Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Loud Lights Save Lives...

The battery on the Suburban was as dead as Kelsey’s nuts, and had been for a week, which was the last time I had used the truck and left all of the interior lights burning. Normally, this isn’t a problem as I would just jump in the other SUV. But Leslie (Stiffie), my red hot squeeze, had disappeared in the Subaru on an art retreat (which is what creative women call drinking, criticizing men, and dancing naked in the moonlight) for the weekend. I had three errands to run, one of which included sitting down to a fine sushi dinner at a local Asian bait shop, staffed by a firecracker of a fish-slicer, whose tanned McGuffies are barely contained by her loosely-tied kimono. In fact, they occasionally look out and wink at me.

Little "Kimiko" takes great pride in her sushi masterpieces. I can sit and watch her slice tuna all night.
(Photo courtesy of Kimiko's Sushi and Bait Shop -- Click to enlarge)

But the arthritis pain in my hips had become so steady in the July humidity that the thought of just jumping on my 1995 BMW K75, without first stretching my joints (a process which can take hours), was a longer stretch than the distance to the sushi place. I had the bright idea, briefly, of using the bike’s willowy jumper cables to try and get the truck to turn over. However, the heroic tendency of expensive BMW/Bosch electrical components to sacrifice themselves for a $50 alternator and $75 Pep Boys battery convinced me to bag the notion.

Typical of the roads I ride, this one is ready for a deer ambush. The tree cover comes right to the edge of the road. (Photo by the author -- Click to enlarge)

I had placed my dinner order in advance and had made it clear that I’d be there in 20 minutes. This guarantees me a special spot at the sushi bar where I can watch “Kimiko” lean over each time she pushes the knife through the Yellow Tail. In truth, the pre-ride preparations for the motorcycle can take up to a half-hour or longer, and I do not normally consider it for dashing around town. It looked like I might have to call and cancel dinner (which would get me in Dutch with the proprietor as she was certain to have started cutting the fish). Yet the other two stops were important too. The tag shop had called and the vanity plate for my bike was ready. Plus, I was out of arthritis medication and things in the throbbing joint department were going to be a lot dicier in the morning.

This image reminds me of the Hudson River School of Painting; dark alcoves in the trees and thick forest patches allow the damn deer to pop out like targets on a professional police range. This scene is five minutes from my desk. (Photo by the author)

I said to myself, “What kind of a douche (pronounced “doosh” in Jersey City) have you become? You have a registered and insured motor vehicle right here in the garage, and you’ve got places to go. Stop being such a gimpy pussy, and just get on the bike. How much can it hurt?”

This was the last week in July and raising the garage door allowed the super-heated air in the stuffy bays to spill outside, wilting the plants in their fancy pots. Gasping for oxygen like a 900-pound grouper in a microwave, I pulled on my mesh, scorned the damned gloves, and put the spurs to “Fireballs.” My reflection covered most of the plate glass window in the front of the restaurant and Kimiko seemed to be laughing at a private joke as I rolled in the door, giving her the famously suggestive “Riepe leer.”

Deer are not the only stupid creatures that run out onto the road. These Guinea Fowl can occasionally be found on the pavement. Once again, this amazing scenario is just ten minutes from my desk. (Photo by the author -- Click to enlarge)

Kimiko put on a real show for me that night, especially as I insisted that she use no more than 200 grains of rice for each piece of sushi. She bent over the sushi bar, dutifully counting the grains with a knife point while I looked on in wonder. (She caught on by the third piece and clipped me upside the head with a section of octopus tentacle, which made a sucking noise like aggravated Velcro when I pulled it off.)

The perspective in this shot lies. The road greatly narrows to cross the largely steel grate bridge, which divides this farm on Gilbert's Mill Road in half. (Photo by the author -- Click to enlarge)

It was well past dusk when I left for my next stop.

This part of Pennsylvania is a series of little towns and communities connected by narrow, winding, farm roads that cross picturesque fields -- filled with tick-laden deer that are the equivalent of rats with hooves. Despite being less than 40 minutes from the terminals of Philadelphia’s international airport, I have to drive around a cornfield to get to the liquor store. (This is normal for places like Nebraska, but very odd for a major metropolitan area on the east coast.) Between the deer, the gravel, and the Amish road apples, riding around here in the dark demands good lights.

