Motorcycle Riding


Not too long ago, about 4 years from the current time, I started realizing I had friends that had motorcycles, and I kind of wanted to be out riding too.  I had tried riding when I was just a teen and started out with WAY too big of a bike.  I started on a Suzuki GS750L, and when I weighed barely 130 or 135 at the time, I could barely hold it up.  I gave up the bike after only a couple of weeks, and never really thought much about it again.  Fast forward to roughly four years ago and the bug started biting me again and I started looking at motorcycles.  At first, I was looking on Craig’s List, researching what was out there and what the costs were.  I got to be pretty good at identifying various motorcycles, and based on the bike, age, and miles, what the price should be.

I eventually decided the Yamaha VStar 650 looked like it would be a good “starter” bike.  It got great reviews and most everyone agreed it was light enough and easy enough to handle for a beginner or relative newbie, but big enough for more advanced riders as well.  I even went to a motorcycle shop and looked at one and tried to buy it.  They wanted about $500 more than I was willing to pay for it though, so I walked away.  I kept looking and ended up finding one at a car dealership of all places.  They took the bike in trade for a Jeep, and basically just wanted to unload it.  I got a YEAR VStar 650 with MILES on it for right around $2,200.  It even had custom pipes and saddle bags on it!  The dealership was nice enough to even deliver it for me.  I had to have them deliver it because I didn’t have a trailer, and at the time, I didn’t even have an endorsement to ride legally!  Talk about putting the cart before the horse.  Oh well, I had my bike now.  It was October when I bought it and I did get out a couple of times, basically riding it around the block to get used to the way it felt and handled.  I had to wait until spring to get my endorsement.

It was the following May when I was able to get signed up for a class and get my certificate, then run by and take my written portion of the test to become officially certified to ride a motorcycle on public roads.  I had not wasted my time waiting though.  I had already decided I wanted a windshield and installed a small sport style windshield.  I had a full helmet, and a half helmet both.  I had my boots, my leather jacket, which I already owned so I didn’t have to get one special, and riding gloves.  I was still scared to actually get out on the highway or on the busy city streets though I have to admit, and when I started going over 50 mph and looked down at the road, it looked like it was going by SO fast!  I kept pushing and rode every single time I got a chance though.  At first I would only go on a few city streets, then finally ventured out for a tiny 2 mile drive on the highway from one exit to another.  I was scared to death and excited as hell all at the same time!  I had survived though, and I got a taste of the road.  I kept pushing, and by the time the summer was over, I was riding all over the countryside.  I put on just over 4,000 miles that season, and I learned one very important thing.  I really wanted a bigger bike.  That little 650 was fun in town, but on the highway it was wound up way too much, the wind blew it all over the place, and when I rode with friends it was a comical experience.  When they would leave from a stop, I would have to catch up.  If we wanted to pass someone, they just passed them… I had to plan ahead because I didn’t have the power to pass as quickly.  So, I sold my beloved beginner bike late that fall, and started researching yet again.

Thru the whole winter, I was thinking about riding again.  Would I get another bike or would I just relish in the taste of open road that I had been given?  New bikes were so expensive, but would I be happy with a used one?  I had a million questions.  It seems like the riding Gods were smiling on me though.  I looked on Craig’s List one day in the spring of 2014 and saw a motorcycle shop advertising 2012 models of the Yamaha Star 1300 for what almost amounted to half price.  They had warehouse inventory left that had to go to make room for the new models.  It almost seemed too good to be true.  I actually took a long lunch from work that day to go look at one.  Another clue that I might have been fated to get that bike was the location of the bike shop.  It was directly across the street from the car dealership I had bought my previous bike.  What were the odds?  I went in and looked at one of the bikes, sat on it, checked it out, and decided I had to have it.  I didn’t even take it for a test ride.  I verified the price and said, sign me up.  It took about 45 minutes to get the paperwork signed.  They had a brand new one shipped from the warehouse with zero miles on it.  A week later, I had someone drop me off to pick it up.  I was really, really nervous too!  I tried not to show it, but here I was with a bike probably 200 pounds heavier than my previous bike, with twice the motor and twice the horsepower.  I went to the dealership to pick up the keys and they brought the bike around front for me.  I put on my helmet and gloves, slid on my sunglasses, straddled the seat, and fired her up.  This was my bike…. MY bike!  I freaking had a 1300cc motorcycle.  I know, to some people, that isn’t anything unusual, but you have to remember, it hadn’t been that long ago that I had been a total non-motorcycle rider.  For heaven’s sake, my endorsement wasn’t even a year old yet!  As I took those last moments to get ready, a million things went thru my mind, foremost of which was, could I handle this much bike!  So, I squeezed the clutch, put it in gear, and started on my journey.

