Sunday, December 30, 2007

Royal Enfields - Function and Form

Royal Enfield Electra Solo
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

In the age of the modern motorcycle, it stuns and amazes me as to what is popular here in the United States. In most other parts of the world practicality takes precedent, but that's just not how it works here in the good ol' US of A. For the most part, it seems that the American bike market (comprised mainly of Hauly Davidsons and rice rockets) mirrors their owners - big, loud and obnoxious.

I've always been a fairly practical kind of guy (practical being another term for poor in this case), placing top consideration on all purchases based on function over form. Not only should a bike be fun to ride, but it should also be comfortable, fuel efficient and not cost as much as a house. Don't get me wrong, having something that looks nice is important to, but should fall into place accordingly behind the other criteria.

We've only been selling Royal Enfields at ScooterBobs now for a little under a year, and every single one that's rolled through the door has just made me appreciate them that much more. I'm glad to see their market sharing growing here at home, but wonder if they'll ever be appreciated here as they are in other parts of the world.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Good Day for a Test Ride

Greg Riding Royal Enfield Electra Solo
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

With a slight break in the weather, Greg was able to take our new Royal Enfield Electra Solo out for a shake down run today. We put at least a hundred or so miles on every Enfield we sell in order to properly break the bikes in and make sure that there are no mechanical nightmares for the end consumer to deal with.

This little swarthy ride is a real head turner, especially with all the aftermarket items that we added. Needless to say, in a world polluted with chromed laden noisy Harleys and Japanese rice rockets, having something as beautiful and practical as a Royal Enfield is a breath of fresh air.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Dog's Life

Molly Snoozing on the Couch
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Wouldn't it be nice, just for a day, to lay around and sleep like man's best friend. Molly has snoozing down to a science. She's a bit obsessive-compulsive at times, but she sure knows how to take a nap.

She has several slumber spots in the house that she frequents during the day, and as soon as the lights go off, she's in the bed cuddled around me like a fitted sweater.

But, on these long, cold winter nights, it's nice to have a furry snuggle buddy.

It Came From Beneath the Sea....

Honda Nighthawk
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

From time to time, bikes such as this 86 Honda Nighthawk (actually, Night-Heap would be way a more appropriate term at this point in time) come into the shop for repair, and then become a permanent resident with their own post office box. We try our best to limit this because both time and space are very precious resources at ScooterBob's, but occasionally, old pieces of rusty shit slip in under the radar and end up being "shop" bikes.

Typically, customers (well..."deadbeats" seems a more appropriate term, because "customers" actually spend money) bring in old clapped-out, hung down, brung down piles of shit like this Nighthawk and expect us to spray a little WD-40 on them, put air in the tires and and magically make there 23 year old turd that was stored UNDER the Titanic look showroom perfect. Naturally, this is fantasy.

In its current condition, a bike such as this is worth about $100 bucks. Kelly Blue Book lists a used one in "good" condition at around $400. This bike - in all of its rustiness and crustiness, needs at a minimum over a thousand dollars worth of work - just to run. Then, tack on over six months worth of storage charges since they can't seem to make up their minds. They all want their bikes fixed... but don't seem have any money, or more likely, aren't willing to spend any money... so, you do the math. Such is a day in the life at ScooterBob's indoor motorcycle junkyard and cryogenic storage facility. Maybe parts and labor will be cheaper in the far off future when the planet is run by damn dirty apes....

Yet, we still see junk like this on a daily basis. I really don't know if people are so dense that they can't grasp simple arithmetic, or if the value of the American dollar is stronger in their personal little fantasy world.

Don't get me wrong, working on old bikes like this within a budget can be fun.... to a degree, especially if you do the work yourself and don't mind spending months of your life surfing the web for parts. Since this heap isn't worth enough to fix up, and the parts are so shitty we couldn't sell them on Ebay, I've decided that I'm going to scrape the barnacles off of it, fix it up and give it to my old man. Dad has always had a soft spot for Nighthawks, and I'm sure he'll treat it way better that its previous owner.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pretty... and Pretty Tasty

Nut Brown Ale - HDR Image
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

As I sipped away on one of my favorite beverages this evening, a fine Nut Brown Ale made by Mountaineer Brewing Company, I felt the urge to put pen to paper (fingers to keys), eye to camera and lips to tasty beverage in order to sooth my lust. The ale is a perfect shade of brown with a smoothy good taste that just can't be beat. Albeit I prefer darker beers by nature, this little sweety is about as tasty as an ale comes.

Thank goodness a line of micro brews now exists in West Virginia, a place who's beer selection is so devoid of life, it resembles the surface of the moon. If it's not "financial light", most hillbillies around here just won't touch it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Full Moon

Moonrise at Southridge Shopping Center
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I've heard that it will be many years before we see another full moon for Christmas.