My quest for the perfect driving lights has been going on for two years.

I have an Osram Darkness Decimator White Light (or something that sounds like that) headlamp bulb behind the oversize glass lens of the K75. I couldn’t find this in the US last year, and ordered it from a supply house in Britain. (It was $56 for two units, plus shipping and handling.) This is a great improvement over the yellowing 15-year-old H4 halogen unit that I had before, throwing a much brighter beam about 60 feet further.

Looking like pigs at first, these are banded cattle being raised for fun and profit by one of the neighbors, who must have money coming out his ass. This shot was taken 5 minutes from my desk. (Photo by the author -- Click to enlarge)

But I still like having something more in the way of illumination at the sides of the forks too. This led to my purchase of brake caliper-mounted Motolights (a $350 accessory I highly recommend). These lights are primarily for increasing my own conspicuity while riding during the day. However, the 50-watt bulbs encase the front forks in a basket of light, which gives me a better perspective of my relationship to the ground in nocturnal turns. (This perspective seems to be linked to my peripheral vision, as I do not look down when turning.)

I caught this rainbow (right) coming through the center of town. It ends exactly where our house sits.
This is proof that Twisted Roads is at the end of the rainbow. (Photo by the author -- Click to enlarge)

Hitting the dash switch on this night made it apparent that the right Motolight was out, creating a darkening void to one side for my tired eyes. There are those among my riding partners in the Mac Pac (the premier BMW riding club in southeastern Pennsylvania) who would suggest that a condition such as this would cause me to ride in slow turns to the right at night.

“Shit,” I whispered with enthusiasm for this new challenge.

The headlight and the remaining Motolight were more than ample for the running around I had to do as it was a humid and hazy night, but free of fog and rain. I clearly saw the first four deer munching someone’s flowers at the turn for a single-lane bridge. A piercing blast from my horn did nothing but cause the quartet to wag their ears in annoyance. Clearly, it would take the metallic click of chambering a Rottweiller rifled slug into the barrel of a classic Browning A5 12-gauge to get them to look up.

I counted over 15 deer in the next few miles and made a note to recommend that the Pennsylvania Department of Fish and Game create a special machine gun or grenade season for deer. Either that, or introduce Bengal tigers to the woods around East Goshen. (I would like to personally release the first tiger by throwing it on my elderly neighbor and her fucking cat.)

Making my other two stops without incident, I was almost home when a kid on a bicycle (without a light or a single reflector), darted across the pavement. This wasn’t a little kid, but a stupid adolescent whose stem cells won’t feel the first electrifying charge of a thought for another couple of years. To boot, this asshole appeared to be dressed in black too. The encounter wasn’t so close as to require dangerously evasive action -- but it was close enough.

That was the moment when I decided to get yet another set of riding lights on the bike.

I had a sizable credit on the books at my local BMW dealer (Herny’s BMW/Port Clinton, Pa), which I decided to piss away on a new set of PIAA High Intensity Discharge lights. Known as PIAA’s “Cross Country” lights, these babies are a scant two and a half inches in diameter, and four inches long. Each has a built-in ballast and their small size, coupled with PIAA universal mounting brackets, gives the farkle-preoccupied consumer a number of placement options.

The PIAA High Intensity Dischard (HID) Cross Country Lights are well-designed and well-executed... I mounted them on my crash bars, using PIAA L-Bracket universal mounts. The lights were $575, and the mounts were $35. (Photo courtesy of PIAA's website -- Click to enlarge)

These lights come in a beautiful flat black and I decided that they would go perfectly on the “authority” bars of my K75. This model bike was offered with two sets of crash bars. The civilian set is much narrower and somewhat taller, while the “police” or authority bars are wider, and come with mounting tabs for additional lights or a siren. The civilian bars were offered in black, while the cop version came in an offending chrome. (I had mine powder-coated last spring.) In keeping with my machine’s reputation for defying the bolt-off, bolt on/plug and play philosophy, the authority bars are alleged to be very hard to come by.

