Archive for June, 2011

The Wedding Trip: Part 3, Colorado

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

1200hrs, Colorado Springs, CO
Checkout from hotel. Open bars don’t lead to early starts. I say my farewell to the friends I can find wandering around the lobby, tighten and lube the chain (which is starting to make it clear that it’s pretty much time to be replaced. I cross my fingers it gets me back to California safely). The Bellhop warns me of heavy police activity on my planned route.

1313hrs, Woodland Park, CO
I’m running late, and I’m supposed to be in Moab, Utah by tonight. I’ve made it 24 miles from the hotel. Progress for today is looking slow, and that’s an understatement. I’m quite hungry, so I stop in at McDonald’s for some much needed fast food. As it turns out, this is the most poorly managed McDonald’s I may ever have been to. There is a line to order, and then a very evident queue to pick up food. After waiting about 10 minutes in the queue, and noticing a few people who ordered AFTER my get their food, I mention that I still have not been served. I am given my meal immediately (and wonder why, if they can make it so quick on the spot, why there is a ~10 minute queue waiting for food). It takes this establishment approximately 10x as long as a normal McDonald’s to serve me. Things are not looking good in terms of making it to Moab.

1400hrs, Just outside of Florissant, CO
I decide to pass some slow moving traffic on an open, clear section of road, despite the fact that it is not a legal passing zone. As I’m passing the final car, I notice there are two motorcycle cops sitting talking to each other in a rest area. I hope they don’t see me.

1402hrs, Florissant, CO
They saw me. Things are REALLY not looking good for making it to Moab on time. Given a ticket for an illegal pass. This is my first ticket ever while touring. Only my second ticket ever on a Motorcycle.

1456hrs, Hartsel, CO

1553hrs, Independence Pass, CO
After making an accidental detour to Leadville, CO thus making me run even MORE late, I finally make it up Independence Pass. There isn’t too much tourism right now, but I find the road to be mediocre, the traffic still relatively heavy (especially on the West slope) and the views to be marginal. This truly is a destination just to say “I’ve been on the highest paved mountain pass in the US.” I am now back in the Pacific watershed, more specifically, the Colorado River watershed.

Independence Pass - Highest paved mountain pass in the United States

Shameless product plug - When It Pours at Independence Pass for more info on my line of waterproof sleeves for portable electronics.

1738hrs, Basalt, CO
Fuel Stop

I get some much needed food at the local Subway and call my contact in Moab to tell him that I’m not going to make it tonight. Too bad. At this point I’ve accepted that I’m not on schedule, and that I’ll only get one night in Moab rather than two. It’s OK, because I would rather enjoy the ride and be late than constantly feel rushed. Now I just need to find a nice place to sleep…

I make some wrong turns, and end up on I-70 before I go on the Great Mesa Scenic Byway. Damn. Luckily I know exactly where the turn-off is for this road on I-70. I only spend ~30 miles on the highway, and luckily some of it is actually nice driving.  Seriously, I-70 through Colorado isn’t that bad as far as interstates go, but I’ve done this section of road twice before, no need to do it again.

1949hrs, Powderhorn, CO
After some much needed empty, twisty road, I stop in at Powderhorn Ski Resort to see if there’s any off-season lodging. The place is dead and reminds me slightly of The Shining. This will not be my safe haven for the night, however, it does provide a nice sunset.

Sunset as viewed from Powderhorn Ski Resort

2032hrs, Grand Mesa, CO
It’s cold on top of Grand Mesa. I also didn’t realize I would be at nearly 11,000 ft elevation here. It’s dark, and I want a warm hotel. I wouldn’t say I’m miserable, but being low on fuel (my reserve light came on just after leaving Powderhorn), seeing ample numbers of wildlife, and riding at night through snow-covered fields isn’t what I’d like to be doing right now.

2058hrs, Cedaredge, CO
As I’m dropping off of Grand Mesa, I see what looks like a nice safe haven. It’s a motel style establishment, which I’m always just a little wary of, but the ambiance is warm and inviting. The wonders of technology allow me to check a Yelp Rating before actually walking in and booking a room. 4.8 stars (or more?) out of 5, and the cheapest room for $69/night. Ok, a bit more expensive than I would like, but comes complete with glowing reviews.

Cedaredge Lodge, in Cedaredge, CO should be a destination for anyone in this part of the world – Especially couples. No, it’s not the cheapest room, but when a Motel 6 is going for $50/night in Grand Junction, and this place is only $20/more per night, I guarantee that the $20/night will be worth it.  Complete with hot tub, babbling brook, game room, massage room, home-cooked meals, and – if you’re really lucky and get there the day after a wedding – free beer!

With a beer, in a hot tub, loving life!

