Not one, but two, count’em two Chowder Runs in 2018

That’s right, for the first time in over five years, I did a chowder run from Bend to the coast and back this year. Twice. Both times I did the run on the Concours–a bike that doesn’t seem to come into its own until you’ve been on the road for a couple of hours and you’re free of the hustle and bustle cities bring.

I didn’t really get any open ocean type photos with the Connie on my second Chowder Run of 2018

 

The first Chowder run saw me over to Lincoln City, having lunch at Moe’s in under four hours. I’m not sure just how I managed to get over there so quickly–it didn’t feel like I was riding that fast, but I didn’t hit much traffic or construction and I’m sure that had a lot to do with it.

From my first trip to the coast on the Connie

 

The second trip over the hill took a lot longer. I went a different route–through Eugene to Florence–that I hadn’t done before, but also encountered a lot of slow traffic and a fair amount of construction. Took over five hours to get me seated at Moe’s in Newport for chowder that time. One of the highlights was the ride up from Florence through Waldport…formerly the farthest south I’d ridden on the coast. The views from the highway just north of Florence are truly amazing.

A different angle of the Connie with the Waldport bridge in the background

 

A major bummer happened after the second trip though. Those stupid post-concussive symptoms have returned. I’ve been dealing with them now for a couple of days and they’re the worst I’ve had for a couple of years easily. Lesson learned: no more touring rides for a another few years. As I post this, the Connie is up on CraigsList for $6000. If you know anyone interested, send them my way.

Sigh.

Versys gone! Replaced by…

The Versys has been gone for several months now. I miss it some, but it basically did the same things the Bonneville does. It was good in town, light weight, medium powered and didn’t do longer rides very well. It also felt a little cramped. So away it went and as usual, I used the proceeds to pay off the other bike loan so now I own the Bonnie outright. And now the farkling has begun.

One of the first things I added to the Bonnie was a new brown seat from British Customs. This addressed one of the big issues I had with the Bonnie in stock form: terrible seat. The old seat actually hurt my hip so badly that I had problems sleeping.

Added a comfy new British Customs seat to the Bonneville.

 

Next up was all sorts of things: shorter knurled seat bolts, knurled side cover bolts, passenger peg block off plates, black handlebar, bar risers, brown grips to match the seat, a bar end mirror and fork boots. And there might have been something else. Probably was.

Then I bought the biggest farkle of all—a Kawaskai Concours 14. That’s right, I added a full-blown sport touring bike to the stable. And I nearly immediately rode it to the coast and back. I did a few other longer rides on it and as of yesterday it’s listed on CraigsList already because I got what I wanted out of it: a Chowder Run. It’s the first time I’ve been able to ride to the coast since before my concussion. Over five years I waited for that ride. And it was great.

Almost immediately rode the 2013 Kawasaki Concours to the Oregon coast

2016 to Present Africa Twin

Honda released the CRF1000L Africa Twin in 2016. The bike has gotten universally great reviews and was even the best-selling motorcycle over in the UK if memory serves. It sounds like just the right amounts of capable on/off road, character and reliability. Basically everything you want from a motorcycle. Not sure when I’ll be in the mood for a real ADV bike—as I type this I’m still on a retro bike kick. Next time I’m looking for one, though, I’m hoping to pick up one of these.

I really like the color scheme on the one below, but it’s got that silly automatic transmission Honda seems to like to stick in their bikes. I’ve never figured out why color seems to be tied to the transmission type of the bike with Honda, but there it is.

2016 Honda Africa Twin

Got a Bonneville in July

I finally got that Triumph Bonneville from the bucket list back in July of 2017. I found a great 2009 Mag Wheel version right here in Bend, Oregon where I live.

As you can see from the photos, I rode the Bonnie all over Central Oregon. I even sort of made it over to the valley via the McKenzie Pass. Overall, it’s been a great motorcycle—despite having over 27000 miles on it now. I’d normally shy away from a bke with miles that high, but this one had complete maintenance records and runs and rides really well. As of right now the only thing it really needs is to get the front tire fixed due to a slow leak.

Could barely believe I was able to ride in December 2017

 

As shown above, I even managed to get out for a ride on the Bonnevilee in December. Unfortunately, by this point in my ownership experience, my enthusiasm for the bike had died down some. I’ve figured out the seat puts pressure on my inner thigh in such a way that I now have what seems to be a permanent hip issue. Sometimes it’s bad enough that I can barely walk. Yay. Needless, to say, I’m already thinking it’s time to move on—even though in many other ways I really love the bike.

What’s up next? I’m leaning heavily towards a T120 Bonneville. Of course I still like the Thruxton and even flirted with infatuation for their new Bonneville Bobber. Other bikes I’m into at the moment include the Kawasaki Z900RS and a couple of bikes from Moto Guzzi: the V7III, V9 Bobber and the Griso. Oh—and I still really dig the Indian Scout.

And I still have the Versys. Boy do I ever have some buyin and selling to do. Sigh. First world problems indeed.

Brought home a 2008 Kawasaki Versys

Well I just couldn’t stand it. Wasn’t selling or trading the XR quickly enough and this nice Versys came along so now I’m back up to three motorbikes. Geez.

What’s the Versys like to ride? One word: fun! Happily it’s also useful and easy to ride in town, plus gets good mileage. It’s got the stock exhaust and enough wind protection that I don’t get beat up riding it aurally or physically. And I’m not sure I’ve ever had a bike with a much better chasis. It really really handles well.

So how many rides to date? Only put a couple of tanks of gas through it. Managed a ride up the canyon and back with a stop at Starbucks in Prineville. Need to ride more for sure and plan to as soon as the weather improves.

This thing is a hoot on a tight twisting road.