economy in the sewer there are so many deals out there so we went shopping. I was not in the market for another bike until the Super Cross bike, that just finally passed the state registration, promptly died. So I found a pair for sale, his and hers, on Monday I picked them up and we went riding the next day. The smaller bike made for simple starting and we had a blast riding all over the desert together.

Beside the purchase price of the larger bike I have had to shell out mucho pesos for the following:

1. A annual pass to ride in the desert
2. A renewal of my AMA license so I can race in the desert
3. A desert race number
4. A gas can for four stroke gas
5. A new rear tire
6. A new rear sprocket with different gearing
7. An oil filter(s)
8. Oil
9. A clutch lever (after falling over)
10. A new rear chain
11. A new tail light for my trailer after smashing the light

This outlay is after one week of ownership and two trips to the desert to ride. Oh, I forgot I bought two magazines. Really only needed one but I left the first one in the shopping cart in the market parking lot. Some days I find it fortunate that I don't leave myself behind.

Building a Snowman

Here in Southern California it does snow in the mountains when it is cold enough and the weather is right. Yesterday was the third day of rainy weather here as winter is just around the corner.

My mutant teenager decided to go to Mt. High at Wrightwood to do some snowboarding. They took his friends pickup truck as his VW is lowered and not suited for the crappy roads and a parking lot full of snow. The 15 interstate was a disaster as snow was blocking the summit over to the desert and chains were required at a lower level.
Fortunately they had chains and after many delays were able to reach the ski area. All day long the weather dumped snow and filled up the pickup bed. It was cold enough that the snow made it back to lower elvation without melting and the mutants made a snowman in the driveway.

I gave up on Christmas lights and decorations years ago so our house stays unlighted but we can brag as we and the only real snowman on the block not a plastic fake one.