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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

An Indian Summer

Sorry, couldn't resist that one. Seeing as my pictures are all spoken for at the moment, UN and Kawa have kindly given me permission to use some of theirs, so they'll be appearing on this very blog before your very eyes in the next day or so. That's in between me taking delivery of Shed No2, fencing the lambs in and preparing for a trip to Jedburgh on Thursday. I tell you, it's nothing but go go go here. By gum, there's the small matter of Mrs BC's birthday on Thursday too.

Here are the pics from UN - that's not THE UN, it's just UN... Pics from Kawa to follow but it's gone midnight and my alarm is set for 05:00 Thursday so as you'll appreciate, I don't wanna sit at the computer much longer.

Thanks for those UN. Saved me bacon, you have.

And over to Kawa....

Isn't she lovely? It's rude to say a lady's age, so I'll tell you Mrs Maxwell is slightly older than me, and only stopped motorcycling when she reached 70. She told us tales of her Raleigh and how she used to ride it around Scotland all by herself, and how the men folk thought she was ever so slightly odd for doing so - sound familiar? If I can still hop on a motorcycle when I'm 70+ and am able to remember all the good old days with a smile, I'll be happy as happy as she is.

The rear view of the 'trike' UN got a snap of. I foresee Mrs BC saying something like "...I want one...". Heck, she has the GBC Sidecar to look forward to.

There was also a wedding, hence the "just married" balloon and bunch of flowers - congrats to the lovely couple, Jo and Tim. Can you imagine my surprise when I got an invite to the Yew Tree Circle in the grounds of Traquair House? It was the best wedding I've been to.

So there you have it, the International Indian Rally, held near Peebles on a sunny weekend in July. Not only was it very cold at night and I had to make use of John's sleeping bag - you know, from but it I also had the experience of riding pillion on Kawa's 19?? Rickman Kawasaki, actually, I never really know if it's that way round, or if it is in fact, a Kawasaki Rickman. Either way it was jolly good fun, once he discovered I don't mind, how you say, nipping on a bit - in a sensible and safe manner. I've got no time for nutters who expect a pillion to jump on and then road off so fast that said pillion goes flying over the back of the bike. Met one of those once, he liked to go very, very VERY fast on his Triumph Daytona. Once out on the open roads and racing with his mates, my feet nearly ended up in his ears. So anyway, thanks to Kawa for the lift.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Time for a spring clean.

Right, this place needs a clean out. I'm going to be messing with the layout on here over the next few days, and yes, GLAMIS PICS ARE POSTED - I was going to add a new post for them but in the interests of keeping it tidy, you'll have to scroll down to the original post to view them.

Just back from the Indian rally at Traquair House, Peebles-shire, got three memory cards full of photos but you know the score, Old Bike Mart gets first call, then this time, I've got to get in touch with someone else who might be interested in some of my work, and then the rest (there should be plenty left) can be posted on here.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Fingers Glamis show

Yay, thats the sheeps caught for shearing.....hopefully this time it'll be the real thing....5th or 6th time it's HOT HOT HOT out there...

....well....that's it, Sheep Pup and I caught them all up in record time, Tony the Shearer did a good job and we can forget about it all for another year now. Only one casualty, and that was me, slicing my finger open on the barbed wire fence. But I'll be ok, no need to send chocs or flowers or owt. Makes typing a tad difficult though.

So what other news do we have for you? Erm, not a lot of Cubbie stuff going on - was supposed to be saddling up and going for a sprint to a local guy who might have some box profile sheets for my *NEW* shed, but then the shearer turned up and put a stop to that plan. Mind you, we're off to the Indian rally on the weekend so that'll be a Cubbie story.

