Janus Motorcycles

For the last few years we’ve been following a small, independent motorcycle company from our home state of Indiana called Janus Motorcycles. They build hand crafted 250cc motorcycles with a classic vintage look. Last year they started doing what they call “Discovery Days” where you buy a ticket and you get to tour the shop where they build the bikes, test ride the 3 models, and have lunch at a local restaurant with the staff. Unfortunately, these are always on weekends when we are working, and we’ve never been able to make it to one.

Fast forward to this week when we were trying to figure out what to do for Dwayne’s birthday. The weather was supposed to be rainy back home and everywhere we thought we might like to ride the bikes to, so at the last minute we decided to head up to Michigan for a couple of days in a car. Dwayne mentioned he would like to stay in South Bend on the way up and go to the Studebaker museum. That got my wheels turning, and I reached out to the kind folks at Janus to see if they would be willing to allow us to stop by and take a tour and a test ride since we would be less than an hour from them. They were happy to oblige.

When we arrived Wednesday morning, we were greeted by Grant, who was expecting us. He took us into the shop where they build the bikes, and showed us step by step how the bikes come in through the back door as a bare frame, and by the time they’ve made their rounds through the different sections of the shop, they become a complete bike.

I was impressed with how well they utilize their limited space. It is very much a small shop, but they have everything set up to make things “flow” very efficiently.

Once we had met everyone in the back and been walked through the process, Grant pulled us out a couple of bikes, a Gryffin 250 for me and a Halcyon 250 for Dwayne, walked us through the specifics on the controls, and cut us loose to go have some fun.

It was a little odd for me at first, I’m used to a big, 475 pound, 800cc Adventure bike, and here I was on a 250cc bike that weighs about 200 pounds less. It always takes a second to get used to the clutch and throttle on a new bike, but I quickly caught on.

We scooted out of town into the country and hit some county roads. Unfortunately, there aren’t many (any?) curvy roads to be found in Goshen, so I can’t speak too much of their handling on a curvy road. I also didn’t find any gravel/dirt to try out the knobbies on the Gryffin, but I can attest that they are very “buzzy” on asphalt.

We stopped by some open fields to snap some pictures about halfway into our ride…

During that time, we also decided to switch bikes so that I could try out the Halcyon, and Dwayne could try out the Gryffin.

I was very surprised by how much I actually liked the Halcyon. With the swept back grips and the hardtail rear, I wasn’t sure how comfortable it would be to ride. Boy was I wrong. The riding position is very relaxed, perfect for cruising around on a pretty day. Having not ridden the Phoenix, I would have to say that the Halcyon would probably be my choice if I were to purchase a Janus. For what I, personally, would be using it for, it would be the most practical and enjoyable.

I love the look and the idea behind the Gryffin, but knowing that I most likely wouldn’t be riding it as a dual sport bike, the knobby tires are just too buzzy on pavement for such a lightweight bike. The Halcyon, however, felt smooth, and I could see myself cruising around to bike shows and running errands on it on nice days.

None of these bikes are really suitable as an every day, long distance bike, in my opinion. Unless someone were only going to be riding locally, I wouldn’t recommend them as an only bike. They are definitely a neat addition for someone with money to spend, and who already has other options in their garage, though. If you’re looking for something that not many other people have, that will turn heads wherever you ride it, then a Janus just might be the perfect bike for you. If you’re someone who craves speed and aggressive handling, then a Janus is probably not going to be the bike for you.

All in all, if you understand what these bikes are, as well as what they are not, then you can appreciate the fact that they are beautiful, handbuilt motorcycles, who make up with style what they lack in power.

Rider’s For Striders Adventure Ride

On Saturday Dwayne and I got up bright and early, around the time we are usually going to bed (ah, that 2nd/3rd shift life), and we hit the road at 8am to go meet up with over 80 other adventure riders at the Stony Lonesome Motorcycle Club for the Riders For Striders Adventure Ride. The proceeds from this ride go to buy Strider bikes for the kids at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

Other than talking with some of the riders on the ADVrider forum, we didn’t know anyone who would be there, but that’s the great thing about adventure riding, everyone is always inviting and eager to make new friends to ride and share the fun with. I was also the only female rider, on International Female Ride Day no less, unless you count the two little girls who were riding with their dad’s, which was totally awesome to see.

*side note* I apologize to literally everyone I met, I am really awful with names, so while I’ll remember your faces and most likely what bike you ride, I have forgotten a lot of the names, so I’ll just refer to everyone by their bikes.

We talked to a few people while we waited for the ride to begin, and when the time came for groups to start forming and leaving, we decided to jump right in with the first group out. Our group consisted of Dwayne and I on our Tiger 800’s, two Yamaha WR250R’s, one of which was our group leader, a KTM 1190, a BMW 1200GS, a Kawasaki Super Sherpa, and (I think) a DR650.

As we left out of camp, Dwayne and I were towards the back, with only the Super Sherpa behind us.

Within a few miles we were at the creek crossing that I’ve posted a couple of times before, the same one I did my REV’IT! announcement photos at. It was a bit deeper this time than it was then. Most people took the far left, most direct route, but I chose to stay to the right where the crossing is widest, because the wider it is, the more fun it is, right?! This was the same line I had taken for my pictures too, but this time there were two large rocks I had to navigate between, which made it slightly more challenging, and even more fun. Have I mentioned that creek crossings are my favorite? Yes? Okay then.

