Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Moonshine Lunch Run, April 12-16

Early April means it's time to pack the rain gear and insulated suit and ride over 1,000 miles for a hamburger. It's the Moonshine Lunch Run! A most excellent way to start the trip season! Seeing loads of friends is an absolute bonus, as well as completing an Iron Butt SS1000 (1,000 miles in 24 hours or less) and hitting some fantastic roads on the way home.

I left midday Thursday after wrapping up some things at work. The plan was to head north to Fort Collins to start the SS1000, as going straight from Denver isn't quite enough miles. From there take some nice two lanes east and hooking up with I-70 in Kansas. The interstate would be my home all the way to the finish line in Casey, IL except for a detour in Manhatten, KS to grab the KS tag (a motorcycle game) and another detour near Kansas City to avoid the toll road (and hit some nice twisties). I will admit I didn't stop to take any pictures, not that there was much to take pictures of! Took me about 20 leisurely hours to complete the ride, it was fun!

Arrived safely around 9am to the "headquarters" of the Moonshine Lunch Run at the Comfort Inn in Casey, IL. Snugged up and lubed my chain, headed inside to see who was around. Hooked up with some friends and first thing is first, off to Moonshine to get a burger! The event wasn't officially until tomorrow, but hey, I'd come all this way and was hungry. You can see the little ninja surrounded by Honda ST1100s, which is what I used to ride.

After lunch and some nice conversation, I headed to the Hammond Farm to set up my tent, get unpacked and have a nap. Found a nice quiet spot away from the crowd. We would eventually have 60 tents here! I got smart this year and brought the big REI tent. My little ALPs tent needed re-waterproofing after just a year of use, something I've never had to do with an REI tent (even bought used). I knew this trip would be wet, so didn't want to test out my waterproofing skills! Plus the extra room was appreciated to keep everything dry.

Most folks were on the other side of all this.

Friday evening rolled around, hopped over to one of the restaurants in town to collect my Moonshine sweatshirt (yay).  Instead of sticking around for a huge group dinner I booked it back to the farm to enjoy some more quiet time. It's beautiful out there, nice to just sit and soak it all in. I wasn't alone however, this little one showed up as my dinner date! She even helped me do the dishes later, lol.

Dinner with a show!

And when that finally got old we turned our attention to the view

After 2 beers and some socializing, it was time for bed! Rained off and on all night, the trusty REI tent didn't leak a single drop. Bliss! Awoke early, checking the radar, looks like rain all day. Better get up now, there's a big one coming! There's nothing worse than being stuck in your tent when it's pouring down rain and you have to pee....DAMHIK!

Walked around the corner to see the number of tents had grown.

This might not have been the best place to leave your socks to dry....

So here's why there were reports of singing last night!

Joe getting his payback for the loud singing that kept him up last night.... Shaking one of the singer's tents...

Mother Nature serving up some payback as well, here is aforementioned singer's helmet! That'll be soggy.

Headed over to the hotel, just in time for a real frog soaker! Was happy to be indoors for that one. Waited for the worst to pass then time for another burger! I believe in the end 1300 burgers were served, far from the record of over 2k last year, but that's a lot considering it didn't really stop raining the whole time!

Hung around for several hours talking with friends I often only see once a year at this event. On the way back to the farm the sun finally poked through, just in time to set. Made for some great pics of the bike.

My current desktop background:

These lights were a new addition, this was the first trip with them. LOVE THEM. However those top lights, which are driving lights (narrow beam, used with my high beams) are aimed a little high... I'll fix that soon, as when they are on they pretty much just served as a mating call for kamikaze moths....

Packed up and departed the next morning (Sunday) around 6am with a great day of backroads and twisties planned. Would be a welcome change to the interstate on the way out. Well, I got as far as Vienna, Missouri ("G" on the map) when that big storm that created so many tornadoes the day before had me change my route. The original plan was to continue almost due west through lake of the ozarks (great roads), but instead I headed north then west in order to stay on more main roads in case I needed shelter. Yes, it was very wet, no, I did not melt. Hey, I had a lot of bugs to clean off. I should have got the soap out! It was a wonderful riding day. Arrived at my cousin Christie's house in Kansas City around 6:30pm. Huge thank you to her and her family for once again hosting a stinky biker for the night! Oooooo how good that couch felt.

After staying up way too late (hey, we talk too much), I rolled out of the most comfortable couch ever to hit the road just a smidge before 7am. I was aiming for closer to 6, but that couch just wouldn't let go! Another day of 2 lane roads planned. No one else was up besides Christie's husband Brooke, and he asked me how I was getting home. I rattled off a few numbers and he said, "you know I-70 will take you straight home faster right?" LOL, you should have seen the look on his face as I tried to explain why I wasn't taking the interstate... Thanks for the tip Brooke! But I'll stick to the 2 lane roads when I can, much more fun.

Rolled into the garage around 7pm. Minus a completely worn out chain and sprockets, it was a wonderful and uneventful trip! New parts are on order and will give me a chance to get some maintenance items done while I wait. I'll be in again for next year.

Full slideshow, only 33 pics.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Denver Auto Show, March 25

Annual tradition! Karla and I had a great time again at the Denver Auto show. Here are some highlights!

