Tag Archives: motorcycle

“Hold the Ground at All Hazards”- The Hill Called Little Round Top

Panoramic

Little Round Top is hallowed ground; it’s a place where courage, death, and valor met on a bloody hill. It’s a place where the extreme heroic actions of a few, helped extend the reach of freedom for those in bondage. Union men defended that small knoll and their sacrifice literally saved a young nation. Little Round Top served as the last Southern anchor point of the Union Army on the Second Day of the Battle of Gettysburg. If the defending soldiers were overwhelmed by the Confederate forces at this critical location, then the Union Armies Left Flank would fall. The Confederates would then gain the high ground and like dominoes, the Union Army would have toppled upon its self. If the Union Army was routed at Gettysburg in the Northern State of Pennsylvania, Confederate General Robert Lee would be free to march his Army south uncontested and force President Lincoln to capitulate to the Confederate Cause.
On the early morning of July 2, 1863, the high ground on the Union Force’s far left flank laid undefended from an impending Confederate attack. Without orders and on his own initiative, Union Colonel Strong Vincent, knowing the vital importance of the position ordered his Third Brigade to occupy and defend the high ground at a small hill called Little Round Top. The order to secure this vital position was given to the 20th Maine Volunteers Commanded by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. Only a year previous, Colonel Chamberlain was a Professor of Rhetoric at Bowdoin College in Maine. He spoke more than 8 languages fluently but had little military experience and only became the Commander of the Infantry Company a month previously. Colonel Chamberlain was given the order from Colonel Strong Vincent to, “hold the ground at all hazards”. Within minutes of taking their positions on that little rocky hill, the 20th Maine was attacked by the 15th Alabama, Commanded by Colonel William Oates. Multiple attacks by the Confederates were thrown up that hill and were repulsed by the Union Troops. After each attack, the Confederates shifted their forces to flank and overwhelm the 20th Maine. After many assaults on their position, Union Forces found themselves stretched thin and without ammunition to defend against another attack. Colonel Chamberlain’s orders were clear, there was to be no surrender. Without hope of reinforcements, little ammunition nor men to hold the line, the situation was dire. At that moment, the Professor from Bowdoin College gave the order to those left in his Command to equip bayonets. With no other options available, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain issued the order to attack down the blood drenched hill. This action served to confuse and disorient the Confederate Forces and turned the tide of the battle. The Confederate forces never recovered from the Chamberlain’s bayonet charge and were driven from the field saving the high ground and the Union’s left flank.
Colonel William Oats, Commander of the 15th Alabama Infantry who lost half his force on that gory day explained, “the dead literally covered the ground”. Union Army Colonel Strong Vincent who ordered the defense of Little Round Top was mortally wounded while rallying his men. He was promoted to General while on his death bed before succumbing to his wounds. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain survived the three-day Battle of Gettysburg and continued to lead men into battle. At the Second Battle of Petersburg, Colonel Chamberlain was severely wounded and was suspected to die of his wounds and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. He even out maneuvered death and survived the wound to live till age 85. After the war he served as the Governor of Maine as well as President of Bowdoin College.

The History that can still be felt at Little Round Top is palatable to the senses. Take the time to wonder the many monuments dedicated to all that fought there. My suggestion is to read the book “Killer Angeles” by Michael Shaara. Its not a long read but is informative beyond measure and written in such a way that is pure historical bliss. Reading the book will help you acclimatize yourself to the many facets of the Battle of Gettysburg and will give you additional information to help you more enjoy your visit.

 

 

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Barber Motorsports Park

Incredible Museums should be cherished and loved; Motorcycle Museums should be memorialized.  I would call  Barber Motorsports Museum a Two Wheeled Shrine of epic proportions.  Plan a trip there if feasible and make it a priority.


An Every Man’s Adventure Bike

 

Life is leading me towards one new Motorcycle and I can’t stop thinking about it.  The 2018 Royal Enfield Himalaya haunts my brain while I am awake and my dreams while I sleep.  Last night I awoke in a feverish sweat from a radical dream.  In the vision, I was being chased by a King Kong size rodent with bunny ears.  Luckily the mythical beast could not catch me as I raced around large shrubbery on my trusted Royal Enfield Himalaya. 