The WR’s were setting the pace perhaps a bit brisker than the bigger bikes were used to, and the rider on the GS chose to fall to the back of the group as we started hitting the dirt and gravel roads. He was running road tires, so it wasn’t a safe pace for him to try to keep up with. The group leader would stop at each turn to wait for the rest of us to catch up.

It had rained some on Friday and the first dirt road we hit had some sections that were still a little wet. We had pre-ridden these roads on Tuesday when they were totally dry, and I had felt really good on them and was really getting into standing up and shifting my weight on the pegs in the curves. I was a little less comfortable on the still wet dirt, it would have helped to lower the tire pressure a bit, but you can’t exactly do that on a group ride that is 50/50 dirt to pavement. We came into a corner a little hot and the guy in front of Dwayne checked up, and then Dwayne did, and when I did I accidentally locked up the back brake. I was able to release it after a bit of a skid, but when I went to lean into the curve my front tire slipped out and down I went. My first ever crash on a motorcycle. It didn’t hurt at all, and I was already up trying to pick Tora up when the Super Sherpa and GS came around the corner. The Sherpa rider had a GoPro on, but he was too far back to catch it on camera. Tora lost her turn signal cover (but the bulb didn’t break and it still works), her fog light bracket got bent, and I cracked and scraped her tank plastics. Her engine guard also got scratched up, but it did its job! This picture was taken later at home, but you can see the minor damage.

I’ve picked her up by myself fully loaded on a trip before, but this time she was on an incline so the wheels were higher than the seat and I wasn’t able to get any leverage with the usual leg lift, so the guys who were behind me stopped and helped me pick her up, and on we went. I stayed calm and laughed it off, so it didn’t take me too long to get back into my groove. I was bummed that I didn’t think to have someone take a picture while she was still taking her dirt nap, though.

We continued on, alternating between gravel and paved roads as we went. At one point our group leader took us on a short detour to show us a cool set of dirt bike trails so we could mark the location on our GPS for future use. The WRR’s and the DR decided to make a quick lap while those of us on the big bikes took a break. While we were there I had Dwayne take a picture of Tora and I to post on Instagram so I could announce our first crash together, subsequently it has gotten the most likes of anything I’ve ever posted, apparently people like that I crash, Lol!

Unfortunately the dirtbike trail was a bit more than the DR rider bargained for, and he followed my lead on the whole dirt nap thing. The group leader rode his bike back out for him, but he had tweaked the bars a bit, as well as his ankle. A couple of the guys were able to get the bars fixed, though, so he was able to continue riding with us to the scheduled lunch stop.

The lunch stop was at Hayco Farms, which is the property of one of the forum members. He has a great setup with trails for dirtbikes and trials bikes, and I believe there was a big bike route set up too, but I didn’t get around to trying it out. A local BBQ joint named Johnson’s BBQ had volunteered to cater lunch for everyone, and it was just what we needed after working up an appetite riding all morning. It was a nice break that lasted probably 45 minutes or so in which we all ate and stood around talking for a bit while some of the riders hit the trails.

After lunch, the DR rider had to cut out on us and head home, so that dropped our group down to 7 bikes from 8.

On Tuesday when we rode part of the route, we had come up on a section that was extremely flooded due to Lake Monroe being out of its banks. We had been riding the route backwards that day, so we had been on the other side of it, but we couldn’t tell how deep it was or exactly where the road went, so we decided to skip it. On Saturday, we came in from the other side, and everyone parked the bikes to see how deep it appeared to be.

Our group leader went wading out with a long stick until the water started to come in over the top of his boots. We assumed it was probably deeper further out, and most of us weren’t too keen on the idea of trying to cross and risk hydro-locking our bikes. For Dwayne and I, we were an hour from home and had ridden the bikes to the event, so we would be screwed if that were to happen. After 5 or 10 minutes, the 1190 rider decided he would be the brave soul to try and go first. He started off slowly, and the water gradually got deeper until it was right at the opening on his exhaust. At the deepest part, it was also muddy and the bike wanted to slide around. He made it about 2/3 of the way across when the bike died. He was unable to get it to start, so he was forced to get off and walk it the rest of the way across. While this was happening, another group caught up to us, and one of their riders decided he was going to give it a shot as well. He had an even trickier time with the deep, muddy section, and almost got off the road, but managed to avoid it. He only made it about halfway before his bike died as well.

At this point, the rest of us decided to backtrack, and go around to get to the other side. When we got to them, they already had the plastics off of the 1190 and they were attempting to get the water out of the bike. Unfortunately no one had the correct tool to remove the spark plugs, and nothing they tried would free the bike up. The only option was for someone to try to get a call out for someone to come pick the bike up with a truck. Most of us didn’t have signal, but one guy had a carrier that had service where we were, so he was able to call for help.

As they were working on the 1190, another group pulled up on the other side of the water. Of course, they could see us on the other side, but we were too far away to let them know how we’d gotten there, and they assumed we had made it across. Shortly after they’d pulled up, we saw two bikes start into the water, heading our way. Both were KTM’s, one was a 950 and the other was a 690. They sounded so awesome coming across there, and although the 950 stalled at one point, he was able to keep it going and they were lucky enough to make it all the way across. After they’d gotten past the muddy section they got on the throttle and by the time they made it across they were both slinging water twice as high as their bikes. It was awesome to witness. Of course, the rest of their group realized how lucky they were to have made it across, and they chose to go the long way around like we had.