Onward to Moab, Utah tomorrow…


Last Dog Standing

Boy oh BOY did I have a lot of fun shooting this event. Seriously, what a freggin’ blast. I think this highlight reel will give you a good idea as to why. =D

Don’t forget you can buy photos from my photostore here: Martin Iwanwicz Photography – Last Dog Standing

I don’t usually dilly-dally around with all this chit-chat on highlight reels, as I prefer to have the photos speak for themselves, but this one will require a few comments along the way. But first, I need to write a memo.

Dear Cowboy-hat-wearing-course-worker-guy,

That’s right, YOU:

Cowboy-hat-wearing-courseworker-guy photo-bombed the shit out of me

No, not the guy doing the faceplant in the water. But Cowboy-hat-wearing-guy. I’m not mad at you. I’m really not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m upset. I’m upset as all hell. My star photo from this event was photo bombed by a giant white, out of focus cowboy hat. Yeah, that gets my panties in a little bit of a bunch. But I’m not mad at you. You were just doing your job, and I know the risks of using a big ass lens and standing 30 feet away from the riders I’m photographing. I know that you and many other course workers were in the area and walking in my field now and then.  But I just wish – and maybe this wish is extended to the universe as a whole – but I just wish that you waited 5 seconds. Just 5 seconds. That’s all. Let this be proof – perfect shots require a bit of luck. All the fancy lenses, monopods, camera bodies, and spare batteries – they’re just there to make sure you’re ready to capture that perfect shot with all the beautiful color and depth that makes it look real pretty. But actually getting that shot? Luck definitely plays a part.


Martin Iwanowicz
Marginally Pisgruntled Photographer

-End of Memo-

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s move along, shall we? =)


Kids Race. He already knows the universal truth of "MORE THROTTLE!"

They did jumps...

They did hill climbs...

They went through tubes...

And they went over tubes...

Some rode quads...

And some looked way cooler with indiscriminately blasting water behind them.

That concludes all the very standard and boring shots. Now we start what you came here to see – the water crossing. Yes, the water crossing proved to be the photo-highlight of the day. Not because it was very challening, in fact, for some it was probably the easiest obstable… but for others, it was a race ender. Yes, the stakes were high. Most of these photos are part of a longer series, some of which I might feature in the future.  But let’s start with an experienced rider practicing proper application of the “MORE THROTTLE” universal truth…


-no caption-

Just think how this might end. -Part of a larger photoset-

Completely oblivious to what's going on behind...

MORE THROTTLE! -Part of a larger photoset-

-no caption-

You can buy photos from my photostore here: Martin Iwanowicz Photography – Last Dog Standing

The Wedding Trip: Part 2, Pikes Peak, Colorado

Saturday, June 4th, 2011.

0200hrs (approximately) We finally go to bed.

0830hrs – My alarm goes off. I prepped my bike the previous night by tightening and lubing the chain. My tank bag is packed with my $2,700 rental camera lens, as well as my Rebel xti body (~$300) and my personal lens (~$250) for a total of about $3,250 – more than the value of my motorcycle – in my magnetic tank bag. I never use the safety strap. I have the crappy cup of complimentary coffee in my room and leave my netbook behind.

0913hrs – I buy an all-too-expensive breakfast from the hotel bar. Did I seriously just pay $4.24 for a stale, mass-produced pastry? Seriously Marriott, did you just do that?!

0942hrs, Manitou Springs, CO
1251 miles

I fill up the motorcycle at the 7-eleven with my large pack of college friends. Also, it’s pronounced “Man-eh-too” not “man-eh-tao” or however you fools say it.

0959hrs – I pay my $12 “summer adult” toll to drive up a big mountain (Pikes Peak Toll Booth in Cascade, CO). No Refunds.

Skiers being silly
Some of the road as viewed from the top
King of the hill! :D (Photo courtesy of my friend Ted)
The Proof.
The Better Proof.
The Product Plug. Waterproof Sleeves by When It Pours (my upstart!)

I figure you can use or take the waterproof sleeves my company makes pretty much anywhere. Part of this trip is to prove it. Since I didn’t take my laptop up Pikes Peak, this particular waterproof sleeve is holding some papers and my steno pad.

"look sexy!"

The Decent. (Photo courtesy of my friend Ted)

1230hrs (approximately)

Due to some peer pressure, I perform some *exceptionally* hard braking into hairpin corners on the ride down. What can I say, I’m a bit of a showoff. My tank bag with previously mentioned $3,250, and about 20-lbs worth of shock sensitive equipment decides it can’t quite hold on in such a circumstance. The safety strap is safely packed away. The tank bag containing more value than the motorcycle itself takes a nice tumble over the handlebars, bouncing off the front fender and rolling a couple times along the pavement.