Over the last few years I have followed this cycle as it was first sold in India and then later retailed to parts of Europe and Australia.  I admit, there have been a few quality hiccups along the way, but Royal Enfield has been tweaking their manufacturing control measures to resolve these problems. From the research that I have read on-line, the initial glitches have been worked out after the first production year that the cycle was sold.  I have never been an advocate of buying a first-year model even with quality obsessed Japanese based Motorcycles.  The American Launch of the Himalaya in the Spring of 2018 will represent the 3rd Phase of Royal Enfield’s Distribution Plan and I hope the gremlins will have been fully worked out before it hits American Roads. 

I have never ridden this motorcycle, but I love what it represents.  It embodies freedom from pavement, freedom from dept, freedom from economic forces that keeps modest adventure riders from dirt trails and mountainous fire roads.   With an expected base price of $4499.00, this is an “Every Man’s Adventure Bike! 

Royal Enfield 2018 Himalayan


Do You Have a Motorcycle Hero?

Our everyday Heroes do not get the recognition they so deserve.  These giants among men deserve to be celebrated; their stories should be shared with others.  Their courage, triumphs, struggles and tenacity should serve as a moral compass for others to follow.   Personally I have many heroes that have made a difference in my life and helped enhance my world view.  From my mother who always supported me too Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain who commanded the 20th Maine and saved the Union Army at Little Round Top during the battle of Gettysburg.

Today I wanted to discuss my Motorcycling Hero, his name is Pierlucio Tinazzi.  In 1999 in the mighty Alps of Italy lies the Mount Blanc Tunnel.  At the time, Pierlucio Tinazzi, was a security guard with the primary duties of keeping traffic flowing through the tunnel.  When he heard fire alarms from the tunnel he jumped onto his BMW K75 Motorcycle and headed into the flames.  Tinazzi made numerous trips into the fires that day, each time leading wayward victims to safety on his motorcycle.  On his 5th trip into the depths of the inferno, he came across an unconscious truck driver who he could not get on his motorcycle to drive to safety.   Instead of leaving the unconscious man, he dragged him into a fire safe room within the tunnel system hoping that they could survive the blaze.  Unfortunately, the fire lasted for more than 30 days and both perished under Mount Blanc.  Pierlucio Tinazzi was credited for saving 12 people that fateful day on his motorcycle.  His courage under duress is praiseworthy but his conviction to save others in need is implausible.  His actions that fateful day are heroic and are a credit upon our two-wheel lifestyle.   

Do any of you have a Motorcycling Hero?

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I Took This Photo and Still Can Not Figure Out Why I Like It


Test to see where you fall in the Motorcycling Obsessive Compulsive Data Metrics Scale

Are you obsessed with motorcycling?  Take the short test below to see where you fall in the Motorcycling Obsessive Compulsive Data Metrics Scale or (MOCDMS).   The test is easy to complete.  Just answer Yes or No to each question below.  At the end of the questionnaire count the number of “Yes” Answers and correspond your result to the MOCDMS Result Metric at the end of the test.

TwoTireTirade is not responsible for future symptoms and or treatments of your Motorcycling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder nor is TwoTireTirade certified by any medical or physiological organization.  The research used in the MOCDMS was not done in the conjunction with the American Psychological Association.

Please see the twelve Questions immediately below and remember to be honest in your answers.  You will only answer Yes or No to each question listed.  Falsely answering questions may lead to an inaccurate data result.

  1. Have you ever just drove your motorcycle on a major highway to weave in and out of traffic?
  1. Do you gaze at helmets for long periods of time like others do fine art?
  1. Do you know what “Farkle” Means?
  1. Do you know why Motorcyclist often have bells on their cycles?
  1. Have you debated the benefits of Leather Jackets verses Synthetic Jackets?
  1. Can you define what the “Tail of the Dragon” means?
  1. Would you rather ride in the Rain on a Motorcycle rather than be dry in a car in the same conditions?
  1. Do you know what the term “Cage” Refers to?
  1. Can you describe in general terms what the concept “Counter Steering” means?
  2. Do you believe that Lane Splitting should be legal in all 50 States?
  1. Do you know how to avoid a “Yard Shark Attack”?
  1. Does your spouse/friends/family roll their eyes whenever you bring up Motorcycling due to the fact that they are just tired of your rants on the subject?

Please tally your Yes Responses to the above questions and correspond your Results to the Data Metrics Below:

Number of Yes Responses

0 – 4 Yes Responses

No need for medication or therapy at this time.  You are not at all fascinated by the motorcycling culture and should feel perfectly secure in the fact that you’re normal.

