May 28

Got a gun on her tank

I love it when cool people whom I love get together to make something remarkably memorable.  Kirk, whom you met here on ND365 in April is not only just a tattoo master, but a very gifted artist. I wish I could just sketch anything similar to what he does all out!  This revolver on the gas tank belongs to another friend whom I love, Krystal Haibeck.

Judges Choice from Glendive MT bike show

She’s a fireball, a pistol in her own right, a hunter, a marksman and a hard-working construction worker.

These two collaborated to do a design on her bike that is a trophy winning design.

I wear some of Kirk’s ink, not only on my body, but on vests he has airbrushed for me.  This work on Krystal’s bike is testimony that you can trust him with your work.  I want more.  Wanna know more about Kirk? How to reach him? Leave a comment here and I’ll get back to you.

May 23

Old rest stop

There along the road is a rest stop that once was very busy back when Highway 10 or the Red Trail was the coast to coast transcontinental highway.  When I-94 came through, rest stops were upgraded and not quite as homey, nor like the park that this one is near Steele.  It’s a good place for a couple of riders to pull over and chill for a bit, even take a nap.

A friendly engineeer

But the nap is short-lived.

Highway 10 runs along the BNSF rail line that hauls coal from Wyoming and points west to power plants east of North Dakota.  The train is just noisy enough that any nap is disturbed.  But at least the engineer was friendly when I took his photo.

The train was a long one and obviously heavy. It required an extra engine at the rear to push the load up on to the prairie and to get it started. I imagine at some point the push engine was disconnected and returned to Mandan.  I don’t know if that’s the case, do you know?  Does it happen in Dilworth, the next BNSF point?

Push engine at the end of the train

May 22

ND 500

Kids these days!  All they care about is fast cars and exciting motorcycles. Sheesh. When I was a kid at least we had a drag strip outside of town.  Not any more. Now they’re in to long road races and snappy performances of little cars with big horsepower such as the ND 500.

At KTM Cycle Hutt in Mandan a gathering of tuners and jumpers attracted the crowd.  A Christian testimony was presented by the kids who jump their bikes.




and headed for a landing

These trick riders amaze me.  I wouldn’t have the guts to get even one wheel up in the air let alone the entire bike. Of course if you talk to this rider, he’ll tell you about his numerous broken bones.  No thanks. Not for me.

Lemme guess, you’re all about trick riding like this? Wanna?

May 15

Getting ready to ride

Yesterday it was the Patriot Guard Riders honoring returning soldiers. Today, it is the Second Brigade Motorcycle Club honoring all vets but especially those in the First Brigade, our peers who served in Vietnam and were not well received when they returned in the 60’s and 70’s. (There was no Patriot Guard Riders in those days.)  That generation is honored these days by clubs such as the Second Brigade Motorcycle Club, Vietnam Vets motorcycle club and Legacy Vets motorcycle club.

On this day, May 15, all who served were honored in the annual Armed Forces Day ride, and it would appear that there may be hope for the next generation to honor veterans as well. A young pair of boys waved and saluted as the riders started their ride.  Personally, I found it very touching.

The day was perfect for a spring ride and so more than 100 riders covered Burleigh and McLean counties on their fun run, a ride of fellowship and of fundraising.  They hit Washburn, Mercer, Wing and ended in Bismarck where they started.


The day was not only about remembering vets and socializing, it was also to raise money for the POW/MIA monument to be erected at North Dakota’s Veterans Cemetery at Mandan.

By day’s end, nearly $3,000 was raised in the fun run, the silent auction and a large personal contribution from the owners of Lucky’s in Bismarck where the ride ended.

I don’t know if this is just a local phenomenon or if it’s happening elsewhere, but I know in the Bismarck/Mandan area veteran and military support motorcycle clubs are becoming more visible and more popular.  What do you see in your area?

May 14

Patriotism and motorcycles. They seem to go together, especially those whose ride is American-made.  But even if the ride is made in Japan, bikers seem to be a patriotic lot, and it doesn’t seem to have much to do with age. Take Bob and Susan for example. Bob, a veteran and Susan a high school student post the colors in flag lines welcoming home soldiers who have been fighting the Global War on Terror.  They’re both part of the Patriot Guard Riders, the group that was formed to shield grieving families from the evil people in that congregation in Kansas that loudly spews its hatred at military funerals.  The PGR, stands shoulder to shoulder to shield the grieving families when called upon. But at all times, they’re there to show their support for returning soldiers at the Bismarck airport or wherever the PGR is organized.

