Archive for March, 2013

OFMC Plans for 2013 Ride

Thursday, March 28th, 2013
OFMC 2011

The OFMC in 2011, headed to Telluride.

Where is the OFMC going on its 2013 ride? I mentioned before that it’s an all-Colorado ride so there will be some short days. Day one will be the very shortest, at least for everyone except John, who is coming from Montrose. We’re headed to the Poudre Canyon. Those of us leaving from Denver will head up to Loveland, west out of town on U.S. 36, and then to Masonville and up the Buckhorn Canyon road, over the Stove Prairie Road to the Poudre, and then to the Sportsman’s Lodge.

Day two we’ll go on up the canyon over Cameron Pass into North Park, then take U.S. 40 over Berthoud Pass and then over to Dillon. Johnathon has a gig there that night so this is when he’ll be joining us.

We’ll take CO 9 out of Dillon the next morning, up to Kremmling, and then Gore Pass to Toponas. How we’re going to get to Meeker–our stop for the night–from there I’m not sure. We once took Ripple Creek Pass, which is the most direct way, but that road is unpaved and most of the OFMC guys don’t like riding gravel. It’s a beautiful ride, though.

Next stop after Meeker will be Mesa, via Douglas Pass, with a sidetrip over Rimrock Drive through Colorado National Monument. Mesa, in case you’re uncertain (I was) is on the north side of Grand Mesa on CO 65, which you reach via the Debeque Cutoff.

The following day we’ll cross Grand Mesa and head down to Crested Butte. Our route will take us through Crawford on CO 92, to the north rim of the Black Canyon, on through Gunnison, and then back north out of Gunnison.

From there we’ll head back south to Gunnison, over North Cochetopa Pass down to Saguache, down to South Fork, over Wolf Creek Pass to stop for the night in Pagosa Springs.

Breaking out of the all-Colorado theme for one night, our next stop will be in Angle Fire, New Mexico. We’ll head south out of Pagosa on U.S. 84 and pick up U.S. 64 through Taos and on to Angel Fire. Not sure why John picked that spot, considering we stopped there for lunch a couple years ago and I know I was not impressed. Oh well, John plans the route.

Then it’s back into Colorado, along a route I’m not totally certain of, other than that we definitely go over La Veta Pass, then up through Westcliffe, and end up for the night in Canon City.

And then the next day we head home. And we start thinking about next year.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner

Biker Quote for Today

Maybe Old’s Cool is a bunch of dirty old men who swear because , let’s face it, old bikes run on blasphemy as much as they do gasoline and oil. — Jinx

OFMC 2013 Trip Is Planned

Monday, March 25th, 2013
OFMC 2012 Utah

The OFMC in 2012 in Utah.

I still miss the simpler, early days when the OFMC was three of us and we would just pick a direction and go. Now, with 8-10 guys every year, we have to plan ahead. The days of three guys in one room with two beds, taking turns being the one to sleep on the floor, are over.

So now we plan, and make reservations to ensure we all have beds. Plus, we don’t ever camp any more.

We’re all set for 2013. There will be nine of us this year and it will be an all-Colorado trip again. We’re doing this more and more because some of the guys have trouble taking off for the whole trip and by staying in the state we create a situation where anyone who needs to can ride out to join us or back home in one day. That’s hard to do when the group is up in Montana or Idaho. And, of course, our chief planner, John, likes to do it this way because his son, Johnathon, is one of those who have trouble getting away.

In fact, John changed the plans for two days when it turned out Johnathon–who plays sax in a band–had a gig in Dillon during the trip week. We’ll be staying in Dillon that night.

There was a time when John was not the sole arbiter of where we would go and when the way he is now. Originally we made decisions together. As John started taking more and more control for himself I pushed back a lot. It’s not just your trip, dude. But I eventually got tired of the persistent struggle and decided the heck with it, let’s just go ride and have a good time.

When I want to do something else I go do it on my own. I actually prefer to ride alone much of the time anyway. I can be fairly antisocial, definitely a loner. And I like to camp, too. Heck, there are times I just throw the sleeping bag out on the ground next to the bike.

