Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Video Blog

Hello MotoReaders!

I'm contemplating bringing back the video blog... at least every once in a while. Even though it's a lot of work (and no recompense), I actually sort of miss editing and creating videos and, it turns out that, I have a few different reviews that I think I'd like to do. Of course, with autumn in the South usually bringing a bit more rain and cooler temperatures, it's also a good time to sit in a warm, dry garage (or house), editing video content, too.

If I do break out the GoPros... I have a few cool things to show you guys. First, I've done a bit of work to the MotoWriter Street Bob that has changed the look a bit and, I've added some new lighting to the MotoWriter Road King that I'm pretty excited to talk about. I've also picked up a couple of new motorcycles that I'm eager to share my thoughts on. I'm sure I could add in a few product reviews and I've even thought about doing another long(er) term review of my Road King Special... as a follow-up to my previous video, since I've done a bit of work to it since making that video. 

When, and if, I do start shooting and posting new videos... look for the links to them here on theMotoWriter.com, since I'm adamantly opposed to getting back on social media (I might even talk about my reasoning for that in a video, too). 

Finally, if you are one of my loyal readers, and have wondered whatever happened to my plans for offering up some MotoWriter merchandise... the person I was working with to make my decals and t-shirts has shut down her operation indefinitely and I've just been too busy with my "real job" stuff to seek out another vendor for it. Maybe, if all works out, I'll be able to get that done in the next couple of months and will be able to add a link to the site, where y'all can order from. 

Whatever happens, stay tuned for more content here on the MotoWriter.com, because as the temps drop and the rain starts to come more often, I'll be doing less riding and doing more writing.

THANKS for being a part of this! Ride safe and make good choices!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Tales from the Asphalt, Volume 2

Tales from the asphalt

Alone on the highway, the man in black rides his steel horse westbound, westbound, westbound... on what feels like an endless ribbon of asphalt. With no destination, he pushes on, seeking nothing more than the simple peace that he finds on the lonesome journey. 

Volume 2, The Lone Star Wide Glide


Ride to nowhere

I just don’t care for having “destinations”, in the sense that most people do, while traveling. My destinations are always more like, general ideas of arriving in a particular area, and may not actually include getting off of the motorcycle, but instead, riding around in the area that I end up in. In other words- I don’t like scheduling lunch stops or gas stops, because doing so creates rigid waypoints that force me to stay on a schedule while traveling. I prefer taking it mile by mile and hour by hour instead and just seeing what's around the next corner. That kind of riding isn't for everyone, which is why I usually ride alone. 

It was a Monday in the early summer and, at that time, my day off. My steed was a 2012 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide and I was planning on putting some miles on it that day. I asked some buddies if they wanted to ride with me, but with no destination and no real plan, no one would commit, although a few had claimed that they wanted to go. On the morning of the ride, after a particularly busy and stressful week of work, I woke up around 6:30 am and got dressed for the day. I put on a fresh pot of coffee, filled my cup and went out on the front porch to revel in the glory of seeing the world wake up. I sat down, took a sip of my first cup of coffee and sent out a message to everybody on our group text.

With no surprise to me, there was no response from anyone. Most of the guys I was riding with at the time, would rather ride for half an hour, then stop and hang out for two, which was definitely not my kind of riding. I finished my first cup of coffee within the hour and figured the couple of guys who did say they wanted to go were probably still getting up… it was still pretty early after all. I went back to the kitchen, filled my cup again and returned to the porch. After I finished the second cup of coffee, and still not receiving any response to my message on the group, I filled my cup once again, then went to the garage and pulled my bike out. I sent out another message to the group letting them know that I would be leaving soon, after all, I didn’t want to leave my best riding pals behind- what if they were in the process of getting ready and they weren’t checking their phones? So I waited a little longer, then a little longer again. I ended up finishing the whole pot of coffee over the course of a few hours and at this point, no one had answered my messages on the group text… everyone had completely flaked out. 