Yes, I just effectively hucked a $2,700 camera lens at pavement. Truthfully, it has at least two layers of padding around it, and I’m surprisingly confident it’s fine.

My friends, in the Mazdaspeed Miata convertible gesture for me to toss said bag at them. “No” is my only response. I don’t want to pay for a new windshield AND a new lens.

1245hrs (approximately)

Upon inspecting the equipment inside the bag, it is discovered that the protector UV Lens filter did it’s job. It’s cracked, but both lenses, my camera, and the portable hard drive I keep with me are all fine. Relief is washed over me.

1423hrs – We dine at local Trinity Brewing company and prepare for the wedding of one of my very best friends. Photos from said event will not be featured as part of this series, since I consider it to be a catalyst for this ride, but not part of the ride itself.

Next I roll out towards Moab, Utah…

The Wedding Trip: Part 1, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado

Cross-posted on ADVRider:

My very good friend got married just last weekend in Colorado Springs, CO. The only real issue here is that I live in Orange County, California, and oddly enough he and his then-fiance (now-wife) live only about 15 minutes away from me, but regardless, they were getting married 1,200 miles away.

So I was faced with a decision; Fly or drive. I ran the numbers, and price-wise, it would pretty much be a wash, if anything MORE expensive to ride my motorcycle out to Colorado Springs.

But on the other hand, if I ride I can do an awesome ride report, visit parks, and more importantly – do some very important PR shots for my upstart, When It Pours, which is a business specifically aimed at the touring motorcyclist.

Decision made! I would ride out there and take lots of photos to promote my business.

June 1st, 2011


Fuel stops for day 1


0846hrs, Westminster, California. Departure.

Here I am, On the road again

1036hrs, Indio, CA
121 miles

1215hrs, Ehrenberg, AZ
223 miles

I am now in the mountain time zone, but silly Arizona doesn’t do daylight savings time, so my clock is still correct.

During fueling, I  placed my magnetic tank bag on the speedometer, resulting in rotating the needle 359 degrees and ending up on the wrong side of the “rest pin”. Damn. I correctly determined that by going the speed indicated 180degrees from 0mph, the speedometer will fix itself. Actual speed necessary is about 3mph faster than that indication. No I will not tell you how fast that is. Operation performed in the flat, dry, empty desert highway.

Woah, is that a road runner? They exist?!

1344hrs, Buckeye, AZ
338 miles

1608hrs, Lake Montezuma, AZ
459 miles

1929hrs, Holbrook, AZ
600 miles

Complete with beautiful sunset…

Sunset in Arizona

Yet another picture of the Arizona Sunset

2102hrs, Gallup, NM
704 miles

Ok, NOW I can change my clock…

2359hrs, Farmington, NM
822 miles

I’ve only been on the road for nearly 14 hours, arriving fart oo late, but still being greeted with a hot (ish) shower and warm bed. Good enough. Colorado tomorrow…

June 2nd, 2011

Fuel stops for day 2

1201hrs, Durango, CO
866 miles

Stop in “Homeslice Pizza” which is an old favorite. And by that I mean I’ve been here once before, a year ago. It’s tasty and the waitress is cute.Begin to wonder why I ever left Colorado.

I don't think I'm in Phoenix anymore...

Lovely Colorado... Why did I ever leave this place?

Hello, Million Dollar Highway!

CO550, The "Million Dollar Highway"

It's like a big truck...

This section of road has made me more nervous than any other paved road I've ever been on. Including Pikes Peak Highway.

Ouray, Colorado, with a bit of color adjustment, just for fun.

1452hrs, Montrose, CO
984 Miles

Skipping Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park because I got up late (Look at Durango timestamp)

1728hrs, Salida, CO
1115 miles

~1900hrs, Colorado Springs, CO
~1225 miles

Destination arrived. Prepare for wedding… oh, and the Pikes Peak Highway with some of my best friends, and the real meat of this ride report – the ride home through Utah…

Barclamp Shim

I got this clock (Formotion C-Clamp Clock) for my SV650 (Year: 2002, sans-S) because it didn’t come with one.  The only problem is that the clock is designed for a 1″ diameter handlebar, and the SV650 only has a 3/4″ one.

No problem, stopping at the local hardware store fixes that. Picked up a ~1″ long piece of 3/4″ copper tube and cut it in half with a hack-saw the long way. Wrapped in electrical tape to keep it and place and *ALSO* prevent corrosion…

Connecting copper and aluminum together WILL cause galvanic corrosion, so the electrical tape is my half-assed approach to using the wrong metal for my shim, as I’m pretty sure the barclamp is polished aluminum. If I’m smart, I’ll buy the right shim ASAP, but this worked very well for an upcoming trip.

Anyways, pictures!

1st layer of tape

Tube, cut in half...

Second layer of tape

And the clock is installed!



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