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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:43 pm
by JackoftheGreen
Whew, that was almost too long to go without an update!!

Man its' been a busy few weeks! We've been dividing our time between our regular full-time jobs, MSF certification, drone practice (AWESOME!!) and replacing one of our vehicles that hasn't been behaving very well. Oh, and hosting D&D weekends with our family and friends and trying to restore order to our yard and garage after a long cold winter.

I say after, but there was a sprinkling of snow in the valley today and more than that in the mountains. Ridiculous. It rained almost every day of Spring Break. I'm sure they were partying in Miami Beach and Cabo, but here in Utah. Spring Break was just another nasty, rainy, windy week of dreary.

Despite frigid temperatures and wet weather, Carrie and I did COMPLETE OUR MSF CERTIFICATION!! Yes, as of last Sunday we are official MSF RiderCoaches. We'll be teaching with our local program, Utah Rider Education, which on top of being the premier MSF sanctioned program in Utah is also woman owned and operated. We're really proud to be working for them. Also, one of our coaches happens to be a state MSF chief coach (they're called something different now, can't recall at the moment) and was literally the FIRST MSF representative in the state. His font of wisdom is only surpassed by his font of sarcasm. :) And if that weren't enough, one of the other coaches is one half of WheelNerds, an awesome motorcycle podcast with a national footprint. We're just a little star-struck!! We're planning to write an article about our experiences going through the certification, so stay tuned for that. It was eye-opening, and you never realize how much you DON'T know. I've you've taken an MSF course, post and tell us what you thought or remember. Did you take some follow-up classes? And if you haven't, why not?

One more thing to watch for! Here in our office is a brand-new pair of Cardo 4+ "Duo" headsets, which we'll be reviewing over the next few weeks. We haven't had a headset to review since the SCS-S1 back in the Spring of 2017, so we're really excited to be taking some new ones out for a spin. What do you look for in a communicator? And if you don't use one, what would they have to offer to change your mind?

Oh. And I've lost about 15 pounds in the last six weeks. But let's not make a big deal about that, in case the magic wears off.

So anyway, that's the update! More to come soon, stay tuned!


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:07 pm
by JackoftheGreen
That really WAS too long to go without an update!

This summer has been a busy one. In addition to teaching classes for URE, Carrie and I have also been through a few medical things (everybody's okay, no worries!) and upgraded our bikes. Carrie traded in the Ninja for a CTX1300, and my Versys is now sitting around for sale while I'm riding a Concours 1400. LOVE the new bikes!

The impetus for this was our children. As the kids have gotten older, they've picked up boy/girl friends, jobs, and a host of extracurricular activities, and this means that there are a lot of weekends we only have two of them as the third has an event to attend. Two kids, two bikes, roadtrip!! So we bought touring bikes so we can comfortably take the kids around. We've done a couple of rides already and it's a lot of fun. The kids really enjoy the bikes and these big touring bikes don't mind the passengers even a little.

I say touring bikes, the Concours is more like a cruise missile with two seats strapped to it! Ursula will do 100mph in SECOND GEAR if I let her, which I try not to of course. The CTX is also a monster for speed, but low revving and much more comfortable. We trade back and forth on some trips.

Teaching new riders is very rewarding! Even though it's hot (100+F out on the range some days), it's a blast to take someone who's never been on a bike before and have them pulling U turns and acing the braking chute in just two days. If you haven't taken a class, you need to. I can't stress enough just how much you don't know you don't know. All the other coaches with our organization have been a blast, and there's even a couple who I'm pretty sure read this blog! So that's cool.

Something else to draw your attention to! We've moved/mirrored some of our YouTube content over to DailyMotion, because reasons. If you're a fan of the TMW YouTube channel, please consider heading over to DM and subscribing to the channel, update your links and share in your networks.

Thanks for your time! I'm out for now!


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:05 pm
by JackoftheGreen
Sitting at my kitchen table, quarter to 11 on Labor Day morning and super excited to not be at work. :)

We're hosting a "super-soft birthday party" for the kids today, got the idea from the show "Letterkenny". If you're not familiar with it, you should be. HILARIOUS. Content is inappropriate for small children though, so exercise caution. We're got a 7' wide inflatable flamingo sitting in our big plastic pool, and a smaller unicorn in the kiddie pool. Also there's a couple dozen cupcakes with unicorn decorating kits and frosting and tiaras and all sorts of junk. The kids are 16, 15 and 13. It's gonna be a riot.

