Tuesday, January 4, 2022

2021 Photos in Review

When it comes to photography, 2021 was a year of contrasts, some high, some low, some new, some old.

Normally I don't do portraits, but in reviewing the images from last year, 
there were a few shots of personalities, so...

Mr Newman, a baker who visited Europe fifty years ago, 
built himself a castle complete with moat, in the central Texas woods.

If I were King...

John Klein, expert welder, fabricator, motorcycle rider
now 82 years old, self-employed, still working every day.

Keith is an intense quiet one, and a great photographer

A young engineer patiently waits for the old boiler to build steam..

Engine No. 487 puffing early morning coal smoke at the rail yard in Chama

Cumbres & Toltec rail yard, Chama, NM

The Yard Boss inspects the rails... 

From the loud, coal dust dirty rail yard to the quiet serene of a cold mountain stream...
a young man gets his first lesson in fly fishing

Six year olds play football with all the intensity of the pros,
Bears complete their first pass

A Vikings player makes a flying tackle on the Bears quarterback

May in the Smokey Mountains of South Carolina, was a gathering of sidecar rigs

First a beautiful red HP rig (High Performance)

Contemplating life with a cigar

This shot of Bob on his green Kawasaki rig became the front cover of a magazine.

 Sidecamper set up for a good night's rest

Texas sunrise...
A vital artery bridge for the Houston community

...and a Texas sunset at Oak Thicket Park.
Who knew a coal powered electricity generating unit could be so tranquil.

Then there is New Mexico... 
sunrise on Wheeler Peak.

San Francisco church in Rancho de Taos

Meadow Divided, 
with the yellow of fall aspen pushing against the green of summer not wanting to leave just yet.

Old Mill in Mora, NM

Unnamed country church near La Cueva, NM

January snow in the northern New Mexico valley

Winter eve at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, NM

Snowy gate


Thus ends another year of exploring, looking and capturing the images I see in my mind.

2021 is just another chapter in the history, 
2022 is a clean page waiting to be written... where will you go?

I think I'll first head south of the border before I head north of the border this year.

Happy New Years everyone,

Ride safe, Ride far


Monday, November 8, 2021

Fall Weather Arrives ?

Sharing a recent fall photo of New Mexico aspen trees. 

Fall appears to be moving in on the left while summer is not letting go on the right.  Is this a split season ?


Rode the WartHog, my sidecamper,  to the Houston BMW Club's 51rst annual rally at Oak Thicket Park near Fayetteville, TX.

Night temperature was 40, warming up to 60+ during the day.

Grabbed a couple early morning iPhone photos with the sun filtering in through the leaves. Only three sidecar rigs at the rally, two Goldwings and a Triumph Rocket 3.  Does that tell you something?

The Rocket 3 WARTHOG sidecamper;  sleeping on the cold hard ground is overrated.  

Recently install a solar panel to charge a lithium battery that warms the bed at night. 
Am high tech roughing it - wiring the panel was hard work...... NOT!

Robert, his wife and their little dog (who hates camping) share a larger pull behind pop up camper trailer. 
Here with their Goldwing rig.

Marty and his wife stayed warm all night in their camper.


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

2021 Photography Portfolio: San Francisco de Asis Mission

Each Fall the Northwest Houston Photography Club hosts a portfolio review. Any member can participate with eight to twelve images. Each person decides what their portfolio will focus on, a particular subject, a style of photography, a particular type of printing, a theme...  it's an opportunity for the photographer to explore, experiment, try something new.

Six professional photographers are invited in to critique the photos one on one with each photographer. Having a fresh set of trained and experienced eyes look at your project and offer critical comments is invaluable as one works to improve their images.

I chose the San Francisco de Asis Mission in Rancho de Taos as my subject this year. Mainly because I admire the structure, the culture and the people that maintain it. Here is my portfolio.

The artists' statement reads:

"one of the most beautiful buildings

left in the United States by the early Spaniards”

Georgia O’Keeffe


The San Francisco de Asís Mission Church is a historic and architecturally significant building in Ranchos de Taos, northern New Mexico. Built between 1772 and 1816 in the main plaza of a small Mexican - Indian agricultural community, it replaced an earlier mission that was destroyed in the 1680 Pueblo revolt.


This is one of the finest living examples of a Spanish Mission Church being the heart and soul of a pueblo. The edifice was built and has been maintained over the centuries by the blood, sweat and toil of the indigenous villagers. Every Spring they gather to apply mud and straw by hand to repair weather related erosion.


This mission has inspired some of the greatest number of depictions of any building in the United States. It was the subject of several paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe and photographs by Ansel AdamsPaul Strand and Ned Scott. Many artists spent months here studying, learning and looking for the perfect light to capture its beauty. Its adobe walls are everchanging with the high desert light, hour by hour, day by day, season by season.


This collection depicts but a few of the many facets 

of this revered living edifice. 


NOTE: As is common in many active pueblo missions,

 photography inside the church is strictly prohibited.

Let's start the show...