After standing around for 30 minutes or more and realizing there was no hope for the 1190, we got the call out for help, and he told us to continue on without him, so we did, our group now down to 6.

Shortly after that we came to what is probably my new favorite road. It is hardpacked dirt with no gravel, and it is an absolute blast to ride. Dwayne and I were chasing after the leader on his WRR, getting up to 60 mph on some of the straighter sections, and rarely getting below 30 on the curves. When we turned off this road, the leader stopped to count and make sure he had everyone before going on. The problem was, what he had thought was the GS coming around the corner, was actually a couple of dual sports from another group, who ended up passing us and going on. When we got to the next turn, we realized the GS was no longer with us. Dwayne and I were concerned, because we knew he was on street tires, and we were going at way too fast of a pace for him to have tried to keep up. We were worried that he may have crashed without anyone realizing it, so one of the WRR’s went to look for him. While we waited, another group passed us, and we knew they would have had to have seen him if something had happened, and eventually the WRR came back and said he hadn’t seen any sign of him. We realized he must have missed when we made the turn and kept going straight because we had went on without him, thinking that those other riders were him. Dwayne and I were still worried for the remainder of the ride though, and we were anxious to get back to camp to see if he turned up there.

When we first got back, he wasn’t there, and I became even more worried. Dwayne and I had decided that if he didn’t show up shortly, then he and I were going to go back and double check for any sign that he may have went off the road where he may not have been seen by the other group. Luckily, a short while later, he rolled up and confirmed that he’d missed the turn and had to find his own way back. He appreciated that we were concerned and were planning to go back to look for him, and we appreciated that he made sure to come back to camp to let us know he was okay instead of just heading home.

We stuck around for a little bit and talked with people a while, but Dwayne had only taken half the night off work, so we weren’t able to stick around for dinner before we had to head back.

As we started heading South, we saw that the skies were dark ahead of us, and I looked at the radar map on my phone. It appeared it was going to be awfully close on rather or not we’d be getting wet. I was wearing my waterproof Horizon 2 pants, but I had on my mesh Tornado 2 jacket with no liner in, and it was only 67 degrees, so I was really hoping we didn’t hit rain, because I would have been cold. Luckily we made it home without encountering any rain, but the roads near the house and our driveway were wet when we got there, so we must have just missed it.

All-in-all, this was the perfect event for us to attend our first adventure ride. It was a laid back atmosphere in an area we are familiar with, and everyone was welcoming. I look forward to riding with them again next year. The final count showed there were over 80 bikes, and we raised over $4,300 for the kids, so it was definitely a successful event.

*Insert Witty Title Here* (My brain is still recovering from being squashed by my helmet all day)

Yesterday we managed to get an unplanned 170 miles in on the bikes. We got a later start than usual due to having to wait for a package to arrive with our new Sena 30K headsets and tinted visors for our new Shoei Hornet X2 helmets.

Our ride consisted of riding over to Jasper, Indiana to Merkley’s Meat Processing facility to stock up on some of their delicious breakfast meats, as well as some sliced ham for a picnic lunch on today’s ride.

We took some backroads on the way back, and ran into this cool little railroad bridge over the road…

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That’s really the only thing worth mentioning from yesterday, other than that it was mostly just a nice relaxing ride on familiar roads, and today’s ride was much more interesting, so I’ll just go ahead and skip ahead to that…

We left the the house around noon, and it was 61 degrees. Our plan was to head Southwest down to the O’Bannon Woods State Park. I had heard about a road there that I wanted to check out, and Dwayne had found a bridge nearby that we both wanted to check out, so we figured that was good enough reason to head in that direction.

We went over to Salem and took 135 South to Corydon. At Corydon I had mapped us a back way to the park so we could avoid the main roads. That turned out to be a really fun little section of road, as it was paved, but was narrow with no center line, and quite curvy. It followed along the ridgetop and the surrounding scenery was a nice added bonus.

Cold Friday Road was just before the entrance to the park, and it started off as a paved, one-lane road with a lot of twists and elevation changes. It was a beautiful ride that took us about 4 miles alongside the park before turning to gravel. On the map, the road appeared to go all the way down to the Ohio River, but less than a mile after turning to gravel, we ran into a gate in the road blocking access to the remainder of the road. It had signs stating violators would be prosecuted, so we figured they meant business and disappointingly turned around. Even though we couldn’t make it all the way to the end of the road, it was still a really beautiful and fun ride, so it was still worth it.

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From there we headed back out to Hwy 62 to go find Breeden’s Bridge that Dwayne had found. It was just off the highway, down an old logging road, which was mostly mud with tons of big ruts in it. I wasn’t about to let a little mud stop me from getting a cool photo, though, so I promptly rode my Tiger on down on the riverbank beside the bridge.

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It was really soft mud, but I figured if I didn’t go any further, it would be firm enough I could get turned around and back up the hill. It’s funny, you can’t see it in the picture, and I didn’t realize it until I’d already gotten down there, but the hill was a bit steeper than I’d accounted for, and well, my bike is nearly 500 pounds without me on it. I got her most of the way turned around, and started to try to go back up hill, and the back tire started to sink on me. Dwayne of course came to help, but not before taking a picture of me from where he stood over by the entrance to the bridge. Again, photos never do justice to how steep a hill actually is.

