Sunday, May 19, 2019

1st Rebel Ride

Well I must say my first ride on my new Rebel 500 was far from epic, but it sure was nice to finally go for a ride, even a short one. 

The early morning was iffy to say the least, it had obviously rained overnight (again) and the air was still quite cold. As I watched the sun come up or should I say the gloomy sky just brighten a tad. I had my doubts whether I was going to get a chance today to make it out for even a short ride. 

As the morning progressed, I caught a slight sliver of sunlight and figured this might be my only chance to finally see how my new Rebel handled on the road. It was about 10 am when I geared up. It was only about 14C/57F so I made sure to bundle up. I wrapped my bandana around my face because I have a half helmet and knew I would need to cut the wind. (I caught a glimpse of myself in the door window and I looked like a gangster) I also opted to wear my gauntlet gloves to cut down on any wind that might work its way up my jacket sleeves. I put on a heavy hoodie under my jacket and my thickest jeans. (Seriously, I probably could have put on my long johns, but I had an inkling that I wouldn’t get a chance to ride for too long) 

When I pulled my Rebel out of the garage it was a challenge to find a somewhat level place in the driveway so that I could park it and gather the rest of my things before taking off. It wasn’t easy but I found a spot, I never realized how unlevel the driveway is. The sun was very encouraging as I mounted my motorcycle and slowly made my way down my gravel drive. 

I am lucky to live in an area where there really isn’t much traffic, especially on a Sunday morning. I am glad because I admit even though I have been riding for 10 years I did have a few butterflies bumbling about in my stomach. They quickly faded as I opened the Rebel up and headed down the road. I was impressed how smooth and easy it handled. A completely different ride from my Harley Sportster. It also took to the curves with ease. I admit it certainly isn’t top heavy like my Sportster and even making tight turns were effortless. I think what I like the most is the weight. It is so much lighter than what I am used to. I honestly don’t even have to struggle to back it up. Although, I found it strange having a sixth gear, but I quickly adapted to it.

Still my only complaint is those damn handle bars. My arms are straight out and spread to an uncomfortable position. I am not so sure if I were to go on a lengthy tour that I wouldn’t run into problems. For now, I will just have to see how it goes. My other concern when I bought the bike was the seat. There certainly isn’t much cushion to it. I will have to wait and see if this also becomes an issue.

If the dark clouds hadn’t moved in as I was touring around my “neighbourhood” I would have took a little ride to Burk’s Falls or even Magnetawan. But the darkening sky kept threatening my little excursion and I thought it best to cut my ride short. I managed to put on 42km, actually 33km – if I minus the 9km that were on it when I got it

Thunderstorms are predicted for today, and I really don’t trust the weather, so a short ride was better than no ride. I hope in the coming weeks our weather eventually gets better and I can plan for a proper tour. Until then at least I know that this is the starting of a beautiful friendship.  

Until next time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Friday, May 17, 2019

My Honda is Home

I finally got my new bike, a Honda Rebel 500! Oh, it looks sweet! I just love the colour! 

The day it arrived it was pouring rain and even the next morning there is no sign of the sogginess letting up. So, seeing at the moment I cannot ride I thought I would work on getting a few things in order so that when the rain eventually stops, I can actually ride it instead of admiring it - its gotta stop raining eventually right? 

I do have a few gripes after getting my bike. First off, I am not impressed that the owner’s manual is stowed under the seat, and an Allen wrench is needed to remove the seat. After a little searching around the house, I found an Allen wrench that fits so I can remove the seat, or so I thought. Those screws are so damn tight I can’t even budge them! You would think when they deliver a motorcycle, they would at least have the book out for your convenience. Even the delivery guy said the same thing. 

My other gripe is that the moment I seen how the saddle bags were installed I wanted to change it. Maybe they are supposed to be slung over the back seat?  Bottom line, I hate the look and I think they look stupid! They would look much better if the they were slung under the seat instead of over it! Which brings me to my next problem, I can’t budge the backseat screw either! If the BF was around, I would get his muscle to wrench those damn screws, but he won’t be home for another five weeks! For now, I guess I will just have to wait until either the BF gets home or I find someone to get those screws off. 


Okay, two projects that I can’t remedy at the moment, so onto the next. Those tank warning label stickers! I am sure everyone will agree, just put a removable tag on the bike and save us all the hassle. Anyway, at least it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be to remove those stickers. I looked it up on youTube to see what the easiest way to remove them was and it actually worked. I heated the stickers up with my hair dryer and they peeled right off. (I admit I was praying that I didn’t explode while I did it) Then I sprayed some WD 40 on a cloth and wiped away the glue residue. 

Now can the damn sun come out so I can ride!

Until Next Time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

This Harley Rider also bought a Honda!

(Friday May 10, 2019)

I did it! You have heard me moan and groan for several years now that I am bike-less when I am home in Canada. Well, no more, or at least I won’t be moaning about being bike-less.