I only had to go about 2 blocks before coming to my first stop and it was perfectly uneventful.  OK, so I can ride this thing, I guess I’ll be OK, let’s keep going.  A few more blocks and 2 stops later and I was able to turn onto a country road and head out of town.  I had already decided by this time that I was not going to have any troubles riding the bike.  To be a heavier bike, it actually handled pretty well and felt much lighter than I thought it would.  The ride home was pure heaven.  It was much smoother and more stable over the bumps, and I felt totally confident with it.  The power was totally exhilarating.  This was everything my old bike wasn’t.  It didn’t have a windshield, there were no saddle bags, and no passenger bar (sissy bar), but I loved it.  I went on a few rides that first week and the more I rode the more I loved it.  It had all the power I wanted on the highway, and it was better balanced so was actually easier to ride in town, which I totally didn’t expect.  I did order a windshield for it, and saddle bags, and a sissy bar, so within the next 3 months or so, I transformed it into the bike I wanted.  I also took a 2 inch hole cutting bit and drilled out the baffle on the end of the pipes.  It sounds 100% better.  It gave it a bit of bark, without being as loud as straight pipes, which is just what I was looking for.  I still love my bike and ride it any time I get a chance.  I think if I had to do it over, I would go with a full fairing, batwing style, over the standard Memphis Shades, fat windshield.  I get a lot of side buffeting that I’ve had friends with batwing fairing say they don’t get.  The buffeting itself doesn’t bother me, but the wind noise part of it does.  It’s pretty loud, even with a full helmet.  The only other thing I want to do is change the seat.  The factory seat on there is horrible for anything over an hour of riding.  My backside gets really painful if I go over about an hour and a half.  I’ve taken rides where I leave at 8:00am and get home at 8:00pm too, and it’s really painful.  One thing at a time though.  When I get the bike paid for, I hope to get a nice seat.  For now, I’ll live with it.  I still enjoy it no matter what.

I think I’ll end this piece right here.  This is my story of getting involved in the world of motorcycle riding.  I hope you enjoyed reading it, and I would love to hear your story.



Metal Detecting

In the days since I got my metal detector, I’ve learned a huge amount.  I got it originally because I needed something to get me moving again.  I work at a place where I get no movement.  I’m at a desk all day and I get no exercise.  Over the last 3-4 years, I’ve picked up some pounds, more that I would like to admit, and I can tell my health has suffered from it.  I thought about getting a treadmill.  I used to have one and was able to use it to get into shape when I had it.  That was a number of years ago though.  One thing I remember from that is how much I hated using it.  It was so incredibly boring, and there wasn’t much I could do to change that fact.  I wanted something I could be passionate about, that I wanted to do, that would get me moving for extended periods.  I’ve dabbled here and there with metal detecting, always with cheap, crappy units, and I still enjoyed it.  Recently, I had also gotten interested in watching videos of metal detecting online, and it really kind of reignited the hidden passion for it.  After weighing the pros and cons for a while, I decided to take the plunge and go ahead and get one.  I had already done my research and knew I wanted a Garrett AT Pro.  I found a local shop that carried them and went to the store and bought one that day.  I like the guy that worked at the shop.  He said if there were problems, bring the detector to him first.  He has been working on them a long time and said he could fix most issues pretty easily without having to send them in to a repair facility.  I ordered a shovel online to go with it, and the first day I had the opportunity, I got started.

My first trial was just out in my own front yard.  I found some coins I wouldn’t have guessed I would find, and some metal objects of various kinds.  I still haven’t figured out what one of them is (can I put photo of object?).  My daughters got out to help me out as well and enjoyed it.  Soon after, the kids and I took my Garrett to a local park area and did a little detecting there.  We were there a couple of hours and found some good stuff actually.  We found a few coins, and even found our first wheat penny.  The next trip after that we went to the ball fields where my daughters play, and searched various spots around there for about 3 hours while they did the video work so I could post my video to my youtube channel.  We found a LOT of coins that day, and I realized that the location had never, ever been metal detected!  As soon as I realized that I was totally geeked to go back as much as it took to search the entire area.  We also found a cool skull ring.  It was just an aluminum kid’s ring but it was still really cool.

