The Arizona/Utah trip!

I’m looking at my calendar and it looks like the week of 23 October is good for our planned Arizona and Utah trip.   Now the question is:  How long?   If you’re going to take time off from work, 8 or 9 days could work out well, as we could span two weekends (and that opens up a lot more that we can see).   My objective is to do about 250 miles each day, which gives a relaxed pace and time for sightseeing.  Or, we could make it 4 or 5 days and just take in the Grand Canyon, Zion, and maybe Bryce.  But I sure would like to ride Highway 12 again….here’s what it looks like from a drone…

And here’s what parts of that area look like from the saddle of my RX3…

I’ve been studying maps and working overtime on laying our route out.  I was originally thinking something along the lines of the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef, and then picking up interesting stuff on the way back.   The problem is that working Utah’s Highway 12 into the mix puts us up at higher elevations and it could freeze up there that time of year.  If we include Highway 12 and Capitol Reef, that puts us pretty far east. I sure would like to do that, though.  I’ve got a pig hunt at the end of September and after that, another secret mission to Singapore the first two weeks of October, so that means our Utah expedition has to be more toward the end of October.  I’ll keep working on it.

Your thoughts?   Let us know at

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On the block!

My good buddy Twin Peaks Steve is selling his Mustang Bobber through us, and it is a beauty!

When we were making the Mustang replicas several years ago, for a limited time we offered a short run of Bobbers.  What you see above is Steve’s, and in my opinion, it’s probably one of the three most beautiful Mustangs we ever made.   I’ve ridden with Steve, and I know that his Bobber is one fine running machine.   It’s in perfect condition and it has low miles.   The bike is visually arresting; everyone who sees it stops in their tracks for a better look.

Twin Peaks Steve knows a good company and a good motorcycle when he sees one.  He was one of the very first people to buy an RX3 from us, and he’s a regular participant on our company rides.

If you want to know more about Steve’s awesome Mustang Bobber, give us a call at 909 445 0900.

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MILSURP Sunday coming up!

Folks just need things to get their shorts in a knot about things, I guess.   You see a lot of it in the motorcycle world – Harley versus Indian, Chinese motorcycles versus all other motorcycles (which actually have a lot of Chinese content, but that’s another story), what constitutes a dual sport versus versus an ADV bike, and on an and on it goes.   It’s understandable, I guess, as a motorcycle tends to be an emotional purpose.  In the camera world, it’s Canon versus Nikon (my good buddy Joe Gresh and I have had a few discussions about that).   And in the gun world, it’s the AR concept (basically, adaptations of the M-16) versus the Ruger Mini 14.   The AR guys think they have the better rifle and they dismiss the Mini 14.   They’re wrong, of course.  You probably can guess – I’m a Mini 14 guy.

Unlike most of the keyboard commandos who post incessantly on the Internet on this AR versus Mini 14 issue, I actually earned my living carrying an M-16 more than 40 years ago. I started my Army days with an M-14 and I thought that was a real rifle. I never took the M-16 seriously even though I qualified with it. It just seemed like a cheap toy to me.   If you have an AR, my apologies; no offense intended.  The preceding comments are just my opinion, and it you don’t like it, hey…you’re young.  You’ll get over it.

The Ruger Mini 14

The Ruger Mini 14

When the gun forum AR guys badmouth the Mini 14, the common claim is that the rifle doesn’t shoot well.  Usually, in the rifle world, when someone says a rifle doesn’t shoot well it means that it’s unreliable or it is not accurate.    Regarding accuracy, the commonly-accepted standard is 1.5 minutes of angle.  That essentially means the rifle will hold its shots in a 1.5-inch group at 100 yards.   If it does that, it’s considered accurate.  I’ll get to the reliability thing a few lines down.

I’ve had my Mini 14 for about 10 years. Mine is a special number…it’s a limited-run Circassian-stocked rifle one of the distributors offered back then.  I knew I wanted one as soon as I heard about them, but I wanted one with nice wood.   I watched the Internet gun boards for about a year until I saw one I liked.  I couldn’t bring it directly into the Peoples Republik of Kalifornia because it had a flash suppressor and 30 round magazines, so I had to bring it in (without the magazines) to a Class III dealer who replaced the flash suppressor with a muzzle brake.  With that muzzle brake it barks like a Ma Deuce, but that’s part of its charm, I guess.   You gotta wonder what the people who wrote our gun laws were smoking, but I guess they knew what they were doing.  I’m proof of that.  I followed all of the laws and I am not a danger to our multicultural, gender-ambiguous, coastal elitist society.  I’ve not held up any gas stations or robbed any banks with my Mini 14.  It’s all working as intended.