I am not getting any younger and I want as much ride time as I can get in the remaining years I have left. One never knows when your time is up. Sure, I am a little stressed out (maybe a lot) about the added expense over the next five years. (Anyone hiring? LOL)   Deep down inside I just knew that if I didn’t do it now I probably never will and the thought of  having to live with that kind of regret just didn’t sit right with me. 

I threw caution to the wind and bought the bike!

As you know I love my Harley in Florida. Although for here a Harley was just priced out of my reach. For my second bike I had looked at several makes and models of motorcycles but it was the style of the Honda Rebel that really caught my eye.  Not to mention at a mere 5’ 1” and somewhat of a lightweight the Rebel was just a good fit for me.

Living in Emsdale Ontario it is not like there are any dealers in my neighbourhood, so I ended up travelling 1 ½ hours to Barrie to check out the Rebel 500 at the Honda Powerhouse dealer. I had made an appointment earlier in the week with Stuart Todd to take it for a test ride. By the way, I can’t say enough great things about Stuart. I give him 5 stars all round for excellent customer service and being attentive to my additional needs and requests. If you are in the market for a motorcycle I highly recommend getting in touch with Stuart! 

I went for the test ride on Friday (May 10) and it was chilly (6C/42F), with dreary overcast skies and even had rained a bit on my drive in. I opted to just take it around the parking lot because of the weather. Another factor was that the traffic on Mapleview drive in Barrie made me a little nervous to take it out on the street - kind of weird because when riding in certain places in Florida the traffic is just as heavy if not worse and doesn’t bother me a bit – although it probably had more to do with the fact that it wasn’t mine, yet.  Non the less, just having a brief ride around the lot and I was sold. I can’t really compare my Sportster to the Rebel as they are two completely different kind of rides. I will just say that I am liking the smoothness (as in less vibration) of the Rebel. 

I really wanted a black one, but black apparently was last year’s colour. This year it is dark gray, which I actually like just as much. The only other colour available is brown, kind of one of those “poopy” colour browns, at least I thought so. Definitely not for me. 

There were a couple of extras that were “must haves” that I added when I purchased the Rebel. I have “stuff” when I ride, and I need a place for that “stuff”. I went with the saddle bags that are an additional Honda accessory mainly for convenience. Stuart hooked me up with an aftermarket windscreen. The one that Honda offers is too small making it useless as far as wind protection is concerned. I know, I could have gotten both these items cheaper shopping around online, but Stuart gave me a good price and I don’t have to deal with the installation. 

With the BF in Germany for the next six weeks I am fending for myself and I admit that I am just not good at that mechanical kind of stuff. I am sure if I really had to I could, but hey isn’t it easier to delegate that kind of stuff when you can. (wink)

There is an issue with this motorcycle that I have Stuart working on. The handle bars. I just find that my arms are spread way too wide for my comfort. I had the same issue with my Harley, however getting replacement bars for it was an easier process. The Rebel has an ABS hydraulic line that is complicating finding a suitable replacement. Stuart has assured me they will find a resolution for this and I am confident he will.

Now that I bought the motorcycle, I had to figure out how the hell to get it home from Barrie when it is ready. Need I say the weather and road conditions are still not favorable for riding the bike home this time of year. If the BF was here it would be easy, he would have hooked his enclosed trailer to his pickup and TaDa problem solved. (In case you’re wondering, I am a nervous wreck just driving his “huge” pickup let alone pull a trailer!) But Stuart also hooked me up in that department.

So now, we all just have to wait until next Thursday until my L’ll Rebel gets delivered. Stay tuned for the unveiling!

Can you tell I am happy? 

Until next time keep
Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Our last ride in Florida, Fort Myers Beach

April 21, 2019 (Easter Sunday) 

Our season in Florida is nearing an end and these snowbirds will have to take flight and head back to the cold north soon. I am not kidding about the cold, there is still some snow back home! Hopefully with all the rain most of it will be gone by the time we get there. But I am pretty sure the temperature will be a complete shock to the system after we have been enjoying the upper 30’s (80’s F) 

I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to the Florida sunshine and the new friends we made this year than by taking a ride with them and checking out a few more hang outs. 

Seeing it was Easter Sunday we headed out to “Biker Church” (also known as The Mermaid Lounge) on Fort Myers beach.  This place opens at 8 am and serves $1 Bloody Marys until 11 am. For the record we did not get there that early!

I am glad we got a chance to experience this place. Soon this iconic favorite biker hang-out that has been around for 35 years will be bulldozed under to make way for the new developments that are in the works for Fort Myers beach. Personally, I think this will make the strip just another money grabbing “tourist trap” with high end hotels and restaurants. It will be sad to see that all the new development will take away the charm that these old establishments have to offer.

As you can see there is quite a congregation, standing room only.

The bar cleared a little and we were able to grab a table
to have communion at “Biker Church”. 
Katy a friend of Elaine & James joined us. Nice meeting you Katy!