We've been working non-stop in the yard for a couple of days to get ready for the party. Did some string trimming (I can't seem to keep a string trimmer alive for longer than two months, the latest sacrifice is an electric GrassHog.) and clipped all the deadheads off my vast assortment of torch lilies. The greens look much better now. I've also gone through three cans of spectrecide, every year it's a battle with the wasps. Our property shares a border with a wetland preserve, so there's a lot of native grasses and thistle that encroach on our yard. The incest population is intense, along with snakes, voles, and huge wolf spiders.

On the topic of arachnids, a new problem this year is black widows. We've lived here for six years and never had any, then just since April I've found three on the property. Not sure why they're showing up all of a sudden, but there you have it. I feel bad killing them, they're just awesome looking little bugs. Our kids are grown enough that a widow bite wouldn't be a huge deal, but my mother is almost 70, and our family and friends often come over with small children, so I can't let them stay. Maybe I could strike a bargain with the widows, they can stay if they'll eat the wasps...

In case you missed it, my latest article is live on the main page! ... er-exhaust

We reviewed the Scorpion RedPower slip-on for my Concours. I'm really pleased with the article and the YouTube video that goes with it, check them out while you're enjoying your holiday!

Last but not least, I'm contemplating doing an article about installing an auxiliary fuse box on my bike with switched power. I've done boxes on all our other bikes and they've been very nice to have, and on the larger bikes they'll get even more use. Would you be interested in something like that? Or have you considered installing such a thing on your own bike but not sure how?


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:49 pm
by JackoftheGreen
Super-soft birthday party was a success! We had cupcake decorating and temporary tattoos (I still have my unicorn on my bicep, maybe I'll even share a pic if someone requests it), karaoke and swimming. Little Ceasars supplied 8 pizzas, and we had two leftover.

We bought all kinds of silly party decorations to make it just as soft a party as we could manage. Witness the horror of the unicorn cupcake surround and topper below:


We ended up with a ton of those leftover too, and so Carrie and I are supplying cupcakes to our coworkers for the next three days.

Our poor neighbors had to listen to me sing "American Pie" with my daughters. They have beautiful singing voices, me, not so much.

And I flew the drone around for a bit and got some more practice with it. That thing is a ton of fun, and we really get some awesome footage with it. I'm still learning to use it as a camera and create usable material with it, but I get better every day.

I'm teaching out at the range this weekend, and looking forward to it. The extra income is nice, but more importantly it's a lot of fun to be there with new riders while they're learning. It's a new level of involvement with the community, and genuinely one where I feel like I can do the most good.

And, I'm going to be changing to a new schedule in a couple of weeks. I'll be going in to my regular job extremely early, 5am, so I can get off earlier and have more of an afternoon to get stuff done and see Carrie and the kids. Other than having to wake up so stinking early, this will really be a good thing.

That's all for now. I'm going to get this posted and then unhook my computer and take it down to the garage. The fans have been making a horrendous noise for the last few days and I'm ready to fix it. I tell my children, the most useful tool you will ever buy in your life is an air compressor. :)

Thanks for checking in! More to come later!


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:13 pm
by JackoftheGreen
Just gonna take a minute here to get on my platform (not a soapbox, I'm not complaining) and flesh out something I said in my previous post.

For the casual DIYer, a good air compressor really is one of the most useful tools you'll ever buy. I have a 10G electric compressor and a 100ft hose on a Harbor Freight hose reel, and that tool gets used almost every week. It's especially useful for maintaining other things you own, which makes their worth almost incalculable.

First, the obvious. Keeping the correct pressure in your vehicle tires will extend their service life and improve your fuel mileage. An air compressor makes that super easy to accomplish. Just make sure to buy a good sized one. I used to have a 3G pancake air compressor and that thing needed two or three cycles to add five pounds to all four tires on my truck.

That tip doesn't stop with cars or bikes though. My ride-on lawnmower performs better with correct inflation, so does the wheelbarrow.

Next, do you wish your vacuum still worked like it did when it was new? Spend ten minutes blowing out all the filters and hoses with your air compressor and it will. Same goes for your lawn tools. Blow all the compacted grass and other detritus from the nooks and crannies, and it will all run better.

Also, get yourself a large water container and a part washing tool and now you can do even more with your air compressor. It's not as heavy duty as, say, a pressure washer would be, but it's great for smaller jobs. I get a lot of use out of mine cleaning yard tools and especially our gardening shoes! Mix a little degreaser in with your water and they're great for cleaning small engine parts too. I even used my parts washer to clean the brush I use to scrub my grill.

And last, but not least? Computer fans. My PC is quiet as a church mouse now. :)


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:39 pm
by JackoftheGreen
A few weeks ago, I decided I was giving way too much of my life to Facebook.

