If you have god forbid been injured in a motorcycle accident anywhere in California, give me a call anytime 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529 x.1, to discuss your case.
I can get you medical treatment even if you do not have medical insurance,
I will send my investigators to you so you do not have to come into the office.
I will work to get your motorcycle fixed.
I will work to get you all the compensation you are entitled to for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and more.
I am not some marketing scam that you have seen posting flyers all over motorcycle rallies, or biker rags nationwide. I am not “an association of lawyers” who has attorneys paying me money to advertise for them nationwide, and then farms cases out to them. I don’t pass out trinkets and goodies at motorcycle rallies to make you think that I am something I am not. I am not some generic non-riding personal injury attorney who has designed a fancy website to get you to think that they are biker lawyers, which they are not, I am a real deal biker like you. My firm and I handle the actual cases that come in. We say what we are, and are what we say, experts in motorcycle accident cases.
Read my blog below. I am an expert in motorcycle accidents. Like you I am a real biker who rides, and I am an expert in personal injury cases.
Don’t be suckered into signing up with a firm because of fancy advertising, or who do not ride motorcycles, who says they ride just to get you to sign up with them. Don’t be fooled by fancy ads. I am a top rated attorney who rides in the wind just like you.
Enjoy my articles below, there are hundreds of them!
Actually, the title of this article should be that the Biker Law Blog is in the process of being converted. You see I am in the process of switching the Biker Law Blog to a different software platform.
The Biker Law Blog has literally become a beast of a website. The website, articles, media, and database on the website amount to almost 1 gigabyte (1,000 billion bytes) of data.
On top of that, I am getting about 1 million hits per month on the Biker Law Blog. The total data transferred each month is about 10 gigabytes of data, or 10 – 1000 billion bits of data per month. Further, we keep growing.
The Biker Law Blog has turned into a recognized motorcycle industry publication, and not just a law blog. For those of you who read the blog you know what I am talking about.
The software that the Biker Law Blog has been rock solid ever since I started the blog about 4 years ago. However, it has many limitations with respect to customization, and the ease of creating articles.
Many would say, it the software the blog is running on is not broken, why mess with it?
The answer to this question has caused me much grief. You see the guy who I paid to do the original customization of the Biker Law Blog is basically not around anymore. I have tried on numerous occasions to contact him, with no response.
Super Guru Ed B., the second customizer of the blog has gone on to greener pastures, and has told me that he has disassociated himself from the software that runs the blog due to an ethical conflict with the software’s creator.
Basically this has left me with a couple of choices. Do I stay with software that has worked for me, but that requires professional’s to upgrade and customize, or do I take a chance and go with a different platform that may not be so reliable (only time will tell), but that would make my job much simpler?
I have opted for the simple approach.
I am hoping that with automated daily backups using the new software, if something happens, I can simply restore the site.
The new software should be easier to customize, easier to do postings with, and will hopefully streamline the Biker Law Blog into a more manageable site.
As we speak, I have a test site up on a hidden domain.
I am trying to find a way to automatically get the posts, comments, and registered users from the existing Biker Law Blog software, into the new software on the test site. Since there is no current script to get this done, it may not be possible. Unfortunately, the current software that I use has no way to export the data, so it can be imported into another type of software. The designer’s rationale is that if they spend so much time creating the software, they do not want to help people leave it.
This is one of the big reasons I am leaving the software.
If I cannot automatically transfer the data to the new platform, I will literally have to manually transfer each post, comment and registered user to the new platform, one by one. This will take weeks since there are hundreds of posts, and thousands of comments.
Once the data is transferred to the new platform, we will then do the customization of the Blog to make it look sharp, be easier to use, and to make it simpler for users to register.
Registered users will no longer have to deal with the rampant spam that we have been hit with recently. I am sick of having to ban spammers on a daily basis manually.
Because of the changes that I am making to the new Biker Law Blog, and the time that it will take to transfer to the new platform, my postings will decrease temporarily until I get the new Blog done. Hell with a busy law practice, it is hard enough to write a blog as it is. Once the changeover is done, I can concentrate on blogging, and not software issues.
If you are a registered user of the Biker Law Blog, you will be receiving email updates to let you know what is going on.
I am sure all of you bikers and motorcycle riders know what it is like to get a bug up your ass to take a ride after work at the end of the week.
Well on Friday, June 18, 2010, 2 days before my 47th birthday, I decided to take my Harley Davidson Electra Glide out for a little ride after work, to the world famous and infamous San Andreas Fault.
If you do not know what the San Andreas Fault is, it is basically an earthquake fault that runs the length of California. They say that in a few million years, Los Angeles will pass San Francisco on this fault. The experts also predict “the big one;” a catastrophic earthquake that is overdue on this fault, that could destroy Los Angeles. Anyway…
Being a native Southern California boy, I know places to ride where I can literally be alone in or near a geographic area where millions of people live.
That is what I decided to do after work on June 18, 2010.
I am sure that many of you in all over the United States can also find great places to secret yourself for a little solo motorcycling without any other traffic interfering with your ride, however, if you are in Los Angeles County, you better know where you are going, otherwise you are not going to find solitude, that is for sure.
Now I do not mean to brag, but I will anyway. I literally have some of the best motorcycle riding roads in the world right in my back yard. I can go from desert, to sea, to alpine mountains with a flick of my throttle wrist.
My motorcycle ride on Friday took me from the foothills, to the desert floor, to the base of the north side of the Angeles Forest. It was one hell of a nice Friday after work little ride.
No women, no friends, just me, myself, and I, and my Harley Davidson Electra Glide.
As you can see by the videos here, I wore my Gopro helmet cam for the ride.
Since I did not even get to Pearblossum Highway until 7:30pm or so, it was already just after sunset when I started filming. However, I still got some good video.
Since Youtube.com only allows up to ten minute videos, I had to drastically edit the videos down to 3 clips, but you can still get the effect of the ride I am sure.
Video 1 and 2 are shot with my helmet camera, except for a surprise just past the middle of video 2, and video 3 was shot by me with a standard HD camcorder at the actual San Andreas Fault.
You will notice on this ride going from the Mohave desert floor to the foothills of the Angeles Forest, Joshua Trees and cactus, turning into chaparral and scrub brush.
It was dark by the time I finished the ride.
You will notice when I am leaving the San Andreas Fault in video 2 of 3, that I got on my motorcycle quite quickly. Well up in the area where I was riding there are animals such as Rattlesnakes, Brown Bears, Mountain Lions, Coyotes, etc. As it was getting dark, and I was parked next to the San Andreas Fault sign, I heard a big animal stirring up the brush behind me. Hell I have camped in these parts and had nothing with me on this ride except for a 3.5 inch folding pocket knife.
I could sense that I needed to get the hell out of there. I am not stupid enough to wait around until a mountain lion pounces on my ass. It is amazing how sometimes you can sense danger. Only a stupid man waits around to see what is going to happen when he senses danger, has no weapons so to say, and you just know a big animal is in the brush behind you as it is getting dark. Get the picture?
I got my ass out of there, and pulled over about a couple of hundred yards down the road so I could put my gloves on and zip up my hoodie.
All in all it was a great after work Friday ride. I only wish I got there earlier so the video would have had more sunlight.
Some of you out there may have received a notice in the mail that you ran through a red light, and that the evidence or proof was obtained through a photograph.
Some of you may have simply heard of red light photo tickets.
Along with the notice, you probably also received notice of a hefty fine of between $400 and $500 dollars for the infraction.
Welcome to the automated world of governmental entities ripping you off to pay off their budget deficits, under the guise of public safety.
These Red Light Photo tickets have been controversial in California for a few reasons, including but not limited to; (a) most attorney’s have always known that this type of evidence of violative of our hearsay rules of evidence here in California; (b) studies have found that red light cameras actually create more accidents; and (c) with the budget crisis here in California, State and local governments have tacked on so many surcharges onto these types of infractions, that the fine is between $420 and $480 which is absolutely outrageous under the circumstances.
Basically government is using these fines to offset their deficits, rather than making the fine fit the infraction. This is a dirty underhanded method of taxing the public by ticket so to say. This issue is more about governmental entities filling their coffers than public safety.
Anyway, getting back on topic, guess what, the Appellate Court Division of the Orange County Superior Court has ruled in the case of People v. Khaled, 30-2009-304893 (Orange Super. Ct., Ap. Div., filed May 25, 2010) that a Court Commissioner was wrong to admit photos and a declaration seeming to show that Tarek Khaled ran a red light in Santa Ana on August 2, 2008. Without those pieces of evidence, Khaled should not have been convicted of violating the Vehicle Code, the Court said.
In its opinion, the Court added; the case “involves an issue far too often presented in this Court, namely the admissibility of evidence and the statutory compliance with the procedures employed by several municipalities in the County in what have come to be known as “photo enforcement” citations.”
The Court threw out the automated photo evidence because it is hearsay and violates that California Evidence Code.
If this opinion stays on the books or is upheld by the State Appeals Court, Red Light Tickets will not be enforceable in the State of California.
The attorney who fought these tickets stated that he became very frustrated that the Courts were not applying the California Evidence Code to these types of tickets.
Of course the City Attorney Joseph W. Fletcher believes that the ruling is wrong, intends to ask the 4th District Court of Appeal to take up the decision and to order it depublised.
My opinion is such; Photo Tickets are inadmissible hearsay if the California Evidence Code is applied thereto. Pursuant to California Rules of Evidence with respect to photo evidence, it has long been established that to admit photo’s into evidence, that the person taking the photo must testify that the photograph is a reasonable representation of what it is alleged to portray, otherwise it is hearsay.
With red light tickets, there is no one to testify that the actual photographs reasonably depict that which is being shown; they lack foundation and are hearsay.
The California Evidence Code has long established the principal that photographs must be supported by adequate foundational testimony.
Now with the advent of digital photography and programs that allow photographs to be easily altered with the click of a mouse, it is even more important that an adequate foundation be established for photographs that are admitted into evidence, and that the person testifying to the same be available for cross examination.
It has simply been too easy for the government to set up red light cameras and introduce their photographs without following the rules of evidence.
In my opinion, maybe it is time to initiate a voter ballot initiative to take this issue out of the legislative hands, and ban red light cameras in California because they cause more harm than benefit, and the potential for abuse does not justify their use in society.
I would go even further; I would limit the amount of fines that can be imposed for infractions. It does not make sense that general damages have been limited in medical malpractice cases to $250k since the 1970’s yet the government has without justification raised the cost of infractions a few hundred percent since the 1970’s.
It is time we make the government work for us and not against us.
See below for a video demonstrating how the mufflers sound.
Many of my friends have aftermarket exhaust systems on their motorcycles which sound great and are not too obnoxious. Some have exhausts which are so obnoxious, that they would cause strain on long rides.
Through the years I have tried many different types of mufflers on many different types of motorcycles.
For about 5 years, I have run Screaming Eagle slip on mufflers on my Harley Davidson Electra Glide, with a stage 1 setup on my carb. and air filter. It is basically a Screaming Eagle stage 1 setup. Other than that, I am running a stock Harley Davidson 88 c.i. Twincam engine.
My right muffler developed bluing where the head pipe met the slip on muffler, very soon after I put the Screaming Eagle mufflers on the motorcycle.
I recently decided to try out some new slip on mufflers. My criterion was that I wanted my mufflers to have some bark, but not be too obnoxious.
As I have said many times before, I am a Biker Lawyer and Attorney, not a mechanic.
In the past, I have had my slip-on’s put on by the dealer. However, now there are many dealers who will not install slip-on’s due to E.P.A. regulations.
I almost pulled the trigger on some slip-on’s at the Laughlin River Run, but they were gouging the prices a bit, plus I did not want to wait any longer than I had already waited to get repairs done to my motorcycle.
After doing research on the internet, including watching some YouTube videos of guys installing slip-on’s, I decided that I could do the install myself this time which would save both time and money.
Some guys are running mufflers with no baffles. This is not only obnoxious and loud as hell, it is illegal. Further, unless you have some serious engine modifications, and/or carb. jetting, or fuel injector mapping modifications, running with no baffles will make your engine run too lean, and can burn your engine out.
Read the rest of the review below the video.
On top of that running open pipes without mods. will actually decrease your power output.
Baffles are encasing’s in the mufflers which decrease or muffle the sound of your exhaust/motorcycle. The smaller the baffle diameter, the less sound that is supposed to come out of the muffler.
Conversely, the smaller the baffle diameter in the muffler, the less exhaust flow you will have through the muffler, and the less power you will get out of your motorcycle engine.
Although in the past, I would just buy a set of mufflers for my other motorcycles, and just go with whatever I bought, this time, I decided to do a significant amount of research on the internet to determine which set of mufflers I would put on my Electra Glide.
One thing I have learned with Harley Davidson’s as opposed to other types of cruiser motorcycles is that you have a huge selection of options. Further, the sky is the limit as to how much money you can spend as well.
There are slip on mufflers out there such as the Vance & Hine wide ovals that run around $700.00, or you can get a set of LaRosa Design mufflers on EBay for $99.00.
It is reported that each of the above mufflers sound great.
After doing a bunch of research, I decided the best bet would be to get some muffles on eBay, because I could save money on used mufflers, and if I did not like the mufflers I could simply sell them again without taking a loss.
I also did not want to spend $400-600 dollars on new mufflers that could be a hit or miss with respect to being too loud, or that had an exhaust note that I did not like.
Many guys on the internet forums recommended Rush Mufflers as being a good sounding muffler, and not too expensive. I also read good things about LaRosa Design Mufflers, which were also supposed to have a great sound at a low price.
I decided to buy a set of Rush Mufflers with 2 inch baffles, and a set of LaRosa Design Mufflers with 1 7/8 baffles to test out.
I saw many guys bidding away on almost the exact mufflers in other auctions. Hell some guys were paying about $300.00 for the same used mufflers in other auctions. I just got lucky in my auction. The secret was to go with someone who was not too savvy with their auction design on eBay so that it was not too flashy!