The light kit is all inclusive and comes with a relay, wiring harness, cool LED-outfitted switch, a tiny allen key, and detailed instructions that gave me a pounding headache the second I looked at them. The universal mounting brackets must be ordered separately. After reading the installation directions carefully, I laid out all the parts, took measurements of the included wiring harness, and prepared to snip off the fancy LED switch, as I preferred the more austere look of using a BMW OEM dash switch. Then I mixed a rum and Coke the size of my ass, and called Brian Curry, an electrical engineer, K75 guru, and good friend, to make the actual installation.

This is what "Fireballs" looks like with all of my running lights powered up at once. Mike Cantwell is in the saddle and I am taking the picture (Photo by the author -- Click to enlarge)

It took Curry about two hours. He ran the heavy power ran through the Centech fuse box I had installed last spring. The PIA Cross Country HID lights draw just 30 watts apiece, for a total of 60 (40 less than the MotoLights). They pose no challenge to the K75’s 50 amp alternator, according to the voltmeter, which I also had installed six months ago. Both the PIAA lights and the MotoLights can be run together, with no drop in juice, if the engine is turning at 1100 rpm or better.

For the first system test, we hung a raw steak on the wall of the garage, aimed the lights at it, and pulled the trigger. It was cooked to well-done in three seconds, as jets of blue/white fire shot out and nearly vaporized it. Though set to a 12-degree angle of refraction, these lights cover a fairly sizable piece of real estate. Curry was very careful in aiming these, with the intention of aggravating as few drivers as possible as they approach from the opposite direction.

One of the best pictures ever taken of this bike... The lighting configuaration is clearly visible. This is a magnificent 1995 BMW K75. The farkle is dignified and the bike is becoming my alter ego. (Photo by Chris Wolfe -- Click to enlarge for a less grainy picture)

In truth, I have been blinded by so many of these damn xenon headlights that I don’t really give a shit that my K75 now looks like a shooting star. My riding partner Dick Bregstein is recovering from clap at the moment, and I took the bike out of service for a couple of weeks while he is waiting to recover. This provided a good opportunity to pull the muffler and send it to Jet-Hot for a metallic/porcelain coating (in black) to replace the powder-coating that failed. In my estimation, the muffler looks great ($160) and I intend to have the headers done this winter.

All in all, my K75 is becoming my signature bike. The acquisition of these lights represent the last farkle I will ever spend money on. I now have a custom seat, restored seat lock, Centch fuse box, relay in the headlight, MotoLight, PIAA Lights, GPS, PIAA sport horn, heat in the seat, powder-coated crash bars, Jet-Hot coated muffler, GPS mount, and voltmeter. The last bit to go is the installation of the Steble/Nautilus Compact Air Horn, still on my work bench. I have to get a bracket made for this unit, which draws 18amps when blown. (We may have that in common.)

This motorcycle is one of my few joys in life. Aside from getting married every now and again, I don’t gamble. I don’t chase women, having perfected a technique that draws them to me. And I don’t drink like I used to. Hell, I’m a step away from being St. Francis. I should be able to spend a few bucks on this rig to make it safer -- and a little bit cooler-looking-- if I want to.

You cannot put a price on safety.

58 comments:

bobskoot said...

Mr Jack"r"IEPE

wow, lots of very nice pictures and lots of farkles for your K75. I would like to have extra lights too but only Beemers have enough capacity for powering all your gadgets. If we go on a night ride (Next July) we will make you lead the way. It will be like following the "SUN"

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Conchscooter said...

Dear Toad.
I think you need a sidecar with a portable 2600kw generator so you can have a proper bank of headlights on your machine. I can't see how you rationalize going out on the public highway with only five blazing headlights on your motorcycle.I feel certain there is a corner of east goshen that is probably quite dark even when you choose to take a night ride, by gosh.
Clearly I have a death wish with just one light on my feeble twin.There again I am a government bureaucrat and therefore notoriously dim witted as well as dim headlighted.
Fraternally Yours
Badger.