Quite a turn out this morning.
Photo credit goes to Elaine who went across the street to snap this shot for me.
You make quite the photographer Elaine!

After 11 am “church” starts to let out. We headed outside to finish off our refreshments.
It is not often that I get in on the pictures, thanks again Elaine!
Glad to be out in the sunshine again, I was getting chilly in there.
Katy, Elaine & James.

We headed over to the Nauti Parrot for lunch.
Just a short ride up the road and over the bridge. 

Katy joined us for a refreshment at the Nauti Parrot.
Looking good Elaine, show off!

A nice customer at the next table took a picture of all of us.

The Nauti Parrot is a great place to take in the awesome views of the waterfront.

If you’re interest here is my take on the food, from a “non-foodie” like me. 
There seems to be a theme to my eating habits, Philly Cheese Steak. I have been sub-consciously ranking them so I thought I would share my thoughts…

Here is the low down covering all the restaurants we have eaten at this year where my Philly Cheese steak was involved.

The Philly at the Nauti Parrot ranks #3. It was delicious! But it could possibly tie in at #2 as the bun was nicely toasted and the fries were very crispy. The Ale House still is my #1 but lately I am very disappointed with the customer service there, but that is another story. 
The Boulevard Deli ranks in at #2 as the beef is tasty perfection, however the bun seemed a little too doughy for my liking, maybe it just needs to be toasted more, fries were crispy delights. The Ragged Ass Saloon comes in #4 as it is served with a bag of potato chips. I would definitely tie it with #3 on the tasty scale. I have had an order of their French fries and I would have to say they are the crispiest and most tasty. Lastly the Nav-A-Gator comes in at #5, mine seemed to skimp on the cheese, and seeing I only order it without the garnishing of onions and peppers, cheese is very important! The Boathouse doesn’t make it on my list only because they don’t offer Philly Cheese Steak, but I had a burger there and if I start a list for hamburgers I would currently put it at #1. FYI, I did not eat this all in one day!

After lunch the day was still young and we road over to the Bimini Bait Shack in Punta Rassa. This is located just before the bridge to Sanibel Island.

There is plenty of atmosphere at the Bimini. It is like being up in a tree house of sorts. Although I didn’t much care for the climb up. (I did notice they had an elevator, so I suppose I could have wimped out and took that, but I didn’t want to be called a sissy LOL)

Hey I am in another picture! Thanks Elaine! Ugh those stairs!

The views are amazing from up here.

The bar has swing chairs on each corner and the musical entertainment plays above.
Lots of interesting treasures hanging about.

The fish tank bar provides just as much entertainment as the performers above. 
At first, I didn’t think this was a real star fish, then it slowly moved across the tank

I even caught a glimpse of a lobster, at least I think it is a lobster.

When the place cleared out a little, we managed to snag those swing chairs. 
I never sat on a swing chair at a bar before. 
Very cool, however they were a tad hard for my bony butt. 

Before heading home, we had our last drink at the Boathouse and said our goodbyes to Elaine & James. I am so glad we met you and look forward to many more biking adventures with you. You will be missed, until we meet up again. Alas, it is time to put our bikes away and head back to Canada. 

(Many thanks to our "travel guide" James who plotted out our course for the day. We will let you do that again sometime)

Until next time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying the Ride…

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Nav-A-Gator Grill, Arcadia Florida

Tues, Apr 17, 2019

We met up with Elaine and James for a ride out to the Nav-A-Gator Grill for lunch.
Last week our plans were rained out so we attempted it again. In the true spirit of the sunshine state the sun was shining bright and the temperature was balmy.
The Nav-A-Gator Grill is very laid back and has a comfy beach like atmosphere.
Bands play on the weekends here.
It was surprisingly busy for a week day, but we managed to find a table.

Elaine & James. Hey James turn towards the camera!
Yes, I really am here too. Thanks Elaine for snapping this. 

I think we are here…

In case you were wondering what we had for lunch...

We all had the Philly Cheese Steak, except my BF, he had the Shrimp Po Boy. Of course, I had the veggie portion separately to give to the BF. 
(Oh goodie, lunch again for a few days)

Yum! Very tasty!

After lunch we wandered out back.
If you are so inclined, you could also catch an Airboat tour that is setup dock side.
Checking out the views. Made the BF hold my left overs
We even caught a glimpse of the ever elusive manatee!

 Before heading home, we stopped at our favorite “watering hole” the Boathouse. 

We were all very parched by the time we rolled in.
James & Elaine striking a pose, the BF being anti-social LOL

Finally got a photo op with the big chair on the way out
The BF started to push me all the way to the back…
OMG, I look so tiny, but my feet look huge LOL

Next time its your turn Elaine & James

It was a great day riding and hanging out with our friends!

Until next time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Route to Nav-A-Gator Grill in Arcadia Florida