Apart from the PGR, though is a strong thread of military and veteran influence. Take these three riders, members of the Viet Nam Vets mc club and Legacy Vets mc club.  After a short cruise on this day to Wilton, these three headed south to Bismarck at sunset, riding in formation, enjoying North Dakota’s excellent highways and great motorcycle riding opportunities.

April 26

Hangin' out at Roughrider H-D

One of my favorite places to hang out, even drink a cup of well-cooked coffee while visiting and browsing — Roughrider Harley-Davidson in Minot.

I’ve done business there for years, even back before it was Roughrider. Folks like Kevin back behind the counter have done a lot of good things for me and my old 1978 fxe with a shovelhead engine and my 2005 Road King with a twin cam.  So, it’s only natural that I’d still visit there and check out the new models, the new accessories and the new clothing.

This chameleon HD in the foreground, as you can tell, changes colors depending on how the light hits it.  Walk around it one time and you’re not sure if it’s blue, burgundy or black.

April 20

1978 fxe

I love my old bike and as you  know, if you’ve seen any of my more recent entries, I’ve been using it as a model these days.  Here in a stubble field, overlooking Hwy 83, north of Bismarck, the bike looks good. I will be sad to part with it, but I actually took this photo for a want ad.

However, it doesn’t have the romantic glow about it that something like this would have.  It’s a 33-year-old scooter, so if one puts a little romantic imagination to it, it can look more like this.  I wish I’d not put the copyright logo on top of the vignette like I did, but oh well.  It makes the vignette look too stark, too well-defined.

So, one more Photoshop alteration just for the heckuva it.

fxe and colored sky

April 17

Who says motorcycling isn’t a family affair. I mean what the heck, a couple of days ago, I showed you a pooch riding with its owners on a bagger.  Now here today is grandpa’s gift to a coming generation that is still a bit too small to twist the throttle.  Along side the rocking motorcycle is the classic children book Why Grandpa Rides a Motorcycle. “Where I’m going isn’t nearly as important as enjoying the trip..kind of like how life is supposed to be.”

Then there are the motorcycle families that don’t only look down to the next generation, but also look up to the previous one.  Take this show bike for example.

Don told me that he completely dismantled his late father’s bike, piece by piece and individually polished each piece, then re-assembled it to enter it in the Freedom Riders Motorcycle Club bike show.  His dad was a Freedom Rider.  I rode with his dad even at a National Convention of Motorcycle Clubs annual meeting in Louisville. The bike never looked as good as when Don got done with it and entered it in to this show.

April 8

1978 HD FXE

Sometimes when a model isn’t available, you make do with what ya got.  In this case, my 1978 Superglide, an old “shovelhead” was my model.   It was later in the day and good contrast and colors were available so the motorcycle would have to do.  The backdrop was the Wilton Depot, moved from its spot along the RR tracks to a treed area to become a bit of a museum of a kind.

Later, I thought, hmmm…this model might be good to practice shooting motorcycles, a type of photography I’ve done a bit of and would like to do more. So, I moved the bike downtown in Wilton, up next to one of the buildings on Main Street that was reportedly built nearly 100 years ago with Wilton brick.  Notice the mortar squeezing out between the bricks. and technique have changed.

I like the old motorcycle as a model. I’ll hafta try this trick again.

March 29

Taking the dog for a ride

Everyone has to get in to the act, even the dog. 

When this couple cruised by me on the way up River Road north of Bismarck, I had to do what I could to get their photograph.  Fortunately, they were accommodating and I actually got several pictures.

They weren’t the only ones out for a warm spring day cruise.

River Road is a tree-line winding road that follows the Missouri River north of Bismarck. It joins up with Hwy 1804 which is named for the year the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery went upstream exploring the Louisiana Purchase.  Along the west side of the river is Hwy 1806, the year the Corps came back down the river.

These days, Bismarck-area bikers, not explorers are often on River Road. It’s about 40 miles of very scenic riding, so on a warm spring day, it’s going to be well-traveled.

I positioned myself in a way that I could see bikes coming and going, taking the curves riding through the trees.  I was rewarded with several good shots of riders who know a good spring ride is closer than you think.