So now we just have to wait for late July. I’ll give you our itinerary on Thursday.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Eyes on the road! Crazy stuff ahead.

Biker Quote for Today

Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes. — Old Honda Manual

One State, Many Routes

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
Motorcycle on Independence Pass

Can you tell this guy is in the mountains? Something about that hillside rising up beside him?

Running this website I get frequent emails from riders planning trips to Colorado asking about routes. I’m always happy to help them plot out something that fits their interests and schedule.

Most recently I got this email:

We are going to be taking a 2 weeks vacation on the bike through Colorada,to Yellowstone National Park, then to Boise Idaho, and head back maybe on a different route. One think we’ve been interested in is the train ride from Durango to Silverton. We plan to leave Oklahoma City, come up through Chama, New Mexico, and head north through Colorado, maybe travel Wolf Creek Pass. We don’t care to do the Royal Gorge, Colorado Springs, or any of that area. Probably more central/western Colorado. We figure about 3 days in Boise, a couple in Yellowstone, etc… It’s difficult to decide on roads and any advice would be most appreciated.

Here’s my reply.

If you come in through Chama it is very nice to come over Cumbres and La Manga Pass to Antonito. Then you could go north to Alamosa and pick up US 160, go west to South Fork and over Wolf Creek Pass and on to Durango.

From Durango you will definitely want to ride Red Mountain Pass to Ouray. Ouray is one of my favorite towns in Colorado so I definitely recommend staying there. Stay on US 550 out of Ouray to Ridgway and then turn west on CO 62 to Placerville, pick up CO 145 to Naturita, and take CO 141 to Gateway. This is the Unaweep road and it’s great.

That will bring you out a bit south of Grand Junction where you have several good options.

1. You can go on to Junction and go to the Colorado National Monument and ride that road. Definitely spectacular. Then you might want to just jump on I-70 through Debeque Canyon and on to Glenwood Springs. Head toward Carbondale and Aspen and go over Independence Pass. Go to Leadville and down Tennessee Pass to Minturn and that will bring you back to I-70. Go back a little west on I-70 to Wolcott and take CO 131 up through Toponas to Steamboat Springs.

2. Head south away from Junction to Delta and go east on CO 133 to Hotchkiss and over McClure Pass down to Carbondale and then take the road over Independence Pass. Then same as No. 1.

3. Head through Delta on to Montrose and go east on US 50. Stop at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and ride the rim and the East Portal Road. Terrific. Continue east through Gunnison over Monarch Pass and go north at Poncha Springs to Twin Lakes, just a little south of Leadville, and go the other direction on Independence Pass to Aspen and on to Glenwood Springs. Ride east on I-70 to Wolcott and do as in No. 1. This has the benefit of taking you through Glenwood Canyon on I-70, and that’s fabulous. I don’t normally recommend interstate but there’s no other way to see Glenwood Canyon and it is worth it.

Once you get to Steamboat Springs, go west on US 40 into Utah to Vernal and take the road north, US 191, up past the Flaming Gorge and into Wyoming. The road to the west of the gorge, through Manila, is the nicer route. You’ll come out at Green River. The nicest road toward Yellowstone is the one that goes through Kemmerer, up to Cokeville, and through the Star Valley, US 30 and US 89, then US 26 and US 189. The early part of that stretch is prairie but you’re going to run though a lot of that at this point no matter which route you take. This will bring you up to Jackson and the south end of Grand Teton and then to Yellowstone.

So those are some thoughts. Hope that helps. Have a great trip. I’ll be happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Every writer has different things they want to do or places they want to go. Every time I sit and look at the map and figure out an entirely different route. It’s kind of fun.

Biker Quote for Today

I rode a motorcycle to Reno, just to eat some pie.

Odds Are Good Of My Winning The KLR650

Monday, March 18th, 2013

I just know I'm going to win the KLR650 ABATE is raffling off.

I’ve written before about this KLR650 that ABATE of Colorado is raffling off. It looks like my chances of winning it are pretty darn good.

I was just at my district ABATE meeting today and the raffle was discussed. While they have the possibility of selling 2,500 tickets at $10 apiece, so far they have only sold 324. I have bought three so that gives me a 1 in 108 chance of winning. Compare that to Lotto or Powerball.