Torch said...

That's one flashy K75!

Ride on,
Torch

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Dey build das goot machine in Cherminy. The alternstor on this rig is 50 amps and it produces more juice than Tropicana. But I had the voltmeter installed for the cold days, when juice demand may be high or sluggish. This will allow me to start switching stuff off, if need be. I do have the bike idling somewhat higher as the battery does not charge below 1100 RPM. This is easy to judge becaudse all BMW's come with a tachometer -- like proper motorcycle's should.

Thank you for faithfully reading my blog and for continually commenting in a way that does not make me feel stupid, fat, or like a self-serving parasite. Your comments are always encouraging and refreshing.

Fondfest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

Your concern for my well-being is quite touching. It has been suggested by others in my riding group, that I should replace the lights with a dog and a white cane. Please be advised that the brochure that came with these lights specifically mentioned thay are exceptionally effective at picking out recovering north American crocodiles, key deer, and uneven pavement.

Kindly note that our former Axis opponent designed this machine capable of supporting these devices 14 years ahead of its time -- in addition to providing it with a tachometer and a self-raising side stand. I know how important this information is to you.

I look forward to visiting you and bringing a little light into your life.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Torch:

Thank you for your kind comment. Not everyone shares your sense of the aesthetic. Please feel free to read this blog as often as you like... And to continue to make these astute observations, as they bring joy to my life.

By the way, did I mention I bought a pair of the Bates zip up boots at your recommendation? They are great for dancing too.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Ihor found some time and said...

The lights-on photo at the Hungry Trout explains why I thought the sun had a side-kick while we were in Wilmington, NY!! The main lamp looks like it has enough juice, together the arrangement has all the necessities of safety and intimidation that dark unlit mountain roads demand. The second sentence following said picture was dim however. Enlightenment requested.

cpa3485 said...

I just knew it. That strange glow I saw in the eastern sky a couple of nights ago. I knew somehow you were the cause.
Great post Jack. Those visualizations of the 900 lb grouper in the microwave and cooking steak in the garage had me laughing pretty hard.
I bet you are damn near helpless without Leslie around.

ADK said...

I thought that Mike Cantwells modulating headlight was the most annoying thing I'd ever seen, that is until I rode in front of The Riepe Light Machine! I had a headache for two days. If the intent of that array is to burn out every retina that glances your way Jack then I think you have probably succeded in your plan. At least now the deer will be completely blind when they run into the road, I'm sure greatly increasing your margin of safety, as well as that of the other drivers who encounter the ones you don't hit. OTOH, every night he was here Jack fried something for dinner by simply pointing Fireballs at the closest small mammal. And by modulating the light intensity Jack demonstrated his ability to use the lights as a thinly diguised peeping tom. Several young and attractive women were surprised by the ability of Fireballs to illuminate, and in some cases dissipate, light summer clothing.

Rogers George said...

Good post, but the last sentence was the best. Safety is a good thing. No pics of your chef, though, huh? Come out for a visit and I'll have my boy make you some sushi. It's a hobby with him.

My steed is waiting for me to work up the nerve to adjust the valves. It seems to have survived my carb rebuild.

You don't seem to visit my blog any more (http://rogersgeorge.blogspot.com in case you lost the url). I'll have to write a post about the nine females I keep in a shed in the back, who ask for sex every time I check on them. No lie.

Bugser said...

Dear Jack,

It's okay to admit you don't want to hurt the deer.

Canajun said...

Good post, and I like the last sentence best. Perhaps I'll try it on the spousal unit. I'll only sue if it doesn't work out.

And after paying $575 for a couple of bright bulbs you'd think they'd at least toss the mounting brackets in for free. What do they expect you to do, hold them in your hands?

Steve Williams said...

Invoking the Hudson River Valley painters is a cheap way to get my attention. If you could have gotten that rainbow in that picture you would have really reflected that painterly reverence...

Except for the deer ambush thing. We have the same kind of roads here and it really puts a damper on forward progress for me. Not for everyone though.

Those appear to be some serious lights to illuminate your world. Or interrogate someone.