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With a little help from Dwayne lifting me out of the rut from beside the bike so I wouldn’t roost him, I was able to get enough traction to start up the hill, and I kept her going until we had made it to the top, and past the muddy ruts. Totally worth it, in my opinion. I got a cool picture, and it was fun playing in the mud, I was laughing the whole time. It probably would have went a little easier if my K60’s were a bit fresher.

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After that we found a nice little spot by a little reservoir to have a picnic lunch and take a short break. At this point I was finding out that my new Shoei Hornet X2 helmet might be a bit too snug for me. I was getting a bit of a headache, and my ears were in pain. The break helped though, and it relieved a bit of my pain for a while.

Once we cleaned up our lunch spot and hopped back on the bikes, we rode down to Alton to check out another bridge that Dwayne had found. Apparently we were on a private property boat launching site while taking this picture, but I figured I could snap a couple of pictures before anyone came to run us off and we’d be on our way, and I was right.

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I’m really not sure how this day turned into a full-on bridge tour, but as we left Alton, we ran into two more bridges before we got back to the highway.

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We headed West over to Hwy 237 in hopes that there would be a gas station that we could stop at for a quick bathroom break, but found that not to be the case. So we continued up 237 to English where we knew there was a grocery store with a public restroom. After taking another quick break, and letting my ears rest a bit more, Dwayne asked what I wanted to do. He knew I was in pain from the helmet, but he probably also knew that I wouldn’t want to head home yet. I told him let’s keep riding for a while, so we continued on North to Paoli, and then took some back roads to Orangeville. Here there is a historic spot called “The Rise at Orangeville” where storm water from 30 square miles North of Orangeville that has drained into a cave comes out of the ground and runs into the Lost River.

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Almost as soon as we left The Rise we ran into another bridge. All in all, I believe we saw 5 new bridges today, 2 that were planned, and 3 by happy accident.

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After that, we decided we should start heading back towards home, so we wound our way across the back roads, some that we’d been on before, some that we hadn’t. It probably made our trip home twice as long, but it’s always nice to avoid the highways and towns when you can. We ended up riding 205 miles total.

I’ll be honest though, by the time we were home, I was in enough discomfort from my helmet that I was having trouble concentrating, and I couldn’t wait to get off the bike and get that thing off my head. I don’t know what the solution is going to be to remedy that situation. I don’t believe that it just needs to get broken in, if that were the case then it should have gotten at least somewhat better as the day went. I don’t remember my other Shoei being so uncomfortable during it’s break-in time. So I’m worried that I should have either went up a size, or that perhaps that helmet just doesn’t work for my head. At this point, it isn’t like I can return it, and it is a $650 helmet, so I’ll be pretty upset if I am out all of that money on a helmet I can’t wear. Plus it looks awesome, not that that matters in the grand scheme of things, but I really do like the look of it.

Bridge Over Flooded Water…

After a high of 40 degrees and snow showers on Monday, we were happy to see a high of 72 degrees forecast for today. Neither of us could decide which direction to ride, so I suggested that we go find the current Indiana Photo Tag on the advrider.com forum. Essentially, someone posts a picture of their bike in front of a landmark, or some sort of marker, and then someone has to find it, take a picture of their bike with it, and then find a new spot to take a picture of and post it for the next person to find.

The current photo was of the Tank Spring Trail Head in the Martin State Forest, which is about an hour from our house. It was 55 degrees when we left the house, and by the time we got to the park it was 75. The directions I had found online to find the trailhead had said to go straight out of the entrance to the park, across hwy 50, and then follow the signs. We had ridden in this area before, and I didn’t remember seeing a trailhead or any signs for one, but we followed the directions anyways.

After going a ways without seeing any signs, we decided we must have missed it, or perhaps we had misunderstood the direction and it was actually inside the park entrance. We decided to explore a little further in the direction we were going first before doubling back. It ended up being a good decision since we found some really nice gravel roads with some elevation changes and nice scenery. We ended up stopping on one of the gravel roads so I could shed my thin hoodie I had on under my jacket, and Dwayne could shed his thermal shirt. We needed them when we left the house, but definitely not while riding off-pavement in 75 degrees. I checked the map to see where we were and found that if we kept going we would end up back where we started and we could look for the trailhead marker again.

Before we made it back, we found a couple of neat bridges. One was just a small Pratt pony truss bridge built in 1921 (like I said in a previous post, I’m a bridge geek), and the other was this bigger Pratt through truss bridge that was built in 1890.

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Once we got back to Hwy 50, we crossed over it into the park, and made a loop through there. After not seeing any signs about the Tank Spring Trail, we decided to go back across 50 and take one more look for signs. At the stop sign where we had previously turned right, Dwayne suggested we turn left down a gravel road instead. Just as I went to make the turn, I saw a tiny little sign, perhaps 4 inches by 12 inches or so that said, “Tank Spring Trail” with an arrow pointing to the left. I laughed and told Dwayne that he was right and to keep going.

As we were going down the road we saw a road to the right named Tank Spring Road, but there was no sign for the trail. Dwayne suggested we go a little further just to make sure since there was no sign for the trail, but the road just looped back up to 50, so we had to turn around and go back. Finally, less than a mile down Tank Spring Road, we found the trailhead and I got my picture for the photo tag thread.