Not that I was huge Facebook person anyway. I've never had more than 200 friends on there, and I only belonged to maybe a dozen groups. Local motorcycling groups, amateur videographer and drone pilot stuff, like that. Ostensibly I was trying to use social media to amplify my impact here on TMW. Get our videos out, bring new people into the fold, like that. Most of the people I really care about I'm in personal contact with anyway.

I also made a few brief attempts to use it as a learning tool. Those groups I mentioned earlier? I'd ask questions like "Why wont my Spark files play in VideoStudio9?" The only answers I ever got were of the most unhelpful "Buy a better computer/drone/editing software" type.

And all my efforts to promote and amplify my work here on TMW? I could count on maybe, MAYBE, ten people to like a post I shared about this work. Two or three people made it a habit to share my stuff. And that's it.

So I decided I would give up on FB, and spend my "social media" time keeping this blog updated. There's an impression out there that FB Groups and other social media outlets are killing forums.

Don't you believe it.

258 people have viewed this blog since I updated it Wednesday. That's 48 hours. A little more than five people an hour. That's more traffic than any post I ever made on Facebook ever got. Even pictures of steak, lobster, or my children.

I know you're watching, I know you're reading. I'll keep writing, and thanks for being here even if you prefer not to say anything. You should join my revolution. Quit giving so much of your time to social media and come see us here in the real world.

Gonna go grill some hamburgers now. They're going to look delicious, but I don't suppose I'll share pictures of them on my Insta. :)


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:12 pm
by pchast

Facebook is a link to my children's lives. Less than 1/2 hour a day does it there.

I feel your pain on the time burned. Its virtually impossible to Know what platform or content
will draw conversation and interest. I'll never understand the whole social media evolution.

Your work here is appreciated.

Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:37 pm
by JackoftheGreen

Thanks for the affirmation!

I know what you mean about FB being a link to loved ones lives. I have some extended family that I tried to keep up with, but I'm sure they're on FB for their own reasons too. Whatever the reason, it just felt like I was spinning my wheels with the whole platform.

My children still live at home and none of them have FB accounts, but I'm sure the day will come when I have to venture in again to keep track with them. Either into FB, or whatever the popular platform is at the time. I think if I go back to it, I'll keep my friends list small so I'm not lost in the "infinity scroll". If I could keep it at 1/2 an hour a day that wouldn't be so bad.

Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:27 pm
by JackoftheGreen
We just got home from the range a few minutes ago. I was teaching a class on one end of the range, while Carrie was being a "pretend" student for a class of new RiderCoach candidates on the spare range. It was a good class.

Tomorrow I'll be doing the pretend student bit too, and I'm excited about it. It's always nice to sit back and be the student for a bit, and you can always benefit from some coaching. Always be improving.

While we were at it, I got some footage of myself using counterweight posture for an article I'm tinkering around with. We got some fun overhead footage of the U-turn with the drone, while also filming from the side with the GoPRO 5. It all looks very good, and I'm excited to put it all together.

Now we're waiting on bird people to arrive. Carrie and I also breed and sell parakeets and cockatiels, only as a hobby, there really isn't much money in it. You may remember the post a few years back (six years maybe?) about our zebra finches and "budgies", that's been a thing in our household ever since. Today we have a family we've sold parakeets to in the past coming to visit their next bird, another parakeet. He's just barely fledged the nest and isn't ready to leave yet, but some people like to come meet them when they're still babies. It's fun, and we get some families who keep coming back and back to buy more.

Once they're done visiting, I believe we're going to head out again to get noodles for dinner.

Thanks for checking in again!


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:45 pm
by JackoftheGreen

Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:03 pm
by jstark47
JackoftheGreen wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:45 pm
THIS IS A TEST. that's a Concours 14. Kawi doesn't make a model called "Test".


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:55 pm
by JackoftheGreen
jstark47 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:03 pm
JackoftheGreen wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:45 pm
THIS IS A TEST. that's a Concours 14. Kawi doesn't make a model called "Test".



Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:35 pm
by JackoftheGreen
It was really a busy weekend!

Riding as a pretend student was a lot of fun! Even with the rain. It was coming down pretty hard for the first half of the class, which prompted me to take the Scorpion jacket I reviewed last fall. The waterproofing capabilities of the jacket, combined with my Frog Togg pants, kept me dry.