The Game Commission may not do the grenade thing but they do contract silent and stealthy archers to do away with the critters in those people infested regions of the state. Always good to see one of them working before dawn in someone's backyard. "It's ok sir, I'm just killing deer for the state!"

Keep stretching those hips so we can continue to enjoy your reports. If you start writing fiction I'm not sure I could keep my head from exploding because your stories would probably touch too many laugh buttons.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I'm sorry you and I did not get the opportunity to cruise around and do the tourist thing together, like I did with Chris, Mike, my daughter, and her significant other Jordan.

I think the light deal is cool on my bike, but I am finally through with the farkle, unless it is to connect a "Back Off" 36-LED blsack metal license plate bracket on the back,. Yeah... That would look really cool. And its only $79!

Wha sentence threw you in the caption? All seems well to me.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

There is nothing more aggravating to me than to get caught in the dark and find myself straining to see what's up ahead. These lights should take care of that. And as I said in a post to your blog, I have purchaserd yellow lens covers for these lights for use in fog.

Close friends of mine will tell you that that heat turns me into a madman. I cannot stand it. While I used the fact that my friend Dick Bregstein wasn't riding in August as my excuse not to ride (plus the fact I was having this work done), the truth is that I couldn't stand the thought of wearing all this body armor in the August heat.

Leslie and are are pretty independent on most issues... But she treats these dogs like they are visiting diplomats, and it is hard for me to keep up that appearance.

Thank you for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris):

The whining of a man whose bike accommodates no farkle -- other than frame sliders, which is does not have and desperately needs -- is most unattractive in a blog of this sort. Please be advised that Mike and I are taking up a collection for duct tape (made in bright yellow) so you do not have to hide the left siude of your machine in all the photographs.

I regret to report the arthritis got much worse after I got home. Oddly enought, it has given me a peculiar resolve. I will rerturn to the Adirondacks at ther next three-day weekend, which I think is Columbus Day.

Now, here is the rub. I went up threre with Stiffie to go camping on Saranac Lake one Coumbus Day and the temperature during the day was 68ยบ. We ewent up there again fior that same weekend two years later, and it snowed.

By the way, you can take that flashlight you won from Twisted Roads and tape it to your handle bars for additional lighting.

By the way, the Lake Placid Ride Blog will appear in a couple of days.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rogers:

I have not been myself since mid-July and have cut my writing and reading effort in half. I cannot easily explain the source of this bad humor but it has permeated a lot of what I like to do. Please check to see if I hsve not made ammends as a reader of your blog over the next couple of days.

Many times I look at something, and make a note to answer, but am so tired at the end of the day, or aggravated, or the victim of ennui, that I cannot make a good response... And just don't.

I beg your indulgence in this matter. I am working on it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bugser:

If I had the use of both legs and this damn hip, nothing would prevent me from hunting deer to near extinction in three states with my good pal Ihor (also a reader of this blog). Some of my best fall afternoons were spent with Ihor hunting pheasants over well-trained dogs. And we have both taken our share of deer too.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Canajun:

I feel pretty much the same way about the brackets, but we are living in a society where you will get charged for the air you breath if the seller gets a chance.

But, the lights exceed my expectations and the brackets are real quality. Sometimes you do get what you pay for. I really liked your line, "do they expect you to hold them in your hands," especially as the lights come with a warning not to touch the housings if they have been on for a while.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

I do not deny that I live in one of the most beautiful spots in Pennsylvania -- thanks to Stiffie. However, if you blow up those shots, you will realize there is no place to pull off the road. And cagers travel these pavements at speeds in excess of 50 mph -- often while chatting on the phone. While the bike has 4-way flashers (it's a BMW), I do not expect anyone in a car to actually see them or me.

It makes it impossible for me to stop and get decent pictures. Furthermore, my growing disability prevents me for jumping on and off the bike with any degree of speed. So I have grab what I can, which is not always what I want.

As I have said before, nothing is more aggravating that not being able to see in the dark. I believe I have rectified that situation. While I haven't wriiten about this before, there is a measurement of headlight efficiency that regards contrast over various conditions. In certain circumstances, it is possible for the brightest of lights to be devoured by a wet pavement, giving the sharpest of eyes the deepest black to consider. By having three different kinds of bulbs on this rig, I think I have eliminated that possibility too.