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From there we went on down the gravel road, and I looped us back around to the area we had been exploring earlier so we could cut over to another road that we had ridden in the past to take a different route back home. Instead of taking the exact route we’d taken before, which was all paved, I took us on a short gravel detour so we could see more new scenery before heading back.

By the time we made it to Orleans, I was starting to get hungry for lunch, and definitely needed to relieve myself of some of the coffee I’d chugged down before we’d left this morning. We stopped at a gas station and I ran in to use the facilities while Dwayne looked for food. Orleans is a small town, and it looked like the only food was gas station food, so we decided to scoot down Hwy 337 to Livonia where I knew there was a little mom and pop ice cream place that also served food named Little Twirl.

That was really the only part of today’s ride that I personally didn’t enjoy too much. The wind had picked up considerably and was blowing in just the right direction that it felt like it was trying to rip my helmet off from the right side. At one point I even put my left hand up to hold my head because it was causing pain in my neck. It was kind of odd because I really didn’t notice the wind at all at any other point in the day. That is a very straight road, surrounded mostly by open fields, though, so I’m sure that didn’t help matters any.

Once we got to Little Twirl, we split a double cheeseburger and fries, which were surprisingly good. It was a nice little break after fighting the wind, and I felt ready to ride again afterwards. While we were eating we discussed where we should go to get a photo for the new tag to post, and we decided to go to one of two abandoned bridges that were about 30 minutes back to the North of where we were. To get there, we could take back roads though, so we didn’t have to go back up 337 more than just half a mile.

We had been to both bridges before, but one of the two we had only been on one side of it, so I suggested that we come in from the other side to check that out, since you really couldn’t see it from the side we had been to before because they’ve mounded up dirt and stuff to block it off. What I hadn’t considered was the fact that there is still quite a bit of flooding going on around here. So we made it about halfway down the road to the bridge, when the road disappeared into flood water.

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We realized with how flooded this side of the bridge was, the other side would probably be even more flooded as it is even lower land, so we didn’t even attempt to get to it. We decided to go to the other bridge instead. On one side of it, you have to ride pretty much through a field to get to it, which we did after we first bought the Tigers, and we did it on street tires, which was a bit sketchy, but still fun. We knew that wouldn’t be an option today though, since it would definitely be flooded, so we went to the other side of the bridge which is on high ground.

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Once we got there I was once again reminded how ignorant some people can be, as it was covered in graffiti, including the concrete pillars that block access to the bridge which had something derogatory enough written on them that I had to position my bike in the picture just right so that I could block it out. I really can’t describe to you the level of fury that it makes me feel when I see stuff like that. Why on earth would anyone feel the desire to deface property that isn’t theirs, especially something historical?

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I really wasn’t happy with our choice to use this bridge as my photo tag submission after seeing all of the graffiti on it, plus I’m fairly sure that particular spot may have already been submitted in the past, but I was at a loss for a better spot, and the skies were starting to look like it may storm soon, so we decided to head back towards the house.

As we did, Dwayne led us down some back roads, and actually went a bit further out of route than he had intended, but it actually worked out in our favor. As we were riding along, we saw a sign for one of the Knobstone Trail trailheads, so we decided to double back and use it for our submission instead. As we got to the entrance, we saw a sign for “Spurgeon Hollow Lake” and noticed that the gravel road disappeared into the woods. I wondered out loud how far back in the woods the road went, and Dwayne suggested that we find out. We were rewarded with a tiny little creek crossing, followed by a decent sized little lake with a “Spurgeon Hollow Lake” sign in front of it. I decided that was an even better spot for a photo tag, so we ended up with this instead.

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Finally satisfied with my offering, we wound our way back to the house, having only gotten lightly sprinkled on, although the sky looked like it could pour at any moment. I was kind of hoping it would pour on us just so I could test out the waterproofing on my new REV’IT! Horizon 2 suit, but my Heidenau K60 tires aren’t exactly confidence inspiring in wet conditions, so it’s probably just as well that it didn’t.

2018 REV’IT! Women’s Adventure Team

Last year REV’IT! announced that they were choosing a team of female adventure riders to represent their brand in the adventure riding community and to give direct feedback on their products and how they stand up to the every day use (and abuse) by the growing population of female adventure riders.

I remember being so excited for the ladies they chose, most of whom I had already been following on Instagram, and all of whom were more than deserving.

Fast forward to January of this year, when they announced they were planning to add to the team and opened up applications again. I figured, “What the heck.” I’ll throw my hat in the ring and see what happens. I knew there would be tons of deserving ladies who would apply, and I mostly assumed I probably didn’t have a chance.

February came and went and I never heard anything about it, so I assumed they had probably already made their decision and I wasn’t chosen.

On the morning of March 1st I was sitting on the couch drinking my coffee and making my usual morning rounds on Facebook, Instagram, and eBay (for vintage bike parts), and Dwayne was sitting beside me. All of a sudden a new email notification popped up that said, “Congrats, you are a finalist for the Rev’It! Women’s Team!” and inside it requested a time for a phone interview the next day. I squealed (loudly) and Dwayne looked at me like I was crazy, as any sane person would, until I told him what I’d just received. He got all excited, and I got all nervous, and the next 24 hours pretty much consisted of me going through manic episodes of excitement and nervousness, because I’m silly like that.