5 – 8 Yes Responses

You have dipped your toes into the world of motorcycling but have not dived in head first.  There is hope for you to maintain your status as being part of the social norm.  It is recommended that you stay away from motorcycle oriented retail operations and other motorcycle friendly establishments to curve your future motorcycle urges.  We recommend that your refrain from adrenaline enhancing behavior which may lead to ugly thoughts of life on two wheels.

9-10 Yes Responses

You have issues and should seek immediate medical and or psychological treatment.  You have been overtaken by the Philosophy of Life on Two Wheels. It will be a long hard road to get back to a normalized life.  You constantly think of motorcycling and plan the majority of your social interactions around your motorcycling life style.  The majority of your free time is spent dwelling about future motorcycling trips and or on plans to enhance your cycle.   Motorcycling has dramatically changed your life and has affected the relationships between you and your friends and family.  You have lost productivity at work because of your dependence on motorcycling.  Motorcycling is becoming you and you are desperately in need of professional help.

11 – 12 Yes responses

You have Terminal Motorcycling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; for you there is no hope.  At this time, your best bet is to dive head first into your obsession and let it consume you to the bitter end.  Indulge in a new bike and or buy another cycle for your collection.  Given your horrific mental condition, ride hard and ride often.  Don’t toil over needless worries and ride free.   Dream big and live bigger.  Let no one diverge you from your passion and surround yourself with others whom suffer your same affliction.  As they say, misery loves company.

This community service has been provided by TwoTireTirade.  Leave me a comment and let me know how you did on the test.

 

Dogs and Cycles

 


Eastern Colorado Historical Trek

water tower

The snow finally melted in the low lands of Colorado, so 3 friends and I decided to take a weekend ride to the Great Plains of Eastern Colorado from Denver for the weekend.  Our plans were to leave at 5:30 pm on Friday Evening and Camp out two nights with a return trip home on Sunday.  Traveling in early May is a little tricky because the sun sets quicker than expected. After a few hours on the road, we arrived in Wray, Colorado as the sun set and by the time we got to our campground it was already dark. We used our cycle’s headlights for some artificial light and set up camp at a great little place just outside the city limits.  Once our tents were set up, we hit the road in search of dinner and found a great burger place to eat.   When we arrived at the restaurant, a stranger on a cycle followed us into the restaurant’s parking lot.  We chatted for a bit and invited him to eat with us.  We began our first meal of our trip meeting a total stranger and he joined us for a great meal.  He rode a 2015 Kawasaki Verses and open carried a 9mm Berretta on his left hip (“Open Carry” means he carried a gun unconcealed in a holster).  This guy was either going to kill us or be a really nice guy; luckily he ended up being just another motor head who loved talking motorcycles.

Riding through the prairie is not for everyone.  Some folks just don’t understand the wonders of such places.  Adrenaline junkies will miss the excitement of the curvy roads through the mountains and others will just think the Great Plains lacks a diverse scenery.  There is nothing wrong with such opinions; beauty is a matter of perspective.  The prairie provides a place where the simplicity of the environment enhances the micro elements of everyday sights.  The colors of the sky seem more vibrant and enriched.  The contrast between the grass, road and horizon is acute beyond detail.  The way that the grass blows from side to side almost mimics “the wave” one might see at a baseball game.  The visual aspects of the Great Plains lacks the shock and awe value of a colossal mountain landscape or sandy ocean beach but if you open your mind to its mystic charm, you will find a wondrous environment to enjoy.

On Saturday Morning we got up early and broke down camp.  We only had two objectives to achieve.  Our goal was to ride to both the Sand Creak Massacre Monument and the Grenada Japanese Relocation Camp both in South Eastern Colorado.  Riding south from Wray Colorado, we arrived at Sand Creek Massacre Monument around noon.  The road to the monument off the state highway is an 8 mile hard pack dirt road.  If you take it slow, this road is safe enough to travel.  The monument is run by the National Park Service and it worth its weight in historical gold.  We learned the terrible history of this place, where more than 220 Native Americans (mostly women, elderly and children) were slaughtered by members of the US Army.  The mood of the park was eerie and somber as if a cloak of sadness surrounds the hollowed grounds.  As a veteran of the US Army, I listened and learned of this terrible event in deep sadness and wondered how individuals could do such terrible things.