Some might say that a 350mile round trip just for a burger or two, is a bit over the top, but I look upon it as my duty - Area Rep duty I mean. Ian - he of the many badges on his hat (which he thinks he might have lost, so if you see a baseball cap festooned with biker badges, it's his and no, you can't keep it cos he'd like it back) kindly invited me to his VMCC sections BBQ last Sunday. The tool for the job was Shorty's Suzuki, which I'm getting quite used to now, so it was pulled from its slumber and coaxed into life, while Cubbie continued to doze - resting, in preparation for this weekend. According to Google, the most direct route to Ian's house was out to Huntly, Strathdon, then Braemar, before climbing high and conquering Glenshee, and then swinging down into Pitlochry and on to the small Perthshire town where Ian lives. So I set off, heading towards Aberdeen, luckily I realised this small error early on and made a corrective turn off towards Huntly. Then, as I was considering my new route, I wondered why on earth I needed to go to Huntly, when I could cut across to Alford, and go to Strathdon that way. Keen to test the waterproofness of that new product I'm trialling on my gloves, leathers and boots, I didn't bother stopping to don my waterproofs when it began to rain. It didn't last long and I stayed dry. After the pleasure of following a numpty who was completely unaware of the bright red motorcycle following him (decided to turn right, no, hang on, left, ah no, I'll just sit in the middle of the road and look at my map 'cos it's Scotland on Sunday and there's no one else around) I had a clear run for a while. I then decided to head towards Torphins as I had been working around there recently and knew the roads, and from there I ended up on the main A93 from Aberdeen to Braemar, thus bypassing Strathdon altogether, but it was a pleasant route, with only a car or two to chase and some occasional sunshine. But what did I see when I rounded the corner into Braemar? RAIN. A big grey wall of it, covering the mountains I was about to cross. No matter how dedicated I am to testing the new waterproofing product, there was no way I was going through there without my over trousers on. Besides, the temperate had plummeted and the wind was howling. Progress was slow, but I eventually caught up with a Peugeot who was travelling at a nice pace. Slow enough to be able to keep up easily, but fast enough to make the journey interesting. I think I followed it all the way to Kirkmichael, which was handy, as I don't know the roads in that part of the country too well. I finally rolled up at Ian's house an hour and a half after Google had estimated that I should have been there. But d'you know what, it was just in time for the burgers. It's all down to timing.

So we had a great feast and good chat, many thanks to Ian and his wife - that was some spread you set out - and apologies to the Stirling Castle VMCCers if I snaffled all the food...well...c'mon....getting lost, wet and cold is hungry work!

On the way home I opted for the alternative route, up to Blairgowrie and then over to the A90, a nice bit of dual carriageway, where the VMCC eligible Suzi is quite at home, nipping along at fully legal speeds. Another short, sharp shower at Stonehaven tempted me to get the waterproofs on again but I couldn't be bothered to stop. But when I saw the rain over the hill at Oldmeldrum, I made the right choice. It absolutely dinged it down, I was tempted to stop and take a picture, but I knew stopping would only result in the rain soaking through and of course, my precious camera getting a soaking. I tell you not an ounce of a lie, the drops came down so fast and with such force, my arms and legs were stinging from the impact. Luckily it only last 10 or 15 minutes and my boots and gloves - coated in "Bone Dry" didn't let a single drop in. Time for a re-coat me thinks.

We're all gearing up for the Plus1 up here, so I can only imagine the guys in charge of the **S&T and the National are all doing the same. My accommodation for the S&T is sorted - no soggy tents for me this year, oh no, I have a soft and comfy bed which I'll probably need after a day as ballast in Andrew Rae's Ariel 'trials' outfit. It has a new capacity of 350cc this year - shame I can't remember what it was last year! Rather than ride in the National this time, I've volunteered my services as a Checkpoint Person. I've no idea what that entails, but I reckon it's time to give a little back to the organisers and help out if I can, plus, it can't be any harder than piloting Cubbie round the course...I hope...

Well Mrs BC and I are out to lunch tomorrow - not an entirely free one as we shall be meeting Chris Norton - the guy in charge of the UCAN Charity (Motor) Bike Ride and the other helpers, to discuss the arrangements and what we'll be doing to help on the day. I'll confirm the date ? entry details for you when I can.

So that's about it, you now know more about what I've been doing than I do. Toodle ooh for noo.

**To read more about the S&T and the National, go to the Blog Archive on the left of the screen, scroll down and find the posts from last August, that'll save me doing too much more typing with my poorly bad finger.

Oh my goodness gracious me, I forgot to tell you all about the Glamis Extravaganza. I'll do that tomorrow. Ok, so that's a lie. I'll stick some pics from Glamis up when I return from the Indian rally. And you can have some shearing pics too if you're lucky.


Saturday, 18 July 2009

Plus1 Plans.

Right, enough! Let's get back to work. Don't you just hate waiting? I've been waiting since last August to get this *NEW* Plus1 event off the ground, and there's only so much one can do a year in advance. So now we've got three and a bit weeks left, and there's loads to do. Today, Captain Bill and I are going to go and check the route. I reckon it should be a good run and hopefully it will be suitable for the wide variety of bikes that are entered - everything from a 1925 1000cc Royal Enfield to a Bantam to a Triumph Bonnie. (What do I mean "hopefully"? Of course it will be!). The weather isn't particularly nice; the other day, I was driving back from Blairgowrie, via Banchory, before heading up to Fraserburgh on the coast, and the temp was 22degrees in Banchory. Then, the big black clouds burst, it wasn't safe to drive at anything more than about 30mph, and the temperature dropped to 12degrees. Today isn't quite so bad, it's looking a bit cold, wet and windy out there - but who cares, we'll be in the car! And I'm thinking we'll probably have to check out the tea room that we're going to recommend the riders stop at...