The real topic of interest to me was the Mini 14’s accuracy, and that’s what I wanted to determine in a rigorous manner.   I already knew my Mini 14 was reliable.  I’ve probably put 10,000 rounds through it and I’ve never had a failure to feed, a failure to eject, or a failure to fire. Well, okay, I had one failure to fire, but that was due to one of my reloads having the primer seated upside down.  I can’t blame that on the rifle.

To get serious about the accuracy test, I knew I needed to do two things:  I had to put a scope on the rifle, and I had to load a bunch of different cartridges to see which provided the best accuracy.   You just don’t decide on a gun’s accuracy using one load.  You have to try different recipes to see which works best.

There’s no rhyme or reason to the loads I prepared for this test, other than I wanted to use the load I had been using for plinking with the Mini 14 and I wanted to use up the small quantities of bullets I had laying around.  The first load in the chart below is my plinking load; all of the others were the ones I loaded specifically for this test.

Here’s what I got:

All of the groups shown above are three-shot groups at 100 yards. The conditions were not great (it was 94 degrees out there yesterday, it was breezy, and I was shooting into the sun).  For some loads I shot one group, for some loads I had two groups, and for some loads I had three groups. It was all a function of how many bullets I had on my reloading bench.

My Mini 14 shoots terribly with some loads (but then, so does nearly every rifle).   You have to find the right combination of components, or as In-N-Out would say, the secret sauce.

The Mini 14 shoots remarkably well with at least one of the loads I tried (the 55 gr FMJBT Hornady and 26.5 grains of IMR 4320 propellant).  What’s nice about that load is that both of the groups I shot put the groups in the same location (see the photo below), I have a lot of 4320 on hand, and those are relatively inexpensive bullets.   Basically, with no accuracy modifications (or any modifications, for that matter), my Mini 14 is damn near a minute-of-angle rifle. That’s pretty good for a rifle that is not supposed to shoot well.

I’m going to play around with a few more loads for the Mini 14, but I’m pretty much zeroing in on that 26.5 grain 4320/55 gr Hornady FMJBT load as the right secret sauce for my Mini 14.

Hey, this Sunday is our MILSURP get-together at the West End Gun Club.  We’ve got quite a few CSC riders who shoot with us (Duane, Willie, Fathi, Matt, yours truly, and a few others).    If you’d like to send some lead downrange, just drop me an email.

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Baja 2018, Utah 2017, 2018 bikes, and more…

Wow, I’m retired and I’m busier than ever.   How did that happen?   So, let me take a break from being retired and give you an update on a few things.

I’m not riding my RX3 cross country this summer.   One of the reasons I wanted to travel back east was to visit with family, but that was overcome by events and a death in the family (my Mom passed away last month).  It happens.  She was 87 and she lived a good long life, but it was time.  So, Main Reason No. 1 to ride back east went away.

Next up, I’m headed into Wyoming later this month.  You might say my cross country RX3 ride got eclipsed.   You know about the total eclipse that’s going to occur next month.  The best place to see the eclipse is a swath through Wyoming, and we’re headed up there to take it all in.    That will be a Subie trip, as Sue is not too keen on doing three or four thousand miles on the back of a 250cc motorcycle.   And that’s okay, too.  I love road trips with my wife in the Subie.  It’s a good car for what we are going to do.  We’ve been on a lot of Subie road trips.  It’s fun.

With Sue and the Subie at Baja’s Guerrero Negro lighthouse

It’s time to start thinking about the next big CSC Baja Run.   That’s our annual 8-day extravaganza all the way down to Loreto.    I’m going to tentatively peg the dates as the 3rd through the 10th of March in 2018.  If you want to go, you have to let us know as soon as you can.    We always have people try to get on this ride after we’ve hit our limit (and that’s 15 riders) and I always tell them the same thing:  Next year, and let me know early.  Please don’t sign on if you’re not committed to riding with us.

Another cool ride that we’re just starting to plan:  We’re in the early stages of laying out a 5 or 6 day trip through Utah and Arizona.    We’re thinking the Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef, Zion, Arches, Bryce, and a ride on Utah’s magnificent, surreal Highway 12.    This ride will be in early October 2017 (yep, this year), as the temperatures will be cooler and the crowds will be lighter.   Watch the blog for more info on this ride in the next week or so.  I’m pumped up about this one.  Big time.

Highway 24 in Utah.  It’s the closest you’ll ever get to Heaven without a one-way ticket.  You can put yourself in this picture…keep an eye on the CSC blog!

