Kentucky rain, Tennessee sushi, and Jesus sandals

Day 3 of our adventure started with raindrops on the window of the hotel in Murray Kentucky. The skies were gray, the forecast was grim, but we had no place to be and all day to get there. The first thought was, let’s find an off-road adventure somewhere out of the storm system that was moving through. After Googling away for about an hour and checking the maps we didn’t arrive at any destination that was guaranteed to be open, worth riding, and not flooded. This may have disappointed most people with dirt bikes in a van looking to ride, not us! We were content as could be with the fact yesterday was full of fun and excitement and today would be a new adventure full of something different and each other.
I mentioned that my favorite waterfall was in Eastern TN and I’d love to make it back there. Travis said he’d like to see it, I looked it up and it was a full 6 hours from where we were. Hmmmmm?! 6 hour drive in the rain to see a waterfall…keep searching for off-road riding…say fuck it and just drive until we find sunshine?! Whatever would we do…
We wandered down to get some breakfast and continued mulling over our options. Somewhere between hard-boiled eggs, sour kraut, and beets, (yeah we have an odd diet) Travis piped up and said, “We can go to your waterfall.”
I grinned ear to ear like a teenager with the keys to dads car and said, “Seriously?! You are going to drive me 6 hours to see a waterfall?!”
“Yeah why not?”
Well all right then let’s get this dog and pony show on the road!
We were piled into the van around 8ish, Eastbound and down! Dirty bikes and gear all scattered throughout the back, hey it’s vacation and it’s not like we brought the maid or our mothers with to lecture us about cleaning our “room”! 0A6E472D-AE0D-41DB-9BF4-F3A4955C8EBD The rain would come and go there wasn’t much for traffic and scenery in that part of the country is always great. Despite the weather we had nothing but sunshine in the van, good music, great company, and a couple of dirty bikes in the rearview!
A few hours up the road we made a pit stop and once again were reminded that I might just be a true blonde after all. The van doors open with a key, a few of you just went, “well no shit Jessie” while the rest of you (possibly that group we keep calling millennials) may not understand this fact that all vehicles do not open or start by pushing a button or using an app on your phone, crazy right?!
Travis unlocked my door, with said key, I hopped in and did not even think to unlock his door. Again. For the 15th time this trip. I looked over and there he stood smiling sarcastically through the window, in the rain like, “Are you fucking kidding me? It’s ok I’ll just get a shower out here while I unlock my own damn door.” I busted out laughing uncontrollably at the look on his face and we exchanged the “yep this is our life” grin before firing up the van and rolling away. Typical Jessie lives in her own little bubble situation.
We were nearing Cookeville TN and decided we should find some lunch. It took all of 2 minutes to settle on sushi since last nights was fantastic in KY might as well try our luck in TN!
I found Fuji Sushi on the Google machine and we GPS’d our way there. The place was rather busy so we figured that was a good sign. The staff was not as entertaining as Shogun but the food looked to be equally as tasty! I told Travis whatever he was ordering I was eating and he went with a huge combination platter that was served on a giant boat. 2 for 2, another great sushi in the south experience!1CA04964-2844-412C-BFD6-6615AA213A83 I think we were somewhere around deciding who was eating the last few pieces when I turned to say something to Travis and noticed he was grinning at me. Before I could get any words out he says to me, “God I wish you were beautiful.” To which I laughed loudly and replied, “Well…fuck you very much.” From there I think he said, “I hate you.” and I came back with,”Ditto!” The next several minutes were filled with laughs and smiles and the entire restaurant probably began to question our sanity.
Since we got our “true” feelings out of the way over lunch we decided it was probably time to hop back in the van and roll on. It was starting to look as if it would clear off and we toyed with the idea of stopping somewhere to ride instead of finding Blue Hole Falls but the thought went just as fast as it had came when the clouds blew back over and began to piss on us yet again.
It was getting late in the day and we were still over an hour from Elizabethton. We both wondered if we were going to make it in time to see anything or if it would be too dark due to the weather and we would maybe get a room and see things in the morning. I said I’d like to make it tonight because we had a 13 hour drive home on Sunday and the falls only take a few minutes to see. We wouldn’t be exploring too far up or down them off the beaten path since Travis had only brought MX riding boots and Jesus sandals along for the week!E458F07D-6B54-4DF7-A3D4-3850D6E7AD5F Somewhere around 7ish and sunset we found Pan Handle Rd. and as we turned up the hill towards Blue Hole the rain stopped! Timing could not have been any better!
We found the little pullout and ventured off down the path into the woods. It was wet and muddy with a touch of slick and possibly dangerous in spots. There are giant steps leading down the hill as the falls drop one into the other along the way you can take the little side paths over to the edge to look down on them or climb right down to each one. From top to bottom with in a few hundred yards beginning to end there are 4 beautiful waterfalls tucked into the hillside each with its own character and feel. No two are the same and if you care to take a stroll down stream, when wearing something other than socks and sandals on a rainy day, you can find a 5th fall that I’m sure not many know exist.069765AA-1D93-4BE6-B874-0311BA74254064180309-4521-4B24-83B6-8CB5558CF752F03D483D-CB3E-4B5D-B5B2-3CFF158EC040B73C7B8A-5ECA-4705-86AA-0AC2573B7095
I was first at Blue Hole 10 years ago and right way felt like it had a magical pull over me. Have you ever been somewhere that just instantly made you feel happy, well, or just content? I’ve been to a few and each time I find one I return as often as I can. This was my 3rd or 4th trip to Blue Hole and I’m sure I’ll go back again!
Several pictures and minutes later we walked back to the van just as it was officially becoming dark and aside from some wet socks not a thing was wrong in our world.
I have a list a mile long of places I’ve been that I love but a few that have this energy are, The Black Hills,5ADE0DAC-11DA-4F58-8C95-24A6323F7AF3The Redwood Forest,4CB59384-F790-490C-B85C-EFF75D040747CC48845B-B09E-4D9A-818C-64A1EC1DE402 Colorado especially around Silverton, C5AD8D22-910C-4E65-B651-25F0975C2A5DB82E9391-2419-49D1-9A5E-F7BE6A7EA7D2The Black River Byway in the UP of Michigan,594C742E-9ECD-40E3-A51C-0CC7D592AFF0The Grand Canyon, 0B53337D-9350-4D67-80D6-377363A1B542A few areas in southern Utah, F31E462F-B290-4771-96D2-0E93BD180516The Columbia River Gorge and Western coast of Oregon, 0DC226B7-8219-4319-9B20-9D0418245D3B7765A042-0336-4370-AB0A-FC49DDB7F19FAA0E3D33-F258-426D-AEB8-63791477D5A504E98487-7361-491F-AB7A-FBB2C3184B8FA little dead-end gravel/dirt road by Council Hill Illinois, EF77160D-520F-4D76-9153-452C313FA13Dand I have gotten side tracked already …Squirrel!
We found a hotel in Bristol for the night, it was down pouring rain when we rolled in and we contemplated just staying in the van with our music and maybe just opening a bottle of wine then eating whatever we might have left in the cooler for dinner. After several minutes of tossing this idea around we decided the warm hotel and hot shower won the contest and we would get out and go in dodging rain drops along the way.
Italian delivery and a bottle of wine later it was lights out and next thing we knew morning had arrived! It was looking gloomy but we were going to be in the van headed north into snow and cold country so the rain was actually a welcome alternative. We pulled out of the hotel early-ish like around 6:00 AM Wisconsin time and into Virginia we went! The sun came out before long and it was a warm gorgeous day for a drive through the mountains. I was still terrible at unlocking van doors and Travis had accepted that and moved on, we never even touched the radio all day and it didn’t occur to either of us until hours into the drive. We discussed how nice it would be to unload the bikes and find out where some of these gravel back-roads lead to and bow lovely it would be to have a tiny cabin overlooking the valley there somewhere, no sooner did we say that and one appeared as if we had painted it there on top of the hill with the grandest view we had seen yet! travis had pointed out a cabin the day before that sat on a hill-side in TN above a train bridge and a river in the middle of nowhere that closely resembled a picture I had painted in high school…our travels are full of the oddest coincidences!
Our route took us in and out of Virginia and Tennessee a few times and somewhere around Cumberland gap we passed through a tunnel and were in 3 states in a matter of 5 minutes. The day was heating up and moving along smoothly we cruised all the way to Indianapolis before stopping for anything. It was definitely lunch time in Indy and we decided on Indian food at the Mumbai Grille.
When you walk in and the patrons are of the same ethnicity as the food, there’s a damn fine chance you are in for some good eats! We received a bit of a, “You aren’t from around here are you?” glance from a few tables as we made our way to the back to the only empty seats. The servers were beyond helpful and pleasant. We looked at the menus asked what the waiter recommended and within 2 minutes had decided on exactly the same things to order. Weird … but not for us that is just situation normal. We sat discussing the trip and planning others and it could not have been 10 minutes later our table was full of THE best Indian food either of us had ever tasted! Just wow! If you ever pass through Indy the Mumbai Grille should be at the top of your list for local cuisine! Their “special” rice and the curry chicken with the chefs daily special was too good to not finish so the two of us ate until we almost burst! The restaurant is going to be remodeled soon but for now it is in a strip mall and 1 big box of a room filled with tables. Travis got up and toured the large rectangular room, which I thought was odd. I realized on the last leg of his lap that he was actually looking for the bathroom that had been behind his chair to the left and I had been facing the entire time. On his way back by our table he was a bit red in the cheeks and said, “You could have told me I was going the wrong way.” I was innocent of all charges in this matter though because I had no idea why he had stood up and walked off, hell he could have been making hot laps to have room for dessert for all I knew. Truth be told even if I knew where he had stood up to go I probably would have let him take a stroll around the room for my own entertainment purposes.
It was mid afternoon maybe 3ish by the time we finished lunch and we headed towards home. Not much happening between Indy and Wisconsin as per usual. Illinois came and went and soon we arrived home to the lake where I discovered a country radio station via Travis on the internet that is now my new obsession! Hank on am 1550 … Highly suggest finding it if you happen to be a country music fan….before country went pop!
More adventures coming soon! Ta Ta for now!