Friday, 10 July 2009

Darrell's USA Road Trip

As promised...Words and pics by the one and only, Darrell.

I'm on my road trip (finally, though I had to truncate the original plan.) First stop is USS Texas, BB-35 in La Porte Texas (just outside of Houston.)
So why is this of interest? Well, the USS Texas is the last Dreadnought. Why is this of interest to anyone other than those interested in Naval history? Well lets take a short trip back in time. In 1905 Great Britain launched HMS Dreadnought, a new type of battleship. This ship for the first time rationalized the plan of armament, armor and speed into a package which revolutionized the battleship and upon its launching made all other battleships obsolete. By standardizing on a single large caliber main armament in centerline turrets, a single secondary armament as well as lots of armor plate and powerful engines, this new ship could outperform all others. As soon as Dreadnought became operational all other battleships became known as "pre-Dreadnoughts" and those who developed the plan further (such as the US Navy's Iowa class of WW2) were known as "Super Dreadnoughts." Dreadnought herself was already obsolete by the time of WW1, but other countries, such as the U.S. had seen the value and built their own. Of that first generation of "Dreadnought" type ships, only the USS Texas remains, in all the world. Launched prior to WW1, Texas was in commission until the end of WW2, and underwent many modifications during its life.

Why does anyone other than ship buffs care? In a global political-historical context Dreadnought and her followers not only revolutionized naval warfare in the first half of the 20th century, but as a result of these ships, and treaties such as the Washington Naval treaty which effectively punished Japan for coming late to the Naval arms race, helped set the stage for much of the conflict in the 20th century: Japan was feeling hurt and built ships that violated the Washington treaty, the Treaty of Versailles punished Germany and limited their naval forces, while Great Britain and U.S. were allowed more leeway in Naval design though both stuck more rigidly to the rules as regards tonnage of ships. Since the post-WW1 treaties all were based on punishing the Central Powers (Germany, the Austro-Hungarian empire) and allowing the allies to expand empires (Britain and France got the middle East, Belgium went to Africa, and so on...) the stage was set for much of the later conflicts, right up to today, since much of the Middle Eastern countries that exist today were either created in the inter-war years, or were colonized until after WW2.
Kinda long winded, huh?
You wanted sun? Ok, here's the meteorology for the day: 99 degrees (F), 70% humidity (hot and humid). broken clouds. And 976.4 miles from home, 2 days riding.
Also, a picture of an only slightly racist roadside cafe in Mississippi.

The second part of the trip was to follow the Natchez Trace Parkway, which runs from Natchez, in the Southwest of Mississippi,up into Tennessee. I didn't take it all the way to Tennessee, but did about 300 miles on it. The parkway follows and in some cases actually was built on top of, the original pathway which was used by Native Americans, animals, and later settlers for centuries. The parkway itself is a well paved and maintained road, 2 lanes, and has a speed limit of 50 miles per hour, which limits the traffic on it. At various points there are scenic overlooks, Indian mounds, old villages and other historic sites. Unfortunately, due to the construction of the road (raised roadbed, sharply sloping shoulders) I couldn't stop for pictures at some of the more interesting areas. I did get a few showing the parkway, some mounds, some Mississippi scenery, and an old village (French Camp).

More pictures from the Natchez Trace Parkway. French Camp, an old village now used as a training academy (not sure for what) and a reconstructed old farm. Also some Indian Mound pictures from the "Emerald Mound." The mound itself is huge, so only a small bit shows in the picture.

In this chapter we visit the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I'm not a Corvette fan, per se, but this looked like it could be fun. I also stopped at the Patton Museum in Ft. Knox, since I like armor and tanks.

Part 4, wherein our intrepid traveler finds himself visiting an ancient American effigy mound, the largest east of the Mississppi. The mound is approximately 1300 feet long and is in the shape of a serpent, each coil in the serpent equating to an astronomical event, marked by signs for the visitors.
The mound, from ground level, looks like so much raised areas in the grass, and can best be viewed from above. However (ahem) due to my rather severe acrophobia, the highest I could get on the observation tower was about 10 feet, so there are no "overhead" views.

Thanks Darrell, that's a brilliant write up and some great pics. How many miles did you do in total? Don't you guys have km over there though? If anyone else wishes to have their story published on the GBC Blog all you gotta do is email me using cubbiescounties AT aultan DOT com. Obviously you'll change the ATs and DOTs to the appropriate symbols.


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