Friday, August 17, 2012

Moto Maintenance in Missoula

We were all up at the crack of 8:00 in order to scoot up to the local HD shop for a new rear tire for  the Softail in the gang.  We arrived early, and fortunately there was a barissta bar in the parking lot.  I managed to convince the scantily clad barista that 5 dollars Canadian was real money, and that she would not lose money on a cup of coffee for a blue one.  Thankfully she was gracious enough to accept   the fiver, as I had not bothered to exchange any coin into American money, and have been using plastic regularly.

The Missoula Harley Davidson shop is a very new shop, with lots and lots of bikes and chrome bits and pieces for sale.  Their policy is first come, first served, and we had arrived at the opening bell, and were promptly assessed regarding tire needs.  We had a chance to tour the front end of the large store, and there were lots of Tee Shirts, jackets, helmets, boots, and gear for the HD orientated person.  Brian was going to buy a leather jacket for his grandson, but we thought that it may project a negative image for him at the local playschool.

The first bike, at the entryway to the store, was a Boss Hoss, a huge custom built bike with a 502 HP V8 motor in it.  It was a beautifully built machine, and certainly a candidate for the Lotto List.

I have to say that there was a lot of glitter and chrome in the store area, and we had an hour or so to wander about and check out the latest rides.

While I was photographing a couple of old-school bikes, an old guy came up to me and asked me if I liked them.  I explained that I thought the styling and workmanship was from a different era.  It turns out that the man I am talking to is the owner of the building, and that one of the bikes is his, and the other was the man who was his best man at his wedding.  Bob, the owner, had both of these racers restored in memory of his friend who had passed away.

We had an interesting conversation about bikes and politics and then my nephew joined the conversation.  It turns out that Bob, who I would guess is close to 80, has a number of planes, and it is clear that while he loves motorcycles, he is also a plane fanatic.  He and my nephew started spinning airplane stories and it became clearer and clearer that this man had a serious passion for speed, and that he had the finances to support a Lear Jet and other very expensive toys and machines.  It was very cool that he also had the cojones to back up his passion by acquiring his helicopter license as well as other certificates to fly.  It was a very interesting conversation with a man who clearly  was not pretentious, and had worked hard to achieve his dreams.

As we were leaving, Bob came out of the shop and showed my nephew and I some great pictures of his various planes, boats, motorcycles, and houses..I noticed in one of the pics  that he had a blond Lab, so I figure this guy was pretty alright.  My brother-in-law asked him if he had any daughters, and he said that he only had one, but that she was 48.  My brother-in-law was thinking of his son, and I was thinking of me...

We toured the shop until the tire was installed, and managed to get out of there without buying any bling, although the leather jacket idea was a great one, in my opinion.

 The following three pics are of a Honda Rune.  What a cool looking bike, and it was going for $25,000.  I think that Arlen Ness must have had his hand in the styling of this baby.

We had a couple of hours before my appointment at the local BMW,KTM, and Kawasaki bike shop.  This was the same shop that I had landed in three years ago when my kickstand switch had failed on Logan Pass.  These guys had been very good about getting in a new switch for me then.  When we arrived, the same service Manager was working, and lo and behold if he did not remember me and my bike.  I thought that was very cool, and my opinion of Big Sky Moto Sports went up a further notch.

Something for the off season when that white stuff gets in the way of riding...

Someone is way too obsessed with those red and white machines....

The technicians working on my bike discovered that my custom built rear hub contained a KTM rear sprocket.  Lucky for me, they had a sprocket that would fit this custom design.  I had no idea that the new hubs and rims that I had ordered last winter had changed the sprocket over to KTM, which is apparently stronger.  Very lucky for me that Big Sky Motors is a KTM as well as a BMW shop.  The guys were great in dealing with the issue, and I was very pleased with my new heavy duty chain and shiny sprocket.  I finally have some bling on my bike.

After our tour of the two shops and the issues with the two bikes being dealt with fairly and quickly, we  retired to our motel to make plans for the next stage of this tour.

A newer version of my Sis's Spyder.  I think the front end of these is cool, but she is happy with hers, too.
 Nothing but bikes at this hotel...
We had to eat after that exhausting day of fixing bikes and oogling all the bling, so it was Meat nite in Missoula

Some advice for those of us thinking we are too busy to enjoy the moments..

And finally, a reminder to all those actors and actresses out there, and  their teachers who support this program....

Although we did not tour much of Missoula beyond the two shops today, I think that it was a good experience for us all.  We met some local folks who were open and honest, and while they were running businesses, did not let that interfere with demonstrating kindness and a willingness to go out of their way to strangers.  I was impressed with both shops and will be back with my Lotto List.
Perhaps the steely eyes of an early Missoula pioneer inspired the ethics and forthright manner of these gents today...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Montana Roads

After a great breakfast at a funky little restaurant in Hungry Horse, we set off for the huge damn not far outside of town.  This massive damn holds back a huge lake and is a massive example of construction and power generation.

We carried on our ride, and rode around a beautiful lake with amazingly clear water. Flathead lake is very reminiscent of Kalamalka Lake in the Okanagan, complete with cherry orchards.  We made a quick stop at a old car museum that was completely dedicated to Flathead Fords, and there were a couple of very interesting and well preserved old Fords in the yard.

At the south end of Flathead lake we stopped for lunch and soon afterwards found a fantastic museum, the likes that I have never seen before!

These bikes were dropped with paratroopers during WWII.


How would you like to have your hair curled with this outfit?

 We had tried to get to see some live buffalo, but motorcycles were not allowed on the National Buffalo Preserve, unfortunately.

The museum has an amazing amount of military material, including a Huey Helicopter, which Sean could not fly for obvious reasons.

We thought that Ian could fly this helicopter, perhaps

These two bucks show where fighting will get you

Strangely, the National Buffalo Preserve had a pile of Elk horns in the parking lot......