The phone interview seemed to go okay, I was a little nervous, but I tried to just be myself and hope they liked me. I’ll admit, I am probably not the most experienced girl who applied, I’ve only been riding adventure bikes for 2 years, and I’ve only been riding in general for 5, but as any of you who follow me know, riding is my life. It is my passion, and the most important thing to me other than my family and Dwayne. I love to share my adventures with others, and to inspire other women to get out and ride and not to be afraid to get on a big adventure bike and take it anywhere and everywhere.

The interview was on a Friday and they said I could expect to hear an answer the following week. By Thursday morning I had made my mind up that I hadn’t been chosen, I even told Dwayne as much. Later that afternoon we had went out to get something to eat and were on the way home when I got another email notification. It was my official “Welcome to the Team!” I turned to Dwayne with a look of utter shock on my face and dropped my phone, for a split second he thought something bad had happened, and then he immediately said, “Oh my god, you got it!” And I once again let out sounds only dogs could hear.

I was over the moon with excitement, and completely shocked, I never thought I would actually be chosen. Soon after the email came, I received an Instagram message from my new teammates welcoming myself and Anna, who had also been chosen, to the team.

So for the last few weeks, I’ve had to keep quiet about being chosen because REV’IT! wanted to be the first to announce it, and they were waiting to unveil their new website to do it. Today is the day that has happened, and so now I can share this with all of you!

The web page can be viewed here: 2018 Rev’It Women’s Adventure Team Announcement

As a member of the team, I will be representing REV’IT! at Adventure events and rallies, and I will also get to field test gear and give direct feedback to them about their products. This is all so neat because I have already been a loyal REV’IT! customer for the last few years, so it is really cool that I will get a chance to try different products and tell them what I like and what I don’t. Company’s like REV’IT! are part of what makes the adventure riding community so amazing. Taking feedback from their core customers and trying to constantly improve upon their product while directly supporting regular, everyday riders like me, that’s really something.

One of the other perks for being on the team is that Rev’It! will be sending all of us to an event later this year to ride together. I’m definitely looking forward to actually meeting the other ladies in person, and getting to ride with all of them.

When I found out I was chosen, REV’IT! requested some high quality images that they could choose from to use for the announcement, so I met up with my awesome photographer friend (and fellow adventure bike rider), Dan Tijerina. He made me look so much cooler than I am, so I’ll share some of my favorites that he took.

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So that’s what the sun looks like…

Technically the “First Day of Spring” was more than 3 weeks ago, but apparently someone failed to tell Mother Nature about that, so it has most definitely felt more like an extended Winter than it has Spring… Up until today, that is.

Today the sun came out, I had nearly forgotten what it looked like at this point, and the temperature hit 82 degrees according to the temperature gauge on my Tiger. It was marvelous! The only downside to this was that the last weather forecast I had seen only called for a high of 72 degrees, and 20+ mph winds today, so while suiting up this morning I thought it would be a good idea to wear my new Rev’It! Horizon 2 suit, which is waterproof, making it pretty much windproof as well. Although it does have some vent flaps on the pants, and some zippered vents on the chest and back, it still proved to be quite warm the 2nd half of the day when the temperature topped 80 degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I wasn’t miserably hot, but I was hotter than I would have preferred to be. I’ll remember to check the weather forecast more closely next time. With that said, I do absolutely love that suit, it is very comfortable, and it kept me perfectly warm during a 45 degree ride last week with the thermal liners in. I haven’t had to test out the waterproofing yet, but I can tell you that I waded through some creeks today and the pant legs never absorbed any water.

We decided to take a day trip today up to an area we hadn’t ridden in before. I saw some pictures that someone had posted on the AdvRider forum and thought it looked like fun. I scouted out a couple of things in the area that I wanted to see and made us a loose route to follow.

On the way up we went through Milan, which has a delicious little hole in the wall BBQ joint named Hog Rock. We’ve eaten there a handful of times on past rides and have never been disappointed. They have killer pulled pork loaded potato skins that we usually split for an appetizer, and today we split a “Hangover Burger” which was a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg, goetta (I had no idea what that was, I had to google it), and maple bacon jam on it. I was not ready for how huge it was!

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After lunch we continued on North past I-74 until we reached the area we were looking for. The first thing I wanted to check out was a creek crossing I saw on Google Maps while scouting the area a bit. The ride to the crossing was a nice surprise as it was a kind of half paved, half gravel road that followed a little creek down into the valley. We stopped for a couple of pictures about halfway down before continuing on to the creek crossing.

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On Google Maps the street view of the creek was actually mostly dry, but today there was a decent amount of water flowing through. Dwayne went first so that he could film me crossing from the other side, and then it was my turn…

I never get tired of water crossings, I don’t know why, they are just fun, even if they aren’t very deep. After we were both across, we continued on the route I had laid out for us until we came to a second creek crossing. This one was a bit different than the first, as the first was an actual creek bed with no road across it, and the second one had a concrete slab for you to cross on. As the water crossed the slab, it made a little waterfall on the other side, which made for a really great photo.

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After I finished snapping some pictures of Tora in the creek, we went a little further to an old iron bridge that I’d also seen on Google Maps. Right before the bridge we got behind an older lady out for a cruise on the nice day, and she pulled over right before the bridge. I wasn’t sure what she was doing, and I hoped she was turning around because I knew she was going to be in my pictures if she stayed where she was. As it turned out, she was just trying to let us pass her, so once we were across the bridge, I ended up having to let her pass us back so I could get her out of the photo.

