2020 Year in Review: Missing in Action

What a year it has been. Or, has not been is more like it. Self-isolation has been the standard operating procedure. Staying home. Wearing masks when running the necessary errands to sustain life. Eliminating travel.

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Staying safe created a horrible, lonely year, and in review, I made a short list of all the things I have missed.

Things I missed:

  • Handshakes and hugs
  • Eating at a restaurant
  • Going to the movies
  • Fishing with friends
  • Horizons Unlimited Virginia Motorcycle Travelers Meeting
  • Wandering through the vendors at art fairs and festivals
  • The Labor Day Taildragger Fly-in Breakfast at Red Stewart Airfield
  • Hugs and handshakes
  • Motorcycle camping with friends
  • The Family Picnic
  • Entertaining friends at our house, or their house
  • Motorcycling to coffee/breakfast/lunch with friends
  • Did I mention handshakes and hugs? The human touch

Using the internet and technology, I found a way to stay in touch with friends. Maybe you have too. Do you Zoom?

Campfire Chat 07-22-2020

Things I managed to do:

  • Walks with Lin
  • Motorcycle rides, but no touring
  • Cooking, but I’m the cook at our house anyway
  • Zoom meetings with family and friends
  • Drastically reduced my alcohol consumption despite the pandemic, which really goes against the grain in these circumstances
  • Binge-watch programs on Netflix
  • Watch more college and pro football than ever before
  • Spend way too much time on Facebook
  • Bought and sold motorcycles
  • Turned 70 years old in November. BTW, 70 is the new 50.
  • Made love to my wife, Lin, 24/7/366. 2020 was a leap year.

Yeah. What a year. 2021 starts tomorrow, and vaccinations are just around the corner. Can I start planning now?

See you on the highway.

Brent

New Header Photo

From time to time, I like to change the header photo. It is one of the ways to keep the web site fresh, and it shows that I am actually paying attention to it.

This is the full photo. The header image is cropped to fit a specific size space. The photo was captured at the Horizons Unlimited Virginia event–a gathering of adventure motorcycle travelers. I use this dock and another one to teach “Fly Fishing for the Motorcycle Traveler.”

See you on the highway.

Brent

 

The end of November

Today is the last day of November. The 30th. It seems like the year has gone by so fast, and yet perilously slow as caution and quarantine take priority.

November 30 - 2020

The weather has finally turned. What was a comfortable temperature in the low to mid fifties, is now in the mid to low thirties, raining and forecasts of the first snow that will slow down traffic and cause a little havoc on the roads and highways.

For the most part, the flowerbeds have been cleaned. The hydrangea have been cut back and hostas trimmed of their wilting leaves. It is hibernation time for the plants, and feels the same within the house.

It is a curious time going into winter. Outside activities are being replaced with indoors. Daylight is dwindling still, and yet only three weeks remain before this globe of ours starts its path around the sun to a place when a minute here and there of daylight will be added to our days. I am already anxious for that.

See you on the highway.

Brent

My 70th Birthday Present to Me

Yes. I turned 70 recently, and before you start calling me an old man, you should know that 70 is the new 50. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I have fallen in love with the Moto Guzzi V7 platform. I could not imagine how good of a motorcycle it is, and how the V7 moves my soul. The problem is, the one I bought was not my first choice of V7s. I bought the one that looked the best at the best price, not the one I lusted after which was full MSRP. It was my hedge against uncertainty to buy the one with the best price. So, when that bike that I lusted over received a big discount, I decided to make things right for my birthday. Thank you Cadre Cycle!

Out with the 2019 Moto Guzzi V7iii Special (with a lot of chrome) and in with the new 2020 Moto Guzzi V7iii Rough, a scrambleresque version of the V7 platform.

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When I showed this picture of the bike to Lin, she said, “It looks like it belongs in the Army.” Yes. Yes it does. I’m calling it my messenger bike.

My first two motorcycles were scramblers. I have owned four adventure bikes and two dual sports, and an assortment of other motorcycles built for the road. My motorcycle-throbbing-heart has been and always will be tuned to the motorcycle that will go down any type of road. Hence, a scrambler. Yes, I know the Rough does not have high pipes, but that is a small compromise.

The fact is, the V7 platform comes in a variety of flavors, for different styles of riding, and I choose this V7 Rough, for the Guzzi has moved my soul, and the Rough will take me places the Special was not meant to go, not without a lot of modification.

In 2008, I wrote a review of my first V-Strom 650 and why I bought that bike. As I have grown older, the same self-examination still applies for the type of riding I plan to do in my 70s.

“I started a self examination: What do I want in a motorcycle? What is important or a priority for my motorcycle purchase? Am I buying a motorcycle to impress others or declare a status in life? Would I rather ride or polish chrome? What kind of riding will I do? Where will I ride? How many miles will I ride each year? Will I be riding alone or two up with a passenger? There’s a lot more involved: initial purchase price, cost of ownership (repairs, parts, and extras), and what a lot of people call “bang for the buck”—which is very subjective.

I realized I would be much happier buying the motorcycle that fits the type of riding I plan to do, rather than buying the bike others think I should have. In a nostalgic way, I’m returning to my original roots of motorcycling. I want a multi-tasker, a motorcycle that can handle different types of roads and terrain. I want a bike that has utility. I want a bike that is affordable, and economical to ride.”

I should also include fun and easy to ride, and moves my soul. Riding it home from the dealer only boosted my feelings about the Moto Guzzi V7s. Like the saying goes, “You have to own one to understand.”

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Now, let the accessorizing begin.

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MG V7 Rough new bike 11-19-2020-2

See you on the highway.

Brent

PS. With all that said, I still have the 2017 V-Strom 650. It’s a great adventure bike, and I have no plans to move it along. I have about 90,000 miles on V-Stroms. There will be more.

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A new motorcycle in the garage

I wanted to wait a while before writing about the new motorcycle in my garage, because I also wanted to give some first impressions. After riding for about 2,000 miles, I can tell you whole heartedly that this 2019 Moto Guzzi V7iii Special is fantastic. I bought it in late June this summer—about four months ago in an inventory closeout deal at Cadre Cycle.

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First a couple of items about why I bought this bike. Soon, I will turn 70 years old. With my 30-inch inseam and aging body, I’m getting a little tired of mounting a tall, heavy adventure bike. I sold the V-Strom 1000, but still have the V-Strom 650. I was looking for a bike that was easy to throw a leg over and ride. I have found that with the Guzzi.

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The looks of this bike are unique. It is a head turner. It’s that v-twin engine that sits sideways. It is immediately recognizable as a Moto Guzzi. And the unique character of the engine upon start-up, lets you know you are on something different, as the torque shifts the bike sideways. That disappears once you are underway, but you feel the torque throughout the gears, pulling you along.

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The engine and transmission are getting smoother as I add the miles, resulting in an even more pleasant ride. I have added a Dart Fly screen, which provides a very small amount of wind deflection, and a center stand. I’ve been looking for a pair of side bags to add a bit of utility to the bike, but have not bought anything yet.

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The bike uses premium fuel, and the current mpg is about 55, improving as the engine is breaking in. Of course, I ride with an easy wrist. But, every now and then …. wow!

I think this bike can easily travel. It just needs some bags, which can also haul some groceries.  It’s just a matter of finding the right accessories that enhance the overall look of the bike.

This Moto Guzzi V7iii is a blast to ride. It is old school with modern technology, including ABS and traction control. I don’t know why I waited so long to buy one of these. I certainly looked at them long enough. Too long.

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See you on the highway.

Brent