Another excellent feature of these mufflers is that the Rush mufflers feature removable baffles, and you can buy different size baffles from them at their website here. I am running the 2 inch baffles. If I want to quiet it down a bit I can buy smaller diameter baffles.
The baffles can be removed and replaced with one bolt on the bottom.
When I received the mufflers you could tell they were used by looking inside of the pipes and seeing the grit, but the Chrome on the outside was in surprisingly good condition, they were basically new. The mufflers were heavy duty, and actually heavier than the Screaming Eagles. They appear to be longer than the Screaming Eagle mufflers as well, and protrude further out of the back than my Screaming Eagles did.
Now I could see why the guys on the forums were recommending them, these are top quality mufflers for a better price. But did they sound good?
The slash-up design fits the taper and shape of the back of the Harley Davidson hard saddlebags, I like the look. My Screaming Eagles were slash downs.
The install was kind of a bitch to say the least.
The easy part was removing the hard saddlebags on each side to get to the mufflers, which I did.
I decided that the install would be easier if I removed the heat shields on each side, so that is what I did, I removed the right and left heat shields which butt up next to the mufflers for easier access.
I then unbolted the muffler on the right hand side from the clamp at the head pipe, and the two bolts below the saddlebag bar, no problem.
I then tried removing the Screaming Eagle muffler on the right hand side; it would not budge. I tried twisting and pulling, it would not budge; it was stuck on real good. This is the muffler that blued so I was worried that the damm thing was welded on to the head pipe.
I decided to take a break and do the left side pipe. This one came off easy.
After trying everything to get the muffler off and failing, I in the end, went to Home Depot, and purchased a strap wrench to get the right muffler off. It worked like a charm, but I still had to use some heavy elbow grease. It finally came off.
The strap wrench is basically a rubber strap that wraps around the muffler and attaches to a special handle which allows you to get rotational torque around the muffler without damaging or scratching the chrome.
The install of the left muffler was no problem at all, it slipped right on; the right muffler did not seem to fit. It would not slip on!
Hell, I had my wife hold the front of the motorcycle, as I tried to force the muffler onto the head pipe. I sprayed WD-40 and Silicon lubricant onto the damm thing, but it was a no go. The muffler simply would not fit onto the head pipe. I pushed and twisted so hard, I was worried that I would damage the head pipe or the connection between the head pipe and the cylinder.
I went on the forums to see if I could find a solution. As usual there were many good solutions from buying a tool to expand the muffler pipe, to using other creative methods.
I decided that the best solution would be to take the muffler to an automotive muffler shop the next day, and have them expand the muffler pipe where it slips onto the head pipe.
I found a place close by. They charged me $10 bucks to expand the muffler pipe. This solution was cheaper and faster than buying a tool to do it, and it took no time whatsoever other than driving down there.
When in doubt, use professionals who know what they are doing.
I decided to run by the Harley dealership to buy a new muffler clamp for the right side as well. These are supposed to be single use items. They only had one left. I reused my old clamp on the left hand side and have no problems with it.
When I got home the muffler slipped on very easily, probably too easily. I was worried that the muffler guy may have expanded the muffler pipe too much.
My worries were unfounded. Once I tightened up the clamps and bolts on the slip-on’s, and checked very carefully, everything was great, with no apparent leaks.
After I started my Electra Glide, I first felt that the mufflers kind of sounded like my Screaming Eagles or just a tad deeper and louder.
When I did my ubiquitous test ride down my block with no helmet on, it sounded a bit louder and deeper. However, when I got back in the garage, my wife said they were much louder and deeper. I could not tell.
However, I then went on two day riding binge and discovered that these pipes are much louder and deeper than the Screaming Eagles, no doubt about that. I am quite satisfied.
Hell with ear plugs in; my ears were ringing pretty well after the two day jaunt. I do have tinnitus or ringing in my ears that gets worse at times with loud sounds.
I have decided to keep the Rush slip-on’s, and to sell the LaRosa mufflers that I purchased brand new without installing them. Why play around if I am satisfied.
As of right now I have a pair of stock mufflers, a pair of Screaming Eagles, and the LaRosa’s.
I give the Rush slip-on mufflers a big thumbs up and would recommend them above all.
Are there any real biker lawyers out there beside myself?
When I look at the Internet I see a bunch of pasty face lawyers and attorneys in suits claiming that they are motorcycle injury attorneys. Some are well known so-called motorcycle attorneys who advertise in a bunch of motorcycle publications, and even set up booths at events.
I know one up and coming so-called motorcycle attorney outfit that is nothing more than a marketing franchise scheme aimed at bikers and motorcyclist like you.
Hell, they advertise on TV, and they are all over the Internet representing themselves as biker lawyers.
When I contacted them to find out what they were about, they sent me marketing literature. Basically if you join their outfit and pay a fee, you too will be a real biker lawyer. They have a nationwide marketing campaign going right now which is targeted at bikers and motorcyclist. What a joke!
Let me ask you a question. Would you really want to hire a motorcycle injury attorney from an outfit that is nothing more than a marketing scheme directed at you?
Some months ago a few of us so-called “biker lawyers” were in an article in the Los Angeles Times discussing what is what like to be a biker lawyer.
One of my competitors admitted in the article, that he did not ride “because he wanted to grow old to see his grandchildren.” There was another attorney mentioned in the article, who I have never heard of before the article, who had recently starting working for the same firm of the guy who admitted that he did not ride, stating that he recently actually started riding, and that he recently started doing motorcycle accident cases; isn’t that grand.
Hell at least I give them a little credit for having an employee attorney who actually started riding a Harley Davidson Sportster right before the article came out.
Hell this firm advertises nationwide in many prominent biker rags. If you were to read their advertisements you would think that these guys are the baddest biker lawyers in town. I challenge them to ride with me sometime here in California. It would be nice to actually meet another attorney who rides motorcycles.
Geez would you want an attorney who is great at advertising, but who does not ride because “they want to grow old to see their grandchildren” representing you in your motorcycle accident case? Do you think that this guy actually respects you and your right to ride?
The reporter from the Times gave me a sentence or two credit in the article, notwithstanding the fact that she interviewed me for about an hour.
I thought it was amusing that the majority of the article was spent giving lip service to attorneys who don’t actually ride motorcycles, except for the one junior associate I mentioned above, who had just started riding motorcycles.
I challenge any of the so-called local California Biker Lawyers and Motorcycle Accident Attorneys who advertise anywhere in California to join me on a ride. The reason why I am issuing this challenge is because I believe that maybe only a few of them actually ride motorcycles if any do at all.
I do know of some lawyers nationwide who do actually ride motorcycles. One of them from Southern California who rides, does not do motorcycle injury accident cases.
There was an actual Superior Court Judge based in San Bernardino who actually rides motorcycles. He is, or was a Judge, I am not sure of his status now, but he does not advertise as a biker lawyer who handles motorcycle accident cases.
There is an attorney; his name is Jeff who lives in Korea, who rides. I met him through this Blog, the Biker Law Blog.
I know that there are lawyers out their sprinkled around the good old USA that ride motorcycle, but believe you me; they are the exception and not the rule.
In my personal opinion, I think that a law firm, or someone who advertises that they are “the best” motorcycle accident attorney,” or that they are “attorneys who ride,” or that they are “motorcycle accident experts,” etcetera, etcetera, should put their proof where there mouths are, or stop the false and misleading advertising.
I put my proof on the road on a daily basis. I do not make untrue claims about being a lawyer who rides; I am a lawyer who rides.
My firm has helped many bikers and motorcyclist in their time of need after a motorcycle accident. My client’s know I am a biker and motorcyclist just like them. When they talk to me, they are talking to a fellow biker and motorcyclist, not some attorney who advertises to them like they are a niche market.
Do not fall prey to slick advertising campaigns, or firms that are flat out misleading you into thinking that they are real bikers and motorcyclist only to get your business, when they are not bikers and motorcyclist who actually ride.
It is one thing to be a generic personal injury attorney who handles motorcycle accident cases, and another thing to flat out lie about being a biker and motorcycle rider only to get business, and to get real bikers and motorcyclist like you to sign up with them.
As I have stated many times, a generic personal injury attorney is at a severe disadvantage handling motorcycle accident cases, because they do not know the intricacies of riding a motorcycle, the very real dangers that bikers and motorcyclist face on the road when they ride, or how to deal with the prejudice that bikers and motorcyclist sometimes face, because they themselves have never had to personally deal with them.
You would not want to go to a general doctor for an orthopedic operation would you? So why would you go to a generic personal injury attorney instead of a real biker and motorcycle accident attorney to handle your motorcycle accident case?
So there it is. If you are a motorcycle accident victim, you need to do your due diligence when picking an attorney and lawyer to handle your motorcycle accident case.
If you see a slick advertisement from someone claiming to be a biker who rides, or who claims that they are the best motorcycle accident attorney, or that they are attorneys who ride, or someone who poses next to a motorcycle in a picture or advertisement, ask them a few questions about riding, particularly, when was the last time they rode!
You should know after a few questions whether they are bullshitting you our not.
My name is Norman Gregory Fernandez, and I am a real California Biker Lawyer, who handles motorcycle accident cases. Yes, I actually ride.
Then again, if you are anywhere in California, you can just call me. I will take care of you if you have a good case. Call me 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529 x. 1.
If I agree to take your case, and you decide to retain me, I will send my people out to sign you up, so that you do not have to come into our offices.
We will handle your motorcycle property damage claim part of your case for free, unlike other attorneys who may charge you an administrative fee, or even a percentage of the amount of property damage.
I know attorneys who charge a fixed administrative fee to handle property damage. I will never take a dime of money to help you get your motorcycle repaired or totaled, if you retain me for your injury case.
We not only do not do that, but we think that it is wrong for a lawyer and attorney to take any part of the property damage claim in a motorcycle injury case.
If you are one of our clients, we will not only do the property damage part of your case for free; we will also do the following;
We will arrange to get you medical care, even if you do not have medical insurance, as part of your overall case.
We will help you to get a rental car if you are stuck without transportation.
We will help you to get a handicap placard for your vehicle so you can park in handicapped spaces while you are recovering.
We will help you to get a cash advance on your case with a 3rd party company if you are unable to work.
We will fight to get you everything that you are entitled to in your case such as loss of income and future income, medical expenses and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, loss of use of your motorcycle, and any other out of pocket expenses related to your accident.
We will also fight to get your spouse a recovery for the loss of consortium related to your motorcycle injury accident.
Hell, we even make ourselves available to our clients after hours and on the weekends when necessary.
We are not bankers and do not keep bankers hours. We work when necessary, not by arbitrary hours like some other attorneys!
We will go that extra mile for you in your case.
There is a reason why many bikers, motorcyclist, motorcycle club members, and others come to me for representation on their California cases; and it sure is not because of my slick advertisements.
I am a long distance motorcycle rider. This summer I am not only planning on riding to the Sturgis motorcycle rally which is a 2700 mile round trip plus ride, I am also planning on doing other rides, not to mention the 2000 miles I have already put on in the last couple of months. I wanted a state of the art stereo on my motorcycle with built in MP3 for my music collection, a built in High Definition receiver, and the ability to have built in Satellite reception for when I am in the middle of no where. I want to listen to CNN in the middle of the Western Desert!
In 2005 I switched to a Harley Davidson Electra Glide motorcycle from a traditional cruiser motorcycle. Before 2005, I had never ridden with a stereo system built into a motorcycle before, hell a windscreen was luxury to me back then. Since 2005, I have become spoiled. I will probably always ride baggers from here on out. Once you get used to luxury it is hard to turn back.
My Harley Davidson Electra Glide came with the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound system installed in the bat wing fairing, which in of itself has done its job quite well over the last 5 years, but the technology is outdated, even on the new units.
On my unit, there was a built in CD player, minimal AM/FM presets, built in weather band, and a sensor which increased volume as I would increase speed on the motorcycle. There was also an auxiliary input which allowed me to plug in an external MP3 player so I could listen to my music collection. The system worked with my OEM hand controls so that I could virtually control the entire stereo via my OEM handlebar mounted hand controls on the Electra Glide. The unit is great, but it is old technology. If all you want is a standard CD, a few AM/FM presets, and weather band, this unit is perfect for you. I am a tech geek, I wanted more!
Over the years I have plugged in an I-Pod, a smaller MP3 player, and I have also used my Garmin GPS to serve music to the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System via a cable plugged from the device to the auxiliary input of the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System. It worked, but to be frank, there was no real control of the tunes being played unless I dangerously tried to skip tracks while I was riding because the external device was controlling what was being played rather than the head unit. There were issues with the volume of my MP3 device having to be cranked up to full volume to sound good through the auxiliary input, and each device sounded different through the stock stereo.
Furthermore, the cable plugged in from my GPS, or a device in my pocket looked like crap, it flutters in the wind, and the quality of having an external connection is not as good as it could be. Not only that, but everytime I got off the motorcycle, I would have to unplug my external MP3 player, turn off the external MP3 Players, etc. If the battery wore out on my external MP3 Player, I was shit out of luck. Lately using the GPS solved many of the problems, but I had no real control of the tunes being served to the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System. When I got back on the motorcycle, I would have to plug everything back in, and start the MP3 player before I started riding, a real hassle; I am sure you get the picture, because many of you are doing this right now!
For short trips, rather than plugging in my external MP3 player, I used one of my home burned CD’s in the OEM system, which I have probably listened to over a 100 times now. It gets old if you know what I mean.
Let’s face it, with MP3, standard CD’s are obsolete, even CD units which read MP3’s, and other digital formats are obsolete because you can only fit so much on a disk, and most of these units have a limit as to how many tracks can be on a disk even if you buy the more expensive DVD format units.