I rode half a dozen different bikes, as us coaches are wont to do, and had fun on each of them. I even got to spend some time on the Grom, which was a lot more fun that I expected it to be. The Grom is so small, it really doesn't matter that you're too big for it. The handle bars don't contact your knees on turns because they're simply not long enough to. The entire bike just disappears beneath you, and it's a lot more like skate boarding than motorcycling. You get the impression that you could just sling the Grom over your shoulder when you got where you're going. For all that though it's a tight, precise little machine, and I knocked out more than a few 14 or 12 foot U-turns on it. Here's a pic of me and the Grom.
eric grom.jpg
On the subject of Honda, I also rode the newly updated Rebel. That was less fun. The riding position is more forward than you might expect, at least it was for my six foot frame, and that was kinda nice. But the pegs just stick out so far, they'll bruise up your shins if you're not paying attention when you put your feet down. Good pickup on it though for a 250. Didn't take any pics.

In case you missed it on the main page, Carrie's review of the Amphibious Soft Seat is live this week! Here's the link.

Amphibious Soft Seat

I suppose that's everything I've got for now!


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:48 pm
by JackoftheGreen
Some more pics from the class over the weekend!

Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:41 pm
by JackoftheGreen
Not much to talk about today.

It's the second Tuesday of the month, which means Bike Night at our local CycleGear. We've missed it the last two months, sadly, and missed it again today because the weather's been pretty wet. As established, we're not even the least bit intimidated by riding in the rain. But Bike Night isn't any fun if people don't show up, and in our experience rain drives most of them away. So we stayed in today.

I had to go outside and clean up some of the remnants from our super-soft party. The giant flamingo and unicorn pool floaties, specifically. Deflated them and tucked them in out of the weather. I can't imagine how it'd look having a 7' tall flamingo flying off into the wind.

The downtime is pretty nice after the busy weekend.


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:44 pm
by JackoftheGreen
Haven't had a lot of time to get on here this week. :) We're babysitting our niece and nephew while their parents are off an their Alaskan cruise, so it's been pretty crazy. We've changed up our shifts at work as well, so I've been getting up at 3:40am to make it to work by 5. Pretty tired. Getting up early is easy, it's going to bed on time that I struggle with.

I installed the isolated fuse block on Carrie's CTX over the weekend and it turned out very good. Her bike is the Standard, as opposed to the Deluxe, so it has a pigtail under the seat that provides switched power to a 12v socket on the Deluxe. On the Standard it's just capped off and taped. A quick clip, some stripping and shrink connectors, and it's providing the switch for the relay. EZPZ.

Stashing the fuse block was a little more difficult, as big as that bike is there isn't much spare room under the cowlings. I've got it sitting on top of the battery restraint strap, secured with four inches of Dual-Lock. Very secure, but also very tight in there. The cowlings are already a little sketchy, maybe a little worse now.

Will be doing the same thing on my bike this coming weekend, maybe. I'm teaching, so we'll see if I feel up to it after class.

That's all for now! Thanks for checking in!


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:13 pm
by JackoftheGreen
My latest article went live this morning, and I'm really excited about this one!

I wanted to put out something about improving riding techniques, so after some thought I decided to write about counterweighting. This is not to be confused with countersteer, which is different.

Very pleased with this one, please check it out, share it in your networks, and make sure to watch the video too! It's especially good!

Counterweighting - Tight Turns, Tight Skills


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:06 pm
by JackoftheGreen
My cup of coffee this morning.

I taught a class this weekend and had a lot of fun. It seems like every class I learn something new, and I suppose that's how it should be right? Unless there's a change in the schedule this will have been the last class I teach this season, which means a nice long break and I get to start sleeping in on weekends again. Carrie has one more class scheduled and then she'll be on winter hiatus too.

As part of that, I suppose I'll cancel the ads on our two bikes for sale. Those winter bargain shoppers always give me a headache, and for the Versys at least, I think I'm 70% of the way convinced to put some nobbies on it and make it my dual sport. We've been talking a little about maybe doing some off-road stuff, and the rest of the world rides the Versys in all kinds of thick. It's just here in the States we think of it as strictly a road bike. So we'll see how that goes. A lot of people missed out on a really good deal, LoL.

Obviously didn't get around to the fuse block this weekend, but I may have some downtime during the week I could start on it.

Yesterday after class, Carrie and I went to our local mineral hot springs park, a place called Crystal Hot Springs in the town of Honeyville. It's about half an hour north of us, cheap admission and excellent pools. They have several different tubs and pools of varying sizes and temperatures, and it's one of our favorite places to spend time when the weather cools off. It's amazing to me to think what a luxury a hot spring must have been 200 years ago, when heating water was a arduous chore. Can you imagine coming across a hot spring in the wild when you literally hadn't had a hot bath in months? It must have been incredible.