We’re finalizing colors on the TT250 (we’re most likely keeping the same colors), the Café Racer, and the RX3.  We’ll be posting more on that in the near future, too.   We get a lot of calls asking when the TT250s and the Café Racers will be here, and folks, if we knew we’d tell you.  All of the future TT250s and Café Racers will be 2018 models.  We could have sold a ton of both models in 2017 if we had them, but you can’t sell what you don’t have.   Zongshen is selling a lot of small motorcycles in huge quantities literally all over the planet, and their suppliers are having difficulties keeping up with the Big Z’s needs.  We’re not the 800-lb gorilla in Zongshen’s production plan, but we are the squeaky wheel (that’s my specialty and I’m told I’m pretty good at it).  As soon as we have confirmed delivery dates, we’ll let you know.

The Baja book….I’ve been getting a lot of calls and emails about that one, too.   I’m working it, folks.   I’ve just got too many other exciting things going on!  It’s coming.

It's me on that!

It’s coming…trust me on that!

And that’s about it for today.  Later, my friends.

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Good food, good meat, good God, let’s eat!

That was a prayer I remember hearing as a kid, and it sure was appropriate today.   We had nine riders in our expedition through Carbon Canyon to Flo’s Airport Cafe this morning, and it was great.  First, a few of the great guys who rode with us…

Marty 1

Marty 1, with his UberBeemer

Marty 2, with his KLR 650

Marty 2, with his KLR 650

Twin Peaks Steve and his RX3

Twin Peaks Steve and his RX3

Steve and his Indian

Steve and his Indian

Alejandro and his dark Honda Shadow

Alejandro and his dark Honda Shadow

Flo’s was packed, and as I mentioned, I had ridden out there earlier in the week to see if I could talk them into a reservation (they told me on the phone the answer was no).   But during the week they took my name.   When we arrived at Flo’s, I went to the counter to tell them I had been in earlier and I got the same story (politely, of course):  They don’t do reservations.   But I had a lucky break.   There was a tall dude behind the counter who looked very familiar and who was obviously in charge of running the place.  He recognized me before I recognized him.  To my great surprise, it was my old buddy Harvey.

Yours truly with good buddy Harvey

Yours truly with good buddy Harvey

Harvey and I worked together for many years at Aerojet Ordnance making cluster bombs and A-10 ammo (good times, those were), and then as the So Cal defense scene wound down in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we went our separate ways.  I ended up at Layne, where I hired Harvey as a Project Manager.

Harvey took good care of us today, and we had a table in minutes.   Harvey is a super nice guy, and in case you’re wondering, that’s not a staged photo.  He really is that tall, and his personality matches his stature.  One of the guys asked him just how tall he was, and Harvey laughed.  “I’m 6′ 11″,” he said, “but usually when I’m asked that question I tell people I’m 4′ 35″.”

Here’s a quick shot of our group enjoying a fabulous breakfast this morning.  From left to right around the table, it’s Marty 1, Willie (Baja traveler extraordinaire and the world’s most interesting man), Twin Peaks Steve, Alejandro, Matt (aka the Facebook Meme Master), Marty 2, and Indian Steve.


Spectacular food and spectacular guys

And the food?  All I can say is:  Wow!  I only took two photos, but you get the idea…

Chicken fried steak and eggs...the tomatoes make it healthy!

Chicken fried steak and eggs…the tomatoes make it healthy!

French toast, bacon, hash browns, and more...

French toast, bacon, hash browns, eggs, and more…

It was a good morning and a good ride, and it was something different for us.

Hey, you know what that means?  It’s time to start thinking about the September CSC ride, folks.  If you have ideas, shoot them into us!

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The Top 10 group ride problems…

I spotted this article on this morning (“The Top 10 Things That Go Wrong On Group Rides“) and I knew I had to read it.  It was a good read, although (knock wood) the things our good friends at MO listed have never really bothered us that much on any of our group rides.

One of the “Top 10” items on the MO list was mechanical failures.   The only problem we’ve ever had was when my good buddy Justin lost his countershaft sprocket nut on the first CSC Baja run.   That (and the substory involved with getting a replacement) turned out to be one of the best parts of that ride.  There’s an old saying:  The adventure doesn’t begin until something goes wrong.  You can read all about it in 5000 Miles At 8000 RPM, which you can order by clicking on the link to the right.

