Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Arrow and Scout Indians

Another bit of nostalgia here from dad's old collection of scrapbooks and 'papers'.  I've scanned the brochure for the post but find it interesting that dad took the time to type (old Olivetti) this bit that I'm sure he read somewhere and lifted as reference.......someone else's words and not dad's.

"After WWII Indian came out with a line of lightweight motorcycles to augment the heavyweight Chief and to compete with the British bikes that had become immensely popular and were selling in the tens-of thousands on the American market.   The 220cc Arrow single and the 440cc Scout twin were introduced in 1949.  The Arrow and Scout models were not designed by Indian however.  The designs were bought from the Torque Engineering Company of Plainville, NJ and were the work of two Dutch engineers, the Stokvis brothers and an American engineer Briggs-Weaver.  The Torque company ran out of funds before they could go into production and Indian was hurting for money to design a completely new motorcycle so the deal was attractive to both firms.  The new scout and Arrow were pleasing in appearance with British style lines clean castings, nice paint and chrome and a look of precision.  Bust as soon as they reached the market it became painfully apparent that the basically sound design had not been given sufficient testing.  At prolonged high speeds and under hard use the main bearings self destructed, valve trains disintegrated,  mags burned out  and gear shift mechanisms failed.  In 1950 Indian came out with an improved model, the Warrior displacing a more conventional 500cc.  But the Warrior inherited a bad reputation from the Scout, didn't sell and Indian closed down in 1953.  You might say that the torque design was the motorcycle that killed Indian."

Dad hole-punched star Alan Ladd's name out.....

Friday, January 18, 2013


Fending off a cold (or something) all week, last night/this morning it finally took me down.  I woke with a fever and pounding headache.  Got up, got dressed and just couldn't bring myself to go outside, so Peg went to the city on her own.

Spending way too much time in bed today was a shame in more ways than one; we had a nice surplus of degrees over 40 today.  According to the weather folks, we'll not even see 0 for a high on Monday.

When I finally was up this afternoon, I took a look outside to see the clouds (thanks Martha) up the valley and to the west.  There the creatures were, doing what they might to avoid starvation and prepare for conditions less good.

Knowing the barn cats didn't care one iota about my cold, I headed out to feed them and discovered another visitor.  One more mouth to feed, all we need......

A funny story about opossums from back in the day when we had our flock of sheep.  The kids were out in the barn to take care of our new lambs and heard a very odd sound, a sound that was a little too unfamiliar to not be afraid of.  They came back into the house and told Peg, "mom, there's something in the barn".
I wasn't home and brave farm-wife Peg had just one more oddity to deal with.  Upon (very cautious) inspection, it was discovered that a large opossum had crawled into our plastic garbage container in search of the mother lode......50 lbs of milk replacer mix.  The sounds the family heard were of the opossum making its last movements, scratching the sides of the container.  It was the size of a beach ball, having O.D.'d on the sweet milk mix.  We were able to keep the container covered from that day on.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

International Motorcycle Show - Minneapolis

The weather the last few days has been almost spring-like, warm(er), on and off rain, melting snow, etc., that is until overnight and today.  Cold westerly winds took the tease of spring away so it was a good thing we had All Things Motorcycle to enjoy this weekend.

My day started early, only slightly later than a weekday.  Up to Minneapolis for coffee with the Usual Suspects, then down to the Minneapolis Convention Center for the show.  I wasn't brave enough to volunteer to work the VJMC booth, but many of the coffee folks did.  The only thing I had to contribute was my wearing of this year's T-shirt, promoting our local VJMC chapter on the front and highlighting the 1969 Kawasaki Mach III.  I thought the booth, in conjunction with the local Viking Chapter of the AMCA was a fantastic display of vintage machines.  Interest by the attendees seemed very high.

An interesting take on an XS650 Yamaha.....

I had no idea winches were the farkle of choice for the little off-road machines.

And another.....I guess I'll have to start looking at bigger machines, none of mine are big enough to carry a winch.

For as much fun as it is to look at the machines, attendance at the show for me is actually more of a social event; running into people I see often as well as rarely with the perfect opportunity to talk two wheel motorized machines.  Sometimes we often talk about other things.  Multiple Dave's, Mike's, Jeff's, Tom, Kevin, Brent, Robin, Mark, another Doug, Chris, Seth and then Joanne, Bob, Gary,Nina, Rhonda, Steve and others, all folks I saw and never managed to catch up with again.

This year's 6 hour presence at the show set a record for me, though the time passed quickly and getting a chance to chat with so many was great....I even had a chance to sit on a few bikes.

The Ducati women were prominent this year....I think those were iPads they were carrying around, weren't they??  Friend Mike got a nice photograph of one of the women, of course dressed in red.  All of them were wearing very striking footwear but Mike's photo didn't include her shoes which was probably a good thing since Acrophobia might easily befall you had they been was a very long ways to the floor from where the photo stopped.

Rather than dwell on photographing the new motorcycles which are easily seen so many other places, I was more interested in zeroing in on the GP race bikes.

Though I'm not really sure, one can only speculate that these guys had a series of technical questions....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Long Short Week And An Even Shorter Weekend

You'd expect that a 3 day workweek would have passed quickly but it felt like one twice that long for some reason...maybe I was simply still full of too much Holiday Spirit.  Our turkeys are even more present, today there were 5 in the tree at one time; the one below running back and forth gathering what the others were carelessly dropping.

I didn't see this happen, though maybe was the cause.  Wingtips in the snow and evidence of a hasty take-off??

The season's ride planning has begun, both the short and long ones.  I've been trying to do a central Michigan tour the last couple of years and it hasn't really worked out.  Thinking it might finally be an option last fall changed when all my vacation days were used up for other unplanned events.

Last week the "Michigan Travel Ideas" packet arrived and was opened with glee.`As I was reading through the guide and focusing on some potential 'targets', I was made aware of this year's Moto Guzzi National Rally in Lavigne, ONT.  So, not only was a new, updated Ontario (I've already got one a few years old) Travel Planner ordered on Saturday, but then later in the afternoon on the phone with Gene I learned of this year's BMWMOA National to be held in Salem, OR.  Now that I'm an honest-to-goodness owner and a former MOA member, this one sounds tantalizing.

Those are at least some of the long trip potentials though I'm not embarrassed or afraid of planning weekend rides that are much more local.  We do have after all, some very nice riding within 200-300 miles from home.  Plans are already firming up for a meet-up with Jeff on his CR230 Honda.  I'll meet him on the TW200 and we'll explore some of the more rare, gravel and Rustic Roads in the southern parts of Wisconsin.  Finding rural gravel in Minnesota is mere child's play, but in southern Wisconsin, where even small lanes are paved, it's a bit more work.  I know where the good ones are and hope to share them once spring arrives.

Then there's always the almost world famous "Doug's 85 miles of Gravel" ride that loops out from our home, using those aforementioned plentiful MN gravel roads.  90% of the ride takes place on non-paved roads, makes good use of 4 Minimum Maintenance roads and never gets further than 20 miles from our home.

Days are getting longer, gas is cheaper....wouldn't it be nice if these trends continue?