The next time I got the opportunity to go out, I hit the location hard.  I was flying solo and it was really muddy so I didn’t get to do much video work, but I did a little.  I could barely get in the gate for the location.  I found probably 10 coins within 6 feet of the entrance.  I did eventually get farther in, and I found lots and lots of coins, a costume jewelry earring, part of a really nice rosary, not silver, but nice anyway, and a thin, 10K gold ring!  I was so surprised when I turned over that plug and out popped that thin gold band.  I knew just looking at it that it wasn’t worth much value, but I was as excited as if I just discovered some lost city or something.  My first gold object ever with my AT Pro!  That band has a special place in my collection of found items.  I was out for about 5 hours that day.  The next day, and a few days after, I learned another thing as well…. That I was really out of shape!  My legs hurt from getting up and down so much.  That’s exactly what I got the metal detector for though.  I wanted something that could help me get exercise and would be fun doing it.  Apparently I had found it.

I’ve been back 3 more times since then for a total of about 9 more hours, and I have only done maybe ¼ of the whole area.  I still have a lot more to go, and I’m still pulling out treasures.  I found one more costume jewelry ring with a horseshoe on it, but no more rings.  Tons and tons of coins, but no rings.  I am learning a huge amount about my metal detector too.  The area has a lot of aluminum and garbage, and I’m getting pretty good at determining what is good and what is garbage.  The only thing about that is those aluminum rings and jewelry also show up as the same type of targets that I’m starting to eliminate out.  Areas that aren’t so trashy I may dig all the targets, but this area is so trashy, I’m passing up on a lot of those scratchy targets that I’m pretty sure is just garbage.  I may also go back over them at a later time to see what some of them are and get rid of some of the trash so in a couple of years, I could come back and have a cleaner search area.  If you are going to start using a metal detector, and want to be serious about it, you really need to be prepared to put in the time.  It isn’t something you’re going to get great at overnight.  There is a lot of trash out there and you need to spend time with your metal detector to get good at determining a bit more about what is what.  For instance, I’ve had a couple of times lately where I get the kind of signal that sounds like trash, but the numbers are a bit unusual, or the scratch has a blip in it that’s not typical.  When I dig those holes, I find a lot of times that it is a coin signal that’s being masked by a piece of trash around it or above it.  The Garrett can pick up on that, but you have to really pay attention and put in the time to learn the difference.  When you notice you’re able to start picking those things out, it’s a really good feeling.  You know you’re doing the things you need to be doing then.

I can’t get out today because of commitments with the kids, but I’ll be back out tomorrow unless there is a downpour or lightning or something.  You don’t realize it when you see those guys detecting on the beach or in the parks, but they are addicts.  It’s a good kind of addiction though.  It’s the kind that makes you want to get out in any weather or conditions.  They type that keeps you going and healthy.  The kind of addiction that makes you realize what you are doing is a privilege, and you should be taking care of the area you detect in.  In other words, it’s not just an addiction, it’s a passion.

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First entry for Michigan Man Floyd

Hello everyone!  I’m so glad you could stop by.  This is my site which which I can relate my adventures in metal detecting, fishing, magnet fishing, motorcycle riding, mushroom hunting, and anything else that gets me up and moving and enjoying life and the outdoors.  I’m going to start off with my latest thing I’m very interested in… metal detecting.  I recently jumped head first into the world of metal detecting and got myself a Garrett AT Pro.  It only took a couple of trips out before I decided I really needed a pinpointer to go with it and I ordered the infamous Garrett Carrot, the Garrett ProPointer AT.  I love my metal detector and pinpointer.  I’ve been getting out as much as I can to get used to it and learn it and I think I’m doing pretty well.  I have one area that I’ve been going to that I found out has not been searched at all, ever, by any metal detectorist.  I’ve been using that site to hone my skills and have some fun.  I have less than half the place searched and I’ve probably put in a good 16 hours of searching.  I’m loving every minute of it too.  I’ve found a lot of trash, a LOT of coins, and 1 gold ring!  The ring was pretty small.  It was a thin band and only 10K.  You have to wonder with something like that, was it the property of some overindulged teen that didn’t give a care about it, or was it all some lucky lady could afford for a wedding band.  Was it nothing to the owner, or did it mean the world to them.  Metal detecting is about more than just finding a few coins and things.  It’s about trying to connect with the past and wondering what your found items meant to someone.  What was the history of that item and where has it been?  How long has it been down in the dirt, hidden from the world?

Anyway, that’s it for today.  It’s my bedtime, and I just wanted to get something posted as a start to my blogging world.  Peace, out!