Time to ride

It was around 10:00 am when I set out with no direction and no destination. On my days off, I like to leave earlier, especially if I think, even for a moment, that the day may end with a couple hundred more miles on the odometer, but 10 am is still early enough for a good day’s ride. Often times, I’ll pick a general “that way” kind of direction and I’ll go that way until I get ready to turn back. This was one of those days. 

I tend to stay on the backroads, because my love affair with two lane highways and scenic routes is rooted deep in my childhood memories, when my family would trek halfway across the country every few summers to see family in the midwest and dad would almost always take the scenic routes. For whatever reason, though, on this particular day, I got on the interstate and headed toward Louisiana. I knew I wanted to go west from the beginning, but I typically try to avoid the super slab unless I’m trying to get somewhere in particular, and trying to get there fast. This day it just felt right, so I settled down into the Dyna’s saddle, twisted the throttle and followed the mindless stream of tractor-trailers, sedans and SUVs as they plodded toward whatever destinations they were heading to. My Wide Glide had a quick detach windshield, which I put on before leaving, just in case, and I was glad I did. After a couple of hours on the interstate, I had settled into a nice, relaxing rhythm and I wasn’t quite ready to abandon my fellow westbound travelers. 

I hit the Louisiana state line pretty quick, as I don't live too far from the Pelican State, and continued west along the interstate. I wasn't sure where I was going or why, but the interstate just felt "right" today. I passed town after town, and exit after exit, of what probably would have led me down to some pretty amazing back roads along the swamps and through the marshes, but for whatever reason, something kept telling me to stay on the slab. Maybe it was nothing more than the hum of the Twincam 103, pulling me along effortlessly or maybe it was the morning sun at my back, but whatever it was, I followed along and kept my heading. 

I crossed over the Atchafalaya Basin bridge around noon or so, over the long twin span bridges as they hovered over the tops of the cypress trees in the swamp below. Riding close to the edge, I could see down into the water, where I spotted some large fish swimming and several alligator gar, lurking just below the surface of the murky water. At the halfway point on the bridges, there is a visitor's center with restrooms and complimentary water, coffee and soda, so I pulled in, parked the Dyna and stretched my legs a bit. I went inside and used the restroom, then took the greeter up on their offer of a fresh cup of coffee. It's never too late for coffee, after all. After taking a walk around the short walking trail out back, I saddled up again and continued my trek west. 

The Lone Star State

With my destination still unknown and no real time constraints, I rolled on the throttle and let that V-Twin sing. I passed the exits for Lake Charles and realized that I was getting pretty close to the west side of the state, but it was still pretty early in the afternoon, so I decided to keep pushing on. The next thing I knew- I was approaching the Texas State Line. I saw the rest area, with its oversized metal star planted in the ground near the highway, and knew that I needed to get a picture, so I cruised in to the parking area and took my obligatory, and slightly gratuitous, travel photo. I was about to start heading back, but with endless blue skies still above me, I decided to find the nearest Harley-Davidson shop, to pick up a souvenir. 

I looked on the map and saw that there was a dealership in Beaumont, TX by the name of Cowboy Harley-Davidson, so I figured with a name like that, it would have to be a pretty decent place to get a collectible poker chip or two. I pressed on, westbound until I found my exit, then I navigated my way down to the shop. It was clean and the people were friendly, so I got my souvenirs then went back out to the parking lot. I ate a quick snack and drank some water, then decided it was time to mount up and head back home.

Where the heart is

The interstate heading back eastbound was just as comfortable as it was going west, so I was making good time. The sun was at my back, and my shadow stretched in front of me, getting longer and longer by each mile that I passed, until it was finally consumed by the darkness that had finally settled in on the dusk of that long summer day. I rolled into my driveway, just after 8pm, with my wife and kids eager to see me and hear about my unplanned, and unexpected, adventure to Texas. 