Continue reading “Kentucky rain, Tennessee sushi, and Jesus sandals”

Van Life and Kentucky Sushi

176CC188-E2D2-4CA0-9347-7EE009E9172FEverybody has a dream, that is a fact. Not everybody has the same dream. For instance my personal goal in life is to someday be free enough to travel the country camping, hiking, and riding motorcycles. It just so happens that my boyfriend Travis shared this dream and already had a van bought for just this purpose when I met him! It’s not exactly everyone’s cup of tea and many people think it’s a very odd idea but I happen to think a lot of things other people do are rather odd. So, let’s let our freak flags fly and enjoy whatever our idea of a happy life happens to be! To each their own!471E2CD7-AA0C-4B41-BA54-36F6B2E2F069

I’ve been trying to get back to a place called Turkey Bay KY for the last 20 years and as luck would have it Travis had been planning to get there himself. It is a huge off road riding park in the Land Between The Lakes Recreation area not far from Murray KY.

So there we were discussing where to take a road trip after chatting for about 30 minutes the 1st night we met,  I asked if he had ever been to Turkey Bay …one thing led to another and a month later I had a brand new bike, our Husqvarna’s were loaded in the back of the van, a stocked cooler between the seats, iphones full of music, and down the road we went!

My new 450  came from Keytime Motorsports in Warrens Wisconsin. Steve is a hell of a guy and an even better mechanic. He lowered the bike a few inches for me, modified the hand guards, rerouted the fuel filter for easier access, and hand checked every single bolt on the machine, paint marking them as he went along. After he was done fine-tuning the bike I had not a single concern as to whether not everything was spot on perfect, his attention to detail is rather magnificent. 321EF8F0-35D8-499B-8425-8CEF5ABBF6D8.jpeg

This was the vans, as well as our, maiden voyage. No better way to get to know a vehicle or a person than to pile yourselves in it and hit the highway for a dozen or so hours! Turns out the van runs, rides, and drives spectacularly and gets great gas mileage! The 2 of us were damn near literally 2 peas in a pod and aside from the flat nothingness of Illinois passing by out the windows not a thing in life could have been better.  As anyone  who has ever driven through Illinois knows there is nothing at all note worthy about that stretch of the trip other than a very dedicated Harley fan who managed to match his truck to his bike and was proudly hauling it to warmer climates.3581B4F2-75DE-4C63-85D3-F411F8C52DDD.jpeg We cruised along watching the passers by peek into the windows and smile at our pair of toys buckled into the back like kids in car seats. After 666.6 miles and several potty stops we arrived in Paducah for the night to rest up and be ready to ride in the morning.

 

We were up with the sun and more than ready to go! We pulled into Land Between the Lakes about 9 A.M. as soon as the bikes were out of the van I was changing into my new gear and FINALLY behind the bars of my new FE450! We took a slow trip down the main road and turned into the woods down a rocky path that opened up to countless trails! I was cruising in 2nd and 3rd Gear still figuring out where my controls were and suddenly I looked ahead and realized the path was coming to and end and there was no place to go but up!  I downshifted turned the throttle back and up, up, and away we went! That was it,  I was officially in love with my new machine it climbed the rocky washed out rutted hill like a champ! Later in the day that same hill would kick my ass but let’s leave that minor detail for a different paragraph. Travis was hot on my wheels with his 2-stroke ready to tear up some dirt so I told him to go ahead and I’d fumble around following behind as I got better acquainted with my Husky.

 

The trails were nothing shy of specfuckingtacular in every direction we turned. They are color coated for “Easy” “Hard” and “Careful you might die”…we took bits and pieces of each and I got well acquainted with the ground and a few small trees through out the morning. No major damage or problems just adjusting to my new bike and the area while figuring out which gear to climb hills in trying not to break my new engine while breaking it in and struggling for traction on the rocks. Or we could just say Jessie’s off-road skills could use some fine tuning! No excuses here just saying maaaaybe it wasn’t all my fault I crashed 6 times! The skies were greying up and starting to spit on us a bit…. not in a fun way, so we found our way back to the van which was way less difficult than Travis had thought it would be. The guy flys jets around the world but gets lost in the woods, not that I’m judging but it may or may not have taken him 7 or 8 trips to my house before he figured out how to get there without getting lost first. Ha Ha ok enough making fun of Travis…for now.

We sat at the van and had lunch and talked about how awesome this place and this day was. Then decided that the rain was going to hold off and we should take another ride! We headed down and around some new muddy territory went in circles a time or 3…Travis was leading so that may have been accidental. Then back up on top of the rocky hills and ridges we went! On the way up the 1st hill I was happy as hell in 2nd gear loving the power this bike was putting out and as I high sided a bit of a curve on the wash out path I came down into a pile of loose rocks and suddenly my bike was in the air off the trail and I was on the ground.  OOOPS! This one hurt a bit and I was in no hurry to stand up or do much other than sit and catch my breath while analyzing exactly what in the hell had just taken place. It wasn’t too long and Travis was walking down the hill toward me asking if I was ok and taking pictures and video of my situation. The spot the bike was in definitely said, “You can’t get back up there from here.” So it would need to go down the little valley and back over to the trail and try the hill again. After a good 5 minutes of shaking off my sudden impact Travis hopped on the bike and slid it down the leaf and rock filled hill and climbed her to the top while I gathered my things and took a walk up to meet them. Some night and shining armors ride white horses mine just happens to ride a white motorcycle, who would have thought?!