As I was finishing up a little last minute shopping at Southridge (land of Wal-Mart and all things plastic) I caught a glimpse of this fantastic moonrise. My only regret is that I wasn't able to capture the purple hue of the sky in this image.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Winter Solstice Feast and Bonfire

Winter Solstice Bonfire
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I've never been a big fan of the holidays. Just too much commercialism and way too much hassle. But the winter solstice has always been a day of the year I could get behind. No gifts or plastic battery powered crap, just recognition of an astronomically significant event - celebrated with friends and family around the bonfire with good food and good drink.

Darcie and Greg were kind enough to invite me to their home for a great feast this evening, and from there we progressed to another friends house to sit around the bonfire to get ready for the start of a new year.

I fully realize that I may seem like a bit of a Scrooge to the rest of my family due to the fact I don't get all worked up for Santa's arrival, presents for all the good little boys and girls and celebrating the birth of the itty, bitty baby Jesus - but it's just not my bag. For me, the winter solstice is all the holiday that any man, woman or child could ever need.

A Griswald's Family Christmas

Spring Hill Christmas Lights - HDR Image
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Clark Grizwald would be damn proud of this Christmas light display. I've driven past this light show extravaganza every evening for the past few weeks, and decided that tonight I just had to stop and shoot it.

I'm not typically a very festive person at this time of year, but seeing folks go all out like this does bring me at least a small bit of holiday cheer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

From Russia with(out) Love

Rebuilt Dnepr Engine - HDR Image
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Here's a prime example of art in motion. Greg and I finished rebuilding this Dnepr engine today, with a lot of sweat, a little love and only minor amounts of profanity being involved. It's always a great feeling when the finishing touches come together, on top of hours of hard labor, to showcase the final product as both art and instrument.

We get these old heaps in all the time, some in the condition that this one arrived in, and most far worse. Very few people on this planet would take the time to work on such things, and far fewer are skilled at doing so.

Just another one of the reasons that I love working at ScooterBobs.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tractor Trailer Flips Over I-64 Bridge

Tractor Trailer Wreck off of I-64 Bridge
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Another rain storm, and another accident on the I-64 Bridge in Charleston. This time around though, the tractor trailer involved in the accident flipped over the side of the bridge and fell 80 feet into the Kanawha River below. As of the 11 o'clock news, one man was killed in the incident, and the other was in stable condition.

This image shows rescue divers attaching lines to the cab of the vehicle, preparing it to be pulled from the river.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday Walk in the Woods

Jack-O-Lantern Mushrooms - HDR Image
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

For several months now, I've roamed the woods on my Sunday walks in search of these unbelievably colorful mushrooms. I'd almost given up all hope in seeing them this year since the snow has already been flying several times. But, a warm streak rolled in and brought these little beauties out of hiding.

The Jack-O-Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus illudens) is one of the most colorful mushrooms in the world, and on a dull wet day, they stick out like a sore thumb. I spotted these little lovelies shiny bright and almost tripped over myself trying to rush over to them, afraid they might get up and run away before I had a chance to take any pics.

Patience is not one of my strong points, but persistence is...

Ice Cold Coca-Cola

Drink Coca-Cola
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

On this Sunday's walk, I decided to take some pics of a couple of old Coke coolers that have suffered the wrath of time. I've walked past them a million times, but the mood to photograph them just never came around.

I initially thought I'd stroll over, take a few shots and be on my way, but after studying them in more detail, I ended up strolling around snapping pics for over a half an hour. From every angle that I peered through the lens, new details emerged. I'm glad I took the opportunity today to finally shoot these old coolers. I figure in a couple more years, there probably won't be much left to see.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

First Snow of the Year = Mass Chaos

MacCorkle Ave. Wreck - 5 Dec 2007
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I soon as I heard my daughter cheering about snow on the front porch this morning, I just knew it was going to be one of those days. The first snow of the year hit the Kanawha Valley this morning, pooping down about two inches of wet, goopy snow.

Since water in any form relieves drivers of their ability to function, mass chaos followed. On the ten minute commute to work, I passed multiple accidents, and watched many happen right in front of me. An hour or so after getting to work, I had to go pick up my daughter since her two hour delay turned into a full day off from school. On the way back to the house, I passed this two car accident, and proceeded to snap a couple of pics.

Why, oh why, does liquid or frozen water make drivers absolute idiots.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Deck the Halls... and the Roof, Yard, Trees...

Evans Family Christmas Lights - HDR Image
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

The Evans family of South Charleston, West Virginia pull no punches when it comes to decorating the house for Christmas... and for many other holidays for that matter. I took some shots of their house this past 4th of July when they adorned their yard and house with a festive and patriotic display.

They gave me fair warning then that the neighborhood would be blown away with this years Christmas display. To say the least, they were correct. Not only is every square inch of their property covered with lights, but they're all synced to music as well. Now that's what I call celebrating the holidays.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Job Well Done

Ural Head Combustion Camber Polished - HDR Image
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Greg finally put the finishing touches on a pair or Ural heads today. Work like this is not seen often in our modern age of electronics and disposable technology. There is art in anything done well, and this is a prime example.