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The bridge was built in 1927 by the Jones & Bunzendahl contractors, and it was rehabilitated in 2010. If you’re a bridge geek like me and want to see some pictures of before it was rehabilitated, you can find those and more extensive information here: Alley Ford Bridge

That was the last waypoint I’d programmed into my GPS, so from there we decided to just play it by ear. We ended up catching up to the lady in the car again, but this time we were stuck behind her doing about 25mph. As we were following her, we saw a fenced in hillside with a few cows on it, but there was something white standing with them that didn’t quite fit in. As we passed I asked Dwayne, “Was that an albino deer?!” Neither of us were quite sure as we hadn’t stopped to get a good look, but we were fairly certain that it was.

Luckily for us, the road turned out to be a dead-end and we had to turn around and follow the lady back the same way we had come. Once again she pulled over for us to go around her again, and we quickly left her out of sight. I told Dwayne that if it weren’t for the fact that she’d already let us pass her twice, I’d love to stop and try to get a picture of the albino deer. As we approached it, I couldn’t even see her in my mirrors, so I decided I might have enough time to stop quickly and grab my phone from the RAM mount on my handlebars and snap a picture. It wasn’t easy with gloves on, but I did manage to get one. You may need to zoom in to see it well, though.

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We eventually made our way back to Milan, and from there we took familiar roads back to the house. All-in-all we rode just over 200 miles, and I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to ride for more than just a short trip. Tomorrow looks like it will be just as nice, but unfortunately we do still have responsibilities, and the yard might actually be dry enough to finally mow, so that will probably have to be done before more rain hits this weekend, and the temperature drops back down to 45 on Monday. Wednesday of next week looks promising though, so fingers crossed I’ll have more to share with you then.

In the meantime, I am hoping to have a big announcement to make possibly tomorrow, or early next week at the latest, so stay tuned for that as well.

The flood of 2018…

Things have been a little frustrating around here for the last few weeks. We found out that Dwayne’s work schedule will be changing in a couple of weeks, and it is going to mean he will be working more days than me, which means a little less time that we can ride together, as well as more than twice as much fuel costs for us because we will no longer be able to drive to work together. Of course, this summer we can just ride the motorcycles to even that out, but Indiana winters and working 2nd/3rd shift don’t really allow for year-round bike commuting.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about, so on to the fun stuff. The reason I mentioned all of that is to explain just how much of a relief today was. When we hopped on the Tigers and rolled out of the driveway today, I just felt all of that frustration melting away. I feel like I’d been a bit grumpy or at the very least sad the last few weeks knowing that things were going to be changing, and the lack of being able to ride was only making matters worse. We ran away to Savannah for a few days last week, and although that was wonderful and appreciated, nothing relieves stress like twisting the throttle does.

Before we left Dwayne took a minute to rinse off some of the caked on mud we’d left on the Tigers from our last adventure.

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We decided to ride over to Madison, Indiana to check out some of the Ohio River flooding. It rained every single day last week, and the river is the highest I ever remember seeing it. So many of the homes and businesses along the river have been affected as you can see in these pictures…

The treeline behind the bikes in the 2nd picture lines a sidewalk and a road that is usually well above the river.

After snapping some pictures, we decided to go looking for roads we haven’t been on before. I remembered seeing someone on a Facebook group talking about a gravel road just East of town off of Hwy 56 so we went in that direction to see if we could find it. We didn’t make it very far before we were stopped by road closure signs and a flooded roadway, so we turned around and headed back up to higher ground on some roads we are familiar with.

When we came to a T in the road where we usually turn left, we turned right instead. There were some nice homes down that road, but it turned out we hadn’t been able to see the “No Outlet” sign from the direction we had come, and the road ended up dead-ending in someone’s driveway. On the way back out we saw a really cool mid-40’s Chevy pickup parked under a lean-to that we hadn’t been able to see on the way in. I’m pretty sure I saw drool flying off Dwayne’s chin in front of me 😂

Once we got back to the T in the road we continued on straight until we got to a 4-way stop where we usually go straight, but this time we decided to turn right. After another T in the road, followed by a Y, we found ourselves on a narrow gravel road. Jackpot!

As we were cruising down the gravel road, we saw a tree with a coffee carafe mounted on it and a sign with little wooden “donuts” hanging from it that read, “Coffee + Donuts, Fresh and Delicious.” By the time we noticed it, we were going too fast to stop quickly, and the road was narrow so I didn’t want to turn around to go back for a picture, so we continued on.

As the road was winding down the hillside, we started to see flood waters in the fields, and we became concerned that we would have to turn around anyways, but we opted to continue on to be sure. We rounded a corner and saw water across the road ahead of us, but it turned out to just be a small creek crossing that surprisingly wasn’t flooded. Dwayne stopped and got a video of me crossing it and we continued on. Shortly after the creek crossing the road graded further down the hillside and at the bottom it disappeared into flood waters. We couldn’t tell where the road went, and we knew there was probably a drop-off somewhere on the left side, so we decided to turn around and not risk it.