Modern technology allows you to literally have every song ever made on one thumb drive, or standard USB disk drive now. There is no reason to ever have to switch CD’s anymore. Most of you including me don’t have every song ever made on disk, but my collection is almost 4GB and growing weekly.
There was an MP3 option for the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System, but it is an external unit that mounts to the handlebars and it is ridiculously expensive for what they give you. Plus you are severely limited to memory on Harley Davidsons MP3 option. On top of that, the new Harley Davidson Advanced Sound Systems need to be programmed at the dealer. If the unit goes dead, it can only be revived by a dealer reprogramming it. How much would that cost everytime? No thanks, I love Harley Davidson, but the reason I am upgrading is to go state of the art. Their solution is not state of the art.
The Biketronics Article and Review Continues below the two videos.
One good thing about the Harley Davidson Unit is that it was as reliable as a beast. It is basically waterproof. I have ridden through rain storms, and washed my motorcycle many times, and the stereo kept working no problem.
Well recently, I decided to upgrade my stereo to an aftermarket non OEM stereo so that I could have modern electronics on my motorcycle the way I wanted it, and not the way Harley Davidson wanted it.
My first dilemma was to find a stereo system (head unit) that would work with the existing hand controls on my Harley Davidson Electra Glide, and that would mount in the faring without having to modify the OEM wiring. I wanted a plug and play solution.
I found two companies which allow you to adapt aftermarket stereo systems to the motorcycle, using the OEM wiring, and your existing Harley Davidson Hand Controls. One of the companies is called Biketronics, and the other one is called Hawg Wired. Each of these companies sells adapters and units which allow you to mount an aftermarket stereo into a Harley Davidson Cruiser without having to change any of the wiring, and let’s you use your hand controls, just like you would with a Harley Davidson Stereo.
A negative note with upgrading the stereo unit with an aftermarket solution is that replacing the head unit will disable your built in CB, and intercom if you have it on your motorcycle. I myself have an FLHT Electra Glide Standard that had the Advanced Sound System installed by the dealer upon pickup of the motorcycle. I did not have the CB or intercom option installed because I don’t use them.
Let’s be frank, at highway speed on a Harley Davidson, a CB or intercom are virtually useless because of the wind noise anyway, so it is a feature I did not waste my money on.
Furthermore, even if I did have the CB or intercom installed on my Electra Glide, I would willingly disable them anyway in order to have a turnkey state of the art stereo on my motorcycle, that I could upgrade in the future for a nominal cost, as technology advances. There are Bluetooth headsets out there now that mount to your helmet that can be used to replace the CB or intercom if you absolutely have to have those options. The tradeoff depends on you. For me the decision was a no brainer.
After much research, and a lengthy telephone call, I opted to go with the Biketronics setup, because of the good reviews I read about them on the internet, (their units have a lifetime warranty) and their units seemed to be more straightforward to me. I must note that many guys said good things about Hawg Wired as well.
A Biketronics tech support guru spent at least a half an hour on the phone with me before and after my purchase. You can tell that they are bikers themselves, and are really into their product. They know what they are talking about.
The guy from Biketronics highly recommended a Sony Marine Unit that they sell because they are waterproof. However, my Internet research showed that guys without the Marine Units who wash their motorcycles, and ride through rain, have ridden for years with a standard unit with no problems at all. Furthermore, the Sony Marine Unit did not have all of the features that I wanted, which was the whole reason for upgrading anyway. I wanted my stereo to be state of the art, the way I wanted it to be!
Another factor that was a deal maker for me was that Biketronics stated that if you use a Sony head unit, their adapters were plug and play, including the mounting unit they sell, and the clear plastic cover they sell for their mount as well to protect the unit from rain or water. This is what I wanted; plug and play, no hassles.
My next issue was which stereo system to buy. Biketronics sells a complete kit including Sony Stereo, Hog Tunes speakers, all of their adapters, a clear plastic splash cover, and a powered in fairing antenna. The cost of this package which includes the basic Sony CDX-GT640UI was $509.88 with free shipping. Biketronics also sells a couple of other Sony Head Units, including a waterproof marine version. The other Sony Head Units will add an additional $10-$40 dollars to the cost of the package I mentioned above.
To put this in prospective, a Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System is around $1,000.00 and does not include the Hog Tunes Speakers or the powered in fairing antenna, and the Harley Davidson Stereo is obsolete compared to the Sony Stereo.
Further, I wanted to be able to buy the Head Unit that I wanted rather than going with only the head units that Biketronics sells, plus I did not want to put all of my eggs into one basket.
For Stereo (head unit) research online, there is one vendor that I know and trust, and that is Crutchfield Electronics. They are the car and home stereo experts online. They have a huge selection of stereos, they have all of the features, specs, pictures, and options, online, and they are reputable. You can speak to them 24 hours a day and they honor warranties and have a generous return policy. I previously purchased my powered in fairing antenna from them for $19.00 which is around $20.00 cheaper than the Biketronics version, and it appears to be the same thing!
I went one step further; I wanted to look at all car stereos and not just the Sony’s.
Biketronics and Hawg Wired both sell kits to adapt to non Sony units that work with your OEM wiring, and OEM hand controls, but based upon what I read, the install might be a bit more dicey for non Sony systems, rather than just settling for a Sony which is guaranteed to work with the Biketronics. The caveat is that whatever stereo I chose must have a plug in for the steering wheel controls, which is how both Biketronics and Hawg Wired adapt the Harley Davidson Hand Controls to the stereo system.
I looked at many different stereo systems. I spent days looking at systems. I finally found the Sony CDX-GT700HD which you can see by clicking here, for $179.00 with free shipping. This unit is only $20.00 more than the base unit that comes with the Biketronics Kit, and the biggest difference is that it has a built in High Definition Digital Receiver on top of the standard Analog AM/FM receiver. None of the other stereos I looked at had the built in HD receiver. On the others you need to buy an HD Receiver Adapter for an additional $150 or so. This included the Pioneer’s, the Alpine’s, the JVC’s, and other stereo’s I looked at.
Another big feature is that this unit has a front slide covered plug in USB port, and auxiliary port. I realized that I could plug in a thumb drive into the front with my entire music collection on it, and that the stereo would control it digitally without having to convert from Analog to Digital like I used to have to do with my Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System with the auxiliary port.
The Sony CDX-GT700 HD also has a XM or Sirius direct Satellite radio tuner option that installs right into the unit, so that I would not have to worry about having an external satellite receiver plugging into the Auxiliary port of the stereo, or using FM from a separate Satellite receiver to transmit to the head unit. I could control the Satellite directly from the Head Unit while on the road. This is what I am talking about!
Another feature for a stereo that I was going to mount on my motorcycle is that I wanted a removable face plate that I could make non removable if I wanted, and I wanted the CD plug in to be behind the faceplate to prevent dust and dirt from going into it.
Now the Sony stereo which has unparalleled sound quality, has so many features and specs that there is no way that I can cover them here. All I can say is that it is like having an iPod with full control right from the head unit with all of the features of a State of the Art Stereo.
I could not find any other stereo that surpassed the built in features of the $179.00 Sony CDX-GT700 HD, not even the real expensive ones. Many of the high end units require an external HD tuner, most had the CD slot open in the front, (more appropriate for cars) and many had the USB, and Auxiliary ports in the back of the unit rather than the front. This kind of setup would require you to open the faring and run wires everytime you wanted to change what was plugged in the darn thing, or run a live wire to somewhere on your motorcycle such as your saddlebags, etc. No thanks! I wonder what would happen if those live wires get wet.
I even looked at the units which have actual motorized screens that pop out of the unit, and allow you to have GPS on the Screen, and be able to Watch DVD’s, and even have a rear mounted camera view on the screen from your motorcycle.
These systems seem fantastic, but the guy from Biketronics told me that anytime you have a unit with a moving motor, such as these units which have a motor to drive the screen out, that the vibration on a motorcycle usually make them go bad quickly. Not only that, but the units I looked at were in the $1,000 range, and they also did not have the front USB and Auxiliary connections that I wanted, plus they did not seem practical for a motorcycle solution.
Although I have seen some guys with these units installed on their motorcycles, they look cool and the bling value is there, I need turnkey functionality, not bling!
I was again brought back to the Sony CDX-GT700 HD again and again, no matter what I looked at, so there it was, I decided on the Sony CDX-GT700 HD from Crutchfield Electronics, this is what I wanted. Here is a link to the actual system I purchased.
Now going back to the Biketronics kit which would allow me to install the system, I decided to buy the components I needed, rather then the complete kits they sell. I got the best Sony stereo that I could find, plus the whole thing would be cheaper for me than buying their whole kit.
I purchased the following from Biketronics to install my Sony CDX-GT700 HD into my Harley Davison Electra Glide:
(1) BT 1000 – 1998-2005 Sony Radio Install Kit, $199.95 (free shipping)
(2) Sony Harness w/Connector, $14.95 (free shipping)
(3) BT Splashcover, $19.95 (free shipping)
Total Price from Biketronics = $234.85, (free shipping), No tax.
I purchased the following from Crutchfield Electronics:
(1) Sony CDX-GT700 HD, $179.95 (free shipping)
(2) SoundKase DFC1X Black, $9.99 (free shipping) This is a case you put the faceplate into when you take it off of the motorcycle.
Total Price from Crutchfield Electronics = $189.90, (free shipping), No tax.
Total Price of Radio Upgrade Project: $424.75
The total price of my radio upgrade project was around $45.18 cheaper than buying the complete retro radio kit from Biketronics with their stereo included, and I got a much better stereo than comes with their kit. As stated above, I already previously purchased the Hog Tunes speakers, and a powered in fairing antenna. Now for guys that have an FLHT without a stereo, and are installing the stereo from scratch the Biketronics kit is just a tad more expensive.
After my order, the Biketronics kit arrived within a couple of days. The Crutchfield order took about a week to arrive.
First off, I got my tools out, unpacked the Biketronics Kit, and the Sony Stereo. I read the instructions for each before I began. It looked like it would be a very easy installation.
First, I removed the Sony stereo from the mounting cage that it comes with out of the box, and discarded the cage because it is not used in this application.
Then, I took the heavy vinyl that comes with the Biketronics kit. I removed the backing to expose the sticky surface, and placed it on the top of the Sony Stereo where indicated, and down the sides. I trimmed off the excess from the sides and back. It is obvious that this vinyl is stuck on to protect the stereo from dirt, debris, and water. No problem at all with this process.
I than removed the seat from my motorcycle, and disconnected the battery, negative first. The last thing you want to do is install something like this with the motorcycle battery connected. You could cause a short and do serious damage to your electrical system. Don’t be a fool; take a few minutes to disconnect your battery.
Then, I removed the outer Bat Wing Fairing. I am not going to describe how to remove the fairing here. If you are interested in how to remove the outer Bat Wing fairing, I previously wrote an article about removing the faring when I installed the Hog Tunes speakers which you can read here.
I then unplugged the Antenna from the Harley Stereo, and the two large connectors that plugged into the back of the stereo.
I proceeded to unbolt the 4 hex bolts which hold the stock Harley Davidson into the bracket where it mounts. I used a basic hex wrench squeezing it in inside the bracket to get the bolts off. My fingers were too big for this process but I got them out. It was a bitch.
I knew there must be a better way to remove and install these bolts, and realized it would be almost impossible to get the bolts back in if I used the reverse method of how I removed them. I decided to look in my factory service manual. The manual recommends using a long socket hex attachment that goes in through holes on each side of the bracket. Damm some times looking at the factory service manual helps. I could have got the damm attachment from Wal-Mart and had the stereo unbolted in seconds, but instead, I found a long standard hex wrench in my tool kit, put it in through the holes on the side of each bracket, and it worked like a charm. It took a few more seconds than using a socket attachment, but I saved a few bucks and time driving to Wal-Mart. If you are doing this install and you don’t have longer hex wrenches, just go to Wal-Mart and buy the socket attachment for $10.00. You can return it when you are done!
The instructions then said to lift the back end of the Harley Davidson system up, and pull out. Well I did this a few times, and the Stereo was not coming out. I was pissed off. I got on the internet and went on a few forums to confirm that you were supposed to just be able to pull the stereo out from the front. (Not the tank side of the stereo, but the front headlight side) Everyone responded that it should come right out.
One guy recommended that I remove the bolts from the vertical fairing stabilizer bracket to give more room for the stereo to come out. When I went to remove the bolts I discovered that I had the dreaded broken vertical fairing stabilizer bracket on the left hand side, and my horizontal bracket under the speaker was also broken. I was truly pissed off at this time. (This is a known bug on this motorcycle; I will discuss this issue on another article.)
My stereo was not coming out and as I tried, it was bending the inner fairing. I was worried that I would crack or break the inner fairing that is how bad this was. Here I am looking at my motorcycle all taken apart, and I could not get the damm stock stereo out. I decided to try again, and to use more pressure. Either the stereo was going to come out or I was going to break something.
I finally felt a bit of a pop and the stereo came out. It turns out that I got lucky; the asshole that installed the stereo in my motorcycle thought it would be a good idea to put what looked like rubber cement on the top and bottom of the front of my stereo where the front bezel meets the fairing, when he installed it. This is not standard. I guess he thought that it would stay in my solid that way. It sure did stay in solid, even when unbolted it would not budge. I almost destroyed the fairing getting it off.
Now I could finally install the new stereo.
First, I slid on the front black mounting piece that comes with the Sony Stereo and snapped it in place on the front of the unit. I then slid on the black bezel that comes with the Biketronics kit. The bezel is what goes against the fairing to seal the stereo from the inside of the fairing.
I then bolted on the two blocks that mount to each side of the Sony stereo which allow the stereo to be bolted into the Harley Davidson stereo bracket inside of the fairing. I did not over tighten the bolts as indicated.
