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Friday Edition

Road King 8/8/03

14 Highways, New Denim Roadtest, An Oil Cooler Study, Hamster Meeting And Bike Blessing--Helluva Weekend

Photos by Ming da Merciless

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There's nothing like a run to nowhere. No plans, no dates, no deadlines and no formula, we just rode in the sweltering heat like two abused dogs searching for new owners. After a couple of beers, if someone asked, "why?" the cryptic answer would contain: Just to get out of town, to test the new H-D Twin Cam oil cooler, against an '89 Evo, to see the Hamster gang on their way to Sturgis, to roadtest a new pair of denims, to have my bike blessed by a Catholic Cardinal and finally to avoid the rain.

crotch shot

The famous comforting Gusset in the Diamond Gusset jeans.

Granted some of this scattered reasoning was whacked. It's summer, why would it rain? Dr. Hamster and I have ridden on perfectly clear days to Arizona, a fuckin' desert, and it rained on us. Not a misty sprinkle that relieved the heat, but a goddamn downpour that had us standing knee deep in gas stations attempting to refuel.

wallet chain

High dollar chain wallet for road protection. It was given to me at the LA Calendar show by a blonde knockout. She handed out free wallets to anyone who would stare at her tits or her sponsor's truck, Schapiro & Leventhal, The Motorcycle Attorneys.

This time we got the hell out of Dodge in the middle of the day, under scorching rays. The day before I tore into the King, changed all the fluids and installed a new 1999 and later oil cooler for touring models. Several readers wrote concerning cooling problems with Twin Cams, and I did some research. According to Clyde Fessler the Twin Cam was destined to be a fluid cooled motor, due to the excessive heat that the factory design crew couldn't eliminate, until Jim Fueling stepped in, at the last minute. Jim tested larger exhaust valves to remove the hot exhaust gasses fast and efficiently. Apparently, his input saved the Twin Cam project. It's not unheard of to see a Twin Cam running through town with oil heated to over 240 degrees, whereas an Evo will trip through the same crowded streets cooking the oil only to 130 degrees. That's significant. The installation is destined for publication in American Rider and on Bikernet in the near future.

showing boot 
cut and boots

After washing, the Gusset jeans didn't shrink. They had the length I needed.

As the week closed, and I loaded my shit for the run, a package arrived from a new Bikernet advertiser, Diamond Gusset Jeans. Here's a confession: I'm close to 6 foot 5 inches and have a problem finding denims that fit and have the length for cowboy boots on bikes. I discovered that my 36-inch-inseam pants were riding high on boot shanks. Another tall partner recommended 38-inch inseams. I started looking. The only pair I hunted down were special ordered from Levis. There was a catch. They were unwashed 501s. When I washed them, they shrunk up to 36-length. Gusset came through with britches built loose for a biker and long enough for a tall bastard. I decided a road test was in order.

zipper shot

No button-fly on the Diamond Gusset jeans.

We traveled light, threw a couple of T-shirts in a bag, with some sunscreen and night glasses, and we hit the road with a digital camera. After only 31 miles, I met Dr. Hamster in Santa Monica and checked the oil temperature. It indicated 213 degrees and my ambient temp gauge told me it was 90 degrees on the coast at 11:00 a.m. We rolled onto the 405 freeway, to the 118 East, to Glen Oaks where we spun off to have our bikes blessed at a custom car gathering near the Hansen Dam. It's an old school, new kid gathering of lowriders, hot rodders and bikers. It was located in a hot open park, in Pacoima, packed with metal flake, primer, babes, chrome and flames. We had scrambled through another 52 miles and the King was sporting 222 degrees in the 95 degree air temp. The jeans were still comfortable in the blistering sun. I wasn't forced to pull on the legs for relief, as I sat in the King saddle.


Restored 1958 BMW


two raked 


We dodged security and fluorescent cones to park with the show cars next to a 1958 restored R27 BMW single. A classic machine. A girl wearing a black quilted welder's cap was lying in the grass. "I've had it seven years," she said behind dark sunglasses, "but it took me a year to get it rolling."

christian by 
gold bomb

Dr. Hamster, riding partner and therapist.

We were impressed by the tattooed broads dressed like '50s rod chicks with bleached blond hair in curls, checkered tops pressed against store bought tits and ruby red lips. An artist Sara Ray caught the action on canvas. She should go places.


Sara Ray art, (562) 223-0967.

