Thursday, September 18, 2014

72,000 miles. No big deal.

k1200gt hdr[4]

My 2003 BMW K1200GT recorded its 72,000th mile this afternoon as I rode in to Jonesboro to cash in an empty coffee bag for a cup of Starbucks coffee.

I’m a little embarrassed that it’s so few miles for 11 riding seasons. By the time my 1991 K100RS was this old, it had more than 159,000 miles on the odometer.

That said, my semi-obsessive record keeping tells me I’ve run about 1,800 gallons of gas – mostly 89 octane – through the GT at a cost of about $4,900 with an average fuel economy of 42 mpg.

It’s carried me to the Colorado Rocky Mountains several times and the Pacific Northwest and the California coast a couple of times.

The 1004 K75S that I bought for Maria in the fall of 2000 with 2,417 miles on the clock, now has accumulated another 14,394 miles – some of them Maria’s but mostly mine. It has consumed 328 gallons of gas since we got it, for a fuel economy of 42.4 mpg.

That’s enough stats for now. Time to ride.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Here’s something you don’t see every day


This was my collection of Third Reich flags and banner back around 1990, spread out over much of the back yard of our house at 5009 N. College Ave. in Indianapolis.

I have several more now, but don’t have a convenient place to array them for a similar photo.

That’s the problem with collecting unpopular, inflammatory things. You can’t display them, especially if they’re huge like the biggest one here – a State Service Flag that’s about 10 feet on the short side. If I were to run one up a flagpole, it would be sure to cause a stir.

I took it and some other German stuff to Austin’s high school English class several years ago. They were doing a unit on the Holocaust and the teacher asked if I could bring some things to show. A student volunteer and I got onto chairs to hold up the State Service Flag, which pretty much covered the front wall of the classroom, so the kids could see it in all its graphic savagery.

That was about the time the principal strolled down the hall and glanced in through the vertical glass panel in the door and was transfixed by the biggest swastika he’d ever seen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I didn’t even know she was sick

leslie collins

Leslie Alig Collins was one of my best correspondents when I was chief of the Metro North Bureau of The Indianapolis News from the mid-1980s to the mid-‘90s.

Her copy was always exceptionally clean and usually needed little or no editing as she covered stories in her hometown of Zionsville and in the county seat of Lebanon, Ind.

She was a Facebook friend in recent years, but I never saw a clue that she was ill with cancer.

So it was like a slap in the face this morning when I got an email from Indianapolis News colleague Art Harris telling me she died Monday morning.

Art got the news from former Boone County Commissioner Wendy Brant and passed it on. Wendy wrote, “The cancer was throughout her body - kidney failure. She was a strong Christian and told me recently she was not afraid to die. The funeral is at Zionsville Fellowship this Friday.”

Godspeed, Leslie, until we meet again.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Around the fire pit


We were discussing what to do after dinner last evening when we noticed that our neighbor Shannon posted a photo of his fire pit ablaze in his back yard.

So we walked over to join the fun. It was Sophie and Shannon and their extended family, sitting around and torching marshmallows, hot dogs and bologna.

I got thirsty after about a half-hour and made a 10-minute (round trip) run to the county line liquor store for a 12-pack of Budweiser, which I shared liberally with our hosts and other guests.

It was cool – in the upper 50s – and pretty much mosquito-free and a good time was had by all.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Jack gets a checkup

jack and heather

I took Jack, aka Briarbrooks Gentleman Jack Flora, to the Animal Medical Center for a routine checkup and shots this morning.

Dr. Heather Curry, who we and our dogs love, pronounced him a healthy boy.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Motorcycle Pin of the Day

cannonball pin

Here’s the official commemorative pin from this year’s Pre-1937 Cannonball Endurance Run from Daytona Beach to Tacoma.

The 100+ riders completed the fifth day of the trip on Tuesday afternoon at Cape Girardeau and Charlie Parsons and I were among the spectators waiting for them.

56 hd1 1914 10E Victor Boocock

Victor Boocock of California rode the oldest bike in the group, a 1914 Harley-Davidson 10E.

103 guzzi sport giuseppe savoretti

Giuseppe Savoretti brought his 1931 Moto Guzzi Sport from Italy to participate in the event.

1928 indian scout kirk macgillivray

Kirk MacGillivray, riding his 1928 Indian Scout was the only rider I saw in heavy leathers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

More Cannonball Endurance Run photos

53 bmw john landstrom 1928

Here's John Landstrom on his 1928 BMW R62 arriving at the Cape Girardeau, Mo. checkpoint Tuesday afternoon in the Cannonball Endurance Run for pre-1937 motorcycles. The riders started Sept. 5 in Daytona Beach. By the time they end their 17-day trip in Tacoma, Wash., they will have covered about 4,000 miles, averaging 250 miles a day. Today's destination is Sedalia, Mo.

rudge stuart surr 72

Stuart Surr, Manchester, England, on his 1926 Rudge.

23bmw norm nelson 1928r52

Norm Nelson on his 1928 BMW R52.

63 years ago today

firstdayschool001 Sixty-three years ago this morning I posed with Jeannie Taylor and Susan Kent in front of the bush behind the big brick duplex their families shared on East Franklin Street in Delphi, Ind. It was across the alley from my parents’ house at 609 E. Franklin.

We were on the threshold of academia. Minutes later, I was in Mrs. Kathleen Baum’s first grade classroom at the southwest corner of Monroe Street Elementary School with my pencils, crayons and oilcloth (to protect the desks from modeling clay).

Our first assignment was to draw a big red apple on a sheet of manila art paper to take home to our mothers.

Mrs. Baum seemed very nice and I remember trying to show her a photograph of our house that I kept in my wallet. Yes, I carried a wallet as a 6-year-old.