Of course, if ABATE doesn’t sell at least somewhere around 700 tickets they’re going to lose money on the deal. I don’t want them to lose money; I want them to make money. So even though selling more will diminish my chances of winning, I’m passing the word along again so any of you who want to get in on the action can do so.

What you need to do to enter is go to this page of their website and order your tickets online. You’ll pay via PayPal, so you need a PayPal account. Then they’ll mail you your tickets.

Of course, the truth is, I’d like to see them sell all 2,500 tickets — as long as one of mine is drawn as the winner. And I’ll warn you, I may yet buy a couple more, so my odds will just be that much better. I seriously want a dual-sport bike and I want it this year. I’ve been putting it off for way too long.

So, really, just forget I said anything. Why throw your money away. They’re going to draw my ticket any . . . Look! A squirrel!

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Motorcycle safety studies continue

Biker Quote for Today

Everyone should be so lucky as to be able to ride a motorbike through the Himalayas. – Misery Goat

15 Minutes of Fame Await Biker Going to Mazatlan

Thursday, March 14th, 2013
motorcycle along the Florida coast

This is the Florida coast, not the Mexican, but riding around Mazatlan would probably look something like this.

I’m passing this along from Jerry Pokorny.

In an email with the subject line, “Hispanic MC Rider needed for Viedo of Mazatlan Bike Week,” Jerry passed along this bit of info:

Looking for a Hispanic (and fluent Spanish speaking) motorcyclist who is going to the bike week at Mazatlan, Mexico in 2013. A Denver based Hispanic TV station is planning to do a story on a Colorado rider and his/her experience traveling to this event.

Photos/video would be taken at home in Colorado, upon arriving in Mazatlan, during the events there and would be ultimately aired on TV.

No pay or expenses are provided – this is completely voluntary for somebody who is willing to pay their own expenses but looking for that “15 minutes of fame.” For a rider who fits the description this would be this would be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Respond direct to Vanessa at 303-968-4174 with your qualifications and tell her Jerry provided the contact. If you know someone who fits this description please pass this message along.

So there you go. If you’re interested, go for it. If you know someone, pass the word.

And just so you’ll know, bike week in Mazatlan is April 3-7. I read on one web forum where they’re talking about this how some people think Mazatlan is too dangerous. I’ve been there twice and danger was never something that even came up for conversation.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #26

Biker Quote for Today

If you’re not living life on the edge you’re taking up too much space.

A Chance to Jump Start Your Motojournalism Career

Monday, March 11th, 2013
motorcycles on the wharf

Being a motojournalist definitely has its plussses. I shot this photo while on a media tour with EagleRider.

I’m working a full-time job these days so I rarely check craigslist any more for writing gigs. I did go there a couple days ago, however, and the first item on the list caught my eye in a hurry. Here’s what it said.

Looking for a motorcycle rider who writes articles (Remote)

We are a motorcycle company looking for an article writer. We sell motorcycle parts for Cruiser Motorcycles, focused on Harley. This position can be long term and done remotely.

Articles will be created approx 2-4x a week.


*Must have motorcycle riding experience
*Please submit a resume
*Writing Sample
*Students are welcome to apply
*Blog URL optional but is a plus

it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: $15 Article, 500 Words

OK, $15 per article is not a lot of money but heck, if it’s something you enjoy doing and you want to see your name out there then it’s a place to start. If you know how to write you can bang out 500 words in half an hour and that would give you a $30/hour wage.

I’m not a good one to do this sort of thing for the simple reason that they want someone who is into Harleys and that is not me. And after 40 years of writing for publication I don’t get excited about seeing my name in print any more. But maybe you are, or someone you know is. If so, and you want to give it a shot, go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Motorcycle safety studies continue

Biker Quote for Today

“Yea, though I ride through the valley of the shadow of the Harley, I will fear no R.U.B.: For my FZ6 art with me; thy power, thy speed and thy handling they comfort me.” — Metrics 23:4

Hang Up And Drive!

Thursday, March 7th, 2013
Don't use your cellphone while driving

Hang up and drive!