 

We sat for a bit admiring the lakes and hills downing some water and Travis took my bike for a quick scoot down the trail just to see how he liked it. Then we were off and riding again this time in a few new directions on various colored trails. The day was threatening to storm on us once again and as the rain drops got bigger and harder to dodge we decided to find the van. It was coming down pretty good we were thinking the day was done but it was only about 1:30 and we were really hoping it wasn’t. Our wish came true the sky started to clear a bit just over one of the hills and within about 10 minutes it was barely sprinkling! Travis said, “1 more ride?” To which I replied, “Don’t threaten me with a good time!”

He had studied the trail map and discovered that there was a perimeter trail that was numbered and all yellow, (Easy) so we should be good to go incase the sky did let loose again. I wasn’t much for keeping my wheels under me after my crash earlier so easy was good to wind down my day on the new toy! Down the road, through the cricks, down the river bed, splashing through puddles, up the hills, and down the ridges we went! Round and round we’d go where we’d stop we didn’t really know! Travis must have popped 500 wheelies throughout the day, I learned that the 2-stroke throws rocks nicely when he cracks the throttle a bit. Yes I was not wearing a chest protector because I am smart. We only saw 4 other people out in the park all day which was fanfuckingtastic, the place was ours all 4800 acres of it!

We were back up by what was left of the old silo where you can see down to the highway and the bridge over the lakes when Travis wandered off into the woods and decided he wanted to give hillclimbing a try. A4811CC4-3778-4279-8361-EA351B7071E1.jpegThere was a rather steep rock filled washout that led from the silo down to the main gravel road through the park and he wanted to give it a try. I stood at the top admiring the balls it takes to attempt a ride that technical and ready to film his victory or demise. The 1st run he made it about 3/4 of the way rocks tumbling down behind him as the bike dug in and he killed it in a not so fun spot to get turned around or continue heading uphill. The second run was a touch slower but he made it all the way to the top! I was a Sally and played spectator not willing to give it a try after my many wipeouts already that day.

We found our way back down to the bottom and rode back to the van deciding that the day could be done and we had had our fun! It waited until we were parked to begin raining and Travis did his best to stay dry loading bikes as I arranged the van to make room for them again. It was about 4 in the afternoon and we were dirty, wet, stinky, and starving but could not have been happier! We should have been exhausted but I think adrenalin was running way too high to realize anything of the sort.

Back at the hotel in Murray Kentucky we looked like quite the hot mess checking in and the desk clerk was more than helpful with cab and food information. We found our way to the room and began to defunk ourselves to be publicly acceptable. This is when I noticed the large amount of bruises up my knees to my inner thighs that were a wonderful array of colors… if we back up a minute to the part where we unloaded bikes. Travis asked if I wanted knee pads, (I giggled and thought there may be a hidden agenda in his question) since I couldn’t locate half of my gear before we left and I had of course, in classic Jessie style, declined his offer. I was now rethinking that decision as I stared at my battered limbs. I had certainly suffered worse and was in no way letting this effect my day but had a feeling I may be feeling a bit older than my 36ish years in the morning.

We cleaned up and phoned the desk to call us a cab to the local Sushi restaurant not realizing it was damn near across the street. We sat in the lobby discussing our day grinning ear to ear and soon the “cab” arrived. Now here was an experience. A mini van with a woman driver and a younger man in the passenger seat. One would assume mother and son but that did not seem to be the case. The kid had the seat reclined about as far back as it goes and all 6’4″ of Travis seemed to be a bit cramped folded up behind it. This didn’t stay the focus of our short ride for long though! Little did we know we had managed to catch a ride in a “Disco Taxi”! We were a block from the Hampton Inn sitting at a stop light when the driver asked if we would like the strobe light  effects for the remainder of our journey. Well being new to this area we figured we should probably get the full experience so we said yes and she reached down between the front seats and clicked on a very colorful, well-lit, ball that put on quite a light show there in the mini van! This was shortly followed by all of us trying to figure out who was singing the song on the radio, we never did come to the actual answer because as soon as Travis threw out “Steel Foreskins” as a guess none of us could do anything but laugh. The cab ride was only about 5 minutes but it was extremely eventful!

We walked into Shogun Sushi and found a spot up at the bar. The Chef here was beyond entertaining and had quite a crush on Travis. I believe the conversation started with him saying, “You are Mucho Handsome!” Which was odd for a few reasons, 1-we were obviously there together and he was technically hitting in my boyfriend, 2-he was a Sushi chef appearing to be Asian and speaking Spanish, and 3-isn’t it customary to at least buy a drink for someone before using a pick up line?! Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned. Turns out the man was North Korean and one hell of a sushi maker! Travis ordered whatever he felt like making us and it was the best sushi either of us had ever tasted! I think it was somewhere around the 2nd dish Travis made our feisty, flirty, host  blush just a bit. He asked us if we were from Murray and Travis replied, “No but we like it here, got in about an hour ago and already broke the hotel bed.” I believe the man was speechless.

If you ever find yourself killing time in Murray Kentucky I highly recommend Shogun! After dinner we decided to walk back to the hotel since it was less than 2 blocks away! But the cab ride to get there was well worth the $7, anywhere in Murray you need to go they will take you for 7 bucks in a disco van!

Needless to say 3/23 was an excellent day and we still had the whole weekend ahead! The adventures in the van will continue!841EB105-5E88-4FDC-A2C2-56EE2D7CAC21

Viking Bags Review

Another satisfied customer of Viking Bags here!

I just received my new Dagr sissy bar bag and am loving it! This thing is very versatile and full of room for almost anything you might want to carry on 2 wheels. The bag comes with back pack straps and extra adjustable tie down straps along with a pull string adjustable rain fly. It easily slides over the back pad on your sissy bar or can be worn as a back pack and also carried by its sturdy rubber gripped handle on top.

There are 2 large zip up pockets and 5 tie down D-rings on the outside. On the inside the bag features Velcro tabs that keep the front panel from flopping down when unzipped. The large compartment can hold a full face helmet along with other items. The front panel has 2 pockets on the inside plenty big for a set of gloves or small lap top. There is a Velcro flaps pocket on the inside left wall and an open pocket with pen holders on the right. Not much this bag isn’t equipped for. I’m going to say durable and functional all around great buy!

https://www.vikingbags.com/

Viking Cycle Gear Impressed Me Again

Just when I thought it didn’t get any better than leather Viking Cycle Gear proved me wrong! Their Ironborn Motorcycle Textile Jacket is every bit as warm and protective as my leather has ever been. 46 degrees in Wisconsin today and this removable liner kept me nice and toasty for the 100 miles I was on the road.