I will giver you fair warning, but I hope to make it out your way one weekend this fall. I'll send you my itinerary, and you can run into me if you like.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

sgsidekick said...

Dear Jack:
I have an aunt in WVA who hunted up until her 65th birthday, when she switched from deer to squirrels as they were closer to the house. I myself can generally hit what I aim at, although nowadays I'd rather be using a camera.

Love the lights! More is better! SURELY deer will now run from the many-eyed monster! (or maybe not, knowing how stupid some deer are).

Ride safe!!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sgsidekick (Tena):

There is a woman who occasionally posts on this blog. Her name is "Bunny," and she has been a friend of mine for years. When I went to her place in rural Pennsylvania, she and her significant other severed Leslie and me an elegant breakfast on the outside porch. This was Leslie's first time to meet Bunny and Rick.

In the middle of breakfast, Bunny yelled, "Oh shit," and ran into the house. A minute later, the bathroom window opened and she started blazing away at a bird feeder with a .22 rifle. It seems the squirrels were eating the bird seed again.

Leslie and I will be seeing you and Bugser in nine days. Won't that be cool?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Ihor specifically said...

This sentence, the second one after the Hungry Trout photo.
"He ran the heavy power ran through the Centech fuse..."
For a guy who can barely walk, you have alot of ran!
HA HA HA HA HA! Good one.

I accept my cut of the fault for not sharing more time in the ADKs. I'm next up there from the 10th to the 19th of October. Perhaps a quiet dinner with Chris and Missy can be arranged and then we can go out and build snowmen? Z and I have a to-do list to address involving electrical issues and kitchen cabinetry; oh, and some fish to assail from his canoe. Atlantic salmon run until the 15th, then they slow to a crawl or hold still 'til next year. 'One, two, three, RED LIGHT!!'

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

This means that Brian Curry ran the main power line for the new lights through a customized fuse box on the bike, while the activating switch is on the dash, but triggers the lighting units through a relay.

This minimizes failure at the switch, while providing a healthier current flow through much heavier wire. Scary that I know this shit, huh?

Fondest regards,
Riepe

DC said...

Dear Jack,

Who knew you were so bright?

Dave

sgsidekick said...

Yes, it WILL be cool! And while I may have an occasion to yell "Oh shit!" I won't be blasting with my .22. The airport frowns on taking guns along, so I'll have to leave it at home. I'm getting giddy with excitement!

Bloom said...

Dear St. Jack,
So much my pleasure to read another one of your informative and funny blogs. Probably not as much fun as watching you practice your specialized technique for drawing in women, up close and personal last night. Congrats on the new addition to your baby Fireballs. Glad that you are riding in even higher fashion and function with every farkle.
With love and complete admiration... Patty

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Bright Eyes:
You'll be pleased to learn that the clap has been cured, and you can kiss my ass again.
From now on you can lead; I don't want those fucking searchlights roasting my tail pipe.Nice story and fine photos. I'm riding this weekend. Let me know if you want to lead.

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Bright Eyes:
You'll be pleased to learn that the clap has been cured, and you can kiss my ass again.
From now on you can lead; I don't want those fucking searchlights roasting my tail pipe.Nice story and fine photos. I'm riding this weekend. Let me know if you want to lead.

Charlie6 said...

Jack, holy crap that's quite the light output to the front! And yet, there's idiots out there on cages that will still NOT see you....don't count on them to attract every idiot's attention.

Still, I like it. It's re-awoken the desire to add additional forward facing lights on my R80, perhaps anchored on the engine guards like this:

from www.indian.no

For my soon to be mine URAL Sidecar rig....a light on the sidecar is in the planning stages. I'll more closely resemble an oncoming car to the clueless cager about to make a left turn in front me, hopefully.

Nice post!

dom

Woody said...

Only you could drag out adding lights on your bike for 6 pages AND you didn't install them! Sheesh.

Lance said...