We spent two hours soaking in the pools, much-needed after how the last few weeks have gone. Every time I go to any sort of waterpark facility, I always think the same thing, "Wow, like EVERYBODY has tattoos!" If you work for a company that still considers visible tattoos a violation of dress code, you should do something to try to change that culture. Literally more people have tattoos than don't these days. Or, at least, when examining the portion of the population that engages in public bathing. Maybe it's a thing.

So that was our weekend. This week should be relatively quiet, getting the tires on our econobox rotated tomorrow and that's about it for plans.

A quick favor to ask while I've got you here. The TMW YouTube channel has been hovering at 19,9xx subscribers all summer. We get a couple more every few days, but I'm getting tired of looking at 19.9K. So I thought I'd see if I could push a membership drive from my blog here. I'll make it really easy on you. Assuming this works, all you have to do to subscribe is click HERE. That should be the direct link to subscribe to the channel, and all you'll have to do is log in to your YouTube account if you're not already singed in over there. EZPZ. As of twenty minutes ago we were at 19,959 subscribers, so it'll only take 41 people to get to 20k. Does this modest little blog here on the largest motorcycle website in North America have the horsepower to get 40 YT subscriptions? Show me what we've got.

Thank you!! That's all for now, I'll be seeing you next week. Now I'm gonna have a drink and watch some comedy on NetFlix.

Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:48 pm
by JackoftheGreen
I went out after work today to get the tires on our Honda Fit rotated, just like an adult!

While they were doing their thing at Discount Tire, I walked over to the AutoZone next door to grab a couple of things I've been wanting. I picked up a new battery for my key fob, some red 14ga wire for my fuse box install (I already have 14ga black wire), and a pair of those sticky 2" blind spot mirrors. More on those later.

There were about a dozen AZ associates in the store while I was there, doing a lot of stocking stuff. Great big bins full of products that they were moving around the store, hanging up or pulling down on nearly every isle. I asked the associate what they were doing, and he told me something interesting. He said their store was being designated as a regional distribution center, so their building was being expanded and they were freeing up stock space in the back. I'm excited to hear that AutoZone is investing and expanding in a storefront in my neighborhood, I think that's a pretty good sign. Just wanted to share that. :)

So the blind spot mirrors! I've been wanting a pair of them for Ursula. I think they're a great product and I've used them on several vehicles I've owned, but I've never had a bike with room for them. But the Connie's mirrors are HUGE, so they fit just fine. The only thing they block is the view of my panniers, LoL.

That's all I got for now, thanks for checking in!


Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:58 pm
by JackoftheGreen
It was a pretty laid-back week.

It's been raining off and on all week too, and temperatures have been getting steadily colder. Overnight lows got down under 40 degrees yesterday, so we finally swallowed our pride and turned on the furnace. I LOVE those six weeks where you don't need any sort of comfort cooling or heating, and we try to make it longer every year without giving in.

Turing on the furnace for the first time every year is especially low on my list. No matter how much vacuuming and dusting we do, there's always that burnt hair smell for the first ten minutes. The smoke detectors in the house all go off too. This year I even dragged my air hose down into the basement and blasted out the ignition chambers with compressed air. Still happened.

On Saturday, my oldest daughter went out with a boy to a local skating rink/laser tag/arcade place in town. Her treat. She's 15, almost 16, and by all reports they had a good time. He's a good kid, been over a couple of times, and they get along well. He even carried her skates in for her, which was nice. They really do grow up quickly.

Afterwards, we settled in for a family movie night for Carrie's birthday, which was Friday. We did a sandwich buffet with a bunch of deli meats and cheeses, sauces, lettuce and tomato and all that good stuff. I'm still stuffed. We watched Sleepy Hollow. And then today we did a replay of the same thing and started watching Supernatural together as a family. Carrie and I used to watch the show until it got stupid. We binged the first six episodes this afternoon and so far it's a hit. They're all loving it.

I also got some of the preliminary work done installing the fuse block on Ursula. I soldered in spade connectors on the relay and prepped all my power and ground wires, now I just have to take my shrouds apart and start placing the components. I'm definitely going to take some video of that process and turn it into another YouTube offering, since it's the sort of thing that might seem intimidating to people before they understand how everything goes together.

While I'm doing that, I'm going to remove the peg lowering blocks I put on her. I thought they'd be nice, but they throw off all the rest of my geometry and make some things more difficult. Lesson learned.

Anyway, that's all for now. Thanks again for taking the time!