Interestingly enough, a few months later, I found myself riding my beloved Dyna Wide Glide back over to Beaumont one last time, in order to return to my rightful place, in the saddle a Harley-Davidson Road King. The same bike that I would take to the mountains in Volume One of the MotoWriter's...

Tales from the asphalt 

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Our Janus Experience, Chapter 2

As a wanna-be writer, with skills that I'm sure aren't as good as I think they are, I write for the sheer pleasure of writing. Mainly because nobody is paying me to do it. Maybe, I suppose, that is a good thing, as it keeps my writing pure. With that said... I'm writing this blog post for the second time, as the first piece (which was done and about to be published) was eaten by the internet and has now disappeared into the dark abyss, never to be read again. I won't dwell on this, extremely frustrating, setback... instead, I'll tell my little story... again.

Our Janus Experience, Chapter 2

I originally planned on telling my story in a multi-piece blog post series with cool little "chapters", but as it turned out... between working an unhealthy amount of time at my paying job and some minor setbacks throughout the whole process, it just wasn't meant to be. So, I'll tell the story in the best way that I can, so that I can share this experience with you and still salvage the little bit of Saturday morning that I have left.

At the end of Chapter 1, I left you with our build sheets being sent to the production team. Well, the next part of that journey should have been getting our production numbers (I'll explain later) and our VINs so that we could get our financing in order and then getting the link to our photo albums. Yes, I said photo albums... as in, the team at Janus photographs the bikes as they're being built, so that you can watch your new Janus motorcycle become more than the sum of its parts... so to speak. 

If I've never mentioned this before- I have, what would best be described as, "dumb" luck. My best explanation is this- I wouldn't consider myself to be "unlucky" per se, however... when it comes to me, if something can go wrong, it typically will. I guess you could say that Murphy's Law lives strong here in the ole MotoWriter. Without getting too far off topic, let me give you a hypothetical example: Let's say I was in a line of 500 people, getting an ice cream cone (it's hypothetical, after all). The 499 people before me would experience a delicious frozen treat, smooshed happily inside a delightfully crispy container... but that 500th cone, my cone, would undoubtedly have a hairline crack in the bottom of it and I would end up wearing more of the sugary frozen treat than I actually ate. Now, some people might say that sounds like "bad" luck, but in my case, the rest of the story would go like this: after wearing said ice cream stained shirt for the next hour, someone at a cool store would end up seeing me, and in a random act of kindness, end up giving me 50% off a new shirt. So, basically... it's not bad luck... it's just, well, "dumb luck." 

With that explanation out of the way, our experience with buying a Janus wasn't exactly the same as what most folks were reporting. Shortly after signing off on our build sheets, unbeknownst to my wife and I, one of the team members at Janus HQ got sick and was out for several days. Now, you might think that this shouldn't be much of an issue, but at a small operation like Janus, one critical member of the team going out unexpectedly can greatly affect the overall process of the build. With that being said, though... in our case, it didn't actually affect our builds, only our communication about the builds. 

When the good folks at Janus realized that my wife and I had, sort of, fallen through the cracks... they immediately made up for it. While at work one day, I got a call from an unknown number. I almost ignored it until I saw the call location was Goshen, IN. I immediately answered and, to my surprise, the guy on the other end of the line was none other than Janus Co-Founder and Owner, Richard Worsham! That's right, the Head Cheese, the Big Kahuna, the Big Boss Man himself! Now, I don't care how big or small a company is- for the guy at the very top to take time out of his day to call a customer and offer his condolences for things going a little sideways, then offer to answer any questions or address any concerns, is a major boss thing to do. THAT my friends, is the core of customer service from a guy that truly cares about giving his customers a positive experience along with a quality product. By the end of the call, Richard told me that we'd have our photo albums by the end of the day and, sure enough... we had them before I left for work that day. 