Jack, I agree - when dealing with all of the Little Red Riding Hoods out there on the roads, "the better to see you" (and be seen by you)is a good motto.

And, you had to link to Selma Hayak - I have always been enamoured of her!

Allen Madding said...

reep,

Congratulations on wrangling someone into mounting the additional landing lights on your BMW.

In the future, if you have a mechanical failure that leaves you stranded on the side of the road, just signal SOS with the new lights. The men and women aboard the space station will dispatch someone to your aid forthwith.

Dick Bregstein - glad to hear you are recovering nicely. I'm sure reep is nervous just learning this news.

-Peace

Jack Riepe said...

Dear DC:

All of us have a light that shines from within. Yet why is it that among the Macv Pac, where the average of intellect is not great, I am continually regarded as a ten watt bulb?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sdsidekick:

I have found the best place to meet in less than 8 days now. It is sort of like dinner/theatre. While there is a menu, it is proper to sit at the bar and be entertained by performance artists, who use a pole to illiustrate the gymnastic quality of modern dance. Bugser will love it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Patty:

It was your idea to invite me to a place where there was an open bar. Then you kept bringing over women so they could watch the giant panda squirm in his seat. Is it my fault that couple thought I was hot shit?

How was I supposed to know that tipping that waitress, who could be a body and face double for Sandra Bullock, in advance would make her my personal assistant in a slinky black dress for the whole night?

Funny how things work out, isn't it? And I didn't use the battered baby seal look once.

Thank you for reading my version of a technical/mechanical blog and for commenting in a straightforward manner.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Iron Dick Bregstein:

As you may have read, I am exposing a conspiracy at the next Mac Pac monthly breakfast, this Sunday, at the Pottstown Family Diner, at 8am.

Oddly enough, I have a confederate in this endeavor, who has gone to great expense and personal trouble to join me in broadening the fight against the tulip sniffers.

Can you meet me in the driveway here at ten minutes to seven on Sunday morning? We have a short ride to the east to escourt the mother ship into breakfast. When breakfast is over, we might go find Peter for lunch. I'll call him today.

I am supposed to be riding to New York City on Saturday with Matt Piechota, but I haven't heard anything from him yet.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I would be embarrassed to let you know just how much of my motivation to get these lights installed was a pure "coolness" factor. I do love they way this whole project has come together.

If I am not mistaken, the company that makes the Ural also has headlights for the hack rig, don't they? I was thinking it might be easier not to reinvent the wheel. Then again, you might be after a more customized look.

I was originally attempting to recreate the style of the lighting effects you included in your response. The PIAA lights I originally purchased for this task (2 years ago) were 6 inches in diameter, and defied easy mounting on the crash frame. The PIAA Cross Country Lights were introduced with these universal mounts, which will work with just about any kind of bar.

In hindsight, I might still have gone with the 6" lights, which would fit the new brackets too, but I decided to go high tech (just for the hell of it).

Thank you for reading my tripe so often, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody:

I like to draw the reader into my world, to feel my pain, to see my point, and to easily share my operspective. This cannot be rushed, especially if the reader is to be entertained. Were you not entertained?

Let me remind you of the "Twisted Roads" Million Dollar Guarantee. I will be happy to rewrite any part of this blog to your satisfaction for a million dollars -- Guaranteed.

By the way, the story would have been much longer if I had installed the lights.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Lance:

No one can fault me for attempting to bring a little light into the lives of those around me. In this regard, I am a lot like Mother Theresa.

A car nearly ran into me yesterday. The driver thought he was having a vision and wanted to "Go To The Light."

Thank you for readimg my trip and for commenting in such an encouraging manner.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Manning:

There are people who sleep better knowing that I have not done my own mechanical work on this motorcycle.

And maybe they are right. Would you want 560 pounds of iron hurtling toward you if you knew I had done the work on it?

And that bastard Bregstein wouldn't be in the fix he's in if he didn't hand out Valentines at the lesser truck stops.

Thank you for reading my blog and for making such astute observations.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

BMW-Dick said...