I then lifted the back of the stereo and pushed it in and down into the fairing so the bezel was flush with the front of the fairing, and then bolted the stereo into the fairing bracket using the same screws that I took off of the stock stereo. It was easy to bolt on because I went through the sides as described in the service manual. You do not need the service manual to do this but it helps. All you need is the long hex wrench and then bolt in through the holes in the bracket on each side.
At this point I was not sure if the front bezel was flush with the front of the fairing, so I removed the Sony and reinstalled it. I discovered that I had it right the first time, but it was no big deal.
The Sony is much smaller and lighter than the stock unit which took some time to get used to. It is newer technology.
Now that I had the Sony mounted, I plugged in the Antenna. I then took the Harley Davidson wiring harness, and plugged it into the Biketronics retro radio kit. I then took the Sony wiring harness and plugged one end into the Biketronics retro radio kit, and took the other side and plugged it into the back of the Sony Stereo. I plugged in the connector for the hand controls into the stereo making sure that the plug was facing up as stated in the instructions.
Everything was ready to be tested per the Biketronics instructions. I installed the battery, and put the starter into the auxiliary mode. The stereo powered up, but there was no sound at all. I tried to fidget with the sound controls but nothing. I could tell that the speakers were not getting any juice at all. The Sony Stereo has a feature where when power is turned off, it beeps a few times to remind you to remove the faceplate. There was no beeping.
I went into the fairing and discovered that my speaker’s wires routed to a separate plug, and that there were also speakers wires routed to the back of the bike under the seat which went to the same plug. My stock stereo had two big plugs, one for the power and hand controls, and one for the speakers. The Biketronics kit only had one plug which was supposed to accommodate everything so they say.
At this point after all of the above hassles I went through I was pissed off. I thought Biketronics sent me the wrong adapter. I had to wait for the next day to talk to them. Their tech support told me that I had a unique setup on my motorcycle. It looks like it was set up for an amplifier on my motorcycle. They told me my wiring was non standard and they had only seen this issue once before.
To be frank, my Harley stereo had two big plugs, one of which was for the speakers. I cannot see how this is non standard if the stereo had the separate plug. The guy from Biketronics insisted that I had a non-standard setup.
We mutually agreed that the easiest and best solution would be for me to manually wire the speakers to the Biketronics Sony Adaptor. This would prevent me from having to cut into the Harley stereo plug harness. All I would have to do is unplug the stereo speakers, and run separate wires to the Biketronics Sony Adaptor Plug. It was basically 1 2 wire connection for each speaker. It sounds like a bitch but it is really no big deal. Any of you who have wired up a home stereo know that is real easy to wire up two speakers.
My only complaint was that this thing was supposed to be plug and play, and now I would have to manually wire the speakers to their harness.
I went to Wal-Mart and got a universal wiring kit with spade lugs and a crimper so I could do the job right, plus I got some wire. Turns out the spade lugs in the kit did not fit on the Hogtunes speakers, and the wire was too large of a gauge to work with. I went to Auto Zone to get thinner wire. To make a long story short I spend I significant amount of time trying to make my own spade lug wires, etc. but the connections were no good. I then tried to solder the wires directly onto the speaker lugs but they would not stay on.
Finally, I opted to just use the factory wires which I cut half way down and connected to the Biketronics Sony Harness and then wrapped real well with electrical tape. Again, it sounds like a nightmare, but it was only 4 wires total.
I then put the starter switch on Auxiliary, and wholla, I had tunes. However, I had to fix the broken fairing stabilization brackets before I could button the motorcycle up. I will discuss this in a later article.
I then buttoned everything up. I did have a minor issue while tie-wrapping the Biketronics module into the fairing. The kit did make my fairing tighter than before. I am sure that I could have done a better job tie-wrapping the unit into the fairing, but I had done some other work to the motorcycle and I was tired. I got it in, and the fairing buttoned back up.
First I tested the AM/FM/HD reception; it works and sounds fantastic. Local HD stations tune in just fine, and give you a display on the radio face of what artist is playing, etc. This is the first time that I have heard my favorite station in Los Angeles; 95.5 KLOS in HD sound. There is absolutely no sound or static at all. The stations transmit in digital HD. HD reception never has static like FM- Frequency Modulation (Analog), or AM-Amplitude Modulation (Analog) stations. I am going to have more fun with HD as I ride with the motorcycle more.
I burned a CD on my computer with about 300 MP3’s on it. This would be a backup music option in case I did not have my thumb drive music collection, my I-Pod, or another MP3 player with me. The CD worked flawlessly and sounded great. The stereo does have to be turned on to feed a disk into it. The artist and song info displays on the face of the radio like it is supposed to while playing.
It was then time for the biggest test of all, my entire music collection copied onto a USB thumb drive.
I copied my entire MP3 music collection, excluding full albums onto a 4GB thumb drive and plugged it into the front USB port on the stereo.
I was kind of worried beforehand that the vibration and wind of a motorcycle ride on the road would cause the thumb drive to dislodge and fall out on the road. One of the reasons I got the stereo in the first place was so that I could simply plug a thumb drive in without any cable, and that I could have my entire music collection play on the stereo without any cables or external players.
My worry was not a problem. I have now ridden at speed for many miles with the thumb drive plugged in, and it has not come loose at all, nor has it come out, or even come close to falling out. Believe me; I have ridden at speed on the freeway as well.
The ability to plug in a thumbdrive direclty into the Sony Stereo from the front, is the biggest feature of the stereo by far in my opinion. The feature gives me the ability to have my entire music collection on a miniture thumbdrive, plugged directly into the head unit, with pure digital music going directly into the stereo by way of the USB, and then having the Sony’s electronics convert it into excellent sound.
As I stated above, by plugging into the Aux port on the old Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System, you are using an external MP3 device to convert the digital to analog for you, and then the headphone jack is used to plug into the Harley system with a cable. With this method there is some signal loss at the Aux jack no matter what you do, plus there is no real safe way to control the tunes while riding.
I was able to hear some of my songs (my music collection is so big that it would take about 3 days to hear every song) as clear and as good as can be. Plus I was able to read the artist and song info on the faceplate which is something I could not do before with the Harley system. On top of that, I could also toggle through my collection while riding using the Harley Davidson stock right Hand Control.
There is another feature in the stereo that makes finding tunes much easier when riding, it is called the Quick-BrowZer Mode. When the button for this feature is pushed it basically plays about 15 seconds of each song in your collection, when you reach a song you want to hear you just push the big select button, and the stereo then starts the song from the beginning.
I have used the stereo for many hours now and the sound quality blows away the stock Harley Davidson stereo system.
Although the Sony stock head unit only puts out around 17 watts per channel, for 4 channels without an amplifier, which is around the same output as the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System, this stereo is better sounding and louder than the stock Harley Davidson stereo.
Since I am already running Hogtunes speakers on my motorcycle, I get no distortion at all when the stereo is cranked up.
This stereo is setup to accept XM or Sirius satellite with a quick plug and play option. I did not order this option initially because I wanted to make sure that I was going to keep this new setup. I am probably going to get the satellite option for this stereo in the very near future, especially before I go to Sturgis.
I am also contemplating getting an amplifier for my system. Although the stereo is already loud now, I do not want to really have to crank it up at highway speeds. Let’s face it, when you are rolling at 80mph with a full face modular helmet on, and ear plugs, any stock stereo system will be very difficult to hear, even if it is cranked up. I know that with a nominal amplifier, I can get the stereo loud enough to hear even at highway speeds.
I am sure that if I removed my ear plugs, or if I only wore a beanie helmet or no helmet, I would be able to hear the stereo just fine, even at highway speeds. However, due to my tinnitus which has been caused by many years of riding without hearing protection, I do not want to damage my already damaged ears.
Biketronics and Hawg Wired each sell amplifiers; however I feel that each of their solutions is too expensive. I think the minimum price of their solutions is $399 plus. I can get a cheap two channel amplifier from Crutchfield for around $99 that will probably do the trick.
Why pay $399 plus if I can do the same thing for $99?
One big issue for me will be to get an amplifier that is small enough to mount in the fairing above the Sony stereo that does not generate too much heat and one that does not drain too much power. A motorcycle electrical system is not as strong as a car electrical system, so any amplifier I get will need to work on the Harley Davidson.
If I find that the Crutchfield cheapo solution does not work to my satisfaction, I will buy an amplifier from either Biketronics or Hawg Wired.
Bottom line, I cannot believe I waited so long to upgrade my system. I can think of countless trips I have taken that would have been much better had I been able to have a system like this on my motorcycle.
Like you I wanted to keep everything OEM. However, I got sick of using obsolete technology, or being extorted into paying Harley Davidson’s high prices to not get everything I wanted.
Now I have almost everything I want. I would recommend that everyone upgrade their Harley Davidson Sound System to the latest and greatest aftermarket solutions. There is no need to stick with obsolete technology anymore.
Just a side note, none of the vendors mentioned on here provided me with any product or compensation in return for this review. I wrote this review because I know that many of you out there are contemplating this type of upgrade or installation.
Today is Monday, May 31, 2010. As of today over 1 million men and women have given their lives in the service or our nation. Today, Memorial Day, is the day we honor their sacrifice.
As of May 30, 2010, 4,387 men and women have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and 1,075 have died Operation Enduring Freedom. (Afghanistan)
Freedom is not free. Those who have given their lives for our freedom paid for our freedom with all they had to give, their lives.
On May 24, 2010, 22 year old PFC. Christopher R. Barton Died in Operation Enduring Freedom, in Khowst province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.
On May 24, 2010, 44 year old Major Ronald W. Culver Jr. Died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, in Numaniyah, Iraq, when insurgents attacked his vehicle with a makeshift bomb.
On May 22, 2010, 24 year old PFC. Jason D. Fingar. Died in Operation Enduring Freedom, in Durai, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his military vehicle struck a makeshift bomb.
On May 21, 2010, 26 year old Staff SGT. Amilcar H. Gonzalez Died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Ash Shura, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
On May 20, 2010, 26 year old Spec. Stanley J. Sokolowski, III Died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, in Kirkuk, Iraq, in a non-combat related incident.
On May 19, 2010, 38 year old Staff SGT. Shane S. Barnard Died in Operation Enduring Freedom, in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when he stepped on a secondary makeshift bomb.
On May 18, 2010, 46 year old PFC Col. John M. McHugh Died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their convoy with a vehicle-borne makeshift bomb.
I have listed 7 brave men who have given their lives in the service our nation, for our freedom in the past week. To honor those who have given their lives for our freedom is to remember them and what they did for us.
To see a list, pictures, and details of all who have died in our latest wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, click here now. I know it takes a bit of time to go through each person by date, but it will bring home the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Today is not a day for picnics, and sales at the local mall, it is a day to honor those who paid for our freedom by giving their lives for us. It is a solemn day. Tell your kids what this day is for. Study it for yourself.
God bless the United States of America. God bless our fallen hero’s.
Last Sunday, May 23, 2010, I decided to take a bit of a ride here in Southern California.
The ride was not only for pleasure, but I wanted to check out my new Rush Slip on mufflers, my new Sony HD Stereo, and my new GoPro helmet camera. (I will write reviews about all of them later on)
My plan was to meet some of my friends in Chatsworth, CA, ride to Simi Valley Harley Davidson in Simi Valley, CA, and then ride with them to Bartels Harley Davidson in Marina Del Rey, CA. I ended up doing a local 300 mile all day ride minus the time I spent at Simi Valley Harley Davidson.
My ride started out early Sunday morning on May 23, 2010. I got on my motorcycle at around 8:30am to take a bit of a ride before I met my friends. I captured the vast majority of my ride on my new GoPro helmet cam, a picture of which you can see to the left.
I have the helmet cam mounted on the side of my helmet rather than the top of my helmet, because I have a modular flip up helmet and the top mount would not work with the flip up aspect of my modular helmet. I will discuss this more when I review the camera.
Suffice is to say, it was a great day. My total riding hours in the saddle riding last Sunday was around 9 hours plus, and I have plenty of video footage of my ride. I am showing 30 minutes of the ride here. It was very hard for me to select which video footage to show here.
I met my friends in Chatsworth at around 9:45am after taking about an hour ride. We then rode together to a little event at Simi Valley Harley Davidson. There was a band, food, and vendors at Simi Valley Harley Davidson.
I took advantage of being at Simi Valley Harley Davidson. It turns out on the ride over there, I discovered that my left spot light was out, plus I needed some bushings and bolts for my removable Tour Pak. I was able to get all of the parts I needed at the dealership which made me very happy notwithstanding the fact that I paid $57.00 for a spot light replacement, two bolts, and two bushings.
I decided to replace the spotlight in the street while I was there. It was probably a good idea, because once I got the spot light off, I could not figure how to get it back on. There is a rubber strip, a backing that the spotlight goes into, as well as a metal ring. I walked the separated parts up to the service desk, and even though they were closed, there was a guy in there who obviously worked there, who packed the rubber back into the housing, and showed me how to put the pieces back together which I did. Repair completed right there in the street.
My friends and I walked around a bit and hung out at the Harley Davidson dealership until at least noon by my estimation. I purchased a $5.00 lemonade – 5 friggen dollars for a large lemonade. After complaining a bit about the price, the guy agreed to give me a free refill. I don’t know but if I was putting on one of these events, I would talk to my food and drink vendors to ensure that they were not gouging my customers and guests. This is a whole other story.
At some point, the guys decided to take off. When I got on my motorcycle to leave with the guys, I found an electrical problem from my earlier spotlight fix, and my motorcycle would not start. I waived my friends off and told them I would meet them later.
I opened the spotlight back up and everything seemed OK. The light powered up when I put the ignition switch to the run position, but the bike would not start. Then I had a stupid me moment, I engaged the kill switch before I did the repair which I forgot about. Once I disengaged the kill switch, the motorcycle started. I then buttoned the motorcycle back up and was ready to roll. It was by now a half hour later or so. I knew my friends were probably already very close to Bartel’s in Marina Del Rey.
