February Ride on the KLR

Brent and KLR at the Morrow, Ohio, train depot. It’s now a Rails-to-Trail, Little Miami River Recreational Trail.

Temps in the low 50s. Partly sunny. The roads are dry and rinsed of all salt after three days of rain. Of course I’m going for a ride.

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Quick Review of 2023

I apologize. I did not do a lot of posting here in 2023, but I plan to do more–a lot more–in 2024. This will be quick, but an important update near the end. So, let’s begin.

I motorcycled to two events last year. In June, I met up with friends at our Kentucky Backroads Campout at Lago Linda Hideaway in Beattysville, KY. We were fewer this year, but a mighty force. The roads in Eastern Kentucky are delightful. It is a motorcycling paradise. The second trip was to Wailin’ Wayne Weekend in Nelsonvile, OH, in September. I was camped out with 500 of my newest friends. I met up with old friends there, and made a few new ones. WWW is incredible for dual sport and adventure riding. Again, the roads in SE Ohio are fantastic. 

If I am headed south, the Augusta Ferry is one of my favorite ways to cross the Ohio River. I’m headed to Eastern Kentucky.
Gathered around the campfire at Lago Linda Hideaway where we solved all the problems of the world, and talked about motorcycling too.
Old friends at Wailin’Wayne Weekend, Tracy and Teresa.

And, I did a little fishing. 

Fishing with my go-to-rod, my Tenkara USA Hane’.

On another motorcycle adventure, one that was not mine but I was very involved, was when my friend Sam Manicom planned to stay at our home for two nights during his romp through the USA countryside. It ended up being six as his hydraulic clutch was busted, and needed repairs. Mike Fitterling was also here as the three of us planned to ride to the AMA Vintage Days. Mike went on solo, and I entertained Sam for four more days. 

Sam’s clutch went kaput just two miles from my home as we was departing … for the first time.

Lin and I did not travel much in 2023, but we did attend a Garrison Keillor show in Wabash, Indiana. We met up with two of her sisters and shared a Vrbo rental. It was quite nice. 

For Thanksgiving, we did our usual. Turkey on the Weber. 

Oh, I almost forgot. I bought another motorcycle, a 2023 Kawasaki KLR 650. This is my third KLR. I regretted moving along the last one, and when I was offered an inventory closeout deal, I bought it. As of this writing, I still have the two Moto Guzzis, the V85tt and V7iii. 

2023 Kawasaki KLR 650 along the Little Miami River, South Lebanon, OH.

And now, a health update. You may recall, I have prostate cancer. It’s low-grade, but it’s still there, a lesion about the size of a dime on my prostate. I have been poked and prodded, had four MRIs and two biopsies. Five doctors and one surgeon have told me this will not kill me. I will die of something else. My December MRI indicated no change in size, and I will be visiting my doc at the end of this month for a consultation.  My latest PSA was 4, the highest limit of normal. It has been lower for the past year or so. Our strategy is “Active Surveillance.” It’s like the CIA or FBI: keep an eye on it.

I have read up on prostate cancer, and looked at all the possible interventions. I don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease. Most men will get a prostate cancer and live with it. That’s what I am doing. The very hardest part of this was learning to overcome the emotional roller coaster of having the c-word. In that aspect, I have conquered the prostate cancer and for now I have been living with it for at least three years. So what did I do at age 73? I went out and bought another motorcycle. “F..k” cancer.

On another subject, I had had the most incredible year sharing life with my best friend, lover, companion, confidant, and wife: Lin. She’s the best. 

See you on the highway. 

Brent

 

The Morrow Depot

Morrow, Ohio, is this quaint small town with some historical character. It was laid out in 1845 and named after Ohio’s ninth governor, Jeremiah Morrow. The town was created when the Little Miami Railroad laid enough track alongside the Little Miami River to reach this spot.

Today, US 22/Ohio SR 3 passes through the town and intersects with Ohio SR 123. What was originally the rail line is now the Little Miami Recreation Trail, which starts near Cincinnati and ends in Springfield–74 miles of paved Rails to Trails. 

The Morrow Depot, built circa 1852.

I have always found this piece of Morrow fascinating. Although the depot is in very good shape, it does not appear to be used on a regular basis. It has aged well since being built about 1852. Originally, there were two rail lines meeting at this spot. The Little Miami Railroad on one side, and the Pennsylvania Line on the other, giving the building its odd shape. Careful observation reveals the Pennsylvania Line route including abutments for brides that no longer exist–something easily discovered while motorcycling near and around Morrow. 