The jacket is full of fun surprises in the features department! There are 3 ways to adjust the size of the sleeves for a perfect fit, and the waist pulls tight with velcro straps as well. There is armor in the elbow and back areas of the jacket for added skid plate protection in case you don’t keep the rubber side down. Other safety features include reflective stripes on the arms and shoulders, and it is available in a “safety green” color. This jacket is completely wind and water proof with plenty of vents for the warmer dryer days. Pockets, pockets, and more pockets! Who even needs saddle bags with a coat like this?! There are the front 2 pockets like any other jacket, then above those are 2 pockets made for phone/media players and have a place to run your earbuds through to inside the coat where there are small clips to hold the wires in place. On the inside of the jacket there are pockets for earbuds, pens, sunglasses, and even one big enough to hold a tablet! I believe 12 pockets over all. Each zipper is surrounded by a rubber type material for reinforcement and weather protection and the zipper pulls are covered by a plastic piece to prevent unzipping in the wind. At $85.00 I really don’t see how you can go wrong with this item, I haven’t found anything negative to say about it honestly….give one a try Christmas is just around the corner!!!

Honda Has Done It Again!

A good friend of mine purchased a brand new Africa Twin this year and was kind enough to let me take it on a Colorado mountain road adventure! Adventure bikes are one of my favorite types of machine, I have a need to wander everywhere and anywhere the roads and trails can take me so it’s great when one machine can let me explore both! The Africa twin definitely has this capability.

The 1000cc engine is pumping out 93.9hp and 98 ftlbs of torque! This is a machine that you can feel the rear tire dig into the ground as you crank the throttle. It comes with a 3 setting traction control feature that is adjustable in motion depending on your terrain and needs. The ABS can be turned on and off for your preference and riding style. Lets face it sometimes we want to let the rear wheel slide side to side and skid to a stop and other times we like to keep things a bit more under control.

On the highway the Twin glides along smoothly with little vibration and plenty of speed and power. The curves and U-turns are easily negotiated it doesn’t feel heavy to lean one way or the other with its light weight of 534 lbs wet, and the turning radius is superb! When climbing the steeper inclines off-road I kept the traction control at level 2 and it allowed me to sail right over the wet loose rock without kicking the tire out from under me. On the straight gravel road I found it more fun to leave that feature off and get the wheel dancing around a bit behind me slinging some dust. The ground clearance is more than adequate for any terrain and if you happen to get in over your head, so to speak, the skid plate is there to save the day!

The downward slopes were easily navigable with the ABS making sure that I didn’t lock up and go sliding out of control from my 12,000 ft descent. This bike crawled along like a Trials machine with excellent balance and then when I decided to twist the throttle and fly it was right there ready to dig in and climb in all gears at all rates of speed! That’s about the time I decided I was in love. Quick response from zero to let’s go steals my heart every time!

I am 5’9″ and the stock Twin is too tall for me as an off-road vehicle but luckily there are suspension options to modify that problem if I decide to purchase one for myself. Bruce is 6’2″ and the bike seems to fit him perfectly though he does want to put wider pegs on it and may opt for risers for the handle bars. He chose a Delkevic exhaust (an Englewood CO company), Wolfman luggage, Puig windshield, and Givi racks as add-ons so far. A neat little feature I noticed was the plate added to the bottom of the kickstand for better stability on soft ground. I carry around plates for kickstands on my street bikes but this little gadget is a permanently mounted accessory and was only $23.95 online! Unfortunately there is no brand name on it so i can’t give anyone credit for their product.

There is more than enough room for luggage and passengers on this bike. It seems there really isn’t much it isn’t capable of! The earlier models in the late 80’s were 650cc’s and then through the 90’s into early 2000’s they came as a 750cc model, I have read many stories of people literally traveling around the world on them. Now with the 1000cc model the possibilities really are endless.

This machine spends most of its life in the San Juan mountains around Silverton CO so heated grips are a feature that will be added. The head light is very bright but could have a wider range. Compared to the Twins list of awesomeness I’d say the shortcomings are very minimal and some are simply rider specific in this case. That’s another great thing about motorcycles, they can be molded and modified for each riders wants and needs.

If I were to saddle up and hit the trails or the highway I would be damn proud to do it on this machine! Thanks for hitting the nail on the head once again Honda!

Next June Join Me…..

Here I am driving across Iowa five days and 1 million memories later. This is the third year in a row I have spent the third week of September in Silverton Colorado. Maybe 3’s my lucky number … This year’s visit was not only fueled by the fire of the blaze orange aspen trees in all of their fall glory, but also by a meeting with an organization called the Steelhorse Sisterhood. This group of women wind warriors are hosting a women’s motorcycle summit in Silverton next June. Through some mutual friends we have become connected and I am now helping with this awesome event. There will be women from all walks of life gathering in the San Juan mountains for a week of education, riding, scavenger hunts, adventures, great food, and even a little dancing in the street! The Rocky Mountain Woman’s Motorcycle Summit will be divided between Durango and Silverton Colorado with many destinations in the surrounding areas. Any and all skill levels are welcome to attend along with anyone who may be interested in becoming a rider but hasn’t taken that leap into the saddle just yet. The ride down the infamous Million Dollar Highway is worth the trip a lone but there will also be inspirational and educational speakers to help us all learn a little something about life on 2 wheels. There are teams forming for moto rally challenges all over the mountains, points are earned for making it to certain locations and taking selfies with your bikes. The Steelhorse Sisterhood will be providing some meals for the week and there are host hotels in each town. The best part about it is getting together and sharing our love of 2wheels, our passion for adventure and freedom, and our unbreakable bond of Sisterhood driving us to empower one another to succeed in life by concurring our fears! Remember ladies, S.T.R.O.N.G. Women Ride!!! This could be the chance of a lifetime to meet new friends, hone your skills, and take on the world while rolling the mountains on motorcycles! I don’t know about you but I’m gonna climb that mountain! I’m gonna help others make it to the top! I’m gonna make friends and memories that last a lifetime!

The Steelhorse Sisterhood is a charity organization and the money raised at this event will go towards an educational grant to help someone further their life and have hope for the future. For more info on the organization and the events visit http://www.steelhorsesisterhoodsummit.com/

Viking Cycle Rain Gear

Ever hear of Viking Cycle Gear? How about Motorcycle House? I never had either until they asked me to try out their products. With the amount of miles I ride and the weather that comes with them gear is pretty important. Sadly after 10 years and thousands of miles I was forced to retire my old HD rain suit this year due to some massive leakage issues. I replaced my longtime wet weather travel companion with a 2 piece Viking rain suit.


https://www.motorcyclehouse.com/viking-cycle

The price is definitely right at $49.99 and the suit stands up to it’s savage name “Viking” I’d trust it to weather any storm at highway speeds!

The Jacket and pant legs have thick high quality zippers covered by full length Velcro flaps to keep them sealed off from any water leaks. The Velcro flaps on the pants also allow you to adjust the fit of the pant leg for a more personalized fit allowing more room if you have on chaps or less room if you’re just wearing jeans underneath. There are stirrups that fit around your shoe or boot to keep the pants held snug to the ankles while sitting with your knees in the breeze. The sleeves of the Jacket also have Velcro cuffs to fit snug around your wrists or gloves. The drawstring hood can be worn snug to your head and face or rolled back and velcroed out of the way. It is mesh lined to prevent that sticky, plastic, suffocated, feeling us all-weather riders are familiar with when we have had to settle for wearing one of those cheap department store rain jackets. There is reflective striping across the back and down the arms for better visibility to oncoming traffic and the gear is available in bright safety colors. There are 3 huge waterproof pockets, 2 on the jacket and one on the pants. The suit fits great when sitting or standing and doesn’t flap ridiculously in the wind. The pants have a reinforced inner thigh and butt area and the jacket drops well below the waistline for optimum coverage.

I would recommend this gear to anyone who rides. I plan to see how it withstands the test of time and will report back in the very distant future! The only shortcoming with this product is that it does not currently come with a pouch/bag for packing it.