By this time I was hungry. I had not had breakfast that morning, I did not eat the food at the Simi Valley event because I did not want to have acid reflux all day, so I decided to take a detour off of the 118 to go to Jerry’s Deli on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills, CA to get some Matzo Ball soup and some Kosher Dills. I knew if I rode to Bartel’s in Marina Del Rey, they would probably have the same greasy spoon type of food that they had at Simi Valley Harley Davidson, and that I did not want to wait to eat.
I rode to Jerry’s Deli which is a San Fernando Valley hotspot eatery where many celebrities can be seen from time to time, and thoroughly enjoyed my meal, although it took quite a time to get my meal. There is nothing like Matzo Ball soup when you are on a run where the weather is kind of cool. It will open up your sinus every time. Matzo Ball soup is a Jewish remedy!
By the time I finished my meal at Jerry’s Deli, it was already around between 1:30 and 2:00pm, and I did not have my friend’s phone numbers with me, so I decided to skip Bartel’s Harley Davidson. I figured that by the time I rode there with traffic, I would not make it until around 3pm or later, and to be frank, I wanted to ride rather than sit around hanging out at another Harley Davidson dealership, so that is exactly what I did, I rode; I rode my ass off : )
I decided to ride to the Rock Store by way of Topanga Canyon to Mulholland Highway, the long twisty route. You can see some of the video from my GoPro here. It was a fanfuckentastic run. You see we absolutely have the best and most beautiful riding in the world right here in Southern California. It does not get much better than this anywhere in the world. Most Angelinos (Los Angeles Residents) have no clue about the beauty just outside of the concrete jungle here. We have great mountains, great coastline, and twisties that are just as radical as any in the world here.
As I approached the last stop sign before arriving at the Rock Store, I ran straight into a friggen road block. You see the Tour De California Bicycle race was also being put on this weekend, and the Rock Store was on their route. I was a bit pissed. I wanted to visit the Rock Store and then do my hidden route behind Mulholland to some of the best 1st gear twisties, ending up at the coast. I ended up turning off my motorcycle and watching the bicycle racers, the fans yelling like screaming Durban’s, and the helicopters overhead, not to mention the bicycle rider chase trucks, and chase motorcycles on the route. When a CHP officer told me the route was to be closed all day, I flicked a U’ie and rode back to Malibu Canyon Road. I rode to Pacific Coast Highway, and ended up doing a straight coast ride all the way up to Neptune’s Net. I stopped at my old surfing grounds before Zuma Beach and cruised the coast a bit. I have some great memories on this strip of beach.
It was a great day to ride on Sunday. The coast part of my journey was fanfuckentastic to say the least. Look I love riding with my friends and my brothers, but I also like riding solo as well. There is no pressure to stay in the pack when you are riding solo, and you can ride wherever the fuck you want with no one bitching. It is freedom.
I rode real easy up to Neptune’s Net. I had many cagers waiving at me, and honking at me. I presume this was because of my helmet camera. I assume these people probably thought that I was filming for some kind of Hollywood movie or something. I literally had people in Mercedes Benz’s, Ferrari’s and beater cars all giving me the thumbs up. It was unique and I got many of it on the helmet cam.
When I finally got to Neptune’s Net there were a bunch of bikes and bikers there just like every Sunday. For me it is the same old thing, kind of like a routine if you know what I mean. I had a bunch of guys come up and ask me about the camera on my helmet. One of the guys was this Euro type who claimed to have shot all of the pictures for Harley Davidson’s new motorcycle line that was coming out. He was very interested in the specs for my camera and the mount. I ended talking to these guys for a half hour, exchanging business cards and what not. This is the good thing about being a biker, it is easy to meet and greet with new people. Something that cagers will never really get to experience. It is a biker comradery.
At this point is was around 4pm plus or minus an hour : ) I had a choice, I could take Kanan Dune, or Malibu Canyon to the 101 Ventura Freeway, and ride home, or I could cruise Pacific Coast Highway up to Santa Monica, then take the 10 to the 405 and cruise up to the snow via the Antelope Valley back route. Hell this time of year it stays daylight until at least 8pm; what would you do? : ) Well what do you think I decided to do? If you guess take PCH to Santa Monica and then cruise up the snow by way of the Antelope Valley back route you would be correct.
Look, my wife is in law school, she was at home studying for some freaking test, it was a great not too warm sunny day by this time, and I had nothing better to do. I was one of those great days where I could have rode 24 hours straight, all around my favorite spots.
So there I did it, I rode PCH all the way to the 10. It was a great costal ride. I noticed that there are many more homes along the coast which is a real bummer. When I was growing up, it was straight coast all the way up, now there are homes blocking the view for a substantial part of the trip. No biggie, it was a great ride. I got on the 10 to the 405 north. There it was bumper to bumper traffic; a good excuse to get off before Getty Center Drive, get some gas, and then take Sepulveda up the canyon until the traffic opened up. Once I got on the 405 I took it to the 14 east and then got off at Sand Canyon Road for a bit of dinner at Coco’s Restaurant.
In Coco’s a young 20 year old kid named Shane who was sitting with his absolutely fine girlfriend 19 year old girlfriend Tammy, and his 25 year old friend Steve, introduced themselves to me and shook my hand, they sat directly in front of my in another booth.
I had a good meal and good conversation with these folks. Hell we talked about everything from relationships, to career, to riding motorcycles, you name it. It has been a long time since I had such a good conversation with young folks. I thought to myself that these kids ought to be more careful about opening up to strangers like me the way they did because there are many assholes out there that might do them harm just because they were so nice. I did not have enough time to tell them what I thought, but I thought it as I saw them leaving. These were some good kids. They showed me respect which is unique these days. I think their parents raised them right.
After a really good steak dinner, I got back on the road. I took the 14 to Pearblossum Highway, to my secret turn off on the 138 and headed up to the still snow covered mountains.
At the turnoff I decided to change the batteries in my Gopro cam, and to check the memory card. Turns out I needed to replace both. The batteries were dead, plus I had already used up an 8GB SD card which records 6 hours of video. Whoops. I put in new batteries, and a 2 GB SD card to record this aspect of my ride.
To give a short summary I owned the road, I was basically all alone form the desert to the mountains. I rode to my spot where the San Andreas Fault line is, and then up to the Juniper Hills and beyond up to the snow. By this time I was freezing my ass off, and the sun was going down, so I decided to ride home.
When I finally got home, my wife bitched about me being gone form the early morning to the evening and wondered what I did for so long. I let her see the video’s of the day. I know the real reason that she was upset; because she did not ride with me, and spent a beautiful Sunday by herself studying all day. Been there; done that.
Unfortunately I lost the 2 GB SD card of the final part of my journey in my home office somewhere. Once I find it I will post some video from it.
So there it is, one hell of a great Sunday Ride in Southern California, from the desert to the sea, to the mountains.
Maybe I may take one of my lucky readers on this same ride someday.
Dennis Hopper, the maverick director and costar of the landmark 1969 counterculture film classic “Easy Rider” whose drug- and alcohol-fueled reputation as a Hollywood bad boy preceded his return to sobriety and a career resurgence in the films ” Hoosiers” and “Blue Velvet,” died Saturday. He was 74.
A longtime resident of Venice, CA who also was known as a photographer, artist and collector of modern art, Hopper died at his home of complications from prostate cancer, said Alex Hitz, a friend of the family.
A frail-looking Hopper, whose battle with prostate cancer was revealed in October, was able to attend a ceremony for the unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in late March.
In a more than five-decade acting career that was influenced early on by working with James Dean and studying at the Actors Studio, he made his film debut as one of the high school gang members who menace Dean in the 1955 classic “Rebel Without a Cause.”
Hopper went on to appear in more than 115 films, including “Giant,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “True Grit,” “Apocalypse Now,” “The American Friend,” “Rumble Fish,” “Speed,” “True Romance” and “Rivers Edge.”
But it’s his role as the long-haired, pot-smoking biker Billy opposite Peter Fonda’s Wyatt (Captain America) in the hit movie “Easy Rider” that gave Hopper his most enduring claim to fame.
The low-budget tale of two bikers on an ultimately tragic cross-country odyssey after scoring a big cocaine sale, “Easy Rider” became a generational touchstone.
The movie, which boasted a star-making performance from a little-known Jack Nicholson as a boozy small-town lawyer who goes along for the ride and gets his first taste of marijuana, set old-guard Hollywood back on its heels.
“The impact of ‘Easy Rider,’ both on the filmmakers and the industry as a whole, was no less than seismic,” Peter Biskind wrote in his 1998 book “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood.”
“Hopper was catapulted into the pantheon of countercultural celebrities that included John Lennon, Abbie Hoffman and Timothy Leary,” Biskind wrote. “He was surrounded by groupies and acolytes. He may have started down the slippery slope to megalomania and grandiloquence on his own, but he had plenty of help.”
“Easy Rider” won an award at the Cannes Film Festival for the best movie by a new director, and it earned co-writers Hopper, Fonda and Terry Southern an Oscar nomination.
“Hopper and Fonda were renegades, Hollywood-bashers, the Vietcong of Beverly Hills,” Biskind wrote. “To them, it was vindication, beating Hollywood at its own game, proof that you could get high, express yourself and make money all at the same time.”
Commenting on the success of “Easy Rider,” Hopper said: “Nobody had ever seen themselves portrayed in a movie. At every love-in across the country people were smoking grass and dropping LSD, while audiences were still watching Doris Day and Rock Hudson.”
Another signature role was in “Apocalypse Now,” director Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 nightmare vision of the Vietnam War. Hopper played a counterculture photojournalist, who is encountered in the compound of Marlon Brando’s insane, renegade Col. Kurtz and is prone to his own crazed rantings.
“Dennis Hopper was part of that sort of misfit, rebel-persona generation where you just didn’t hit your mark and say your lines and try to create a movie icon type of presence,” said Peter Rainer, film critic for the Christian Science Monitor. “He was much more rough-hewn, rough-edged and intuitive as an actor, and this created a lot of problems early on.”
Indeed, Hopper survived being shut out of major studio films for a number of years after a legendary run-in in the late ’50s with old-guard director Henry Hathaway on the set of “From Hell to Texas.”
The highly volatile actor also survived his own well-documented descent into drugs and alcohol that reached a low point in the early ’80s while making a film in Mexico.
“I ended up walking off into the jungle, naked, in the middle of the night, somewhere down near Cuernavaca,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2005. “I was convinced they were listening to my mind and my friends were being gassed.”
During the last five years of his “abusing,” he said, “I was doing half a gallon of rum with a fifth of rum on the side, 28 beers and 3 grams of cocaine a day — and that wasn’t getting high, that was just to keep going, man.
“I was a nightmare. I finally just shorted out.”
A post-rehab Hopper received a supporting actor Oscar nomination playing, ironically, the alcoholic father of a high school basketball player who sobers up briefly to become an assistant to Gene Hackman’s coach in the inspirational 1986 film “Hoosiers.”
As an actor, Hopper carved out his own particular niche as what one journalist called a “serial portrayer of weirdos,” including the maniacal bomber in “Speed” and the eye-patch-wearing villain with the shaved head in “Waterworld.”
Hopper, Rainer observed, “really gets inside the craziness” of such characters.
“He’s able to do that because — and this is where the Method part probably comes in — he somehow taps into the craziness in himself,” Rainer said.
After “Easy Rider,” Hopper was dubbed “Hollywood’s hottest director” by Life magazine. He went to Peru to direct “The Last Movie,” in which he played a movie stuntman who remains in a remote mountain village after a Hollywood film company shoots a violent western whose production has a powerful effect on the villagers.
Released by Universal in 1971 after Hopper spent more than a year editing it at his home in Taos, N.M., “The Last Movie” won the Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival but was panned by most movie critics and quickly pulled from theaters.
“As a piece of film-making,” summed up Charles Champlin, then The Times’ movie critic, “it is inchoate, amateurish, self-indulgent, tedious, superficial, unfocused and a precious waste not only of money but, more importantly, of a significant and conspicuous opportunity.”
It would be years before Hopper got another chance to direct, most notably the 1988 film “Colors.”
But, as Biskind noted of the period after the high-profile failure of “The Last Movie,” Hopper “did do some acting, and directors learned to work around the drugs.”
Far more prolific as an actor since his mid-’80s career resurgence, Hopper continued to work steadily in films and television.
In 1991, he received an Emmy nomination as lead actor for his portrayal of a murderous Southern racist in the Showtime movie “Paris Trout.”
He also showed up in commercials, including ones for Nike and for Ameriprise Financial in which the old Easy Rider told aging baby boomers that it was “time to redefine” retirement.
Hopper more recently played record producer Ben Cendars in the TV series “Crash.”
He was born May 17, 1936, in Dodge City, Kan., and spent most of his childhood living on his grandparents’ farm. His father served in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and his mother managed an outdoor swimming pool in Dodge City.
After the war, the family moved first to Kansas City, Mo., and then to San Diego County.
A 1954 graduate of Helix High School in La Mesa, he had acted in school productions and had won a scholarship to the National Shakespeare Festival at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.
His debut TV role as an epileptic in the TV medical drama “Medic” aired in early 1955 and led to the 18-year-old Hopper being signed to a contract with Warner Bros., where he was cast in the role of Goon in “Rebel Without a Cause.”
Hopper thought he was the best young actor in the world, he later said, until he saw Dean in action.
“The man was doing things I couldn’t conceive of,” Hopper said in an interview on “Inside the Actors Studio.”
“He wasn’t doing things that were on the written page. I mean, I could give a great line reading; I could do great gestures. I could preconceive everything, but he wasn’t preconceiving anything. He was improvising. He was doing things that weren’t on the page. He was using his imagination. He was expressing things with his body and through himself that were just way beyond my understanding.”
The last time he saw Dean, who was killed in a car crash in 1955 at age 24, was at the end of working with him on “Giant,” the Texas-set epic in which Hopper played Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor’s sensitive son as an adult.
