Tag Archives: Goldwing

About Us

Everything you wanted to know about us… the Texas Rambler motorcycle travel blog and more.

Have you ever driven past a road many times and wondered where it went, never venturing beyond that thought? When traveling by motorcycle it seems that you always make the turn and travel that road, not knowing where it may lead. That’s the allure of riding. It is always an adventure. You are out there in the elements, feeling the sun, wind, heat, cold, rain and smelling all the smells along the way. Spring flowers, food cooking, rain in the distance etc. all the out-door smells… yes, skunks, dead animals etc. too. Some of the most beautiful scenery we have experienced has been while traveling by motorcycle. Over the years we have taken many motorcycle trips. Friends have asked that we share these trips with everyone who may be interested. Thus the start of this blog. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do sharing it with y’all.

Janet & I (Ivan) have been retired since June 2002. We try to travel as often and cheaply as we can. In 2000 I bought a Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad and renewed my love of motorcycle riding. In 2009 I bought a Honda “Goldwing” with all the options except the airbag. The Goldwing is the Cadillac of touring bikes and we love touring on it.

Many of our trips we have taken have been on the motorcycle but we have taken many other trips also. My main interest is motorcycle touring but we will also share our other adventures here also.

Over time we have learned many things that have made our trip more enjoyable and we will share those tips with you here. Keep checking back for all the updates.

Have fun and be safe,

Ivan & Janet

P.S. Please, take the time to subscribe so you don’t miss the latest post or if you know someone who rides and might be interest please email them a link.

Help, my bike has fallen and I can’t pick it up!

Help, my bike has fallen and I can’t pick it up! There an app for that… No not really but there is a helpful trick.

There are two kinds of people who say they have never dropped their bike. 1) They haven’t been riding long or 2) THEY ARE LYING. Ride long enough and you will drop your bike. It happens to the best of riders. With the weight of the big bikes these days you will eventually lean the bike past the point of no return and it is going down. There are two bad things that happens whenever you do drop your bike… 1) You have to pick it up and… 2) IT IS EMARRASSING. It just doesn’t look cool and all bikers are cool… why else would they ride?

Sometimes there isn’t anyone around so it isn’t embarrassing but it does make you mad at yourself. NOW, how do I get this many hundred pound (900+ pounds for the Goldwing I ride now) beast back upright by myself? Fortunately you are not picking up the full weight of the bike. Hopefully your bike has a low center of gravity (my Goldwing does). One of the problems is finding places to grab hold of on the bike to pick it up. You need someplace strong enough to hold the weight. I usually grab the handlebar and the pillion grab rails. Hopefully you can get a good hold with your back to the bike. You can do it facing the bike but its easier with your back to the bike…With your back to the bike you can do the lifting with your legs. Most people can get her up… especially if the adrenaline has kicked in.

I mention a trick earlier. Here it is… This makes a world of difference. Rather than explain… Here is a good video demonstrating the technique.

As you can tell I HAVE dropped my bike… I have lost count the number of times and on several occasions I did have to pick it up by myself. I’m 5’6” and weight 145 pounds and older than dirt, so if I can do it I’m sure you can too.

I have had one person tell me that when he gets a new bike he lays it down in the grass and practices picking it up by himself so… when it does happen he will know what works best on that bike.

Well I hope this helps when the inevitable does happen and it WILL happen!

Ride safe…

P.S. For a laugh… Things can go wrong. How not to do it… Practice makes perfect.

 

Yes, Motorcycling is Dangerous!

From Dennis Kirk @ DennisKirk.com

This is where I and most motorcyclist would say, “Yes, …” and list many everyday endeavors that are just as or more dangerous.

I have firsthand knowledge that motorcycling is dangerous. Anyone who rides and doesn’t think so is asking for trouble and not taking safety seriously. If you are hit by something or you hit something you will most likely get hurt and if either of you are moving very fast you will get hurt badly and most likely end up in a hospital. Been there done that (April 2008). I almost stopped riding after a day and a half stay in the hospital. No broken bones just internal bleeding and I hurt like heck and was sore for many weeks. Moments after crashing I was sure I had broken ribs and who knows what else and yes my life did flash before my eyes… Been there done that before too. “Can this be the way it all ends“, I ask myself.

