Re: On The Road: Turning the Tide

Insightful article on the state of the industry. I find it not to be just the builders and shops. I belong to two local “riding” clubs. 50 percent of the membership show only for social events, i.e., once-a-month meeting and dinner. We struggle to have 2-3 people show for weekend rides (membership 50-60 in each). Some will do only the big events, Sturgis, Daytona, etc. No one I know commutes. Mine was 60 miles a day. As one of the regular riders said, “We are back to the old days of pickup rides.” Fundraisers are in the same boat. There are many each weekend when years ago it was only the Shriners and Toys for Tots once a year. And so the pendulum swings.
Nil illegitimi carborundum.

Ken Murdy
Sarver, PA


I picked up a thunder press yesterday and read the two articles you wrote. They were really good. I loved the pictures too. You really made the Fryed party look fun as it is. Captured very nicely!


Hi Felicia,

I enjoyed your story Free Range in the November issue of Thunder Press. I am looking forward to seeing you on Cannonball 2018.


Kip, I’m a long, longtime reader/ follower. Been riding since I was 12. Now 70. First H-D was a ’69 Sporty.Don’t get to catch every issue as I travel doing missionary work. My questions are these:
– What does it take to install an Evo in a ’78 FL?
– At what point do oil filters go into bypass on a healthy engine and normal riding?

If you have covered this stuff and I missed it, please excuse.
Will truly appreciate what ever you can help with, Kip, and keep up da keepin’ up.

Have a Grrrrr8 Day!

Floyd, appreciate it! As to your questions:
“On a healthy engine and normal riding”… the bypass will never open. That said, cold weather gets it to happen more often than any other circumstance. Especially, if/when non-detergent straight-grade oils are involved. A modern multi-viscosity oil is detergent and all you should ever use. My typical routine is to change oil two-three times based on condition and use, not mileage… then next time change the oil filter as well. Filters work better with a little “cake,” believe it or not.

Okay… now the hard one. In 1985/’86, Evo motors came in four-speed swingarm frames that, at a glance, looked like Shovel frames. But they weren’t quite the same… because Evo engines are taller than a Shovel motor… the frames were altered to accept the extra height. As I recall, if you get hold of a factory manual for these bikes, there are dimensions for the frame within. Then, find a welder who really knows what he’s doing and match those measurements. Better yet, save some money and buy either a used ’85/’86 FX frame… or a new aftermarket Shovelhead-style frame that will accept Evolution engines.

That help?



Ernie Copper: I just read your story in the November issue of Thunder Press. My parents passed five years apart but on the same day, a Friday. After my father’s passing I found what I would call mementos that he had saved all these years. One in particular was an envelope with a note written on the outside of the envelope, to his next oldest brother, explaining that he and my future mother were about to elope and get married. He asked that my uncle explain this to Mrs. Ellen, so that she wouldn’t worry.  Haha. They were married 58 years, had five kids, me being the middle, several grandkids and even one or two great-grandkids. This all started from the back of his Harley-Davidson. It was all the transportation he had. I miss my mom and dad too. This time of the year is really hard. It’s been 15 years for my mother and 10 years for my dad. We had great lives together and dozens of great road trips and camping stories to tell.
You take care.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Tom Woodson

Thanks, Tom. There is comfort in knowing our love of the road started at home. I have a lot of great memories and even a few bad habits to thank them for. That makes it easier and it makes me smile inside sometimes. Thanks for sharing your memories with me. That helps too!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Hey Sam,

Years ago I wrote and told you that my favorite article of yours was the one Almost Fiction published in T-Press issue November 1993. In it you quoted some lines from Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire. I bought that book back then but never got around to reading it and eventually it got lost in moving. Seven years ago I moved to Bountiful, Utah, found the book again in a used book store and have been reading it.

Here’s the interesting part:  when I got to page 162, sure enough there was the lines you had quoted, but, get this… somebody had bracketed those eight lines with what appears to be a ball point pen. What are the odds that someone else had been so moved by those particular lines that they would mark them? No other lines in the whole book are marked.

So here’s the question… do you still have your copy of that book or did you give or sell it to a used book store or individual? I mean, this can’t be the same book, right?

Just curious,
Dennis Rogers

Dennis Rogers,

I checked my library and I have a copy of Desert Solitaire, however, it is a new copy. It has never been read. When I read something it gets beat up and the spine is bent crooked. I wonder if I loaned my original copy to someone and then replaced it with this one? Stranger is the fact that I know a lot of people, friends and relatives who live in and around Salt Lake City and Bountiful.

Do-te-do-tow-do-te-do-tow (Twilight Zone theme)

Thanks for the weirdness.

—Slippery Sam


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