I was surprised to learn this morning that it’s been exactly one year since our last day on the epic trans-China ride.  A photo popped up in my Facebook feed showing good buddies Joe Gresh, King Kong, and yours truly at the train station in Qingdao, our destination city on that amazing adventure…

The Zongshen motorcycles’ performance on the ride across China was impressive.  We had no mechanical problems, other than a single flat tire (one of the things listed by MO in their Top 10).   That was on my bike, and the Chinese guys I rode with fixed it quicker than I would have believed possible.   What a ride that was!   Here’s one of my favorite photos at the end of the ride, showing us riding along China’s extreme eastern edge on the coast of the Yellow Sea…

That ride across China was just flat amazing (it was one of the best rides ever).

So, back to the top 10 things that can go wrong on a group ride:  I guess a lot of things can go wrong, but we’ve actually had very few problems on our CSC rides.   I’ve led a lot of our company rides, including many of our CSC Saturday rides, the 5000-mile Western America Adventure Ride, and of course, our forays into Mexico.   We had one issue on the Western America ride in which a couple of our guests from China got into a fight (that was easily resolved).  Joe Gresh had a flat on his RX3 towards the end of the ride (Joe said he was always the guy on any group ride he’s ever been on that gets a flat).

There was one group ride issue that plagued me our very first Baja ride, and that was leaving on time in the morning. The “let’s leave on time” issue hasn’t been a problem on any of our RX3 or TT250 rides; it happened on a run we did several years prior to that on the Mustangs.  Yep, yours truly and four other folks rode 150cc California Scooters all the way down to Cabo San Lucas and back.    I know what you’re thinking and it’s probably something along the lines of:  What were we thinking?   Steve and I laugh about it a lot.  We did 2,300 miles through Baja on 150cc hardtail Mustang replicas.

The smiles in the photo above  notwithstanding, I had a hell of a time getting everyone moving in the morning on that trip.   By the second day, I knew there was no way I was going to keep to the schedule, and I was growing increasingly frustrated with our morning departure delays and the amount of time we were taking to get moving again at every stop.   My good buddy J had the solution:  Just tell everybody when we’re leaving, and then do so.  If others aren’t ready, J said, they’ll have to catch up.   I did that and it solved the problem.   We had a little bit of this problem on the Western America Adventure Ride and I used the same approach with the same result: Just leave at the announced time.  Problem solved.

On this topic of group rides, don’t forget our ride tomorrow to the Flo’s at the Chino airport.  We’re leaving at 9:00 a.m. from the CSC plant.  We’ll have a relaxed ride through Carbon Canyon.  We’ll probably have to wait a bit for a table at Flo’s, but Sue and I rode out there a couple of days ago to check the route, I talked to a nice young lady at Flo’s, and they know we’re coming.   Don’t forget to bring a camera, as there are a lot of cool photo ops even it you don’t go into either of the two museums at the airport.

170802_3077-650170802_3086-650170802_3090-650That’s it for now, folks.  See you tomorrow!

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And another Joe weighs in…

It’s been a year since our epic ride across China on Zongshen RX3s.   Another good Joe (Joe Gresh, the world-famous motojournalist) did an awesome video on that trip.  Check this out…

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Another from the other…

The other Joe, that is…my good buddy Joe Martin who rode with us on this year’s CSC Baja expedition.   This nice note from Joe was in my email last night…

Hey Joe, the weather has been so amazing up here that I just can’t waste a moment of it not adventuring on my RX3.  This time I did a 5-day 1500 mile loop up the Canadian Rockies.  It was amazing.  I’ve put together a ride report with some pictures.  It’s attached.  As always, feel free to post it on the blog.  Take care!


Well, I can’t turn down an offer like that, especially with the stellar photography and writing my good buddy Joe always provides.   Here’s Joe’s trip report!

With the great summer weather, I put together another last-minute mini-adventure.  This time it was a full road adventure on the CSC RX3.  In prep, I put on my roadie wheels with Shinko 705s and stock gearing to keep the RPMs down, fuel mileage up and cruising at highway speeds.  I used my Tourfella hard luggage and easily fit in my spares, clothing, camping gear and some foods. 

I headed out on Thursday morning from home in Redmond, WA and spent the day driving on Highway 2 out to Spokane, WA to stay with a friend for the evening.  I’d never taken HWY 2 all the way to Spokane.  It’s a nice drive through some neat small towns and a mix of mountains and prairies.  On Friday, I headed out of the big city and towards Sand Point, ID and then north to cross into Canada. 

1-650The next big town in Canada I came through was Cranbrook where I stopped for my first Tim Horton’s experience.  From what I can tell, Tim Horton’s is Canada’s better answer to Starbucks.  The Tim Bit’s were an excellent source of sugar to keep me moving.