I did think long and hard about riding again. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it anymore. My buddies encouraged me and I did miss riding but even after I healed physically I just wasn’t too sure. One of my concerns was my wife Janet. Even if I were to ride again I didn’t want her to worry when I was out riding alone and what if Janet had been on the bike when I had the accident? I don’t know what I would have done if she had been hurt or worse… So I struggled and I think Janet knew I was struggling about my decision. Then one day Janet said to me, “Ivan if you want to ride again, it’s OK with me and I will ride with you!”. Have I told y’all how wonderful a wife Janet is… Well, that should have told you right there. So having Janet’s blessing did help but I still had to work through all the issues. Time does heal physically and mentally and I cautiously resumed my riding.

After the accident I continually went over and over and over in my mind how this happened to me. There were so many “what ifs“… any one of them could have prevented my crash. I had ridden down to visit my parents and brother 200 miles from home. The night before I was to return home I did not sleep much at all, did not leave for home until later in the day, had the sun in my eyes, I was really fatigued, I panicked and hit the brake too hard and tried to steer around the car but… Anyway it happened and it hurt badly physically and mentally.

Because of all that has happened I have re-evaluated everything, I did and thought, about riding. Now I really know what can happen to you when you do crash. I am ever mindful of my physical and mental being and others riding with me. I try to stay rested and not over do it. I make a special effort to stay hydrated. Make sure I am aware of everything in my surroundings. Statically I know that the more vehicles there are around you the more likely you are to not be seen or just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When my ride requires traveling through large unfamiliar cities I try to avoid rush hour traffic or travel around it. Of course that is not always possible and I am extra careful when I do. I enjoyed riding the remote areas before my accident and I do even more now. I can handle the bike and roads but those pesky cars, trucks or whatever… that I’m not too crazy about.

Is anyone wondering what became of the bike I wrecked? My 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad was “totaled” by the insurance company and this a year (April 2007) after customizing the Nomad to my liking. Most all the damage was cosmetic but to have a bike shop replace all the parts and with the labor the total amount was greater than what the bike was worth. I put a pencil to the cost of the parts and realized I could buy the bike from the insurance company and fix it with what I got back from the insurance company. So the old Nomad was back on the road and we have taken many long trips on it afterward.

In October 2009 I bought a new 2008 Goldwing with ABS brakes. One of the big selling points of my decision to buy the Goldwing was the ABS brakes. No more braking too hard and causing a skid. After the crash, ABS brakes was ever on my mind and was the driving force behind me getting a new bike. It is amazing the difference ABS makes when stopping quickly. I can’t say enough about the control… If only I had ABS when I crashed… maybe the accident wouldn’t have happen or maybe it would have… anyway… God only knows but I’m sure it would have helped… those seconds trying to recover from an uncontrolled skid would have been used to avoid that car… Janet has even noticed and comment how much better I handle the Wing over the Nomad and that makes her even more at ease while riding… Oh, did I mention how lucky I am to have Janet as my wife!

Well, I know many other people who have been where I have been on this issue and I just thought I’d share my thoughts and hope it will help you work your way through your healing process. Ride safe…

My Favorite Links

These are some of my favorite links. I will add to them as time goes by… so check back from time to time… I hope you like them as much as I do.

Religious 

People Sharing Jesus

This is the website of Crestview Baptist Church, our (Ivan & Janet’s) church home. If you do not have a church home we would like to invite you to attend with us through the internet. You can listen to each Sunday service by clicking on this link and you may listen to the sanctuary Bible study class also. The sermon and Bible study are usually posted by Sunday afternoon. Or if you are in the area you have a church home here. You may also want to checkout the sermon and Bible study archives on this page. Pastor Dan Wooldridge sermons have the Lords hand on them and Rev. Jack Phelps Bible studies are the most insightful I have ever been to and both are relative for today.

Reverendbiker’s Home Page

This is Reverend Jack Phelps’ (see above) website. To say he is an interesting guy would be an understatement. He a guy’s guy (taboos to prove it) and he’s not afraid to show it. If you haven’t checked out his website what are you waiting for. You won’t be sorry. And don’t forget to checkout the Bible Study he teaches here.

 

Blogs I Follow

Observations of a perpetual motorcyclist  is, as the name suggests, the observations of  David Cooper. David  has been a motorcyclist since age 3, and have been “on-road” since 17. David is in his 42nd year. David rides for pleasure as well as for transport, and teaches other people to ride as part of the NSW Roads and Traffic Authorities Compulsory Motorcycle Rider Training and Testing Scheme.