I ran into a couple of riders I had featured in past issues of ER and one displayed his super sanitary, teal Panhead. I told him it deserved a feature. The truck-built hot rod by Ian Rousseau, was unlike anything I had ever seen. But the sizzling summer sun drove us back into our saddles and down the road. It doesn't matter what the temp gauge says, at 100 mph we're cool.

teal panhead 
full shot

teal panhead 

teal panhead 


Industrial hot rod built by Ian.

tractor contr. 

tractor contr. 
side motor

gold black 

pink flaked 


We jammed onto the 210 freeway heading toward Pasadena when the traffic locked up. Downtown Pasadena and Sierra Madre are known for their restaurants and Sierra Madre Motorcycles.

crotch showing 

Gusset jeans is Sierra Madre restaurant. Note the handmade Bikernet belt buckle.

We jumped off the freeway for chow at the Pepper Tree in the quaint Sierra Madre village. After refueling we were hell bent for Barstow on the 15, the main artery to Las Vegas. It's a grizzly stretch of desert asphalt aimed at the border of Nevada and California.

cross art

We rode from the 210 to the 57 south, to the 10 east, to the 15 north, where we discovered that the 210 connected to 15 directly. We sliced through traffic jams in Monteclair, Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga. These goddamn towns are spreading across the desert toward Vegas like Locust on a ripe crop of corn. The traffic is stifling in Los Angeles, but there are times, when the revs of your motor match the rhythm of your heart beat, and you dance with the devil in lane number one. When the fast lane lagged we dropped, like fighter pilots, across four lanes of whizzing compact bumblebees, into the slow lane, between off ramps. We down-shifted a gear and gunned our motors, until we screamed past the slugs, then peeled back, through the vast expanse of lanes, to our home in Fastville. Dr. Hamster, aboard his ghost flamed '89, blacked out FLT, with over 200,000 miles on the clock, slipped traffic like a wire through pepper cheese.

Freeways expand annually, but the traffic spreads with over-population, like ants in a sugar bowl. There's no catching the growth. At one time various freeway sported motley personalities. The 15 was a truckers' freeway, but now it's Las Vegas central, fighting with 18-wheelers, for asphalt space, as the highway narrows peeling between desolate Day Canyon and the desert town of Fontana leading into the San Bernadino National Forest. For the first time we smelled open highway mixed with diesel fumes and blistering heat. The King held to the road tight as we piled on the high-octane coals and roamed into the hills toward Hesperia, the home of Atlas Frames.

"I won't do much over 90," the good Doctor told me at a gas stop. "This thing quivers too much." We discussed Wil's invention, the True-Track. "Yeah, I talked to Wil," Chris grimaced, "he doesn't manufacture them for early Evos."

legs apart pant 

Mountain Gusset jeans test.

While flying along the freeway, just slightly below his limit, I watched the ass of his FLT shake like a plump girl dancing to Chubby Checker. The King held fast except on one sprawling stretch of cement freeway, carved with a cheese grater device, to form rain grooves. Occasionally the grooves snagged my Avons. They were no- more than hiccups on an otherwise perfect ride. We could smell Barstow, as if a camel could sniff sand, 60 miles east, as we cut through the Cajon Pass at 4260 feet. We made light of the next 40 minutes peeling through open miles, darting from one car or 18-wheeler to the next, like a kid playing pinball with Toyotas. Except our rule book called for going around as many lumbering vehicles as possible without touching any.

Barstow is a town millions travel through, yet never see. Freeways have that adverse effect on society. They slice through lovely seaside communities, but the travelers never experience the water's edge. I've skidded through Barstow too many time to mention, but this time we rolled off the second "Business exit". There were four. We should have stayed on the freeway and hit Daggot, Baker or Ludlow. Take it back, they're all two-pony towns with one gas station. At least Barstow accommodates five restaurants, a major supermarket, and another succulent item, I'll mention later.

landscape - 
painting like

It's a dusty berg, of one main street and a myriad of motels, two Holiday Inns (one at each end of town) and a couple of Route 66 joints. Two main Mexican restaurants called to us, singing Maria's Cantina ballad, but we were on a mission to hook up with 50 Hamsters riding across the country to Sturgis. The last time I split with them through 1,800 miles to the badlands, was two years ago, when I head-butted a deer, on a Buell, in Wyoming.

The hotel parking lot was jammed with customs and dressers. We unpacked and asked the host behind the counter for a room. "We have one, but it's smoking," the young guy wearing an flowered Hawaiian shirt said.

"When it stops smoking, we'll take it," I said. The Gusset jeans survived their first putt. The bike was peaking at 224 degrees in the 97 temperature and Chris's Betsy held to 165 degrees. It was time for a beer.