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“The most personal tragedy in my life was Dean,” Hopper said in a 1987 Vanity Fair interview. “I was 19 years old and had such admiration for him.”
Even after Dean’s death, the young actor’s advice stuck with Hopper.
“I was a very good technician,” Hopper recalled in a 1990 interview with the Chicago Tribune, “but Dean was, like, so loose, creating all these wonderful things. So I grabbed him during the ‘Chickie-run’ scene, and threw him into a car, and I said, ‘I thought I was the best, and now I see you, and I know you’re better, and I don’t even know what you’re doing.’ He said, ‘Well, you have to do things, not show them. You have to take a drink from the glass, not act like you’re drinking. Don’t have any preconceived ideas. Approach something differently every time.'”
Hopper laughed. “That was the beginning of a lot of problems for me with directors.”
On the set of the 1958 western “From Hell to Texas,” Hopper refused to read his lines and gesture exactly the way the director, Hathaway, demanded in a scene. And, Hopper later recalled, Hathaway had him do take after take from 7 in the morning until about 10 at night before Hopper finally “cracked” and did it the director’s way.
But the damage to Hopper’s movie career was done: Warner Bros. dropped him and, he later said, that was the end of his career in Hollywood.
He moved to New York City, where he studied acting with Strasberg. He also became a professional photographer, shooting portraits for Vogue and other magazines. And he married Brooke Hayward, the daughter of actress Margaret Sullavan and producer Leland Hayward.
Hopper’s Hollywood career was reinvigorated when his old nemesis, Hathaway, gave him a second chance by casting him in a small role in the 1965 John Wayne western “The Sons of Katie Elder” and later in the 1969 Wayne classic “True Grit.”
Hopper also appeared in the low-budget, late-’60s drug movie “The Trip” and the biker film “The Glory Stompers,” but he spent most of the decade making guest appearances on TV shows.
Throughout that period, Hopper told Playboy magazine in 1990, “I was looked on as a maniac and an idiot and a fool and a drunkard. And suddenly, I made ‘Easy Rider,’ man, and the whole world opens up to me.”
I think Dennis Hopper was a unique individual. He will be missed by many.
TLC is reviving “American Chopper” with the estranged Teutuls going head-to-head in competing bike shops.
The new show, “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior,” begins filming next week and will premiere in August.
It focuses both on the original Orange County Choppers business run by Paul Sr., and Paul Jr.’s startup bike shop.
The new shop, Paul Jr. Designs, is located across from the original OCC shop in Rock Tavern, NY, near OCC’s Newburgh site.
The hook? Father and son haven’t spoken in over a year, ever since Senior fired Junior from the family business.
BIKE BATTLE: Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Jr. haven’t spoken in a year, but will both appear on a new version of “Chopper.”
The split effectively ended their long-running reality show. TLC axed “American Chopper” last February and, in an ugly legal battle, Senior is demanding the return of Junior’s 20 percent stake in OCC. After a brief reconciliation, Junior rode out his one-year non-compete clause and moved into his new shop last week. Father and son remain at odds, with no resolution in sight.
“I’m always hopeful for a reconciliation, but sometimes these things happen for a reason,” Junior told The Post yesterday.
“Even though you never want dissension in any family, especially with your father, this has allowed me to break out and do things on my own.”
Senior also says he’s moved on to a point.
“Junior seems to say all the time he’d like to reconcile, but the thing of it is, he’s never come to me with that,” Senior told The Post. “I’m happy he’s making an attempt to go out on his own, but I don’t feel he’s ever really followed through with anything in his life.”
“But this way, if he fails, he can’t say, ‘My dad made me fail.’ ”
The resurrection of “Chopper” will be good news for fans of the show, including “Late Show” host David Letterman.
“Letterman e-mailed me when he heard the show was going off the air and said, ‘What am I gonna do now, Paul?,’ ”
Senior says. “He was devastated.”
It remains to be seen how “Senior vs. Junior” will play out, but series executive producer Christo Doyle says there’s no formula on how much air time the two competing shops will get per episode.
“This is a very bitter situation that runs really deep at times I feel I’m a family therapist and not a producer.”
Ronnie James Dio, whose soaring vocals, poetic lyrics and mythic tales of a never-ending struggle between good and evil broke new ground in rock & roll, died Sunday, according to a statement from his wife and manager. He was 67.
Dio revealed last summer that he was suffering from stomach cancer shortly after wrapping up a tour in Atlantic City, N.J. with the latest incarnation of Black Sabbath, under the name Heaven and Hell.
“Today my heart is broken, Wendy Dio wrote on the singer’s site, adding he died at 7:45 a.m. “Many, many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes before he peacefully passed away.
“Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all,” Wendy Dio continued. “We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us … Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever.”
The statement was confirmed by Los Angeles publicist Maureen O’Connor.
Dio rose to fame in 1975 as the first lead singer of Rainbow, the heavy metal band put together by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who had just quit Deep Purple.
Dio then replaced legendary vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath in 1980 with the critically acclaimed album “Heaven And Hell,” considered by many critics to be one of the finest heavy-metal albums of all time. His on-again, off-again tenure with Black Sabbath touched off an intense debate among fans as to which singer was the true essence of the band — a discussion that lasted until his death.
He also enjoyed a successful solo career with his self-titled band, Dio, in between his three stints with Black Sabbath (1980-82; 1992; and 2007-2009, when the band toured as Heaven And Hell, to differentiate it from Osbourne-led versions of Sabbath). Dio was also inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame in Hollywood in 2007.
Many of his most memorable songs revolved around the struggle between good and evil, including his signature tune “Heaven And Hell. He also drew heavily on medieval imagery in songs like “Neon Knights, “Killing The Dragon and “Stargazer.
“He possessed one of the greatest voices in all of heavy metal, and had a heart to match it, said Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French, whose band toured with Dio since 1983, and was to do so again this summer at European rock festivals. “He was the nicest, classiest person you would ever want to meet.
Dio organized an all-star charity collaboration in 1986 called “Hear N Aid” to raise money for famine relief in Africa, styled on the successful “We Are The World” campaign of a few years earlier.
His solo hits included “Rainbow In The Dark,” “The Last In Line” and “Holy Diver.”
Wendy Dio said that friends and family were able to say their goodbyes to her husband, and asked for privacy. She concluded: “Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever.”
I remember when Ronnie James Dio became the front man for Black Sabbath. My friends and I went to see Black Sabbath at the Los Angeles Colissium in 1979-1980. It was one heck of a concert. When Ronnie James Dio belted out the classic Black Sabbath song Heaven and Hell, it was awesome.
When Dio fronted for Rainbow and Richie Blackmore, they were the best.
He was truly one of my favorite rock & roll vocalist of all time; he will be missed.
**** 5/16/10 Update: Officer found guilty in shooting of sitting biker, see below for link.
**** 5/12/10 Update: See Video of shooting victim testifying in Court below.
When you are stopped by the Police in your car, on your motorcycle, or other motor vehicle, it is usually because the police think you have done something wrong.
It is very important that you keep your hands visible to the police officers for various reasons, the most important of which is so that you do not get shot or tasered.
Here is a link to some very disturbing video of a man being shot by the police while sitting on his motorcycle; click here to see video and story. The police officer is facing felony charges. The man who was shot is paralyzed as a result.
The police officers defense attorney is arguing that the police thought that this man had a gun. Judging by the video, it looks like a cold blooded shooting that was unjustified, however if you put yourself in the officers shoes, how did he know for sure that the biker did not have a gun when he turned toward him? If you were a cop, what would you do under similar circumstances?
I for one, sure the hell do not want to be the victim of a shooting such as this; who does?
There are a few things you can do to ensure that your encounters with law enforcement are safer for you and for law enforcement.
If you are in a car or other enclosed vehicle, turn off you ignition, place your car keys on the dash board, and keep your hands on the steering wheel. If the officer asks for your license and registration, ask the officer if it is ok to remove your hands from the wheel, and tell him where you are going to reach to get the information he or she is requesting. Once you get the information, put your hands back on the steering wheel until allowed to leave by the officer.
If you on a motorcycle, turn off the motorcycle, put you hands on the handlebars, and wait for the officer to approach. Do not remove your hands from the handlebars until the officer asks for your license and registration, at which time ask for permission to remove your hands from the handlebars, and inform the officer where you will be reaching.
In either case, do not exit your vehicle unless asked to do so, and do not get off of your motorcycle unless asked to do so.
I know many of you are thinking that having to do this is plain wrong. The purpose of the above exercise is not being right or wrong; it is to protect your life by assuring the police that you are not a threat.
I am not sure if this above procedure would have prevented the shooting of the guy on the motorcycle in the video, only god knows.
In December 2009, I took a little ride to Las Vegas. I was supposed to meet up with some friends along the way, but I ended up not meeting up with them until we got to Nevada.
Now I know some of you cannot ride in December due to snow and weather. Well here on the South West Coast we basically have year round riding. The below video proves it.
For me as a true Biker Lawyer and Motorcycle Accident Attorney, just give me an excuse to ride and I will be there. Unlike some other poser attorney’s out there claiming that they are “Motorcycle Attorney’s.” I am the real deal.
I have literally met up with hundreds if not thousands of Bikers and Motorcyclist from all over the United States and Europe. I love riding my motorcycle just like you do.
I love riding my motorcycle to Las Vegas, Nevada. Not necessarily because I like going to Las Vegas, but I flat out like to ride my motorcycle, and Las Vegas is another excuse to ride.
I shot this video during a ride to Las Vegas in December 2009. Some of the video was shot while riding my Electra Glide, with me holding my HD camcorder in my left hand, while holding the handlebar and throttle with my right hand.
Toward the end of the video, I took some video of me riding with my friends in a pack. This video is unique in that you can get in the saddle with me and see what it is like ride an Electra Glide solo and in a pack.
I am planning on taking many more videos of my rides in the future.
Well the title says it all, my wife and I owe our lives to god after this years Laughlin River Run. I will explain below.
If you did not know it, it is said that the Laughlin River Run is the largest motorcycle rally in the western United States, and some people say that it is the second largest motorcycle rally in the nation next to Sturgis. It is a great time.
You can read an article I wrote about a previous Laughlin River Run that I did by clicking here.
This year’s run began when we packed up my Harley Davidson Electra Glide to go to the Laughlin River Run 2010 on Friday, April 23, 2010.
Since I had to be in Court early Friday morning in Victorville, CA, we could not leave for the Laughlin River Run until Friday afternoon. Many of my friends left on the Thursday, the day before, but I could not go with them because I had to be in Court.
Therefore my wife and I planned on riding alone to Laughlin. By the time I did my pre-ride routine, and we got the motorcycle all packed up, it was very late. We did not get out of dodge until around 7pm; it was already dusk. I had to make a couple of stops along the way before we got on the road. Read the rest of the article below the videos.
By the time we hit the Pearblossom Highway, it was almost dark. We made good time to Victorville and onto the I-15 east. We stopped at Denny’s in Barstow and had dinner because we knew we would not get into Laughlin until around 1am or so according to the GPS.
Once back on the road we made good time from the I-15 to the I-40 split. If any of you have ridden on the I-40 between Barstow and Needles, you know that this is amongst the most isolated and desolate places in the United States. This is the Mohave Desert and there is nothing there except Rattlesnakes, Scorpions, and a couple of gas stations along the way.
While on this road we hit some pretty good speeds to say the least, I love riding through the desert at night, there is something spiritual and empty about it. We eventually passed a sign that said “next services 55 miles.” My odometer was already at around 60 miles since my last gas stop. I knew my Harley would easily make the next gas stop in 55 miles so that is where I decided to make my last gas stop before Needles.
Saying that I was riding at a pretty good speed is an understatement. I will just say this, I opened her up on the open road, we were hauling ass. As usual, I rode one handed a lot to relieve stress and give each hand a break from holding on. I was riding like normal, everything seemed normal.
We then approached the last desolate gas station in a shit hole called Essex; this is the place that I planned on stopping to get fuel before we got to our motel in Needles. It was around midnight by this time.
As I got off of the I-40 into the darkness, at a very, shall we say, decent rate of speed, I was still holding on one handed and banking normally. I then downshifted and slowed her up until we got to the stop sign at the end of the ramp.
When I accelerated out of 1st gear the motorcycle started to wobble uncontrollably. You must understand, I have been riding for many years. I immediately knew that something was seriously wrong. I stopped the motorcycle, and tried again; same thing. My wife was on the back.
The gas station on the exit where we stopped was at least a mile down a curved road from where you exit. You could not see it from where I stopped. We were basically just under the bridge in the middle of the friggen desert at night, it was pitch dark, and there was nothing out there with us except snakes, scorpion, coyotes, and god knows what else.
I got my mini led flash light out of the tour pak to see if I could see anything wrong with the motorcycle, everything looked fine. I pushed down on the motorcycle to see if there was something wrong with the shocks, they seemed fine. Everything looked fine. I thought it might be the road which was very rough and irregular. I got on the bike and tried again; same thing, an uncontrollable wobble.
I knew we could not sit out in the desert. Literally at this time in the morning on the I-40 there is very little if no traffic at all. On this particular off ramp there was no one and no light. It was pitch dark. So I proceeded to 1st gear ride the wobblier all the way to the gas station which seemed like a very long distance from the ramp, with my wife on the back.
I very much wanted to accelerate faster to see if the wobble would go away, but frankly the wobble was so bad, even at a couple of miles per hour I could barely control her to get to the gas station. I did not want to take any further chances on dropping the motorcycle, or getting my wife and I injured.
I am telling you, it took all of my concentration, and nerve to get the damm thing down the road. It was wobbling violently all the way.
Upon arrival at the gas station, I recognized it from previous trips I have taken on the 40. It is a unique place in the middle of no where. They have no pay phone, no air for tires, and the guy that works there at night looks like one of the guys from the movie Deliverance. They also have a bunch of fish tanks in the place. This place is literally isolated in the middle of no where.