 

Magazines

Ride Texas Magazine

This is a great magazine for information about riding in Texas and the surrounding area… and that is a big area. If you wonder, “What’s down that road?” RIDE TEXAS® is for you. Ride Texas has been exploring the back roads, byways and small towns of Texas and the neighboring states since 1998. It’s a quarterly travel journal for the type of travel you love, exploring on two wheels.

Road Runner Magazine

RoadRunner magazine is dedicated to serving active motorcycle enthusiasts by providing them with a comprehensive resource of national and international tours, exciting and picturesque new places to ride, and valuable information on new motorcycles and products that enhance their riding experience.

Rider Magazine

I like this magazine for a number of reasons, namely motorcycle reviews, gear reviews, touring stories, the photos, its blog and forum. Plus they send free stuff to review from time to time.

 

Motorcycle Gear

WingStuff.com

Since I got my Goldwing nearly everything I’ve added to the wing I have bought from Wing Stuff. I became a VIP member to get even better deals on their merchandise. I also like the reviews on the products as well a helpful information on installing the products.

 

Daughters’ Blog & Website

Coconut Mama

This is my oldest daughter’s blog. She like me suffered for years from really bad migraine headaches. She found that she could control hers by eating a gluten and dairy free diet. She has been collecting recipes that are gluten and dairy free and wants to share them with whomever would like to try them. Have a look and tell her I sent you.

Trifit XT

This is my other daughters (Youngest) website. She and her husband offer a coaching service specializing in endurance sports. They create custom plans to fit your personal needs and schedule.

Some of the sports they specialize in:

  • Triathlons- Sprint to Ironman distance
  • Duathlons- All Distances
  • Adventure Races- sprint to 24 hour races
  • Running events-any distance including adventure/mud runs
  • Cycling- Road racing, Time Trials, Mountain biking, and Bike Rides (MS 150)

They cater to all ability levels. From those aspiring to do their first race and finish to others looking to win their age group, category or accomplish elite status.

Miscellaneous

Graydon’s Critters

Artwork & Note cards for Nature Lovers… as seen through the eyes of a child. Graydon McKoy is 9 years old and is the owner, artist & reptile hunter. All proceeds go to sponsor a child in Niger, Africa and pay for a mission trip to Costa Rica, buy playground equipment for his church.

I was impressed and that is why his link is here. Have a look.

What Motorcycle I Ride and Why

Someone is always asking me what motorcycle I ride and why. I’ve owned only 5 two-wheeled vehicles (1 scooter & 4 motorcycles). My first was a 1963 Cushman Super Silver Eagle motor scooter. I loved that scooter and had a blast riding it and it ignited my love of riding. Later in my late 20’s I bought a Kawasaki 250 and rode it for a few months. I soon wanted something bigger. A friend was riding a Honda 450 and I wanted something like that. I bought a new 1975 Kawasaki KZ400. I rode the wheels off of it. I took two long trips (Dallas, Texas to Denver, Colorado – 1837 miles & Houston, Texas to Bryant, Alabama – 1650 miles) on the KZ400. From those two trips I was hooked on motorcycle touring. But… not long afterward I got married and sold my KZ400 when our first daughter was born (the sale helped with the hospital bill). It wasn’t until 2000 that I was able to renew my passion for riding and touring. I told my wife I would like to get another motorcycle and she said “You should… You never buy anything for yourself”… And the rest is history.

Cushman Super Eagle

Me and my Cushman Super Eagle

What I Ride and Why

What I Ride and Why

Not my Kawasaki 250 but one like it…

What I Ride and Why

My KZ400 ready to go to Alabama…

What I Ride and Why

My 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad.

Seat Height

It was then I started looking for the perfect touring motorcycle. There were many bikes to choose from but there were a lot of things to consider. As a vertically challenged person (5’ 6”) there are issues. There are advantages to being short but not very many and when it comes to motorcycle riding there aren’t any… So I am jealous of you taller riders… In order to handle the bigger touring bikes you as a rider need to be able to get your feet solidly on the ground.

  1. A must for balance.
  2. A must to pushing the bike backward.
  3. A must for passenger mounting and dismounting.
  4. A must for stopping on uneven ground.

At this time seat height was my main concern and thus a limitation for several of the bikes I looked at. The weight of the bike was not an issue for me as long as I had my feet firmly planted. I decided that a seat height of 29” was a maximum height for me and that was pushing it.