It was good to see the bros, and even better to see Jennifer, the bartender. She sported a recent boob job and wore a top she should wear while cleaning her kitchen on a hot day. In her late twenties her boobs pushed against that spaghetti strapped, shear fabric like... Well, you know. They popped over the top, pressed out the sides and protruded just above her thin waist. Her budding nipples talked more than she did. The first thing that came to mind were the ominous words Sin Wu said to me as I pulled the King into the street, "Do me a favor. Don't hook up with a girl in Barstow and make another life long friend."

I could see friendship, in the making, each time Jennifer bent over the deep sink to clean a glass, those luscious soft mounds whispering endless tenderness to me.

landscape and 

View from Ramada window.

Shifting gears, back outside Barry Cooney pointed out his latest creation that's scheduled for the cover of ER in the near future. It was a S&S, 120 inches of chopped monster surrounded by Ness frame, wheels, controls, etc. Barry has an eye. Mr. Lucky was one fine looking motorcycle. I apologize for not taking a group shot of the yellow shirted rodents. I was consumed with hanging out with some longtime pals.

Here's a tip, not a tit, yet. Barry's bike sports an S&S shorty and it was gagging at mid range. He tried everything to remedy the problem with no luck. Even S&S volunteered a carb replacement. He finally hauled the bike to a renowned motor man. After research, he discovered that the big engine was sucking the float bowl dry through the vent. He drilled a direct vent to the outside of the carb and welded up the internal vent. The bike hauls ass.

Speaking of ass, we scarfed enchiladas at a local Mexican restaurant and returned to Molly's bar. I was wearing a DragonFly Hawaiian marvel that caught Jennifer's eye. "I see you cleaned up, big boy," She said with a smile that would melt a man, like a rose bud torch tip. My Diamond Gusset jeans handled the Jack Daniels with aplomb, but I avoided making a new friend. After five marriages, I've learned something. Not sure what the hell it is, but I blinked and let the opportunity pass. She had soft blue eyes and a smile that beckoned. A playfulness danced on her lips.

I finished my Jack and said goodnight as the conversation lingered. It was good to hang with the guys and catch up.

night before 

The Hamsters were scheduled to ride to Williams, Arizona the next morning, a mere 180 miles down the road. They had no choice, but to peel along the 40 interstate into the brittle Arizona underbrush. We had cut through a taste over 200 miles to reach Tarantula Tomb Barstow. Williams and another freeway didn't call to us. We wanted two-lane highways and twisties.

sunrise shot

Train racked sunrise in Barstow.

I was up at 6:00 a.m., since two sets of train tracks border the swimming pool out back, and our room faced the pool. Every 15 minutes trains packed with 40-foot truck containers rumbled past hell bent for Los Angeles, like machine-gun fire in the ghetto. I opened the window once and the crackling noise of a passing train blew me over my bed. But the sunrise was spectacular over the barren arroyo in the distance.

next morning 

I dusted off my HA leather vest, donned a Crime Inc. T-shirt, and the good doctor and I hit the road before the rodents climbed out from under their sawdust covers. Small roads were the order of the day. The winding choices throughout the southern half of California were many: Big Bear, Ortega Highway, Oceanside, Escondido, San Clemente. We jumped desolate 247 running out of Barstow for the hills where we had breakfast in the Lucerne Valley. Check the signs around the restaurant at the corner of 18 and 247 Highways. It was nearing 75 degrees and the King's oil was relaxing at 202 degrees in comparison to the Doctor's dresser at 150 degrees.

king shot

We began a hill and mountain hopping ride on the 18, to the 38 into Yucipa, then stopped in Redlands for a beer. It was cresting 90 degrees, but the King's oil had cooled to 191 degrees and the blacked out FLT was flying at 130 degrees. At that point the Doctor revealed that he was catching the 24 hour Mung. At 90 degrees under dazzling, Southern California sun shine, he had the chills.

christian at 

We were in Redlands when I backed away from him at the Hotel California and dashed toward my ride. We caught a the 10 Freeway to the 91 and onto the 215 into Perris where we jumped off on the 74 by shear luck and scrambled over the Highway Patrol-encrusted Ortega Highway. They were behind every pine tree strewn corner. Bikers waved us to slow down at each bend.

cactus in tub

We dipped and weaved into San Juan Capistrano on empty tanks, refueled, grabbed a bite to eat, jumped the 405 north to Los Angeles and home. I rolled into breezy San Pedro in the afternoon with 430 miles on my trip gauge, for the weekend, and 215 degrees on the digital oil temp gauge. Every rider we ran across praised the King and discussed finding one. The bike ran flawlessly, and the Diamond Gusset jeans survived the heat, the sand and the hot wind. I would estimate that the oil temps were down 20 degrees, we avoided rain and goddamnit, got to party with the bros.

Helluva weekend.



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