Jacko:
Sunday at 7am in your (Leslie's) driveway. NFW (Does not stand for National Federation of Whoosies). I'll meet you for breakfast at the PFD on Sunday. Saturday is supposed to be a good weather day; I'm thinking of riding to Hermy's in the morning and then hitting the Tiki Bar for dinner. If Matt stiffs you (figuratively) think about riding to Hermy's and then perhaps to around Hazelton. Some nice back roads up that way.

Jack Riepe said...

Dick:

We have a short 30 minute rie down to 422, and over to North Lewis Road, to meet the third member of the Conspiracy Exposure Group. We're meeting him at 7:30am. From there we're taking back roads to the diner.

This will be fun.

Riepe

bobskoot said...

Jack & Dick:

I put your address into my Garmin GPS and came up with riding time of 48 hours and just over 4,800 kms to Saratoga Drive, not counting fuel, food or beverage stops. If you allow sufficient time to arrive at my driveway, I will join you for breakfast. And I second the motion to have Jack lead.

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

BMW-Dick said...

Jackie m' boy:
I don't think I can get moving that fast on Sunday. If I think I can make it to your driveway by 7:00AM, I'll call you on your cell phone. Otherwise I'll see you at the diner, and we can talk about haunting Pete later in the day.

John said...

Jack,

I installed a pair of $15 Wal-Mart lights on my K1100. They have been on for two years and are flame throwers. Turns out my $15 lights are made by PIAA. Pisser ain't it? Yours look cooler though, like the base of a light saber, an elagent weapon, from a more civilized time.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John:

You know it's whatever works for you and the bike. This machine is the equivalent of my garden propject. Whatever looks good and works well. I might run an article on inexpensive lighting fixtures for this blog. Send me some pics.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Twisted Roads

RossK6 said...

Nice link to Selma - your bike looks ok too, but the McGuffies are better.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ross K:

I do try my best to please my readers with a broad selection of visual candy. The K75 is an acquired taste.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

mq01 said...

jack, that IS serious eye candy, i love it. but please, be cautious of those wanting to go to the light.

im off to seek an art retreat now ;)

Torch said...

Now I know where you got the idea.

http://dlmj1972.blogspot.com/2009/09/weird-motorcycle-photo-of-week-can-i.html

Ride on,
Torch

Jack Riepe said...

Dear MQo1:

Many who come to the light are nubile things looking to get a tan. I try to be as helpful as I can. Enjoy the art retreat. I am tinking of holding one here the next time Stiffie steps out.

Thank your for reading my blog and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Torch:

No matter where I go, somerbody eith has something bigger, longer, or brighter than mine. Thank you for sharing this. I winder if this guy has everyting wired to the high beam switch.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Nikos said...

Jack

Thanks Jack, I enjoyed readng this article - have you ever thought of submitting material to the BMW Club - their monthly magazine journal published here in UK is complete tosh and would benefit immensely with your input!

I fitted an HID conversion to my dipped beam R1150GS candle holder - the result is truly superb.

Best wishes, Nikos

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

It is always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank your the tip about the BMW Club publication in the UK. I will certainly look them up and see if they are interested in my trip.

The BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (MOA) has officially announced they will launch myt monthlu column in their publication "ON" (the Owners News) in December, 2009. We just recently worked out the text and photography parameters this past week.

I have so much crap in the light basket behind my headlamp that I doubted I could fit an HID kit in there. But I am fascinated by the new array of brighter H4 replacement bulbs now offered by PIAA and think that will be my next move when the time comes.

Thank you for reading my stuff, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep• Toad

Judy Wise said...

Wow, Jack, I'm nearly (ha ha, never completely) speechless. Spectacular photographs, lotsa cool guy-talk about gizmos that are out of my purview and that great video of Selma (my husband's favorite movie star but I have no idea why). I hope to meet you down the road. Er, but not with all those lights shining on me. ;-D

W said...

Wow Jack,

I have scorched retinas just from the picture in your post !! Haven't seen that much light output on the World Rally Cars night race setups !! Great Post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jack,
I really enjoyed reading your story of your visit of the White Face Mountain region.
Pierre
L'Orignal, Ontario, Canada