Check out all the Viking Cycle gear and more at https://www.motorcyclehouse.com/

Running Away With My Indian

I rolled away from the Sturgis Indian Dealership with a gigantic grin on my face and a brand new Indian between my legs. Life is good!

I was having an internal struggle though. I, and most other people I’ve ever met, refer to their motorcycles as female. How can I possibly call an Indian Dark Horse Chieftain a female?! I mean, yeah I’m a chick and have bigger balls than a lot of men just like my motorcycle here has more balls than a lot of other bikes…but…I think this one has to be a boy. Now if the bike were called an Indian Dark Horse Princess or something crazy like that I could see calling it a lady. Dark Horse Chieftain, however, just screams, “I am man hear me roar!”

Ok, I’ve talked myself into it, this bike will officially be the man of my garage. 

It was around 7:30 P.M. and I just wanted to pack up camp and hit the road with my new boy-toy!!! Common sense took over and told me that given the time of day that was probably not the wisest idea. I decided to head out of town and hit some back roads to start getting this horse broke in.

I had ridden 4 models of bikes already today and this one was every bit as impressive as they had been. Speed, torque, looks, handling, comfort, and a spectacular stereo….what more could a girl ask for?! Think about twisting the throttle and this trusty steed was already out of the gate and running, see a curve up ahead and he was already leaning into it, gliding through the air smooth as silk in the wind. I was only 10 minutes in and knew without a doubt this machine and I were meant to live happily ever after. I also knew that it had been a long time since lunch and I needed to find some food before everything closed up shop for the night.

After a stroll down Main St in Sturgis with my head held a little higher on this brand new Indian, I found myself back at The Knuckle Saloon for steak tips and fries. Never a disappointment! I contemplated having a few beers to celebrate buying my 17th motorcycle in 2017 on the 20th anniversary of my 1st trip to Sturgis, buuuut decided tomorrow was going to be a long enough day riding 7-800 miles home possibly in the rain so I didn’t need a headache or hangover on top of that. Look at me here adulting and stuff!

I wheeled into the campground and tested out the Chieftains off-road capabilities getting over to my campsite, he took to the terrain like a champ! I checked 5 or 6 times to make sure he was stable and at no risk of tipping over then stood and stared at my magnificent new companion smiling and thinking about how many adventures we were going to have together. Finally I decided it was bed time and crawled off into my tent.

Sun is up and birds are chirping lets do this!!!

First thing is First, wonder down to the shower house for my coffee. This was a heart stopping experience. It was 6:40 A.M. and there in front of the shower house was no sign of coffee and across the lot was no sign of breakfast being served! I wasn’t sure if I was mad, sad, or just plain confused but this situation needed to be remedied quickly!

One of my friendly camp neighbors informed me that the convenience store at the entrance was serving coffee and the other restaurant down there was serving breakfast…weeew, ok, catastrophe avoided! I also discovered that a 16oz cup of coffee rides perfectly at the back of my saddle bags up a hill and through the field back to my campsite. #WINNING

I had packed my Street Glide countless times and had it down to a science but now it was time to get acquainted with my Chieftain and find all of its tie-down points. I began to tear down camp and gather everything into a pile when I realized for not bringing a lot of stuff I sure seemed to have a lot of stuff! Granted I did make a few shopping trips around town this week…

As it turns out the Chieftain 1 upped the HD, AGAIN! More saddlebag capacity and tie down points. Packing up took all of 15 minutes and I was ready to roll out for my ride home to Wisconsin.

It was about 9:15 sun was shining and I was rolling, extremely excited to get out and ride my new toy but disappointed as always that I was leaving the Black Hills behind once again. Heading back to reality after a Sturgis rally is never something to look forward to.

I had to be nice to my boy here for the first several miles East, roll on and off the throttle changing speeds and RPM’s often, and no cruise control. None of this bothered me a bit, I was having the time of my life getting to know this bike. Passers by may have wondered what in the hell I was up to out here on the interstate swerving side to side in my lane, slowing down only to speed right back up again, and singing to this loud and proud new stereo. The first tank of gas was gone before I knew it and it was time to find a pit stop.

When traveling I often run into a lack of fuel options. Out west and in higher elevations it’s more common to find less fuel options at the pumps than in the mid-west. DON’T PANIC PEOPLE! YES your motorcycle recommends higher octane fuels, NO 1 tank of lower octane fuel is not going to ruin your engine in any way, shape, or form. Newer machines are specially programmed to adjust spark and combustion times according to whatever octane level is put in them so they will for sure have less or no pre-ignition pinging/knocking with lower octane.

ALL fuel grades are complete with additives and detergents to help clean your engine, so NO you are not accomplishing anything by using high-octane to keep your engine cleaner.

Ethanol, YES it can be a destructive, corrosive, asshole of a substance when it comes to your fuel system. Unfortunately for us riders we sometimes do not have the option of zero ethanol fuel at every pump. Here’s the thing, Ethanol is destructive over time being left in the fuel system to erode and rot gaskets and hoses. It is not going to be the death of your machine if you are forced to run 1 tank of 10% ethanol fuel through it. If you happen to be someone who does not ride often or for any amount of miles at 1 time well then yes try your damnedest to avoid Ethanol fuel, out here on I-90 you are simply going to burn through it and move on.

All that being said, to the four groups of bikes I watched roll through the pumps in South Dakota stare at the 3 options of 87 octane fuel then decide amongst your group to try to make it to the next town and hope for better options. Calm down!  First of all there was a zero Ethanol 87 octane here for you and I have had 2 Harleys with tens of thousands of miles on them that run great on nothing but 85-89 octane fuels their entire lives. Secondly, would you rather deal with the chance of a occassional pre-ignition ping that will in no way damage your engine and let you make it farther down the road today, or try to make the next town and hope they have 90+ octane and that you don’t run out of fuel before getting there to find these things out?! At this rate your trip home may take an extra day.

While I’m ranting I may as well address the lack of performance and fuel mileage issue everyone brings up when talking about lower octane fuel. We are all headed down the interstate for the next who knows how many hours and you are going to get up to 75-85 MPH and set the cruise control, why is peak performance out here even a thought in your mind, you aren’t going to use it or need it. Especially the group with the Ultra Classic, Street Glide, Victory, and Shadow, you guys aren’t anywhere near the same category of performance or fuel mileage in any situation regardless of octane levels.

ANYWAYS, sorry I blew up! Not trying to offend anyone here, hell odds are you may not even know why you are recommended to use high-octane fuel but your manual says so so you just do it.  Certain subjects get me a tad riled up, senseless uproar over limited fuel choices is right up there with calling chaps “ass-less” …well no shit! If they weren’t ass-less they’d be pants.

Alright fueled up with non-ethanol 87 octane and back out on the road. I had enough miles on now that it was ok to use cruise control and  ride the bike how it was meant to be ridden. I turned onto the on ramp for interstate 90 and twisted the throttle like I was preparing for lift off, this bike flew forward like a rocket! Torque. Torque. aaaaand more torque, WOW! I shifted through each gear like a hot knife through butter the transmission smooth and quiet, I think I may have been flying. I sailed down the highway at above recommended rates of speed yet there was no vibration, no pull to one side or the other,(did you know they liquid balance their tires?!) and there was that magnificent stereo loud and clear! It was official I could ride this horse straight off into the sunset and never ever need to leave the saddle.