Since we had to go back that way anyways, we stopped this time so I could get a picture of the “Coffee and Donuts”, and then we went back to the Y in the road and took the other option. It ended up winding it’s way back down the hill to the river and Hwy 56. The road to the left was flooded and closed, so we opted to go to the right in hopes that we would find another road back up the hill before we ran into the other section that we knew was closed. As we did we found the road I had wanted to look for, but it was completely covered by flood water from the creek that runs alongside it.

We found another road back up the hillside, but as it turned out, we ended up circling back to the 4-way stop we had originated at. We went the opposite direction this time, and found another road that turned to gravel. Unfortunately we were once again forced to turn around when we ran into a creek that the bridge had washed away and hadn’t been replaced.

At this point the sun was starting to get lower in the sky, and it was becoming cloudy and cool pretty quickly, so we decided to start back towards the house. We took one of our favorite roads back that is curvy with nice scenery, so that was a fun way to round out the day with some slightly more aggressive riding.

Here’s a screenshot from our Rever app map of today’s ride:

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And here is a shot of Tora after we got back, nice and muddy once again

We are supposed to get another inch or two of rain over the next two days, followed by cooler temps on Friday, so it will be at least next week before we get to ride again, but at least today’s awesome adventures can tide us over a bit until then.

A Hawk for Valentine’s Day…

This Valentine’s Day, we were able to help kindle a new romance for a fellow rider.

For the last three years, each fall we have listed our 1988 Honda NT650 Hawk GT for sale. Of course that is a terrible time to list a bike for sale, so it wouldn’t sell, and then spring would roll around and we would change our minds. Then we would only ride it a handful of times in the summer, remember that’s why we had listed it for sale the previous fall, and we would list it again.

So, once again, I listed it for sale in October, it got a little interest, but not much, so I refreshed the listings in January, and it got some more serious inquiries. A gentleman in Florida was pretty interested, but we weren’t able to work out the logistics of the deal with us being in Indiana, so that fell through. Then a “friend” from Chicago (we’ve never actually met) shared my listing with a friend of his, and she contacted me about it. She mulled it over for a few days, but ultimately decided it wasn’t the right time for her.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when she contacts me again and decided she really did want the bike. We worked out a deal, and she was supposed to meet us that Saturday to get the bike. The day before, Dwayne decided he should take it for one last spin (in 29 degree weather, no less) just to make sure everything was still as it should be. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned, so we found that one of the float bowl gaskets on the carbs was leaking.

I would never sell a bike knowing it had an issue, no matter how small, so we ordered new gaskets, and pushed back our meeting for her to get the bike. The following week (last week) the gasket arrived and we replaced it, and everything was good to go. Unfortunately the weather was forecasting a wintry mix for the weekend, so she wasn’t able to come get the bike then. She decided to take off work today so we could meet her halfway since she lives 6 hours away in Missouri and we didn’t have to work today.

The weather forecast was for spotty showers throughout the day, lessening as the day goes, so we figured we might hit a little rain, but it turned out it absolutely poured rain almost the entire 3 hour drive to meet her. I felt horrible. That bike had never seen rain in the 4 years that we had owned it. I felt awful for sending it off that way, but Dawn didn’t seem to mind, she was just excited to have a Hawk again (this is her 3rd).

We loaded it onto the bike hauler on the back of her Tacoma since she has a camper in the bed of the truck, and I gave her co-drivers (adorable pooches) some love before we parted ways. It was clear that she was excited about her new relationship, and we were happy to see the Hawk go to a good home where it will be ridden much more often and loved.

It was a little bittersweet, even though we didn’t ride it much, it really was such a fun little bike, and honestly anytime you sell a bike with no intention of replacing it, it is a sad day. In fact, I’ve decided I don’t think I much liked it, so I probably shouldn’t do that again, I’ll just have to keep them all 😂😂

Now, if only winter would go away so I can ride and enjoy the bikes we have left 😒

January jaunt…

Southern Indiana winters are unpredictable at best. We never know if we will get a cold, snowy winter, or a mild, mostly dry winter. Although we haven’t had a lot of snow so far this winter, we have had a couple of small accumulations, one of which came two weekends ago and caused the road crews to get all crazy with the salt and cinders. It was also well below freezing for almost two weeks straight, so the snow was able to hang around up until this past weekend. So as you can imagine, the roads are still covered in crap.

Today we were fortunate enough to get a sunny day with 58 degree temperatures. There was a brisk wind all day, but even so, the sunshine felt amazing, and no amount of cool wind was going to keep us from enjoying the day.

I would never take the vintage bikes out with the roads being so nasty still, but the Tigers don’t mind getting dirty, so we hopped on them and went for a much needed ride.

We mainly just cruised some country roads and tried to stay up in the hilly tree-lined areas to block some of the wind. We had to be cautious for the most part due to all of the gravel and cinders in the curves, but it just felt so great to be on the bikes, we didn’t mind.

Winter has apparently been pretty rough on the roads around here this year, as a lot of them had large sections where the pavement had buckled and crumbled. We also found that a lot of the gravel roads had turned into a mostly muddy mess, not that that is a bad thing on the Tigers 😉

All in all, we only rode 90 miles, but it felt amazing just to be out on the bikes, even if it was just for a few hours. The meteorologists have been mentioning snow later next week again, and below freezing temperatures, so it will likely be a while before we get to ride again, but I may be able to retain my sanity until then after today’s moto therapy session.