I was cruising up I-225 on Sunday, in the middle lane, and came up behind a car that was going significantly slower than the rest of traffic as well as the speed limit. As I got closer I saw he was also wandering in and out of his lane.

Pulling up closer behind him I could see something in his hand up at the top of the steering wheel. When I deemed it safe I pulled around him and as I passed I looked. He had the steering wheel in his left hand and that same hand was holding his cellphone. With his right hand he was either punching in a phone number or texting or who knows what. I motioned for him to hang it up but of course he didn’t see me. He wasn’t seeing any of the other traffic around him, he was looking at his goddamn phone!

Now you might think this was some kid who didn’t know any better, but he wasn’t. This was a guy with gray hair and a salt and pepper beard. And he could not have been any more clueless. I was just glad that I was now ahead of him and on a bike that could leave him in the dust. What is wrong with these assholes?

We had this discussion a couple years ago while out on the OFMC annual trip and I found it very interesting that Bill said he was confident that he could drive safely while talking on his cellphone. Bill, of course, is one of the older guys. It was Brett, one of the younger guys, who quickly replied, “Everyone thinks other people can’t drive safely while using their cellphone but they think they can.”

Well, here’s what I say. No one has any business using their cellphone while they’re driving. No one. Not you. Not your buddy. Not me, although I can honestly say I never have because I don’t own a cellphone.

Just hang up and drive.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #26

Biker Quote for Today

When in doubt, gas it out. It may not solve the problem, but it will definitely end the suspense.

Ups and Downs of Moto Journalism

Monday, March 4th, 2013
riders ahead on the road

Out with the OFMC.

Making a living as a freelance writer is tough. After scraping by for nearly four years writing about riding motorcycles I’ve taken a full-time job recently, as you may be aware.

Why was that necessary? Let me give you an example, fresh from reality.

I started out writing for in May of 2008. It took a while for the money to start coming in but it did start flowing, and it kept growing month over month. By the time my last full-time job ended, in March 2009, I was making enough doing that gig part-time that I decided I would not look for another job, I would become the National Motorcycle Examiner on a full-time basis. Along the way I had also picked up a gig writing for, so I figured all I needed to do was pick up a couple more gigs and I’d be fine.

And that’s exactly what happened. I found a few small online motorcycle publications who I could consistently sell articles to and I also picked up a gig off where every two months I would deliver a batch of eight articles that were about anything I chose as long as they contained several specific key words. The idea there was to put stories up on this dealer’s website and have those key words be found in web searches and thereby bring people to the site. Things were going well. Oh, and of course, I was also occasionally selling articles to Rider magazine and to Kawasaki’s Accelerate publication.

Then RumBum went out of business, as did another of the smaller regional hard-copy publications. Then the Elance gig just went away. I had been receiving emails every couple months ordering up a new batch and then they stopped coming.

And then, in the latter part of 2010, Examiner started making changes to their payment arrangements that whittled away at my earnings. From making hundreds of dollars every month my earnings quickly dropped off to less than $100 a month and kept going down. Now, in the month that just ended, I’ve hit a new low: for the first time since October 2008 I did not earn enough to even get paid. They have a $25 threshold and if you don’t make at least that much in a month they don’t pay you that month; you get whatever you’re earned plus whatever else you make in the following month, once you do reach $25. So yeah, I didn’t even make $25 from Examiner last month.

Of course I have had something to do with this latest drop-off. For the most part I have stopped writing for Examiner because it’s just not worth it. I do put something up at least once a month, though, because I still get page views from the stuff I’ve written previously and you have to be writing currently to get paid. So it’s like an annuity and I write once a month or so in order to keep that annuity coming in.

And now, with a full-time job, it’s hard to even find the time to do the work I can still do. I promised another article to Mark Tuttle at Rider magazine some months ago but I still haven’t gotten it written. That’s not good. Once this contract gig I’m working ends I’m going to want to dive back into freelancing so I need to hang on to the clients I still have. But it’s so hard to get motivated when I have so many other things to try to squeeze into just two short days on the weekend.

Clearly I don’t know what the future holds. But you’ll hear about it here, of that I’m certain.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #26

Biker Quote for Today

Must work to afford Bikethings.