I wasn’t too far down the road and the sky just kept getting darker and darker, I was pretty sure at some point it was going to open up and pour down buckets of rain. As all of us who do any amount of riding know, one surefire way to prevent it from raining is to put on your rain gear. I passed a few exits and pretty soon the wind started picking up so I figured I better pull over and put my gear on. I pulled off on the next exit and discovered that I was not alone, there were five or six other motorcycles pulled over here doing exactly the same thing. Great minds think a like!

Just as I had suspected, the sky continued to be darker and darker and I was in full gear so not more than a few sprinkles ever fell on me.

The next few hundred miles disappeared before I knew it and I was pulling in for another pit stop. I fueled up and wheeled over to park next to a Street Glide and 2 Can-am’s. There was a man standing there so I shut off my bike, stood up, and said, “Man I wish I knew if it was actually going to rain or not.” To which he simply stared at me and did not reply. I noticed he was wearing a set of colors but didn’t catch the name on the back. I proceeded to organize myself to head inside and use the restroom and grab something to snack on when all of the sudden he pipes up and says, “I Russian.”  Now I know why he stared at me blankly, whatever I said probably made absolutely no sense and whatever organization he was affiliated with I will never be able to pronounce! Turns out he and two of his friends road from New Jersey to Sturgis and were now on their way home looking for things to do along the way. Through the language barrier we did manage to exchange compliments on each other’s motorcycles. We all had our picture taken together at their request and I informed them that at this point on highway 90 all the way across South Dakota and Minnesota there really was not a whole lot to stop at, see, or do. That was definitely one of the more interesting conversations I had this week simply due to the lack of knowing each other’s languages. They were heading out and I was headed into the store. I found myself in the bathroom rain suit, leather jacket , vest, long sleeve shirt, jeans, chaps and underwear… I honestly stood there contemplating how long I could hold it before this would become emergency situation.

The struggle is real boys and girls!

Once I was back out to the bike I decided that even though it wasn’t raining yet it still might so I was gonna go ahead and leave all the gear on and head down the road. I was very happy about this decision when about 10 miles later it did indeed rain, some may have called it a freak monsoon! This was the kind of rain where you were very happy to be wearing a helmet and full gear because at highway speed it was going to hurt. And of course traffic slowed down to around 45 miles an hour everyone including myself turn their flashers on because you just plain and simply couldn’t see far enough in front of you to be traveling safely which means everyone behind you could potentially run you over. I don’t mind riding in the rain and actually I was curious to see how this new toy would handle in such conditions. This amount of water was a tad extreme. Good news is the new bike with its brand new liquid balanced tires did fantastically just like I knew it would.

After a tank of gas in the rain the sky eased up and things started drying off so I shredded some gear at my next fuel stop. I realized as I took the rain pants off that I really should have invested in the new Indian motorcycle rain gear I had looked at when buying my new bike. My HD rain gear has been with me for 10 years now through many bikes, states, and miles. It has definitely served it’s time and has developed a leak somewhere in the oh so convenient crotch area leaving me looking very much like I have bladder control issues. Well shit.

It was while I stood there assessing my water situation that I looked down and noticed a very awesome chrome badge on the back of my front fender that says STURGIS. That is really cool I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed this before, then I realized I had one on the horn that says THE SPIRIT OF STURGIS! Aaaaaaand the tiny Indian head on the front of the front fender has a light up face! Those tiny details just made my entire day.

3 gas stops down and 1 left to go I had not found a thing I’d change about my Chieftain. I rolled the rest of the way home into Wisconsin dry and happy. After a 777 miles day I had no desire to dismount my new steed but my 5 days of playtime were over and I had a 4:30 A.M. alarm waiting to call my name in about 5 hours.

Another eventful and successful Sturgis trip in the books! My 17th motorcycle sitting in my garage and my 37th state now under my belt via 2 wheels!

Until next time friends, Thanks for riding along!

I fell in love with an Indian in Sturgis 

Hi boys and girls!

Before I get carried away telling the story of how I fell in love with an Indian I just wanted to say that I am a lover of all things on 2 wheels! If I could find a way to make a living with my wheels spinning I’d never leave the saddle.  I have never been a brand specific rider in the dirt or on the black top. I currently have six different brands of motorcycles in my garage and I love them all for different purposes and different reasons.

That being said I am simply here to share my completely amazing experience with Indian motorcycles at this year’s Sturgis rally and how my new Chieftain Dark Horse made me want to leave my Harley Davidson Street Glide behind.


This little story actually starts a long time ago.

Once upon a time I saw a 1938 Indian scout Hillclimb motorcycle and have never forgotten that image it has always just been my “Unicorn” motorcycle. I got up close and personal with several of them at the Bonham and Mecum auctions in Vegas a few years ago and I think I have more photos of those motorcycles then I do my son! There is no reason up to now why I have waited to take one of these fine pieces of machinery for a test drive so I decided this year’s rally was going to be the time!

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday flew right by me! Next thing I know it’s Saturday morning. There was some type of stunt show happening at the Yamaha tent this week and I really wanted to see what this crazy looking motorcycle would do that they had parked out front. There was a sign listing the showtimes as 12, 2 and 4 and today was the last day for a show.

You can’t help but wonder exactly what this thing is and does right!?

I had bought a leather vest with a skull patch as requested by my son and I also had a new patch of my own to sew on my vest so I went downtown around 10 AM when everything starts to open up to have these things sewn together. As I stood there on Lazelle street waiting for the seamstress to finish up I noticed I was directly across the street from the Indian exhibit and the Yamaha exhibit and it was only 10:45. I had an hour and 15 minutes to kill before the stunt show.

It was like the announcer was reading my mind as I thought to myself, “What should I do for the next hour and 15 minutes?” I hear loud and proud over the speaker system, “Free demo rides all day here at Indian!”

That message couldn’t have been any clearer if it was tattooed on my forehead. So there I went across the street directly into a field of Indians! Every size, shape, color, model, and option available was displayed out there in one way or another. I knew instantly I was going to get my leg lifts in today by tossing a leg over each and every one of those beautiful machines!

I’m a huge fan of Bobber style bikes and was drawn to the Scout Bobber 1st. Then the Scout Sixty. Then the Scout. By the 3rd bike I was full of questions and as I looked up for someone to ask a friendly guy in an Indian polo shirt with a handful of flyers was already standing by to help me!

This would be the 1st of a dozen or more fantastic Indian motorcycle company employees to assist me with my day. He smiled shook my hand and asked what he could help me with. I had noticed each bike had a drastic difference in foot and hand control positions and wanted to know if those were standard positions on each model or if they were part of a certain accessory package available. This guy was prepared! He hands me a flyer not only detailing the different handle bar/ foot peg position options all mapped out by rider height (genius way to fit a person to a bike which I have never been shown at another dealer) but also has any and all statistic info about each Scout model. I had engine size and stats, color options, reach options, weight, fuel capacity, and stock features all right in front of me along with prices! Having something in hand with all the necessary details was perfect and much easier to compare from bike to bike than listening to a salesman list things off about each one.

5 minutes in and I was hooked!

Now that I have successfully sat on and compared each of the display models it was time to check in to taking one for a spin. I had about an hour yet before the stunt show would start and was assured by one of the guys who worked the exhibit here that I should return shortly before noon if I left with the next group. My friendly helper directed me through yet another field of Indians to a semi truck with a large awning attached to it. Here under the awning was a table with 2 of the nicest ladies I’d talked to all day! I was a ball of energy, as usual, bouncing off the walls wanting to ride one of these machines! I was rambling a mile a minute full of questions and they smiled and answered every one I had. Most importantly they got me signed up for a demo ride and informed me I could ride as many times as I wanted for free throughout the day! I had a bag with me containing some Sturgis garb and the girls even offered to set it behind the table there for me for safe keeping while I went on my ride.