I learned this from riding larger bikes of friends and checking out the different bikes in showrooms. My best friend an old Air Force buddy bought a 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad. I had ridden his bike and it was a good fit. I had looked at other bikes… mainly the Yamaha’s and the Kawasaki Voyager. I had thought about the Honda Goldwing also but the Nomad had everything I wanted and was reasonably priced. I purchased a 2000 Nomad in July of 2000.

Nice and Necessary

I loved the Nomad and over time found all those things I thought to be “nice but not necessary” were “necessary and not nice to not have them”.

Namely…

  1. A large comfortable seat and backrest for my wife. Nobody’s happy if the wife is not happy… Just kidding… I realized long ago as a rider you need a good seat if you are in the saddle very long. I like having my wife ride with me and I would do anything to insure that she continued riding.
  2. A trunk. Duh, you can never have too much storage space especially when traveling with the love of you life.
  3. An intercom for rider & passenger. It wasn’t long that Janet & I bought an intercom to solve the problem of communicating.
  4. A CB. When riding in a group and everyone but you has a CB radio it doesn’t take long to figure out a CB is essential.
  5. A weather radio. This is a “duh” after riding very long. Not knowing for sure what those dark clouds up ahead have in store for you. With the weather band you can find out and take action if needed.
  6. A GPS. I thought this was stupid even in a car but after Janet got me one for Christmas, it didn’t take long to realize the need. Especially when riding through large cities and towns you aren’t familiar with. It also helps find gas stations, motels… etc.
  7. AM/FM radio & CD player. Sometimes it is just nice to listen to music.  You can also get local weather information. Don’t get me wrong, riding with nothing but the hum of the engine and wind is nice too.
  8. A larger gas tank. When riding in remote areas like West Texas where gas stations are few and far between and sometime not open when you need them, a larger tank for longer cruising range is a must.

Having realize all of the above, I began looking for solutions. I loved the Nomad but it was lacking. My solution was to add after market products. The products I added are…

  1. Radio Caddy Batwing Fairing.
  2. AM/FM/CD Marine radio.
  3. CB radio with intercom and ability to integrate other audio equipment. (AM/FM/CD radio & GPS)
  4. GPS.
  5. Tour Pack Style trunk with Mustang backrest.

What I Ride and Why, 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad

My customized Nomad

What I Ride and Why, 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad

My customized Nomad in Big Bend

These addition served us well but what I really wanted was something more like a Honda Goldwing. These additions were invaluable but only delayed me buying a new bike with “all of the above”.

Center of Gravity

Over time I realized another consideration was the bike’s center of gravity. When stopped a high center of gravity means the point where you lean and drop the bike is slight. Dropping a bike is no fun… 1) You have to pick it up and… 2) IT IS EMBARRASSING! The center of gravity also affects how the bike handles at slow speeds. Like when maneuvering through parking lots and tight places. The lower the center of gravity the better it handles…

The Solution

My search for a solution, to all of the above issues, kept bringing me back to the Honda Goldwing. It had everything. All the “Nice and necessary” things mentioned above plus heated seats and grips and a reverse ( no more issues with pushing the bike backwards out of a parking spot)! My biggest issue with the Wing was the seat height of 29.1”. Before buying a wing, I looked at ways of lowering the bike or reducing the seat height. I could stand straddle of the bike flat-footed with my boots on but there wasn’t a lot of room for error. Lowering the seat or bike seemed the solution. The other issue was the price vs. some of the other bike offerings. On returning from one of our trips we stopped a the local Honda dealer here. My friends from Alabama and Georgia told me I could get a good deal from the Honda dealer (Southern Honda) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Later I check their prices online and they were a lot cheaper. Thousands cheaper. Thus the wheels were turning and I looked at ways to make it happen. In October 2009 I bought a new 2008 Honda Goldwing from the dealer in Chattanooga. I will probably never own a better bike.

After I bought the Wing, I found the seat height hasn’t been that big of a problem. The seat height is still stock. It would be nice if the seat was lower but I am fine with the way it is. The Wing has a very low center of gravity that translates into amazing handling. The “horizontal six” is the smoothest ever and it has lots of power for mountain riding. My wife loves her seat and we both love the heated seats. I thought I would miss the floorboards or the heel/toe shifter but I don’t. I did raise and bring back the handlebars a bit which fits me better. I added the CB and a MP3 player and other things for touring. The Wing is one great bike for traveling and we look forward to making many long trips on it.

What I Ride and Why

My baby…

We have done many long rides on the Nomad and Wing. You can read about them here. Ride safe… I hope we see you somewhere on the road…