I totally dig the truck bed liner. Those that have known me a while, remember when I truck bed liner-ed (?) all the tins (tank, fenders, side covers) on one of my bikes (a vtwin cruiser). It looked sweet! Seeing it again makes me want to go ape shit with the stuff all over again. How about the Forester? Or the bike? Oh yeah, both would look awesome. You can get about any color you want! Here's a side note though, check out this guy's bumper... Wow that sticks way far out there! Talk about decreasing your approach angle.   I doubt this truck has seen much, if any, serious offroad use.

Wow Lincolns are getting worse and worse. They look terrible on the outside, and now look what they are doing to the interiors! Someone needs to just shoot the dead horse here.

The Fiat 500s, while not a new story, are far more appropriate on the inside. What a grin. Here's a shocker though, according to the window sticker the Ford Fiesta gets better fuel mileage than the Fiat 500 (for the automatics)!! Yeah, I was surprised too. Anyways, atleast the interior is fun.

I know it's massive, and kinda gawdy, and a gas guzzler, and the quality probably sucks.... But I will admit, this Chrysler 300 SRT8 got my juices flowing... This thing was huge in every way.

I love huge rear ends. On cars. Not on women.

Oooooh yeah. I don't like chrome. BUT black chrome... Ooooooh yeah.
Side note: I bet you'd want bigger brakes to stop this goliath.

Watched an over 6 foot guy plop down in here, the interior just sucked him right in. I'm sure I looked tiny sitting in it! It was beautiful in here. Leather dashboard with beautiful stitching even!

Look what Karla found! The new Dodge "Dork!" No really, the way the name is written in that font, your mind first thinks you've read "dork" instead of "dart." Hahahaha, we had a good laugh.

Karla fell in love with this. I believe it was her favorite vehicle of the entire show. We talked to the sales guy, this is a Mopar kit, just to make it a truck, doesn't include lift, tires, etc. You buy a 4 door Rubicon for $33k or so to start out with. Then, get this, either you buy the kit from Mopar for $3k and install it yourself. OR you can have the dealership install the kit for you for $22k. Yes, another $22k! I couldn't believe it, the sales guy actually said that with a straight face... Anyways, Karla wasn't paying any attention, she was too busy drooling.

I expected the redesigned beetle to have much fanfare. Hell, atleast a podium. Nope, it didn't even get it's own sign. Seems VW isn't interested in promoting it. Karla and I agree a man, gay or straight, can now drive this without having to turn in his man card.

More good looking fat butts. Haha, Karla laughs at me... I can't help it, I like huge rear ends!

We both liked the new Sonic 5 door. What we couldn't figure is why you could play with, sit in, etc the 4 door, but the 5 door was behind barriers? Yeah.... Bummer.

Karla loves Corvettes, so I always leave her to drool a bit over their display while I search for a lunch option.

Decided to head to old reliable Subway a few blocks away. Look what we spotted in a parking lot nearby! Yep, that's the new Subaru BRZ! We hadn't gotten to the Subaru section of the show yet, but once we did we had a good laugh. You couldn't hardly get close to the BRZ at the show, but here's one just sitting in the parking lot! Dumb move Subaru, let the fans touch your new stuff, don't act all exclusive it's not your style.

We saw loads of other Subaru fans stopping to oogle as well. One guy even stopped his car right in the parking lot exit to get out and take a look. The BRZ doesn't much interest me as a purchase, I think the Miata is a better buy. We'll see what the BRZ is like, and what Subaru does with it, in another 5 years and then maybe it'll be a MX-5 contender.

This one hurts the eyeballs...

Wait! It gets worse! Ahhhhhh my retinas. I was worried it would crack the camera lens. 

Thankfully there was plenty of eyeball therapy and rehabilitation available.

Yes, starting to feel much better.

I'm not really a raging bull fan, but this one raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

We spotted the 5 Hour Energy booth... It's always a challenge to see how many times you can walk by and get free samples....

Then we spotted this rather shiny thing, which no joke, was an advertisement for a jewelry cleaning product.... Yeah, talk about a bit of a stretch with the advertising. I had no words.

Saw the new Range Rover Evoque. Seems like it's marketed to the same people that drive the Range Rover Sport. Sad really, I miss the days when you could buy a new Defender 90 in the United States.

Found a rather dramatic nose...

The BRZ behind the padded rope. What a crock, I don't understand why Subaru wouldn't let us near it, BUT they would park one in the parking lot. 

Here's something we really liked, the new Impreza. I think of all the cars we saw today this is the one we would be most likely to buy. Fit Karla perfectly. I was impressed with it's interior size and looks a lot better in person than I thought it would. Priced competitively too.

Decent size "trunk," along with this huge back seat. Looking forward to seeing the WRX.

Ooooooo yeah.

I must be getting old, liking these big, go-fast cars.

Oh now that's pretty

More big, beautiful buts. 

The Z4 is looking nice.

The King.


Look ma, no roof!

We decided the A7 was nice from the front...

But looked rather like a dog scooting it's ass from behind...

Camp Jeep is always entertaining to watch.

Came around a corner and saw this... No joke, first thing that went through my head was "hey look, it's a hot tub on wheels!"

Holy cow it was ugly. 

We also found a huge chin!!   

We had a fantastic time, we'll be back next year for sure.

Full slideshow of 79 photos.