At this point my dad was still with me, he rode up from Colorado for a day to ride and hangout with me at the Rally. This was pretty awesome since this year marked the 20th anniversary of the first time he brought me to Sturgis! Dad was sticking around until noon so he was going to take advantage of a free test ride too. I walked out and sat on a Scout Sixty because they just look like fun, Dad wandered over to a Chieftain and we were off and rolling with the crew after the guys came around to make sure we were comfortable and knew where the controls on the bikes were.

The test ride route was a 30 minute loop that involved in town riding, frontage/back road riding, and a nice stretch of interstate. A little bit of everything to get a feel for the bike, excellent route choice! I obeyed all the rules but being a bit of a rebel simply could not let this ride go by without seeing what this little beast was capable of. As we pulled up to the on ramp for the interstate segment of the ride I hung back until the bikes in front of me were near the bottom then turned that corner along with the throttle and yeeeehaw was that Scout a zippy little thing for only a 60 cu in engine! I was zero to 6th gear and at the posted speed limit by the end of the ramp! The Scout Sixty definitely had my attention, I’d say built for a good time but comfortable enough to travel some distance on too. I’d recommend one of these sporty rides for any beginner rider, those looking for the commuter bike, or those of us who just like a weekend back road cruise. At this point in my day I knew I was never making that stunt show at noon because I would be back out on another demo ride with something more my size.

We wheeled back into the lot by the semi, parked the pretty maids all in a row, and everyone scattered except dad and I. I was going back in line for round 2 and dad was considering another ride but knew he had to get rolling south to make his 400 mile ride home. He was very impressed with the Chieftain Limited and I asked if he would rather ride it or my Street Glide, he chose the Indian hands down. “Ok.” I thought to myself, “Now I need to ride that one after this Springfield I’m currently drooling over.”

Demo ride 2; I pulled out on a Springfield Dark Horse which caught my eye from the moment I walked into the Indian exhibit that morning. This thing just screams, “Twist my throttle and let me out of my cage!” Flat black paint, flowing body lines sexier than most models in the magazines, 111 cu in engine that growls even with the stock exhaust, and a solo seat made just for me!    We were rolling down the side streets of Sturgis and this fine piece of machinery was purring like a kitten just waiting to roar like a lion when I could finally get a chance to run through the gears. We passed the 55 MPH sign and I rolled on that throttle bringing her up to speed in the blink of an eye smoother than silk she glided down the black top. All I could do was grin ear to ear this Dark Horse was ready to run wild and we were approaching the interstate stretch of the ride! Again I hung back in line to open her up coming down the on ramp and again I was extremely impressed with the performance I got when i grabbed a fist full of throttle and went 1st through 6th gear just sailing down that black top. I could literally feel the tires grip the pavement and the engine pulling me forward, no shake, no rattle, just a whole lot of roll.

I think I’m in love.

As we pulled back into the exhibit I knew right away I had to ride a bagger. The idea of leaving my Harley right here in the lot and never looking back was beginning to consume my mind. The fact that I hadn’t put sun block on today and left my water on the bike earlier was also creeping up on me. I walked over to the smiling ladies at the table again and they thought I was coming for my bag but quickly put it back down when I smiled and said, “Do you happen to sell water here?” They giggled and one of the ride guides pointed to a cooler and told me to help myself. Excellent! Slam a bottle of water and take a chance of a sunburn to get in a few more rides. Lets go boys!

This trip around I snagged the blue Chieftain Limited that dad had tried out. This thing had all kind of bells and whistles I would most likely never figure out how to use since I tend to be a tad technologically challenged. But….WOW! Touch screen radio and navigation, push button retracting windshield, push button locking saddle bags, extra long foot boards, a glove compartment on the dash, USB port, and so many other lights gauges and gadgets! I tuned in the local country station and realized immediately that this stereo put my Street Glides to shame. We rolled on and I continued to play with the controls and do some side to side swerving to test out the handling and weight of this machine. What I discovered is that it felt light as air under me and could turn on a dime. Perfectly balanced, again, WOW! 

There I was flying down the interstate for the 3rd time and on the 3rd model of bike when I realized that I was not leaving this rally without at least asking about my trade in options.

Back at the Indian exhibit, just like each ride before, I had all the staff members right there asking what I thought, what I liked, and if there was anything I didn’t like about the bikes I had ridden.

At this point the only thing that concerned me about any of them was that the engine throws a lot of heat up on my inner thighs. My Dyna Street Bob is notorious for this and on my long trips with regular 700-1000 mile days it can get very uncomfortable depending on the weather. One memorable Sturgis trip I arrived at Hog Heaven after 840 miles on the road on a 90 degree day only to discover that the heat had gotten so bad my thigh blistered and my skin peeled away with my jeans.  That being said you can understand why this is something I notice on bikes I ride. I asked one of the wonderful employees there if this was something they had heard before and the answer was yes. He informed me that was not the first time someone had mentioned the heat situation and that the bikes have been improving in this area every year. Now this is what I like to hear, a company aware of a problem and working to solve it!

I once mentioned the heat situation on my Dyna to a service man at a Harley shop and his response was, “Well engines get hot.”…. Gee thanks mister I never would have known!

Alright, not a deal breaker but definitely something I need to consider before jumping headfirst into a new machine.

Time for demo ride #4! I saved the best for last, 2018 Chieftain Dark Horse. It was a love at first sight moment. Then I threw my leg over and stood her up, OOOOOOH! THIS is THE one!!! I honestly wondered in today’s world if I’d be considered crazy to buy this machine a ring and roll her down the aisle!?

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This was going to be an excellent 30 minute cruise!

If the looks of this beauty aren’t enough to reel you in the performance will! I put her through the now routine test run, swerve side to side at various speeds, let go of the bars and see if it drifts to one side or the other, hammer on it down the on ramp, slam on the bakes at least once (sorry for those who may have been following me), play with all of the switches and gadgets, and of course test out the radio!

A+, 100%, passed with flying colors! Perfectly balanced light as a feather floating down the highway, smooth as a baby’s butt when I rolled on the throttle, torque/power for days -actually felt the tires grip the pavement and catapult me down the road, raised and lowered the windshield at the touch of a button, and the stereo, WOW! I would usually lose the sound of my Street Glides stereo around the 70-75 MPH mark even at full volume, this was not the case here! The volume level went to 30 and I could hear it loud and clear at level 9 and 80 MPH!!! The solo seat was as if it was molded just for me and the floor boards were long enough that I had a variety of positions to choose from without needing highway bars or extra pegs. Not sure I have ever been so happy on a bike, and I’ve owned 16 of them!

It was official, I was in love.

Once again back at the exhibit I put the bike in neutral but had to peel myself off of it and hesitated to walk away, I just wanted to keep riding it for days!!! Due to my lack of sunscreen and need of some lunch I managed to step away from the motorcycle. The girls at the sign up table were smiling away and had my bag in hand when I walked up, we chatted a minute about the bikes I had ridden today and I walked away before I decided to ride yet another. On my way across the lot the riding guides were all wondering what my favorite bike was and if I had anything to say about them. Well I had a lot to say about all of them but I kept my report brief and said I was pretty certain I needed to own one of these, one of the guys told me to head over to the dealership and talk to someone named Matt.

Okey Dokey, time for some food! The Knuckle Saloon never disappoints so I walked in for some Steak tips while I chewed over the idea of a new motorcycle. I recognized a few bartenders from years past and had fun chit chats along with great food. Next thing I knew I was backing my Harley up in front of the Sturgis Indian Motorcycle dealership.