The builds

Now, I'll just say this, while we didn't get the albums of the builds while the builds were happening, that didn't change a thing for me. I'm still enamored by the fact that we have albums of our bikes being built. Imagine, if you will, someone at Harley-Davidson taking pictures of your bike as it was being built. At Janus, they not only take photos, but before the frame ever gets set on the build stand, the technician knows where that motorcycle is going and who it is going to. That is simply unheard of in this fast-paced production focused world we are in. The guys on the production lines at the major manufacturers are simply building bikes for a nameless, faceless customer to be bought from a dealer, somewhere out in the world, but at Janus, they knew that Halcyons #908 and #909 were coming to the Gulf Coast to Mr. and Mrs. MotoWriter and that, my friends, is friggin' awesome. 

When we got our albums and we could see the bikes coming together, part by part, it was exciting to see. You also may be wondering, if you caught it, what I meant by our "production numbers." Well, one thing that is really cool with Janus, is that they (much like every other manufacturer) keep up with their production numbers of their different models. The biggest difference being, they proudly display it on their bikes. On the Halcyon 250's, for example, they have an "old school" registration plate on the front fender that has the
 production number painted on it. Why, you might ask? Simple- they are proud of their motorcycles and, in the Janus Owners Community, the production numbers are a point of pride. For example, the guy that has Halcyon JM-001 may not necessarily have a more valuable bike than the guy with JM-500, but it's certainly cool to say he has it. Plus, it's just cool to have a "pedestrian slicer" as it's commonly known, on the front fender of your bike... it's a really neat throwback detail.

Janus really delivers... literally

Once your bike has been built and your financing is in place (or you've paid the balance on it), you have two options- pick it up from the factory in Goshen, IN, or have it delivered. Being that we are a full day drive away from the quaint little town where our motorcycles came into existence, and the fact that we were both working long hours over several days, my wife and I opted for delivery. Just over a week ago, I got a phone call from Mitch McLane, telling me that he and Kyle Norwood were southbound, heading to our house. The next morning, right on schedule, the Janus van pulled into our driveway.  My wife and I watched in eager anticipation as Mitch and Kyle unloaded our bikes. The guys were actually on their way to Barber Motorsports in Birmingham, AL so they had a few bikes in the back of the van. Due to the limited space, Kyle had to leave the mirrors and the engine guards off our bikes, so I let him use my garage to get them all buttoned up as we went inside with Mitch to get all the legal stuff taken care of. Did I mention that Kyle was one of the guys who actually built our bikes? How cool is that? Before finding Janus, I couldn't have imagined that any company could offer that kind of personal connection with their customers. These are production bikes with the one-on-one personal touch of having a one-off custom built bike. You won't find that anywhere else. Period. 

Not to mention, my wife's bike was ordered with a picnic basket and, when Mitch noticed that it wasn't sitting on the bike perfectly, he took it off, placed it back in the van and said that he would have a new one sent to her as soon as he got back home. He sincerely apologized that her bike wasn't perfect when it left Goshen. After Mitch and Kyle left, on their way to the Barber Motorsports Vintage Motorcycle Festival, my wife and I just sat back and enjoyed the simple elegance of our new steeds before we had to leave to go to our respective jobs.

The next chapter

While my storytelling of our Janus buying experience may be coming to an end with this post, I assure you that our Janus ownership experience is only just beginning. My wife still has yet to learn the basics of operating and riding her new motorcycle and I'm looking forward to teaching her to ride safely, cautiously and defensively. While Mrs. MotoWriter and her bike patiently wait for their first ride, my little Halcyon and I already have a few miles on the clock together. 

Riding a small bore motorcycle isn't for everyone. The vintage styling and rudimentary technology of the Janus Halcyon 250 isn't for everyone either. But for genuine motorcycle enthusiasts like me, these motorcycles are unbelievably cool. My Road King Special is my refined, sophisticated and very comfortable cruiser/tourer; my Dyna Street Bob is my ripper; and my Halcyon is the bike I'll ride when I'm longing for those days gone by, when life was simple, calm and easy.

Whatever you do in life, make it meaningful, make it fun and make it memorable with the ones you love. Ride safe and make happy choices, MotoReaders.