Once we got there, I inspected the motorcycle and could not see anything visibly wrong with the motorcycle. I have AAA roadside service with premier RV and Motorcycle coverage, so I decided that I had better call AAA and get the motorcycle towed back to my home.
To make a long story short, there was no cell phone coverage at the gas station, they had no pay phone, and they guy behind the counter said I could not use his phone. After purchasing a couple of drinks for my wife and me, I finally convinced the guy to let me call AAA which is an 800 number. While I was on the phone with them, the guy at the counter kept on telling me that I had to get off because it was a business line; you get the picture we were screwed and at the mercy of this guy at the gas station for now. AAA told me that they would have someone there in two hours. Two hours! I told them I wanted to get the motorcycle towed back to my house.
It was cold as hell outside by this time in the desert after midnight. Luckily, there were some seats inside. Unfortunately, the guy that worked in the gas station seemed to have a few nuts loose. He must have had a hearing problem, because he screamed when he talked to you, and the guy would not stop talking. My wife and I wanted to just sit there and wait for AAA; instead this guy came to where we were sitting and non stop talked the entire time. I should say he non stop yelled the entire time.
While we were waiting, a couple of motorcycles stopped in at the place. A couple of guys from a famous motorcycle club also stopped in. 4 total motorcycles. We all came to a consensus that I had a flat rear tire.
Although my rear Metzler 880 tire was basically new with all of the tread on it, and it appeared to be fine, upon a closer inspection of the tire, as the guys watched me ride it slowly in the gas station lighted area, they said it looked flat. One guy said that motorcycle tires are heavy duty, and appear to be ok even when they are flat. None of us had a tire gauge, and the gas station did not have one.
This was a new one on me. I always change out my tires when the tread appears to be worn. I have never experienced a flat motorcycle tire before.
I purchased some fix a flat from the gas station to see if I could get the tire up and working. AAA called at this time, I told the guy who was actually coming out from AAA that I wanted to be towed home. He then dropped the news that the premier towing plan that I paid for only covered 100 miles for RV and Motorcycle, it is 200 miles for a car. I told him that I was going to try fix a flat and for him to call me back. The fix a flat did not work, and luckily it did not work. I knew it would be a bad move to try to ride in the middle of the desert in the middle of the night on fix a flat, plus the bottle said it was not for motorcycle use. When the AAA guy called back, I told him that we were just going to have it towed to our motel in Needles, CA.
So there we sat in the middle of no where, in the middle of the night, with a guy from the movie deliverance that would not stop talking to us, waiting for AAA, with no cell phone service, basically stranded. It was very cold outside. This was the beginning of our Laughlin River Run 2010 experience.
At around 2am we got a break from the action when some drunks pulled in and started fighting with each other about one of them putting out some gas money. Other than that we were stuck, and there was no customers coming in.
Finally the AAA guy showed up with an SUV and a trailer two and half hours later at 2:30am. We got the bike on the trailer and as he was strapping it in he broke off one of the reflectors on my front frame. I was not going to say shit because I just wanted to get the motorcycle towed to anywhere but where we were at.
After a 40 mile trip at 55 miles per hour (speed limit of vehicles with a trailer in this part of the country) we finally got to the motel at around 3:30am. We got the motorcycle off of the trailer and I was bummed. The guy gave me the card of some bike shop in Fort Mohave across the river. I would call them in the morning after a few hours sleep.
At this point while we were in the Motel, I realized that my wife and I were lucky to be alive. I cannot stress this point enough. Over and over in my head I tried to remember a point in the trip where I felt that something was wrong with the motorcycle. Had the motorcycle gone into a wobble of the type that we had when we got off of the I-40, at lets say 90 miles per hour, we would have been history, we would most likely be dead.
Think about it; I was riding one handed at speeds of 70mph plus and my rear tire had gone flat somewhere along the line. We could have crashed and no one would have seen us until they were running over us, or we could have gone off of the side of the road, and not be seen until daylight or even days later. This is how dark and desolate this stretch of the desert is. The only explanation I have for us not crashing that night was that GOD was watching over us. We are now still alive because of the grace of god.
This experience has changed both my wife and I. I am going to write a separate article on this subject, but suffice is to say; I am now much more cognizant of each and every bump and cranny while riding the motorcycle. After years of meticulous detail in checking my tires and tread, I finally had a catastrophic failure that could have been fatal. Thank GOD we made it out of this one alive and ok.
We did not get to sleep until around 5:30am Saturday morning. I set the clock to wake up at 9am so that I could call the shop on the card that the tow truck driver gave me. The tow truck driver told me that there was no Harley Davidson dealership within a hundred miles.
When we woke up in the morning, we discovered that our cell phones did not work in Needles either. Needles, California is a small desert town on the Arizona, Nevada border. I used the motel phone to call the shop on the card that the tow truck driver gave us. A girl answered the phone; XXX (I will not write their real name) and tattoo shop. I immediately knew I was screwed. Tattoo shop? I told her that I needed a tire for my Electra Glide. When she asked me for the size of the tire, I knew I was in trouble at that point; any reputable Harley shop knows the size of a stock Harley Davidson tire. I gave her the tire size. When she told me, “oh yes, we have some good used tires in that size available,” I knew that I needed to find a better solution.
There was no way in hell that I was going to ride with my wife on a used tire in the middle of the Mohave Desert.
I found the yellow pages in the room; it was the thinnest yellow pages I have ever seen. I looked under motorcycles. There was a small square ad for Harley Davidson’s, Honda, etc. They were located in Kingman, Arizona about 70 miles from where we were at. I called them up. Turns out that they were a Harley Davidson dealership. The gal on the phone said that they had 19 tires in stock. I did not tell her I had a Metzler on the bike, I knew she was referring to the stock Dunlop that comes with the motorcycle. I did not care, I was desperate. I told her that I was towing the motorcycle in.
I then called AAA, and used up another one of my 4 tows for the year, and told them I wanted to get my motorcycle towed to the dealership in Kingman. They told me that they would be at the motel within an hour.
My wife and I at this point were hungry, in need of coffee, and not having a very good time at all to say the least. My wife contemplated staying in the room and sleeping while I got the motorcycle repaired. Lucky for her she decided to come with me as you will read below. There was no food or restaurant anywhere close or within walking distance to the motel where we were staying.
Finally the tow truck driver arrived with a big flat bed tow truck. The guy had fresh oil spilled all over the flat bed from a car he towed previously; he had not cleaned it. I just wanted to get my motorcycle to the Harley Davidson dealership in Kingman.
The guy seemed like he knew what he was doing. I expressed my concern as I rode the bike onto the flatbed that if the tires hit the oil or my foot hit the oil I could drop the bike. He said “don’t worry; I know what I am doing.”
He strapped the bike on the flatbed, and we proceeded to drive the one hour to Kingman in the tow truck.
While on the I-40, in Kingman, we could see what appeared to be a big motorcycle event to the left. There were thousands of motorcycles, tents, a band, trailers, you name it; it was the friggen Harley dealership we were going to. They were literally having a rally and poker run to go along with the Laughlin River run. No one on the phone told me that this event was going on! It would not have mattered either way, we were stuck and this was the only game in town.
As we got off of the freeway and made a turn, the tow trunk driver pulled off the road and said he “had to check my bike, it looks like the straps have come loose.” As I got out of the truck, I saw my beautiful and treasured Electra Glide sitting squarely on its side on the flat bed truck. The bike had fallen over. I could not fucking believe it. There was my motorcycle that I polish and take care of like nothing else in my life sitting on its side on the flatbed truck. I was too tired, and too desperate to get out of this BS situation to scream at or punch the guy. I told him the straps are not holding my bike, the bike had fallen all the way over. He knew it. I could see that he was embarrassed. He told me that he would take care of any damage.
We then lifted my motorcycle back up. I did not see any visible damage. He strapped the bike back up and we went the ½ mile to the Harley Dealership. Picture this, there were police, there was security, there was thousands of motorcycles and people, they had the entrances to the dealership all blocked off to traffic, it was a damm festival/rally. The guy in the tow truck asked me if I could get the motorcycle in from the street, through all of the people and motorcycles. I said hell no, I had a flat tire and could barely hold the thing up with the wobble with no people around.
I jumped out of the truck and told one of the security guys that we were going to service. Almost instantly, the guy removed the blockade from the entrance, and ran in front of the tow truck, parting the way for us, all of the way to the gated service entrance. I was amazed and so was the two truck driver.
The guys from service all jumped on the back of the flatbed. They all bitched about the fresh spilled oil on the flatbed, but we got the bike off. I told them that the bike had fallen on the flatbed, and they all gave me empathy. At this point I felt like everything was going be ok, I was home, at a real Harley Davidson dealership.
The tow truck driver gave me his card and told me not to worry, that he would take care of any damage. I did not give him a tip because he dropped my bike.
So there we were, at the Kingman, Arizona Harley Davison Dealership, during Laughlin River Run weekend, with thousands of other people. Yippee. As it turns out, there were a lot of other people that broke down, and who were in service just like us.
The service gal told me that they had the Metzler 880 in stock, which made happy that I would not have to ride with a mismatched Dunlop stocker on the back. I told her “hell since I am here, why don’t you also do an inspection of the motorcycle, check the timing, and change out the fluids.”
I run with fossil oil in all of my motorcycles. This dealership told me they only used synthetic, so I went with what they had. I was happy. Hell at this point I really did not care about cost, I just wanted to get back out on the road; well I should have been concerned; they ripped me off! I will talk about that below.
I was told it would take two hours to replace the tire, and to do what I had asked. Great!
By the way, we still had no cell phone service in Kingman, Arizona, which made it impossible for us to check messages or get a hold of our friends in Laughlin.
So there we were. We got to the dealership at around noon. We were hungry. Everything we needed was at the dealer event; we got some good food, some lemonade. They had beer and such, but neither I nor my wife drink alcohol. We checked out the vendors, we basically had a good time.
However, when 3pm rolled I became concerned. I went up to the desk. I was told that there were motorcycles still ahead of me. At 4:00pm I noticed that my motorcycle was still sitting out back and had not been touched. I was told that I was next.
The dealership was scheduled to close at 6pm, and the crowd was starting to significantly thin out. At 5pm, my bike was inside being worked on, but no word. The gal at the desk told me that she would find me when the bike was done.
At 5:45, I told my wife to go ask about the bike; I knew the gal at the counter was sick of telling me to wait. At this time I saw the mechanic test riding my motorcycle back into the service gate; thank god, my baby was ready to rock and roll. Before my wife came to tell me, I knew my motorcycle was ready; with 15 minutes to spare before they closed.
It was 9 hours since we woke up, and 6 hours since we got to the dealership.
When I got the counter I had a sinking feeling that they were going to overcharge me, boy was I right. When I asked how much do I owe, she said $500.00. Five fucken hundred dollars, to replace a rear tire, change the fluids, inspect the bike, clean the air filter, and add brake fluid. I was shocked but I did not say anything because I was grateful that my wife and I were alive, and that my bike was fixed.
It could have been much worse. Hell the tow alone from the motel to the dealership would have cost $400.00 had I not had AAA premier membership.
I bit my lip and gave her my Visa checkcard. Earlier at the dealership parts desk, I purchased a reflector to replace the one that the original tow truck guy broke off, and a paint repair kit to fix a couple of dings I have in the paint. The dealership nailed me for $500.00. Hell in the San Fernando Valley, I got both tires replaced for less money.
The gal told me that they inspected the motorcycle from the fall on the tow truck and that there was no damage. Hell I did not even see a scratch; another miracle. She told me that I would soon need to get new brake pads, but other than that, I was good to go.
I asked her what was wrong with the original rear tire. She brought it out and told me to look inside. She said you could see an imperfection inside. To me it still looked like a brand new tire. There was no holes, nothing to explain why it went flat, other than a supposid defect inside.
Another troublesome thing is that she told me that the reason my bike took so long to get done was because the mechanic could not balance the first Metzler they put on, they had to use a second tire. This concerned me, and still does. Is there a problem with the rim?
Suffice is to say I was more relieved than pissed off at this point. I cannot explain how happy I was to get my motorcycle back working. If you are going to take a long road trip, make sure you have money or a credit card just in case something goes wrong!
When we finally got into Laughlin on Saturday night, the rally nightlife was in full swing; it seemed like we missed everything. Because it was night, most of the vendors were closed, but there was still a lot happening.
We went to the Edgewater Casino, where I proceeded to loose about $200 bucks within a half hour on the slot machines. I could not win anything, not even a teaser! It became apparent to me that my luck on this trick was just not there, and we would just be lucky to make it home alive and safe.
We decided to go into the nightclub at the Edgewater and dance a bit. We had fun. We rode back to our motel in Needles and crashed out at around 4 or 5 am.
When we got back to Laughlin at around 2 on Sunday afternoon, the rally was closing down and everyone was heading out. The vendors were all closing up, but there were many still open. We missed most of the goings on because of the bike issues.
What did I do? I bought a rally shirt, and then proceeded to loose another $150 bucks and the slots and blackjack. My wife did not do any better. We waked along the river a bit, socialized with some of the people, and then decided to hit the road.
We had a good run back home, arriving at around 2am.
Will I be back at the Laughlin River Run next year? Hell Yes, I cannot wait.
Maybe next year I will tell you more about the actual rally itself.
Living in Southern California we are blessed with year round riding. However, when April comes along there are several west coast biker rallies that take place every year. The Yuma Prison Run is one of those rallies. This is my review of this years rally.
This year the Yuma Prison Run was scheduled for the weekend of April 16-18, 2010. You can check out the Yuma Prison Run website by clicking here now.
The Yuma Prison Run is put on by the Norwalk Motorcycle Club, and has been an ongoing charity event since 1961; two years before I was born! The run is in Yuma, Arizona, and is located at the Yuma County Fair.