2-6503-650As I got closer to Banff, my stop for the night, the sights got more amazing.

4-6505-6506-6507-6508-650I slept great but woke early to start the day this trip was all about.  Cruising up both the Bow Valley Parkway and Icefields Parkway with many MANY stops for the amazing sights.

My first stop was about 500 yards from camp when there were some deer standing on the side of the road.

10-650The Bow Valley parkway is a narrow and winding road which was awesome for the motorcycle!

11-650It also had some amazing views of the Rocky Mountains.

12-65014-65015-650The Canadian Railway.

16-650This is a memorial to a WW1 internment camp.

17-650Here’s the Lake Louise Ski Resort.

18-650The actual Lake Louise.  Turquoise water clear enough to see nice trout swimming around.

19-650Now I exited the Bow Valley Parkway and enter the Icefields parkway.  The views just kept getting better.

20-65021-65022-650This is the Columbia Glacier.  It was HUGE!  People hiking the glacier looked like small ants.

23-650Here’s Athabasca Falls.

24-650There were huge elk everywhere!

25-650The end of the Icefields Parkway is the remote town of Jasper.  I rolled in, got some dinner and then rolled north for another 30 minutes to the Pocahontas campground.  After a great night sleep, I headed back to Jasper, got fuel and then headed north west on 16 and then turned south on 5.  It was time to head home.  But it was too long a ride to make in a day so I headed to Merritt back in British Columbia and stayed at a motel so I could grab a shower.  I looked at Yelp and found that the best food was a sushi place.  I decided to try it and it was actually very good.  Now back to the room for some rest and then it was time to get back home.  In the morning, I continued south and as I started hitting the mountains I could feel, smell and see the results of the numerous fires in the area.  Visibility was about like L.A. smog but with the smell of a campfire but with the feeling that the smoke is blowing in my eyes.

27-650Once I got back to the Canadian/USA border it turned out to be almost 100 degrees and an hour wait.  Not a ton of fun on the motorcycle slowly creeping forward one car length at a time and then sitting there for 5 to 10 minutes cooking.  Once I got up to the agent it was quick work to get across and then ride the last few hours home.

So, this was a 5-day mini-adventure covering 1534 miles of some of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen.  Riding the motorcycle gave me a perspective I don’t think I could have gotten in a car.  Also a lot easier to find parking during the busy tourist season!

Joe, that’s another awesome trip report and we sure are happy to publish it here.  Thanks again.  We’re glad you’re enjoying your RX3!

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Flo’s, fighters, street fighters, and more…

0-160802_3068-650Being at the CSC plant sure is fun.  New RX3 motorcycles going out, used bikes coming in, bikes in for service, Harleys, vintage iron, Guzzis, Ducatis, Triumphs, enduros, roadburners…for a guy like me who likes being around bikes and taking pictures of motorcycles, this is a fun place to be.

And speaking of fun places to be, don’t forget our upcoming ride to Flo’s Airport Cafe this Saturday morning.  You can sign up for the ride here on our page, and you don’t have to ride a CSC motorcycle to ride with us (we welcome all brands of motorcycles and scooters).   We’ll take an easy run down the 210 freeway to the 57, pick up Carbon Canyon road, roll through the twisties, meander through Chino, and head over to Flo’s.  It’s going to be crowded there because there’s an event at the neighboring Planes of Fame museum, but the museum activity starts at about the same time we’ll arrive at Flo’s (so it should be a bit easier to get a seat).   That said, Flo’s is a popular breakfast spot, so we may have to wait a bit to get in.  No biggie, and it’s all part of the adventure.   I hope to see you Saturday morning.  Remember, you’ll want to be at the CSC plant no later than 9:00 a.m. with a full tank of fuel.

I called to see if we could get a group rate to get into the Planes of Fame museum after our breakfast at Flo’s, but the answer was no.   They do offer a senior citizen rate and an AAA discount, but even the standard admission fee ($11) is pretty cheap.  If you’ve never been there, I’d advise that you meander over there after breakfast.  The vintage fighter planes are amazing.  Bring a camera; the photo ops are awesome.

So, back to those photos of cool bikes we have around the CSC plant right now….take a look, starting with this vintage 1972 CB550 Honda Four!


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Wilderness Dave’s Baja article…

Hey, this is a good one.  It’s my good buddy Wilderness Dave’s story about his foray into Baja (you can read it by clicking here).   Dave rode this adventure with another good buddy, J, who rode with us on a couple of our CSC Baja rides.   Enjoy, my friends…

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