Tag Archives: Harley-Davidson

Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage on the Grand Princess – Fourth Post

Skagway is accessible by car and draws a great many recreational vehicles. My brothers-of-the-road represented Harley-Davidson with motorcycles from Florida and Kentucky. Two or three of the Harleys had couples riding. The women had to be good sports. Some off brand two wheeled vehicles were allowed in town. I saw five BMWs from the Canadian Province of Quebec.

Cathy and Princess

Cathy in front of the Grand Princess tied up in Skagway.

It was overcast and chilly when we disembarked for the morning. It warmed up and was great weather all day.

Once again we opted out of any organized tours. Shuttles run from the docks to Skagway and beyond from early morning until the last cruise ship departs. We got one of the good drivers who gave us a running talk about the town.

One pays when exiting the bus. The shuttles have two options, two dollars for each trip or five for unlimited rides. I found it surprising the number of people who took the two dollar choice. I got a better deal. Our driver announced, “I refuse to charge veterans. If you’re a vet let me know.” When I reached him I Said, “U.S. Navy” and rattled off my serial number. He stamped my hand for unlimited rides.

The man behind me wore a submarine service cap. As he handed over his money, the driver said, “No sir” and reached to stamp his hand. The man said, “It’s my son’s, he serves. I didn’t.” Two men, both class acts.

Harley Davidson

None of the Harley-Davidson stores we visited sold motorcycles or parts.

This outlet did not have an authorized Harley-Davidson sign visible on the outside. I have a feeling it’s the result of some local ordinance because none of the franchised stores in town had a company logo visible.

I splurged and bought two T-Shirts. In addition to the usual pocket T-Shirt, I saw a great looking design on a bright yellow T-Shirt. She-who-must-be-obeyed was not happy. Oh well, once in a while one must show a little rebellious behavior.

Back on the shuttle, we rode out to one of the must see destinations. We glanced at each other. “Nope, it’s a tourist trap.” We stayed on the bus. The next attraction received the same response. Riding back to town gave us an opportunity to interrogate the driver.

We stopped at the local museum. Cathy and I have travelled to Europe and Asia. We always make it a point to visit hardware and grocery stores. The ones in Skagway are nowhere as interesting as those in Japan, but the items they stock, are different enough to make it worth ones time. Over at the IGA Grocery store, apples were almost three dollars apiece.

Homes sell from $25,000 up to $400,000. All are small. Building materials must be brought in from great distances and there are no local construction companies. Our driver told us about a house built by a man and his family. Construction of a single room and bathroom was accomplished one summer, over the next four or five years the home was completed. The family now lives in a seven-hundred square foot house.

Here is an interesting story, “We don’t get much snow here. We have sustained winds of 50 MPH up the channel. The snow is dumped in the ocean. What we get comes in horizontally. We get two or three inches of ice sheets dropped here.”

P1080563

Looking down the main street one can see another Princess cruise ship docked at the end. Parking is limited to fifteen minutes with a threat of towing. Oddly, an Ultra Classic Harley Davidson, Kentucky license plate, was parked on the street for at least five hours. It was not cited, nor was it towed. But then we never saw a single police officer or cop car.

When it came time to return to the ship, I bought three bags of popcorn and hopped on a shuttle. As I should have expected, she dumped me. “I’ll walk. It’s only a mile or so.” Thirty years of marriage and she still has the energy of a teenager.

While I was writing, a choral group of Grand Princess Passengers put on a show in a nearby lounge. The sound was outstanding. They finished up with Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. Their rendition brought tears to the beast’s eyes.

P1080598

We cruised past this small glacier high in the mountains around 10:00 p.m. It was so beautiful, I had to get up and take this picture. The last time we traversed this channel to the sea, it was afternoon. I spent hours looking through my binoculars while wrapped in a blanket with a good cigar and a glass of Jack Daniels. It was a great experience.

Times have changed. I gave up cigars, rarely drink, and forgot my binoculars. If I didn’t know better I’d think I was getting old. Nah!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Odds and Ends

I won’t ever do this again.

PSWA Sign

I attended the Public Safety Writers Association Annual Conference this week at the Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas. The conference was a smashing success and I will be back next year.

What is it that I won’t ever do again?

I rode my Ultra Classic Harley Davidson from Carson City to Las Vegas. The two-day ride wasn’t bad. The weather was hot, hovering around 100º to 102º.

Las Vegas to home is another matter. I left at 1:00 p.m. and rode 302 miles. The Amber Alert signs warned of heavy traffic to California and major delays. They weren’t kidding.

Eleven miles outside Primm I-15 traffic stopped dead. I split lanes to Primm. It took 35 minutes. If I hadn’t, I’d probably still be there. I ‘forgot’ that Nevada frowns on motorcyclists who enjoy this time saver. I got honked at a few times by folks riding in air-conditioned cages.

Ten miles east of Baker, California I realized that it was hotter than anything I had ever experienced. Temperatures in the low hundreds are uncomfortable, this was painful.

I stopped in Baker for fuel and to hydrate. Asking folks in their air-conditioned cages the temperature, provided a consensus of 112º. The highest I’ve ever ridden in. After downing two Gatorades in four swallows, I got on the Ultra. My dark glasses burnt my nose, the grips stung my hands, but the kicker was my seat. I stood up on the floor board and dropped onto the HOT black leather. Not only did I burn my thighs, I scorched everything in between. Ouch.

Weather.com lists the high as 110º.

I’m spending the night at Motel 6, Button Willow. I will be up at dawn with the goal of being home before the sun has a chance cook me again.

4 Comments

Filed under Motorcycle, Writing

Jim Kennemore – OPD Leather God

J.A. Kennemore 1980
Jim Kennemore – 1980

Some have wondered about JAK aka Jim Bob aka James Kennemore. He’s a great friend, albeit much older. We met in the nineties, when I hired him at Frasco Investigations after he was referred by a mutual friend. Jim had been retired from Oakland Police for a number of years by then. When Jim retired, his wife insisted he get a job. He resisted and held her at bay for years. Finally Sue put her foot down, get a job or else.

When Jim came in for an interview, I wanted to talk about Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. Jim said, “I want a job, but I don’t want to work.” His wish was to tell Sue, “I got a job, now get off my back.”

I won’t claim that our relationship was a marriage made in heaven. We both got something out of it. I got a buddy who is a great story teller. Jim told Sue he had a job. He told me, “I don’t want to work more than three hours a week.” I can’t imagine what he told Sue.

Most days I rode my DynaWideGlide to work. It wasn’t long before Jim wanted to get a motorcycle. Once again Sue put her foot down, “No way in hell are you getting another motorcycle.”

In 2001, my wife got me a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic. It was a Peace Officer special at a reduced price. The Ultra was the second motorcycle Cathy gave me. The first was a bored out, customized Honda 750. It could get to 115 mph in a minute.

I had to get rid of the DynaWideGlide. I made Jim a foolish offer he couldn’t refuse. Cathy had a fit, “you gave the bike away to Kennemore”. She still reminds me what a fool I was. Jim on the other hand whined that I was screwing his eyes out. I didn’t pay any attention to either of them. I had a great new bike. I still have it.

The Ultra will probably be my last motorcycle. Whenever I get dreamy at a Harley Dealership, Cathy is ready. “You will be buried on your Ultra.”

What is a man to do?

A few years later, I had to return from Sturgis by air. Jim rode the Ultra back. He was hooked and got an Ultra of his own. I often wonder what he told Sue.

We have a couple of extended rides planned for this summer. I’ll tell you about our plans later.

6 Comments

Filed under Motorcycle