Speaking of motorcycling, the depot is a great place for a photo op. And across the street is Miranda’s Ice Cream Shop. That’s worth a stop too. 

See you on the highway.

Brent

 

My First Motorcycle

From the old box of photos.

Finding that old box of photos was like discovering presents under the Christmas Tree. I thought these images of my early motorcycles, horses and cars were gone, lost to history. Merry Christmas in June!

My senior year of high school (Class of 1968), I tried to buy a motorcycle that I saw for sale along the street I took to go to work. As far as I could tell, it needed a little TLC. I told the guy I would buy it. I don’t remember how much. When I arrived home, my mom told me that the guy had called to see if it was okay to sell me the bike. Her response to him was, “He is still in high school and he is not buying a motorcycle!” I was mad. Very mad. Not destructive mad, just mad.

1963 Harley-Davidson Sprint 250cc Scrambler

I had always understood that us boys were not allowed to own a car while we were in high school, but this was a motorcycle and I had been riding the Lambretta scooter that Dad bought. After I graduated, I went back to see if the bike was still was available. It was, and I bought it! It was a 1963 Harley-Davidson Sprint 250cc Scrambler. It was made in Italy by Aermacchi for Harley-Davidson. Yes, one of those. It had a kick start on the left and gear selector on the right–a four speed transmission. 

I don’t think mom was very happy with that, but I had a part-time job, and paid with my own money. So, it was now acceptable. Dad was okay with it, I think, but I am sure there were discussions.

Immediately, I started giving that bike a little TLC, but it needed more than that. It needed a mechanic. Off it went to the Harley dealer. Upon its return, I gave it a paint job–cans of automotive spray paint from the hardware store. It looked reasonably good. 

Even after “fixing it up,” the bike was still a piece of junk. Over the years, and after numerous purchases of motorcycles, I still think of that Sprint as the worst motorcycle I ever owned. Eventually, I traded it for a car, a 1965 Pontiac Lemans four-door sedan with a three-speed on the column. 

Today, that Sprint is a collector’s item. I wish I still had it. 

See you on the highway.

Brent

 

What? A Flat Tire!

I have been very fortunate over my 57 years of motorcycling to never have a flat tire while traveling. All my previous flats were discovered in my garage. But, this flat happened 35 miles from home while returning from a Kentucky campout with friends. 

Packed and ready to head home. Just put on the panniers.

I was monitoring my fuel. The computer indicated I had 90 miles before requiring fuel, and I was about 60 miles from home. As I traveled north, I decided there was no need to push it, and I pulled into a Kroger fuel station in Mount Orab, Ohio. I was tired and ready to be home.

Fueled up, I lifted the bike off the kickstand and fired it up. Rolling, the bike just felt different. Was it me, tired, or the bike. I looked at the front wheel, and kept going pulling into traffic. Now, I’m in traffic, and I realize it is the bike–most likely a flat, and safety is about 300 yards away. I cross the overpass of Ohio Route 32, see a Tire Discounters store and plenty of parking lot next to it. Stop. Get off the bike. Check the tires, and the rear is definitely flat. Thank god I have my tire repair kit with me.

That is one long screw. Unfortunately, I am not!

I empty the tire repair kit onto the ground, and commence to removing the screw and plugging the tire with one of those “mushroom” type pieces. I have used them before, and they work perfectly. Next, plug in the portable air compressor and air up. Unfortunately, this compressor, which has never been used before, failed to inflate. It failed to even start. *(^$(^))^%$%$&$@***

You get the picture. But, wait! I pulled into this parking lot just in case because right next door is the tire store, and they are busy putting new tires on cars. I walk over, and explain my predicament. Will they air me up? “Yes.” So, I walk back to the bike, start it up and gently paddle-walk it next door where I nearly drop the bike. I am so tired, I forgot to put the kickstand down. It was a muscular save, and I haven’t got much of that at age 72. 

“How much air?” “41 psi, please.” Filled up, and very thankful. No funds exchanged hands, even though it was offered. 

Off I went. Headed home for the final 35 miles. Full tank, and patched tire. 

Frankly, even though I had a flat tire on the road, I felt lucky. I was prepared, and saw the possibility of a Plan B. What I should have done was get off the bike back at the gas station, discover the flat right there, and roll it over to the air hose. But, lesson learned, and I am very thankful.

A new air compressor (different brand) was ordered the next day. 

Be well. Ride safe. See you on the highway or on the side of the road.

Brent