Memorial

The next stop was the Grenada Japanese Relocation Camp where America forcibly relocated more than 7,500 Japanese Americans during World War 2.  This site is surely worth a visit.  The roads throughout the old internment camp are made of loose dirt soil and motorcyclist should consider walking the area and parking their cycles at the entrance.  I am not proud of the history of this place but its story serves to remind us that we can do better as a society to prevent bigotry and racism so this type of behavior will never happens again.  The buildings in the camp were torn down after World War 2 but the foundation still exist.  A recreation of the camp’s water tower, barracks and guard tower have been built so visitors can better understand the life of the Japanese American Citizens in the internment camp.  During our visit at the camp we saw a wild-fire seem to originate out of nowhere.  It was the strangest event.  As we explored the ruins of an old guard tower we noticed a small amount of smoke drifting from the ground about 100 yards outside the boarders of the camp.  Within one minute the trickle of smoke turned to something more daunting and we noticed a small flame in the open field.  We called 911 and reported the situation immediately.  By the time we left the park, there were more than 3 fire trucks working the fire.  I believe the fire ignited in the county landfill that lies adjacent to the Internment Camp. This was just another random odd situation that we witnessed during our trip

Japanese Camp

After learning about such ugly times in my country’s history, my mind really went a drift during our ride to our tent site.  Both parks were thought-provoking entities that every American should visit.  We as a society need to learn of these events and visit these places, in hopes that we as a culture will never be doomed to repeat such actions.  If these ugly events can take place in Eastern Colorado, the same type of situations can play out anywhere in America.  We as a society can and must do better and should be made aware of the evil that lurks in the hearts of men.

I would be amiss if I did not at least mention the phenomenal small towns that dot the landscape of Eastern Colorado.  There is just something eccentric and right about these places.  The people are friendly and polite.  These are the type of places that make one feel welcome as soon as you arrive.  I always thought that small town America always represented what the term home should be.

Random

Our motorcycling trip through Eastern Colorado ended up being a historical trek for knowledge which made the trip even more impressive.   The trip was also organized around a simplistic plan without a ton of complications.   We traveled without a detailed agenda nor plan of route.  Only armed with a sleeping bags, tents and wet weather gear, we hit the road heading east towards the Great Plains.   Our goal was to see a few historical sites and sleep under the stars for a few nights of motorcycling bliss.   Eastern Colorado is part of the Great Plains and is rural beyond measure.  This part of the country has escaped modern inconveniences that tend to overwhelm us.  Traffic is non-existent, life feels slower and the environment is defined by a vast wide open sky that lasts as far as the eye can see.   Riding through the plains is not filled with twisty roads or gnarly sloping cliffs.  One must head 4 hours west towards the mountains for that type of scenery but there is a certain amount of majestic bliss that one feels while riding through the open vast scenic landscape.  The trip is highlighted by never-ending open skies and vast fields.  It’s this environment that provides a mystic key to one’s mind and allows profound freedom of thought.  The panoramic view of never endings prairie grass is a wonder to observe.  Take a chance on places you have never seen, you never know what interesting things you can find.

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Love the Ride for the Pure Joy of Life and the Never Ending Dream

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I knew that it would be another tough day at the office filed with turbulence and strife.  My commute is about an hour and felt a profound satisfaction that my hectic work day would start and end on my motorcycle.  During my ride, I dwelled upon the end of winter and the beginning of a new season.

As the sun peaks over the horizon and shares its warm vibrant rays, I realize that winter has retreated north.  The scent of new life has permeated through the plains and mountains and one can almost smell the land coming alive from a winter’s desolate exile.  The rivers are more vibrant, fed by melting snow and the birds chatter among the trees in an epic devotional of the miracles of spring.   For motorcyclist living in a multifaceted climate, this time of year represents an open door to freedom which removes limitations to our ability to ride.   The warm air and gentle breeze call us from afar to find new paths to places rarely visited.

Motorcycling in spring is like waking up to find that one’s awe-inspiring fantasy has indeed become a reality.  Seize the moment and ride.  Find a new adventure, research the wonders of history in your backyard, visit a friend long-lost, and cherish the majestic environment that only spring can display.  We are our own leading restraint in finding happiness in this world; don’t let any obstacle get in your way.   Now is the time to leave the chaos of life behind and chase smiles and grins on black top covered dreams.

We live a life of risk and rewards.  Every day may be the last day but we are always planning for tomorrow.  It’s a life of balance and one must never lose touch with rationale thought but an occasional jaunt living on the edge builds character.  Find time to live and breathe the fresh air of an uncluttered mind.  Focus on the Ride and let the road be your long-lost muse.

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn” –  Hal Borland

happiness