All of the missions initiated in the southwest by the Spaniards during the 1600's were lead by Franciscan priests. Thus many are named for San Francisco, their patron saint.

Taken at midnight, two small naked bulbs illuminate San Francisco and the front of the mission.

The morning sun breaks over the adobe mission, illuminating the most western of its' three crosses

As the sun rises, the mission's shape and form are revealed.

The texture of the adobe is accentuated by the intense noon day sun.

Each year the villagers gather to replaster the mission walls, repairing the damage caused by a winter's freeze. They mix mud, sand and straw using hoes in the central courtyard before applying it by hand to the church. 
Here you see the dark wet mud that was applied earlier in the day.

An infrequent snowstorm in the valley with an overnight freeze cracks the old adobe mud 
creating the need for the annual spring replaster.

A Fall late afternoon sun pulls a golden glow from the dry straw embedded in the walls.

Even at midnight, the mission is still an imposing structure, residing in the middle of the village plaza. Today year 2021, in one of the richest countries in the world, 
the plaza and the road around the old mission is a mixture mud and gravel.

And the final photo, 
"Written in the Heavens"

In all it was a great learning experience. Have new ideas and tips on how to improve.

Now to decide what next year's portfolio will be.... hmmmm.

Ride safe my friends,


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Followed Home - Part II

It's a 2018 Honda Goldwing 1800 DCT with a Hannigan Classic convertible sidecar. Was advertised on CYCLETRADER in Pittsburg, PA. with only 606 miles on it. Seller was having health issues and decided he could not use it as he wanted. 

Seller bought the Wing new, shipped it to Freedom Sidecars in Middleburg, PA to have a Hannigan Classic Double sidecar installed. The sidecar was painted to match the bike.
A custom Hannigan designed double wishbone front forks was installed. 
The Honda DCT model is an automatic transmission, no shifting or clutch lever.

The sidecar windshield is tall so the passenger's head doesn't hit the convertible top.  For me it is too tall and never carry a passenger, so have ordered a 6" windscreen and a flat tonneau cover to keep the rain out of the cockpit.

Am getting used to the clutchless shifting. Twist and go... but parking required learning a new habit. On regular motorcycles, we park and leave the bike in gear. That stops it from rolling on uneven ground. 
With the DCT, one cannot park in gear, it automatically goes into neutral when shutting off the engine. Therefore one must pull the parking brake to keep the bike from rolling on a slope, or moving when level. Too often one starts off riding forgetting the parking brake is engaged, causing excessive wear on the brakes. Plus the bike feels like it's dragging an anchor.

Have ordered a larger windscreen for the bike from F4, a highway peg for the left foot, a floor board for the right foot and a back rest. 

Have the East Texas-Louisiana Fall sidecar gathering coming up. That will be a good test ride on the new rig. It needs a nice long ride to earn a name. 

This might be a keeper, will get the fine tuning and tweaking done, give it a whirl, then decide. 

Ride safe y'all.


Friday, October 1, 2021

Chama New Mexico Steam Trains

Last month I drove some of my family to the train depot in Chama New Mexico so they could ride the old narrow gauge steam train through the southern Rockies to Antonito, Colorado.

I hung around the rail yard in the early morning light capturing a few photos. 
Here are the results of those efforts.

Getting ready to back the engine up

Coal smoke fills the yard

The wheel's driving links

Waiting patiently for the engineer to finish his morning coffee

Old Iron slowly rusting, too tired and old to work the rails.

Building up a head of steam

Leaving the rail yard with passengers hoping to see eagles and elk in the high country.

That's quite the snowplow on the front.

Ride safe y'all


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Was Followed Home


this red motorcycle rig has been following me.... tailgating me for the last 1500 miles.

Kinda feel sorry for him. 

Guess I better make room for the poor lonely fella once we get to Texas.

Maybe a good story will come out of it.

More to come....  soon.


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Found a Horseshoe...

Life is full of surprises, some good, some, ah interesting.

A curious piece from the world of sidecars came into the Man Cave, 
a UNIT leading link front fork... 

now before you ask WHAT THE HECK IS THAT? 
Well, it's from a defunct British company

Okay, here is a photo.

So still asking...   WHAT THE HECK IS THAT? 

It's a leading link. Okay and...? well it's a modified front fork commonly seen on a motorcycle being used for sidecar duty. It stabilizes the steering and handling as well as reduces front dive when braking.

I feel like the guy who found a horseshoe and a bay of hay. 
Now I need find a saddle and build a stable before the horse arrives.

So a new build thread starts. Don't exactly know where it is going, what it is suppose to be,
nor when it will be completed. It will be interesting, puzzling, frustrating, busted knuckles , adult words in multiple languages, promised ever receding rewards, sleepless nights, internet shopping, long hours waiting for FedEx deliveries, lots of trial and error, and maybe a working sidecar rig in the end. If not, who will shovel out the stable?

With everybody contributing ideas and suggestions, thus adding twists and turns to the process will keep it challenging.

Will have a million questions... like how does one know if a found horsershoe is for the front or the rear?