I decided to ride to this rally months ago. The rally location is approximately 300 miles from my home one way, or around 600 miles round trip, not including the miles I put on at or near the event once I get there. I consider this to be a medium distance sleepover run.
If any of you have read my blog, you will see many articles where I mention my fiancé. Well since we got married on January 31, 2010, she will now be referred to as my wife. I am still getting used to saying it! We have been together for 9 years, but wife is a new term in my life.
As usual, I started getting anxious and excited the night before we took off for the rally. I have been riding for many years, but it does not matter. Any of you who ride like I do know exactly what I am talking about; biker rallies are analogous to going to an amusement park when you are a kid.
There are not too many things that adults can look forward to that are fun and exciting like a good old fashioned biker rally. Unlike vacation travel, riding to a biker rally is different. It involves physically getting on your motorcycle and riding to and from the event. It is a much more involved and physical experience than just jumping on a plane and going somewhere. I am not going to even mention the ubiquitous trailer queens who don’t actually ride to an event; they are not worth mentioning!
My wife and I packed up my Harley Davidson Electra Glide on the Thursday before the Yuma Prison Run. The Harley Davidson hard saddle bags and tour pak really makes it much easier to pack up and go then in the past where I have had to squeeze everything for two into special motorcycle travel luggage. (Which I still have)
Since this is a 3 day, 2 night rally we try to pack as light as possible. As usual, I had reservations at one of the two Motel 6’s in town. Motel 6 is set up with laundry rooms, so worst case scenario; you can wash your clothes if you have to. What this means is that you do not have to pack as many clothes, which saves room on the motorcycle.
Hell if you are like me and are toting along your wife, you will need the extra room, because she will use it up
Basically we had the motorcycle mostly packed up on Thursday night, the day before we left.
Other preparations I made for this motorcycle rally and trip were to purchase a new battery for my motorcycle. It has been a few years since I replaced the battery, and my previous battery was so dead that it would not even take a trickle charge.
I called Harley Davidson to get a price on a new battery; they wanted $170 bucks for a battery, plus the 10% California sales tax. If you factor in the price plus tax, $187.00, plus gas, and time to drive to the dealership to get the battery, it would have been over $200 bucks for a motorcycle battery. There was no way in hell I was going to pay over $200 bucks for a motorcycle battery. Hell a battery for my Mercedes S class cost less than $200 bucks.
I found a place online at batterystuff.com that had a replacement for my Harley Davidson Electra Glide for $99.00 with shipping and tax included. Total price $99.00 delivered to my door. I ordered a battery from them and had it two days later. You cannot beat that.
I installed the new battery, and hooked up my trickle charger to make sure it was fully charged. Within an hour, it was fully charged. I fired up my motorcycle and everything was fine.
On Friday, April 16, 2010, I had to work a few hours, and so did my wife. We were scheduled to leave for the Yuma Prison Run at 2:00pm, but we ended up not leaving until around 3:30pm.
Before I leave on a run, I always warm up my motorcycle, and take her for a local ride for a few miles to warm up and check the oil. I checked the oil, and it was fine.
I gave my motorcycle a once over with some detail wax and a micro fiber cloth. This ritual serves three purposes; (1) I get the motorcycle nice and shiny before I leave, (2) it protects the motorcycle from elements on the run, and (3) it allows me to visually inspect the motorcycle for loose parts or problems.
I usually do a few more things before I leave on a run. I contact the newspaper to have them stop delivery of papers while we are gone, I call my bank to let them know I am traveling so their fraud prevention department does not stop my ATM card at an inconvenient place on the road, I call my security company to let them know I am going to be out of town in case the alarm goes off. My wife gets someone to take care of our 3 dogs. It is not like the old days where we would just go; now there are a few things I have to do first.
Finally, we were ready to leave!
There is almost nothing on earth like the feeling you have when you jump on your motorcycle to ride to a faraway destination. You can quote me on that.
Before this trip I purchased new modular helmets with built in sun screens that can go down, and retract with the flick of a lever on the helmet. With these new helmets, there is no need to wear sunglasses. I am not going to do a write up on the helmets at this time. The only reason I am mentioning the helmets is because they made the trip that much more enjoyable.
Once on the motorcycle, we were off. My wife is a true back seat shotgun rider. She is just as excited about riding as I am. I am truly a lucky man. Most of my friends and brothers cannot for the life of them, get their wives and old ladies to ride with them to events. Therefore, I am always the one with my old lady, and they are usually always either alone, or they have their old ladies follow them in a car. Oh well.
I took a scenic route on the way to Yuma. For me as usual, it is the ride that counts, not the destination.
Really, for me, the destination is always the same. Biker rallies are biker rallies. Same vendors, same cast of characters, same good times. It is kind of like a rolling party of the same people and vendors, set up in different places around the country. A biker rally is just an excuse to get on your motorcycle and ride to far away places. Biker rallies are one of the simple pleasures in life that make life worth living!
So for me, I get off more on the ride to and from a biker rally, than the rally itself. I do not rush to get there, and I do not rush home. I enjoy the ride, because that is what makes the biker rally worth going to! Once I am at a rally, I will spend time at the actual event, but I usually spend more time riding around the area of the event finding new places to ride my motorcycle. I call this trolling.
Anyway, getting back to this years Yuma Prison Run; I took a scenic route. We rode Highway 138, through the Mohave Desert, up into the snow covered mountains before the 15. We got on the 15 and took it from the 138, to the 215 to the 10. Once on the 10, we rode past Palm Springs, CA, and took our first break past Palm Desert for gas and food.
On the road, I am not a thrill seeker when it comes to food. I like to go to Denny’s or a similar type of restaurant because the food is predictable, and usually good. In the past I have had some real bad experiences going to restaurants on the road.
One time after doing the Reno Rally I stopped at a greasy spoon on the way home, and got food poisoning so bad, I had to be hospitalized. Suffice is to say, I play it safe now. We stopped at Denny’s and had a good meal with no food poisoning!
Gas at this stop was $3.40 per gallon for premium unleaded gas. What a fucking rip off. Why is gas so high when demand is way down due to the bad economy? I will leave this subject for another article. The gas speculators are killing us and the economy!
Anyway, we got back on the road. By this time it was dark. I knew I had to play it safe on the road from here on out. Our planned route was to take the 10 to the 86 to the 111, then to the 8. This route basically is all desert. There are all sorts or critters that can pop out at night on this desolate route; road runners, jack rabbits, snakes, illegal aliens, etc. These are no joke at 80mph in the middle of nowhere at night.
I know many guys that won’t ride these types of roads at night because there is danger, there are no street lights, and it is desolate. As for me, I prefer to ride these types of roads at night.
The riding was good from our first stop. We eventually got to a little farming town called Brawley, CA, where I decided to make our second and last gas stop before arriving in Yuma. It was around 10:00pm or so on Friday night.
My wife and I are at this gas station, in the middle of nowhere, in Brawley, and we are all alone, I am pumping gas, and in comes a car load of what appeared to me to be Latino gang bangers. The reason I believed they were gang bangers was because they fit the profile, and the entire car load of guys basically stared me down the entire time they were there. You just knew that these guys were looking for trouble.
As I was pumping gas; they pulled up and parked in front the entrance to the gas station. I knew that if I stared back or acted cavalier, that I would have had a car load of guys to deal with on my hands. Why the hell would a car load of guys keep staring at a 46 year old guy on a Harley pumping gas? Maybe they were staring at my wife. I am sure you get the picture. Normal guys do not stare at you like this. Believe me; I have been around the block a few times, only an idiot would not recognize the danger in this situation.
I kept my cool, I did not panic, and I kept on eye on them out of the corner of my eye, but acted like I was not looking at them. I did not want to get back on the empty road in the middle of no where and have these guys follow my wife and I. Hell we were on a motorcycle, they were in a car. There was no where to go. We were in Brawley, in the middle of the friggen desert. This was like a scene out of a movie.
My plan was to basically take my time, and to take a break, ignore them, and wait until they left. I told my wife out of the corner of my mouth what to do if something jumped off. Better to make a plan and talk about it, then to ignore it, right?
Eventually, as I predicted, the car load of guys started to leave the gas station. At this time, I started walking to the entrance of the gas station to buy something inside. I wanted to alert the person inside as to what was going on just in case.
As I was walking in, the car load of guys stopped their turn out of the gas station and starred back at me some more. I acted like I did not see them. They then took off. It was interesting and bizarre to say the least.
There are a-social idiots and criminals out there, who would take you out and have no remorse whatsoever in doing so. If you think you are immune from these a-social criminals, you are living in a dream. They are out there!
It is at time like this that everyone wishes they could have a concealed carry weapons permit. However, even if you did have a concealed weapon in this type of situation, chances are that one of the guys in the car would get a shot off before you could get all of them.
The smart move was to do what I did and not provoke anything. I have learned through my many years of experience and training, that it is better to avoid confrontations when you can, and to be ready for confrontations if there is no way to avoid them. If you take your ego out of the picture 99% of all confrontations like this will end with no problems. It is better to use your brain, then to escalate a situation. That is what separates us from animals.
That is all I am going to say about this subject. On a side note, I went into the head to take a leak, at this gas station after the car load of guys left; the walls were full of fresh gang graffiti. Enough said!
We got back on the road. The rest of the ride was pretty much uneventful except for the pungent smell of manure as we passed some farms after the right turn from the 86 to the 111; Yuk.
This ride basically takes you to the southern most part of California and Arizona right next to the Mexican border. This is the true old west like you see in the cowboy movies.
We eventually crossed the border into Arizona, and got to our off ramp in Yuma. I got our room, and we then went in the Denny’s which was right next to the Motel 6, for breakfast. It was now after midnight.
By the time we got to bed it was around 3 or 4am whoops
We woke up on Saturday. Our plan was to hang out by the pool with our friends for a bit until the afternoon, visit the famous old west Yuma Territorial Prison, and then go to the actual event at the Fairgrounds. (Our friends arrived during the day on Friday)
This rally has a reputation for sweltering heat and I knew if we got to the fairgrounds too early, we would be too burnt out to enjoy the evening entertainment.
Now I know I preach motorcycle safety on here, and I always mean what I say. But I could not resist ditching the helmet and riding with no lid in Arizona. I don’t ride without a helmet often because I live in California, but once in Arizona, I could not resist. I ditched the helmet for the day and night. It felt good to feel the wind in my hair again. It is like a long lost normal feeling from the past. Yes I rode without a fucking helmet in Arizona, so sue me.
My wife and I went to the Historic Yuma Territorial prison; you can see a couple of pictures on here. To be frank, I don’t like prisons. I don’t care if this one is closed and it is a historical site with a museum and such. People were imprisoned there, and hung there. It is right on the bank of the Colorado River. Bottom line, I did not dig the prison. It is not a place I will visit again. There was actually a couple taking their wedding pictures there. Geez, why not have your wedding pictures taken at a slaughterhouse, come on!
From the prison, we rode to the Yuma Harley Davidson dealership to check it out, and then we went to the fairgrounds. By the time we got there it was 10 bucks a person to get in because dinner was over. Fine by me, I was not planning on eating there anyway, and 30 bucks a person is kind of steep to go to something like this, even if it is for charity. We were not planning on eating there so why would I want to pay 60 bucks to walk around and look at vendor booths?
When we got in, it was your typical rally type of situation. There were many motorcycles, many bikers, the same old vendors, except that this time I saw one of my new motorcycle competitors there. What a friggen joke. These so called motorcycle lawyers are nothing more than a marketing scam targeted at bikers. The guy behind the booth was not only not a biker, but I doubt he even rides a bicycle let alone a motorcycle.
These attorneys who do not ride, and who are advertising themselves as motorcycle attorneys, make me sick to my stomach. I am telling you now, if you ever need a motorcycle attorney, make sure your attorney rides before you hire them. These people think of you as nothing more than a marketing niche. I introduced myself to the joke in the booth. I told him, I don’t put up booths at rallies, I ride to rallies!
DO NOT HIRE A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY WHO DOES NOT RIDE MOTORCYCLES. WE BIKERS ARE MORE THAN A MARKETING NICHE. NO REAL MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY WILL SET UP BOOTHS AT RALLIES, BECAUSE THEY ARE ACTUALLY RIDING TO THE RALLIES. This is all I will say on this subject.
My wife and I looked at all of the vendor booths and so on. I then noticed a whole bunch of Police walking into the event with tactical gear on. Some were carrying M16’s with what appeared to be 20 round clips. Mind you, there was no trouble that I could see. Yes there were a bunch of motorcycle club guys at the event, but the event was peaceful. Why were the cops there with tactical gear carrying machine guns?
I saw one old timer walk up to one of the cops and ask them what they were doing there. The cop said that they were just “walking around.” The old timer said to the cop that he had been going to the event for “21 years and had never seen such a police presence before.” I walked away before I heard the rest of the conversation.
I will give the police this, I did not see them walking around the entire event, they stayed towards the backend where I originally saw them. They made their presence felt, but I did not see them harass anyone. Is this what it takes to keep motorcycle rallies peaceful these days? I am not sure. What do you think?
My wife and I then went into the stands and got a good seat for the concert that was to take place. I spoke to many people in the stands including a member of the Norwalk MC, the club who put on the event. Everyone was nice, and we had a good time.
We watched the concert, and then took off around 9. We then rode to an Indian Casino where my wife proceeding to loose some money, and I broke even.
We went to a late breakfast at Denny’s and hit the sack.
We woke up early on Sunday, had a light breakfast with some of our friends, and then rode home with our friends. We got home around 3:00pm on Sunday.
The Yuma Prison Run was a good time. I give it a thumbs up. Not really because of the rally per se, but because is an excuse to take a good ride to somewhere interesting.
Will I ride to the rally again, hell yes. Why would I ride to this rally again, because I can.
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