It is after all 2017 and I probably should purchase my 17th motorcycle, right??? RIGHT!!!

I had already spent close to 4 hours with some high quality customer service people and had been thoroughly impressed, I had no idea until I walked through the doors here that my day could get any better!

This was the end of the rally week for these people and they had been running around the clock bending over backwards to help people all week and still had positive attitudes and huge smiles on their faces! I have worked with the general public my entire life and I can tell you first hand smiling and pretending you give a shit about everything that comes out of people’s mouths can be a stressful and difficult task but these people had it covered! This group of staff was as fun-filled and energetic as it gets and I loved the atmosphere here.

I was greeted immediately with a hand shake and a smile then asked what I could be helped with. I said I had been told to speak with Matt about buying a new motorcycle. The lady found me a stool to sit on, got me a bottle of water to drink, and then asked if she could do anything else for me before she went to find Matt. How great was that!? I was simply expecting to stand there and wait or follow her through the store looking for him, this was just grand!

Not 5 minutes later I was being introduced to Matt who also shook my hand and gave me a big smile.  I explained that I had gone on 4 demo rides today and was interested in leaving my Street Glide here and riding home an Indian.

Out the doors we went. He told me right away that the bikes I rode today were 2018 models and not available for purchase yet so I would be looking at 2017 models. Good to know right out of the gate. I told him I was looking for a Chieftain Dark Horse and he let me know there were only 2 here but there was a flat silver Chieftain fully loaded with accessories and options. Alright now I know what I have to choose from so I can be flipping coins over decisions while we go through the motions.

We cruised the new bikes for a bit and then walked over to look at my Harley to get an idea on a trade value. On the way over to my bike I told Matt that after 4 demo rides today I was positive I should just take one home with me and he said he was pretty positive too! Excellent lets make some magic happen! I told him the need to know basics, 30k miles, a couple scratches, no mechanical issues, not modified other than exhaust….after a good once over we were headed back inside where I was introduced to my soon to be sales girl Abby was grinning ear to ear and ready to take on the world! I knew from her attitude we were going to get along great.  Abby gathered the necessary info from me and asked if I needed anything while she went to crunch numbers for me.

I decided to take a walk around the store and check out some clothing and gear. I noticed they had Frogg Toggs hanging with their rain gear, I’ve never checked these out but have heard a lot about them so I took some time to look them over and read the tags. I was just about to look for someone to ask some questions to when the lady that had originally greeted me here walked over to see if I needed anything. Man this crew is on top of things around here! I asked if she knew anything about the life expectancy of the Frogg Toggs because after looking them over I couldn’t help but think they were not a long-term investment. Turns out I was correct, she had a costumer who was on his 4th set in a few years. This was not going to be a good fit for me, I have had the same rain suit since 2007 and it has more miles on it than my friends motorcycles do. Thanks a bunch for the info I will be buying a regular Indian rain suit soon!

Next up was this adorable little lady bouncing through the displays toward me smiling. She stopped to ask if I was the girl trading the Harley for the Chieftain. I said, “Yep that is me!” Which she responded to with a giant hug, then she proceeded to tell me she wished she could be as much of a Bad-ass as I am and ride a bagger to Sturgis alone then turn around and ride another one home! Well if that wasn’t a compliment I don’t know what is! Thank you so much! I believe her name is Lauren. Later I caught her running in and out of the dealership helping a customer and I asked if she was getting her steps in?! She stopped to tell me that actually she had just discovered that her phone counted steps and she hit 12,000 one day this week! WOW, as I said, this crew had been running around the clock this week. Yet she in the midst of her running took the time to stop smile and chat for a minute, love these people!

Abby came around the corner grinning again with papers in her hand and I was very anxious to hear what she had to say!

“Good news,” she says to me as she lays out the papers on the counter in front of us. According to the numbers there I could have any bike on the lot I just needed to let her know which one I wanted.

Oh boy Oh boy decision time!!! One of my biggest pet peeve’s, picky people, so I try hard not to be one, BUT I seriously couldn’t figure out which bike I wanted. I asked if we could go out and look at them all again and she was more than happy to oblige!

First I sat on the fully loaded flat silver Chieftain, every option anyone could ever ask for….but, it was silver.

Second was the shiney black Chieftain Dark Horse, same options and blacked out, …. but, it was shiney.

Third and final bike was the flat black Chieftain Dark Horse, not many options, ….but it was the color I fell in love with at first sight!

So many things to consider here and I apologized to Abby for being undecided, she just smiled and told me to take all the time I needed it was after all kind of a major decision.

Roughly a decade later I finally chose the basic flat black model because I figured I can always add options its much harder and more expensive to change paint. Aaaaaaand back inside we went, now over to the service desk for a quote on installing a back rest. I had to have some way to haul my things home from camp, Abby told me they are more than happy to ship things for me if it came down to it. AMAZING seriously is there anything this crew doesn’t do??? Price quote in hand 2 minutes later and I said to go ahead and put the back rest on before I take it home. I also got a quick look at some tie down options while in the service area there was a man with his new bike testing out bungee chords and nets with an employee showing him various places to hook to. This was important info for me since I was going to be riding around 800 miles home with my new trusty steed in the morning.

Next we wait.

I met the security guard who kept me company for a bit and then Abby came back to sit and talk while my bike was being prepped for departure. I told her how my dad and I started coming out here 20 years ago to off-road ride and Hillclimb and I’ve been coming back ever since. I said if I could just find a way to ride a motorcycle for a living I’d be set, she told me of a couple she knows that actually does this! Now that is one fantastic career, they live in Arizona and South Dakota and test bikes, gear, and equipment for Indian motorcycles…talk about living the dream! I also got to hear how Indian tested one of their engines but continually running it, without any load, for a million miles only shutting her down for oil changes. That should be the equivalent of a 300,000 mile motor when actually putting miles on the road. I told her if Indian ever wants to test that theory let me know because this chick would be hands down 100% up for that Iron Butt Challenge!!! What an amazing adventure that would be!

Next I met Wiley from the parts department, he came out to meet me and explain some break in instructions to me for my ride home. Very helpful and answered my questions about exhaust options and other accessories. I’ll be back to see him for some things soon!

Alright it was time to meet the woman behind the curtains here where I sign my life away and then run away with my Indian. This woman had her ducks in a row she was chatting away keeping me entertained while putting forms together to have me sign and gathering info from me all at the same time! I was confused just trying to watch what she had happening let alone keep up! Another spectacular employee that was still smiling and happy after a long rally week.

Finally it was time to meet my new companion! Abby walked me outside around the building and there it was! I fell in love all over again. Abby went over all the basic controls and functions of things with me. I discovered that not only does the new toy have air shocks like my Street Glide but this one comes with its own gauge and pump! Also next to the USB port was a carrying case for my phone to slide into!

It was time to say goodbye and take my bike down the road but I wanted a picture of me on it first. Again there was Abby going above and beyond, my phone was dead so she took my photo with hers and texted it over to me! Love her!511e746d-1dbe-449d-a5ea-f52daf6dd15b

What a crazy wonderful day! All because of a large group of awesome people who know how to do their job right! 

Everything fit perfectly on my new steed!

It wasn’t until I was loaded up and on the road home that I noticed some cool features that set my Chieftain out from the crowd. I have Sturgis badges on the horn and fender, and the Indian head up front lights up! Just more things to add to the lengthy list of awesomeness here.

Thanks for letting me share my bike buying experience with you! Stay tuned for more Sturgis and Indian stories coming up soon!!!